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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Weather Forecasts for Riverview for the Reunions

Looks like we'll have some great weather for the upcoming Reunion Homecomings. Sunny, but hot. Please plan your wardrobe accordingly!



Reunion Events Guide Available!

For your convenience, the guide is now ready for the Douglass Reunion and the Kingsport Ebony Club Reunion.

You'll find the guide at the DOUGLASS SCHOOL REUNION NEWS link on the main page of the website.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

No Time to Show OUT; These Kids are Showing OFF!

The prom season may be over for local high schools, but not in the Riverview community. It was a fitting birthday celebration for the neighborhood's premiere youth organizer.

The 7th annual New Vision Youth Prom was held at the Civic Auditorium in Kingsport on Saturday, June 25, 2011, as New Vision director Johnnie Mae Swaggerty celebrated her birthday. The youth were treated to finger sandwiches, chips, cookies and punch, and the music kept them busy socializing and getting a good workout, too!

The young men brought their dates and everybody had a good time.

There were actually two proms, the first being for New Vision Youth ages 5 to 12, finishing up with the crowning of Prom Prince and Princess. With a judgment by applause, the winners were Ray Petty, a 5th grader at John Sevier Middle School, and crowned as Princess, his date Jaden Fullen, 5th grader at Lincoln Elementary School.

To see a slideshow of the 2011 New Vision Youth Prom, ages 5 to 12, please click here.

After the younger prom wrapped up, the older New Vision Youth, ages 13 to 16 took over with the same enthusiam as their younger counterparts. Again, a good time was had by all, with the prom culminating with the crowning of Prom King and Queen. By applause, the couple chosen were William Eidison, an 8th grader at Robinson Middle School, and his date crowned as Prom Queen Ayloenna Camp, an 8th grader at John Sevier Middle.

To see a slideshow of the 2011 New Vision Youth Prom, ages 13 to 16, please click here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Vision Youth Prom Preps


At left, Preston Fullen and Natalie Ray practice their dance moves as Jaden Fullen and Rayven Petty watch in the background at the Civic Auditorium on Tuesday. The seventh annual New Vision Youth Prom will be held Saturday at the Civic Auditorium and is free to the public. Ages 5 through 12 are welcome from 4 to 6:30 p.m., and ages 13 through 16 are welcome from 7 to 10 p.m. There will be refreshments, dancing and voting for a prince and princess for the preteens and a king and queen for the teens. Sunday best or prom attire is encouraged.

Below, Makenzie Fullen and Rayven Petty, along with several other New Vision Youth kids, help set up decorations with organizer Johnnie Mae Swagerty on Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fun Fest officials urge residents to get active at this year’s events

A number of Fun Fest events will encourage everyone to be active, including the Xtreme Challenge.



David Grace —
Arianna Valentine blows bubbles at Festus before the start of Tuesday’s Fun Fest news conference, which was held on the Douglass Ballfield in Riverview.

KINGSPORT — Members of the 2011 Fun Fest committee encourage thrill seekers of all ages to “Get Out and Play” during Fun Fest this year. Fun Fest Chairman Monty McLaurin, Fun Fest Director Lucy Fleming and others encouraged not only kids, but the entire Kingsport community, to participate in all of the 2011 Fun Fest activities during a news conference Tuesday.

The news conference was held at the new V.O. Dobbins Community Center playground in hopes of encouraging everyone to stay active this summer.
“I’m here to tell you that none of us are too old to play,” said McLaurin.

During the conference, McLaurin emphasized the importance of physical activity and stated that there will be a number of events during Fun Fest that will encourage everyone to be active.

One of those events, the Xtreme Challenge, first began as part of the HOPE VI project, which began five years ago as a joint effort by Indian Path Medical Center and Kingsport Parks and Recreation. As part of the HOPE VI project, the Xtreme Challenge was a weeklong summer fitness program.

“This was a tremendously successful event,” said McLaurin. “We have been able to take care of hundreds and hundreds of children, and as a result of that we want to make that an official part of Fun Fest to be able to reach even more children.”

The press conference also highlighted the popular Sunset Concert Series.
The Sunset Concert Series, which will be held on Friday, July 22, and Saturday, July 23, will also provide entertainment and excitement for all ages.

Kicking off the concert series on Friday night will be 17-yearold Jordyn Shellhart from Santa Rosa, Calif. Shellhart signed with Sony Records at the age of 14. The McClymonts, an Australian band with four No. 1 hit singles, will also take the stage Friday night. “American Idol” contestant, Kellie Pickler will be the final performance. Pickler co-wrote her first hit “Red High Heels,” which also became her first gold single.

Opening up the Saturday night concert will be singer and songwriter Kip Moore. Moore’s most well-known single is “Mary Was the Marrying Kind” off of his debut album. Wrapping up the Sunset Concert Series will be the man of many hats, Trace Adkins. Making his country music debut nearly 15 years ago, Adkins has proved over the years that he is one of the most identifiable artists of his generation.

Although there will be a variety of events for all ages, one of the main goals of Fun Fest is to unite families, friends and the community.
“Every year what we expect are smiles and people having a good time and great experience with family and friends,” said Fleming.

McLaurin expects the crowd at Fun Fest this year to be the largest ever.
“Over the past three decades we’ve watched Fun Fest grow and get bigger and bigger every year, and this year is no exception,” said McLaurin. “We have an exciting festival that’s lined up with lots of new events.”

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Former contestant on ‘American Idol’ to perform June 26 at Great Commission Church in Kingsport

The Great Commission Church will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a concert featuring Christian recording artist Angell Leona Higgs, a contestant on season four of the hit show “American Idol.”

The concert will begin at 6 p.m., Sunday, June 26. There is no admission charge, but a love offering will be taken.

Pastor Matthew Thomas said that it was actually his wife, Pamela, who first heard Higgs on the radio and was instantly captivated by her music. Thomas got in touch with Higgs who agreed to perform at the church.

“We wanted something different to draw people from the outside and we wanted to support her ministry,” Thomas said.

Since the age of 9, Higgs has been a gifted lyricist and writer. Until she was 25, she was dependent on other musicians to compose and interpret her songs and melodies, so Higgs bought a piano and looked to the Lord to anoint her hands and help her play.

In 2005, Higgs was a contestant on season four of “American Idol.” She was eliminated just before the Top 24 were chosen, but took the rejection in stride.

“I’d rather be in ministry anyway,” she said after her elimination.
Higgs began working on her first album in 2009.

“That’s when the Lord released me and provided an opportunity for me to go in the studio and record the album,” she said. “It had always been a desire of mine to record, but the Lord kept telling me to wait so that’s what I did.”

Higgs released her debut album, “Broken,” in January 2011. The album is a look into her own spiritual and emotional walk with the Lord. Through her lyrics, she hopes to show that being a Christian is about prayer, faith, obedience and a personal relationship with Christ.

Six of the album’s nine original songs are sung in first person. The song “My Testimony” addresses various issues that Angell herself struggled with prior to her relationship with the Lord.

“I wouldn’t want to use my music for anything else other than ministry,” she said. “I love the Lord and He is truly the reason that I sing.”

Thomas, the pastor at Great Commission, said he hopes that Higgs’ musical message will inspire a younger crowd of followers and ultimately draw people closer to God.

Great Commission Church is also hosting Soul Food Friday dinners at 7 p.m. every Friday night. Money raised at the meals benefits the church’s building fund.

After Fun Fest, the church will begin a 10-week class on Friday nights that will teach participants how to make healthy decisions and healing choices, and how to get and keep their life on track.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Riverview's Next-Door Neighbor is Exercising

• KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Police Department will be at Eastman Chemical Co. Saturday, June 18th, for an emergency training exercise from 9 a.m. to noon. It is anticipated that the training will include a large number of police vehicles and officers working inside the Eastman plant. “Please do not be alarmed as this is only a training exercise to help Eastman Plant Protection and city police personnel work together in the event of a crisis or emergency at the site,” according to a statement from the company.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Regulatory issues delaying carbonite plant


State Rep. Tony Shipley says ‘two independent private investors’ are ready to put in ‘excess of $50 million each’ into the venture.




KINGSPORT — Regulatory issues appear to be the biggest obstacle in the way of a proposed downtown Kingsport carbonite production facility, state Rep. Tony Shipley says.
The old General Shale brick making site off Main Street is being eyed as a location to process the carbon-based product into coke briquettes used by the steel industry.
A February white paper authored by Shipley and longtime coal scientist Richard Wolfe suggests coal could be converted into both carbonite and coke, in addition to coal liquids that could be refined into a transportation fuel.
Shipley, R-Kingsport, says “two independent private investors” are ready to put in “excess of $50 million each” into the venture.
“Their names are embargoed at this point,” said Shipley.
Earlier this month, Shipley named one potential investor — Energy Solutions from Oak Ridge.
Shipley said he is working with U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., to deal with the Environmental Protection Agency on regulatory issues associated with the project.
When asked what those regulatory issues are, Shipley responded: “The silliness they’ve imposed on Kingsport in (ozone) containment.”
Shipley said he has provided to city officials an environmental comparison used from a similar Virginia venture “to compare to the General Shale environmental permit that was there before.”
The downtown project, according to Shipley, would emit “less than one-sixth of the emissions” that were produced by General Shale.
Shipley and Wolfe’s white paper said the city of Kingsport would be asked to buy the location and turn it over to the project developers.
One likely entity to be approached to buy the site — or come up with a lease arrangement — could be the Kingsport Economic Development Board.
But those talks haven’t begun yet, said Kingsport spokesman Tim Whaley.
A 40-acre commercial tract at the General Shale Main Street location had a $4.35 million appraisal in 2010, according to Sullivan County Property Assessor Bobby Icenhour.
Icenhour said General Shale is appealing that appraisal, which could also include an adjoining residential parcel owned by the company.
“They feel some of those buildings need additional depreciation. ... Even if they get that additional depreciation, it’s not going to amount to that much,” said Icenhour.
When asked about the city’s position on the project, Whaley said in an e-mail: “The viability of this project hinges entirely on the availability of private capital and/or large grants to bring it to life. We understand informally from Representative Shipley that there has been a good bit of progress on securing private venture funding, and at the point where private financing is firmly secured, the city will gladly examine how we might best assist in ensuring the project locates in Kingsport. ... We are not aware of any environmental issues with the site, however no reviews of the property have been conducted by the city of the site.”
The finished plant, according to the white paper, would be run by a corporation headed by Wolfe.
Shipley has been working with the Sullivan County-based NETWORKS economic development organization to make the project happen.
He speaks highly of the downtown rail lines to bring coal to the location.
“We are blessed with an enormous rail network that is underutilized,” Shipley said. “It’s designed for heavy loads. ... We’ve got a gold mine sitting there.”
Next week, Shipley will chair a meeting of a newly formed state House GOP Energy Task Force and attempt to sell the venture in talks with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD).
“That meeting is to keep everybody on the same track,” he explained. “We’re discussing education credits (with ECD). ... Northeast State has stepped up to the plate to develop training (for the carbonite plant) at the RCAM (Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing).”
Shipley adds there would no need for lawmakers to pass legislation next year to make the project happen.
Past legislatures, for instance, passed jobs tax credit bills to make large economic development projects a reality during Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen’s administration.
“This is taking more of a Republican approach than a Democratic approach ... a case in point is the multimillion dollar case the state laid out for Volkswagen (in Chattanooga) is not going to be requested by a Republican-controlled House and Senate and governor,” Shipley said. “We are not looking for state funding. We are after state assistance in moving the regulatory issues out of the way and helping us streamline the process to bring private investors to the table. ... The state of Virginia has invested $20 million into a project very much like we’re going to do, also under the control of Dr. Wolfe, in Norton, Virginia.”
Lastly, when asked about his personal ties to the project, Shipley insisted: “I have no financial interest.”

Community Garden: Continuing the Tradition

Everyone who knows the history of the Douglass School also knows, that, buried in the heritage of the school and the Riverview Community, is principal V.O. Dobbins Sr., growing vegetables in his food garden during the spring and summer months.

Mr. Dobbins was on a mission from the heart, and he only had a certain amount of time to work with.

Back in the 1940's and 50's, many Douglass parents could not afford to pay for hot lunches during the school day, and Mr. Dobbins felt that no child should go hungry. The fruits of his labor, were canned by his sister Leola Allen and other "mothers of the church" at Central Baptist Church, and served to the students at Douglass School during the cold, winter months. You may have noticed the Douglass principal working in the garden with a hoe, a shovel or a rake after school and in the summer, laboring long and hard in the gardens beside his home, and in the garden behind his Dunbar Street home.

Long after Douglass closed, the retired principal continued toiling in the garden, and with the canned vegetables, many families in the neighborhood continued to receive home-grown food from Mr. Dobbins' garden.

You now have the opportunity to continue that wonderful tradition at the United Way garden plots on Charlemont Streeet.

"We would like to invite the Riverview Community to take two or three of our plots," says Jill Salyers, director of Community Assessment and Planning with the United Way of Greater Kingsport. "It's a community garden, and given the history of food growing in Riverview, we'd like to see something like Mr. Dobbins' efforts started back up once again, with a renewed emphasis on feeding the community."

The United Way garden currently has 24 raised beds, with the goal to feed the hungry. The name of the annual project is "Harvest of Hope--Growing with Kingsport."

"We want to educate folks about growing," says Ms. Salyers. "We have beds being occupied by the Interfaith Hospitality Network, the Salvation Army, the Haven of Hope, and then we have several neighbors operating individual beds. Some of them are homeless, and our goal is to make sure they have nutritious foods and that they know how to prepare it. A portion of all of the gardens go to feed the homeless, as well as the person or organization who works their garden.

The United Way supplies the plants, seeds, watering, and protection for the beds (Mr. Dobbins used to say, the rabbits and birds used to have a field day in his garden). The only investment asked of people working the Charlemont garden plots, is the desire to get their hands dirty.

"People can bring their own plants if they want, and also bring a hat and gloves and also their time," Ms. Salyers says. "We have volunteers there who water the gardens and watch them. We want people to come garden with us. We've had a couple of groups of neighborhood children whose program directors heard about the garden, and wanted the children to have the chance to learn about planting a garden."

"But for folks in Riverview who already know how," she says, "we can provide experts who can take their home-growing skills to another level."

Ms. Salyers says, she hopes the program can expand in the future, and build on the legacy of V.O. Dobbins growing to feed the hungry children at the Douglass School.

"The key word here Calvin, is LEGACY," she says. "It is such a wonderful legacy for the Riverview community to one day in the future, have a garden somewhere in the Riverview Community, to learn about Mr. Dobbins original garden, to visit it, learn more about why it was there, and more about who it helped. We're also looking at having canning classes in the future, some of the same ideas that Riverview residents are familiar with, already."

"We want to make sure people who need food, have it. Not only will their bellies be full, but their heads will also be full of knowledge of how to grow it, prepare it, and also store it for the future."

"Mr. Dobbins' original idea for the Riverview community was borne out of necessity," she says. "That same idea is now necessary to help future generations with ways to enjoy home-grown foods."

For more information on how to get a free plot in the United Way garden on Charlemont Street, contact Jill Salyers at the United Way of Greater Kingsport. Her number is 378-3409, extension 16.

If you yourself have ever grown any food in Riverview, or remember the heroic efforts of Mr. Dobbins to feed our future leaders at the Douglass School, here's a way to do it again for free, with some expert help.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Vision Youth Prom 2011 Reminder for June 25th


Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Familiar Visitor in Riverview Gets Promoted!

Stephen Dixson's is a familiar face around Riverview.

You've probably seen him at several recent events in the neighborhood, usually representing his job and his place of employment.

Stephen is now representing BIG TIME!

The Southwest Virginia native just got promoted, and now has much more responsibility.

Check out his new job by clicking here at the News of our Douglass Friends and Neighbors link on your Douglass website.

At that Douglass website link, are some other really good stories from the communities that surround Riverview. Be sure and check there frequently to see what our friends and neighbors in other East Tennessee-Southwest Virginia neighborhoods are doing.

And if and when you see Stephen, be sure to congratulate him on his new job!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

School Apparel Orders: A Good Beginning

Good news from the Douglass School Store!

At the upcoming reunion, you'll probably notice some of your fellow Douglass alumni decked out in their apparel that they got from the school store.

So far, we've had two orders, and that's a good sign that when people discover what they can get, we'll have a lot more.

For what you get, the merchandise is not that expensive, so click on the link in the left column, and get your Douglass School clothing and items today! You want to look your best and show your school spirit.

The Reunion is in less than 3 weeks!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Riverview Has A New Citizen!

Congratulations to Pastor and Mrs. Ricardo Dorcean of the Central Baptist Church!

They are the proud parents of COOPER MARIE DORCEAN, who arrived between 9 AM and 10 AM, on Friday, June 10, 2011.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Follow Up to Proposed Carbonite Plant on Shale Property in downtown Kingsport


Local residents are buzzing over the fact that the General Shale property could soon become a coal-burning, coke-producing carbonite plant, bordered on one side by Industry Drive, bordered on another side by downtown Kingsport, and bordered on the other side.. by the Riverview community.

The city of Kingsport has not voiced an opinion about the proposed carbonite plant as yet.

Your Douglass Website is trying to answer the concerns that have been voiced to the editor by Riverview residents. It is anticipated that soon, we will hear from experts close to the coal-coke-carbonite industry, who can explain to the community, exactly what the proposed plant next door will involve.



"A second phase of the project called for a facility capable of converting up to 100,000 tons of coal per year into both Carbonite and formed coke and 100,000 barrels of coal liquids “that can be further refined into transportation fuels,” according to the (proposal)."


"There may be 4 hundred new jobs coming to Kingsport. State Representive Tony Shipley says that an investor has made a verbal commitment to help manfacture Carbonite at the old General Shale Brick Plant off Main Street. Energy Solutions an Oak Ridge based company is discussing the $50 million dollar investment with coal scientist Dr. Richard Wolfe. The coke brickquettes produced would be used in the making of steel. No state money is being sought but heavy help is being sought from local Government."


Everything seems to point to the fact that coke will be either the product or by-product of the carbonite process. So what exactly is coke that is produced from coal?



"Coke is a fuel with few impurities and a high carbon content and it is used when purity and high carbon content is desired. Coke is used worldwide in blast furnaces. Coke is used most often in making metals.

Coke, is a hard, gray fuel. According to the New Columbia Encyclopedia, coke bears the same relation to coal as does charcoal to wood.

Coke is made in brick furnaces with bituminous coal as the source."

"Coke making produces by-products which are: ammonia, coal tar, and gaseous compounds, which are saved, but can also be environmental pollutants.

Coke can be made also in a destructive distillation process. According to the New Columbia Encyclopedia, only a small amount of coke is made in the coke distillation process.

Without the high temperatures coke can produce, steel making would be more difficult. It might be that without coke, the industrial revolution itself would not have taken place. How would the industrial revolution have "worked" without steel?"

"Production of coke outside the USA remains relatively small: in 1998 North America produced 80% of world petroleum coke. A number of new Latin American coking units have begun producing petroleum coke from heavy local crude oils, providing new competition."



(Click on the links below to go to the articles)

Click on this link to see the article from the Buffalo, NY newspaper.

Click here to see a news story from WGRZ-TV, Buffalo.

Click here to see an article from the Middletown, OH Journal newspaper.

Click here to see an article from the Main Street Monroe, (Ohio) website.

Click here to see the news report about the Middletown coke plant, from WLWT-TV, Cincinnati.



Proposed coke plant raises concerns for neighboring communities

By Duane Ramsey
Toledo Free Press Staff Writer

November 2007--Sandy Bihn doesn't know her possible new neighbors, but she's leery about what their presence in her community could mean.

Bihn, a member of Oregon (Ohio) City Council, is concerned about the amount of air and water pollution a proposed industrial facility to be located along the border of Oregon and Toledo would release into the environment. The plant, which would produce coke, a byproduct of coal, for use in North American steel and foundry facilities, will be built on an area the City of Toledo pledged to keep as wetlands when it expanded its water treatment plant on York Street south of the site, said Bihn, executive director of the Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association.

“The site is right across the river from Point Place so those residents should be concerned about the potential pollution from it,” Bihn said. “Most communities would have a lot of interest, but Toledo seems to be apathetic toward environmental issues.”


2011 Shiloh Neighborhood Carnival

The activities were plentiful, good food felt good to the tummy, and there were smiles abound.

The 10th year of the Shiloh Neighborhood Carnival in Kingsport's Riverview community brought children and adults alike to the Shiloh Baptist Church parking lot for fun, prizes and good fellowship.

To see a slideshow of the 2011 Shiloh Neighborhood Carnival, please click here.

For the kids, there was face-painting, bubbling blowing, and visits from the Sullivan County Sheriff's Department's souped-up crime Camaro, an engine company from the Kingsport Fire Department, and other games. For the adults, there was a dislay from the county health department, bingo, and the free clothes giveaway for the needy, which also included shoes.

Afterwards, the neighborhood was treated to hot dogs, chips and soft drinks.

Pastor Kenneth Calvert also took time out to talk about the joint Vacation Bible School that Shiloh is partnering with the Central Baptist Church to offer the kids this summer season.

It's the first time the two churches have joined forces to offer Vacation Bible School.

"It's an effort to reach all the young folks in the neighborhood," he said. "It shows that churchs can work together. At regular church services, we both serve some of the same families and some of the same children. We can bring them all together and enrich them them with the same component at Vacation Bible School. We're looking forward to a good time."

"The school will be at Central Baptist Church, the service starting at 6 PM and will end at 8 PM.. we'll feed the kids, and we'll also have arts and crafts for them," says Reverend Calvert.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Tributes to "Miss Eula" Leeper Pouring In


Juwan Antuan Johnson: im sorry ms.tonya..Praying for you and the fam!
16 hours ago
Pepper Depew: sorry for your loss, you and family are in my thoughts and prayers.
16 hours ago
Patrice Williams: Tonya i am so sry and if yall need anythang at all give me a call. Love yall!
16 hours ago via Facebook Mobile
Raychel Jealene Bradley: Aw im so sorry tonya love ya if u need anythang you kn0 who 2 cal
15 hours ago via Facebook Mobile
LaToya Williams: Love you Tonya! If you need anything PLEASE don't hesitate to call!!!
15 hours ago
15 hours ago via Facebook Mobile
Tamara Tammy Maxwell: My condolences to you and your family Tonya. Very sorry to hear about Ms.Eula.
15 hours ago
Teresa Russell: My heart and prayers goes out to the family. I love yall. I'm so sorry to here about the passing of Mrs. Eula. I love you Mrs. Eula.
14 hours ago ·
Latosha Watterson: U and the family r n our prayers!
14 hours ago
Ann Ennis Woods Epps: So sorry Tonya! Thoughts and prayers! Luv u if u need us let us know!
14 hours ago via Facebook Mobile
Jackie Dully: First thing letting u know i Love u like a sis an Ms. Leeper was like a grandmama 2 me. Im so, so Sorry to hear this if there is anything i can do for u an ur family jus let me know. Your family is in my Prayers an have my Deepest Sympathy. I Love All of You.
14 hours ago via Facebook Mobile
Teresa Russell: Yall no if there's any thing me and my family can do please let us no. If God willing we will me home. For the going home services. May God Bless this family
14 hours ago
Iris Bradley: I am so sorry to hear about Miss Eula. She will be missed by ALL. I was named after her.
12 hours ago
Amy Weems Bentley: So sorry for your loss. We will pray for your peace.
12 hours ago
Grayson Mcmurray: Sorry for your loss Tonya, you will be in my prayers.
11 hours ago
Keesha Porter: Sorry for your loss, praying for u and fam.
11 hours ago
Mia Nichole Robinson: Praying for God's comfort during this time of loss. Just cherish the memories that you have Tonya.
10 hours ago
Nikki Novella Dully: This is so shockingly sad, I love you and you are a real sister. I'm praying for you and I'll be by today as soon as I turn my column in. I love you and believe me when I say the devil will be around so turn your back. I love you so much I ...just don't get to show it a lot, damn I'm sad and I hate that you're hurting cause it makes me cry ! Life is too short for us not to do what we should be, we have to embrace life and what it brings good or badSee More
9 hours ago
Stacie Sensabaugh: Im so very sorry to hear that she passed away. You and your family are in my prayers Tonya. Love ya girl!!
9 hours ago via Facebook Mobile
Khalid Aziz: Tonya sorry to hear about your lose May The Peace And Blessing Of Allah Be Upon you and your Family
8 hours ago
Ilea Thomas: Im sorry for your lost... will keep u and da fam in prayer
8 hours ago via Facebook Mobile
Deloris Delaney: TONYA So sorry to hear that about Ms Eula and your friend. Prayers and COMFORT BLESSINGS going to you and your Family. I Will stop by today .Tell your Mother I'm so sorry .. If you all need ANYTHING I'm here for you all .. LOVE YOU ALL. GOD BLESS THIS FAMILY AT THIS TIME OF SORROW IN JESUS NAME AMEN ...
8 hours ago
Charlene Hodge: God has called another one of his children home.... She will always be in your heart... Hold on to the memories that you had with her. Eula will truly be missed....... You know we are here for you and the family..... Take comfort in knowing that you will see her again one day....
8 hours ago
Orchid Peterkin: Sorry to hear that tonya. I'm here for you ok! love ya
7 hours ago
Tammy W. Adams: So sorry to hear about Mrs. Eula, Tonya she was a good woman to me and Natavia. You ad the family r in my prayers.
7 hours ago
Nikki Novella Dully: I love you:) Be by soon!
7 hours ago
Tara Laster Sperry: Tonya, I'm so sorry for the loss of your Mamaw, sending prayers and (((hugs))) your way.
7 hours ago
Kim Rigsby: So sorry for your loss!!! Praying for you and your family!!
7 hours ago
Alvasia Blye: Sorry for you loss Tonya--You & family are in our prayers...R.I.P Mrs Eula
7 hours ago
Phyllis Hicks: I am so sorry Tonya you know yall my family and if there is anything I mean anything at all I can just let me know. RIP Mrs Eula you loved and will be truly missed but all that you instilled in us and all the loved you showed everyone will never be forgotten. GOD has taken home one of his special children. Praying for you and the family
6 hours ago
Calvin Sneed: Oh my.. Miss Eula was a blessing in the neighborhood.We all loved her, as if she was our mama, too. She's in heaven with the other angels now.
5 hours ago
Shamika Long: Sorry for your lost!!! You and your family will be in my prayers!
5 hours ago via Facebook Mobile
Janet Mann Hammonds: I am so sorry!!!
5 hours ago
Cory Underwood: Love You Cuz
5 hours ago
Mary Beatty: Sorry to hear about Ms Eula. I enjoyed taking care of her at Brookhaven. She was a very bright and loving woman. My prayers got out to you and your family. May she rest in peace.
5 hours ago via Facebook Mobile
DiMingo Hale: Peace to you and the family, especially during this time of grief...
4 hours ago
Tonya Leeper: thanks again everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!
4 hours ago
Tiffany Beatty Butts: Tonya I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Your family will be in my prayers.
3 hours ago
Tiffany Tarter: What wonders await us in yonder fair land ! The face of our Savior, the touch of His hand, No tears & no crying, no sighs or despair, For Jesus is waiting to welcome us there..... We r praying 4 ur family.....
2 hours ago via Facebook Mobile
Stella Robinette: So sorry for your loss if I can do anything please let me know.
2 hours ago
Carolynn Cruz-Anderson: She will always live in your heart, God will take over now. Be Blessed we are all praying for your comfort at this time. Love U
about an hour ago
Lynda Cruz Brown: Tonya, you know that I can relate. You and everyone there have my sincere condolences. She was a wonderful lady and will be missed. Love you sweetie.
54 minutes ago
Brittany Johnson: Rest in Peace.
13 minutes ago
Anissa Kay- Kay Johnson: So sorry Tonya, your family is in my prayers.
12 minutes ago
Christina Hege: I know how you feel. When I lost my grandmother I lost a huge part of me. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
6 minutes ago

Riverview Passing

Our hearts are saddened today, at the passing of one of our longtime Riverview residents and one of the mothers of the Riverview neighborhood.

Mrs. Eula Leeper passed away at Wilcox Hall in Kingsport last night (Thursday, June 2, 2011) after a long illness.

The picture above is from two years ago, when she met us at the demolition site of the Riverview Apartments, to talk about life there, back in the day.

Please keep the Leeper families and the Cartwright families in your prayers through this difficult time.

Arrangements are posted in the PASSINGS AND OBITUARIES section. Also, is an obituary for our Douglass classmate, Loftus Smith, who passed away in Massachusetts last week.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Could a Carbonite Coke Plant be Riverview's New Neighbor?


General Shale closed up its brick-producing plant in Kingsport a couple of years ago, and since then, the property has been in, more or less, an abandoned state. The brick kilns are still there, but rendered inoperative. Even Cement Hill has been landscaped and smoothed out, but still fenced off and abandoned, providing an inaccessable view of our beautiful downtown.

This prime piece of industrial property sits adjacent to downtown Kingsport, and right next door to the Riverview Community.

After living with belching pollution from three surrounding industries, the Riverview community has been plagued with questions about the chemical dumpsite it is built on., and the underlying chemicals in the ground in the area known locally as "Clay Hill."

On the other end of the neighborhood, Riverview children dodged big, heavy dump trucks from "The Brickyard" for years, racing up and down Lincoln Street headed into the plant. Having experienced that, it's no secret that, while the truck drivers were not aiming for the children crossing the street, they would have been hard-pressed to stop their dump trucks in time to keep from striking one of the children.

Since the plant closed, there have been promises to the African-American community to extend the now dead-end Martin Luther King Boulevard into downtown Kingsport through the brickyard property, providing an alternate direct connection from Eastman to downtown, paralleling Sullivan and Main Streets. In addition to providing a connection for Riverview residents to downtown, the extention of MLK was thought by the city to also provide direct access for the non-profit agencies now located inside the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex, to downtown.

While technically still on the front burner, that idea may soon be derailed, discarded and thrown by the wayside.

And Riverview may soon pick up a neighbor whose manufacturing process has raised eyebrows in other communities.

Please read the article below from the Kingsport Times-News from Saturday, May 28, 2011. It has a direct bearing on the future of our little community, caught between the river and three separate industrial zones.


This is the fifth in a series of stories about Northeast Tennessee lawmakers and what they did in this year’s General Assembly.



State Rep. Tony Shipley says an investor has made a verbal commitment to help manufacture a carbon-based product called Carbonite at the site of the old General Shale Brick plant off Kingsport’s Main Street.

The investor is Energy Solutions from Oak Ridge, said Shipley, R-Kingsport.

“Everybody is bending over backward to make this happen. ... All the pieces are in place for it to continue to move forward,” Shipley said of talks with the investor and state and local officials.

A $50 million investment is being discussed to build a facility with a production capacity of 100,000 tons and be staffed by more than 400 people, according to Shipley.

Since the start of this year’s legislative session, Shipley and longtime coal scientist Richard Wolfe have advocated developing a Carbonite plant on the edge of downtown Kingsport.

Wolfe has patented Carbonite as a coal-based product stripped of mercury, which can be processed into coke briquettes to be used by the steel industry.

According to a February white paper produced by Shipley and Wolfe, the city of Kingsport would be asked to buy and provide the old General Shale facility as the host site for the Carbonite plant.

The document noted the plant would be run by a newly formed “Tennessee Carbonite Corporation.”

A second phase of the project called for a facility capable of converting up to 100,000 tons of coal per year into both Carbonite and formed coke and 100,000 barrels of coal liquids “that can be further refined into transportation fuels,” according to the white paper.

Shipley has been selling the Carbonite venture to city officials, the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

“We haven’t asked the state for a dime,” Shipley said. “We are talking to ECD about education credit programs. ... The investor has completed a packet of information for ECD. ... Kingsport qualified for this because of its infrastructure and location next to rail, interstate and proximity to the (Southwest Virginia) coalfields, and availability of high-tech employees.

“People who retired from Eastman (Chemical Co.) contacted my office when they heard about it. Some of the Eastman coal gasification people who retired have expressed an interest in being involved.”

Shipley said the economic development initiative unfolded while his 2011 legislative agenda was “in kind of a housekeeping mode.”


WISE, Va. -- Eric Wolfe believes the product he’s helped his father develop will help bring manufacturing back to the U.S. and make this country strong again.

It’s carbonite, a patented interim step between coal and coke, and Wolfe announced at Monday’s Energy Technology Summit that their company, Carbonite Corporation of Virginia, will start producing it on a commercial scale soon outside Norton.


“We should be making coke here in America and shipping it,” he said of the steel-making fuel created by burning impurities out of high-grade coal, “not shipping our valuable resources overseas to turn into coke.”

He said the $20 million plant, funded largely by local coal industry investors with the help of a $1.5 million grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission, is scheduled to begin construction this year and will produce both carbonite and coke.

Dr. Richard Wolfe describes the process that he has developed before begining his demonstration, recently (Picture courtesy the Bristol News).
His father, Richard Wolfe, is the scientist known for the creation of carbonite, after a lifetime of work on clean-coal technology.

What is carbonite?

These days, very few coke ovens operate in the U.S., said Eric Wolfe, who serves as engineering manager for Carbonite Corporation.

The reason, he said, is environmental regulation, and the near impossibility of building them. Under current regulations, he said, building a new coke oven battery would cost upwards of half a billion dollars and come with a permitting nightmare.

He said most of the coke ovens that used to exist in the U.S. were shut down in the 1990s, when the Chinese flooded the market with $100-a-ton coke and they couldn’t compete.

But when the Chinese economy started growing, China needed all the coke it could produce to make steel for building, and suddenly American companies found themselves without a reliable, cost-effective supply.

Enter carbonite, an interim step between coal and coke, and a process with a key difference in the production of coke: It’s much cleaner for the environment.

Wolfe said a key difference for the carbonite plant, which is being created in the old Pace Carbon Fuels building outside Norton, is that it’s not classified as a coke oven battery. Instead, it’s classified as a coal conversion plant.

From a regulatory standpoint, said Wolfe, the difference is night and day.

He said the process of making carbonite from coal involves heating the coal, in a mixture with certain biomass materials, to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit with no oxygen, burning off some of the gases and removing all the mercury.

This fuel can then be burned in power plants or used for various industrial applications, such as absorbing oils, mercury and other metals in wastewater, or in the steel-making process.

Produced at the same time are coal oil liquids, which Wolfe said sell for $40 a barrel and have properties that cause some industrial customers to prefer it over oil.

“A barrel of coal oil is more valuable than the oil that’s coming from the Middle East; it’s more sought after,” he said. “It’s equivalent to light, sweet crude.”

He said a ton of coal can be converted 70 percent into carbonite, and generate one barrel of coal oil liquids.

To make coke from carbonite, he said, it is ground up, mixed with fresh coal and formed into charcoal-like briquettes, which are then heated to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit with no oxygen and turned into coke in about as much time as it takes to bake a cake.

He said the remaining gases not only burn off but actually generate heat for the process. When the final product comes out, it’s already cool – meaning less pollution.

“It’s easy to make clean coke,” he said.

A Shared Dream

Richard Wolfe came from southern West Virginia, a coal miner’s son with a “Rocket Boys”-esque affinity for science and technology.

As a boy, he went to science fairs with the invention of a safety lamp for coal miners. His son, Eric Wolfe, followed in his father’s footsteps, wowing science fair judges with his demonstration of a diesel engine running on fuel derived from coal.

When they moved to the Bristol area in 1979, he was 13. He said he’s helped his dad with his work for more than 20 years, beginning when he was in college and in addition to a career in engineering for Volkswagen and NASCAR.

“My dad would dream it up,” he explained, “and I would try to build it for him.”

But Monday was the first time he publicly spoke for his father; the elder Wolfe was absent due to unexpected heart surgery.

“Right now, we have companies that want to expand, but they cannot secure a reliable, cost-effective supply of coke,” said the younger Wolfe, in an interview following Monday’s energy conference. “I know there’s a demand for our product.”

He’s been working for his dad full-time for about a month now.

“It’s been kind of scary to leave a nice secure job, but this is fun,” he said. “This is a challenge and it’s worth it.”

He envisions a chain of events that could flow from the production of their product.

In the short term, it could supply customers who are looking for coke. In the longer term, it could bring coke prices down, resulting in more steel being made in the U.S. That, in turn, could help provide the cheaper raw materials needed to lure manufacturing back to the Mountain Empire.

“We hope and pray that we can actually bring some growth back to the area,” he said. “I hope it means growth for America.”

He said the 50,000 tons a year of carbonite and coke that the plant will produce is already sold. The 100,000 tons it’s expected to produce eventually is enough to supply half a dozen foundries.

He said it will likely employ more than 30 people at the outset, and perhaps 100 at full capacity. And Carbonite Corporation already has its eye on Kingsport, Tenn., as the possible location for a second plant fueled by Virginia coal.

“As the market demands, we’ll build more plants,” he said.

He said he’s shared his father’s carbonite dream for 25 years. Now, it’s in the process of becoming reality.

“The banks wouldn’t touch us, but people believe in it,” he said of carbonite and its ability to attract investors. “People want to make America great again.”