Cornerstone Christian Academy Welcomes Christmas Season by Gifting Care Packages to Nearly 500 Veterans

ABINGDON, Va. ― Fifth-grade students from Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) brought some Christmas joy to nearly 500 veterans this holiday season by participating in a class service project known as Operation Blessing.

This marked the fourth year that CCA fifth-graders have participated in the outreach effort, which gives students an opportunity to collect, assemble and deliver care packages, also known as blessing bags, to veterans at the Mountain Home Veterans Affairs Medical Community in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Earlier this fall, CCA students began collecting donation items that included packaged snacks, hygiene products, puzzle books, handkerchiefs, socks and a smaller version of the book “Grace Under Fire,” which is a compilation of letters of faith from the battlefields of American history.   

“This is such a special project for our fifth-graders because it gives them a unique opportunity to express their love and appreciation for our veterans, who have given so much for us,” says Jessica Edwards, CCA’s fifth-grade instructor who also volunteers with Soldiers’ Angelsa national nonprofit that provides aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, their families, and the growing veteran population. “God provided exactly what we needed through students, parents, CCA families, local churches, local business and anonymous givers. We’re so grateful to the individuals and groups that contributed to this worthy cause so that our youth could go out and minister to our heroes.”  

Located in Abingdon, CCA is a classical, non-denominational Christian school serving students in junior kindergarten through 12th grade. In 2016, CCA received a five-year accreditation from the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) for grades K-12. ACSI is one of 14 associations with accreditation processes that have been approved by the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE) and recognized by the Virginia Board of Education. Accreditation through a VCPE-approved, state-recognized accrediting member guarantees the transfer of student-earned credits from a private school to a public school, and ensures recognition of teacher licensure credits for time served in an accredited private school.

For more information about CCA, visit www.cornerstoneabingdon.org.

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For more information, contact Dr. Clay Brinson,
head of school, at (276) 623-7164.

Regional District Attorneys General Outline $2.4 Billion Opioid Recovery Plan

BRISTOL, Tenn. — A cache of reports compiled by expert witnesses in the upcoming May 2020 Sullivan Baby Doe trial will be released, following a push by regional district attorneys general (DAGs) to make the documents public.

The documents, previously filed under seal, outline a $2.4 billion plan by DAGs to help counter the adverse and far-reaching effects of East Tennessee’s opioid crisis. The plan and its estimated cost was developed under the guidance of multiple industry experts, including Scott Hemphill, J.D., Ph.D., who grew up in Johnson City, Tennessee, and now serves as the Moses H. Grossman Professor of Law at New York University’s School of Law.

“The amount we are seeking from these opioid producers and distributors is only a fraction of what we have lost in dealing with the problems they created,” says Barry Staubus, district attorney general for Tennessee’s Second Judicial District.

The DAGs plan spans a 15-year period and focuses on support for area law enforcement, a comprehensive treatment system for opioid use disorder (OUD) that includes inpatient and outpatient services, and support services for mothers with OUD and their children. Additional elements address the use of drug courts and therapeutic communities within the jail system to help reduce overcrowding, increased screening for disease, medical monitoring and support for mothers of infants with NAS, and treatment and support for children whose parents or primary caregivers suffer from OUD.

More than 7,000 grandparents in the nine East Tennessee counties represented in the suit have primary custody of their grandchildren, a phenomenon that local officials attribute largely to parental use of opioids.

Other notable facts resulting from the reports include:

  • the disproportionate effect of the opioid epidemic in Tennessee, and particularly in the nine counties represented in the suit, with a rate of 237.5 prescriptions per 100 people filled in Sullivan County in 2010, compared to the national rate of 81.2 prescriptions per 100 people during the same period;
  • a corresponding rate of overdose deaths due to opioids, with a rate of 19.5 overdose deaths per 100,000 people (or 1,268 deaths) recorded in the nine counties in 2017, compared to the overall U.S. rate of 14.9 deaths per 100,000 people; and
  • a higher incidence rate of NAS in the nine counties, with 41 cases per 1,000 live births (or 198 infants) recorded in 2018, compared to the Tennessee average of 11 cases per 1,000 live births.

“Law-abiding citizens should not have to bear the cost of cleaning up this opioid catastrophe,” Staubus says. “Our plan will bring much-needed relief to the first responders, teachers, healthcare workers, grandparents, parents and others who are working to address this crisis in our communities.”

The multiple documents made public Thursday include reports from:

  • C. Scott Hemphill, J.D., Ph.D., a graduate of Stanford, Harvard and the London School of Economics who currently serves as the Moses H. Grossman Professor of Law at New York University’s School of Law;
  • Richard A. Rawson, Ph.D., retired co-director of UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, professor emeritus at the UCLA Department of Psychiatry, and research professor, Center for Behavior and Health, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont;
  • Joel S. Koenig, M.D., former chief of Pediatrics at Missouri Baptist Medical Center;
  • David M. Stern, M.D., Ph.D., former vice-chancellor for Health Affairs for Statewide Initiatives, former executive dean and vice-chancellor for Health Affairs at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and former Gerald and Janet Carrus endowed professor at Columbia; and
  • Lloyd I. Sederer, M.D., adjunct professor at the Columbia School of Public Health and former chief medical officer for the New York State Office of Mental Health.

The Sullivan Baby Doe suit is currently scheduled to go to trial Monday, May 18, 2020, in Sullivan County Circuit Court in Bristol, Tennessee.

Originally, the suit listed prescription opioid producers Purdue Pharma, L.P.; Purdue Pharma, Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company; Mallinckrodt LLC; Endo Health Solutions, Inc. and Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. as producer defendants. Since then, Purdue Pharma has declared bankruptcy as part of a nationwide attempt to settle thousands of suits that followed Baby Doe’s lead. Mallinckrodt and Endo remain active defendants.

For additional facts and information surrounding this issue, visit www.sullivanbabydoe.com.

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BRHA Awarded More Than $130,000 to Assist Disabled Residents

BRISTOL, Va. — The Bristol Redevelopment and Housing Authority (BRHA) has been awarded $131,000 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help support an estimated 30 non-elderly, disabled individuals and their families seeking affordable housing in Bristol, Virginia.

The funds, provided through HUD’s Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program, are part of an overall $131.3 million recently awarded by HUD to 325 local public housing authorities across the country.

“This program is designed to help residents with disabilities gain increasing independence and live in an integrated setting,” says Lisa Porter, BRHA’s executive director and CEO. “This year was the first time BRHA applied for funds under this program, and we’re delighted to be able to provide increased assistance to individuals and families as they seek quality housing that supports their needs.”

Under the program, approved residents can search for rental housing in the private market and receive assistance for monthly rent costs. Evaluation for the available vouchers will begin with BRHA’s existing wait list and candidates from the organization’s partner agencies, including Highlands Community Services and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. Leasing through the program is expected to begin in July 2020.

“The period for this grant is one year, and depending on our success with the program, hopefully it will be renewed in 2020,” Porter says. “We are always searching for new ways and resources to help meet the housing needs of residents in Bristol, and these dedicated funds will allow us to support disabled residents, while also freeing up resources for other key groups that we serve, including the elderly.”

Established in 1938, BRHA is the largest provider of affordable rental housing in Bristol, and has been instrumental in transforming neighborhoods and assisting in the city’s revitalization efforts. For more information, visit www.brha.com.

About BRHA

Located at 809 Edmond St., BRHA is the designated public housing agency in the city of Bristol, Virginia. It is the second-oldest such authority in Virginia, having been founded in 1938 and housing 40 percent of low-income renter families in Bristol. Its mission is to provide safe, attractive, affordable housing and housing assistance, and the opportunity for families and individuals to achieve a higher standard of living. BRHA (www.brha.com) is governed by a five-member board of commissioners that is appointed by the mayor of Bristol, Virginia. The staff is comprised of an executive director and 27 employees. BRHA is a member of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (www.nahro.org).

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For more information, contact Lisa Porter,
executive director/CEO, BRHA, at 276-821-6251

Cornerstone Christian Academy Assembles 200 Shoeboxes in Annual Support of Operation Christmas Child

Students from Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) participate in the school’s packing party by assembling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Students from Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) participate in the school’s packing party by assembling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 3, 2019

ABINGDON, Va. ― Students from Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) continued the school’s annual tradition this Christmas season by holding a packing party and assembling 200 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization.

Beginning in September, CCA students donated shoebox items that included hygiene products, school supplies and small toys. The boxes will be shipped to children outside the United States who have been affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine and disease, as well as children living on Native American reservations in the U.S.

Students from Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) participate in the school’s packing party by assembling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Students from Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) participate in the school’s packing party by assembling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

“We love supporting this ministry because it gives us an opportunity to share the Gospel message with children throughout the world,” says Sharon Bolling, school counselor at CCA. “All the items that were brought in for this project came from CCA students, from junior kindergarten through our seniors, and it’s incredibly meaningful to see our student body actively giving and sharing with others during the Christmas season and beyond.”

Students from Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) participate in the school’s packing party by assembling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Students from Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) participate in the school’s packing party by assembling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered shoeboxes to nearly 170 million children in more than 100 countries.

Located in Abingdon, CCA is a classical, non-denominational Christian school serving students in junior kindergarten through 12th grade. In 2016, CCA received a five-year accreditation from the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) for grades K-12. ACSI is one of 14 associations with accreditation processes that have been approved by the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE) and recognized by the Virginia Board of Education. Accreditation through a VCPE-approved, state-recognized accrediting member guarantees the transfer of student-earned credits from a private school to a public school, and ensures recognition of teacher licensure credits for time served in an accredited private school.

For more information about CCA, visit www.cornerstoneabingdon.org.

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For more information, contact Dr. Clay Brinson,
head of school, at (276) 623-7164.

Smith Named Optimization and Engagement Specialist For Corporate Marketing

Smith Named Optimization and Engagement Specialist For Corporate Marketing
Rain Smith

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Rain Smith has been named optimization and engagement specialist for Corporate Marketing (CM), the marketing and advertising division of The Corporate Image (TCI), an integrated communications firm, both headquartered in Bristol, Tennessee.

In his new position, Smith will be responsible for the development and optimization of online and social media content as well as increasing client visibility through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) activities.

Smith joins Corporate Marketing with nearly 17 years of experience in print and online news throughout Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. His extensive background includes serving as an editor, reporter and social media manager for the Kingsport Times-News and Washington County News.

“Rain’s skills as a journalist enhance and elevate our capabilities as an agency, both strategically and tactically,” says Christine Riser, vice president of Corporate Marketing. “Compelling, engaging content drives results for all aspects of digital marketing and advertising, and we’re excited for our clients to benefit from his wealth of knowledge and expertise.”

Smith studied mass communications with an emphasis in journalism at East Tennessee State University.

“I am delighted to be a part of a well-established and integrated agency like Corporate Marketing,” Smith says. “Having the opportunity to grow and develop my skill set in marketing and public relations after nearly two decades in the newsroom is an exciting new adventure, and I look forward to collaborating with clients and the Corporate Marketing team.”

Smith resides in Bristol, Virginia, with his wife, Keely.

Established in 1997, Corporate Marketing designs, develops and implements targeted marketing and advertising strategies for clients. Corporate Marketing’s parent company, The Corporate Image, was founded in 1993 and is an integrated public relations and marketing firm that specializes in strategic corporate communications.

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For more information contact
Christine Riser, vice president, Corporate Marketing, at 800-476-7459
or visit the company at
www.corporatemg.com.

Trial Date Set In Sullivan Baby Doe Suit

KINGSPORT, Tenn. — The Sullivan Baby Doe lawsuit is headed to trial.

At a hearing today in Sullivan County Circuit Court, Chancellor E.G. Moody scheduled a trial date of Monday, May 18, 2020, for the region’s central opioid suit and set the venue in Bristol, Tennessee.

The lawsuit, which was the first of its kind in the nation, was jointly filed on June 13, 2017. Plaintiffs include the district attorneys general of Tennessee’s First, Second and Third Judicial Districts, as well as Baby Doe, by and through his Guardian Ad Litem.

Originally, the suit listed prescription opioid producers Purdue Pharma, L.P.; Purdue Pharma, Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company; Mallinckrodt LLC; and Endo Health Solutions, Inc., as producer defendants. Since then, Purdue Pharma has declared bankruptcy as part of an attempt to settle thousands of suits that followed Baby Doe’s lead. Mallinckrodt and Endo remain active defendants.

“The producer defendants have repeatedly attempted to stop a jury from rendering judgment on their conduct,” says Gerard Stranch, managing partner for Nashville, Tennessee-based law firm Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, PLLC. “Four Tennesseans are dying of opioid overdoses every day. While the idea of taking on companies of this size seemed like an impossible task to many, the district attorneys general knew that doing so was the only way to try and reduce the number of deaths and NAS births. Their foresight and tenacity has now led to a trial date being set, and we very much look forward to sharing with the jury the data and details we have discovered about these companies’ destructive business practices.”

 For additional facts and information surrounding this issue, visit www.sullivanbabydoe.com.

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Bristol Community Honors Life of Revolutionary War Patriot John Carmack

Eagle Scout Service Project by Tennessee High School student
helps reclaim historic grave

BRISTOL, Tenn., Oct. 26, 2019 — A commemoration of the life of Revolutionary War patriot John Carmack and a dedication of the recently restored Carmack Family Cemetery was held today at The Reserve, a private community located in Bristol.

The cemetery, situated in a heavily wooded area off Kings Mill Pike, has been reclaimed and refurbished as part of an Eagle Scout Service Project undertaken by 16-year-old Tennessee High School junior Andrew Steward, who is a member of BSA Troop 8 in Bristol, Virginia. The year-long project involved historic research and significant tree and debris removal. Reserve staff members Tammi Berry and Denise Dickenson worked with Washington County Historical Society member Charlie Barnett on gravesite identification and additional cemetery restoration. A flagpole, fence, information boxes and landscaping elements were also added to honor the site, which contains 15 known graves, including Carmack’s.

“This project has helped me better understand the history of this area and has inspired me to be active in my community,” Steward said. “I now have a greater appreciation for the importance of preserving our history and the efforts required to ensure that it is upheld. I am honored to have been able to participate in the restoration of the Carmack cemetery.”

A local frontiersman of Scottish descent who was a resident of what is now Bristol, Virginia, Carmack served in the Continental Army from 1778 to 1779 under General Lachlan McIntosh. He was also a member of the Overmountain Men, who are best known for their role in the American victory at the Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780. In addition, Carmack fought and was severely injured in the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774, and served as a volunteer soldier following his official war service. He died in 1833 at age 82.

Steward consulted with the Overmountain Victory Trail Association (OVTA) in Abingdon, Virginia, to obtain further information about Carmack for his project. At the ceremony, members of the OVTA led participants in the same prayer that was offered on behalf of the Overmountain Men as they began their journey from Sycamore Shoals, Tennessee, to Kings Mountain, South Carolina.

Carmack’s memory was honored with a flag raising, bagpipe and fife tribute, and black powder musket salute by members of the OVTA.

“We are proud to honor John Carmack, a Revolutionary War patriot,” said Tom Vaughan, member of the OVTA and a descendant of John Carmack’s brother, Cornelius. “He shed sweat, blood and tears in his efforts to help bring freedom to our American colonies. It is up to all of us to uphold his legacy as his story, and that of his compatriots, continues through us as citizens of the United States of America.”

Various local businesses donated materials for the project. Carmack’s grave has been approved for commemoration by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), which will place an official Revolutionary War marker at the site in a future ceremony.

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NOTE: PHOTOS AND B-ROLL AVAILABLE AT:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/vqdtkczuo8s0hl8/AABpGFH0UTFvW-1qebWfb0zFa?dl=0 

Isaiah 117 House Breaks Ground at Sullivan County Site

Newest location one of 12 underway or planned across Tennessee

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. — Isaiah 117 House broke ground today for its newest location in Sullivan County, Tennessee. The nonprofit organization provides homes that care for and support children while they transition from the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) into the care of foster families.

Children who are placed with DCS remain in the care of state workers, and sometimes reside in state facilities, while they await the availability of a foster home. During this time, which can be disorienting and challenging for children, Isaiah 117 Houses offer a friendly, safe environment, emotional and physical support, and needed supplies, such as clothing and hygiene products.

“We are excited to begin construction on our Sullivan County house,” says Ronda Paulson, executive director of the Isaiah 117 House. “Once complete, this home will mark our fourth location in Tennessee. We are incredibly grateful and humbled by the tremendous manner in which the community has rallied around this project, which would not have been possible without their support. We look forward to providing this safe haven for area children who have been removed from their homes and await placement in foster care.”

The Sullivan County home is being constructed on land donated by Discovery Church in Bristol, Tennessee, and will be located next to the church. Slated for opening in March 2020, the 1,600-square-foot house will offer a girls’ bedroom, a boys’ bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, kitchen and living room, along with office and storage space.

The region’s first Isaiah 117 House was founded last year in Elizabethton, Tennessee, and serves children from Carter, Unicoi and Johnson counties. A second house opened earlier this month in Washington County, Tennessee, and a third home will open later this fall in Greene County.

The nonprofit plans to open houses in additional Tennessee counties, including Blount, Bradley, Cocke and Rutherford, along with a home serving Coffee, Grundy and Franklin counties. Plans are also in place to construct a home in Evansville, Indiana.

For more information about Isaiah 117 House, contact Paulson at 423-773-5677 or via email at info@isaiah117house.com.

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Isaiah 1:17 says: “Defend the cause of the fatherless.”
We believe this is God’s call for this ministry.

Washington County Habitat for Humanity to Host Annual Gala on Oct. 3

ABINGDON, Va. ― The Washington County (Virginia) Habitat for Humanity will host its annual gala on Thursday, Oct. 3, with proceeds from the event going toward the construction of a new Habitat home in Abingdon.

Themed “A Night in Italy,” this year’s gala will be held at 5:30 p.m. at The Barns at Chip Ridge in Abingdon. Tickets are $65 and include a catered Italian buffet, open bar, live music by WyldeHeart, a silent auction, door prizes, dancing and more.

“Our gala is always a fun occasion that gives our generous supporters an opportunity to come together and celebrate the many great things that Habitat is doing in our community,” says Krystal Kayton, executive director of Washington County Habitat for Humanity. “We look forward to hosting another memorable evening that will play a critical role in assisting us as we continue to provide affordable homes to deserving families in our area.”

To purchase tickets to the gala, visit wchfh.ticketleap.com/a-night-in-italy. The Barns at Chip Ridge is located at 14235 Branch Street in Abingdon.

To inquire about gala sponsorship or volunteer opportunities, or about donating an auction item, contact Kayton at (276) 258-5469 or kkayton@helphabitat.org. For more information about Washington County Habitat for Humanity, visit the organization’s website — helphabitat.org — or Facebook page.

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For more information, contact Krystal Kayton,
executive director of Washington County Habitat for Humanity,
at (276) 258-5469 or kkayton@helphabitat.org.

Public Tours Available for Washington County Courthouse

ABINGDON, Va., Sept. 24, 2019 – Washington County residents seeking to learn more about the challenges facing the county courthouse will have the opportunity to visit the facility and ask questions during two upcoming public tour periods.

Tours will be ongoing throughout the day on Tuesday, Oct. 1, and Tuesday, Oct. 15, between the hours of 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tours will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis, last approximately 30 minutes, and be led by Washington County Sheriff’s Office personnel. There is no charge to participate.

“We’re making these tours available so that residents can come in and see the structure and the issues we are dealing with in terms of space, access and security,” said Jason Berry, county administrator. “It also provides the opportunity for residents to talk with someone who works in the facility on a daily basis. We want to make as much information available as possible so that voters can make an informed decision during the November referendum.”

The general election ballot for Washington County will give voters an opportunity to vote “Yes” or “No” on the following: “Shall the Courthouse be removed to 300 Towne Centre Drive, and shall the Board of Supervisors be permitted to spend $30,000,000 for purchase and renovation expenses therefor?”

A majority “Yes” vote will trigger a move to the new site, which is the location of the former Kmart building in Towne Centre. A majority “No” vote will keep the courthouse at the current location.

“We want the public’s input on this matter,” Berry said. “Whether you want the functions of the courthouse to stay where they are or move to a new location, we encourage residents to participate, ask questions, and vote on November 5.”

For more information on the Washington County Courthouse and the upcoming referendum, including contact information and a question submission form, visit www.washcovacourthouse.com.  

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