Total Pageviews

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Letter to the Editor


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Naming the New Baseball Fields: Cast Your Vote!

If you could name the new baseball/softball fields going in behind Dunbar Street in Kingsport's Riverview Community, what would you name them?

Just about everybody in the neighborhood, whether resident or Douglass alumnus, who has expressed an opinion on the new ballfields, have said the name "Clay Hill" needs to be in the title somewhere. The move would be to honor "Clay Hill: Riverview's Unofficial Playground" that we all enjoyed in the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's, growing up. As you remember, it was the only place that African-American children could play back then. Some of us were run off from the white playgrounds, and when that word got back home, the only place that black children could go and play was Clay Hill. Yes, it was private property owned by General Shale (the "brickyard), but that made it all the more attractive and alluring to us kids.

Nobody else in Kingsport knew about our love affair with the area we called "Clay Hill" while growing up. Even though our parents forbade us from going up there, we all did anyway. The fun we all had, was both phenomenal and memorable.

Nobody is asking us, but if you had a choice, what would you name the ballfields being constructed on our former playground?


Cast Your Vote

Father & Son Football This Saturday

Click on the picture to make it larger

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New Vision Youth Prom This Coming Saturday


2014 Little Miss Vision Pageant: Applying the "3 A's"

Living by the "3 A's:" Attitude, Ability and Appearance.

For many years, those attributes are taught to the youngest of ladies in the Kingsport community by the Little Miss Vision Pageant.

The annual pageant was held this past Saturday at the Kingsport Renaissance Center. It's the 11th year for the community tradition, that culminates a year of activities, classes and training for young girls.

The pageant is open to girls in the Kingsport community.

"Our committee did a wonderful job and we were able to help these girls with their self-esteem at a critical time in their lives," says pageant director Lillian Leeper. "Their parents also helped us, and with the help of the community, we're able to make a difference in their growth and development."

At Saturday's pageant, Makiyal Blye was crowned the 2014 Little Miss Vision winner. She also took home the Miss Congeniality Award.

1st Runner Up was Alise Farrell... 2nd Runner Up was Saraya Hughes.

In addition to Blye, Jarrell and Hughes... Kaylee Hughes, JaNiah Henderson and Andrea Robinson also competed in this year's pageant. "Throughout the year, all of the young ladies learn a lot about how women are supposed to carry themselves with poise," says Leeper. "It's not always about winning the pageant.. it's the life lessons that you learn from being in the Little Miss Vision program all year long."

"Everybody's a winner."


Created with flickr slideshow.

2014 DAPS Awards: Recognizing the Distinguished African-American Pastors, Professional and Students in East Tennessee

This past Saturday night, many of East Tennessee's African-American pastors, professionals and students gathered in Johnson City, to attend the 2014 DAPS Awards Banquet.

The banquet was held at the Holiday Inn Convention Center.

The awards are presented every year to "Distinguished African-American Pastors, Professionals and Students," which is what DAPS stands for. The awards recognize individuals, churches and businesses in East Tennessee who have made a difference in the community they serve, work and excel in.

AHERN, Inc. sponsors the yearly DAPS Awards, through its monthly "Fellowship Today" magazine, distributed in African-American communities from Chattanooga to Knoxville to the Tri-Cities and Southwest Virginia.

This year's banquet was dedicated to the memory of AHERN charter member and former Board of Directors Chairman Frederick Gordon of Brevard, NC, who passed away on May 4, 2013. Reverend Gordon's contributions to the organization and his friendships with members and people in the various communities were noted, recognized and remembered by the banquet attendees.

Featured soloist was Ms. Angelia Forby-Rodriguez and family. Ms. Forby-Rodrieguez is a member of the Full Gospel Mission #2 of Greeneville, TN, where she has served as Minister of Music, the church secretary and the church youth director.

The theme of the DAPS Banquet was a call to action for the African-American community.

"Remembering and celebrating Historic Black Colleges and Universities" was the focus of the main address given by Dr. Angelia Forby-Rodriguez, a Morristown, TN native. After a stellar and rewarding career at various colleges including ETSU, Stillman College, Boston University, and other higher education institutions, Dr. Forby-Rodriguez currently serves as Vice-President of Student Affairs at Livingstone College in Salisbury, NC.

"HBCU's (historic black colleges and universities) are the road less traveled in today's society," she told the audience, "but they are wonderfully made, which makes them important in the education of Black America. If HBCU's did not exist, someone would be out there creating them right now. For years, they were the only avenue to education for African-American youth. Our cultural heritage comes from them, and our future rests with them."

Dr. Forby-Rodriguez pointed out how HBCU's have graduated distinguished historians like Oprah Winfrey and Dr. George Washington Carver. "The value of historically black colleges and universities is magnified by the worth of the students who learned from them, and launched professional careers after attending them. HBCU's contribute $15 million dollars annually to the U.S. economy. They build the AFrican-American spirit, itself, a force for the future."

The highlight of the evening was the presenting of yearly AHERN, Inc. President's Awards and the AHERNews Publisher's Awards.

Nominated for Board of Directors Director of the Year were Dr. Angela Radford Lewis of Johnson City, TN... Rev. Cecil C. Mills, Jr. of Greeneville, TN...and Ms. Angelia Forby Rodriquez, also of Greeneville, TN. The 2014 winner was Rev. Mills.

Nominated for AHERNews Salesperson of the Year were Rev. James Billings of Morristown, TN... Elder J.W. Dukes of Knoxville, TN... and Rev. Pamela L. Hoard of Church Hill, TN. The 2014 winner is Rev. Billings.

AHERN, Inc. Student of the Year candidates were Deja Chapman of Greeneville, TN, a 2014 Greeneville High School graduate, and Dontae Johnson of Knoxville, a 2014 Austin-East High School graduate. Ms. Chapman is the 2014 Student of the Year, with Mr. Johnson, the runner-up.

Corporate Division Candidates were the Community National Bank of Morristown, TN, and the Farrar Funeral Home of Jefferson City, TN. The 2014 winner is the Community National Bank.

Reporter of the Year candidates were Mrs. Jacqueline Collins-Hudson, Cocke County, TN Reporter... Ms. M. Elizabeth Johnson, Jefferson County Reporter... and Calvin Sneed, Sullivan County Reporter. The 2014 winner is Mr. Sneed.

Individual Division Candidates were Ms. Billie Anderson of Bristol, VA and Mr & Mrs. Emanuel Courtland of Strongsville, OH. The 2014 winner is Ms. Anderson.

The Church Division candidates were the Lee Street Baptist Church of Bristol, VA... the Friendship Baptist Church of Greeneville, TN... the Friendship Baptist Church of Johnson City, TN... and the Full Gospel Mission #2 of Greeneville, TN. The 2014 winner is the Lee Street Baptist Church.

The Group Subscriber of the Year Candidates were the Friendship Baptist Church of Johnson City, TN... the Phillippi Baptist Church of Elizabethton, TN... and the Toney's Chapel Baptist Church of Morristown, TN. The 2014 winner is the Friendship Baptist Church.

The Advertiser of the Year candidates were the Allstate Insurance Company operated by agents Lonnie & Nicholas Jones of Knoxville, TN... Birchette Mortuary of Johnson City, TN... Dockery Funeral Home of Morristown, TN... and Jarnigan & Son Mortuary of Knoxville, TN. The 2014 winner is the Birchette Mortuary.

As AHERN, Inc. founder-president and publisher of the company's "Fellowship Magazine," Rev. H. Roger Mills, Jr. was also presented with a special gift from the organization's Board of Directors, for his tireless efforts to keep the organization and the magazine in the forefront of community ministry in East Tennessee and 15 states.

As stated in his message to those attending the banquet, Rev. Mills said "how well we support and embrace our African-American leaders and youth will determine the fure of our communities and our nation. The enlightenment of our African-American students, professionals and clergy will help ensure better lives and higher morals, ethics and values. Those who serve in various capacities by offering thousands of hours of their time and talents, deserve the praise, thanks and cooperation of our people."

"We embrace the proposition that 'Education paves the path to Leadership.'"


Created with flickr slideshow.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Riverview's Impact: "Officials recommend building four ball fields"



KINGSPORT — City officials are recommending Kingsport’s new ball field complex have four fields, rather than five, but have the contractor grade enough of the property to add a fifth field at a future date.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen received this recommendation during a work session last week where city officials provided an update on the overall ball field project.

Kingsport plans to build a new softball/baseball complex on a portion of the old General Shale property along Industry Drive to replace Eastman Chemical Co.’s ball fields on Wilcox Drive. When Eastman announced its $1.6 billion “Project Inspire” reinvestment plan last year, the plan called for a new corporate office building to be built on the site of the company’s ball fields.

Eastman demolished the old field house and construction has started on its $74 million office building. The building is scheduled to be completed next year.

According to the conceptual plan, the sports complex will have four ball fields, in a wagon-wheel design with a centrally located two-story building for scoring, concessions and restrooms. Two of the fields will be 325 feet, one 350-foot championship field with terrace seating and a fourth field at 300 feet.

Grading work began in April (at an estimated cost of $1.2 million) and last week, Chris McCartt, assistant to the city manager, gave the city officials an update on the project and the path moving forward. Kingsport aims to have the complex finished by spring 2015.

Additional work has taken place since grading began, including the relocation of some AEP transmission lines, water and sewer line installations to accommodate future development and building up a retention/detention pond found on the lowest spot on the property (about three-quarters of an acre in size).

The BMA allocated an additional $72,000 toward the project to cover the cost of the pond work and McCartt said the water, sewer and transmission line work was identified in the design process and has already been earmarked in the original budget.

Earlier this month, Kingsport went out to bid on the construction of the actual fields and two-story building with three alternates — a fifth field, a maintenance area and brick accent on the building.

Denark Construction (the company that built the Kingsport Aquatic Center) submitted the low bid of $3.63 million.

McCartt said his recommendation would be for the BMA to accept the base bid, plus two of the alternates — the maintenance area and brick accents. In addition, McCartt recommends Thomas Construction grade enough of the property to accommodate a fifth field, but not build it yet.

A fifth field would add $600,000 to the cost of the project.

The additional grading work would cost approximately $250,000, but would likely cost 25 percent more if Kingsport were to come back in five years to do the work, McCartt said.

Kingsport bonded $2.9 million last year for the project, the KEDB has committed $1.3 million and to date the city has spent $375,000 on design work.

If the BMA accepts McCartt’s recommendation, the city would have to come up with an additional $2.8 million for the project.

As it stands, the project is estimated to cost about $6.85 million, not including the $380,000 for the land.

The BMA is expected to consider the recommendation at its July 1 regular meeting.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Father's Day 2014: Central Women Returning the Favor

Back on Mother's Day, we wrote about how fathers in the Riverview Community stepped up at the Central Baptist Church, and treated the mothers of the neighborhood to music and dinner on their special day.

On Father's Day, the mothers in the church returned the gesture, providing the men folk a day to be remembered. 

Fathers were treated to a special program for the 11 o'clock service, followed by dinner in the church Fellowship Hall.

Church member Donna Morrisette, who is studying for the seminary, gave the main address at the morning worship service.   Her studies for the ministry are being done at Graham Bible College is Bristol.   Her talk on Father's Day focused on Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, and how men should model themselves after him. (For reference, see Ephesians 6, 10-19).

"The message is, our men need to stand in the 'Joseph' position," says Morrisette.  "In my opinion, Joseph was one of the most important fathers, because he chose to be a father to whom, he knew, was not his child.  He had the option of staying or leaving, and he chose to stay and stand in God's Will.  The Lord said 'this is My Will.. I have chosen you to raise the Son of God," and instead of leaving or shrinking away, Joseph chose to stay and follow that will."

"I feel that all of our fathers are earthly fathers of the children that God sends to be raised," she says.

Many of the fathers in the neighborhood were more than happy to join in a celebration of "their" day.  The afternoon dinner was made by, and delivered to them, by the women of the church, who, themselves were the recipients of Mother's Day gifts a month ago.

"We all need to be led by God," Morrisette told the group.  "We should understand that when God leads us somewhere, whether it's good or bad, we need to all stand in the Will of God, and let the Holy Spirit handle our troubles and our questions.  Whatever storm is brewing, or whatever good we are getting, we all, men and women, need to stand fast, and let God have His Way."


Created with flickr slideshow.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

6th Annual DAPS Awards Announcement

Saturday, June 21, 2014
5:00 PM

Holiday Inn Convention Center
101 Springbrook Drive
Johnson City, TN

Speaker: Dr. Jacqueline Wilson Gray
Vice-President of Student Affairs
Livingstone College, Salisbury, NC

Feature Solist: Ms. Angelia Forby-Rodriguez
Member, Full Gospel Mission #2
Greeneville, TN

This year awards ceremony in memory of Rev. Frederick L. Gordon

The memorial service will conduct by Rev. C. H. Charlton, Moderator of Bethel Disrtict and Rev. C. C. Mills, Jr., who served as Vice-President of Bethel District when Rev. Gordon was Moderator.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Douglass Alumni Board Meeting

The Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Board will meet this Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 1:00 p.m., in the Eastman Board Room, 2nd Floor of the V. O. Dobbins, Sr. Complex Tower, located at 301 Louis Street in Kingsport.

Anyone with business in front of the board, please attend and be heard.

Douglas S. Releford

Board President

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Names of Douglass Alumni Scholarship Winners Needed

We are compiling the names of all the graduating high school seniors, who have ever been awarded scholarships from the Douglass Alumni Association/Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association through the years.

Their names will be enshrined on a newly found plaque, discovered at Dobyns-Bennett High School, in which the scholarships were named in honor of our beloved Douglass principal, V.O. Dobbins, Sr.

From this point forward, the future scholarship will now be known as the V.O. Dobbins, Sr. Sons and Daughters of Douglass Scholarship Memorial Award.

We need for all the recipients, or parents and relatives of recipients of any of the Douglass Alumni Scholarhips, to please furnish the name(s) of said recipient(s), and the year they were award the scholarships, so their names can go on this plaque to be displayed in the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex.

Please send their names and the years they received their scholarship to:

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Congratulations, Graduating DB Seniors!

Dobyns-Bennett High School has just graduated more African-American seniors than at any other time in its history!

38 black seniors walked down the aisle to pick up their diplomas, including TWO sets of twins.

On May 17, 2014, a "Reception of Honor" was held for all of the graduating seniors in the Riverview Community Room of the V.O. Dobbins, Sr. Complex. The event, sponsored by the New Vision Youth, South Central Kingsport Community Development, the Riverview Residents Association, the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association, and the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

The gathering featured speakers Mrs. Jill Ellis, retired educator from Douglass Elementary-High, and Dobyns-Bennett High School; Devaun Swafford, former DB student-athlete and current football player with the University of Tennessee; Johnnie Mae Swagerty from South Central Kingsport Community Development; Jaquetta Hale from New Vision Youth; Doug Releford, president of the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association, and Dr. Chris Hampton, principal of Dobyns-Bennett High School.

The graduating seniors are:

Emmanuel Amoako
Ayran Anderson
Antwan Baines
Summer Baines
Marquetta Bishop
Aashieauna Blye
Alysia Bright
Alyssa Bright
Erica Brower
Cason Byrd
Justin Cradic
Krystal Derr
Paul Gadson
Lauren Hainegardner
Haleigh Hankins
Sabrina Huckaby
Jessica Jackson
Summer Jeffries
Daniel Johnson
Denise Johnson
Tamya Jones
Kiara Kincaid
Trey Kincaid
Chelsey Lee
Kaitlin Long
Kelsey Long
Ty'Leke Love
Jasmine Lyons
Avondre McCrary
Quindalyn Perry
Isaiah Reeves
Nicholas Sensabaugh
Michelle Stacy
D'metrius Ta'bon
Phillip Trammell, III
Kia Watterson
Christopher Watts
Michael White

Congratulations to all the DB graduates as they leave high school, to make their marks on society!

Created with flickr slideshow.