Goal Accomplished: She Rode All 32 Carousel Animals!

Lindsey Halker is a frequent visitor at the Kingsport Carousel. She obsessed about riding each carousel animal until she had eventually ridden every single one!  Once she completed riding them all, she bought her ‘I Rode ‘Em All’ t-shirt from the carousel gift shop.

The Kingsport Carousel is a volunteer-led project completed in 2015. Over 300 volunteers worked over 5 years to hand-carve and hand-paint platform and sweep animals for the working 1956 vintage Herschell carousel. Since opening in July 2015 the Carousel has hosted over 160,000 riders. The Carousel is open to the public year-round and summer hours are 11:00 to 7:00 Wednesday through Friday and 1:00 to 7:00 on Saturday and Sunday. All rides are $1. Birthday and private parties start at $100 and can be booked by calling 423-392-8418.

For more information, please visit www.engagekingsport.com or call 423-392-8418.

Lindsey Halker with Beaufort, a carousel animal sponsored by Cherry Point Animal Hospital.

Lindsey Halker

Creed’s Watch: The City Garbage Truck

A follow up story to Highlighting Heroes Rodney Dye

Ever since he was healthy enough to be outside, Creed has had a fascination with his city’s garbage truck and driver, Rodney Dye. Every week, Rodney comes by his house and it’s a dream come true for the young survivor.

Rodney is a Kingsport Public Works employee with more than 17 years on the job. Over the years, he’s met some amazing people, but none as incredible as Creed.

Creed has many health issues, including heart problems. He’s had numerous operations and even though he won’t ever live a ‘normal’ life, he has one thing worth watching for – and that’s the weekly appearance of Rodney in his Kingsport garbage truck.

After Rodney noticed Creed every week, he started waving and stopping to visit with the young boy. As luck has it, Rodney and Creed’s grandmother attend the same local church where she was able to tell Rodney just how much it meant to him to stop at Creed’s house.

Rodney took this information to heart. He wanted to enhance Creed’s life the best way he knew how – get Creed in the driver’s seat of a garbage truck. This came true at the Kingsport Public Works Day. Public Works Day is held every year in the city of Kingsport and it’s an opportunity for the public to get up close with all the equipment the department uses, such as street sweepers, snow plows, bucket trucks and yes, garbage trucks.

Creed and his family arrived at the event and Creed instantly wanted Rodney to be the one to push him around in his big kid stroller.

The group made their way around the event, looking at all the machines and equipment, but Creed perked up and pointed to the garbage truck when it came into view. Rodney helped him climb into the driver’s seat. The instant Creed sat down, it was all smiles and laughs and screeches of excitement.

Creed pulled on levers. He pushed all the buttons he could reach. He pressed the petals as many times as he could. He even honked the horn, but only once because it was so loud. His smile fantasizing about having his own garbage truck one day was contagious – everyone around him, family and strangers, could see just how happy this young boy was living his dream.

Rodney eventually helped him out of the truck. Creed was exhausted and his family was ready to take him home.

Every week, Creed gets to watch for Rodney and in turn, Rodney gives this young boy a reason to watch for him.

For Rodney’s original story, please visit here. To learn more about Creed’s incredible journey, please visit Creed’s Mending Heart on Facebook.


Highlighting Heroes: Kingsport Sign Technician with Special Talents

Tony Dingus

Tony Dingus – Sign Technician for City of Kingsport

Tony has the experience and expertise to take his talents anywhere in the nation, but he chooses to stay in Kingsport.

Throughout Kingsport, Joel, known to most as Tony or “Doc,” has a special role in keeping the city running smoothly. Doc is a Sign Technician in the Traffic Department, and has worked for the city for nearly 30 years. Not only is Doc a dedicated employee, but he also has a hidden musical talent that makes him a true treasure for the city.

Introduced to music at the age of 13, Doc quickly grew and developed his musical talents into what they are today. He started out playing the bass guitar, which eventually evolved into him learning how to play the mandolin and the dobro. By the time he was 16 years old, he was playing the steel guitar.

Although he knows how to play many instruments, his true passion lies in the dobro. The dobro is a wood-bodied acoustic guitar with a metal resonator built into the body. In recent years, Doc’s skill has evolved into teaching students how to play. He teaches classes at East Tennessee State University when he is not working for the city. He’s been presented with many opportunities to work with professional musicians and travel to play his music, but he continues to stay in Kingsport.

“I love the city I work for,” said Doc. “I place a high value on the job I do and the wonderful people I work with.”

Doc’s city job entails striping the roads, helping with traffic patterns during events, and keeping signs throughout the city up-to-date. He has witnessed a lot of change over the course of time he has worked with the City of Kingsport. The equipment he uses every day to paint the roads, for example, has been consistently upgraded and improved. The equipment upgrades for his department have made painting the roads an easy and convenient process, for both motorists and equipment operators alike.  The newer painting equipment also allows the distribution of hot plastic to be used in place of regular paint, preventing the lines from fading and having to be repainted as often.

According to Doc, the biggest change he has seen with the city has been growth. Doc is constantly impressed and loves to think back to what the city used to be like compared to its impressive size today.

“When I first started working here, Lynn Garden wasn’t even a part of Kingsport. The city has just grown so much over the years, and it’s pretty amazing to be a part of that growth.”

Tony is a one-of-a-kind hero for Kingsport. The City of Kingsport is his home, and there is nowhere else he’d rather be.


ShowTime’s ‘Spirit of Kingsport’ Centennial Show

From 1988 – 2010 Kingsport’s ShowTime captivated audiences with high-energy, fun-filled, musical-variety performances. This year, Kingsport’s ShowTime will return to the Toy F Reid Auditorium stage to present special “Spirit of Kingsport” Centennial Performances on July 7, 8 and 9.

The performances will highlight the history of Kingsport through ten decades of song and dance featuring popular music, exciting Broadway hits, time-honored country music favorites, traditional gospel medleys, inspirational contemporary praise hymns, fast-paced rock and roll, and spirited patriotic tunes.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.kingsportshowtime.com, at the Eastman Employee Center Office or at the door 30 minutes before each show.

For more information, please visit www.kingsportshowtime.com or call 423-534-8874.

ShowTime Cast 2017 showtime showtime

Get Your Play On

Summer is here, which means it’s time to get your play on. This July, discover the power of play in Kingsport as we celebrate Park and Recreation Month. A variety of fun activities are planned for residents of all ages and abilities — including a one pitch softball tournament, disc golf tournament, croquet at Allandale, outdoor volleyball tournament and Rhythm in Riverview.

Kingsport is celebrating Park and Recreation Month, an initiative of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), and all the ways parks and recreation has the power to transform our daily lives. From providing us places to play, get fit and stay healthy to fostering new relationships and forging a connection with nature, our close-to-home community park and recreation facilities provide essential services and improve quality of life.

“In celebration of National Parks and Recreation Month I encourage everyone to get out and play this summer in one of our many great city parks,” said Kitty Frazier, parks and recreation manager. “Play is a vital part of mental well-being, personal interaction and physical health.”

Block Quote: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” -George Bernard Shaw

NRPA is celebrating the month by hosting a weekly contest encouraging people to show them why play is so important in their lives. Visit www.nrpa.org/July for more information on how to participate. Entries can be submitted via the hashtag #NRPAPlayChallenge. NRPA also encourages all people that support parks and recreation to share why they think play is so important with the hashtag #PlayOnJuly.

To learn more about Park and Recreation Month and all the activities going on, visit www.kingsportparksandrecreation.org and www.nrpa.org/July.

parks infographic

City Priorities: A Budget Refresher

Budgeting is a year-round process for Kingsport. The city accomplished a balanced budget with no increase to taxes, user fees or utility rates.

budget infographics

Kingsport Mayor Clark elected to Tennessee Municipal League Board of Directors

John Clark, mayor of Kingsport, was elected to the board of directors of the Tennessee Municipal League (TML) during the League’s annual conference recently held in Murfreesboro. Bo Perkinson, Athens councilman, was elected President.

Clark was nominated as a director at large by a five-member nominating committee composed of municipal officials statewide. He was then elected for a one-year term by a majority vote of the membership.

“I am honored to sit on the TML board and work towards progress in our state,” said Mayor Clark. “It is important that East Tennessee has a seat at that table, especially with some of the recent growth momentum in the area, and I am grateful for this opportunity to serve in this capacity.”

Founded in 1940 and based in Nashville, TML is a nonprofit organization founded by cities and towns for mutual assistance and improvement. Representing 99 percent of Tennessee’s municipal citizens, the organization advocates for needed legislative action by the General Assembly, represents municipal interests before state departments and agencies, and – working through the National League of Cities in Washington – seeks to influence federal legislation and policies affecting municipal governments.

As a member of the TML board of directors, Mayor Clark will propose and help determine legislation municipalities need passed into law and will establish policy priorities for the League.

The eight at-large directors were nominated by a five-member nominating committee composed of municipal officials statewide. They were then elected for a one-year term by a majority vote of the entire membership. Those directors are: Jimmy Alexander, Nolensville mayor; John Clark, Kingsport mayor; Vance Coleman, Medina mayor; Avery Johnson, Cleveland vice mayor; Bobby King, Henderson mayor; Christina Martin, Columbia vice mayor; Lonnie Norman, Manchester mayor; and Mary Ann Tremblay, Three Way vice mayor.

Kingsport POPS!

Join us for Kingsport POPS!, a centennial July 4th celebration that will be one for the history books! Food trucks, local restaurants and music will kick off the evening with a special concert by Symphony of the Mountains. Symphony of the Mountains will play current and past big hit pop songs to keep the expanded Independence Day celebration going!

The winner of the 2017 Honda Civic will be announced and given the keys to their new car! The celebration will close with a spectacular fireworks display behind the clock tower.

We hope to see everyone out for the next city signature centennial event!

4th of July Poster

Opening Day for the Kingsport Mets will be a Homerun for the Centennial

K-Mets and City of Kingsport Team Up for a Celebration of a new season and 100 years for the city

The City of Kingsport and the Kingsport Mets are joining forces on Sunday, June 25th in the celebration of both opening day at Hunter Wright Stadium and the city’s centennial. With an action-packed Sunday afternoon designed around nine innings of baseball, all ages are surely to enjoy.

Celebrating in true centennial fashion, this special home opener includes a single-game name change in which the club will be known as the ‘Kingsport Spirit’ in all references throughout the game.

Players and coaches will sport special, one-time-only jerseys that showcase various images of Kingsport through the years. Starting at the third inning of the game, fans will have an opportunity to buy a game-worn jersey for $100, while supplies last.

Proceeds from the jerseys will go to the Kingsport Archives. This department has been instrumental in the celebration of 2017 as well as providing photographs for the centennial jerseys. Other centennial merchandise will also be available and even giveaways will occur between innings.

Pregame festivities include Kingsport Mayor John Clark throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, and he, on behalf of the city, will receive a ceremonial bat signed by the Kingsport Mets. Also, Carla Karst, a Kingsport native, will sing the national anthem.

Appropriately so, this game is also the City of Kingsport Employee Appreciation Night, recognizing and showing appreciation for all the hardworking and dedicated individuals that serve our city.

Opening day is Sunday, June 25th against the Johnson City Cardinals. The first pitch is slated for 4:00 p.m. with gates opening at 3:00 p.m. Hunter Wright Stadium is located at 800 Granby Rd, just off Stone Drive.

For more information regarding promotions, ticket sales or the 2017 Kingsport Mets, visit the club online at www.kmets.com or follow on Twitter at @Kingsport_Mets.

For more information regarding Kingsport’s Centennial and other upcoming events, please visit www.kingsport100.org.

“Safe Exchange Zone”

The Kingsport Police Department is offering a “Safe Exchange Zone” service to citizens. K.P.D.’s “Safe Exchange Zone” consists of two designated parking spaces in the parking lot behind Kingsport City Hall, located at 225 West Center Street, adjacent to the Kingsport Justice Center. These two parking spaces are under video surveillance, 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week, 365 days-a-year, with parking being restricted to a 15-minute time limit.

The concept behind K.P.D.’s “Safe Exchange Zone” is to give citizens a safe place to conduct transactions with other individuals, particularly individuals who are complete strangers, but also with known individuals with whom they expect potential problems.

More and more citizens are making purchases in person after initially seeing something listed for sale either online or in a traditional newspaper classified advertisement.  Classic social media applications, such as Facebook, have offered online yard sales for quite some time.  Newer more specialized services, such as LetGo, offer free, person-to-person, mobile classifieds applications, that allow users to buy from, sell to, and chat with others locally.

“Safe Exchange Zone” offers a clearly marked, well-lit, and very public spot, under constant video surveillance, strategically located adjacent to the Kingsport Police Department, as a site to conduct these person to person transactions between complete strangers.

On a national scale, frightening stories have been told of crimes, such as thefts, robberies, assaults, or worse, being committed during these types of transactions.  Fortunately, the Kingsport Police Department has not seen this particular type of crime trend locally.  It is our hope that this proactive approach of offering a “Safe Exchange Zone” to our citizens will help this positive cycle continue in Kingsport.

As an added benefit, K.P.D.’s “Safe Exchange Zone” can also be used for child custody swaps between divorced or estranged parents, particularly when there has been a history of significant problems or disagreements between the parents during past exchanges.