Two county teachers receive grant funding

Stephanie Tolley and Cheryl Honeycutt show off their checks.


Staff Writer

The new year is here and in the Washington County School System, that means the annual Quality Educational Support for Tomorrow or QUEST grants are to be awarded.

This year two Washington County educators, Stephanie Tolley and Cheryl Honeycutt, were awarded more than $6,000 each by the QUEST foundation.

“This is a day of celebration,” Quest Director Jim Harlan said at the grant ceremony held at the Washington County Department of Education. “This is a day that we celebrate education and learning in Washington County Schools. And that’s a common passion that we have — a passion for learning. And it’s that passion for learning that draws us all together.”

QUEST has gathered funds for the school system for the past seven years and has awarded grants to 52 classrooms in 14 schools throughout the county. QUEST has awarded $138,000 in total.

But this year, instead of awarding numerous teachers with a small amount, QUEST opted to heed the requests from educators in order to better equip a classroom with new technology.

QUEST Director Jim Harlan kicked off the grant award ceremony.

“When we first started seven years ago, most grants were $1,000 to $2,000,” Harlan said. “So we were able to give probably eight to 10 grants a year. But the teachers came back and said, ‘While we’re appreciative of that, is there anyway we could raise the level of dollars so that we can do more in an individual classroom?’ So the board considered that and decided that’s what we should do.”

Tolley, who is an English and language arts and social studies teacher at Jonesborough Middle School, was awarded $7,086.21. For the JMS teacher, the funds will be used to sharpen her students’ skills in various subjects.

“I’m going to buy us some new technology so we can actually be competitive with all the other schools in the system and hopefully not only learn some writing skills,” Tolley said, “but incorporate some other things like reading and social studies. It’s going to be used for a lot of different things.”

As for Honeycutt, a fourth grade math and science teacher who was awarded $6,816.01, the grant award will assist her in providing a device for each student in her classroom.

“‘One to One Chromebooks’ is my initiative to get all of my students on some sort of technology,” Honeycutt said. “There are so many resources out there that you can use to better their education and my teaching, so that’s the goal.”

For the Washington County Director of Schools Kimber Halliburton, the awarded grants weren’t just a symbol of enhanced technology coming to the Washington County School District; Halliburton thanked the QUEST foundation for its continued education support while also mentioning the initiative taken by those educators who go above and beyond through applying for a grant.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into making application for a grant. It’s competitive,” Halliburton said. “This is something that is certainly outside the realm of what your job responsibilities are. You did not have to take the time to fill out an application and justify what the needs of your classroom were — but they did pay off today.”

As in past years, the Herald & Tribune will be featuring both QUEST grant recipients. Check back for a feature article on Tolley and Honeycutt and their classroom projects.

Window Wonderland promised in Jonesborough

Jonesborough will be willed with wonders this weekend as local retailers ‘deck the halls’ with a bit of winter joy.


Feeling a little blue now that the holidays are over and the decorations are put away? Main Street Jonesborough is hosting Window Wonderland and Winter Sale Friday through Monday, Jan. 12-15 to help kick those winter blues. The event will feature displays of beautifully decorated windows throughout Downtown Jonesborough depicting winter scenes and shop some great winter sales.

It all kicks off on Friday, January 12 with voting continuing through Monday, January 15. Check out an array of decorated windows with a Winter Wonderland theme and vote for your favorite to help them win a cash prize and more. This year there are two ways you can vote, casting your ballots downtown or voting online. By voting in person, you are also entered into a drawing for $50 in JAMSA Bucks (valid anywhere JAMSA dollars are accepted in downtown Jonesborough). Ballots for in-person voting will be available at the International Storytelling Center where you will visit all the displays and vote for your favorite display up to once per day.  Online voting begins Friday, Jan. 12, so go to Main Street Jonesborough’s Facebook page to cast yours (only one vote per person).

This year, there are also two ways for downtown merchants to win:

• People’s Choice (combined in-person and online votes): Winning display receives $300 cash + $150 Lowe’s gift certificate

• Judge’s Choice (winner selected by a panel of local arts professionals): Winning display receives $300 cash + $150 Lowe’s gift certificate

A Winter Sale will also take place throughout downtown so be sure to check out the great deals offered at participating locations. Store hours will be Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. and Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit our Window Wonderland event on Main Street Jonesborough’s Facebook page for more details. Event sponsored by Main Street Jonesborough and Jonesborough Area Merchants & Service Association. So come celebrate winter, don’t hibernate and join us in kicking the winter blues in Main Street Jonesborough!

For more info visit Main Street Jonesborough’s Facebook or call (423)913-8212.

McKinney Center to Host Annual MLK Day of Service


The McKinney Center in Jonesborough will mark the birthday of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, Jan. 15, with a service-oriented event that draws on the teachings of Dr. King, who famously stated “Everybody can be great . . . because anybody can serve.”

This event will also honor men from Jonesborough who practiced selfless service.

The McKinney Center is inviting the Jonesborough community to meet at Depot Street Park at noon, across the road from where Alfred Greenlee lived, and where Jonesborough’s own Buffalo Soldier, Alfred Martin Rhea, a former slave who served in the United States Army after emancipation, bought a home and lived after retirement.

A Peace Walk will be taken from the park, along Alfred Greenlee’s usual morning walk, down to the site where the Emancipator was published.

Along with Alfred’s walk, stories will be presented about the Buffalo Soldier, about Alfred Greenlee’s life, and about the first abolitionist newspaper in the country.

After the walk, participants will have an opportunity to take part in a community art project, led by McKinney Center art faculty, decorating the fence at Depot Street Park with a design to commemorate the service work of Alfred Greenlee.

All participants will receive a commemorative MLK Day of Service button.

For more information about this event, contact McKinney Center Director Theresa Hammons at

Interested participants can also call (423) 753-1010 for more information.

Fiddle player from ETSU wins honors

Aynsley Porchak was recently honored for her fiddling skills.


East Tennessee State University graduate student Aynsley Porchak recently pulled off a huge feat when she won the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Championship.  But that wasn’t all.  Shortly after winning, she learned that she was the first person ever to win both Canadian and American Grand Masters fiddle championships.

Porchak’s win at the 2017 Canadian championship, held in Ville de Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec, in late August, came during her second attempt at the title.  She had been invited back after entering the competition for the first time in 2016.

However, the native of Woodstock, Ontario, had very little time to prepare.  “I went up there and I played some of what I learned down here,” Porchak said.  “I played some bluegrass, I played some swing, I played some East Coast-style stuff, and for some reason, it just worked out that the judges liked it!  It was a real thrill for me, because I had grown up listening to the Canadian Grand Masters recordings that they put out every year, thinking, ‘I would love to do that someday.’  It means a lot to me.  I never, ever would have expected to win that.”

Porchak, who also took top honors in the 44th annual U.S. Grand Master Fiddle Championship in Nashville in Sept. 2015, said it took her some time to process the reality that she had become the first person to win both the American and Canadian titles.

“I still feel so blessed and honored to be the first person to do that,” she said.  “It makes me super-thrilled, too, to (join) all the people in whose footsteps I’ve followed and listened to their music over the years.  I had people congratulating me who I’ve respected for many years.”

Porchak came to ETSU as a freshman in 2013 to study in the university’s renowned Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies program in the Department of Appalachian Studies. 

She graduated this summer with a bachelor’s degree in both Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies and English, and is now pursuing a master’s degree in Appalachian Studies.

Porchak performs with the ETSU Bluegrass Pride Band; Atlantic North, A Celtic Band comprised of faculty and students in the Celtic music section of the Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies program; and the country band.  Atlantic North recently returned from a two-week tour of Scotland, where members played in festivals and promoted the release of their first EP.

History shows number of significant events in other years ending in 18

Johannes Kepler was one of the leading figures who made a scientific discovery in a year ending in 18.


Special to the H&T

At the turning of the new year, it’s always customary to look back on the milestones of previous years. It’s also natural to muse on what events the coming year may bring.

Looking ahead to 2018, people can anticipate the Winter Olympics, which are scheduled for February in South Korea. In addition, NASA plans to launch the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission to seek out planets beyond the solar system.

Looking back to past year ’18s, what events might have been captivating people in past ages? Here’s a look at some of the people and events significant from a century ago to a thousand years ago.


• Buckfast Abbey in England is founded.

• Harald II, King of Denmark, dies. King Cnut the Great, famous as a conquerer of England, ascends the throne.


• John II Comnenus crowned as Emperor of the Byzantine Empire.

• Pope Paschal II dies on Jan. 21 after a papal reign of nearly 20 years.

• Matilda of Scotland, wife and queen of King Henry I of England, dies May 1 at age 38.


• Various European rulers under the banner of the Catholic Church launch the Fifth Crusade that ends in an eight-year truce between the Europeans and the Ayyubid state in Egypt.

• Genghis Khan’s Mongolian cavalry destroys the forces of the Kara-Khitan Khanate.

• Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV dies May 19 at age 43.


• Emperor Go-Daigo succeeds Emperor Hanazono on the throne of Japan.

• Rampant disease hits cattle and sheep, reducing the herds and flocks in Europe.

• Qala’un Mosque in Cairo, Egypt, is founded by Al-Nasr Muhammad.

• Marguerite of France, queen of Edward I of England, dies Feb. 14 at age 39.


• English forces lay siege to Rouen, the capital of Normandy. This major event in the Hundred Year’s War between the French and English would end the following year with the city surrendered on Jan 19, 1419.

• Katherine of Lancaster, an English princess and queen of Henry III of Castile, dies June 2 at age 45, leaving her 13-year-old son at the mercy of self-interested courtiers.

• Ixtlilxochitl I, ruler of the Mesoamerican city-state of Texcoco, and ally of the Aztecs, dies in battle with the Tepanecs.


• Desiderius Erasmus publishes his Colloquies.

• The African slave trade begins. The Spanish were the first Europeans to use enslaved Africans in the New World on islands such as Cuba and Hispaniola, largely because the native populations of the islands had been decimated by introduced diseases.

• Two-year-old Princess Mary of England, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, contracted to marry François, the Dauphin of France, just a few months old at the time, on Oct. 2, 1518. The marriage was meant to seal the Treaty of London, a universal peace crafted by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. The treaty and the engagement would be broken a few years later.

• The so-called Dancing Plague emerges in July. The strange plague caused dancing mania in Strasbourg, in which many people died from constant dancing. Modern theories to explain the “dancing” epidemic include stress-induced psychosis or ingestion of grains infested with a type of fungus that produces psycho-active chemicals.


• Johannes Kepler discovers the third law of planetary motion on March 8.

• An avalanche buries the Alpine town of Piuro, claiming 2,427 victims.

• English adventurer, writer and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh is beheaded on Oct. 29 at the Palace of Westminster, for allegedly conspiring treasonably against James I of England in 1603, following pressure from the Spanish government, over Raleigh’s attack on their settlement on the Orinoco, on his last voyage to the New World.


• English pirate Blackbeard leads 400 sailors in four ships, to blockade the port of Charleston, South Carolina, in May of 1718.

• The city of New Orleans is founded on May 7, 1718.

• White potatoes, brought over from England, are planted in New England. Ironically, the potato hailed from the Andes mountains of South America. The Spanish took potatoes back to the Old World in the late 1500s.

• The pirate Blackbeard, or Edward Teach, dies during a naval skirmish on Nov. 22 after British Lieutenant Robert Maynard found Blackbeard and his pirates anchored on the inner side of Ocracoke Island in North Carolina and cut off their escape.


• Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein is published anonymously in London on March 11.

• General Andrew Jackson and his American army invade Florida as part of the First Seminole War.

• On April 4, the United States Congress adopts the flag of the United States as having thirteen red and white stripes, and one star for each state (20), with additional stars to be added whenever a new state is added to the Union.

• Paul Revere, American patriot and silversmith by trade, dies May 10 at age 83. American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow immortalized Revere in the poem “Paul Revere’s Ride,” which tells the story of his brave ride to warn colonists of an impending attack by British forces.

• Abigail Adams, First Lady of the United States and wife of President John Adams, dies Oct. 28 at age 73.

• Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, queen of King George III of the United Kingdom, dies Nov. 17 at age 74.


• The first cases of the Spanish flu is first observed in the United States in Haskell County, Kansas. The 1918 flu pandemic would result in the deaths of 50 to 100 million people, which was three to five percent of the entire world population. The unusually deadly influenza pandemic would infect 500 million people, including those living on remote Pacific islands and in the Arctic. In the United States, about 28 percent of the population became infected, and 500,000 to 675,000 died.

• President Woodrow Wilson delivers his Fourteen Points speech on Jan. 8.

• Westmoreland “Morley” Davis inaugurated as 48th governor of Virginia on Feb. 1.

• The last captive Carolina parakeet (the only species of parrot native to the eastern United States) dies at the Cincinnati Zoo on Feb. 21. The bird, a male named Incas, died about a year after the death of his mate, who had been named Lady Jane by their zookeepers.

• Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, born in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, on March 29.

• Betty Ford, future First Lady, is born Elizabeth Ann Bloomer in Chicago, Illinois, on April 8.

• The Great Train Wreck of 1918 takes place on July 9 in Nashville, Tennessee, when an inbound local train collided with an outbound express, killing 101.

• Quentin Roosevelt, youngest son of President Theodore Roosevelt, killed in action as a World War I fighter pilot on July 14.

• Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra of Russia are executed on July 17 with several members of their family by Bolshevik forces.

• Albert H. Roberts elected Governor of Tennessee on Nov. 5. He is best remembered for calling the special session of the Tennessee General Assembly that ratified the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, in August 1920. Roberts’ support for the amendment and his unpopular tax reform initiatives divided the state Democratic Party and doomed his reelection chances.

  • World War I ends with the signing of the Armistice with Germany on Nov. 11.

Grandview students join their voices

Seven Grandview students earned the chance — once again — to take part in Tennessee’s All East Honors Choir in November.


H&T Correspondent

Seven Grandview Elementary students sung their hearts out at the Tennessee All East Honors Chorus in November, making this the second year in a row that Grandview students were the only middle school participants from Washington County.

Carson Duckworth, Justyn Forbes, Ella Lands, Rylee Malloy, Adina Phebus, Alexis Quillen and Makenzie Williams were selected to join the Honors Chorus, which took place on Nov. 17 and 18.

“Before Honors Chorus, once or twice a week we would practice with just us seven,” said Carson Duckworth, one of the seven selected to join the Honors Chorus, which took place on Nov. 17 and 18. “And Mr. Davenport would go through the songs and help us focus on them. When we went in for actual honor chorus, we were much more prepared for it by practicing with him, instead of just going there and having the music on the spot right there.”

Other participants were Justyn Forbes, Ella Lands, Rylee Malloy, Adina Phebus, Alexis Quillen and Makenzie Williams.

The Honors Chorus is organized by the East Tennessee Vocal Association, its mission to advance the cause of music education in general and choral music in particular in public and private schools in Eastern Tennessee.

Before they could attend Honors Chorus, though, the students had to audition. They noted that one of the keys to their success was their teacher Ben Davenport.

“I was nervous at first, but Mr. Davenport helped calm my nerves,” Malloy said. “He’s good at that.”

The seven Grandview students spent two days at Maryville College as part of the 250-member chorus composed of seventh- and eighth-grade students from across East Tennessee.

The students practiced essential vocal music skills, including sight reading, vocal technique and vowel pronunciation, a skill which is not always compatible with a Southern accent.

“The girl next to me and I were talking about how to pronounce our vowels and how Southern we were,” Malloy said. “We were thinking that we have to do this right and say it the right way.”

They worked in groups according to their vocal parts and then came together as one chorus in a final performance, which was all around the students’ favorite part of the experience.

“It didn’t feel like we were really there until we were up there and actually singing,” Quillen said.

“In the final performance, everyone sounded so together,” Malloy said. “And in the dress rehearsal, when we all came together, I was like, wow, we’re actually gonna do this. We’re actually gonna perform.”

The students’ love for music isn’t confined to their chorus activities. They sing outside of the classroom as well and say that music is an important part of their lives.

“You need music to live,” Williams said. “You need it to be happy.”

“There’s some type of music for everything you feel or anything you want to say,” Quillen said.

On the drive to and from Maryville College for Honors Chorus, they listened to the chorus music and some of their favorite bands, a list which includes culturally significant bands like Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Journey and AC/DC.

The event wasn’t just about music, though. The Honors Chorus experience gave them valuable skills they can apply to other areas of their lives.

“We learned how to meet new people,” Phebus said.

“And we learned not to be afraid to sing out,” Quillen said.

For Duckworth, Honors Chorus served as an early professional development experience.

“I am planning on pursuing a career in music as a band director, and so this has inspired me so much to fulfill that,” Duckworth said.

The students said that through their time practicing, performing and growing as singers together, they have formed close connections with each other.

“We can talk about anything together,” said Phebus, and the remainder of the group added one word to describe their relationship: “Family.”

Students to show their talents in fourth annual film festival

Local kids will get their chance at screenwriting.


On Thursday, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m., the McKinney Center in Jonesborough will host the fourth annual Jonesborough Student Film Festival. In addition to the student-created short films in the “Let’s Make a TV Show” class, this year’s festival will also feature local history-based mysteries and documentaries, which resulted from the “History Mystery Summer Film Camp,” a class created through Jonesborough’s Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts and in collaboration with the Heritage Alliance.

These features are all student written, directed and edited.

Bob Browning, Jonesborough’s Town Administrator, is a strong supporter of the films being made by Jonesborough’s youth, and said, “Storytelling is such a powerful tool to enhance literacy, academic achievement, self-confidence, and self-esteem. When youth learn stories of their family and community and look at their own story as they have lived it thus far, they are more connected and they come to realize that if they want to they can change the ending to their story. That is a powerful thing.”

The festival brings together short films made over the past year at the new studio in the Gillespie Building.

Film classes held there taught students to write a story, develop a script treatment, create a storyboard, film, and edit, including using green-screen (chroma key) technology In the studio. Students also incorporated live “location” shots for their films.

Once, a student used her artistic abilities to make an animated pencil sketch feature.

Jimmy Neil Smith, the founder of the National Storytelling Festival, said, “This festival proves that the storytelling tradition is alive and thriving among the young people of the Jonesborough community. They’re telling their stories the twenty-first century way.”

These young film makers will be given movie-star treatment. They’ll be picked up in a limousine to arrive for their red-carpet debut and photo-op before the films are presented at 6.

History Mystery Film class will be taught again this spring. Space is limited to eight students, and registration is going on now at the McKinney Center. To download a registration form or to see the complete catalog of classes, go to

Jonesborough’s Student Film Festival begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 14, and is free and open to the public. Popcorn will be served. For additional information, contact Jules Corriere at or (423) 794-6320.

Christmas parade filled with winners


Jonesboroough hosted its annual Christmas parade Saturday night in what might be the longest parade in the books, at least in the last 11 years, according to Parks & Rec Director Rachel Conger.

The theme for this year’s parade was “A Hometown Christmas.”

Prior to the parade, the town’s special events committee welcomed a variety of entries, from  live Christmas music and  floats lit with Christmas lights, to horses and antique cars.

The parade began at 6 p.m. on Dec. 9 on Boone Street and progressed to Main Street and Historic Downtown, ending at the intersection at Washington Avenue.

This year’s winners, shown at right, received the following awards:

• David Crockett High School Award, given to the best overall entry from DCHS- DCHS FFA

• Eagle Award, given to the float judged to be the best overall float entry- Washington County 4H

• Mayor’s Award, given to the float judged to be the best representation of important historical events- WF Stables

• Schubert Club, given to the float judged to be the best representation of the growth of music in the Town of Jonesborough- Bowmantown Baptist Church

• Jonesborough Kiwanis Award, given to the float that best represents children or children’s issues- Humane Society AND Greyhound Rescue (tie)

Jonesborough Food Pantry Award- Greyhound Rescue

• Honorable Mentions- Washington County Republican Party.

Local artist debuts her first EP

Chelsea Constable will release her EP this month.


H&T Correspondent

Today, 27-year-old Chelsea Constable, who grew up in Jonesborough, will take the next step in her career as a professional musician with the official release of her debut EP.

The EP, scheduled for release on Dec. 13, consists of five songs, is the first part of a two-part release, and will be released live on The John Boy & Billy Big Show (WQUT 101.5).

According to Constable, part one of the EP has a country/bluegrass/blues feel, while part two, which doesn’t have a set release date yet, will have more of a rock feel.

Constable enjoys entertaining with a wide variety of music styles, and that’s something she wanted to show in her first album, she said.

“This is about all of my influences and what has inspired me over the years,” she said. 

She hopes to release part two of the EP mid-year in 2018, but due to recording with special guests, the timing is subject to change.

The guitarist recruited several well-known musicians for her first EP, including Steve Morse (Deep Purple, Kansas, Dixie Dregs and The Steve Morse Band), Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big and Racer X), and Trey Hensley (Nashville super picker/singer).

Also on the EP is Doyle Dykes, a renowned acoustic finger-style guitarist, and a good friend of Constable.

“This is my debut, and it has some of my heroes on it … They have been people who influenced me from early on, ever since I began playing, and for them to be on my first album, it’s just an amazing feeling,” she said.

The musician’s teen sister, Grace Constable, also performs on the new release. 

“She’s actually playing guitar and putting some solo work down for me, as well as drums and bass, and she’s only 15,” she said. “It’s great to have all your heroes involved, as well as a good friend, and even my little sister, who has been very important in this process.”

The guitarist said her love of various music styles comes, in part, from her exposure to a variety of music at a young age while growing up in Jonesborough. She enjoyed listening to many genres, and that inspired her as she learned the guitar, which she has been playing since she was 10 years old.

Her interest in the guitar began when she picked up the instrument to learn “Greensleeves” for a church Christmas play.

“I’m 27 now, so it’s been a long time,” Constable said.

Completing a project like this has been a longtime goal and a dream-come-true for Constable, though she isn’t sure what to expect with the release.

“This is completely new territory for me,” Constable said.

The guitarist already has a following on YouTube, where she both performs and teaches with three popular video series: “The Solo Lesson Series,” “The Signature Tone Series,” and “The Performance Series.”

Once released, Constable’s debut EP will be available on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon MP3.  For more information, visit her website at

‘Shop’ gets ready for another year of giving

Local public safety personnel assist with the holiday event each year (photo from Shop with a Cop 2015)


H&T Correspondent

The Jonesborough Department of Public Safety will make the holidays a little merrier for some area children on Wednesday, Dec. 13, with their annual Shop with a Cop program.

Santa spends time with a few kids from the Shop with a Cop event in 2015.

Shop with a Cop pairs children in need — selected for the program by their school guidance counselors and teachers — with an officer, firefighter, or other first responder, and the pair enjoy a pizza party and a shopping spree together.

This year, the pizza party will begin at 6 p.m. at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center. Afterward, the children will be taken on tour buses, escorted by police cars and firetrucks, to the Walmart on W. Market Street. The participating children, accompanied by their Shop with a Cop partner, will each receive $150 to spend on items of their choice.

“It’s a humbling experience for us, to be able to see what these children pick out … to see how selfless they can be when they get the opportunity to go on a little shopping spree,” Maj. Jamie Aistrop, the Shop with a Cop organizer, said.

In addition to the shopping spree, gifts are also provided, unbeknownst to the children, to be unwrapped on Christmas morning. Gifts are provided for siblings of participating children to open on Christmas morning as well.

According to Aistrop, the program is designed not only to provide a good Christmas for families who might not have had one otherwise, but also to foster a relationship between children in the community and first responders.

The majority of the time when participating children have interacted with police officers or firefighters, it’s been in a negative tone, and this event offers the opportunity to change that, he said.

Jonesborough will once again host its Shop with a Cop event on Wednesday, Dec. 13.

“Most of these children are coming from lower income families that can’t provide the kind of Christmas that they want to for their kids,” Aistrop said. “The main focus of it for us is to have an opportunity to spend time with them in a positive setting.”

Currently, 74 children are set to participate on Dec. 13, and to ensure each child has a Shop with a Cop partner, several other county fire and police departments will assist with the program, Aistrop said.

To date, about $16,000 has been raised for the Shop with a Cop event, and there’s still an opportunity to donate.

“We’d like to reach $20,000,” Aistrop said. “We’re actually shopping all the way up until a few hours before the event.”

The best way to donate, Aistrop said, is to stop by the Jonesborough Town Hall. A donation receipt can be provided.

Jonesborough Town Hall is located at 123 Boone Street. For more information, call (423) 753-1053.

Christmas event celebrates 40 years with new format

Tami Moore, holding Coco Chanel, acts as hostess at her home, the Blair-Moore House on Main Street.


Associate Editor

The evening started out with a site visit scramble but finished with a flare as the Heritage Alliance celebrated 40-years of serving Christmas dinners in Jonesborough. The event this year was titled “Colors of Christmas: Tour & Dinner.”  Participants’ first destination was at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center to pick up cloth tags patterned after those at the Storytelling Festival.  This involved our first parking venue of the day at the Washington County / Jonesborough Library Parking lot.

Our arrival at the visitors center was just after 3 p.m.  My wife Belinda went inside to get the patches while I parked.  There was a line to board the buses so we drove to our second parking place of the day, the lot next to the Chester Inn where our instruction sheet indicated buses would pick us up at 3:40 p.m. to take us to dinner.

There were eight numbered destinations during the evening.  Near the visitors center, the first numbered attraction was the Oak Hill School at 212 E. Sabin Drive.  This venue featured Storyteller David Miller.  The building, relocated to Jonesborough from the Knob Creek Community, was built in 1886. Closed to students in 1952, it was threatened with demolition in 1996 when the Heritage Alliance began a three-year restoration process. Today, the building houses the award winning Oak Hill Heritage Education Program based on experiences of rural Washington County students in the year 1892.

We decided to delay visiting the second tour stop, a Victorian cottage, likely built at the turn of the century.  The Adams-Lyons Home at 269 E. Main Street is representative of the architectural trends seen in Jonesborough in the early 1900s.  The house, presented by Jonathan Adams & Sherril Lyons, clearly shows the transition away from the more elaborate Victorian details of the later decades of the 19th century. 

The Chester Inn is the oldest commercial structure in Tennessee’s oldest town constructed in the 1790s by Dr. William P. Chester.  Saturday it served as the meeting place for diners. The building served as a hotel and once accommodated United States Presidents Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk and Andrew Johnson.  It has been restored and contains a museum and this year has served as the location of History Happy Hour, a monthly program that shares local history on a wide range of topics.  The Colors of Christmas brochure promised that the Happy Hours would return in 2018.

The JRT Players provided lilting Christmas carols for the dinner event.

Our Chester Inn stop, listed as site no. 3 at 116 E. Main Street, was brief so that we could tour site no. 4, the Historic Eureka Inn at 127 W. Main Street and site no. 5, the Blair-Moore House at 201 W. Main Street, before dinner.  Notice that these tour stops are close to each other.  If the tour hours would have been extended an hour earlier, visitors could have walked most of the route before the 4 p.m. dinner.  One person at the McKinney Center did say that she walked the entire distance between the eight tour locations. The mild weather made for a pleasant walking tour in visiting sites on Saturday.

Katelyn and Blake Yarbrough hosted visitors at the Eureka Inn, originally built as a private residence in 1797. In 1900, it opened as a hotel. The structure was restored beginning in 1997 and is now open to guests with a full Southern breakfast served in a dining room renovated in 2014. 

Owners Tami and Jack Moore hosted tour visitors in their bed & breakfast, the Blair-Moore House. The architectural genealogy of the home is complex beginning with John H. Crawford’s ownership in 1865.  One owner of the brick bonded building was Robert Dungan, a former principal of the Holston Male Institute and Graded School.  When the school closed, Dungan accepted the position of editor and business manager of The Jonesborough Journal. 

We boarded the bus at 3:40 for dinner at the McKinney Center along with a collection of guests.  To our surprise, not only were we served a delicious dinner featuring holiday punch, apple squash soup, fillet of pork with a cherry plum sauce, and duchess potatoes followed by a dessert of chocolate raspberry truffle cake, but there was also a full evening of entertainment.  The two hours scheduled at the center ably rewarded guests for this year’s format change.  Mayor Kelly Wolfe was a hospitable emcee as he introduced the Harrington Music Studio, singers from the Jonesborough Repertory Theater and entertainers from the Jonesborough Novelty Band. The Heritage Alliance Christmas crew of Jules Corriere, Anne G’Fellers-Mason, Joel VanEaton and Kyle Mason provided an enjoyable review of the past 40-years of Progressive Dinners with vignettes interspersed between the musical players. Together with lively conversation from our table guests, all too-soon the festivities at the center were completed and we caught the bus back to the Chester Inn.

There were still stops to complete our tour. Back in our car we drove and parked near site no. 6, the Chuckey Depot at 110 S. Second Avenue, a destination not to be missed by visitors to Jonesborough interested in railroading.  Constructed by the Southern Railroad in 1906, it has been rebuilt in Jonesborough.  Scott Wild, an American singer/songwriter, provided entertainment at the depot while visitors looked at a host of exhibits prepared by the Heritage Alliance and the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society. The Railroad Society also restored a red caboose adjacent to the depot and provides docents when the museum is open weekdays.

The Purple Cottage was part of the tour portion of the event.

The most charming surprises of the evening were sites no. 7, the Eggplant Cottage and no. 8, the Floyd Home.  Jeff Dupre and David Phillips own the cottage at 204 W. Woodrow Avenue, believed to have been built around 1930.  You can’t miss the house driving down the Avenue – it is painted purple.  The original building was one large room, 28 feet by 14 feet.  Perhaps it was used as a Fellowship Hall for the AME Zion Church established in 1904.  However, during most of its existence it has been used as a residence.  The modern restoration of the cottage makes it a “must-see” on any future tour of homes. 

Anna Floyd’s home at 200 W. Woodrow Avenue is next door to Eggplant Cottage. The home is circa 1820s built by Samuel Lyle.  At one time the home consisted of a log cabin and the logs are visible when inside the home. The exterior is now painted yellow.  A written commentary presented to visitors on the tour read: “The Floyd home is a prime example of current restoration projects in town and a wonderful demonstration of how houses should be preserved, not just the grand Victorians. Every house has a story to tell.”

The Floyd house visit was our last of the evening.  It had been a day when we drove to three different parking locations in town and took two bus rides. The experience was worth getting in and out of these conveyances to look and see, eat and listen.  We look forward to next year and hope the Alliance continues with this new format but undertakes several modifications aimed at moving tour and dinner visitors more conveniently around Jonesborough.

“Deck the Halls, Southern Style” comes to Jonesborough’

Actress Barbara Bates Smith


On Friday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. “ Deck the Halls, Southern Style,” adapted from the works of Lee Smith, Allan Gurganus, and Truman Capote, will be presented by actress Barbara Bates Smith and musical accompanist Jeff Sebens at the McKinney Center.

Tickets for the limited seating performance are $10 each. For more information,or to purchase tickets: Jonesborough Visitors’ Center (423) 753-1010 

From Lee Smith’s “Fair and Tender Ladies” there’s the fireside storytelling tradition of Old Christmas in the mountains, when the lady sisters tell “Ole Dry Fry” and “Whitebear Whittington.” Allan Gurganus’s “Oldest Living Confederate Widow” features “The Christmas Spectacle” when many a teetotaling Baptist got knee-walking drunk . . . accidentally, but the pageant turned more poignant than ever.  Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory” issues a heart-warming invitation to “Imagine a morning in late November in a country town in Alabama…”  His 60-something-year-old cousin exclaims “Oh my, Buddy, it’s fruitcake weather!” And their escapades unfold to the delight of us all.

Actress Smith, noted for her Off-Broadway adaptation and performance of “Ivy Rowe” from Lee Smith’s “Fair and Tender Ladies,” has been touring for 27 years with the works of Lee Smith. Jeff Sebens accompanies her shows with a variety of hammered dulcimer, lap dulcimer, guitar, and banjo music. “Vivid storytelling by Barbara Bates Smith and idyllic music by Jeff Sebens,” from the Triangle’s “Independent Weekly” review, has become a trademark of this Smith-Sebens duo.

“Our Own Stories” workshops round out Smith’s repertoire. Some of her favorite roles in regional theater have been in “Wit,” “Doubt,” “Hamlet,” “August: Osage County.” “Go, Granny D!” celebrating the crusader who at age 90 walked across the U.S. for election reform, is currently a timely and popular touring show for the duo. 

More information is on the website:

Soupbowl Fundraiser to return to McKinney

Locals gather at a previous Soupbowl event in Jonesborough.


The Jonesborough Yarn Exchange presents a brand-new show for their annual Christmas Performance and Soupbowl Fundraiser at the McKinney Center. On Nov. 27 at 6 p.m., the Yarn Exchange will debut The Christmas Messenger.

It’s 1944. Andy, the telegraph delivery man, recently home after an injury from the war, receives a series of Christmas Eve telegrams. There’s only one problem: no one wants to answer the door to the telegram deliverer during this time. House after house refuses his call, but what no one knows, is that one of the messages contains a miracle — which needs an urgent answer. Will he deliver it in time? Discover the mystery in the message, and sing holiday carols along with the cast and the Jonesborough Novelty Band, in this new, interactive Christmas performance.

This event is perfect for kicking off the holiday season. At 6 p.m., audience members have the opportunity to browse the hand-made pottery bowls on display, choose their favorite, fill it with one of several delicious soups, complimented with a variety of breads, and a giant cookie for dessert. At 6:30 p.m., the cast of the Jonesborough Yarn Exchange and the Jonesborough Novelty Band will present the new play, which is based on local stories.

The event, which is a fundraiser for the McKinney Center’s Scholarship Program, is $25 and includes the hand-made soup bowl, dinner, and songbook. Tickets can be purchased by calling 423-753-1010 or online:

For more information, email Theresa Hammons or call (423)753-0562.

Call for auditions goes out for ‘I Am Home’

The town is calling for auditions for the “I Am Home” play coming to Jonesborough.


The Town of Jonesborough will present the play “I Am Home,” based on stories of the people from Tennessee’s oldest town, in February of 2018. Drawn from over 100 oral histories, “I Am Home” celebrates the struggles and triumphs of the residents throughout Jonesborough’s long history.

Auditions for this play will be held at the McKinney Center in Jonesborough on Sunday, Dec. 3 from 2-5 p.m., and Monday, Dec.4, from 5:30-8 p.m. This play features roles for children, teens, and adults, from all backgrounds, as the stories in the play come from Jonesborough’s diverse community. Singers are also needed, as the play features five original songs. Rehearsal schedules in most cases will be made to fit within the actors’ own availability as much as possible.

Some of the scenes found in “I Am Home” include the celebration of the Migrant March in Jonesborough by the Latino community; the story of how the schools in Jonesborough became integrated sooner than any other in Washington County, thanks to the determination of Alfred Greenlee, and the friendship he had with the school’s principal; a young mother who bakes bread for the Union soldiers when they set up camp in town; remembrances from the old Jackson Theater; a train trip to California that doesn’t live up to expectations; the coming of electricity, the preservation movement, and many more.

The play will be directed by Jules Corriere, who, along with her partner in Community Performance, International, Richard Owen Geer, directed the play the first time it was presented. The show will be performed once more at the McKinney Center. The original production took place at the center before the renovation, and served to kick-off the McKinney Center’s new life as a building for art making in the community.

In addition to Corriere, the production team will include Phyllis Fabozzi as the stage manager, who also held this position during the initial production; artist David Kehs as the set designer; Kevin Glasper will choreograph; Karen Elb will designing lights; and Brett McCluskey will serve as music director and accompanist.  Most of the production team will be on hand during auditions, giving actors an opportunity to meet and get to know the team they will be working with.

For more information about auditions, please contact Jules Corriere at or call 423-794-6320.

Overmountain Men continue on their journey

The Overmountain Men continued their tradition this year.


Associate Editor

The annual recreation of the Overmountain men’s historic march to King’s Mountain attracted 15,000 visitors in 2017. Steve Ricker, Interpreter for the Overmountain Victory Trail Association, said approximately two-thirds of the visitors were school children.

Programs offered by the OVTA are designed to “Keep the story of the Revolutionary War Battle alive.

“It is one of the most amazing stories in American history,” said Ricker, a Greene County resident who walked the trail for the 11th time this year. “King’s Mountain is one of history’s greatest untold stories. Most people do not realize that more Revolutionary War battles were fought in South Carolina than anywhere else.”

Doug Ledbetter, an OVTA member and owner of the Gillispie Stone House in Limestone, said members stopped by the Christopher Taylor House in Jonesborough this year on their way to the Overmountain Men’s muster at Sycamore Shoals State Park. He recalled an incident in past years where he and other Trail Association members were on top of Roan Mountain when they were observed by people hiking the Appalachian Trail.

“We were dressed out with our guns,” he said. “They (the hikers) thought we had come out of the mists [of history].”

Ledbetter is currently engaged with Jerry Dykes, owner of the site of John Sevier’s residence in Washington County, in preparing a monument in honor of Sevier.

The tide of the Revolution had turned against the colonists in 1780. American forces crumbled at the battle of Camden. However, beginning in September of that year, frontiersmen of the western mountains began a long march to the battle site.

At King’s Mountain in South Carolina, they destroyed British forces and opened the way for the final American victory at Yorktown.

The victory trail begins in Abingdon, Virginia with the main muster of forces taking place at Sycamore Shoals in Carter County. At 2 p.m. on Monday, September 25th of this year, members of the Trail Association recreated the crossing on the same date in 1780.

On that date, Col. William Campbell and 400 mounted militiamen from Abingdon crossed the Watauga River at Sycamore Shoals and joined Colonels Isaac Shelby and John Sevier in response to a threat from British Major Patrick Ferguson to invade what is now East Tennessee.

Sycamore Shoals hosted a two-day event that included militia instruction, the women’s role on the 18th-century frontier, martial music provided by the Watauga Valley Fifes and Drums, firearms demonstrations, trail talks, and the story of gunpowder maker Mary Patton.

More than 300 people witnessed the programs at Sycamore Shoals including a number of children from the Elizabethton and Carter County Schools. Students gathered at various locations including 858 at the Gilbertown, North Carolina camp site and 900 at the grave site of Robert Sevier, John Sevier’s brother. The grave is located on a mine site in Spruce Pine, N.C. where the owners close their operation for the day and provide lunch for the children who arrive from the neighboring county schools.

Victory Trail Association members set up instructional stations for the children at each location they stop for the day. The children learn about the frontiersmen’s weapons, the role of women, clothing, food used for cooking, and fire starting.

A number of students who attend the instructional sessions are in the fourth, fifth and eighth grades. They ask the re-enactors if they fought in the battle. They want the frontiersmen to fire their weapons, which they do at each of the instructional camp sites.

“The children enjoy getting out of classes to attend our sessions,” Ledbetter said. Both Ledbetter and Ricker were excited that the number of persons attending Trail Association programs this year exceeded the 2016 total of 14,000 by 1,000 persons. In addition to the student presentations, members of the Association present campfire programs for adults during the journey each September from Virginia, through Tennessee and North Carolina to South Carolina.

In past years, the Trail Association has received a $50,000 grant from the Coca-Cola Company and two $12,000 grants from the Disney Corporation in support of their mission to tell students about the Battle of King’s Mountain and the Revolutionary War.

“It was the first civil war in America,” Ledbetter said. “It pitted the Loyalists against the Patriots.” He added, “Thomas Jefferson called the battle a turning point in the Revolutionary War.”

The Battle of King’s Mountain took place on October 7, 1780. A force of 900 militia men wiped out Ferguson’s Army, killing him and taking over 500 prisoners. The Overmountain Victory Trail Association was formed in 1975 and has some 500 members from across the nation.

It is 258 miles from Abingdon to King’s Mountain. Some 30 to 40 members of the OVTA travel the entire distance each year. This year the group added crossing of both the Holston and Catawba Rivers to their march. The group assists the National Park Service in obtaining trail easements for the route. Nearly all the roads, historic sites, and trail segments are on state, county, city or privately owned lands. The group does not walk the entire distance but uses vans to assist in the march. For more information about the journey, consult

Using today’s highway system, the National Park has mapped out an auto route that follows the path of the militia as closely as possible with some exceptions.

Both Ledbetter and Ricker said they were thrilled to visit the new Revolutionary War Museum in Yorktown, Virginia. The museum opened in 2016. The two represented North Carolina in the 13-day opening celebration since this area of Tennessee was part of NC during the Revolution. The two also visited a museum opening in Philadelphia. There they told officials about their involvement with King’s Mountain. Ricker said he told museum personnel concerning the Revolutionary Battles that took place in the North, “You fought for five years, beginning with King’s Mountain; we put and end to the war in a year and 12 days.”

For school groups wanting a program and people interested in joining the Overmountain Men Victory Trail Association, Ledbetter’s Internet address is:

Rehearsals underway for senior performance of ‘Not All That I Carry’

Members of the “Not All That I Carry” cast practice during rehearsals at the Jonesborough Senior Center.


Staff Writer

When those who are performing in the play “Not All That I Carry” step on the stage at the Jonesborough Senior Center, they aren’t just playing a character — they’re telling the story of someone’s life.

And come showtime on Thursday Nov. 16, that someone will just happen to be sitting in the audience.

The play is comprised of real stories from real people in the Jonesborough community. The stories were collected as part of the Jonesborough Story Initiative, which revolved around collecting the community’s stories in order to archive them. After senior members of the community recorded their stories for the initiative, McKinney Center Director of Outreach Programming Jules Corriere molded the stories of heartache, happiness and hardship from decades passed into a one-act play that will be performed for the community.

McKinney Center Director of Outreach Programming Jules Corriere, who is also a playwright, wrote the play based on true stories from Jonesborough residents.

“This what I’ve devoted my life’s work to: going in and collecting real stories from real people,” Corriere said. “The stories are amazing and extraordinary and I think if we know who we come from, we can draw strength from the people that have come before us. So these stories carry survival value with them. It carries not only our heritage and our culture, but it carries the wisdom and the strength that they had that can allow us to move forward in our own lives.”

Corriere, who has been a playwright for over 20 years, said it was no task naming the play. The idea struck her after one man, who was a part of the Battle of the Bulge — the U.S. Army’s largest battle of World War II — shared his story. Though he talked about the event, he still held onto that which was just too difficult to discuss.

“The very first interview that I did was with 91-year-old Vern Dauerty who was at the Battle of The Bulge. He’s rarely talked about it, but he decided it was time now. When the recording was over, he came up to me and he goes, ‘That’s the story that I wanted to tell — but it’s not all that I carry.’ And when he said that, I knew it had to be the title of the show.

“That sentiment is, I’m sure, what a lot of our elders and seniors are feeling right now. Each of them are carrying so many more stories than we even think about them holding. We only see a little bit of it so we see some of their story, but we don’t see all that they carry.”

The stories in the play range from lighthearted look backs at youthful love to the hardships of loss in America’s war-eras. The stories tell of our country’s, and more specifically, our region’s history throughout World War II and other significant periods, but no matter the subject, the play focuses on the true stories of real people.

The people whose stories will be shared on stage will also be honored at the end of the play, which only adds to the strength of the production, Corriere said.

“Those people are going to be sitting in the audience — and that’s powerful. Theatre is always powerful when it presents a powerful story,” the director said, “but what I think is powerful about this is that the story we’re presenting is about our own friends and our own neighbors, and to recognize their own value and their contributions to their community and to their country.”

Cast member Lee Clements gets into her character during an emotional scene.

For cast member Lee Clements, her part of the story, which tells of a woman’s love for her youngest child, is a moving part of the production.

“Jules assigned the parts so that’s the one she gave me,” Clements said. “Then when I found out about it, it was really powerful and emotional because I know the person that it’s about. So knowing her personally and knowing it’s her story makes it really special and touching.

“That’s why I get so nervous. I want it to honor her and the love she has for her youngest, Caleb.”

Though her main objective is to honor her friend and her story, the cast member is also hoping the show will bridge generational gaps for members of the audience.

“It will also help connect us with the emotions we have and the experiences we’ve had,” Clements said. “Hopefully people of all ages will be able to identify with them. Whether they’re kids or contemporaries, they’ll say, ‘Yeah, I remember that,’ ‘I’ve had that similar experience,’ or ‘Oh I didn’t know they felt that way.’ Hopefully it will connect people of all generations and bring people together and help them understand people from different generations.”

As for cast member Carole Hilemon, who plays multiple parts in the production, the show may not be a direct story from her life, but she too understands memories of the past and what it means to be able to share those stories.

“My brother didn’t like to talk about Vietnam when he came back. I remember that. My mother and I lived together and we had a little two-bedroom, tiny little mobile home and my brother got to get my room. It was my room that he took over. But I remember the wind was blowing and our front door just slammed open — my brother was just up out of that bed, and he was like this,” Hilemon said, her arms up as if she were holding a military rifle. “I just thought, ‘Wow, there’s something inside there that he’s not talking about.’”

“So it brings back a lot of memories for me. I can’t relate to the people, but I can relate it to what’s happened in my life.”

The play, Hilemon said, also made her wish she could hear the stories of her family and collect them as a personal archive of stories that aren’t lost to time.

The cast comes together to perform a moving portion of the play.

“It brings people closer, even if I don’t know them,” she said. “It’s really an interesting thing to know about people’s past. I wish I knew more about my mother and my father, my granny, my grandfather. I wish I would have known more about them. So if there’s any story that I’d like to tell people it’d be that while they’re still living, talk to them. Write it down, get that history.”

As for Corriere, she’s not just hoping to honor the lives of the characters and real-life people featured in the play; the playwright is also hoping to inspire others to share their stories — and to not carry them alone.

“What I hope it does is to encourage people to also tell their stories. They’re a piece of our culture, our history and our past that we want to carry forward,” Corriere said. “We’re quickly losing the generation of World War II and we want to really capture that story. We hope that this encourages other people to share their stories and to recognize everybody else’s story. Everybody has a story.”

DCHS Spanish Club goes global

The Pulsera Project at David Crockett High School has spotlighted worker’s rights while also raising money and awareness for Central America and it’s workers.


Special to the H&T

During the last two weeks of October, student volunteers at David Crockett High School expanded their reach to people in Central America through The Pulsera Project.

Students in the Spanish Club and Spanish Honor Society arrived at school early and sacrificed part of their lunchtime to sell the bracelets, called pulseras. This is the first time Crockett students have tackled this service project.

“I think it’s a good cause,” said Spanish Club Student Council Representative Dakota Hammonds. “All the money goes to help Central American countries, and I think the bracelets are pretty cool. I like that they’re handwoven.”

The Pulsera Project is a non-profit organization that employs nearly 200 independent artists in Nicaragua and Guatemala to make these bracelets.

The pulseras are intricately handwoven and often brightly colored. Like the artists who make them, no two pulseras are the same.

From brown and black leather to shades of blue, purple, neon yellow and green thread, the artists use a diverse palette to create angular designs, stripes, and the occasional animal. Each one takes about an hour to make, and is then tagged with the artist’s picture, signature and goals.

The project was also an opportunity to learn about life in these countries, and the students surrounded their selling table with educational displays to inform classmates about the programs The Pulsera Project supports. A poster advertising the sale featured two pulsera-adorned hands shaking, a symbol of cooperation and friendship.

“Kids in Central America need scholarships to go to high school,” Hammonds said as one of the key things he has learned.

The pulseras sell for $5 each, which not only pays the artists but also helps to fund other programs that aim to improve access to housing and education in their communities.

“It benefits everyone who’s touched by the project in a way that’s going to be ongoing, as opposed to something that’s a one-time handout,” said Spanish teacher Hope Pritchard.

For Crockett students, participating in The Pulsera Project offers a chance for students to act as what Pritchard called “global citizens.”

Participating students volunteered their time to sell the pulseras, and some even checked out bracelets to sell outside of school.

The Pulsera Project bracelets have information about those who made the hand-crafted accessory.

“It’s not a fundraiser,” said Pritchard, meaning that neither the Spanish Club or Honor Society will receive any money from the sale. “It’s nothing but a global service project. One of the things the Spanish Honor Society believes in doing is global assistance.”

Although pulseras are the main focus, Crockett also received small bags, called bolsitas, to sell. The bolsitas are square pouches with a woven outer layer featuring vertical stripes and fringe at the bottom. The bags are handmade in Guatemala and come in both muted shades and bright neon colors.

According to the organization’s website, The Pulsera Project partnered with almost 600 schools in 2016 to sell more than 130,000 pulseras and almost 5,000 bags. Since its founding in 2009, the non-profit group has raised almost $3 million.

Crockett students aimed to add another $500 to that total.

“If we can help a couple of kids go to college or high school even, that’s well worth the money,” Pritchard said.

To learn more about The Pulsera Project, visit

Fenders Farm honors county rivalry

Fenders Farm is honoring the Washington County rivalry in its maze design this fall.


Staff Writer

Folks in Washington County get caught up in the old Daniel Boone and David Crockett High School rivalry, but now, you can actually get lost in it.

Fenders Farm is celebrating the Washington County match up with eight-acre corn maze cut in the design of a Boone and Crockett helmet for their 2017.

Though the farm has had designs that honored St. Jude, breast cancer awareness and the shriner organization, this is the first year owner and operator Carroll Fender has ever chosen a Musket Bowl-themed cut trail.

“We just decided to go this direction this year,” Fender said. “The time just seemed to be right to honor these two schools and their great rivalry since 1972.”

Fender is no stranger to the across county match up; he coached basketball and track and also cross country and baseball from 1974 to 2005. Though he spent six years coach in North Carolina, he finally came back to his roots by coaching at Lamar and David Crockett — and back to rivalry each Washington County team looks forward to each season.

“I spent 11 years trying to get back to my home school that I graduated from,” Fender said. “Clarence Mabe and I battled hard on the basketball court when I coached. And Gray and Lamar were very fierce competitors and were always thorns in each other’s sides.”

Not only is the former Pioneer coach proud to represent Crockett in his two and a half mile cut trail on his farm, but he also recognizes the honor it is to also represent the across town rival.

“We have close ties with a lot of people from Daniel Boone also,” Fender explained. “Jerry Jenkins and I taught together and we are very close friends. His sons and my daughter grew up together.. So we have close ties to both sides. It’s as much of an honor to honor one side as it is the other.”

The farm, complete with its new and classic haunted-attractions like Field of Screams and a zombie paintball tour, shares the same season with the Blazer and Pioneer teams. Though the maze celebrates the rivalry, Fender said his schedule doesn’t allow his family to actually attend the game.

“We only have six to seven weeks to market what we work on the whole year and  that just happens to be during football season, he said. “It’ll be so crazy on Friday night when the Musket Bowl is being played that I couldn’t tell you my name.

“If they want us to go to the Musket Bowl, they’d have to play it in November,” he added, laughing.

Though the Fenders likely won’t be able to catch any Friday night football games, the farm owner realizes what the game means to so many in the community.

“It certainly means a lot to the people in this area,” Fender said. “I realize there are people who go to a lot  of football games in a year, but there are a lot of people who will only go to one football game — and that will be the musket bowl.

“It’s a big deal.”

For more information on Fenders Farm, visit or call (423)753-4469.

Fields of Faith event comes to Grandview athletic facility


The eighth annual Fields of Faith event was held on Wednesday Oct. 4 at Grandview Elementary.

Fields of Faith is a night of worship that takes place on an athletic field.Fields of Faith is a student led event. It’s a night of worship that takes place on usually, a football field. Students invite, pray for, share with and challenge their peers to read the Bible and follow Jesus Christ. 

An athletic field provides a neutral, rally point where a community can come together.

Over 200 were in attendance for the faith-based event. At least eight people dedicated their lives to God at the event.

Billy Wayne from the Lamplight Theatre was the guest speaker. David Crockett student Kara Weems shared a song with the crowd. Weems is also a member of the Lady Pioneer volleyball and softball teams.

Fields of Faith got its start in 2002, Oklahoma Fellowship of Christian Athletes Area Director, Jeff Martin, prayed about what to do with his heartfelt frustration regarding the temptations and spiritual battles facing “spectator generation” youth. He took what he found in 2 Chronicles 34 for the answer. King Josiah, an influential teenager, gathered his people and challenged them to read God’s Word.

In 2004, The Josiah-influenced dream transpired when more than 6,000 students gathered on school athletic fields throughout Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas for Fields of Faith. Through the student led events, more than 100 students made decisions for Christ. Since that day hundreds of thousands of people have attended Fields of Faith. To find a Field of Faith event near you go to

History Happy Hour celebrates a special fossil-themed event

The fossil-themed History Happy Hour is coming to town on Oct. 26.


Come join the Heritage Alliance and the Chester Inn on Oct. 26 for the next to last History Happy Hour for 2017

Dr. Steven Wallace from the ETSU Geoscience Department and the Gray Fossil Site will be talking about the natural history of the region including Red Pandas.

The program will be on Thursday Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough. It is free and open to the public.

History Happy Hour is a community program in its first year.

It is presented by the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum in Jonesborough and features presentations on a wide range of local, regional, and national history topics.

This month’s program focuses on natural history in East Tennessee which is an area of specialty for the Fossil Site and Museum in Gray.

The site is an active Miocene-era fossil dig site dating back to 4.5-7 million years ago. It is one of the region’s best educational resources, but it is also a major national and international research facility.

For more information on the Chester Inn Museum, History Happy Hour, or the Heritage Alliance please call our office at 423.753.9580 or the Chester Inn Museum at 423.753.4580.

You can also contact the organization via email at  Additional information about the Heritage Alliance and its mission can be found online at

Be sure to follow the Chester Inn and Heritage Alliance Facebook pages for updates about events at the Chester Inn and other Heritage Alliance programs.