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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Identifying Tri-Cities smoke-free restaurants

-----Original Message-----

Would you distribute the following?  Your e-mail certainly reaches a large group of community minded citizens!

Nicotine Free Mountain Empire is a group of committed volunteers who are concerned about the effects of tobacco on the citizens of our area.  They are in the process of putting together a list of smoke free restaurants in Kingsport, and later for the Tri Cities. 

If you own a restaurant or are a patron of a smoke free restaurant in Kingsport or Tri-Cities, will you please let us know ASAP?  Simply e-mail me at  Include the full name of the restaurant, city, and (if possible) include the phone number for confirmation purposes.  We greatly appreciate your assistance in compiling the list.

Thank you for your help.

Brenda Hrivnak

Kingsport Tomorrow

Tobacco Prevention/Intervention Coordinator


Friday, December 30, 2005

I would appreciate your support

See Vince Staten’s article (below) from today’s Times-News.


As you may know, Larry Fleming is my brother. If you were a participant in this blog in 2003, you may recall my periodic updates and request for prayer.  He was diagnosed at Easter and succumbed to esophageal cancer just before Christmas.  Earlier the same year, Rick Slaughter succumbed to the same rare disease.


My family and I would very much appreciate your support to make this a successful event in Larry & Rick’s memory.


If you cannot attend the event but would like to make a contribution (any amount is appreciated), please write to specifying the desired donation amount and I will make arrangements to accept a secure online credit card transaction (or other method of payment as desired). 


Thanks so much for allowing me to be a part of this caring community and region,





Times-News Columnist


Friday, December 30, 2005




Rick Slaughter and Larry Fleming were fast friends at D-B, playing baseball together for three years, Slaughter at second base, Fleming in the outfield.

Their senior year the team went undefeated in conference play, only to lose in the district finals to eventual state champion Tennessee High, a team they had beaten twice in the regular season.

They went their separate ways for college, Rick to Emory & Henry, where he became a Small College All American in baseball, and Larry to UT, where he earned a degree in civil engineering.

After college, Rick returned to Kingsport, ultimately rising to CEO of Town and Country Real Estate. Larry worked in Johnson City and Nashville, returning to Knoxville in 1985, where he became a noted civic leader and president of Knoxville's utility company, KUB.

The two baseball friends, both of whom became successful businessmen and who never lost touch, died within weeks of each other in 2003. In fact, Larry was a pallbearer at Rick's funeral.

Rick and Larry will be honored at a banquet Jan. 14, the initial event of the Dobyns-Bennett Baseball Foundation.

Carl Cox, one of the organizers of the banquet, says the foundation has been set up "to support D-B baseball." That will include helping fund the John Whited Scholarship and providing financial assistance to the high school baseball team as needed.

Carl says it's only appropriate that the initial foundation fund-raiser honor Slaughter because he was the one who first suggested the Whited scholarship several years ago. Whited was D-B baseball coach from 1963 until leaving to take over as head coach of UT baseball in 1982.

It was after Larry's funeral that Carl, Tommy Rice, Jim Herbert and Brian Ritz began to talk about what they could do to honor their friends. Tommy says they talked about how "both were very successful and learned success on the baseball field."

That's when they came up with the idea of a foundation. Carl says the organization "will fall under the Kingsport Community Foundation, which is part of the East Tennessee Foundation."

The group has tried to invite all former D-B baseball players, but Tommy cautions, "Those records are hard to find."

The dinner is at MeadowView. The cost is $100 a plate, with proceeds going to the foundation. At the event Carl will talk about Rick, and Coach Whited will talk about Larry. John Williams will emcee. Tommy says the group hopes to attract 200 people.

Jan. 6 is the deadline to buy tickets. For tickets or information call Tommy at 282-3148 or Carl at 239-7888.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Downtown Kingsport Gingerbread Houses

As a unique and new local holiday tradition, the Downtown Kingsport Gingerbread House Show continues through this week.  There were 24 really wonderful submissions, ranging from Girl Scout Brownie troops to professional chefs. 


The houses are on display in the main lobby of AmSouth Bank on Church Circle.


Even though it’s in its first year, one observer compared it to the National Gingerbread Competition held at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville which annually draws over 200 entries.



Friday, December 23, 2005

When someone loses their home to fire, who helps?

Our Red Cross Chapter currently has 25 open disaster cases - families we are assisting as result of home fires over the past two weeks. Two Apartment fires - an 8 family one in Kingsport and 4 families in Gray make up 12 of the 25. The others are in nearly every county we serve in Northeast TN.  In some of the counties our entire disaster budget for the year is spent in only 6 months of our fiscal year -

Jane B. Harris
Kingsport Area Hawkins County Chapter
American Red Cross
501 S. Wilcox Drive
Kingsport, TN 37660
Phone 423-378-8700 ext 337
FAX 423-378-8711

Our Chapter provides Red Cross services in Eastern Sullivan County, Hawkins County, Claiborne County, Hancock County, Unicoi County, Carter County, Washington County, and Johnson County.



Kingsport, TN   December 22, 2005   At this time the American Red Cross Chapter with offices in Kingsport, Johnson City, and Elizabethton is responding to the needs of many local families who have lost their homes to fires. “ With the fire last night in Gray, one in Claiborne County and one in Sullivan County, in one evening we added 6 additional families to the 19 currently being assisted over eight counties in Northeast TN.  states Jane Harris, Executive Director of the Kingsport Area Chapter.


In its’ round-the-clock relief efforts, the Red Cross provides assists with immediate needs after a disaster. The assistance may be food, clothing, housing, help with medicines, or counseling depending on the families individual needs.  All 25 families who have lost their homes over the past couple weeks have been due to a home fire. Apartment fires – one in Kingsport and one in Gray account for 12 of the 25 families. The other families lived in Sullivan County, Unicoi County, Claiborne County, Carter County, Hancock County, Johnson County, and Washington County.


Each family has been assisted by trained Red Cross disaster caseworkers depending on their specific needs. This financial assistance is free of cost to the clients because United Ways, Community Chests, businesses, churches, and many individuals contribute funds to support the work of the Red Cross in their community. Since help is needed immediately, often in the middle of the night, the Red Cross establishes a budget based on a 5 year average for disaster assistance in each of the counties served.


“The past few weeks have been very costly for us, 25 families at one time is more than usual,” states Harris. “The communities in our area are normally very giving but for us to be able to respond on a continuing basis to each family we need people to continue to give to our local offices. We must respond to each family with the same level of assistance. The need for donations is particularly critical in Carter and Unicoi Counties where we have already spent our entire year’s disaster budget in 6 months.”


To make a donation to help with the emergency assistance for families in time of disaster anyone can make a tax-deductible donation to the Red Cross. Donations may be sent to any office of the Red Cross. As mentioned before the assistance is free to those effected by the disasters only because of donations of time and money from the public. The Red Cross does not receive federal government funding for disaster assistance.  Donations may be sent to 501 S. Wilcox Drive, Kingsport, TN 37660; to 69 Wilson Avenue, Johnson City, TN 37604 or to 116 Holston Avenue, Elizabethton, TN 37643.



Thursday, December 22, 2005

Preston Forest luminaries, Kingsport, TN

One Kingsport neighborhood has a special tradition of displaying luminary bags on Christmas Eve.  The candlelit ambiance and continuity of a unified neighborhood effort makes it definitely worth a drive-by after 6 pm.  Words cannot capture the still beauty of the scene.  If the weather is good, the luminaries will flicker until the wee hours of Christmas morning.


Directions to Preston Forest, Kingsport, TN:


From East Stone Commons

·          Proceed 0.75 miles east on Stone Drive (11W) to traffic signal at Beechnut Drive, TURN LEFT


From Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse

·          Proceed 0.5 miles west on Stone Drive (11W) to traffic signal at Beechnut Drive, TURN RIGHT


From Indian Path Medical Center

·          Proceed 0.2 miles south on John B Dennis Highway (93), exit onto Stone Drive (11W), turn left at base of exit ramp, then 0.3 miles to Beechnut Drive, TURN LEFT


From Fort Henry Mall / Wal-Mart

·          Proceed from Fort Henry Drive to northbound John B Dennis (93), exit onto Stone Drive (11W), turn right at base of exit ramp, then 0.2 miles to Beechnut Drive, TURN LEFT




Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Kingsport's Miles Burdine in USA Today 12-15-05

It seems surreal to keep seeing Miles’ name in the national media.  This time it was the Dec 15 edition of USA Today. 


Colonel Miles Burdine, President/CEO of the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce, is currently deployed in Iraq as commander of the 6th Civil Affairs Group’s Government Support Team. 


Please remember all of our service men and women who are literally risking their lives to provide an opportunity for Iraqis to vote in a democratic election.  We should remember just how precious this right truly is and never take it for granted.


Say a quick prayer for him.  God, please protect Miles and all of the others who are risking their lives to provide freedom to the Iraqi people.  Give them the wisdom, courage and strength to continue fighting the good fight.  Especially at Christmas time, let them truly feel the love and support of all the many people who are praying for them everyday.  In your time, give them safe passage home.  Amen.


Until then, Godspeed my friend.

Jeff - Voter turnout strong in heavily Sunni Arab areas
Miles Burdine of local tribal leaders in Anbar, a heavily Sunni province.
"They told the locals, 'If you don't vote this time, you're not supporting your ...


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Journey's End TONIGHT 6:30 pm Downtown Bristol

> REMINDER: Journey's End is this Tuesday, December 20 at 6:30 at the

> Downtown Center.




> On Tuesday, December 20 (inclement weather date is Thursday, December

> 22) at 6:30 PM, Journey’s End will again take place in downtown

> Bristol. Journey’s End is our local interpretation of the latino

> tradition of Las Posadas (The Inns). Mary and Joseph’s journey to

> Bethlehem is recreated as they go from inn to inn seeking lodging .

> The final inn welcomes them in and celebrates their arrival.


> Our inns are the restaurants on State Street and our innkeepers are

> various choirs and choral groups. We will begin at the Downtown Center

> (hot chocolate will be provided) and process by candlelight with Mary,

> Joseph and their donkey down State Street.

> Singing the traditional song and various carols accompanied by

> instrumentalists, we will arrive at the Paramount Theater where we

> will have gingerbread and hot cider.


> This year Mary will be Martha Eason, Joseph will be Chris Jennings,

> and Emma Lou, from Magic Carousel Farm, will be the donkey . Along the

> way, choirs from Redeemer Lutheran Church will be at Shanghai,

> Emmanuel Episcopal Church at the State Line Bar & Grill, First

> Presbyterian Church at Manna Bagel Café, Church of the Glad Tidings at

> K P Duty, Java J’s, and Central Presbyterian Church will be at the

> Paramount Theater. Southeast Culinary & Hospitality College will

> provide gingerbread and Java J’s will provide hot cider at the

> Paramount Theater and the Department of Public Venue will provide hot

> chocolate at the Downtown Center.


> The event lasts a little more than an hour. Several of the restaurants

> will be taking dinner reservations and some of the downtown shops will

> be open. Come and celebrate Christmas in the heart of our community.



Monday, December 19, 2005

Jake Bateman @ Ohio State, Kingsport gymnast settling in

I received an automated Google “alert” that included some information on Jake.  I thought it might be of general community interest to see how he’s doing at Ohio State.  We’re awfully proud of that young man! – Thanks, Jeff



Gymnast Jake Bateman, a Kingsport native and Dobyns-Bennett alumnus, is settling in as a freshman at Ohio State.  Jake is the son of Sandy & Richard Bateman (DDS) and brother to Will, who is a freshman at D-B.

Prior to Ohio State, Jake was:
State champion (2001-05) ... regional champion (2003-05) ... USA Visa Championship qualifier (2003-05) ... nine-time Junior Olympic national even finalist ... 2004 and 2005 USA Championships parallel bar champion and placed third in the all-around competition ... 2005 Region VIII award 10-0 award winner ... a standout golfer in high school where he received individual all-conference awards (2002-04) ... state finalist for the Wendy's High School Heisman.

Click to follow link à No. 2 Buckeyes Compete in Scarlet and Gray Intersquad - OH,
... Mason, Ohio/Queen City Gymnastics) and freshman Amanda Surine (
Fairfield, Ohio/Fairfield) and freshman Jake Bateman (Kingsport, Tenn./Dobyns-Bennett) tied for ...


Sunday, December 18, 2005

New website showcasing Downtown Kingsport rental properties

Jeff Lane has been an active participant in the downtown Kingsport redevelopment process from the very beginning.  It takes patient, persistent people from the private sector, like Jeff and others, who are willing to tackle the tough task of buying, selling, brokering, remodeling, and promoting the beauty of old buildings and architecture on a daily basis.  Government incentives may help create a fertile field, but someone has to plant the seeds and tend to the crops every day.  If you’re of like mind, I would encourage you to contact Jeff and see what develops…or redevelops as the case may be! – Thanks, Jeff Fleming



-----Original Message-----


I have been working on a website project for a while now to showcase rental properties in Kingsport to new arrivals, corporations, and anyone else in general.  It is a free site to use and to post properties on.  I built it and maintain it and I want you to see it and maybe pass it on.  It is always a work in progress and I designed it specifically to showcase downtown properties while making many other choices available. 


As new lofts are created, I will do showcases of them.


Please look over this and give me any suggestions you have.




Jeff Lane



Saturday, December 17, 2005

Appalachian State

A couple of years ago, I was impressed by a speaker who urged that we consider all of our regional assets (say within 200 miles up and down the Appalachian range) without regards to political boundaries. 


To an outsider, there isn’t a lot of physical difference between western North Carolina, upstate South Carolina, East Tennessee, southwestern Virginia, southeastern Kentucky or southern West Virginia.


Appalachian State University falls within that definition as a major regional asset which attracts thousands of students to our beautiful mountains.


Last night, ASU defeated Northern Iowa to win the national football championship in Chattanooga (another regional asset). 


In fact, to get to the championship game, ASU defeated Furman (yet another regional asset).


Congrats to the Mountaineers on a tremendous season and to the fans who loyally supported them! 


The game drew the largest crowd since it has been held in Chattanooga starting in 1997. Attendance was 20,236, about 430 fans short of a sellout.


Congrats to Chattanooga for successfully hosting the national championship event for nearly 10 years now! 


You reflect well upon us all!


Appalachian State University is located in Boone, NC


52 miles from Abingdon, VA

55 miles from Johnson City, TN

66 miles from Bristol, TN-VA

71 miles from Tri-Cities Regional Airport

80 miles from Kingsport, TN

86 miles from Winston-Salem, NC

101 miles from Charlotte, NC

102 miles from Asheville, NC




CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- With its quarterback limping around, Appalachian State's defense delivered the school's first I-AA national championship.


Jason Hunter returned a fumble for a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter as the Mountaineers beat Northern Iowa 21-16 for the crown on Friday night.


"It was a great night. It speaks wonders for our program, our school," Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore said. "I can't say enough about our defense. They were tenacious."


The Mountaineers (12-3) trailed most of the game and quarterback Richie Williams, the Southern Conference offensive player of the year, didn't start but came off the bench to give it a go on a bum leg.


The game drew the largest crowd since it has been held in Chattanooga starting in 1997. Attendance was 20,236, about 430 fans short of a sellout.



Friday, December 16, 2005

Thanks for your input on redeveloping Downtown Kingsport

Thanks, Kingsport!


Regarding the open-ended email survey I distributed in late November, I received 61 thoughtful email replies (and only 1 cynical wisecrack, ha ha).


Judging by the responses, I know you put much time, energy and effort into your comments – and all of this during the Christmas season when no one has extra time on their hands!


The result?  18,939 words and 33 pages of input (at 9 point font)!!!


The feedback was distributed to Shelburne Ferguson’s committee at its regular meeting yesterday.  It will be included in the committee’s visioning mini-retreat to be held on Fri January 13 and Sat January 14, 2006 at Northeast State’s RCAT Center in Downtown Kingsport.


Thanks again for your time,




Wednesday, December 14, 2005

An old, but still timely thought

Be sure your speakers are turned on….


When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar........and the cappuccino.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced a cup of cappuccino from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – God, your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions -- things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

"The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else -- the small stuff.

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your loved one out to dinner. Play another 18 holes of golf. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the cappuccino represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked," he said. "It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a good cup of cappuccino.



Kingsport is located on the Tennessee-Virginia border at the crossroads of I-81 and I-26 near the geographic center of the Eastern U.S. This city of 50,000 in a metro of 308,000, was planned by renowned American planner John Nolen in his office at Harvard Square. Located in the lush green foothills of the Tennessee Valley, it is surrounded by the Southern Highlands and mountain lakes. Kingsport is home to Marriott’s and thousands of acres of unique, natural amenities at Bays Mountain and Warriors Path Parks. The natural geography provides a temperate, well-balanced climate with four seasons and a natural shelter from extreme weather. Population growth has also been well-balanced, ensuring you will not outgrow your decision to relocate. With no personal property taxes, special assessments, or state income taxes on salaries/wages, you’ll find that Kingsport has a very low cost of living coupled with an exceptionally high quality of life (see for yourself at The regional airport (TRI) has direct flights to Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando and St. Pete/Clearwater with easy access, parking, and virtually no security lines. The public education system was planned by Columbia University and Newsweek has repeatedly recognized the local high school as one of the best in America. Year in and year out our graduates go on to the top colleges and universities (and without costly private school tuition fees). Harvard also recognized Kingsport in 2009 with the Innovations in American Government Award for its higher education initiative. What are you waiting for? It’s time to leave the high costs, traffic jams, and stress behind and discover this hidden gem.