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Second annual Joshua Mabe Memorial Scholarship Ride set for June 22

SNEEDVILLE — The second annual Joshua Mabe Memorial Scholarship Ride, coming up on Sat., June 22, will again raise money to fund scholarships for deserving seniors at Hancock County High School.

Capt. Tony Seal, of the Hancock Co. Rescue Squad, told the Eagle that the annual motorcycle event is sponsored by Overhome Riders in memory of the 34-year old Tennessee Highway Patrol Sergeant who lost his life in a tragic farming accident on his family’s farm in Sneedville on June 6, 2015.

A 10-year veteran of the THP, Mabe was chosen to join the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Training Center as a trooper cadet in 2005. After graduation, he began work as in the Fall Branch District Post.

He was named “Fall Branch District Trooper of the Year” in 2008 for his efforts in the field and also because of how highly he was respected and loved by his fellow co-workers.

Mabe served on the THP’s Strike Team and Operation Desert Snow and, just prior to his death, had been promoted to Sergeant over Grainger County.

He left behind a wife, and a then-five year old daughter.

“We’re hoping this year we’ll raise enough to be able to help two seniors next year,” Seal said.

The $500 scholarships are funded through $10 per bike entry fees, and a $10 per plate cost for lunches that are served afterward.

Seal said that registration will begin that morning at 9 a.m., at the Rescue Squad building in Sneedville, with the ride leaving at 11 a.m.

The three- to four-hour ride will end at Stoney Gap Church where a delicious dinner of fish or chicken (with fries and cole slaw) will be available.

“Last year we had about 80 to 90 bikers,” Seal said. “We’re really hoping to have more than that this year because every penny of the money is going to a really good cause.”

Even if persons cannot ride, freewill donations will gladly be accepted at Civis Bank through the Joshua Mabe Scholarship Fund, Seal said.

For more information, readers may call Seal at 423-300-7751, Rick Eldridge at 423-300-8568, or Kenneth Mabe at 423-526-8180.

Rick Campbell to headline Beans & Bluegrass benefit

SNEEDVILLE — If good food, good music, good fellowship and helping out a deserving community volunteer organization are your ‘cup of tea’ then the Sneedville/Hancock Co. Chamber of Commerce has an event you should not miss.

The sixth annual “Beans & Bluegrass” event will be held Friday, June 28, from 5 until 9 p.m., at the Sneedville Community Center.

Live bands will be on hand complete with guitars, banjos, fiddles, picking and singing some of the best bluegrass music this side of Nashville.

Featured entertainer Rick Campbell is a native of Sneedville and certainly no stranger to the local music scene, having performed before at the annual Fall Festival and other events.

Food will be available, including soup beans, cornbread, hot dogs, desserts and soft drinks.

Admission is $5 per person with proceeds this year going to benefit the Hancock Co. Rescue Squad.

Susan Olson with the Chamber, told the Eagle that this will be the sixth year that the event has been held.

“We always donate to some non-profit organization,” she said, adding that the event actually began as a way to raise money to pay for Fourth of July fireworks.

Benefit basketball game promises lots of laughs, fun

SNEEDVILLE — “If you want to have a big laugh at some of us folks who really don’t have no business trying to play ball at our age, come on out, it’s gonna be a big, fun show!” said Tony Seal with the Hancock County Rescue Squad.

Seal was talking about a basketball game being hosted by several local agencies to raise money for the Christmastime “Shop With A Cop” program, whereby money is provided for needy children to go gift shopping with a local law enforcement officer.

The game is set for Saturday, June 29, at 5 p.m., at the new Hancock Co. High School gym.

Admission is $2 per person but additional donations at the door will gladly be accepted with every penny going to the purchase of gifts for children who might otherwise receive no presents at Christmas.

“We just feel like its a good thing to do,” Seal said. “These kids can’t help their circumstances and its real hard on these little ones to not have anything at Christmas.”

Participating in the games will be members of the Hancock Co. Rescue Squad, Sheriff’s Department, EMS, volunteer fire departments from Vardy-Blackwater, Sneedville, Treadway and Chestnut Ridge, County Mayor Thomas Harrison and Circuit Court Clerk Micah Wallen.

“We just want people to come out, have a good time, help us raise money, and laugh all they want to at us!” he said. “That’s what this is all about, helping kids and having a good time.”

Memorial to Troy Williams planned in Vardy Community

VARDY COMMUNITY — A memorial service for the late Troy Williams will be held Saturday, June 22, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Vardy Presbyterian Church Museum on Vardy-Blackwater Road.

The memorial to Williams, who died on Jan. 11, 2019, will include the the sharing of memories and tributes to a man who dedicated much of his time to the preservation of local history.

The public is cordially invited to attend.

DRIVERS, PUT DOWN THAT CELL PHONE! New state law goes into effect on July 1

NASHVILLE — If you own and use a cell phone while in your vehicle, be forewarned — a new law goes into effect on July 1 that provides ticketed fines for not only texting and driving, but for holding and talking on the phone while driving.

Public Chapter #412, Tennessee’s new “Hands Free” law, requires drivers to put down their phones and focus on the road.

The law makes it a ticketed violation for drivers to be observed by law enforcement officials:

• Holding a cell phone or mobile device with ANY PART of the body;

• Writing, sending, or reading any text-based communication;

• Reaching for a cell phone or mobile device that requires the driver to no longer be in a seated driving position or properly restrained by a seat belt;

• Watching a video or movie on a cell phone or other mobile device; and,

• Recording or broadcasting a video on a cell phone or mobile device.

According to state officials, in Tennessee in 2018, there were more than 24,600 auto accidents that involved drivers who were distracted because of cell phone/mobile device use.

On an average, more than 67 cell phone-distracted crashes occur every single day in the state, which also has the highest rate of distracted driver deaths in the nation, some five times the national average.

Here are the statistics from the Tenn. Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security for distracted driving crashes in northeast Tennessee from 2009-2019 to-date:

• Hawkins — 706;

• Hancock — 47;

• Hamblen — 813;

• Grainger — 193;

• Sullivan — 4,826; and,

• Greene — 1,768.

Statewide in the past 10 years, more than 209,000 distracted driving crashes have occurred. Those figures do not include crashes that happened on private property, parking lots, or those with less than $400 in damage, so the actual numbers could be significantly higher when those are taken into account.

Violations of the law are Class C Misdemeanors, which come with a moving traffic violation citation.

First- and second- time offenders will be fined $50; third-time offenders or higher, of if the violation results in a crash, will face $100 fines; while $200 fines will be assessed if the violation occurs in a work zone while workers are present, and in a marked school zone while flashers are in operation.

The law allows some exceptions, including for police officers, campus police and other safety officers, emergency medical technicians, paramedics and firefighters while on duty and in the discharge of their responsibilities; and, persons who have need to use the device to communicate with law enforcement, medical providers, fire departments, or other bonafide emergency service providers in the event of an actual emergency, whether man-made or naturally occurring, that threatens human life, health, or property.

It also does not apply to persons who are lawfully stopped or parked in their vehicles or who leave standing their vehicles.

A driver is permitted to use an earpiece, headphone device, or device worn on a wrist to conduct voice-based communication. The driver may use one button on a cell phone or mobile device to initiate or terminate voice communication. Voice-based communication may also be used to send a text message.

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