Though the annual Fourth of July concert in Rogersville City Park fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic this year, there are still numerous ways Hawkins Countians can celebrate the 244th anniversary of American Independence.
Rogersville will still host a Cruise-In on Friday night, along with a 5K race, their annual Fourth of July parade, and a fireworks show on Saturday.
There will also be an opportunity to give back to a family in need during a fundraiser planned for Friday to benefit baby Ellison Wilson, who was recently diagnosed with a choroid plexus brain tumor.
Friday evening Cruise-In
The Rogersville/ Hawkins County Chamber of Commerce will host their second Cruise-In of the season on Friday evening from 6 to 9 p.m. in downtown Rogersville.
Main street will be blocked beginning at 4 p.m. in preparation of the event.
Numerous downtown businesses will be open for extended hours for your shopping and dining pleasure during the event.
The Cruise-In will also feature live music from the classic rock band Ivy Road and bouncy inflatables for children to play.
According to Chamber of Commerce Director Nancy Barker, the Fourth of July Cruise-In usually draws a larger crowd than that of other months.
The first 50 car show attendees to register will receive a dash plaque, and there will be “People’s Choice” voting for the best in show.
Rogersville’s Pro Elite Fitness is hosting a 5K run/walk on the morning of Saturday, the Fourth of July, in downtown Rogersville.
The race will start at 8 a.m. in front of Pro Elite, which is located at 312 S. Armstrong Road.
Those who register before race day may do so for $15 and receive a free T-shirt (sizes limited). Register the day of the race is possible for $20. Stop by Pro Elite Fitness to register.
For questions or more information, call Pro Elite at (423)- 754-6194.
“Yes, the parade must go on, because everyone loves a hometown parade,” reads the Rogersville Main Street Program’s Facebook page.
This year’s parade is the same as it has been for several years: Let Freedom Ring.
The line-up will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot in front of East Rogersville Baptist Church, and the parade will begin at 11 a.m. It will travel through Historic Downtown Rogersville, ending at Armstrong Road.
Event organizers are asking that participants “spread out” a bit more this year, in an effort to practice social distancing.
For more information about the parade, contact organizer Melissa Nelson at (423) 272-1961.
Though the music and entertainment at the park was cancelled, the fireworks show will still go on.
The fireworks will take place in the city park as usual and begin at 9:30 p.m. Patriotic music will be played on local radio station WRGS to go along with the show. This can be at 1370 AM and 94.5 FM.
Local law enforcement will also be present at the event to direct parking. In years past, spectators have been able to park along the shoulders of 11-W and walk to the park, as long as they do not block the street or obstruct traffic.
Event organizers are asking that spectators follow the CDC’s guidelines while in attendance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These include social distancing, wearing face coverings and washing your hands.
The newly completed Sayrah Barn event center in Surgoinsville will also be hosting a car show and concert fundraiser for a local child with cancer on Friday, July 3.
The event will benefit nine-month-old Ellison Wilson, who was recently diagnosed with a Choroid Plexus Brain Tumor
Concessions will be for sale, and a silent/dollar auction with fabulous prizes from local businesses and individuals will be held.
There will be dashboard plates for the first 50 registrants and three trophies awarded for each class. Registration for car, motorcycle and tractor shows are from 4-6 p.m. and is $10 per vehicle.
Music will start at 5 p.m. and will feature five different groups: Rogersville Bluegrass Band, The Stonewalls, Dream Catcher, New Harmony Way, and Kenny Stinson & Perfect Tym’n.
All proceeds will go directly to the Wilson family.
A cornerstone of the community sadly served its famous hamburgers for the last time on June 30.
Though it was bittersweet, the Medical Center Pharmacy Grill had a booming final day, as community members flooded the dining room to chat with the “girls of the grill” and have one last hamburger.
Several local musicians even gathered in the dining room for an impromptu “pick and grin” session to say their final goodbyes.
Current owner Robin Pack’s husband, William Pack, actually began working at the Medical Center in 1977 when he was still in high school.
After he graduated from pharmacy school, he came back and worked as the Medical Center’s pharmacist. In 2001, he and Robin bought the business.
Even their three children were involved in the business as they grew up.
“My oldest son, John, grew up working here,” Pack said. “All of the boys have worked here to some degree, but the pharmacy was closed before Marcus and Daniel were old enough to ‘officially’ be on payroll or wait on customers. John did get to do those things, though. They all stocked shelves and things like that. It’s been a good place to grow up.”
Though the food was delicious, what really seemed to draw people to the Medical Center was the atmosphere.
“I think the biggest draw to this place is what you see out there (the dining room and grill),” Pack said. “There were people who were here every day. This has been part of the community for what would be 60 years next year. We have relationships with people here, and that’s the difference. I’m sure the burgers are good, but, honestly, I think a lot of it is just atmosphere.”
Whitney Coffey, who started working at the Medical Center when she was just 15 and stayed until she was about 22, told the Review that her coworkers and customers began to feel like family.
“I feel like I kind-of grew up here,” she said. “It didn’t even feel like work most of the time, because we were always ‘cutting up.’ We had the same people who would come in here every day, so you get to know the customers and a little about their life stories. So, you build relationships with them, too.”
In June of 2019, the Packs announced that they would be closing the pharmacy portion of the store, though the grill remained open.
“We had people come in and start weeping right there in the store, begging us not to close,” Pack said.
When she posted online this week that the grill would be closing, Pack said she was flooded with messages from people who all said they “felt like family.”
“We loved people here,” she said.
The employees of the Medical Center really fostered that ‘family’ atmosphere, and, as Pack explained, the customers seemed to be able to feel it.
In fact, several of the employees are actually related in some way.
Of the five employees who worked at the Medical Center once the pharmacy closed, three of them were actually sisters.
They became known around the store as “the girls,” and the customers knew them well.
Connie Bailey, one of the three sisters, had worked there for 28 years.
Pack said she even remembers enjoying the Medical Center’s atmosphere when she was a child growing up in Rogersville.
“There was a doctor’s office on either side of the Medical Center,” she said. “If you went to see the doctor as a kid, they had a pad of little yellow coupons for a free ice cream at the Medical Center.”
Coffey told the Review that her own mother also told that same story about the little yellow coupons.
Pack explained that COVID-19 certainly did change the way the business was running, but its economic impacts are not related to their decision to close.
The staff actually got creative during the COVID-19 shutdown.
“Thank goodness we had the drive-thru already for the pharmacy,” Pack said. “That had never been used for the grill, but, once all of this happened, we just transitioned it back. I’ve done everything I could to keep them in business.”
The Pharmacy portion of the Medical Center closed in June of 2019, but the Packs kept the grill open.
William then began working at Walgreens, where he continued to keep up with several of his old customers.
“When he still worked here, you could walk in the door and see him leaned up on the counter, talking to people,” Pack said. “He just loved people, and they knew it. When he went to Walgreens, they found out his work schedule and would look for him. They even called it ‘the William fan club.’”
Sadly, William Pack passed away unexpectedly in January of this year.
“I’ve been hanging on ever since,” Robin Pack said. “When William died, I came in and said, ‘Okay girls, this is us. I don’t know what I’m doing.’ I had been involved somewhat, but I had boys to raise. I would come in and do payroll, but they were here for the day-to-day. I told them, ‘You all know what you’re doing. Just tell me what you need.’”
She explained that she knew her lease on the building would be up at the end of June this year, so she decided to close at that point.
“I knew that, at least my part of it would end today (the last day of June),” Pack said. “I still have two boys at home. It (the business) is a lot, and we just needed to move on.”
“The employees knew that today would be my last day, but they didn’t know until yesterday that the grill would be closed,” Pack said.
Though Pack noted that the situation was out of her hands, another owner was rumored to have been planning to purchase the Medical Center Grill business. However, at this point, that will not be happening.
“We really thought it was still going to be open,” Pack said. “As of yesterday (June 29) morning, they (the employees) still had jobs. Now they don’t.”
Though their last day was bittersweet, they treated it like one last family reunion.
“We have had live music every Friday since the Pharmacy closed,” Pack said. “They are just some guys who get together and ‘pick and grin,’ and they’re good! When we found out yesterday that today would be the end, I told Jeff (one of the employees), ‘I want you to get your buddies in here at 9 o’clock in the morning to sing.’”
And sing, they did. In fact, they sang for over two hours.
“This place was such a big part of the community for nearly 60 years,” Coffey added. “I think everybody’s family has ties to this store in some way or another. It’s just a really special place.”
The Rogersville Review and Hancock County Eagle will launch their new and improved website on July 6.
This new design focuses on mobile accessibility and also provides increased space for advertising.
This site makes it easier than ever to read our content from your mobile phone while on the go. It also provides an opportunity for more local businesses to advertise with us and have their ads viewed both online and in print.
This new site still uses the same web address and can be found at https://www.therogersvillereview.com/.
Come check it out!
ROGERSVILLE — The Tennessee Highway Patrol said that charges are pending against a Rogersville man who allegedly crossed the center line of a local highway on Monday night, resulting in a head-on collision that killed a Greeneville man.
THP said the crash occurred shortly after 10 p.m. on June 29, 2020 on SR 66 South near Rogersville.
Jonathan Tackett, 27, of Rogersville, was the driver of a 2006 Nissan Altima, headed north, and reportedly crossed the center line near the Big Springs Road intersection.
Tackett’s Altima struck a southbound 1989 Nissan pickup head-on that was driven by Daniel Lee, 20, of Greeneville.
The Altima came to an uncontrolled final rest in the middle of the roadway, THP said, while the pickup came to an uncontrolled final rest off the right side of the roadway.
Lee died in the crash, THP said, while Tackett suffered what rescuers called “critical injuries”.
An air-evac helicopter was sought to transport Tackett but couldn’t fly due to a line of severe thunderstorms passing through the region at the time. He was transported to Ballad Health’s Hawkins Co. Memorial Hospital by a Hawkins Co. EMS ambulance. His condition was not known at presstime.
As is standard practice with any accident involving a death, authorities requested drug and alcohol tests on both drivers to determine if drugs and/or alcohol played a role in the crash.
Tackett and Lee were the only occupants of their vehicles.
Safety restraints were in use by Lee but in the trooper’s opinion, would not have made a difference in the outcome. Tackett was not wearing a safety belt, the report stated.
The THP report stated that citations and criminal charges are pending against Tackett.
Agencies that responded to the crash included the Hawkins Co. Rescue Squad, Hawkins Co. EMS, Hawkins Co. Sheriffs Office, Rogersville Police Department, and and Striggersville Vol. Fire Department.
State Trooper Poore was the investigating officer.
According to a report filed by Hawkins Co. Sheriff’s Deputy Casey Carter, Jonathan Derek Tackett, of the 100 block of Builders Lane, was arrested two days prior to the accident, on Saturday evening, June 27, 2020, and charged with:
• Driving under the influence;
• Violation of financial responsibility law;
• Possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance; and,
• Possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to Carter’s report, around 4 p.m. on June 27, the deputy observed a 2006 gray Nissan Altima traveling east on US 11W near East Main Street, in Rogersville, at a speed clocked at radar of 74 mph in a 55mph zone.
Near Carters Valley Loop, north of Rogersville, the deputy activated blue lights and siren, and while behind the vehicle, observed it to cross the center line of US 11W three times, “almost going into the median”.
The Altima continued east at speeds of 78 mph, before turning into Surgoinsville Market where the driver stopped, was identified, and detained without incident.
“While speaking with Mr. Tackett, I observed glossy eyes, slurred speech and loss of balance while standing and walking,” Carter wrote.
Tackett consented to perform a series of standardized field sobriety tests, but failed to perform satisfactorily.
He told the deputy that he had taken “prescribed medication of suboxone in the morning of 6/27/2020 and at noon of 6/27/2020,” the report continued. “When asked what time he thought it was, Mr. Tackett stated close to 12 p.m., around lunch. At that time it was approximately 4 p.m.”
The vehicle was towed by Skelton’s Towing since Tackett could not provide proof of insurance for the Altima.
“While inventorying the vehicle, a drawstring bag was located,” Carter wrote. “Inside the bag was black digital scale and a ziplock bag of suspected marijuana.”
Tackett’s arraignment on those charges was set for Monday morning, June 29, in Hawkins Co. Sessions Court.
SNEEDVILLE — Two Hawkins County Sheriff’s Deputies who went to conduct a routine welfare check on a resident of Byrd Creek Road, which has a Sneedville postal address, ended up arresting the occupant on a trio of charges after he allegedly assaulted one of the officers with pieces of broken glass and then struck her with his fist.
Cpl. Eric Pease said that about 12:41 a.m. on June 28, 2020, he and another deputy were dispatched to an address on Byrd Creek Road to check on the welfare of Burgess Dwayne Murrell, 39.
At 289 Byrd Creek Road, the deputies encountered Murrell, standing in an empty mobile home, “busting the windows out of the residence with two large pieces of glass in his hands”.
“I spoke with Mr. Murrell and tried several times to get him out of the residence and drop the glass, at which, at one point he turned the two large pieces of glass on Deputy Stephanie Bolognese and started to charge at her ... in an aggressive manner,” Pease wrote, adding that he deployed a five-second burst from his phazzer, causing Murrell to drop the glass and fall to the floor. When that five-second burst was over, Pease said, Murrell grabbed another piece of glass and tried to strike Deputy Bolognese a second time, resulting in a second five-second phazzer deployment.
“Myself and Deputy Bolognese had a brief struggle with Mr. Murrell,” he wrote, adding that Murrell struck Bolognese “in the side with a closed fist”.
When Murrell was subdued, he was placed under arrest for:
• Aggravated assault;
• Assault on an officer; and,
• Resisting arrest.
A June 29, 2020 arraignment date for Murrell was set in Hawkins Co. Sessions Court.