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CHURCH HILL / MOUNT CARMEL — Church Hill has been named the safest city in the entire state of Tennessee, with Mount Carmel coming in fifth place.

“We’re honored that we got that award,” Church Hill Police Chief Chad Mosley said. “Everyone at the Police Department and the BMA are so proud of it. We have a great town to work and live in.”

“We are extremely proud to be number five in the state,” Mount Carmel Police Chief Ken Lunsford, Jr. added. “To be in the top five or ten is a great honor. We as police are rarely thanked for our work or really feel like our work makes a difference until to see stats like this. Then we know that all the long hours, lack of sleep, time away from our families, the sweat, blood and tears actually paid off and means something.”

This ranking is according to Security Baron, which is a “consumer-focused website dealing in matters of security,” as their site reads. Their rankings can be found at https://securitybaron.com/safe-cities/tennessee/.

Though both cities have been ranked towards the top of the charts in the past, neither had achieved first place until now.

Measuring crimeThis site used the FBI’s 2017 and 2018 Uniform Crime Reporting data to give each Tennessee city a ‘safety score,’ which measures the number of violent crimes and property crimes per 1,000 people against the population and number of households.

Church Hill boasts a safety score of 89.11. That breaks down to a population of 6,739 and 2,817 households. The number of violent crimes per 1,000 residents is only 0.74, and the number of property crimes per 1,000 residents is 4.01.

The site also noted that Church Hill’s rate of violent crime came down 1.05 points and property crime 0.16 since the site’s last data release.

Mount Carmel’s fifth place safety score is 84.7, with a population of 5,427 and 2,172 households. The town saw 2.4 violent crimes per 1,000 residents and 8.11 property crimes.

The town’s violent crime did rise by 0.56 points since the last data release, as did property crime by 1.29 points; however, this is still far lower than most Tennessee cities.

For reference, the site named Newport as the least safe city in the state, with a safety score of 17.12. That breaks down to a population of 6,816, 14.67 violent crimes per 1,000 residents and 90.23 property crimes per 1,000 residents.

Other Hawkins Co. towns such as Rogersville, Surgoinsville and Bean Station did not make the list, as the site only measured crime for towns with a population of over 5,000 people.

Keeping residents safe in Church Hill“In the end, it takes good police officers working in our area, and it takes good residents from the town to achieve this,” Mosley said. “We hope our presence in the town deters crime. We are also able to patrol more now because we are back up to full staff.”

Church Hill Mayor Dennis Deal credited the city’s status to the diligent work of the city police force.

“In the City of Church Hill, we have formed the ability to be safe because of our police officers,” Deal said. “We’ve always been supportive of our policemen, and we’re very proud of them.”

Deal also explained that Church Hill police officers, along with members of the public works and sewer department double as firemen, as the city has no full-time firemen.

“They carry two rows on their belt, and that’s a big deal,” he said. “The reason that we put that in place years ago is because they work 24/7, so they’re here when we’re home asleep. So, each policeman knows that, if they get called at 2 a.m., he needs to get a truck and get to the scene.”

He went on to credit their life-saving abilities, explaining that an off-duty police officer responded to a call and saved a man’s life a few years ago. Several members of the police force and fire department were also recently honored at October’s BMA meeting for saving a man from his burning home in August.

Deal went on to say that each member of the city’s police force is held to a high standard.

“We have rules in place, and, when we hire a police officer, we are very adamant about supporting those rules,” Deal said. “If we get someone who doesn’t follow the guidelines, we deal with that very swiftly. But we have not had anything like that in a long time.”

Both Deal and Mosley agreed that a supportive relationship between the police force and the BMA contributes to the city’s safety.

A new force in Mount Carmel“It comes down to two things: the officers and, more importantly, the community in which we strive to serve,” Lunsford said of the town’s status. “We have a great little town. Most cities and towns have a community watch in some neighborhoods, but we have an entire town. Our citizens understand that, if they see something, say something. They have done this for years. We patrol heavily but can’t be everywhere at once. That’s where the citizens come in. It’s like having a police department with over 5000 officers.”

Though many police officers in the town are new, the team is clearly headed in the right direction.

“We pretty much have a brand-new police department, except for two veterans,” Lunsford explained. “When I came aboard, we began to hire new policeman. Some worked out, and some did not and left, but I am confident in the new team we have built. This new police department is hungry, professional and caring. We all now love to come to work every day and serve our community. Our officers are pro-active in patrol — last month alone our department drove over 6000 miles. That’s a lot of driving in Mount Carmel. We are very heavy into traffic enforcement, which does not mean tickets. We are not here to write tickets, we are trying to be seen, which does tend to make people follow the law and drive safely. I don’t care if my officers write another ticket—the goal is to create a safe driving environment.”

Maintaining and moving forward“I hope that we can maintain this status,” Mosley added. “It will be tough because there are some factors that we just can’t predict. But, we’re going to keep our patrol up and keep doing the things that we’ve been doing.”

As for Mount Carmel, Lunsford explained that he, too, would love to see the town maintain their standing or even become number one in the state.

“We are going to take it slow and try to move up in the ranks,” he said. “Nothing is done overnight.”

CHES celebrates Reward School designation

CHURCH HILL ¯ “Our teachers and students have worked very hard, and that hard work has paid off,” said CHES student Brooklynn McConnell to the gathered crowd as the Reward School Celebration began.

Each CHES student and staff member had gathered in the gym last Friday morning to celebrate their school’s status as a Tennessee Reward School. Several local officials were also in attendance, such as Director of Schools Matt Hixson; Board of Education member Bob Larkins and Chair Chris Christian; and County Commissioners Larry Clonce, Mike Herrell and Keith Gibson.

CHES students love their schoolSeveral other students shared the reasons they love Church Hill Elementary.

“I think my school is the best because our teachers are so nice and really want to help us all learn,” said Jaxson Wells.

“I think Church Hill Elementary is the best because we have wonderful staff, teachers, students and principals,” said Aimee Carter.

“The reason I think my school is awesome is because of the amazing teachers in this school,” said Diedre Roller. “They make it a great learning environment.”

“I would like to thank all of our teachers and assistants for making school so much fun,” said Jack Flanary. “Our custodians make our school look amazing. The office staff makes sure our school runs smoothly. Our cafeteria ladies make us delicious food. Our nurse is always there for us when we’re sick, and a special thanks to our principals for treating everyone like family.”

CHES hears from an alumnusBOE Chair Chris Christian explained to the gathered crowd that the school’s achievement was especially exciting to him, as he attended CHES as a boy.

“I remember my first day coming into this school,” he said. “I am very honored and privileged to be standing where I am standing today — to be able to come back to a school that is very dear to me.”

He then went around the room and allowed students to guess how many schools out of the more than 1,700 in the state achieve Reward School Status, to which one student guessed five, one student guessed seven and one student guessed 1,000. He explained that only 430 achieved that status for 2019.

He also challenged each student to read at least 30 minutes each day and “always strive to be better.”

“Your hard work, your perseverance and your learning provided me the opportunity to stand here to say ‘thank you,’” he said.

“It’s everybody working in concert”“I would like to acknowledge all of the hard work that goes into becoming a reward school,” Hixson added. “As you know, it’s more than just CHES Principal Hope Malone, it’s more than just the teachers, it’s more than just the parents and it’s more than just our support staff. It’s everybody working in concert together, and it’s more than just compliance, too. Principal

Malone can set up a plan, but if people aren’t committed and don’t buy into that plan, it’s not going to come about as long-term goals, long-term successes and long-term achievements. What you have here are those things.”

He explained that, just since assuming his duties in January, he has seen CHES school students and teachers work extremely hard.

“I’ve seen them work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the vision that Ms. Malone and the leadership team have put together comes to fruition,” he said. “I see that not only in their scores, but in their willingness to have those tough conversations and come alongside each other to ask, ‘what can we do to make sure those that are not getting this concept are able to perform?’ ‘What can we do to make sure students are continually challenged?’ That’s what sets apart a reward school from all others.”

CHES hears from a commissioner“On behalf of the County Commission, I want to congratulate the students, teachers and the principal of this school,” Commissioner Larry Clonce added. “I’m very proud of them.”

He, too, challenged each student to read a little each day and shared how reading impacted one American who would go on to do great things for the country.

“I want to tell you about a man who found a book that changed his life,” Clonce said. “He was a poor boy, and he almost starved to death. His mother died when he was nine years old, and his step-mother taught him to read and write.”

One day, the young boy encountered a wagon headed west. The driver was unloading some of the wagon’s contents, as it was too heavy to carry the remainder of the trip. So, the driver told the young boy that, if he helped unload a barrel from the wagon, the boy could have what was in it.

“Inside, he found about a dozen books — one was a biography of George Washington, and another was a book of law written by a lawyer named Blackstone,” Clonce explained to the students. “He read that book every day for years. Finally, he decided he was going to go to Springfield, Illinois to find a law firm where he could practice law.”

Clonce told the students that the man he was describing was none other than Abraham Lincoln.

“That law book changed his life forever, and I know there’s a book out there for each one of you,” he said. “I want to see Hawkins Co. Schools go from having just a few schools that win an award to being number one in the state of Tennessee.”

“We couldn’t do it without you”“I worked for the Tennessee Department of Education before I came here, I have been in our 17 districts in First Tennessee, and I brag on our central office staff everywhere I go,” Principal Hope Malone said in closing. “They are amazing, and they do so much for us every single day.

After thanking those in attendance, Malone had a special message for the school’s students and staff.

“To you, boys and girls, thank you for allowing me to be your principal and come and take care of you every single day,” Malone said. “We are here for you, to help you learn and to help you be the very best citizens and boys and girls that you can be. To my staff, I thank you so much every day for all that you do for us and for these boys and girls. You’re amazing, and I think we have the best school ever.”

Cancer Suppor Group's annual Christmas Bazaar this Saturday

ROGERSVILLE — The Hawkins Co. Cancer Support Group’s annual Christmas Bazaar will be held Saturday, Nov. 16, from 10 a.m. — 3 p.m., at the National Guard Armory.

Food will be available with proceeds from HCCSG booth and food sales going to assist cancer patients in Hawkins Co.

Many vendors will be on hand with perfect gift ideas for Christmas!

Project Serve Our Soldiers sending holiday gifts to troops

ROGERSVILLE — Project Serve Our Soldiers is a community based and supported, non-profit, hosted by the American Legion Auxiliary Post #21 in Rogersville.

The mission for Project S.O.S. is to send as many holiday boxes as possible to our soldiers who are currently deployed on foreign soil. With any remaining funds, their additional goal is to try to do the same for as many of the soldiers’ families that remain here at home.

Each year the group adopts a different military unit from one of the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, with an eye toward adopting a unit that has military personnel from East Tennessee.

This year, 2019, the group has adopted the 120 soldiers of the U.S. Army Unit 655th R.S.G. which is deployed to Jordan.

Of that group, there are approximately 23 females.

“To our delight there are members of the 655th that are from Hawkins County,” a spoksesperson said. “Our main contact of the 655th has been Sgt. Ryan Sears, a 2005 graduate of Volunteer High School. Sgt. Sears’ mother, Darla Nye, is an RN at the VA in Johnson City and continues to live in Hawkins County with her family.

Sgt. Sears and Ssgt. Kenny Ling, the Assistant Chaplain to their unit, have been gathering requests from their fellow soldiers of the things they miss from home. Sgt. Sears says that he has really been craving home-made deer jerky and newer current movies that are on DVDs.

(NOTE: All CDs or DVDs must be new, sealed copies. Opened/used CDs or DVDs cannot be shipped due to security restrictions.)

The wish list from the 655th includes items for entertainment for indoors such as cards, puzzles, board games, Suduko, WordSearch and newer, current movies/DVDs, and musical CDs. All genres of music from bluegrass, Americana, country to hip-hop, and rock are needed for the troops’ holiday boxes.

Mini-packs of Skittles®, Worther’s® hard candies, gummies, all types of chewing gum, trail mixes, sunflower seeds nuts, mini-Payday® candy bars, mini-packets of Cheese-Its® and Goldfish®, peanut butter cracker packets, are also at the top of their “wish lists”.

The snack foods need to be portable and portion-sized to go in backpacks.

Project Serve Our Soldiers has a dedicated group of people who work all year to help raise funds for the holiday boxes for the troops.

“We have a crafting and sewing group who work diligently from March through November to create beautiful items for the annual arts and crafts event hosted by the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 21 of Rogersville,” the spokesperson said.

A Project S.O.S. Annual Holiday Craft Festival with more than 20 vendors is planned for, November 22-23, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., inside the American Legion Building at 1924 East Main Street in Rogersville.

“This is a great time to do some holiday shopping and of course at the same time you’ll help send holiday cheer to those men and women defending serving our great nation,” the spokesperson said.

Sponsors who are helping with the project include Rogersville Chevrolet, MBM Packaging, and East Tennessee Printing.

For more information about Project S.O.S, contact Corki Weart at corki.weart@gmail.com.

Delinquent Tax Sale notice in this issue

ROGERSVILLE — A list of property owners whose county taxes are delinquent and subject to being sold to pay that tax indebtedness appears from the Hawkins County Clerk and Master’s Office in this Weekend (Nov. 16-17) edition of the Review.

Readers may also access the list online through the “Public Notice” tab at the top of our homepage, at www.therogersvillereview.com, or through the Tennessee Press Association’s Public Notice website by choosing “Hawkins County” in the drop-down menu.