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Jacksboro to play in the Saturday, October 28, Title Game at CCHS

Final:  JMS 44 Claiborne 0

NEXT CCHS FOOTBALL GAME:  Friday, October 20, at Clinton







 Owls Nest - LHS

Tennessee Jamboree


Best of Times III 

La Follette

Heart of Grace

 Editorial Page (Letters)


                 CLICK to watch LIVE Channel 12

Smith's open 7-days a week & has BONNIE PLANTS on sale

Smith Hardware OPENS Monday - Saturday at 7:30 AM

Get the Time & Temp anytime, call 423.566.8463, a service of Terry's Pharmacy

WLAF’s “Business of the Day” today is: 

RIGGS DRUG - La Follette & Jacksboro

Shop local.  It helps all of us.    


   No school, beautiful fall day, and a big ole creek, L-R  Angle Rainwater (lep shirt), Mathew Diehl (red shirt), Skylar Diehl (pink top), and Taylor Rainwater (M Shirt) made the most of it.  Another photo from WLAF’s Charlie Hutson is further down this page.


Tamko dimensional shingles ON SALE thru October for $61.95 net per square


First Citizens Police Academy graduates

Six-week LPD class concluded Tuesday 

   La Follette Police Chief Bill Roehl graduated his first class of LPD’s Citizens Police Academy on Tuesday night at City Hall.  Roehl’s first class covered just about every aspect of police work.  From Sergeant Charles Duff’s explanation of the Special Response Team to the class’s qualifying firearms course to traffic stops and threats on police officers to a polygraph test, the six-week academy covered a lot of ground.

Thirty-one year police veteran Chief Bill Roehl addresses Tuesday's class  

   LPD Chaplin George Asbury, also a member of the class, expressed at last night’s class that he had a lot of respect for law enforcement prior to the first session, but he now has an even greater respect with a whole different perspective.

   Thanks to Chief Roehl, his staff, and all those who helped make this first class such an enjoyable, educational, and interesting experience. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/18/2017-6AM)

 A New Beginning needs mentors

A New Beginning (ANB), a local program with a goal of offering men who have recently been released from jail a chance to reassemble their lives, needs mentors.

“The program currently has 17 men who were recently released from jail and have contacted us, passed a drug screen, and started working an honest job, but they are still struggling,” said  Stacy Bosch, assistant director of ANB. “These men need mentors.”

Mentors need to be a male over the age of 21, can have a history of substance abuse or not, and should be willing to spend one to two hours a week listening, guiding, and loving the participants, she said. If someone has struggled with addiction, ANB asks they have a year of sobriety before applying to be a mentor.

“The program helps men reestablish a work history and an income,” Bosch said.

In order to qualify as a participant for the program, and a job, applicants must first have a desire to work and change their lives, according to Bosch. The men must also be able to pass a drug screen, pass a background check that will focus on, if violent offenses are present, and be willing work with a mentor. After that, the ANB staff will work with the men on a variety of topics from parenting to budgeting.

And on the occasion that the desire is there, but, the sobriety isn’t, ANB will also help the man work towards getting clean then, the rest of the program will be implanted, Bosch said.

But mentors are key in ANB, she said.

“As of today, there are 17 people who are at work today and not out making bad choices. Help us keep it that way,” Bosch said. “We need the community to help these men.”

For those interested in becoming a mentor, they can apply at or call 423-449-9006.

“This is a huge door of opportunity for this community,” Bosch said of the possibility to counteract the negative effect narcotics has had in Campbell County.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/18/2017-6AM)

Exterior Home Solutions

Let Dustin Woodson & his staff get you ready for winter

See Bailee and her dad, Dustin Woodson, for windows, siding, roofing, gutters, and decks at Exterior Home Solutions 423.449.9616

 Middle school musicians needed

Meeting is set for Thursday evening

   The Postmark La Follette team is looking for middle school age musicians who would like to be part of PL’s “Santa's Around the World” program in December.  

   If you play an instrument and would be interested in performing in a youth group musical tribute to Christmas, come to the old post office at 119 South Tennessee Avenue, Thursday, October 19 at 6 p.m.  Bring your instruments if you can or just come and hear about the plans. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/18/2017-6AM)

Since 1967

Miller's month is here - his time to scare

GhostWalk is every Friday and Saturday in October

By Pat Pebley

Allan Miller revolutionized the Halloween experience a few years ago when he started his walking ghost tour of downtown La Follette. The local artist, historian, and story teller spent countless hours at the historical society and talking to local residents researching La Follette's horrific and haunted history. But he also ended up with several stories that simply do not fit into the route he walks.

Allan Miller and Logan Birdsong

Enter Caryville Public Library's Logan Birdsong. She contacted Miller about coming to tell his ghastly tales for library patrons. This was the perfect chance for Miller to break out several stories not on his ghost walk.

On Friday the 13
th, Miller came to the Caryville Municipal Building where he was met by dozens of folks ready to be mystified and terrified by his stories. Miller did not disappoint as he regaled the crowd with stories of ghostly activities in Sugar Hollow, Whitman Hollow and more La Follette tales that he does not normally share. Birdsong did her part to entertain the crowd as she fed s'mores to anyone who wanted them.

The crowd got what it came for as there were many gasps from the gallery when Miller told the tales of La Follette's Burning Man and the area known as Joe Gray Hollow.

Miller conducts his regular GhostWalk every Friday and Saturday in October with tours leaving at 8 pm and 10 pm at night. He will also conduct private tours for five or more patrons if contacted in advance. On October 20
th, the cast of the TV show Wrestling With Ghosts will be joining Miller and telling their own stories of their two La Follette ghost investigations. Cost for the Allan Miller's GhostWalk La Follette is $10. For more info: (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/18/2017-6AM)

NEW HOURS at Premier Cleaners (08/10/2017)

Mon – Fri 7 am to 7 pm and Saturdays 8 am to 2 pm


Price looks to Clinton for healing prescription

CCHS plays at Dragon’s Den on Friday

   During the Justin Price Era at Campbell High, the 7th year head coach has relied a few times on Clinton to help get his team back on the winning track.  Cougar fans hope that trend continues this Friday at Clinton Field after last Friday's home loss to Fulton.

   During the 2011 season, it looked like a home game with Hardin Valley was going to be Price’s signature win in the early going of his career as Cougar head coach.  But it wasn’t meant to be.  The Hawks scored late spoiling Campbell’s upset bid and leaving with a 26-20 win.  The Cougars bounced back the following Friday with a 28-23 win at Clinton.

   That 2011 win over the Dragons was the first since the 2003 season and only the third win for CCHS in the series in what was the 31st meeting.  Price’s teams are 5 & 1 versus Clinton.

   The Cougars returned to the win column in 2013 after a heartbreaking 26-21 home loss to Anderson County.  The win came in dramatic fashion with a 41-40 home victory over the Dragons.  CCHS scored the winning points with just a few seconds to go.

   CCHS again turned to Clinton for a bounce back win in 2014 after a tough loss at Anderson County.  CCHS came from behind to win at Clinton 41 to 34.

   The Cougars kick-off with Clinton on the Dragons home field on Friday at 7:30 pm.  The WLAF – B & M Tires Sports Network has all the live radio, TV, and internet coverage.  That’s over AM 1450, FM 100.9, WLAF-TV 12, and  Les Martin and Brent Allen have all the excitement starting at 7 pm.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/18/2017-6AM)

 Let Robbins Guttering beautify your home


Siding, Guttering, Windows, and more – Robbins Guttering 423.566.5461




   The check is big in more ways than one.  The story about the check (L-R) District Attorney General Jared Effler, Director of the Childrens Center of the Cumberlands Kellie Walker, and Tracie Davis, Director of the Campbell County Childrens Center are holding is further down this page.


Commission looks at improvements, upgrade in equipment for solid waste

County commissioners spent much of the time at their Monday night meeting listening to a series of recommendations from the Sanitation Committee on ways to make solid waste collections more efficient.

Committee chairman Ralph Davis outlined a list of eleven proposed changes, ranging from inexpensive improvements such as spraying the bottoms of convenience center garbage containers with a protective coating to protect containers from rust to borrowing nearly a half million dollars to replace much of the Sanitation Department’s aging equipment.

Davis also proposed hiring a second mechanic in order to do a better job of maintaining the Department’s fleet of trucks and loaders, putting a GPS tracking system on all garbage trucks and purchasing two more walking trailers in order to allow loading to proceed while the trucks are in route to the out-of-county landfill.

Finance Director Jeff Marlow pointed out that many of the proposed expenditures will be covered by already-approved increases in dumping fees for commercial garbage and brush, while the Environmental Services Department has the ability to pay off an existing debt of $125,000 and borrow enough on a note to cover $430,000 to purchase the new equipment.

“With the new rates, the county could pay off the new note within five years,” Marlow pointed out. He then suggested that the commission delay action on a motion by Davis until a budget amendment can be prepared for approval at the next meeting.

Davis later brought up a controversial matter, a message from attorney David Dunaway that was first brought up at last week’s workshop by County Attorney Joe Coker. Dunaway had earlier offered to waive his attorney fees if the commissioners would reverse their decision to refuse payment to Dunaway’s client, Carrender Construction Company for work on the Walnut Mountain water project.

The lawsuit involves a $7,000 bill that the county refused to pay because it was done without pre-approval of a change order in violation of a recently passed commission policy. The company argued that the extra work and materials were necessary after an unexpected flood on the mountain and the work was approved by the project engineer.

Dunaway, during a pre-trial conference with Coker and Circuit Court Judge McAfee, offered to waive attorney’s fees if the county would agree to pay the bill, avoiding a battle in court. Judge McAfee indicated at that conference that while the commission’s policy was clear, he was inclined to rule for the company as they appeared to have acted in good faith.

Despite that message conveyed by Coker, the commission, led by passionate arguments by Davis and Cliff Jennings, voted 7-7 to refuse the settlement offer. Mayor E. L. Morton broke the tie to vote with those commissioners rejecting the offer.

Dunaway then sent a message that he intends not only to pursue the money owed to his clients and his $35,000 legal fee, but is also considering a lawsuit individually against those commissioners who voted to go to court.

Davis angrily denounced the threat and cited a 1978 law that he said would make it a criminal misdemeanor to threaten to use the courts to obstruct public officials from carrying out their duties. Davis asked Coker to talk to the District Attorney about pressing charges against Dunaway, although Coker pointed out that since he is the county’s attorney in the litigation case, it would be better if the commissioners approached the D.A.

Davis finally made a motion to instruct Coker to talk to the DA, despite Coker’s hesitations. That motion passed 7-5 with Charles Baird, Johnny Bruce, Sue Nance, Rusty Orick and Lonnie Weldon voting “no.” Carl Douglas, Marie Ayers and Forster Baird were absent from the vote.

While the meeting ended in controversy, it started on an upbeat note, as Mayor Morton called several industrial and business leaders down to the front to be honored by resolutions. Nora Monday, Director of the county women’s shelter, accepted a plaque recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Week.

Following that, the Mayor presented certificates honoring Rob Woodson for the contributions to the community by Woodson’s Cash Stores, first founded by Woodson’s grandfather, R. L. Woodson, in 1920; the Ball family and their company, LaFollette Mine Supply; MATEX Corporation and Bushtec, acquired recently by Better Made Tools.

The commission also voted unanimously to approve several improvements to the animal shelter. The improvements will be paid for by the Friends of Campbell County Animals group but needed commission approval. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/17/2017-6AM)

Large turnout for food and supplies give-a-way

Saturday at LES

   Robin Rolland with Compassion Ministries says, “It was fantastic!”  That’s her reaction to Saturday’s give-a-way at La Follette Elementary School.   

   She, others from Compassion, and many local volunteers were at LES giving away food and countless other items.  Rolland’s missionaries brought more than $40,000 worth of supplies to Campbell County.

   A total of 278 families were served.  That computes out to 1,159 people.

   Rolland notes that folks went home with all kinds of good food, and that everybody received a pack of baby back ribs. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/17/2017-6AM)

Opening for news reporter at WLAF

Campbell County’s #1 News Source is hiring. 1450WLAF needs a part-time reporter willing to cover the county’s political landscape and other events as needed. The work will be mostly evenings with a quick turnaround time for stories. Must be a self- starter, able to meet deadlines and either have writing experience or a willingness to be coached.  Please submit a writing sample and resume to by Monday, Oct. 23.   No phone calls – please.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/17/2017-6AM)

CHET has job openings

Apply today

   “We really need staff,” said CHET’s Human Resources Manager Carol Vinsant.  Community Health of East Tennessee (CHET) has seven fulltime openings for caregivers on its second and third shifts.  Starting pay is $9.00 per hour.  Vinsant says applicants must have a valid Tennessee driver license, a high school diploma or GED, and must be 21-years or older.

   Interested applicants apply at CHET’s main office at 507 Main Street at Jacksboro.  That’s across from the post office.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/17/2017-6AM)


DA’s clays tourney raises $40,000

Proceeds support children’s centers


On Friday, September 29, the 8th Judicial District Attorney General’s Office hosted the Second Annual  Clays for Children Sporting Clays Tournament at Chilhowee Sportsman’s Club in Maryville in an effort to raise money to support the children’s centers of the 8th Judicial District, comprised of Campbell, Claiborne, Fentress, Scott, and Union counties. The event grew from 40 teams last year to 55 teams this year and featured 220 shooters. According to the Chilhowee Sportsman’s Club, this event has grown to their third largest benefit shoot.


The children’s centers of the 8th Judicial District serve literally hundreds of children each year, and work closely with local law enforcement and the District Attorney Generals’ Office.  “Cooperation and collaboration between all agencies is key in effectively prosecuting crimes against children. The children’s centers of the 8th Judicial District are an essential part of the team, and we are most proud to stand with them and support them,” said 8th Judicial District Attorney Jared Effler. “From medical examinations, forensic interviews, counseling and therapy, their services help to ensure justice is served upon the perpetrator of crimes against children and help victims through their counseling services.”


Effler developed the idea of a sporting clays tournament last year in an effort to find a unique fundraising opportunity that could bring people together from across the district and benefit the children’s centers.


“We continue to be humbled by the support we receive from private individuals, law enforcement, local businesses and corporations for this great event,” Effler said.  “Like last year, everyone enjoyed themselves, and we raised money for a very worthy cause.”  The District Attorney General’s Office is pleased to announce that this year’s Clays for Children Sporting Clays Tournament netted $40,000.00 to support the children’s centers of the 8th Judicial District.


Tournament Results Are As Follows:


1st Flight

Course A

1st PlaceLester Gann – Participants Lester Gann, Charles Spresser, Dean Munkers and Gary Cooper with a total score of 388.

2nd PlaceKnox Shooters – Participants Mike Girard, Ralph Newcamp, Butch Armstrong, and Stan Latham with a total score of 373.


Lester Gann had the best overall score of 100.


Course B

1st PlaceFour Oaks Funeral Home – Participants Jordan Potter, Aaron Potter, Hayden Potter and Adam Young with a total score of 337.

2nd PlaceClaiborne County Sheriff’s Office – Participants Josh Russell, Seth Miracle, Bill Baumgardner and Carl Mosingo with a total score of 252.


Jordan Potter had the best overall score of 94.

2nd Flight

Course A

1st PlaceSequatchie Concrete Services – Participants Greg Garren, Jennifer Garren, Sonia Hill and Kendall Hill with a total score of 341.

1st PlaceOrange Crush – Participants Todd Helton, Rodney Helton, Ben Cunningham and Jedidiah Rowlett with a total score of 333.

2nd PlaceLaFollette Mine Supply – Participants Billy Ball, Ron Dilbeck, Dennis Potter and Aaron Evans with a total score of 331.


Greg Garren had the best overall score of 100.


Course B

1st PlaceStowers – Participants Andrew Sturgill, Tony Parkerson, Kirk Johnson and Kevin Mastrina with a total score of 348.

2nd PlaceTWRA – Participants Rick Roberts, Jason Lankford, Michael Cavins and Anthony Chitwood with a total score of 320.


Jason McConkey had the best overall score of 99.


3rd Flight

Course A

1st PlaceBall Farm Event Center – Participants Billy Ball, Kray Vinsant, Durand Carmony and Terry Lewis with a total score of 360.

2nd PlaceRomer, Lane and Howard – Participants Maci Gernt, Noah Gernt, Derek Gernt and Taylor Webb with a total score of 324.


Mike Stuart and Hugh Rule had the best overall score of 95.


Course B

1st PlaceDan Mercer – Participants Dan Mercer and Bow Powell with a total score of 185 out of 200.

2nd PlaceCity of LaFollette – Participants Brandon Stanford, Paul Harmon, Jimmie Jeffries and Casey Boshears with a total score of 300.


Dan Mercer had the best overall score of 98.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/17/2017-6AM)

Domestic violence awareness comes to the forefront

October is domestic violence awareness month

October is the month that a light gets shone on domestic violence.

Domestic violence is characterized by a pattern of abusive behaviors–including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks as well as economic coercion–used by one intimate partner against another (adult or adolescent) to gain, maintain, or regain power and control in the relationship according to the Domestic Violence Awareness Project. Batterers use a range of tactics to frighten, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, often injure, and sometimes kill a current or former intimate partner.

This translates into an average of nearly 20 people per minute being physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) said in its most recent report.

Domestic violence is a cycle that can be stopped.  Locally, Community Health of East Tennessee (CHET) has services designed to help victims escape the situation. They also operate a safe, secure and confidential shelter.

The residential program is a 45-day emergency housing program offered to victims of domestic abuse. Residents are provided with essential needs during their stay such as toiletries, food, clothing, personal hygiene, and even transportation, the website said.

In addition to 24 emergency beds, CHET offers transitional housing (upon availability) as an opportunity for victims of domestic violence to get back on their feet.  The Family Services Center also offers non-residential support for victims who are looking to end the cycle of domestic violence.  These services include: court advocacy, educational workshops and life-skills training.

For more information or to get help call 423.562.8325. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/16/2017-6AM)

CHET’s Administrative Wing named for Stiner

‘This is a day about Tom’ – Debbie Samples

   A gathering of Tom Stiner’s family and special friends was Friday morning at the offices of Community Health of East Tennessee on Independence Lane in La Follette.  The occasion was to dedicate the new administrative wing of the beautiful three story brick building in memory of the former county mayor.

Work on the floor was being done on Friday morning inside the administrative offices that are named in memory of Tommy C. Stiner.

   The event was a mix of missing Stiner, honoring him, and laughing at some of his stories.  Without the stories and laughs, it would likely have been a rather somber get-to-gether.

   Debbie Samples, president of CHET’s Board of Directors, emceed the ceremony, and read from a near full-page of CHET accomplishments that directly involved Stiner.  Tom Stiner, who passed away in August, served on CHET’s board for more than 20-years.

This plaque will be placed beside the front door to the administrative offices.

   Among some of CHET’s milestones with Stiner on the board are building the new 42,000 square foot medical facility, purchasing six, two-bedroom apartments for the homeless, and the purchase of a domestic violence shelter and transitional home for victims of abuse.  Samples notes that Stiner was very instrumental in helping CHET obtain the contract for the third floor VA Clinic in CHET’s new medical facility.

   Samples called Tom Stiner “The Rock” of the board there during the hard times.  She closed the ceremony by reading her last note to Tom.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/16/2017-6AM-PHOTOS COURTESY OF PENNY ETTER)

Friday afternoon crash blocks I-75

Car versus 18-wheeler

   Around 2:30 pm Friday afternoon, a southbound car hit a big rig on I-75, that was also southbound, here in Campbell County.  According to the report from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, a Ford Fiesta was traveling south on I-75, just south of Caryville at Mile Marker 132 in the right lane.  Its driver was Mike Carroll of Georgia, and the trooper reports that Carroll crossed over into the left lane striking the truck. 

   The report outlines that the 18-year old Carroll had an apparent medical issue.  Carroll’s car hit the trailer of the 18-wheeler that was driven by 57-year old Alfred Gilmore of North Carolina.  Both vehicles ended up on the right shoulder of the interstate, and each was able to be driven after the collision.

   Carroll was taken to the hospital for a medical follow-up evaluation. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/16/2017-6AM)

Big Creek ATV Fall Fest continues to grow

An estimated 8,000 attendees took part

L-R Mary, Jim, & Chris Arnold take it all in Saturday at the ATV Fest.  

   Good weather, good event, good results.  The City of La Follette’s third annual Big Creek ATV Fall Festival was a lot more crowded than the first two, according to Festival Director Jimmy Jeffries.  And he calls that a good indicator of the festival’s success.  CLICK HERE for WLAF photos.

Competitions were added to this year's event

   The festival is the brain child of Jeffries, La Follette’s City Administrator, who points to the organized rides as a really good way of gauging growth and participation.  He says there were around 200 ATVs on the organized rides that started at 10 am on Saturday.  That’s a far cry from the first ATV Fest in 2015, he adds.

Directors Cindi Reynolds (L) and Christie Elkins were on hand.  Reynolds is with Tourism and Elkins with the Chamber of Commerce

   Jeffries says there was a lot of time and effort put forth from the La Follette Police, Fire, Rec, and Street departments in addition to all the volunteers.  He indicates that the vendors did well and were pleased with Saturday’s turnout.  Jeffries was most pleased that it ended up being an injury-free day and evening.

It was a good time had by all

   There won’t be much of a break between the 2017 Big Creek ATV Fall Festival and preparations for the 2018 fest.  Jeffries says there’ll be a post-festival meeting here in a few days and by late January-early February, the planning begins for next year.

Tony Lindsay & the Royal Lunch Room mascot had an extra busy day on Saturday

   The 2018 Big Creek ATV Fall Festival is set for Saturday, October 13. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/16/2017-6AM-PHOTOS COURTESY OF LINDSAY & CHARLIE HUTSON)


Chamber’s Pig Roast was big.  Real big.

Annual event was last night

   Pig Roast Number 33 is in the books.  For all involved in last night’s Campbell County Chamber of Commerce Pig Roast, today is a day to exhale.  And deservingly so.

   Derrick Lee Anderson represented WLAF at last night’s Pig Roast and is pictured with Elkins (top) and Candace West (R)

   Chamber Director Christie Elkins was thrilled with the turnout and participation.  She credits all the helping hands, community support, and chamber members for keeping the tradition alive and enjoyable.  She says that at this point in time, the roast is more than a fundraiser, it’s a tradition as well.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/13/2017-6AM)

Tucker’s talk highlights CHET’s annual staff meeting

Day-long event was yesterday

   “I’m so appreciative of all of our employees here at CHET and how dedicated they are to our mission,” said Community Health of East Tennessee CEO Teresa Dabney.  Though yesterday’s annual meeting was a training day, it was also a day of appreciation for CHET’s more than 100 employees.

   Dabney calls it a chance, too, for employees to get to meet other employees from the different arms under the CHET umbrella.  She sizes it up as an annual training program with reviews and much more.  Much more also included a catered breakfast and lunch at the training site, the La Follette United Methodist Church, and a visit from WATE-TV 6 news anchor Lori Tucker.

Lori Tucker of WATE-TV 6 offered a lot of inspiration during CHET’s annual meeting on Thursday.

   Tucker called it an honor to be able to attend and visit with people who are changing lives everyday.  She described CHET employees as “being on the front line” of working with abuse victims, saving families, and helping save children; just some of the many facets of CHET. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/13/2017-6AM-PHOTOS COURTESY OF PENNY ETTER)

LFD spends time teaching

October is Fire Prevention Month

   The La Follette Fire Department’s “C” shift was on hand teaching Powell-Clinch Headstart youngsters fire prevention on Thursday morning. Firefighter Tristian Nelson and Mayor Mike Stanfield are pictured in the group at the La Follette Community Center, old West La Follette School.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/13/2017-6AM-PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAD YOUNG)

Smith Hardware celebrates Customer Appreciation Day

Campbell calls it the “best yet”

   Sherman Campbell with Smith’s ACE Hardware describes Thursday’s “Customer Appreciation Day” as the store’s biggest and best one yet.  J.D. Power and Associates has again, and has for years now, recognized ACE Hardware with its “Highest Customer Satisfaction for Home Improvement Retails Stores.” (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/13/2017-6AM)

   WLAF’s Charlie Hutson snapped this photo of L-R  Sandy Day, Robey Ward, Alaynah Carney, Josh Parker and Bryan Gross in front of Common Ground, La Follette’s new coffee shop.  The story and more photos are further down this page.

Crawford indicted on 17 counts of child abuse

Hale faces abuse and neglect charges also

A young mother and her boyfriend have been indicted on charges they severely abused her five- year- old daughter.

Danielle Denise Hale and Zachary Chase Crawford were indicted yesterday.

Hale was indicted for aggravated child abuse and neglect in a child under eight years of age and three counts of neglect of a child under eight years of age.

But it’s Crawford who faces even harsher, and multiple charges. He was indicted on 17 counts of child abuse and neglect in a child under eight years of age and aggravated child abuse and neglect in a child under eight years of age.

The couple was charged in August when officers with the Jacksboro Police Department went to Hale’s Main St. apartment to investigate the little girl’s condition, the report said.

Zachary Chase Crawford of Caryville remains housed in the county jail this morning on a half-million dollar bond.  He is in maximum security lock-up.(PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CAMPBELL COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT)

During the investigation the JPD learned that Hale was leaving her daughter alone with Crawford. Crawford, 19, allegedly confessed he had inflicted the numerous injuries to the five-year-old girl.

The 19- year-old told police he had used “discipline” on the little girl that included hitting her with an open palm, striking her with a horse’s riding crop and that he also “disciplined” her with his “mouth by using his teeth.” Crawford allegedly went on tell police he “strangled” the child “around her neck using his legs.” He allegedly applied so much force around the neck, petechiae resulted. Petechiae is a condition that occurs when capillaries rupture leaving blood spots in the eyes.

Danielle Denise Hale has a $100,000 secure bond and is still in jail. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CAMPBELL COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT)

On at least three separate occasions in the course of a week, Hale, 20, said she “observed injuries” on her child. According to her arrest report, Hale said she spoke with Crawford telling him to stop “as each incident got worse.”

The couple has been charged under Haley’s Law, which means, they are facing stiff penalties if convicted of the Class A felonies. Specifically, if convicted, the pair could face 15- 60 years in prison each. They would not be eligible for early release leaving Crawford and Hale to serve their sentences at 100-percent.

Crawford and Hale remain in jail.

They will be arraigned Oct. 30.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/12/2017-6AM)

Longtime community servant Jerry Cross died Tuesday

Cross was a distinguished war veteran

Jerry Cross is best remembered for the years he spent working for the people of Campbell County. He served them at both a state and local level.

Cross began his life of community service by sitting on the Campbell County Commission from 1966-70. He was later elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives 36th District in 1984. Until 1998 Cross represented the counties of Campbell, Claiborne, Hancock and, Anderson. During his tenure in the house, he was the chairman of Conservation and Environment as well as Commerce and Agriculture.

Cross also served his country.  This photo was taken at Germany in 1960.

In 2002, Cross was elected Campbell County Mayor. He served in that capacity for six years. Along the way, he was also active in multiple community organizations such as the Caryville Optimist Club, Caryville Masonic Lodge, Shriners, VFW, DAV, and American Legion.

Adding to his accomplishments, Cross was also a distinguished veteran of the Vietnam War.

After his service in the U.S. Army he returned home to Campbell County where he received a degree from Lincoln Memorial University.

Sen. Ken Yager tells WLAF, "The passing of Jerry Cross ends a life well lived, full of accomplishment. Jerry dedicated his life to public service not only as an educator but as an elected official both on the local and state level. He served his Nation, too, in the U. S. Army during the Vietnam conflict. He leaves to us a legacy full of examples of patriotism and public service. I offer my sincerest condolences to his wife and family."

“Jerry Cross served his neighbors, family and friends his entire adult life. Jerry's Bronze Star Medal for his service in Vietnam was not his only award. He served when our nation faced a determined enemy and significant distress at home,” current Campbell County Mayor EL Morton said on Wednesday.

“I remember Jerry working as state representative in Nashville, especially when Tenncare began. I know many local folks who needed Jerry's help navigating that system to ensure care for family members. He was a friend to veterans, coal miners, small businesses and so much more as state representative and here as county mayor,” Morton said. “We've lost a lot with Jerry's passing. Today's elected officials have some big shoes to fill when you consider Jerry's record of service. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jerry's wife Brenda and the entire Cross family.  His departure leaves a deep void, but a tremendous legacy here in Campbell County, across Tennessee and with and for veterans everywhere.”

Dennis Powers, who now holds that state seat that Cross held for over a decade, was also saddened to hear of his colleague’s death.

“I have known Jerry for many years and he comes from a great family. We are so saddened and shocked to hear of his passing. He served our country as a veteran and our county and our district respectfully as a state representative for many years and later as our county executive,” Powers said. “He was a formidable opponent when I ran against him for state representative in the 1990’s, but we remained friends and as we always told each other, ‘it’s not personal, it’s just politics.’ He will missed by so many and will go down in Campbell County history as a hardworking public servant. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”  


This photo was snapped in 1959 at Fort Benning, Georgia

And while Cross’s death is felt in political circles, there are also those who will feel it on a personal level.

“Jerry has been a true friend to me to my family and to all of Campbell County. He is somebody that has been in my life as long as I can remember. And it wasn’t uncommon for Jerry to be at our family dinner table. He is truly a wonderful man, and he has done so many wonderful things for Campbell County and the surrounding area. And I am grateful to have been able to call him a friend. It’s going to be hard to imagine life without Jerry Eli,” Eighth Judicial District Chancellor Elizabeth Asbury said.

The Cross Family will receive friends Friday from 5 pm until 7 pm at Midway Baptist Church with the funeral to follow.

Interment will be 1 pm Saturday at Campbell Memorial Gardens with Military Honors given by Campbell County Honor Guard.

The family asks that In lieu of flowers donations may be made to: Community Health of East Tn.  P.O. box 209 Jacksboro, Tn 37757.


Grand jury convenes; hands down multiple indictments

Thirteen people indicted yesterday

The following cases were indicted by the Campbell County Grand Jury Wednesday. They will be arraigned Oct.30 at 8:30 am.

-Belinda Ayers- DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia

-Zachary Crawford- aggravated  child abuse and neglect  in a child under eight years of age, 17 counts of child abuse and neglect in a child under eight years of age 

-Danielle Hale- aggravated  child abuse and neglect  in a child under eight years of age, three counts of neglect of a child under eight years of age

-Vernon Ivey- two counts of aggravated burglary, three counts forgery, seven counts theft under $1,000, theft over $2,500, burglary, two counts of theft over $1,000, auto burglary

-Gary Miracle- DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia

-Robert Richardson- possession of a schedule II controlled substance over .5 grams with intent to sell, DUI, simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia

-Jason Chambers- second offense DUI, driving on a suspended license

-Anthony Carter -BUI, DUI

-Samuel D. Hill- manufacture, sell, delivery of a schedule I controlled substance (heroin),possession  of a schedule I controlled substance (heroin) over 15 grams with intent to sell, possession  of a schedule I controlled substance (heroin)  over 15 grams with intent to deliver, manufacture, sell, delivery of a schedule I controlled substance (Ecstasy), possession  of a schedule I controlled substance (Ecstasy)  over 15 grams with intent to sell, possession  of a schedule I controlled substance (Ecstasy)  over 15 grams with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia

-Christopher L. Brooks- manufacture, sell, delivery of a schedule I controlled substance (heroin),possession  of a schedule I controlled substance (heroin)  over 15 grams with intent to sell, possession  of a schedule I controlled substance (heroin)  over 15 grams with intent to deliver, manufacture, sell, delivery of a schedule I controlled substance (Ecstasy), possession  of a schedule I controlled substance (Ecstasy)  over 15 grams with intent to sell, possession  of a schedule I controlled substance (Ecstasy)  over 15 grams with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving on a suspended license, speeding

-Cassandra Webb- manufacture, sell, delivery of a schedule I controlled substance (heroin),possession  of a schedule I controlled substance (heroin)  over 15 grams with intent to sell, possession  of a schedule I controlled substance (heroin)  over 15 grams with intent to deliver, manufacture, sell, delivery of a schedule I controlled substance (Ecstasy), possession  of a schedule I controlled substance (Ecstasy)  over 15 grams with intent to sell, possession  of a schedule I controlled substance (Ecstasy)  over 15 grams with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia

-Cody R. Malicoat- possession of a schedule III controlled substance (Suboxone), resisting arrest, accessory after the fact

   -Juden Neland, Sr.- felony evading arrest, violation of the HMVO, first offense DUI, two counts of reckless endangerment  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/12/2017-6AM)

Coffee, tea*, and thee

Old building comes to life on Saturday

   Time will tell, but Common Ground may end up being more than a place for a shot of coffee.  It might just be the shot in the arm La Follette needed to further create buzz its downtown district and revitalization efforts.


Sandy Day adds some finishing touches on the Common Ground Coffee Shop.

    Joey St. John, along with others, has helped lead the charge to transform the white building next to Freeman Park at Stop Light 8 into a gathering place.  “The Saint” tells WLAF, “Our goal is to simply provide our community with a great place to have good coffee and opportunities to meet with old friends and find new friends.  We hope it is a common ground that will bring revitalization to our community.”

   Common Ground’s grand opening is coming just in time for this weekend’s third annual Big Creek ATV Fall Festival.  Doors open Saturday at 7 am. 

   The regular hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturdays from 7am to 7pm.  “The Saint” adds that there will be extended hours, as needed, to serve the community and special events.

   *Tea will be added to the menu in the near future.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/12/2017-6AM)

New Director of Schools will be restricted to local applicants

Bus route alignments are finalized - WATCH HERE

The Campbell County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to restrict their search for a new Director of Schools to candidates who live or own property in Campbell County, as they begin the process of replacing Larry Nidiffer.

Nidiffer, who was a longtime Campbell County school administrator when he was chosen to replace Donnie Poston, has announced his plans to retire at the end of the current school year next June. The board also voted unanimously to handle the research and interviews instead of contracting with the Tennessee School Board Association to conduct the search.

Lisa Fields made the motion to restrict the search to Campbell County, explaining, “Local applicants are part of our community and will have the best interests of our schools and community at heart.”

Board member Faye Heatherly, who is currently president of the TSBA, stated that if the board had decided to look outside the county for a new director, she would have preferred contracting with the statewide association to screen candidates and bring the three top applicants to the board for a final vote.

“I would support asking TSBA if we were going outside the county. We need to look at the best possible candidates,” Heatherly pointed out, adding, “If we are going to restrict this to Campbell County, we have the capability of doing it ourselves.”

The board scheduled another workshop to discuss the process for beginning the search on Thursday, October 26 at 5:00 p.m. at the Central Office.

The board agreed to table the discussion on beginning the bid process for a new track at CCHS until next month, when they will determine whether to seek the services of an architect for the project.

Finance Director Jeff Marlow advised them “For an expensive project it makes no sense not to hire an architect, to insure that you get the quality of work you’re paying for.”

Heatherly suggested that the board table the decision for a month until they could get more information on what an architect would cost.

The board did vote unanimously to authorize the Director of Schools to proceed with hiring a contractor for another project, the replacement of lights at the CCHS football stadium.

Director Nidiffer reported that the realignment of school bus routes has been completed. Of the county’s 35 bus routes, twelve have been adjusted. The adjustments will save the school system between $50,000 and $60,00, Nidiffer pointed out.

The board also discussed how to utilize the $1,600 remaining from the donation from the Nolan Baird Estate to Elk Valley Elementary School. Steve Morgan asked about erecting a plaque at the school in honor of Baird and Nidiffer replied that plans were already underway to do that. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/11/2017-6AM)

   Walker is the new LUB Board member
Voted-in unanimously

   Candidates exchanged pleasantries and sat close to one another Tuesday afternoon before the vote was taken to fill a vacancy on the board of directors for the La Follette Utilities Board.

   Lee Reynolds, John Snodderly, and Janice Walker have been waiting since late May to see which of them will serve on the LUB Board. 

  Janice Walker (L) is all smiles as she’s congratulated by La Follette Chief of Police Bill Roehl

   The vacancy came about when James Walker, Janice’s husband, completed his service on the board at the end of June.  Walker came off the board after serving the maximum two-terms (total of ten-years).

   Mayor Mike Stanfield, along with council members Joe Bolinger (vice-mayor), Ann Thompson, and Lonnie “Hot Rod” Wilson, attended the meeting.  Councilman Bill Archer did not attend.

   When the floor opened for nominations, Thompson quickly nominated Walker.  She was appointed on a 3-0 vote.

   Walker, who thanked the mayor and council, tells WLAF, “He (James) did a good job, and I hope and pray that I will do a good job.  And I will try my best to- you know I will.”

   Janice Walker joins the other LUB Board Members; James Campbell, Boyd Henegar, who is vice-chairman, Chairman David Longmire, and Jay Willoughby.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/11/2017-6AM)

Harbor to expand.  Boat storage approved.

La Follette’s Planning Commission meets

  There was a quorum.  And then some.  The conference room at La Follette City Hall where the regional planning commission meets was full Tuesday afternoon.  The regular monthly meeting for September did not happen for lack of a quorum so the meeting was re-set for yesterday.  All members of the commission were in attendance.

   Rev. James Coffey with the Harbor Church was granted application to make an addition onto the church property.  The church is located behind Woodson Shell.

   A request to combine six city lots on West Ash Street into a one-lot subdivision was approved.  Bill Cox, the applicant, is proposing to build boat storage units on that property.  The property is on the south side of the old Lyon’s Building which currently houses Badcock Furniture.

   Rules were suspended in order to present another item to the commission.  Tractor Supply, in the former Ingles building, applied to install a 1,000 gallon propane tank to be placed within a fenced-in area that is already constructed in front of the store.  After some discussion, the application was approved.

   La Follette Police Chief Bill Roehl appeared before the planning commission requesting to place a storage building on the City Hall grounds.  The chief explained that the 200-square foot structure would sit in the grassy area between the police station and the fire hall and is needed to store the growing number of records.  The commission decided to pass the request on to the city council. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/11/2017-6AM)

Bacon’s birthday to be spent on the job

Frankie turns 90 today

   Frankie Bacon’s been at the same office for more than 50-years.  And, as of today, she’s been in La Follette for exactly 90-years. 

Frankie Bacon is 90-years old today 

   You’re invited to stop by State Farm Agent Tabatha Smith’s office today and take part in the celebration of Frankie’s special day.  The office on North 5th Street is where Bacon’s been welcoming clients since 1964.  Those clients have become family for Bacon over the past 53-years.

   La Follette Mayor Mike Stanfield declares today as “Frankie Bacon Day in La Follette.”

   From all your friends here at WLAF, Happy Birthday, Frankie!  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/11/2017-6AM)

   This photo is taken from Monday’s celebration graduation day from Community Health of East Tennessee’s (CHET’s) Generation Rx Program at the Ball Farm Event Center with Donnie Poston (R).


   L-R Mom and daughters, Elizabeth and Sienna Diehl were selling lemonade and cookies on Saturday on West Central Avenue (near the FBC of La Follette).  The proceeds from their sales are going to help the Red Cross.  (PHOTO COURTESY OF WLAF’S JASON SHOCKLEY)

   Macy Caldwell #667 had a big day on Saturday at the state meet.  Her story and more photos are further down this page.

Caldwell runs to third

State meet was Saturday

   La Follette’s Macy Caldwell keeps on running and excelling.  Saturday at Clarksville, Caldwell came in third in the TMSAA state cross country finals.  In the two-mile event, her time was 13-minutes and eight-seconds.

Caldwell has been running and winning for years  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/09/2017-6AM)  


BOTTOM PHOTO:  L-R Ricky Collingsworth, Dustin Woodson, and Josh Rogers represented the Dump Your Junk team and won the 2017 CCHS Basketball Benefit Golf Tournament. 

 Tuesday (08/26/2017) , at lunch, Tony Lindsay presented the old coach, Coach Ron Murray with the 9-ball found under the old pool hall.  Murray said that he always played 9-ball.  The story is further down this page.

Tech tales from the field and the stands

Johnny Majors and Jim Farris share their stories

   Word spread pretty fast as soon as Coach Ron Murray hung up the phone Tuesday morning.  Former Tennessee player and coach Johnny Majors called to say he was headed to La Follette for lunch.

Friends for more than 60-years.  (L) Coach Ron Murray and Coach Johnny Majors.

   The old coaches, Majors, Murray, and Jim Smelcher, took over the big table at the Royal Lunch Room with some friends and fans.  Smelcher, a Lake City native, was a Tennessee teammate of Majors and was the head football coach at Bearden back in the 1960s.

   All the attention was on Majors.  And I couldn’t help but ask.  What was your favorite game in your playing days?  Majors shot back in his snappy, distinct tone, “Georgia Tech.  1956!”  CLICK HERE to hear Majors full account.

   Ironically, the Vols open the 2017 season, some 61-years later, on Monday night at Atlanta against Tech.  There’s a lot on the line for that one but not near as much as in that ’56 match-up.

   The 80+ year old Majors recalled that afternoon on Grant Field as if it were yesterday.  “We would quick kick it on third down some in those days.  We had the ball at our 15-yard line; third and three, and Georgia Tech’s safety went deep thinking I’d punt.  But I didn’t – running for a first down instead.  Then on first down, I did quick kick; first and only time I ever did on first and ten.  That punt sailed 69-yards, and we backed up Tech at its 12-yard line.”

Coach Johnny Majors (L) and Royal Pool Room Owner Tony Lindsay take time out for a David Graham photo.

   Dr. Jim Farris, Jimmy in his high school years, attended that 1956 classic along with his buddy, Jimmy Higdon; both juniors at La Follette High School.  It was their first Vols away game.  Higdon’s father, Carl, owned the Royal Lunch Room back then.  Farris recalls catching up with a couple of his La Follette buddies, Bob Robards and Horace Brown, when they made it to campus in Atlanta.  They were freshmen that fall at Georgia Tech.

   Farris remembers sitting in the south end zone on that November afternoon.  He says he can still see Majors, on the north end of the field, throwing a long pass that was caught by a Volunteer after two Tech defenders collided.

   Majors said, “We won it on a touchdown after Tommy Bronson, our fullback, plunged in from a yard out.  We had one of the worst extra point kicking teams in the nation, and we missed the extra point.”

   Tennessee won that SEC “game of the decade” six to nothing.  The Vols went on to finish the season ranked second in the country, but ranked first for the week after the Tech win.  Majors said that on college football’s 100th anniversary in 1969, Sports Illustrated listed its Top 100 Games of All Time.  That UT-GT game was voted second best ever.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED 08/30/2017-6AM[-PHOTOS COURTESY OF WLAF'S DAVID GRAHAM)

It’s not your average 9-ball

‘I’m thinking it’s from the 1930s’ – Tony Lindsay

   Tony Lindsay revived the tradition of the Royal Lunch Room a few months ago.  And along the way, he dug up some history.  Literally.

You can see some of the old billiard balls on top of this cooler inside the Pool Room.

   He tells WLAF that as he and his crew were digging under the old floor to make way for the new floor, they saw something roll.  It was a billiard ball.  “About 15 in all, Lindsay adds.  He says they were all found in the front corner of the building on the alley side.” (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED 08/30/2017-6AM)

 WLAF is business of the year

Tabbed by members of the Chamber of Commerce

In front of a packed room, WLAF was named Campbell County’s Business of the Year last night. The honor, bestowed on the station by the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce, was one that took the owners and staff by surprise.

A healthy crowd was on hand Thursday night at the chamber’s annual event

”I was caught off guard when Christie (Elkins) called to tell me we had won,” said Jim Freeman of WLAF. “To say we are humbled is an understatement.”

As Freeman and Bill Waddell, president and co-owner, walked to the front of the room at the Ball Farm Event Center to accept the award, they were given not only a deafening round of applause, but a standing ovation.

It was an overwhelming moment for the entire staff.

   It was quite a night for WLAF.  WLAF’s Bill Waddell proudly accepted the trophy as WLAF was named the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce “Member of the Year.”

“You are our community, you are our friends, “Waddell said as he held the large crystal award.

“It was a total team effort by all those who are a part of the WLAF Team,” Freeman said.

“WLAF is the heartbeat of this community,” Elkins, the chamber’s executive director said. “I tell everyone you get up, have your coffee, spend some time with Lord and then check 1450.” (06/23/2017-7AM-PHOTO COURTESY OF WLAF'S CHARLIE HUTSON - CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS)

   Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual meeting last night

Tucker and Hutson steal the show

   It started from the git-go for WLAF’s Charlie Hutson and WATE’s Lori Tucker.  C-Hut was there with his camera last night as guests were in the food line at the annual Campbell County Chamber of Commerce.  Once Lori spotted him right beside her, the friendly jostling began.  And it carried on through the evening.

Lori Tucker has been the evening news anchor at Channel 6 for 24-years

   The award winning television news anchor was last night’s keynote speaker.  Tucker shared her life’s story in a nutshell with the full house of chamber supporters mixed with a few back and forth humorous jabs between she and Hutson.

A few of the WLAF team members who were in attendance last night are pictured here with WATE’s Lori Tucker.  L-R:  Derrick Lee Anderson, Bill Waddell, Lori Tucker, Jim Freeman, Harold Branam, and Susan Sharp.


Smiles all around.  L-R Cindi Reynolds, Lori Tucker of WATE, and Christie Elkins.  Reynolds is the chambers Director of Tourism and Retirement while Elkins is the executive director of the chamber.

   Always graceful chamber director Christie Elkins served as the evening’s emcee leading praise for all the businesses and individuals who keep the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce strong as it heads into its 33rd year.  There are more than 230 members of the Campbell Chamber.

   Leadership Chair Missy Tackett recognized the 2016-2017 Leadership Class of Leeann Adkins, William Arbo, Kimberly England, Penny Etter, Travis Forsyth, Anthony Hamblin, Wendy Pittman, Olivia Robbins, Larry Tanis, and Chris Whaley.

The chamber presented Lori Tucker with two huge gift baskets.  Among the items is her very own WLAF T-Shirt

   Five members are retiring from their chamber of commerce board of director’s duties.  Chamber Chair Rhonda Longmire thanked Kenny Baird, Karen Cumorich, Debbie Petree, and Debbie Samples.  Longmire rounds out the five stepping away from the board this year.

   Cynthia Russell is the new chamber chairman for 2017-2018.  She welcomed incoming board members John Branam, Kevin Brown, Gary Farwick, Nancy Green, Brent McNeely, Paul Rumberger, and Melinda Wilson, Chair Elect.

   Last night’s event was held at the Ball Farm Event Center.  (06/23/2017-6AM-PHOTOS COURTESY OF WLAF'S CHARLIE HUTSON)


   We have a dilly of a Dolly story to share with you this morning.  More photos of Nora Snodderly’s visit with her hero, Dolly Parton, and her story are further down this page.


 All aboard!  Nora Snodderly brought her mom and dad, Raewyn and John, onboard her new best friend’s tour bus.  Dolly Parton just had to meet the girl with the big hair bow.

Mom, daughter and Dolly - a pre-mother’s day memory

Assignment becomes more than a story

By Raewyn Snodderly

Publisher’s note: When Raewyn volunteered to cover the premier of Dolly’s new “Smoky Mountain Adventures” Dinner Show for WLAF, we had no idea the day would turn into a lifelong memory. But it did, and here’s how it all came about.

  As a mother, you always want to see your daughter or son dream, dream of big things, places and have high hopes. My husband, John, introduced our daughter, Nora, to musical legends several years ago. For those of you who know John, you know he is an avid fan of legends such as Johnny Cash, Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton, and Kenny Rogers. Those are just a few of his country artists, but he of course loves the hard rock and roll as well. One night Nora was introduced to Dolly Parton. From then on a love affair began! She, of course, had already been introduced to Dolly’s Imagination Library. Each month we received a book and it became an exciting time for Nora and Zeke, our son, when the mail came. As her love for books grew, her love for music grew as well. We often watch YouTube videos of Dolly, to the point of having to tell Nora that we must do our chores and finish our homework before we watch YouTube videos. Then came the records, her daddy made a trip to Merideath Antiques and acquired many of Dolly’s records. So every Friday night, we had dinner and would listen to Dolly.

Dolly was eager to hear what Nora had to say.

   When the fires happened in Sevier County, we sat as a family and watched fire rip through the beautiful mountains we love. We told stories about visiting the mountains. John shared stories about his many trips with his grandmother and People’s Bank of the South. I shared stories of family trips with all of my cousins and of course our trips with LaFollette United Methodist Church to Resurrection each year. We shared family stories visiting my mother and step-father’s cabin, which was Nora’s first adventure as a baby. The night of the fires was a somber and heartbreaking night in our household. However, Dolly jumped into action and did what she does best- she helped out and established the “My People Fund.” Nora was in awe. She said, “Mom, she is helping people she does not know.” She made a proclamation that night, “Mom, Dad, I love Dolly, I want to meet her one day and tell her thank you!” John and I looked at each other and snickered and said to her, “You may not meet Dolly but we can admire her through her music, her park and her books.”

  Fast forward a few months later, the weekend coming up was Dolly’s big homecoming weekend. We decided in light of the scheduled events we would make a trip to Dreammore Resort and attend the Dolly Parton homecoming parade. Nora knew of these plans and we had been very open with the fact that she would only see Dolly from a far.

   After numerous conversations with Nora, I overheard her prayer one night and it went something like this: “Dear Lord, I know you know Dolly, I love Dolly and I really want to meet her. Please help me, because I have so much to tell her.”

   All I could think was as a family we bless our food, attend church and pray, but if we do not meet Dolly, what will my daughter think about praying? That’s when our planned events took a real story book turn, and it was Nora’s prayers that were answered!

   For many of you who know me, I take pride in my southern roots. In fact, manners are one of the most important lessons that I took from both of my grandmothers and mother. We learned early on that no matter the situation, always mind your manners. You also may not know this, but Nora had her first hair bow in her hair 20 minutes after she was born. Every southern girl needs a hair bow and the bigger the better. So as a Southerner raising a daughter, I am aware that it is important to mind your manners and wear your hair bow.

   The night prior to the Dollywood parade and the Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures Dinner and Show, we checked into the resort, and saw Dolly’s bus. We asked around and Dolly was in for the night, so we took off and went swimming. After a long night of swimming, Nora and I went to check on Dolly’s bus. Nora began by saying, “Momma, she is in there.” My response was “Yes baby, but we will only get to see her at the dinner show and the parade.” She then reminded me that she had prayed about meeting Dolly, and the best was she “had Dolly in her heart!” At that moment in time, an angel appeared in the form of a gentleman asking “Do you like Dolly?” After a conversation, we learned he worked on Dolly’s staff. We introduced ourselves and let him know we would be at the show. The man was a jewel as he talked to Nora about the bus, Dolly’s love for her people and the love for kids. Nora, of course, naturally talked his ear off (she gets that from her daddy).

   The next morning was the big day; it was our chance to see Dolly Parton, but Nora was convinced saying, “We will meet her, Mom!” She had faith that her prayers would be answered. As we headed out for a fun filled day our first stop  was “Dolly Parton’s new “Smoky Mountain Adventures Dinner” show. We arrived for the premier at 8:45 am, only to find out that we were an hour early. Nora was a trooper, as we waited, and then it happened- Dolly’s bus pulled into the parking lot. As we stood there anxiously awaiting Dolly’s appearance, her team went in and out, in and out. You know that angel I mentioned? He came out of the bus. He came over to his new friend and said “Good morning Nora with the big pink hair bow. Are you ready to see the show?” Nora was extremely excited!

   We continued to stand there waiting on Dolly’s arrival and then there she was, as beautiful as ever, full of spunk and happy to greet her fans.  Next thing I know, I hear Nora anxiously shout “Dolly, we love you!” Dolly stopped and said “I love you, and I see you with the big pink bow!”

   We were on cloud nine! Nora’s dreams came true and her prayers had been answered. Or so we thought. After Dolly moved inside, we went in and found our seats. We were watched the show with the media and guests of Dolly. It was then announced that so much money was raised for the “My People Fund” the endeavor would continue. As Dolly spoke she talked of why this show was so near and dear to hear heart. It was about her momma and daddy and her family traditions growing up in Locus Ridge. The root of the show was “food, faith and family.”

  After the show, Nora’s life changed forever. We exited the show and noticed that Dolly had re-entered her bus. It was John’s idea to hang around for a moment. As we stood there and watched her staff go in and out, here came Nora’s buddy. He approached Nora and said, “Hey Nora with the big pink bow, do you want to meet a good friend?”  And with those words, Nora, John and I were headed onto Dolly’s tour bus. John and I were speechless, truthfully John stuttered, and I was in shock. Nora was extremely excited. She made herself at home and climbed right into Dolly’s lap. They discussed school, music and her love for books. Nora told Dolly that she prayed really hard to meet her, and she knew in her heart that she would meet Dolly one day. She then did something that, as a mother, I will always be proud of. She thanked Dolly for the Imagination Library books and explained that for many in rural Appalachia (yes, those words were used by a 6-year old) that was all they had. Dolly encouraged Nora to still read, wear those big bows, and to continue to pray. As we stood for pictures and she posed, John and I stood speechless, proud that our daughter recognized that Dolly is a good steward of her time and fortune. We were proud that Nora thanked her profusely for the books mailed to every child in the state. We were proud that she learned to love and respect someone so much that has such a big heart for her community. We were most proud, that as parents, she had faith that she would meet Dolly. We doubted, but, she had faith.

It was a day Nora “and” Dolly will not soon forget.

   As we approach this Mother’s Day weekend, remember that although our kids look up to us as parents, we as parents often learn from our children. So, as we wrapped up a fun weekend with our children we were still asking each other, “Did that really happen?” At the end of the weekend as we were having dinner and celebrating such a great day, Zeke had a huge announcement.

   He stood proud and tall at the table and said “Mom, Dad, YaYa, B, I met someone famous….I met Johnny Cash!” (05/12/2017-6AM)





     Several outstanding corporate partners make the WLAF Election Returns possible.  They are Terry’s Pharmacy, Community Trust Bank, East Side Pizza, Litho-Craft Printing & Office Supplies, United Cumberland Bank, Byrge Screen Printing, Bowman Jewelers, Attorney Greg Leach,  David Bales Buick-GMC, Main Street Shell, First National Bank, State Farm Agent Lynn Ray, El Pueblito Mexican Grill, Beacon Finance, Gamble Motors, State Representative Dennis Powers, Wender Furniture, Peoples Bank of the South, and Gary Gray Insurance.                                          

Warriors celebrate winning season and Coach King

Christian Academy hosts annual basketball banquet

By Susan Sharp

There was an air of festivity last Thursday night as the Christian Academy of Campbell County Warriors celebrated a winning season. There was recognition for a hard fought season that ended with a county championship. There were comments about how each player had developed in distinct ways over the season but, among all of the glory and accolades there was also something- someone missing. Coach Vic King had led the Warriors to a county championship in 2013. This served to steel his determination for a repeat in the 2014 season. “When Coach King first asked me to help him coach this team, he said we were winning the county championship this year,” said Dusty Paul, the one-time assistant and now head coach for the Warriors. “I told him okay. I was just honored to be sitting with him on the bench.” Paul played for King in middle school.

And while the young team would oblige with a repeat they did it in memory of King instead of with him. The longtime basketball coach was in his second year coaching the Warriors when health problems arose. He fought hard but just before Thanksgiving King died. It was a blow the team struggled with.

Yet, with the help of Paul and a desire to make King proud, the Warriors pulled off a victory in the final game of the county tournament beating Wynn Elementary School. Adding to the triumph, several of the players walked away with tournament honors.

Thursday night allowed the boys to enjoy their win while paying tribute to the coach who believed in them when they didn’t believe in themselves. Trophies and tributes were showered on the team who suffered a loss that most adults would struggle with. “I lost my coach my junior year,” said Starla Berry, Lady Warriors head coach. “I know how hard that can be to come back from. But these young men did it and pulled off a great season.”

“Coach King was a legend around here and we were lucky to have him,” said Ollie Medley, CACC administrator. As she addressed the players who had gathered in the gym for Thursday’s banquet, Medley held in her hand a stack of notes the Warriors had written for the King family. Each one detailed what King had meant to his team. Medley said the notes would be delivered to King’s wife, Shelly, and daughter, Katie Cave. Along with this the women will each be given a basketball signed by all of the players.

Medley also unveiled a plaque memorializing King that will hang in the CACC gym. Kevin Corner, who played on King’s first team in 1977 was on hand to represent King’s family. “I can see why he loved this place,” Corner said surveying the audience. “He was all about class and this school obviously has that. He loved you boys.” Sharing memories of when he played for King, Corner said “Our team was the alpha and you boys, you are the omega. You are the end of an era.”  (04/20/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Coach King’s Corner

     Coach Vic King left us in November 2014.  In honor and memory of him, we’ve created a “Coach King’s Corner.”  Click Coach’s picture to access Coach King’s Corner.  (03/23/2015)


This picture of Coach was snapped by Charlie Hutson on Friday, May 17, 2013, in front of the former Regions Bank (where La Follette Junior High/High School once stood).  It was where the 60th anniversary of WLAF was celebrated.   





Precinct-by-precinct.  District-by-district.  WLAF has all the final numbers.

     You asked.  WLAF delivered.  WLAF's Coach Vic King has taken all 184 pages of the election numbers and posted them right here.  Just CLICK.  (08/12/2014 - 8:00 PM)







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