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Honored and happy: Students ambush retiring RCS principal with love and cheers during 'Popsicle Parade'

Retiring Rogersville City School principal Rhonda Winstead was ambushed Thursday afternoon with an outpouring of love from students and staff who are sad to see her go.

Students were enjoying a new popsicle event on the front lawn of the school.

Jeff Bobo 

Retiring RCS principal Rhonda Winstead walked a gauntlet of love, sheers and hugs Thursday afternoon as students and staff ambushed her with a “Popsicle Parade”.

When Winstead went outside to see how it was going they sprung their trap, and she was forced to walk a gauntlet of cheers, hugs and applause as students lined the sidewalk surrounding the front lawn.

“I feel honored and happy,” Winstead said upon completing a lap around the lawn

When asked if she’d changed her mind abut retiring however, Winstead replied, “No” without hesitation.

One of the ringleaders of the “Popsicle Parade” ambush was RCS attendance and testing director Shane Bailey who met her with a bouquet of flowers as she exited the school building.

“She has poured her heart and soul into this school since 1992,” Bailey told the Review prior to Winstead’s arrival. “We wanted to do something special for her and this is what we came up with. It’s a Popsicle Parade. We wanted to get all the students and all the staff and let them show their appreciation for her. She doesn’t know anything about it.”

Bailey added, “The kids have made banners and signs and we’re just going to surprise her with flowers when she comes out. She’s going to walk a lap around the front of the school, and make sure that she sees every face and every staff member, and hopefully make her feel bad about retiring, because we’re going to miss her.”

Students held up banners and gave Winstead hand-made cards, and by the time she reached the end of the tour she was tearing up.

“This has not convinced me to stay, but I know my heart will always be here,” she told the Review. “It was overwhelming and a blessing to know that that the kids still love me, an dI have great people here that I will always love. It was an honor.”

Jeff Bobo 

Retiring RCS principal Rhonda Winstead walked a gauntlet of love, cheers and hugs Thursday afternoon as students and staff ambushed her with a “Popsicle Parade”.

Winstead worked in Knox County and Hawkins County Schools before coming to RCS in 1992. She became assistant principal in 2005 and was appointed principal in 2013.

RCS director Edwin Jarnagin told the Review he as promoted assistant principal David Hartsook to principal, and Lindsay Davenport has been promoted to assistant principal.

Although Jarnagin has been at RCS for only a short period of time, he said it quickly becomes clear why Winstead was so beloved by everyone in the school.

“Undoubtedly she’ll be missed,” Jarnagin said. “She’s done an excellent job. She’s poured her heart and soul into the school. I was proud of how they recognized her Thursday.”

Photo Gallery: Youngsters pull out 'keepers' during Church Hill Trout Rodeo

Approximately 80 youngsters spent Saturday morning fishing for prizes, trophies and mostly for fun during the annual Church Hill Trout Rodeo in Alexander Creek at Jaycees Park.

Every year the city builds a series of dams in the creek to trap hundreds of “eating size” trout that are dumped in courtesy of Buffalo Springs Hatchery.

Saturday morning boys and girls ages 4-16 competed in three age groups for first to catch a fish, first to catch the limit of three and biggest fish.

The winners in the first fish category included Madelynn Walker and Jayden Lovell (ages 4-7); Makayla Walker and Tristan Smith (ages 8-11); and Braylee Evans and Matthew Walker (ages 12-16).

The winners for first to catch their limit were Jayden Lovell (4-7 boys); Addyson Lovell (8-11 girls); Braylee Evans (12-16 girls); and Lucas Hall (12-16 boys).

Audrey Henley had the biggest overall fish award at 2.21pounds.

Several bicycles and other prizes were also awarded in drawings. The Trout rodeo is sponsored by the VFW Post 9754, Buffalo Springs Hatchery, CASVA Angus Farm, and Food City.

All photos by Randy Ball.

Half-kilo of meth seized from biker who fled Mount Carmel traffic stop

MOUNT CAREMEL — Police seized a half kilo of meth valued at $6,000 from a Hawkins County man who fled a traffic stop in Mount Carmel Thursday night, and then crashed his motorcycle in Stanley Valley.

Christopher Levi Belcher, 27, 2180 Stanley Valley Road, Surgoinsville, was initially being stopped for a registration violation.

MCPD Officer Hunter Jones stated in his report that when he attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the motorcycle, Belcher led him on a high speed pursuit into Scott County, Va., and then back into Hawkins County into Stanley Valley where Belcher lost control attempting a turn and landed in a residential back yard.

Shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday Jones reported observing a spray-painted gray Kawasaki motorcycle traveling west on Carters Valley Road near Big Elm Road coming from an area known for recent motorcycle thefts.

The license plate wasn’t illuminated and was mounted improperly, and Jones attempted a traffic stop at the Waycross Road intersection.

Jones stated in his report that the motorcycle then turned onto Waycross Road and accelerated, crossing into Scott County before turning left onto Stanley Valley Road at a high rate of speed.

“When the motorcycle crossed back into Hawkins County I observed his speed to be in excess of 60 mph in a posted 40 mph zone using my radar unit,” Jones said. “I also observed him to cross the center of the roadway and travel into the oncoming lane several times while negotiating turns. The motorcycle continued West on Stanley Valley Road at a high rate of speed and nearly lost control multiple times.”

At the intersection of Wayman Fields Road the motorcycle attempted a left turn but was unable to negotiate the turn and left the roadway into a yard.

The motorcycle continued through the yard and went behind a residence where Belcher lost control, crashed, and then fled on foot through a field.

Jones said he attempted to taser Belcher during the foot pursuit, which wasn’t affective due to Belcher’s thick clothes, but when Belcher fell down Jones tackled him.

Attempts to cuff Belcher were not initially successful and Jones utilized his taser and baton. With the assistance of HCSO Deputy Kevin Johnson they were able to get Belcher cuffed.

Officers located four bags of meth in a satchel with a total combined weight of approximately 490.67 grams; and well as $983 in cash.

Jones said Becher also had eight pills in his pocket. The registration of the motorcycle belonged to a Harry Davidson.

Belcher had bloodshot eyes and submitted to a blood draw. He was also found to have a suspended driver’s license for an insurance violation.

He was charged with felony evading arrest, possession of meth with intent to deliver, driving while in possession of meth, evading arrest by foot, resisting arrest, driving on a suspended license, two counts of simple possession of Schedule III narcotics, simple possession of Schedule IV narcotics, DUI, reckless driving, lane violation, speeding, two registration violations, and no insurance.

As of Friday he was being held in the Hawkins County Jail with no end pending arraignment Monday in Sessions Court.

At the time of his arrest Thursday Belcher was on probation in Hawkins County on drug possession and resisting arrest charges.

I HIGHLY recommend you get the COVID 19 vaccination series, and then the booster

It is Friday, Sep. 10 as I type this – one day before the 20th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack ever on United States soil.

That attack does not come close to the catastrophic attack we are currently seeing currently in our country.

The SARS-Co V-2, or COVID 19 virus is a threat that is terrorizing our country and our world right now. Just this morning, I learned of a 45 year old, otherwise healthy, friend passing away from complications of the virus.

This was not the first time our community has been struck by the death of a young, healthy soul because of this virus, nor will it be the last. Many of my former patients, and just folks in general ask me my opinion on the virus, treatments and the vaccine. What do you think? What do you recommend?

I really miss my patients and my practice, and even with all my health issues I would love to go back to my office and be there for those who entrusted me for their care.

As it is, I have kept up my medical licensure, my continuing medical education credits and I read medical journals daily – not just about COVID issues, but medical advancements in general.

My wife works at Holston Valley in Kingsport, so I am aware each day of the status of the hospital beds available and staff to care for those beds. Let me say right off the top, thank you to all the nurses, respiratory therapists, physicians, and all other ancillary health care professionals who provide unending, compassionate care to each individual brought into their realm.

Our local hospitals are literally about to burst at the seams because of COVID. There are not enough nurses or other ancillary staff available in our area to take care of all those who are sick – and it is all uncalled for. Not the staffing or bed availability, the amount of COVID illness is what is unnecessary!

So, what do we do about that? In my opinion, and if you were my patient, and many of you were, I would HIGHLY recommend you get the COVID 19 vaccination series and then the booster when it is made available to you.

This is in no way a political, religious or any other statement other than medical reasoning and statistics. The latest statistics from the CDC (and nearly the same numbers in our local Ballad Health System) show that 93 out of 100 admissions to the hospital have not been vaccinated or have been only partially vaccinated. 95 out of every 100 people in the ICU have not been vaccinated and 97% of those on ventilators have not been vaccinated. 99% of those who die from the COVID 19 virus have not been vaccinated!

These numbers do not lie! Yes, if you are young, healthy and get COVID 19 there is a 95% chance you survive it. You may have long term symptoms or “long COVID”, but you may survive it. Those with secondary, advanced medical conditions are less likely to survive. The issue is not just sickness and death however. At last count, there had been over 2,000,000 variations of this virus mapped out.

The current variant, Delta, has been much more aggressive, more infective and causing much more illness and death than the original virus. This has been true for young adults and children as well, unlike the original variant. Fortunately, the vaccine prevents even the Delta variant from causing serious illness or death in the event of a breakthrough infection. The vaccine is effective in this, and many regards.

If enough people are vaccinated, mutations and variations decrease, and the closer we come to getting this pandemic under control. Getting the vaccine will not only protect you, but it will also protect your family and your community in many ways.

COVID 19 is here to stay more than likely — just like the flu and many other viral illnesses like the common cold. We will possibly need to have booster shots much like our annual flu vaccine to keep it under control. But, if we can prevent unnecessary illness and death, will it not be more than worth it?

Just the opinion of one of your old, local Docs. May God Bless You Always!