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Player of the Week

This week’s Paul Peavyhouse Player of the Week is Crockett’s Edison Gouge. Edison provided the Pioneers with a final …

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Write-in option sparks social media discussion


Staff Writer

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Chuck Vest’s name will be the only one on the Nov. 3 ballot for Jonesborough Mayor, but one downtown business owner might receive some votes as a write-in.

Though Vest, the current mayor for the Town of Jonesborough, is running unopposed, some residents, like Jonesborough resident Nathan Gross, plan to write in Eureka Innkeeper Katelyn Yarbrough for Jonesborough Mayor.

“I thought about the people who were in the community and had a vested interest,” Gross said, referring to when he asked for Yarbrough’s permission to write her in. “I have a lot of respect for Katelyn and she was the first person I thought of.”

If Yarbrough were to receive the most votes against the incumbent mayor, however, she wouldn’t be able to accept the role. 

Tennessee Code Annotated 2-7-133 (i) says anyone trying to be elected as a write-in must give notice to the county election commission 50 days before the primary or 50 days before a general election. Yarbrough did not submit her petition to the county election commission.

Gross said he opted for a write-in because he doesn’t agree with the current mayor’s posts on social media regarding Jonesborough.

“I’ve seen this trend where he is promoting the area in a specific light that I feel is unfavorable towards people with a more progressive mindset,” Gross said, “and with some hostility towards that group of people.”

Vest said he thinks the write-in conversation mostly started as a reaction to his conservative political views.

“They don’t like the fact that I said I think local government needs good, conservative leaders,” Vest said. “They don’t like that I support my president.”

Vest has been the Jonesborough Mayor since he was appointed in 2018, when Kelly Wolfe stepped down from the position.

Vest feels that Jonesborough’s strong police department is one reason some have taken issue with him as the mayor.

“The Town of Jonesborough has a successful and an excellent police department,” Vest said. “I guess they don’t like that we operate that ourselves and we don’t need suggestions from outside groups.”

Gross — who has a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice as well as one in psychology, along with a master’s degree in emergency management and homeland security — said he is not against the police, but is also in support of those who wish to discuss “police standards.”

“In Jonesborough, we do have an excellent group of police officers,” Gross said. “In general, they do a great job. But I think we can still be leaders as far as promoting good police standards.”

Apart from social media, Gross said he had no other problems with Vest as far as town issues were concerned.

Vest added that he supported the voters’ right to opt for a write-in, though he felt that Yarbrough could have put her name on the ballot. 

“People are free to (vote for a write-in) all they want,” Vest said. “If she had wanted to serve the people, she could have easily run for alderman. She could have run for mayor. Why we’re giving someone attention who had the opportunity to run, I’m not quite sure.”

Yarbrough is the co-owner and operator of the Eureka Inn along with her husband, Blake. She is also the chairwoman of the New Generation Freedom Fighters and has served on Jonesborough’s Main Street Board, the advisory board for the McKinney Center Diversity and Equity Committee, along with other community boards and organizations.

Yarbrough considered running in the ongoing Jonesborough Alderman race, but yielded as incumbent Terry Countermine ran for reelection.

“I was going to run for alderman only because I thought Terry was going to retire,” Yarbrough said. “But Terry is fired up and wants to run, so I stepped aside. I took a candidate training course and everything so I was fully prepared to get my petition in by the deadline.”

Though she wouldn’t be able to accept the role as mayor, she feels the write-in conversation reveals there are views that aren’t solely conservative in Jonesborough.

“The polarization that always comes with big election years is really sinking in here in Jonesborough,” Yarbrough said. “(The Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Alderman) is a nonpartisan representation of our town … I think it shines a light that there is a portion of the Jonesborough population that feels we are not being represented by those that are in power.”

As for social media, Yarbrough feels that anyone in the mayor’s position should refrain from political posts on a personal account. She suggested Jonesborough establish a Jonesborough Mayor Facebook that can offer the “mayor’s voice for the town” on social media.

“If I were serving in a nonpartisan seat, I definitely would scale things back,” Yarbrough said. “I wouldn’t necessarily be posting on my own private Facebook anything that would cause someone to maybe feel ostracized or othered.”

Jonesborough Senior Center reopens today



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Jonesborough’s Senior Center is opening back up today.

“We are thrilled,” said Center Director Mary Regen on Tuesday just prior to Wednesday’s reopening. “Even though we’re going to have to change how we do things,  I think we were all so excited to be able to do what we are here to do.”

That mission, according to Regen, is to help meet the needs of area seniors, from educational to medical to social.

And while the center has stayed busy providing as many services they could, from meal delivery to online fitness classes, it hasn’t quite been the same.

“It’s not the same as people being here,” Regen said. “We have a lot of people that this was the main part of their day.

“This has really become a family to them.”

That family atmosphere was severely curtailed in March when the ongoing COVID pandemic forced the center to temporarily close its doors.

“It was just sudden,” Regen recalled. “One minute you’re open and then the world shut down.”

When Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee issued the executive order allowing  senior centers in the state to reopen, Regen said staff and local seniors were more than ready to return to a new “normal.”  

“Our phone has been ringing off the hook,” she said.

Still, Regen stressed, that doesn’t mean a return to business as usual.

“For us, it’s all about taking baby steps,” she said. “We are in this together.”

Online options will still be available for seniors more comfortable at home, Regen promised. She also said the center will be ready to adapt procedures as needed as they move forward. 

Here are a few of the guidelines:

• Beginning on Oct. 14, the center will open in a reduced capacity, with social distancing, mandatory masks and sanitizing efforts in place. 

• Hours will be Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to allow for additional cleaning.

• Prior to entry into the center, participants will have their temperature taken and will be asked a series of questions.

• The center is asking anyone who has had a fever in the last 48 hours, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell or anyone that has experienced diarrhea or vomiting in the last 24 hours to refrain from visiting the center until those symptoms are resolved.

•  The Fitness Center will be open appointment only, from 8 a.m. to noon and from  1 to 4 p.m. 

•  Contact the front desk  at (423) 753-4781 to schedule a time slot.

 • The access will be in 45-minute intervals in groups of five. One fitness class will be offered per day and participants will need to sign for the class. Social distancing will be required. Only 10 people will be allowed per class, with online classes still provided. 

• The computer room will be open and available, as well as ping pong, shuffleboard and billiards, with two people per table. Please schedule billiard use with the front desk. 

• Congregate drive-thru meals will still be provided at 11:30 a.m. No meals may be consumed in the center at this time. 

For more information, call (423) 753-4781.

Boone defeats Volunteer, prepares for Cocke County


H&T Correspondent

Daniel Boone’s football team appears to be getting dialed in for a potentially memorable run.

The Trailblazers improved to 2-1 in Region 1-5A and 3-3 overall with a 37-13 win against an improved Volunteer (1-3, 2-5) on Friday in Church Hill.

The Trailblazers will host Cocke County this week before traveling to David Crockett for the 50th annual Musket Bowl on Oct. 23. The Pioneers (3-0, 5-2) have a key matchup at Tennessee High (4-0, 5-2) on Friday.

Daniel Boone senior running back Brennan Blair had another productive game at Volunteer and is quickly approaching his second straight 1,000-yard season. Blair ran for more than 1,200 yards last season after running backs Charlie Cole and Devon White sustained respective early season and preseason injuries.

His 197-yard, two-touchdown performance at Volunteer gives him 950 yards rushing on 170 carries this season. He’s rushed for seven TDs.

Blair opened the game’s scoring with a 20-yard TD run with 9:12 left in the first quarter, and his 6-yard TD run gave the Trailblazers a 23-0 lead with 8:27 left in the third quarter.

In between, Boone got a safety and a 12-yard TD pass from Jackson Jenkins to Phillip Page. Jenkins’ completions included a 34-yarder to Kaleb Worley, who made a difficult diving catch.

After Volunteer got on the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter, Hagen Edwards ran for a 1-yard TD with 7:43 left in the fourth quarter. Less than two minutes later, Boone’s Ashton Church grabbed the blocked punt and ran 13 yards for the ‘Blazers’ final score.

Ben Shrewsbury was 5-for-5 on PAT kicks.

“We were really efficient offensively in taking what the defense gave us,” Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “We really challenged our running backs to run more physical, and both Brennan and Hagen did so. It was the best game we have covered kicks all year. 

“Micah Manship and Aiden Riner made several plays on special teams. And on defense our defensive ends Will Hamlin and Luke Scott controlled the line of scrimmage.”

Boone might be tempted to peek ahead to the Musket Bowl while preparing for Cocke County (1-2, 2-5), which is coached by former East Tennessee State receiver Scotty Dykes.

“Cocke County has lots of athletes on offense and the most size that we will see up front,” Jenkins said. “They have an athletic quarterback who has several receivers with great size. We will have to tackle well in space and not give up big plays.”

Dykes is impressed with the Trailblazers, particularly their ground game.

“The running game of Boone is one of the best I’ve seen,” Dykes said. “Blair is super-elusive and a big-time back, and the o-line is as good as last year’s, which all of the experience they have up front makes that understandable. 

“I think the quarterback and receivers are underrated as well. It will be a huge challenge this week to keep them under control.”

Hagen Edwards and Bo Newton lead Boone’s defense with 47 and 38 tackles, respectively. Hamlin has five tackles for loss, including three sacks, and Scott has five sacks and two forced fumbles.

Jenkins is 56 of 111 passing for 708 yards, eight TDs and four interceptions. Page leads Boone with 18 receptions for 285 yards and five TDs.

David Crockett will look to avenge a loss to Tennessee High last year when it visits the Stone Castle on Friday in a battle for first place in Region 1-5A.

The Vikings are led by athletic skill players such as Division I prospect Jaden Keller and Isaiah Smith.

“It seems like every time you look back there they’ve got a different one coming at you,” Crockett coach Hayden Chandley said. “They just kind of put the freshest one in there and they hit you with it. They do a good job up front of giving you some different schemes, you know, getting a hat on a hat in different ways. 

“When you’ve got a pool of backs like they do, that can hit you from different directions with different guys and you can keep those guys fresh, that’s just an added element that you’ve gotta prepare for defensively.”

Chandley is also impressed with the Vikings’ defense, which includes Smith and Keller in the back end and inside linebackers Bryce Snyder and Connor Bailey.

Tennessee High coach Mike Mays said the Vikings will have their hands full with the likes of Notre Dame commitment Prince Kollie and offensive lineman Tony Davis.

“Kollie is a special player that is extremely competitive,” Mays said. “He’s big, strong, has great balance, and he’s a very smart football player. They play him in a number of positions. So knowing where he is all the time and being able to tackle him is very important. …

“Big Tony (Davis) is also a very special player. Big, fast, and very athletic for someone who is 6-foot-3, 290. They have a big o-line that moves people off the ball and a very active defense, not to mention they’re well-coached.”

Kollie has 88 carries for 844 yards and 12 TDs. He also completed 10-of-14 passes while playing a lot of quarterback early in the season.

Quarterback Mason Britton is 44 of 86 passing for 474 yards, two TDs and three interceptions. Brayden Reid has team highs in receptions (14) and receiving yards (205) and TD receptions (two).

Kollie also leads the Pioneers with 49 tackles. Johnny Loyd and Brenden Reid have 35 and 34 tackles, respectively.

“The (Reid) twins are very good football players as well,” Mays said. “They are very athletic and elusive.”

Loyd leads the Pioneers with four sacks. Tony Davis and Damian Vance have two apiece. Jordan Williams has recovered two fumbles and forced a fumble.

Chandley has stressed physicality during the Pioneers’ consecutive off weeks.

“We challenged our kids and we’ve told ‘em the most physical team is gonna win this game,” said Chandley, who is optimistic that the layoff can provide more positives than negatives. “We hope there’s more rest than rust.”

Crockett defeated Tennessee High twice and won the league in 2018 and the Vikings got a measure of revenge with a win in Jonesborough en route to a regional title last year.

“It’s gonna be a battle for us,” Mays said. “It will take all we have for 48 minutes or more to have a chance. Gonna be a great atmosphere in the Castle Friday and we are looking forward to the tremendous challenge.”