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Thursday, May 29, 2008

More Artists Coming to Downtown Kingsport

Talina Ripper, 128 E. Market St., Kingsport, TN 37660, 423.737.0445,

Artists Cindy Saadeh and Michael Ripper open studios on Commerce Street

Both Cindy’s and Michael’s Studio are located at 210 Commerce Street, Downtown Kingsport. Art is on display and for sale at Cindy Saadeh Fine Art 128 E. Market St., Kingsport, TN 37660 Additional contacts Cindy Saadeh 423.782.9451 or Michael Ripper 828.406.1317.

Saadeh is a native of Winston-Salem, NC. She had the fortunate opportunity to study with artist Richard Palomino in Montpellier, France for 2 ½ years. Palomino is self-taught in the Dutch Master technique. He made all materials by hand, including grinding and mixing pigments, stretching canvas with rabbit skin glue, and making mediums out of copal and amber. She learned the technique of painting with “glassis”, or thin layers of paint to achieve depth in the painting. During this period she painted mostly still lifes set up with one light source as the Masters did. These early works were extremely realistic. Upon Cindy’s return to the US, she moved to Charleston, SC for its rich abundance of subjects to paint, from historical architecture to beautiful marshes. After painting for many years, she has developed a softer, less realistic and more interpretive style. Cindy now resides in Kingsport, with her husband, Kris, and their son. She is excited about bringing more fine art to the area and providing opportunities for interactive learning through painting classes.

Ripper recently moved to the Tri-Cities from Avery County, NC. He has a formal education in the arts with a BFA in wood design and a BFA in ceramics, both from East Carolina University. Michael has always found an amazing beauty in nature, especially right here in the heart of the Blue Ridge. This is where most of his inspiration comes from. With his woodwork, in particular, Michael designs and arranges the grain of every species of wood so the viewer can see the real beauty and uniqueness of each piece. Whenever possible, Michael uses native Appalachian hardwood (Cherry, Maple, Walnut, and Poplar). Some of the wood is lumber that has been cleaned up from the many wind storms and floods. By using this wood and other recycled wood, he is helping to clean up our beautiful mountains and prevent forest fires. Through his art, Michael wants to share with other people the beauty that he sees, in just one very small piece of these glorious Appalachian Mountains. Michael, along with his wife Talina, their small son and her three sons, are thrilled about moving into their downtown loft and living their art in downtown Kingsport.

Both Cindy’s and Michael’s Studio are located at 210 Commerce Street, Downtown Kingsport. Art is on display and for sale at Cindy Saadeh Fine Art 128 E. Market St., Kingsport, TN 37660 Additional contacts Cindy Saadeh 423.782.9451 or Michael Ripper 828.406.1317.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Kingsport House Price Appreciation At Top Of U.S.

KINGSPORT – Amid a resilient local economy and reasonable debt load, Moody’s Investor Service has reaffirmed the City of Kingsport’s A1 bond rating for an upcoming $20 million bond issue.

In making its determination, Moody’s analysts indicate that the A1 rating reflects "growth in the city’s tax base … solid financial operations and a manageable debt burden."

As part of its review process, Moody’s reviewed city finances and economic conditions on the ground, citing a strong growth process at Eastman Chemical Company, job creation in other industries outside of Eastman, and continuing retail expansion, particularly at the Fort Henry Mall.

On the city expenditure side of the equation, Moody’s noted that a strong performance from city staff in managing taxpayer funds, citing "conservative budgeting practices" that resulted in strong increases in the General Fund balance.

At the same time, Moody’s noted that the direct debt burden of the city is only 1.9 percent of the full assessed value of all property inside the city, adding that the city has averaged "assessed value growth averaging 4.6 percent over the past five years, driven by a combination of annexation, commercial and residential development and reappraisal."Meanwhile, Kingsport home prices continue to buck national trends, appreciating .62 percent in the first quarter of 2008, the 27th best rate in the country.

Nationally, prices compiled by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight fell in 43 states, registering a 1.7 percent drop from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of 2008. The government index is calculated by tracking loans of less than $417,000 bought or backed by the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

"This is yet another confirmation that Kingsport is in a solid position economically and governmentally," City Manager John Campbell said Friday. "But there is a lot of work left to ensure we are a high quality city, with the best services at the lowest possible cost, and an attractive place to live, work and do business.

"It’s essential we continue diversifying through residential and retail growth, and fundamentally increase the number of college graduates living in our great city."

The $20 million bond issue will finance the nearly complete Regional Center for Health Professions and Kingsport Center for Higher Education -- projects aimed at increasing the number of college graduates in the city -- as well as a new fire station, local road improvements and increase efficiencies at the city water treatment plant.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


In January, 2006, the U.S. Conference of Mayors reported the Kingsport-Bristol GDP as $10.4 billion, which ranked 160 out of 361 metro areas. It may surprise you to know that Kingsport-Bristol has a GDP greater than Macau, Myanmar, Jamaica, Bosnia-Herzegovena, and Afghanistan#1 was New York City MSA at $901.3 billion. NY's GDP is greater than India, South Korea and Russia.Nashville has a GDP greater than MoroccoMemphis has a GDP greater than Vietnam or CubaKnoxville has a GDP greater than BulgariaChattanooga has a GDP greater than Costa RicaRead more at


Nashville ranked #40 at $56.3 billion
Memphis ranked #46 at $4 8 billion
Knoxville ranked #71 at $25.2 billion
Chattanooga ranked #90 at $19.7 billion
Kingsport-Bristol ranked #160 at $10.4 billion
Clarksville ranked #182 at $8.5 billion
Johnson City ranked #218 at $6.4 billion
Jackson ranked #281 at $4.6 billion
Morristown ranked #293 at $4.3 billion
Cleveland ranked #339 at $3.4 billion


Washington ranked #4 at $276.2 billion
Virginia Beach-Norfolk ranked #28 at $74.1 billion
Richmond ranked #42 at $53.0 billion
Roanoke ranked #123 at $14.0 billion
Lynchburg ranked #172 at $9.5 billion
Charlottesville ranked #204 at $7.3 billion
Blacksburg-Christiansburg ranked #222 at $6.3 billion
Harrisonburg ranked #241 at $5.6 billion
Winchester ranked #271 at $4.8 billion
Danville, VA ranked #295 at $4.2 billion

North Carolina

Charlotte ranked #35 at $68.3 billion
Raleigh-Cary ranked #55 at $36.1 billion
Greensboro-High Point ranked #62 at $31.7 billion
Durham ranked #87 at $21.2 billion
Winston-Salem ranked #99 at $17.8 billion
Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton ranked #112 at $15.5 billion
Asheville ranked #135 at $13.2 billion
Fayetteville ranked #137 at $13.1 billion
Wilmington ranked #166 at $9.9 billion
Jacksonville ranked #225 at $6.2 billion
Rocky Mount ranked #239 at $5.6 billion

South Carolina

Columbia ranked #73 at $25.0 billion
Greenville ranked #84 at $21.6 billion
Charleston ranked #91 at $19.6 billion
Spartanburg ranked #171 at $9.5 billion
Myrtle Beach ranked #212 at $6.9 billion
Florence ranked #217 at $6.5 billion
Anderson ranked #265 at $4.8 billion
Sumter ranked #333 at $3.4 billion


Louisville ranked #48 at $44.4 billion
Lexington ranked #105 at $17.2 billion
Elizabethtown ranked #296 at $4.1 billion
Bowling Green ranked #300 at $4.1 billion
Owen sboro ranked #317 at $3.7 billion

West Virginia

Charleston ranked #164 at $10.0 billion
Huntington ranked #188 at $8.0 billion
Parkersburg ranked #253 at $5.2 billion
Wheeling ranked #286 at $4.5 billon
Weirton ranked #322 at $3.6 billion
Morgantown ranked #335 at $3.4 billion

If you would like to receive "good news" about Kingsport, please write to

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Kingsport's Dobyns-Bennett Makes Newsweek's Top Public High School List Again

May 19, 2008 -- Newsweek Magazine named Kingsport's Dobyns-Bennett High School as a Top 5% American Public High School.

Read more at:

No school east of Knoxville made the list except D-B.

Only 7 other Tennessee Schools made the list:

Farragut (Knoxville area)
Collierville (Memphis area)
Ravenwood (Nashville area)
Hillsboro (Nashville)
Brentwood (Nashville area)
Hume-Fogg Academic (Nashville)
Martin Luther King Academic Magnet (Nashville)

82 Virginia schools made the list, with Patrick Henry (Roanoke) being the closest

52 NC schools made the list, with Roberson (Asheville) being the closest

19 SC schools made the list, with 12 being in the Upstate:

Riverside (Greer)
Greenville (Greenville)
Eastside (Greenville)
Daniel (Central)
Hillcrest (Simpsonville)
Spartanburg (Spartanburg)
Woodruff (Woodruff)
Governor's School (Greenville)
Mauldin (Greenville)
Wade Hampton (Greenville)
James L. Mann (Greenville)
Southside (Greenville)

11 KY schools made the list, with none in Southeast Kentucky

3 WV schools made the list, all in the Charleston metro area

If you would like to receive "good news" about Kingsport, please write to

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Kingsport's Holston Valley Hospital Wins Prestigious Hospital of Choice Award

KINGSPORT – Holston Valley Medical Center has joined the ranks of some of the nation’s most prestigious hospitals as a national Hospital of Choice Award winner.

Holston Valley is one of only 13 hospitals to be named a national Hospital of Choice during the first quarter of 2008. The award, which recognizes exemplary quality and customer service, is presented by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers, a Washington, D.C.-based healthcare organization established to identify effective ways to improve patient care.

AAHCP President Ric Vincent Parr said the Hospital of Choice Awards are designed to identify America’s most customer-friendly hospitals and to recognize those hospitals “that go beyond the walls in pursuit of excellence and quality care.”

This quarter’s recipients, Parr said, were especially recognized for unparalleled commitment to good citizenship and community service. The organization also emphasized the importance of a hospital’s collaborative relationship with physicians in evaluating award nominees.
Last year’s Hospital of Choice Award recipients included The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Duke University Medical Center, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Holston Valley is one of only two Tennessee hospitals to receive the award this quarter. Sumner Regional Medical Center in Gallatin is the other.

“We’re proud to receive this award because it’s another affirmation of our overriding philosophy of providing service excellence at Holston Valley,” said Blaine Douglas, the hospital’s president. “This really is a reflection of all the people at Holston Valley – our physicians, hospital leaders, clinical staff and the volunteer board of directors that guides our direction – who go above and beyond to ensure we remain focused on meeting the needs of our patients.”

Monday, May 05, 2008

Kingsport Named #1 Walkign City in America

WALK! Magazine awards the #1 Walking City in America to the City of Kingsport go to for more info

I have personally watched folks like Kitty Frazier, Tom Parham, and Hank Brown (and many others) work tirelessly over the past 20+ years to develop the 8-mile Kingsport Greenbelt. I've also watched Keep Kingsport Beautiful organize massive clean-up campaigns year after year. Now, I'm watching groups lobby for local spurs to connect to the Greenbelt (like Ridgefields and Preston Woods). It's so gratifying to see everyone's hard work recognized by national publications! Yet another reason why Kingsport is the Volunteer City in the Volunteer State! - Jeff

The Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau celebrates National Tourism Week during the week of May 10 - 18. What better way to recognize tourism than to bring people to enjoy and experience first hand our very own Greenbelt!

Awards Presentation
Monday, May 12, 2008
12:30 pm
On the Greenbelt (off American Way Rd)
Rain location: Quality Inn

For more information:

Heather Jones at (423) 392-8828.

If you would like to receive "good news" about Kingsport, please write to
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.