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PLP, Of One Accord offering 900 free Thanksgiving dinner boxes to the needy

Turkeys expecting to be pardoned after Rogersville’s annual People Loving People free Thanksgiving dinner was canceled may be disappointed to find out the event will move forward this year after all, albeit in a different format.

The People Loving People (PLP) organization in Rogersville, which normally runs the Thanksgiving Dinner for the needy, announced last month the cancelation of this year’s annual free Thanksgiving dinner due to concerns over the COVID pandemic.

Not wanting to completely leave the underserved empty handed on that day, PLP is now joining several partners to provide 600 Thanksgiving food boxes to deserving applicants.

Each box is expected to feed at least four people, which will mean up to 3,600 individuals may be served — approximately the same number served during the traditional PLP Thanksgiving dinner event.

Among the groups helping PLP provide these boxes are Americans Helping Americans organization, Of One Accord ministry, Second Harvest Food Bank, and WCQR Radio.

The annual PLP free Thanksgiving dinner was founded 17 years ago by Dr. Blaine Jones, Mark DeWitte, and several friends who didn’t want to see anyone alone without a good meal on Thanksgiving Day. But, with the pandemic spriking again last month there were several concerns about moving forward with the traditional dinner, inlcuding the fact that volunteers would be hard to come by.

“Mark and I decided since we were not going to be able to cook and provide the meal we normally do this year, that we would look around for other possible opportunities to do something,” Jones said. “WCQR works with Second Harvest Food Bank to raise funds for Thanksgiving Food Boxes, so we contacted WCQR and made arrangements to donate funds for 600 boxes from our nonprofit People Loving People organization and designate the 600 boxes for Hawkins County. “Our local food pantry, Of One Accord ministries under the direction of Sheldon Livesay, works with Second Harvest Food Bank and they were able to arrange the pickup and distribution of the food boxes for us.”

In addition to the PLP Thanksgiving boxes, Of One Accord has acquired 300 food boxes from Americans Helping Americans, so there will be at least 900 Thanksgiving food boxes available.

“We felt really bad not being able to do the usual Thanksgiving meal in Rogersville along with the Sullivan County Baptist Association Disaster Relief Kitchen,” DeWitte said. “So, we started thinking of other ways we could help folks out. Providing 900 or more boxes of food to deserving families will feed as many, if not more people than we normally feed” DeWitte continued.

Of One Accord will handle the applications for the food and then later the distribution of the food boxes.

Ministry director Shedon Livesay told the Review there are no economic requirements to apply for a Thanksgiving box, but he hopes only people who really need one will apply due to the limited number available.

Applications will be taken on a first come first served basis in Rogersville at the Shepherd Center in downtown Rogersville beginning Friday, Oct. 15, and continuing Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Applications will be taken Mondays, Thursday and Fridays beginning on Friday, Oct. 15 at Emergency Services in Church Hill located at 401 Richmond Street in the Church Hill Shopping Center.

Applications will be numbered so a count can be maintained at all sites and so the total number of boxes are not over-promised. One box per family will be the limit as each box is anticipated to feed four people.

Distributions will take place on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 9 a.m. at the Emergency Services office at 401 Richmond Street at the Church Hill Shopping Center; and 10 a.m. at Cherokee High School.

“We are just excited we were able to come up with some way to get some deserving families fed over the Thanksgiving holiday,” said DeWitte.

“Our hopes and prayers are we will be back to cooking our usual meal in 2022,” Jones added. “Boxes are expected to go fast, so please make plans to get signed up beginning Oct. 15th at an application site near you.”

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Dog rescued from Rogersville church dumpster can be adopted free of charge on Tuesday

A dog that was rescued from a church dumpster last week in Rogersville will be ready to go home to a new loving home on Tuesday thanks to a local resident who has sponsored his adoption.

Around 5:30 a.m. last Friday, Oct. 8 Hawkins County Humane Society director Sandy Behnke and assistant manager Melissa Cooper were called out to retrieve a dog that was discovered inside the dumpster at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Rt. 70 across for the National Guard Armory.

“The dumpster people went the church and they were getting ready to empty the dumpster, when they heard a dog inside,” Behnke told the Review.

Those people then contacted the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office, which in-turn called the HCHS to come take custody of the dog. Behnke said the dog was very loving, and has one big black spot on his back, so they named it “Spot”.

“They rescued it from the dumpster, and this dog is so loving,” Behnke said. “It’s the most beautiful, cutest little dog ever. The dog had a collar and a leash on, and he was in the dumpster.”

Behnke added, “We’re just so thankful that they heard him before they emptied the dumpster. I don’t want to think about what would have happened to that dog if they’d emptied the dumpster with him in it.”

They think he is 1-2 years old, and Behnke said he was very happy to be taken the animal shelter.

Behnke said he was running around “giving kisses, putting his paws on your shoulders, and wanting to crawl up in your lap and lay his head in your shoulder.”

“All he wants to do is cuddle,” she added.

Spot was examined, given his shots, and wormed.

“I cannot understand how somebody could do this to this sweet baby,” Behnke said. “He is so full of love. Just so happy and so dang cute. We had a wonderful person Greg Bradley who heard about Spot’s story and he came to the shelter (Monday) and paid his adoption fee. Spot is now sponsored and ready for a forever home.”

Spot will remain on “stray hold” until next Tuesday (Oct. 19), after which he can be adopted free of charge to a good home courtesy of Bradley’s sponsorship.

The HCHS asks if anyone knows who put Spot into dumpster to report that person to the Sheriff’s Office at (423) 272-4848.

“We did get a phone call from someone who said it was his dog, but he never showed up, which was a little weird,” Behnke said. “He was frantic and said he and his neighbors got into an argument, and he thinks it’s his dog, but he hasn’t showed up.”

"Without them we would have no food:" Local apiarists want to teach you about bees

The Clinch Valley Beekeepers Association wants the community to recognize the importance of the little flying creatures you might initially be afraid of.

As he spoke to the Review, Lloyd Snelson stood next to the glass-front observation beehive the club had set up in their booth at this year’s Heritage Days in downtown Rogersville.

“We have this observation hive so people can stop by and actually see the queen, the bees and what they do,” he said. “We want them to gain a better understanding of what goes on in a regular hive. Some people will see it and start to back away if they’re afraid of bees. But, we talk to them, and usually they will ease on up to the hive.”

In addition to selling honey, the Beekeepers Association focuses heavily on community education.

The group set up a glass-front observation beehive at their Heritage Days booth so visitors could see the bees in action

“We want people to learn how important the honeybees are,” Snelson said. “Without them, we would have no food source or way to pollinate our crops. We want to teach people how to get started, get the equipment together and keep the bees, and we’re especially trying to get younger people interested in beekeeping.”

A 30 year beekeeper

Snelson has personally been keeping honey bees for over 30 years.

“I set out some fruit trees, and my friend suggested that I get some honey bees,” he said. “At first, I was scared to death of them, so he told me, ‘you get them and your equipment, and I will put them in for you.’”

Snelson quickly overcame his fear and learned to love the bees. This first batch of bees filled up two hives, but, over the years, his collection has grown to around 65 hives.

He also sells the honey produced from his numerous hives at several local businesses and festivals and to private individuals.

“Most of the honey I have this year is an amber color,” he said. “That probably came from nectar from Poplar (trees), sweet clover and white clover. Just whatever is blooming throughout the year is what my bees collect. It’s real, raw honey and hasn’t been pasteurized.”

Snelson brought 72 quarts and 48 pints for sale at Heritage Days. By around 5 p.m. on Saturday, all of the pint jars and around half of the quart jars were gone.

He explained that people seem to have recently expressed more of an interest in raw honey.

“People are learning the importance of raw honey,” he said. “It is even good to help with allergies.”

In addition to providing education, Lloyd Snelson’s had numerous jars of raw honey for sale.

Disappearing bees

The subject of much news coverage in recent years, the honeybee population is actually declining at a rapid rate. Even Snelson said he has noticed this within his hives.

According to an article from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, this problem is the result of multiple factors:parasites and pests, pathogens, poor nutrition, and sublethal exposure to pesticides.

“They call it colony collapse disorder (CCD) — the bees just leave the hive,” Snelson explained. “They say that there are about seven different kinds of viruses that can get in the hive. Mites scatter it throughout the hive, and it makes the bees sick. All at once, the bees will just leave the hive. That’s the biggest problem we’re facing with them right now.”

The article notes that CCD began plaguing beekeepers around 2006. Thankfully, the number of colonies lost to CCD began to drop around 2010, but the beekeeping industry continues to lose a large percentage of hives each year from CCD.

Lloyd Snelson has been keeping bees for over 30 years and currently has around 65 hives.

Hancock County Beekeepers

The club itself began as part of the Jubilee Project in Hancock County around 15 years ago. The beekeepers association eventually split off to form their own group, and they have grown to around 180 members.

The club has been a part of Heritage Days for around 10 years. They also set up booths at Morristown’s Mountain Makings, Sneedville’s Fall Festival and the Claiborne County Fair.

They meet on the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at Treadway Fire Department, and Snelson encouraged any interested reader to join.

At these meetings, a speaker addresses the group on what beekeepers should be doing according to the specific season. They also offer beginning beekeeper courses to support newcomers to the group.

“What makes it worthwhile”

In addition to holding seminars for the community, Snelson and other association members often visit local schools to provide education on the importance of honey bees.

When Snelson visits a school, he always brings an observation hive like the one set up at Heritage Days. Children can look through the glass front to see the honeycomb and the bees in action. Snelson then can point out the difference between the worker bees and the queen.

“The kids get excited, and they can’t wait to see that queen,” he said. “That’s really what makes it worthwhile for me to do it--seeing these kids, talking to them, and trying to encourage them not to be afraid. Maybe, when they grow up, they will want to be a beekeeper.”

Bulls Gap Craft and Music Festival set for this weekend at 'The Farm'

Bulls Gap’s new City Park, nicknamed “The Farm”, will host the Fourth Annual Bulls Gap Craft and Music Festival this Saturday and Sunday Oct. 16-17.

Event organizer Jeanette Edens said there are more than 50 arts and crafts booths registered for the festival, which will also feature live music throughout both days.

Most of the booths will feature hand-made arts and crafts. Edens said there are about eight food trucks selling food, so visitors are invited to come hungry and have a good meal.

Live entertainment Saturday features eight acts including Chris Long, The Flying J’s, Aaron Walker, Newcut, Pebo Wilson, The Change, Scotty Arnold and Friends, and Michael and Nick Bumgardner.

Sunday’s live performances will feature a variety of Gospel music performers.

There will also be children’s activities including face painting and a bouncy house.

The Bulls Gap Craft and Music Festival is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, and visitors are encourage to bring a lawn chair, stay a while and enjoy the music.

“The Farm” is located on N. VFW Road at the Highway 11-E intersection, and is bordered by Whitehorn Creek to the west and Pikestaff Creek to the north.

For more information email bgcraftandmusicfest@gmail.com or call (423) 923-0434.

Among the 2021 Volunteer Speedway Hall of Fame inductees are (not in order) Bobby Edens of Bulls Gap; David Bundren of Rogersville; Brogie Broyles of Piney Flats; Mike Clonce of Bean Station; Rick Norris of Kingsport; Bobby Mays of Jonesborough; Skimp Henry of Newport; Mark Douglas of Knoxville; Tim Frye of Mosheim; Warren McMahan of Dandridge; Randy Ford of Johnson City; Dale Ball of Johnson City; Danny James of Newport; Charles “Charlie” Byrd of Jonesborough; and longtime East Tennessee racing photographer Randall Perry.