Total Pageviews

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sons and Daughters of Douglass Board Meeting Minutes, 3/9/2013


Members In Attendance: Wallace Ross, Jr., Doug Releford, Andra Watterson, Lonnie Cox, Blenda Brown, Thelma Watterson, Lillian Leeper, Louetta Hall, Sandra Wilmer, and Vicki Smith.

Meeting was called to order by Andra Watterson, Interim President

Prayer by Lillian Leeper


Minutes were read and motion made by Andra to accept minutes as read. Doug seconded the motion and motion carried.

Financial Report:

Lillian gave the financial report for the checking/savings account.

Deposit was made from dues & pancake sales

Lillian made an automatic transfer on 3/7/13 from checking to pay Charter.   Louetta made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report as read and Doug seconded the motion. Motion carried.



Andra will meet with Charter on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 in office to reconnect services

Thank-you note has been sent to Paul Montgomery. Vicki suggested to send one also to Bob Feagins regarding Chamber Dinner

A total of $110 in dues was received from members attending meeting today and names and amounts were recorded by Lillian

Any officer unable to attend meetings should notify the President of their absence

Old Business:

Andra asked that all monies from ticket sales be turned in ASAP

New Business:

Socialization hour in alumni room on Saturday, July 6, 2013 – time to be determined later

Doug reminded the alumni that we have the field reserved for Friday, July 5, & Saturday, July 6th. Lillian made a motion to charge $40 for 2-day vendor usage of field. Lonnie seconded the motion and motion carried.

Andra stated that she had already received a request from Mr. Brooks and she will notify him of the field cost.

Anyone that wants to reserve space on the field should contact Louetta, Sandra, or Andra. Deadline for reserving the space will be June 21st.

Alumni will set-up tables with any memorabilia that we have on hand to sell.

Other suggestions for fundraising were: selling dishcloths and having a movie night.

Volunteers are needed for the Sunday Memorial Service – Lillian Leeper & Blenda Brown will chair that committee

2013 Graduation list from Dobyns-Bennett was reviewed for alumni descendants

All descendants graduating may be from other schools, alumni should submit names of these potential recipients


The next meeting will be a covered dish on Saturday, April 20, 2013 @ 1:00 p.m. Doug made a motion to adjourn and Andra seconded. Motion carried and Louetta closed the meeting with prayer.

Meeting was adjourned.


Minutes recorded by: Vicki Smith, Recording Secretary

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Authorities increasing visits to Kingsport, Sullivan schools


   KINGSPORT — Whether he’s conducting a traffic stop or responding to a domestic dispute, a lot of people aren’t thrilled to see Kingsport Police Department Officer Sean Cornett.

David Grace —

Kingsport Police Department Officer Sean Cornett talks with Jackson Elementary student Abraham Graves on a walk-through of the school this week.

Sometimes children are present to watch him haul away a loved one, leaving a potentially negative image of police in their impressionable minds.

But on a daily basis throughout the city, officers and children alike are enjoying interactions on a more personal, enjoyable level. During the first two months of 2013, members of the KPD conducted more than 350 random walk-throughs at educational facilities, part of an increased emphasis on school safety.

“They love it,” said Andrew Jackson Elementary School Principal Holly Flora. “When they see an officer inuniform walking through the hall, it’s like a rock star is in the building.” The enthusiasm is evident on a Tuesday morning walk-through at Flora’s school. Officer Cornett steps into the gymnasium, giving the students inside a wave of his hand and quick, “Hey, there.” “Look, look,” exclaims one child as she and two others break into a sprint. “Police! Police!” Another student walks past Cornett’s commanding, 6-foot-4-inch frame, slowly directing his gaze from toe to head. He takes in the shined shoes, holstered weapon and gleaming badge. “Whoa,” he murmurs, pushing his glasses back as he passes. “They want to know what tools you carry, some-  times they want to tell you about their homes or family members,” said Cornett with a chuckle. “But it’s good to put a smile on a kid’s face, rather than taking a parent or sibling to jail.”

KPD Lt. Mike Roark said the department has conducted school walk-throughs in the past, but the efforts have taken on a renewed priority following the December school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Multiple officers are now visiting schools within their assigned zones at random times throughout the d a y.

Roark said the community relations aspect of the drop-in visits are an added, welcome bonus to the main goals at hand: increased safety, and possibly peace of mind for parents and school personnel. 
In the event that security is breached, the walk-throughs have provided responding officers with a familiarity of both the facilities and their staffs.

“It’s good to know names,” said Cornett as he walks Jackson Elementary’s halls, tugging every entrance door he passes to ensure it’s firmly closed. He pops his head to the window of some classes, garnering a nod or smile from teachers in front of their pupils.

“We just really appreciate their presence,” said Flora of the response at her school. “It’s a great experience for both the staff and students.”

The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office has also bolstered walkthroughs at schools throughout the county and echo the KPD’s sentiments on the benefits beyond just s a f e t y.

“It allows officers, especially patrol officers and detectives, to interact with students in a way they usually aren’t able to,” said SCSO Public Information Officer Leslie Earhart. “They have a chance to talk with students and answer questions in a safe environment, which in turn helps us to build a positive relationship with them.”

Shortly before Cornett’s walkthrough at Jackson is complete, he bends down on one knee to speak with a student. A few moments later the boy scurries away to rejoin his classmates in a single file line, a sheepish grin across his face.

As Cornett rises back to his feet, he’s sporting a smile of his own.

“Usually when we see children it’s because something bad has happened,” Cornett said. “The good sometimes doesn’t get to come out — until we get to do something like this.”

Paying Your 2013 Annual Sons and Daughters of Douglass Dues

In response to the plea from your Sons and Daughters of Douglass Board of Directors, several folks have asked for information on paying their annual Douglass Alumni dues for 2013.

Please make the check or money order out to "Sons and Daughters of Douglass, Inc."   The annual dues are $25 dollars.  You can mail the check or money order to:

Sons and Daughters of Douglass, Inc.
301 Louis Street, Suite 104
Kingsport, TN 37660

Your dues, as well as any donations you make to the Sons and Daughters of Douglass, Inc, a non-profit charitable corporation chartered by the Tennessee Secretary of State in Nashville, are tax-deductible under
Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Tax Code.

When your dues or donation are paid, your name will be checked off the master list in the office, as PAID, and your contribution will be used for our small office expenses.  Everyone who attended the Douglass Elementary/High School in Kingsport, or are, themselves, descendants of anyone who attended, are considered alumni of the school.
Your help and concern for the operation of your Sons and Daughters of Douglass alumni association is greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

How Riverview got its name, even though there’s no view of river


Contact Vince Staten at vincestaten@timesnews
Voicemail may be left at 723-1483. His blog can be found at vincestaten.

If you live in Riverview or if you’ve driven in Riverview, you’ve probably noticed one thing about Riverview: Riverview does not have a river view.

It was Calvin Sneed who first pointed this out to me. Calvin grew up in Riverview. He says that even when it was a “new” community back in 1939, “There was no view of the river from where we lived. ... There was never even a road over to it. Wheatley Street is the connection now — but even today, you still can’t see the river from the community.”

So how did Riverview come to be named “Riverview.”

Calvin told me the story and I dug up the details.

Slum housing, behind 746 East Sevier Avenue, 1935

Riverview grew out of an omnibus slum clearance program that targeted the destruction of more than 201 substandard “white homes” and “Negro homes” in Kingsport in 1939, to be replaced by 128 “white homes” and 48 “Negro homes.”

The city brought in the United States Housing Authority to recommend homes to be “cleared.” In return the federal government would provide funding for the new housing.

Things really started rolling in June 1939.

This newspaper wrote, “A new development for housing Kingsport’s increasing Negro population will be submitted for consideration to the United States Housing Authority before the last of the week, according to Walter F. Smith, chairman of the Kingsport Housing Authority for slum clearance.”

The city and the federal government would share the costs for construction of streets and a pedestrian underpass under the Clinchfield railroad tracks.

Federal Dyestuff and Chemical Company, 1916 - Current Site of Riverview.  Photo Courtesy Archives of Kingsport

Chairman Smith told the newspaper he had taken “a selected group of Kingsport Negroes to the site which is to be located south of the Clinchfield railroad tracks in an area composed of approximately 50 acres between the old dye plant and the property of the General Shale Products company.”

The original plan would use only five or six acres for construction of houses with plenty of room for expansion.

“It is estimated by the authority that under the present housing setup between 35 and 50 dwellings will be constructed on lots measuring 50 feet by 150 feet.”

The Housing Authority decided to involve local citizens by holding a contest to name the new Negro development as well as the white project. Contest winners were announced Dec. 5, 1939.

“The project for white residents has been officially named ‘Robert E. Lee Homes’ and the Negro project will be called ‘Riverview.’ ”

Riverview Apartments

Charles B. Leonard, 214 Millpond St., had submitted the entry for the “white project.” And Mrs. James (Bessie) Hipp, 914 Oak St., entered the Riverview name.

Each won $5, which would be about $80 today.

But that name. “I’m guessing that nobody else had a name to submit,” says Calvin. “Mama Jill Ellis couldn’t even think of anybody else who had a suggestion. We all loved Miss Bessie. ... She was one of many older members of the neighborhood always revered as mothers of the community, with all the honor and respect that comes with that. Us young ’uns always respected the name she gave our community. But we sure did have a hard time explaining it!”

Happy 95th Birthday, Mrs. Nora Mae Taylor Alexander!

A pillar of the Riverview community is celebrating a milestone birthday.

Mrs. Nora Mae Taylor Alexander recently reached her 95th birthday. 

The special event was commemorated with a birthday cake with lots of well wishes.

Mrs. Alexander and her late husband, Jason Taylor operated the Dairy Mart and a dry cleaners on Lincoln Street and downtown for many years.

If you see "Miss Nora Mae," be sure and wish her the best, and many more birthdays to come!

REMINDER:  If you know of any of our Riverview Seniors celebrating a birthday of any age, please grab some pics and send them to me.  Our seniors are the foundation of our neighborhood.  We stand on their shoulders as we pass down the heritage of Riverview and Douglass High School.

Monday, March 4, 2013

"I Think It's Time" -- Ill Health Forces Douglass Alumni President to Resign

A somber mood at the board meeting of the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni, turned to immediate sadness.

Board President Virginia "Jenny" Hankins resigned from the board, via a handwritten note that was read aloud at the meeting on Saturday, February 23rd.

In the note, Hankins says she had wanted to "follow in the footsteps of Doug, Louetta, Kathryn and others to carry the organization forward, but my failing health will not allow it."

The note immediately had board members wiping away tears.

In an interview this week, Hankins says, she really didn't want to be forced to quit, and the realization of that decision, was out of her hands.

"The alumni and the association are close to my heart," she said tearfully.  "I didn't want to have to quit, but I've been putting it off for about a year."

"I just think it's time."


Hankins also revealed for the first time that she now has liver cancer, which developed from the colon cancer she has suffered with for the past several years.

"Since the doctors told me that, all I've been able to do is just lay around," she said.  "I've got some other stuff going on.  I took a CAT scan last week to find out what's going on there."

Jenny's spirits were lifted greatly, at the news that the entire board will continue to seek her advice for
guidance, and even happier that the board prayed for her a couple of times during the meeting Saturday. "I really appreciate that," she said.

As mandated by the charter of the Sons and Daughters of Douglass non-profit corporation, Board Vice President Andra "Puddin" Watterson was elevated to the position of interim president until the Douglass alumni gathers in July to select new executive board members.  The board also elected permanent board member Calvin Sneed to serve as interim Vice President, until July as well.

"I'm hoping everybody will hang in there and help Andra out," Jenny said. "She's gonna need help, so please.. just everybody step in and help her and do their part.  I believe everything will work out, because Andra's a worker.. she puts 100 per cent into what she does.  It's a big responsibility.  I want everybody to please help her out."

"When Jenny's letter was read at the meeting, it caught everybody off guard," board member Andra Watterson says. "We had 14 board members at the meeting, and it just broke all of us down. She called me, and I could tell in her voice that something was wrong, really wrong. She called me to make sure that I attended the meeting."

"We're trying to do what we can and we need the efforts of each alumni member Calvin," says Andra.  "I'm proud to be a alumnus of Douglass High School and I know every alumnus is.  We're all graduates of Douglass in some form, and everything we do, is for the alumni, the descendants, and the people of Riverview."

Andra acknowledged the financial dire straits that the Sons and Daughters of Douglass organization is in right now.

"At any given time, any of our alumni, friends and neighbors and feel free to donate money to us, just give us a contribution as a former classmate of Douglass," she says. "The way other alumni organizations work, is any alumnus has a moral obligation to help support the alumni association through dues, which for our organization is only $25.00 a year."

"Just like the other alumni groups in the area, if all of our Douglass alumni would send us the money for their dues, it would easier for us to sustain ourselves as an organization," says Andra.

To the Douglass alumni, she implored, "Please don't forget about us."