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It’s a doggy takeover at the Kingsport Aquatic Center! Registration for the KAC’s 6th Annual Drool Pawty is now open.

The Outdoor Water Park closes for people at the end of September, but the KAC is welcoming dogs for one last swim. On Saturday, October 5 from 1 to 4 p.m., bring your best pals to the pools for some aquatic fun before the outdoor pools officially close. Dogs get to swim, play and make new puppy friends in the toddler play area for a real dog day afternoon.

Admission is $5 per dog and free to owners. Limit two dogs per person, and dogs’ handler must be over 18 and bring leashes with them. Your dogs must be up-to-date on all vaccines, and vaccination records are required to register.

To learn how to register your pups, visit and find the “Special Events” page. Call 423-343-9758 if you have any questions.

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Kingsport’s State of the City event is October 4 at 7:30 a.m. at MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center. This free public event gives citizens an update on current projects and initiatives so be sure to attend!

Please RSVP here: State of the City RSVP

Kingsport Mayor Patrick W. Shull is hosting a town hall at the Lynn View Community Center on September 23. It will begin at 6:00 p.m. and it’s open to all citizens.

What: Mayor’s Town Hall

Where: Lynn View Community Center, 257 Walker Street

When: September 23 at 6:00pm

Please direct any questions to 423-229-9412.

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The City of Kingsport is exploring a new way to communicate with citizens by launching a podcast. “From the City Desk,” hosted by City Manager Chris McCartt, premiers its first episode this Thursday, September 19.

“One of my priorities as Kingsport’s new city manager is figuring out the best way to keep citizens informed,” McCartt said. “The Communications Department and I decided a podcast could be a fun new way to make local government feel a little more personal.”

McCartt will join staff member Hannah Purdy each week to discuss the latest in city news: updates on current projects, recaps of Board of Mayor & Aldermen meetings and things you might not know about how the city works. Once a month, the show will take a closer look behind the scenes of local government to explore a specific topic more in-depth.

“When I was developing this project, I couldn’t find any city governments of our size doing anything like this,” cohost Purdy said. “Our hope is that ‘From the City Desk’ will make staying on top of city news interesting and easy for a lot of people.”

New weekly episodes will drop every Thursday, and deep dive-style episodes premier on the first Monday of the month. The first episode dropping on September 19 takes a look at the role of a city manager and what Chris McCartt’s goals are during his tenure as Kingsport’s city manager.

This podcast comes as part of McCartt’s larger strategy to stay in contact with citizens. He has also launched social media channels where citizens can follow him to stay up-to-date. Find McCartt on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @KingsportCM.

You can subscribe to “From the City Desk” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts, or listen to episodes directly on the “Government” page of Click here to listen to the trailer and new episodes when they drop.

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Kingsport Public Library has been selected as one of 35 libraries nationwide to take part in the Great Stories Club, a reading and discussion program for underserved teens. This competitive grant is offered by the American Library Association (ALA) with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

As part of the Great Stories Club series on Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation, staff from Kingsport Public Library will work with teens at Girls Inc. of Kingsport to read and discuss stories that explore questions of race, equity, identity, history, institutional change and social justice.

“We are excited to have this opportunity to partner with Girls Inc. and support the community in a new way,” said Chris Markley, library manager.

The books, curated for the theme “Growing Up Brave on the Margins: Courage and Coming of Age,” will include “Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal” by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona; “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas;  “Shadowshaper” by Daniel José Older; and “The Sun is Also a Star” by Nicola Yoon.

The titles were selected to inspire young people — especially those facing difficult circumstances or challenges — to consider “big questions” about the world around them and their place in it.

Kingsport Public Library will receive a programming grant and 11 copies of each of the selected books, which will be gifted to the book club participants at the end of the program. Kingsport Public Library will also receive resources and training, including travel and accommodations for an orientation workshop in Chicago in October 2019. The workshop will include dialogue facilitation training led by consultants to Everyday Democracy and program modeling led by national project scholar Susana M. Morris (Georgia Institute of Technology).

Since 2006, ALA’s Great Stories Club has helped libraries engage young adults with accessible, thought-provoking literature. The current series is part of the Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation efforts, a comprehensive, national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism.

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The Kingsport Public Library is pleased to announce that it has begun a strategic planning process to set its directions for the next three to five years. Overseen by the Library’s board and a planning team, the planning process will help determine the service directions and infrastructure needs of the Library in the near term.

Nationwide, libraries are experiencing significant changes, and planning is an important process to match service opportunities with community needs. Public libraries are being used more than ever, but depending on specific local needs, the use is evolving. Nationally, print books and other hard copy materials are still in heavy demand, but libraries have also become important centers for technology learning and access, providers of critical early literacy and teen services, hubs for lifelong learning for all ages, and important community gathering sites that are free and open to all. Planning helps determine the mix and balance of both new and traditional services, community needs, and resources required to be effective.

The planning process will include a data gathering phase, which will include review of background materials and statistics from the Library, stakeholder interviews, sessions with Library staff, a community survey, and a daylong retreat.  The survey is now available online, as well as in paper form at the Library. All community members will be encouraged to participate in the survey. The survey is available at the following link:

The planning process will be facilitated and overseen by Stu Wilson, director, and Nick Dimassis, principal consultant, with Library Strategies, a national group that works with libraries on planning, development, services and facilities projects. Both consultants have decades of experience with libraries and in strategic planning processes. A new plan is expected to be approved by the end of the year.

Visit or call 423-224-2539 for more information.

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Come join us for an evening event where art meets science at the Silent Skies mural in downtown Kingsport. World-renowned ornithologist Dr. Fred Alsop will join one of the mural’s artists, Suzanne Justis, to explain the significance of the mural, the birds from our region that are a part of it, and the productive collaboration of species conservation and visual art.

The interactive talk will take place during the next Sip & Stroll on September 5 at 6:00 p.m. Attendees can gather at the Silent Skies mural, which is on the side of the State Theater located at the intersection of Market and Broad Street.

Be sure to see this beautiful testament to our vanishing bird species one last time before the mural takes flight!

About the Event Speakers

World-class Ornithologist Fred J. Alsop III, Ph.D.

A professor in the ETSU Department of Biological Sciences, Alsop likes to tell students who take one of his classes on birds, “this class will change your life,” and it does. “From then on,” he points out, “those students won’t notice just ‘birds,’ but individual species. They will hear birdsong and know who is singing. The students may go on to careers that have nothing to do with my class, but they will have knowledge and a possible hobby to carry with them throughout their lives.”

Alsop has been a faculty member at ETSU for 46 years where he has served as the Chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences, a Professor and member of the Graduate Faculty, and President of the Faculty Senate.  He as the first elected faculty member of ETSU’s governing Board of Trustees. He is the Director of ETSU’s George L. Carter Railroad Museum.  An ornithologist who has authored 18 books on birds including eight published by The Smithsonian Institution, he has conducted bird identification workshops in eight states for industrial, state and federal agencies. An avid birder, he has lead international birding trips and has recorded more than 4,700 species on his “life list.”  He has been recognized in Tennessee with several conservation and environmental awards. He holds a B.S. degree from Austin Peay State University in fine arts and biology, and the M.S. and Ph.D. in zoology from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is married to Dr. Catherine Cummins.

Artist Suzanne Barrett Justis

Upon viewing her work, you will quickly be able to see the enthusiasm she feels for the subjects she paints. Suzanne’s inspiration for her paintings and sculptures come from nature and her surroundings.

When Suzanne is not out in the field or at a zoo taking photo references for her next piece, she can be found in her downtown Kingsport art gallery and studio where she paints and works with her many aspiring art students.

“Breathing life into an idea or image and seeing it develop on canvas brings me so much joy. It is this joy that motivates me and spurs me on to create and learn more. Learning, growing and evolving are all words that best describe me as an artist and as a person. Being an artist is who I am, not just what I do. The sheer joy and abundance the natural world holds has ensured me many more subjects to create with my art and therefore, more joy for me to capture and share.”

About the Silent Skies mural

Bays Final Logo Brown

Take a trip to the planet closest to the Sun this fall at Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium! Two new shows begin at the planetarium on September 3.

The main feature for September through November 10 will be “The Transit of Mercury featuring ‘Solar Quest.’” This is a unique showing in the planetarium theater, beginning with a short from Buhl Planetarium all about the Sun. Then visitors will learn about Mercury and the upcoming Mercury transit on November 11 from a live presentation created by Bays Mountain Planetarian, Jason Dorfman. The live content is rich with great full-dome animations, use of the Carl Zeiss ZKP-4 star projector, and a fun activity! The show runs about 40 minutes. Park guests are also invited to a viewing of the Mercury Transit on November 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The alternate show for September and October will be “Appalachian Skies – Fall.” This live presentation is about the current spring night sky. Learn what fascinating constellations and planets you might be able to see from your own backyard. This program highlights the spectacular Carl Zeiss ZKP-4 star projector instrument, which generates a fiber-optic star field that’s stunning to see. Bring your binoculars for deep-sky exploration! This show runs approximately 35 minutes.

Quick guide to Bays Mountain’s Planetarium
Main Show – Tuesday-Friday at 4 p.m. | Saturday & Sunday at 1 & 4 p.m.

Alternate Show – Saturday & Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $5 for non-members, free for members and children under 6

Don’t forget—every Saturday and Sunday through October, visit the dam for SunWatch from 3 to 3:30 p.m. Look through a telescope to witness the Sun up close and in detail. You may even see a sunspot, a dark patch on the Sun’s photosphere that’s usually at least the size of the Earth!

To learn more about Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, call 423-229-9447 or visit


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The winning storm drain art entries have been chosen! After receiving over a dozen entries, the Stormwater Department has selected five winners.

Meet your winners!

  • Jessica Fry
  • Joel Hammitt
  • Juanita Mitchell
  • Lauren Whipple
  • Lydia Pruett

“I would like to thank everyone who entered the contest,” said Amanda McMullen, stormwater quality control technician for Kingsport Public Works. “What I like most about this project is the use of art to educate the public about environmental concerns.”

Each of the winners will receive $100 and paint to bring their art to life. The artists will begin painting the first week of September and finishing as weather and time allow. To follow along with the progress of the storm drain art and to meet the artists, check out and like the Kingsport Public Works Facebook page. The public is encouraged to check out the drains, both in progress and when complete, and snap their own photos of their favorite drain.

Sponsors for this contest are all local businesses and include Bank of Tennessee, Kingsport Imaging, Inc., Now or Never Tattoo Gallery, Bishop & Company and VIPSeen Magazine.

A special thanks to Engage Kingsport for partnering with the city on this contest.

What is Stormwater?

As Kingsport grew, the ground became covered with asphalt, concrete and buildings. Without realizing it, an important part of the water cycle was disturbed. Instead of rain naturally filtering into the ground, it flows over roofs, driveways and streets as stormwa­ter. Stormwater can pick up pollutants and transport them into local waterways via the storm drain system. Pollutants include every­day items like pesticides or fertilizers in our yards, oil in our cars, and even soap. When introduced into the waterway, pollutants have a harmful effect on aquatic life and the health of our rivers.

For more information on storm water in Kingsport, please visit


Jessica Fry

sun and water drop art

Joel Hammitt

storm drain with animals around it

Juanita Mitchell

swimming otter

Lauren Whipple


Lydia Pruett

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The Kingsport Aquatic Center is our region’s year-round swim facility—and since swimming is year-round at the KAC, so are swim lessons! Fall is a great time to get into the pools and learn. Classes are smaller, which means more one-on-one time for you or your child with the KAC’s American Red Cross-certified swim instructors.

All swim lessons at the Kingsport Aquatic Center are American Red Cross courses. The KAC offers group, private, semi-private and adaptive classes to suit you or your child’s unique needs. Weekday classes include eight sessions, either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday, and Saturday classes are four sessions. Not sure about your skill level? Don’t worry—we’ll conduct a swim test.

Fall swim lessons begin September 9. If you are an Aquatic Center or YMCA member, weekday lessons are $50 for the first child and $45 per additional child; Saturdays are $25 per child and $22.50 per additional child. For non-members member, weekday lessons are $60 for the first child and $55 per additional child, while Saturdays are $30 per child and $27.50 per additional child.

Registration begins in person and online at 8 a.m. on Saturday, August 24. To make online registration easier, please create an account before the day of registration. If an account is created after 5 p.m. on Friday and before 8 a.m. on Monday, you will not receive a password until Monday at 8 a.m. Google Chrome and Firefox are compatible web browsers. YMCA members who plan to register online need to show their YMCA card to the KAC front desk staff in order to update the system to reflect your YMCA membership.

Fall Schedule

  • September
    • Registration: 8/24-9/6
    • M/W Classes (8): 9/9-10/2
    • T/Th Classes (8): 9/10-10/3
    • Saturday Classes (4): 9/7-9/28
  • October*
    • Registration: 10/5-10/6
    • M/W Classes (8): 10/7-11/6
    • T/Th Classes (8): 10/8-11/7
    • Saturday Classes (4): 10/12-11/9
    • *No classes 10/14-10/19
  • November*
    • Registration: 11/9-11/10
    • M/W Classes (8): 11/11-12/9
    • T/Th Classes (8): 11/12-12/10
    • Saturday Classes (4): 11/12-12/10
    • *No classes 10/27-10/29

For a detailed description of our classes, to set-up an account or register, visit or call the Aquatic Center at 423-343-9758.