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Sunday, January 24, 2016

2016 Snowmageddon: So What's It Look Like At Home:


Downtown Kingsport

It was a week of nothing but snow, snow, snow in Riverview.

Our folks woke up Wednesday morning to about about one to three inches, just enough to tie up the roads.  It quit about noon.

Left, Rayven and Jayven Petty, 17-year old twins, were walking the streets in Borden Village Thursday morning looking for driveways and walkways to shovel, in the hopes of making a little money.

But before Wednesday ended, the frozen precipitation had come back, dumping another few inches of snow.  That did worry some of us.

And then, Friday came.  Before any of Wednesday's snow even melted, Riverview got hit with another 10 to 12 inches!

People were trying their best to get their cars uncovered and driveable, while Kingsport Public Works worked to get the major roads clear.  In our neighborhood, the only road-clearing is what we did with our own cars, just trying to get out.


If you remember growing up in Riverview, as you looked around with all the snow on the ground during the weekdays, there was always a quiet stillness in the air, even though nearby Eastman kept a constant hum going.  Every once in a while, somebody would drive by, waving as they went by.

Kids would get out and build snowmen and snow sculptures, while their moms, grandmama's, aunts and cousins kept the homes warm and cozy for when the kids came back in, wet and dripping... and always forgetting to close the back door.  No matter.. 15 minutes later, you were right back outside, where our neighbors watched over us to make sure we didn't hurt each other or ourselves.

One thing was certain.  Brice Hamilton on Dunbar Street always had the very first snow-shoveled driveway in the neighborhood, both in the 'View and 'cross town.  You could set your clock by him.  At the last flake of snow, Mr. Hamilton had a cleared driveway.  I think that was the 'mailman's creed' in him:  "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."  Fill in the blank on the next snow-cleared driveway, but Mr. Hamilton always had the first one..

When the mothers of the community had to venture out, Rev. Edge always had anything you needed quickly.  His prices were reasonable.. in fact, he gave out food to folks that just didn't have the cash right then.  He always fussed about it, too.  Edge's Place was always busy on a snowy day and it was always in walking distance. If you had to do some heavy-duty grocery shopping, Oakwood Market and the Little Store seemed like miles away, but if you needed them, you made it out of the 'View.
Snow didn't stop the menfolk.. church activities still continued (in the 'View, you could walk to church), meetings continued, and if you had to be at Eastman, you were at Eastman or where ever.

As dusk settled in on our quiet community, after checking on their shut-in neighbors, everybody would settle in for a good dinner, maybe a little TV... kids knew they were going to school the next day (the roads were never "too slick for Swick")... Douglass was just around the corner, and Mr. Dobbins expected you to be in class even in the snow ('cause if you weren't, he would come and get you).

As a kid growing up, we would always hope that it would snow on Friday and Saturday since we would be going to school the next day... at least on Saturday and Sunday, you got to get out and play in the wet stuff.  As for the adults on the weekends, count on the Elks to always be open!

We thought you'd like to remember with us when those wonderful, playful, childhood days helped make living in the 'View fun!


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

MLK Day parade sends message of non-violence



KINGSPORT — Cold and windy weather did not deter the more than 100 men, women and children who came out to participate in the annual parade celebrating the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The folks were simply bundled up in heavy coats, headgear and scarves. They stood close together, some drank coffee and as the parade commenced down Center Street, everyone seemed happy to be there.

“Today is cold, but it’s excellent,” said Pastor Ronnie Collins, the general overseer of Monday’s parade. “Today’s turnout is very good. I was hoping to get 50, and we’ll get at least that. As long as people come out, we’ll celebrate.”

Collins got his wish on Monday. Not only did 50 people come out to participate in the 16th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday parade in downtown Kingsport, the number was closer to 100.
People of all ages, plenty of young children and teenagers, older adults and seniors, Caucasians, African-Americans and Hispanics were present. Mayor John Clark and City Manager Jeff Fleming also walked and offered some comments to those in attendance when the parade concluded at city hall.



Collins noted the diverse group of people who braved the cold to honor King on Monday.

“It’s almost even, and last year we might have had more non-African Americans,” he said. “We’re happy with the people coming out, we’re appreciative and grateful for those who show up and celebrate Dr. King’s holiday.”

Members of the Tri-Cities Black Lives Matter movement marched in solidarity during Monday’s parade.

“We talked about (their participation) and our attitude has been, when people call, I have to know their attitude,” Collins explained. “Do you believe in non-violence, no matter what you do? We want goodwill, non-violent people participating in the parade because Dr. King pushed for non-violence. We can get more done nonviolently than we can with violence.”

The theme of this year’s parade was “Our world, his dream, freedom, make it happen, non-violence 365.”

In recent years, racial tensions in some cities have reached a breaking point with the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the death of Eric Garner in New York City. Last year, nine people were shot and killed at a Charleston, S.C., church, and the gunman said he committed the shooting in the hopes of igniting a race war.

“We see in Charleston and other areas that hate is still here, discrimination is still here, but our attitude is we still have to love everybody,” Collins said. “The love of Christ is still the answer to the racism, so until we get our hearts changed, then we’ll do things and actions that won’t follow non-violence.”

The Tennessee/Virginia Fellowship Against Racism and the East Tennessee Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship sponsors and organizes the yearly parade on the national holiday honoring Dr. King. Other organizations participating included Joshua Generation International, the United Religions Initiative, New Vision Youth and the South Central Kingsport Community Development Inc.

King was born in 1929 and would have turned 87 this month. The federal holiday is the third Monday in January and has been celebrated since 1986. King’s legacy was marked on Monday with special events held across the nation, from parades and church tributes to youth-led service projects.

After the parade, the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon was held in the Riverview Community Room at the V.O. Dobbins, Sr. Complex:

Then, at one of the most solemn of all the events in the Tri-Cities commemorating Dr. King, candles were lit during a Candlelight Vigil in downtown Kingsport:


The celebrated day honoring Dr. King began on Monday morning, at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Breakfast, held in Morristown,TN.  The Guest Speaker was Dr. C. J. Mitchell, Force Master Chief of the Navy Reserve at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.




Another popular event was held in Johnson City, TN.. it was the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dinner.  Guest Speaker was Rev. Alan Evans.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Special Called Meeting of the Sons & Daughters of Douglass Alumni Board

The newly elected President (Wallace Ross, Jr.) asked me to send out this notice about a called meeting this Saturday, January 23, 2016

The meeting will be around 12:30 pm. We will have the meeting immediately following the Great Golden Gathering which will be held in the Douglass Room. 

The purpose of this called meeting is to see who will be attending the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce Dinner and Banquet.

Oh yes, we do have a table for the banquet. So, please pass the word about the called meeting.  

Douglas S. Releford

Black Lives Matter group joins in Kingsport parade



KINGSPORT — A movement that has gained prominence in the last year and a half found its way to the Kingsport parade celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, and the message was clear: Black lives matter.

The Tri-Cities Black Lives Matter movement marched in solidarity with those individuals participating in the MLK parade. The parade went down Center Street in downtown and ended at City Hall.

For those in BLM, the mes sage was about peace.

“The Black Lives Matter movement is about peace,” said Jacqui Sadlo, one of the organizers of the march. “Peace includes not having to worry about being unjustifi ably killed by a racist cop Peace includes not having to worry about institutionalized racism. Peace is not having to worry about children being in the school-to-prison pipeline or adults being the target of a mass incarceration movement to fund private prisons. Peace includes being able to live safely with equal rights in a country that supports diversity.”

The group decided to participate in the Kingsport parade after discussing plans to start a Kingsport chapter of the NAACP during a recent meeting in Washington County. During that meeting, the MLK parade was brought up and BLM marching in the parade was presented to the participants.

After agreeing, organizers with BLM got in touch with Pastor Ronnie Collins, who organized the parade. Collins was reportedly pleased with the peacefulness of a previous BLM march in Johnson City and agreed to let the group participate.

The group’s message was about King and about police violence toward black individuals.

Sadlo said while race relations have improved since King’s time, in some localities in the United States, there are still some racist police. The group said they would like to see the good police weed out the bad ones, even if it is difficult.

She said racism undermines community safety and community development.

And she thinks King would approve of the message.

“Racist police brutality today is just a modernized legalized version of the lynchings of yesterday,” Sadlo said. “Martin Luther King and the NAACP stood up to the inequalities and horrors of racism, and that is what the Black Lives Matter movement is doing today.”

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Kingsport parade, luncheon and vigil to honor Dr. King


   Community contributor

   KINGSPORT — “There is still work to be done.”

As participants get ready to organize the Kingsport parade that kicks off the local celebration of the national holiday that honors the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., parade organizer Ronnie Collins reflects on where the commemoration has come in recent years.

   “At first, the parade was held on Main Street,” he said. “It was kind of out of the way, so that Kingsport could conduct its daily business without cars having to go around people marching in the street. We considered it a huge accomplishment to get the parade moved over to Center Street a few years later. That raised awareness, put it on the front burner in Kingsport and gave it much more importance .
   “It has grown every year since then.”

The 16th annual parade kicks off at noon tomorrow. Participants are asked to organize in the Rikki Rhoton Allstate Insurance Company parking lot on East Sevier Avenue at East Center Street. People are encouraged to march in the parade and show support for King’s memory. The route follows Center Street to Sullivan Street, crosses Broad Street, and culminates with prayer and speeches at City Hall.
   The theme of this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade is “Our World, His Dream: Freedom! Make It Happen! Nonviolence 365.”

Collins said that, although King’s message of nonviolence still resonates with new generations, today’s society is still trying to make progress.

   “This parade, the annual gathering of people of all colors, faiths, backgrounds and cultures, must continue moving forward in the spirit of fellowship and harmony, as Dr. King would have wanted. The holiday is not just another day off from work or school,” he says. “We still have a long way to go in honoring his legacy, but we are moving in the right direction.”    The parade is sponsored by Food City, My Brother’s Keeper, Joshua Generation II, Office Depot, Putting Babies First, New Vision Youth, H.O.P.E., and the Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency.

After the parade festivities have concluded, the celebration moves over to the Riverview Community Room on Wheatley Street at 1 p.m. where all are invited to the annual MLK Day Luncheon, sponsored by New Vision Youth.
   On the menu are homemade spaghetti, salad, bread, desserts provided by the Kingsport Psi Omega Omega chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and drinks provided by the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association. The luncheon, which also features singing and door prizes, is free to the public.

The day’s events conclude with a memorial candlelight vigil at 6 p.m., also sponsored by New Vision Youth. Everyone is encouraged to bring a candle to the gathering, to be held at the gazebo in Glen Bruce Park, between the Kingsport Public Library and Church Circle downtown. It, too, is free to the public.
   Other events around the area on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day include the Community Breakfast and Celebration at 7:30 that morning, at the First Presbyrterian Church, 600 W. Main St. in Morristown, and the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Dinner at 6 p.m. at the Carver Recreation Center in Johnson City.

See last year's Kingsport MLK Day Celebration in music and pictures below:

Friday, January 15, 2016

MLK Day: Kingsport churches gathering for Sunday joint service



KINGSPORT — People of all faiths are invited to attend a special prayer service at First Baptist Church on Sunday to show the diversity of our community and to stress the importance of coming together, especially on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The hour-long service will begin at 5 p.m. in the sanctuary and will include communion, prayers, songs and some scripture reading, said Pastor Marvin Cameron.

“All we’re going to do is have a  simple prayer service, sing some songs and just be together,” Cameron said. “Then we’ll have some fellowship time in our fellowship hall after that.”

Last June, after the tragic church shooting in Charleston, S.C., the pastor of Central Baptist Church in Kingsport — Perry Stuckey — brought a group of churches together to pray for the victims and to show the unity of the community.

Sunday’s service will be a continuation of last year’s joint gathering. All of the churches around Church Circle have been invited to the event, along with St. Dominic Catholic Church and the African-American churches of Central Baptist, Shiloh Baptist, New Beginnings Christian Fellowship, Bethel AME Zion and Fort Robinson, Stuckey said.

“We want to demonstrate that we have a beautiful city, that we can showcase the diversity of this city and what it’s about,” Stuckey said. “I think it would be important to have our churches come together and be a catalyst example to what individual who care deeply about one another and what that means and have a joint prayer service.

The intent behind the service is to bring the churches, the races and everyone together and showcase the diversity of what brothers and sisters in Christ do with one another, Stuckey added.

Sunday’s service will not include a sermon from any particular pastor, and the singing will be done with a joint choir of members from the various churches. Mayor John Clark and City Manager Jeff Fleming are scheduled to deliver a short greeting to the community.

Cameron said the churches are aiming to have the service done in about an hour and will include a couple of brief videos of Dr. King, highlighting some of his greatest speeches.

“I think it heightens the fact that we need each other. Being together and praying together is certainly beneficial for all of us and it strengthens our community,” Cameron said.

Stuckey, who believes the turnout for Sunday’s service will be big, said he would like to see the churches do similar events at least twice a year in the future.

“My suggestion is we continue this,” Stuckey said. “We’ve got to have love for one another and we have to demonstrate this and be united together.”

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Former astronaut to speak at Eastman as part of Black History Month Feb. 4


KINGSPORT — Eastman Chemical Co. is inviting the public to hear Dr. Mae Jemison — a former NASA astronaut and National Women’s Hall of Fame Inductee — at the Toy F. Reid Employee Center on Thursday, Feb. , at 7 p.m.
Seating is limited and will be on a first-come basis. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Jemison will share her experiences as a medical doctor, astronaut, entrepreneur, foundation founder, and visionary leader.

Eastman is hosting the event as part of a monthlong celebration of Black History Month, honoring the traditions and contributions of African-Americans to science, technology, engineering , art and math.

“We’re thrilled to host Dr. Jemison and bring her inspiring story of innovation, leadership and service into our community,” Perry Stuckey, Eastman’s chief human resources officer, said in a prepared release. “Eastman team members share Dr. Jemison’s unrelenting focus to make valuable, innovative contributions to our society. Her story aligns perfectly with Eastman’s commitment to unleash the full potential of our powerfully diverse workforce by fostering inclusion that inspires innovation, encourages respect and promotes unlimited success.”

From an early age, Jemison became interested in science. Before joining NASA as an astronaut, Jemison served as an Area Peace Corps medical officer in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

While at NASA, she became the first woman of color in space. Her entrepreneurial efforts have focused on health care, energy and sustainable development.

She established the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence in honor of her mother, an educator who firmly believed that every person can and should achieve personal excellence and make a unique contribution to society. The foundation’s efforts center on education with an emphasis on science. Its premier program, The Earth We Share International Science Camp, brings together children ages 12-16 from around the world to solve current global dilemmas.

Jemison also leads 100 Year Starship (100YSS), an initiative seed funded by the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) to assure that the capability for human interstellar space travel to another star is possible within the next 100 years.

“At Eastman, we have an increasingly diverse, global team of talented and dedicated people working together to innovate for the future and create a brighter tomorrow,” said Mark Cox, Eastman’s senior vice president, chief manufacturing and engineering officer. “Dr. Jemison serves not only as an inspiration, but also as a testament to the amazing things you can accomplish when you believe in possibilities and strive to achieve them.”

Eastman is partnering with Milligan College, Northeast State, and East Tennessee State University on the speaking engagement.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

D-B alumni gearing up for third annual basketball game

KINGSPORT — Next month, a little bit of history will come back to Kingsport when the third annual Dobyns-Bennett alumni basketball game tips off in the Buck Van Huss Dome.
Featuring up to 20 former players, such as Michael Mills and Coty and Gerald Sensabaugh, the alumni game will take place on Feb. 6. The doors will open at 5 p.m., and the game starts at 6 p.m. Tickets will be available for $5 with children 4 and under getting in free.

The event is organized by Frederick Smith, a 1993 graduate of D-B, and his wife through their organization called Best Foot Forward.

“D-B and the athletic program is dear to a lot of people’s hearts,” Smith said. “We get a lot of people coming out.”

Not only is the game played out of love, but the money raised will go to one lucky D-B student in the form of a scholarship. Smith said his group will contact counselors at the school and get them to refer the names of students. Once the names are collected, one will be drawn out of a hat and receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Last year, the money raised went to Xena Taylor, who won an essay contest. The first year, the proceeds from the game went to the D-B Slam Dunk Club.

Smith said with this year being the third alumni game, organizing it has gotten easier. He said the first year was very tedious and very stressful because he had to contact players and coaches, find referees, security, cheerleaders and people to sell tickets. But now that the game is well established, organizing the event has become easier.

“I get people contacting me saying they want to play,” he said. “It’s still stressful but easier. Once it all comes together, it’s worth it.”

Registration is still open for people who would like to play in the game. Anyone wanting to play can visit Best Foot Forward’s website at www.bestfoot   or visit the Facebook page for either Smith or Best Foot Forward. He said they are asking for jersey sizes and numbers.

Putting on an event like this would not be possible without sponsors, Smith said. Some of this year’s sponsors include Mac’s Medicine Mart, Soul Brand Apparel and Citizen’s Bank. Smith said it’s not too late for area businesses interested in sponsoring the event.

The former players will be split up into two teams, featuring the schools iconic colors, maroon and gray. Smith said this year he may have the two coaches pick their teams. He said the first year names were picked out of a hat. Last year, two captains picked their squads.

Not only is the game a chance for old teammates to reunite, but it also gives players from different eras a chance to play together. And it gives players a chance to relive some of their childhood.

“You get to play in the dome again, where we shed blood, sweat and tears,” he said. “That makes it all worth it.”

Sunday, January 10, 2016

On His Day: Events Commemorating The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 18, 2016

Please attend the only area parade for Dr. King that is held on his day, this in Kingsport:

Click on the poster to make it larger

Also in Kingsport, the New Vision Youth MLK Day Luncheon, 1 PM at the Riverview Community Room, Wheatley Street, Kingsport.  Menu:  homemade spaghetti, bread, salad and drinks (drinks provided by the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Association, Inc.)

6 PM, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Candlelight Vigil, sponsored by New Vision Youth.  The Gazebo, Glen Bruce Park, Kingsport between the Public Library and the Church Circle.  Please bring a candle to honor Dr. King's memory.


In Johnson City at the Carver Rec Center, these events are happening on MLK Day, Monday, January 18, 2016:

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Story Time:  9 AM to 1 PM, open to all ages.  Youth will enjoy stories, arts and crafts, and music.  Lunch will be provided.  This program is provided in partnership with East Tennessee State University's Office of Multi-Cultural Affairs.

Blood Drive, 1 PM to 5 PM, ages 18 and older.  Giving blood is a great act of service and one way that citizens can honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Dinner, 6 PM, open to all ages.  Join the Carver Staff in celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


In Abingdon, VA, the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade will be held on Saturday, January 16, 2016.  The march begins at the Charles Wesley United Methodist Church and continues on to the Abingdon United Methodist Church, where there will be a program and reception.  The march begins at 1:30 and the program begins at 2 PM.  This year's theme is "Celebration Amidst Frustration -- Where Are Race Relations Today?"  Let us join together and be part of the solution!  For more information, please call 276-476-3191.


In Morristown, TN, the 2016 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Breakfast and Celebration will be held on Monday, January 18, 2016 at the Family Activities Center at the First Presbyterian Church, 600 West Main Street, Morristown, TN 37814, 423-586-4281.  The doors open at 7 AM, the breakfast begins at 7:30 AM.  The program that includes community awards, breakfast and the MLK essay contest winner begins at 7:30 AM.  The program features guest speaker Navy Reserve Force Master Chief  C. J. Mitchell, PhD.


If you know of other services, programs and commemorations for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, please let me know!

Calvin Sneed