ROGERSVILLE — Phillip Beal, the longtime voice and face of Rogersville’s WRGS Radio, passed away in December of 2015.
On Aug. 3, 2019, the veteran community broadcaster’s legacy will take its place alongside of other legendary radio personalities, past and present, when Beal is inducted into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame.
Along with Beal, other “Class of 2019” inductees include Ken Berryhill, Philip Gibbons, Bev Johnson, Gene Lovin, Larry Perry, financial advice giant Dave Ramsey, Donna Brake, Ott Devine and Jim Eikner.
Charlie Chase, a Rogersville native who got his own start in radio as a teenager at WRGS, told the Review when the announcement was made late last year, that the honor is well-deserved.
“Phillip was radio in Rogersville,” Chase said from his home in Nashville. “He lived and breathed it. And that’s exactly why he is being honored, because of his commitment to his community through the radio station that is today still so very much a part of Hawkins County.”
Beal told the Review in 2014, as the station was preparing to celebrate its 60th anniversary, that he became involved with WRGS in 1972.
He was working at two radio stations in Johnson City while attending school at ETSU.
“I came back here in 1972 and bought out the family and been here ever since,” Phillip said at the time. “We’re involved with everything that goes on in the community. We’ve been a sponsor of Heritage Days since the very first one, the Fourth of July Celebration since it began. We’re very much involved with anything that goes on in the community. Churches and civic organizations want the radio station to be involved in their event and anything that they’re doing and that’s great for us. It keeps us in touch with what’s going on in the community.”
From the popular Swap Shop to local news to play-by-play coverage of Cherokee High School sports, Beal believed that the station’s hands-on involvement in the community was the key to its continued success.
Chase, who today, with Lorianne Crook, hosts the popular nationally-syndicated show, “Crook and Chase”, is himself a 2013 inductee of the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame, and called WRGS to make the announcement live on the air.
“Phillip was a comforting, trusted voice to those who listened to WRGS,” Chase told the Review at the time of Beal’s death. “He led and taught by example. He didn’t have to preach or badger people. He was a professional from head to toe and I appreciated that. I watched him and I learned so much from him.”
As a teen, Chase recalled Beal sitting high atop a glass-enclosed broadcast booth at the former Rebel Drive-In where Sonic is today located on East Main Street.
“He would play songs that people wanted to hear but the only way you could get a message to him was to drive by and hold up a sign, get a note to him or just yell up at him the name of the song,” Chase laughed. “I remember getting my brother to drive me by to see him because I was so fascinated by this DJ in the glass booth!”
Chase said he believes the success of WRGS was largely because of the “personal” touch Phillip brought to the station.
“He could have easily totally automated everything, like so many of the larger stations are doing, but he learned early on that the key to good radio is keeping that human touch, a real live person as DJ to announce news, weather, and community events, and paying attention to what the people want,” he said. “I hope the people of Rogersville truly understand how much importance Phillip Beal placed in just being a part of that community.”
Chase at the time called Beal’s death a “tragic loss” for Hawkins County.
“He dedicated his life to that community,” he said, adding that he, personally, is “very, very grateful to the Beal family” for everything they did to boost his own career in the country music business.
Other friends and former co-workers were also quick to praise Beal’s legacy.
“My years working for Philip — 23 of them! — were the best,” said Steve Waller, now retired SVP and Regional President of First Community Bank of East Tennessee, and a former news announcer and DJ at WRGS. “There was always laughter around the radio station. In fact, I don’t recall a cross word between us in all those years. Well, there was the time someone asked me if Philip was my father .. and I simply said, ‘yeah’. I don’t think he was too crazy about that! I recall another time that I was on the air one Saturday morning and my lung collapsed! I called Philip, and with no questions asked, he hurried to the station to relieve me. Boy was everyone nervous when Philip, my wife Shirley, and the Rescue Squad all pulled into the radio station driveway at the same time! But that’s just one of many examples of how well we worked together. I said it when he passed, and I still say it today ... I miss my friend.”
When inducted, Beal will join a host of fellow radio personalities as Chase; Charlie Monk (the host of Willie’s Roadhouse, on SiriusXM Radio); Wink Martindale; WSM legend Ralph Emery; Grant Turner, the longtime “Voice” of the Grand Ole Opry; Rick Dees; Pat Sajak; Tennessee Ernie Ford; Hairl Hensley; Bobby Denton; and others.
The induction ceremony will be held at Embassy Suites, in Murfreesboro on Sat., Aug. 3, beginning at 5 p.m. (central time).
Reserved tickets ($90 per person) are required and may be ordered online at http://tennesseeradiohalloffame.wildapricot.org/.
Rooms at Embassy Suites are available at a special rate ($139 using promo code “RHF”) by calling 615-216-5383.
Today, WRGS is managed by Phillip’s widow, Debbie Beal.
ROGERSVILLE — Here are some snapshots from Rogersville’s Fourth of July Parade. For more pictures, see inside this edition.
ROGERSVILLE — A brief “summer” agenda for the Rogersville City School Board involved mostly routine reports, approval of various items on the “consent agenda”, and announcements of recently hired or re-hired personnel for the 2019-20 school year.
At the July 9 meeting, Director Rebecca Isaacs said that summer projects — including painting and soffit repair — are about two-thirds complete and should be finished on schedule.
“The boiler project is well underway, the old one is out, the new one is installed and they are working on pipefitting and wiring,” she said, with an expected completion date around July 26.
The installation of new playground equipment will begin next week, weather permitting.
Isaacs said that a quote has been received for retrofitting lighting in the auditorium with new brighter, energy efficient LED bulbs.
The project, which would cost about $10,000, she said, would be a good investment because the bulbs typically last much longer and reduce energy consumption.
“Our Read to be Ready summer camp is completed and it was excellent,” she said. We certainly saw the benefit to our students.”
She thanked the staff and everyone who had a hand in the program.
“The attendance was good and it is so great to see kids having fun while they are learning,” Isaccs said.
She also extended a “thank you” to the 14 staff members whom she called the “RCS Summer Crew”.
“These are the people who close out one school year and help us get ready for the new year,” she said. “We are very excited about the start of the 2019-20 school year.”
An Open House for all grades is planned for Thursday, Aug. 8, with students returning on Aug. 12.
In other matters, the board approved, unanimously, the following items listed on the ‘consent agenda’ in one blanket vote:
• Approval of the minutes dated Tuesday, June 4, 2019;
• Approval of the 2019-2020 Parent & Family Engagement Procedure (Federal Programs);
• Approval of the 2019-2020 School-Parent Compact;
• Approval of the contract between RCS and Beacon School for the 2018-2019 Summer School Special Education Services;
• Approval of the contract between RCS and Beacon School for the 2019-2020 Special Education Services;
• Approval of the contract between RCS and Bill Rymer, Psychologist for the 2019-2020 School Year;
• Approval of the Local Agriculture Products Compliance Plan for the 2019-2020 School Year;
• Approval of the School Year 2019-2020 Agreement to Administer the School Nutrition Program(s);
• Approval of the agreement between RCS and Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency, Head Start for the 2019-2020 School Year;
• Approval of the 2018-2019 RCS Bullying Report
• Approval of the following policies:
1.406 Minutes, Update;
1.804 Alcohol & Drugs in the Workplace, Update;
1.901 Charter School Applications, Update;
1.903 Charter School Oversight, Update;
1.905 Charter School Renewal, Update;
1.906 Charter School Revocation, Update;
2.403 Surplus Property Sales, Update;
2.601 Fundraising Activities, Update;
3.202 Emergency Preparedness Plan, Update;
4.700 Testing Programs, Update;
5.200 Separation Practices for Tenured Teachers, Update;
5.201 Separation Practices for Non-Tenured Teachers, Update;
5.305 Family and Medical Leave, Update;
5.605 Staff Gifts & Solicitations, Update;
6.200 Attendance, Update;
6.300 Code of Conduct, Update; and,
6.506 Students from Military Families, Update.
• The following tenured teachers have been hired for the 2019-20 school year:
KINDERGARTEN — Whitney Hancock, Kelley Russell;
FIRST GRADE — Lola Pearson;
SECOND GRADE — Jennifer Housewright, David Sandidge, Janette Tackett, Missy Testerman;
THIRD GRADE — Beth Christian;
FOURTH GRADE — Michael Bowman, Renee’ Trent;
FIFTH GRADE — Laura Hartness, Karla Moncier;
SIXTH GRADE — Roseanna Self, Jennifer Smith;
SEVENTH GRADE — Kelly Dobson, Dennis Renner;
EIGHTH GRADE — Adam Harris;
SEVENTH & EIGHTH GRADES — Scott Juelfs, Carla Sells;
ESL — Jennifer Blackburn;
ART — Missy Cole;
STEM TEACHER/TECHNOLOGY TRAINER — Jennifer Ewing;
LIBRARIAN/COMPUTER LITERACY — Kari Fields
PHYSICAL EDUCATION — Forrest Gladson;
MATH COACH/INTERVENTIONIST — Jodi Martin;
SPECIAL EDUCATION/FEDERAL PROJECTS DIRECTOR — April Myers;
PHYSICAL EDUCATION — Jessica Price;
PRINCIPAL — Rhonda Winstead.
• The following current non-tenured teachers have been rehired for the school year and will go on tenure:
Lindsay Davenport, Reading Coach/Interventionist; and Nicky Ward, 5th Grade.
•The following current non-tenured teachers have been rehired for the school year:
Callie McAnally, Pre-K;
Shane Bailey, Attendance Supervisor/Dist. Testing Coordinator;
Julie Atkins, 1st Grade;
Chloe Baugh, 3rd Grade;
Peggy Bishop, 6th Grade;
Mindy Bradley, 5th Grade;
Brooke Carroll, 3rd Grade;
Vanette Cook, Special Education (Grades 1-3);
Hannah Duncan, Kindergarten;
Beth Jarnigan, Music;
David Kenner, Assistant Principal;
Samantha Mauk, Special Education (Grades P3, P4, K);
Rachel Overbay, 1st Grade;
Vanessa Petty, Special Education (Grades 4-5)
Matthew Price, 3rd Grade;
Stephanie Smith, 8th Grade;
Sarah Tilley, Band;
Charles “Colby” Wagoner, Child Nutrition Director; and,
Lauren Wallace, Special Education (Grades 6-8).
• The following new non-tenured teachers have been hired for the school year:
Logan Blankenbeckler, Guidance;
Amanda Lawson, 1st Grade;
Tina McLain, 4th Grade;
Emily Sauceman, 4th Grade; and,
Grace Winegar, Kindergarten.
• The following staff members have been re-hired for the school year:
Tina Bray, Bookkeeper;
Stephanie Eidson, School Health Coordinator;
Jamie Gulley, Maintenance;
Gary Hicks, Technology Coordinator;
Vickie Knox, Office Manager;
Stephen McKinney, Assistant Technology Coordinator;
Angie Nelson, Secretary;
Bridgette Richards, Day Porter;
Karen Stubblefield, School Nurse; and,
Karen Willis, Finance Director.
• The following cafeteria staff members have been re-hired for the school year:
Sue Alvis (PT)
Betty Ann Davenport (PT)
Michelle Davis (PT)
Billy Kite (PT)
Debbie Manis (PT)
• The following assistants have been re-hired for the school year:
Bethany Allen — GP
Melissa Boyd – GP
Iva Brooks — GP
Regina Brooks – GP/Sp. Ed.
Dinah Cantor – GP
Lori Carmack – IDEA
Jenny Collins – GP/Sp. Ed.
Cheryl Cradic – GP
Paula Fugate (PT)– GP/Sp. Ed.
Brennan Greene — GP
Sandy Harris — GP
Brandy Horner – GP/Sp. Ed.
Suzanne Larmer – GP
Stacy Lafollette – Title I
Lisa Mauk – Title I
Stephanie McCracken — GP
Amy McKinney — GP
Donna Osborne — GP
Kim Price – Title I
Susan Rice — GP
Georgia Smith – GP/Sp. Ed
Leslie Wagoner – GP
• In a final matter, the board agreed to move its August meeting from the usual second Tuesday to the first Tuesday (the 6th) because of a conflict.
SNEEDVILLE — A Sneedville man lost his life on Saturday, July 6, after the side-by-side utility vehicle on which he was riding apparently went off the edge of a steep embankment and rolled over.
A report by Hancock Co. Sheriff’s Detective Jesse Trent indicated that he, Det. Evans, and Deputy Swiney responded to 318 Waterfall Creek Road after receiving a report of the discovery of a body.
John Charles Grindol, 71, was pronounced deceased at the scene. His body was examined by Dr. John Short and was sent to a forensic science lab in Johnson City where an autopsy is being performed.
At the scene, officers spoke with Steve Holden, a neighbor, who told them that Mr. Grindol’s wife had contacted him between 5:30 and 6 p.m. that day asking if he had seen him.
Holden set out on his own ATV to look for Mr. Grindol along riding trails on the victim’s property. A short time later, he found Mr. Grindol’s body on an ATV path along the Clinch River.
Mrs. Grindol told authorities that she had last seen her husband about 11 a.m. that morning. She did not become concerned until later that evening because he often went out to fly a drone or ride his ATV.
The black ATV was located about 148 feet above the trail where Mr. Grindol’s body was found. Det. Trent’s report indicated that the side-by-side utility vehicle, “appeared to have damage on all areas”.
Discovered with the body was a fanny pack waist belt, two pistols, a pistol magazine, a digital camera and a camera card.
Funeral arrangements were incomplete as of mid-week.