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Carter County to honor fallen Purple Heart veteran with bridge dedication

ELIZABETHTON STAR –

When Hampton’s Wanda Marlowe crosses the bridge that spans Laurel Falls Creek on US Highway 19E in Carter County, she will soon be reminded of her fallen family member Command Sergeant Major James C. Gilbert.

Gilbert, who served in the Vietnam War with the United States Army, died on March 12, 1969, under hostile conditions while evacuating wounded soldiers from a battlefield via helicopter in Vietnam. And on Saturday, Oct. 27, a bridge dedication ceremony will be held in the memory of Gilbert as the bridge that spans Laurel Falls Creek takes on his name.

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Early voting turnout now officially higher than 2014 mid-terms

In the first week of early voting for the upcoming 2018 mid-term elections turnout has now officially exceeded that of the 2014 mid-terms in Carter County.

When the early voting polls closed on Tuesday afternoon, a total of 4,603 Carter County residents had cast their ballots, and there is still more than a week to go in the early voting period. In 2014, 4,196 Carter Countians took part in early voting.

Typically, when comparing voting turnout numbers, Carter County Administrator of Elections Tracy Harris recommends comparing similar elections as participation rates vary based on what offices are on the ballot. For example, Harris recommends comparing turnout numbers for mid-term elections against other mid-term election years. However, with the volume of voters lining up to cast their votes so far during this election cycle, the turnout numbers could be as high this year as they are during Presidential elections, which traditionally have the highest participation rate.

The record for early voting turnout was set in 2016 during the Presidential election when 11,547 residents took advantage of the opportunity to cast their ballots early.

There are still eight days left for early voting for the 2018 mid-terms. Early voting will continue through Thursday, Nov. 1. Polls are open from 9 a.m .until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. until Noon on Saturdays during the early voting period. Election day will be Tuesday, Nov. 6 and precinct polls will be open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. on that day.

Early Voting is held at the Carter County Election Commission Office, located at 116 Holston Avenue, across from the Carter County Health Department. Overflow parking for early voting is in the First Baptist Church parking lot located on the corner of Holston Avenue and East G Street.

Carter County voters are casting ballots in a variety of federal, state, and local municipal elections. To see a full copy of the sample ballot click here: Nov. 6 2018 Sample Ballot

For more information on Early Voting, please contact the Carter County Election Commission at 423-542-1822.

 

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Early Voting seeing record breaking numbers turning out to cast ballots

Just four days into the early voting cycle local election officials are already seeing record-breaking turnout for the mid-term elections.

Turnout has been extremely high during the first four days of the early voting cycle when compared to the numbers from the 2014 mid-terms, according to Carter County Administrator of Elections Tracy Harris. During the first four days of early voting during the 2014 mid-term elections, 843 residents cast their ballots. When the polls closed on the fourth day of early voting this year, 2,934 voters had cast their ballots, more than three times the number from 2014.

Harris likened the early voting turnout for this election to that of the 2016 Presidential election. Traditionally, according to Harris, Presidential elections have the highest voter turnout rating. The first four days of this early voting cycle fell less than 70 voters shy of seeing the same turnout level as the 2016 Presidential election, which saw 3,002 voters casting ballots in the first four days.

With the number of voters heading to polls during early voting, Harris said this election is already breaking records as far as voter turnout, and she expects it will be an overall record-breaking election. In the 2014 mid-term elections the total turnout for Early Voting was 4,196. “We will break that, probably by Tuesday afternoon,” Harris said.

Early voting will continue through Nov. 1 at the Carter County Election Commission, located at 116 Holston Avenue, across from the Carter County Health Department. Polls are open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until Noon during the early voting period.

Harris reminds voters that they must bring their state of Tennessee or federal government issued photo identification with them in order to be allowed to vote.

Carter County voters will be casting ballots for representatives to the Tennessee General Assembly as well as Tennessee governor. On the federal side, voters will be choosing a new U.S. Senator as well as casting ballots for their member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Residents who live in the cities of Elizabethton, Watauga, and Johnson City will also be voting in a variety of city races.

Carter County residents of the 4th District – Courthouse, East Side, National Guard Armory, and Siam precincts – will be voting to fill an unexpired term on the Carter County Board of Education.

Election Day will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Polls will be open that day from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

During the early voting period, the Carter County Election Commission is an operating poll site under Tennessee State law and is subject to the boundary rule. Per state law, no campaign materials including signs, shirts, hats, campaign literature are permitted within 100 feet of a polling place. No campaigning, including vote solicitation, can take place inside the boundary and political candidates are prohibited from entering the boundary unless they have official business inside the Election Commission Office.

For more information on the Nov. 6 election, contact the Carter County Election Commission at 423-542-1822.

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Early Voting now underway at Carter County Election Commission

 

Early voting kicked off at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17 and will continue through Thursday, Nov. 1. Polls are open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. until Noon on Saturdays during the early voting period.

Early voting is held at the Carter County Election Commission Office, located at 116 Holston Ave., Elizabethton, across from the Carter County Health Department. Overflow parking for early voting is in the First Baptist Church parking lot on the corner of Holston Avenue and East G Street.

During the early voting period, the Carter County Election Commission is an operating poll site under Tennessee State law and is subject to the boundary rule. Per state law, no campaign materials including signs, shirts, hats, campaign literature are permitted within 100 feet of a polling place. No campaigning, including vote solicitation, can take place inside the boundary and political candidates are prohibited from entering the boundary unless they have official business inside the Election Commission Office.

Prior to the polls opening Wednesday morning, the voting machines were opened for inspection by the public, party representatives, candidates, or other interested parties. “Zero Tapes” were printed for each machine to show that no votes had been cast prior to the election commencing.

When the polls opened Wednesday morning voters were lined up out the door of the Election Commission Office and local election officials are anticipating a high voter turnout due to interest in the state and federal races on the ballot.

Carter County voters will be casting ballots for representatives to the Tennessee General Assembly as well as Tennessee governor. On the federal side, voters will be choosing a new U.S. Senator as well as casting ballots for their member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Residents who live in the cities of Elizabethton, Watauga, and Johnson City will also be voting in a variety of city races.

Carter County residents of the 4th District – Courthouse, East Side, National Guard Armory, and Siam precincts – will be voting to fill an unexpired term on the Carter County Board of Education.

Election Day will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Polls will be open that day from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

For more information on the election, ballot,  your registration status, or your polling location, contact the Carter County Election Commission at 423-542-1822.

To see a copy of the Sample Ballot click here: Nov. 6 2018 Sample Ballot

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County employee celebrates 40-year milestone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four decades is a long time.

For 40 years now, Willie Campbell has been punching the clock at the Carter County Highway Department to help serve the needs of his community.

Monday marked the special milestone in Campbell’s career. During his tenure with the department Campbell has worked in a variety of roles including supervising a work crew, driving a snow plow, and making sure the county’s stop signs and street signs are still in place.

“I’ve done probably a little bit of everything,” Campbell said. “When I started we really didn’t have anything to work with. We’ve built it up through the years. We did most of the stuff by hand back then, we didn’t have a lot of equipment to work with.”

During his time at the Highway Department, Campbell has served under three different elected Road Superintendents – R.H. Taylor, Jack Perkins, and current Road Superintendent Roger Colbaugh. Campbell said each of the superintendents had different ideas on operating the department but they were all good to work for and with.

“They’ve always took care of me, and I thank God for that,” Campbell said.

While for many celebrating 40 years at a job might mean retirement, Campbell said he has no plans to hang it up just yet.

“I said as long as I have the strength and the Lord gives me the ability to keep going I’ll keep working,” he said.

In addition to working at the Highway Department, Campbell serves his community in a variety of other ways as well. He is currently in his sixth year serving as a County Commissioner representing the Stoney Creek community. He is also the Associate Pastor for Moore’s Chapel Freewill Baptist Church in his home community and operates a nursing home ministry where he visits with residents in nursing homes around the area. “That’s a ministry that’s really neglected,” Campbell said of the nursing homes.

Campbell’s faith is a very important part of his life. In addition to his pastoral and ministry duties, he also serves as chaplain of the Carter County Commission. “The Lord has been good to me,” Campbell said when discussing his work in the community and at the Highway Department.

And, living in an area as beautiful as Carter County Campbell said if you look around you can find evidence of God all around you. His favorite scripture passage is Psalms 121 which says “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”

Living in the mountains of Northeast Tennessee, that verse strikes home for Campbell. “When you look at the mountains and stuff, you know only God could have made all this,” he said.

And, if you have ever taken a drive up Stoney Creek during the Christmas season, you will have spotted one of the other ways Campbell helps to spread joy and happiness to those around him. He and his wife, Delores, turn their home into a winter wonderland each year with a yard full of decorations and lights. And when you drive by, you might even see Campbell in a jolly red suit portraying Santa Claus as he waves and invites you to stop by.

“The nursing homes bring the residents up in a bus to see it and visit,” Campbell said of his holiday display, adding it’s just something he can do to help bring joy to others. “There’s a lot of things you can do to make people happy.”

As for Road Superintendent Roger Colbaugh, he is pleased that Campbell has no thoughts of leaving the department just yet.

“Willie’s a real good employee who does a great job,” Colbaugh said. “He’s got a lot of history here. Whenever we need to find a road, or we’re having problems in an area, or need to find a graveyard, he knows all that from memory.”

“We would hate to lose that,” Colbaugh continued. “That’s a big benefit to us.”

The Carter County Highway Department hosted a celebration for Campbell on Monday to mark his 40th anniversary with the department. Carter County Mayor Rusty Barnett presented Campbell with a certificate on Monday thanking him for his service to the county.

“Willie has been an asset to the county for many years and we are glad to have him as part of the team at the Highway Department,” Barnett said. “His professionalism and dedication are to be commended.”

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Carter County, EMS service join forces for life-saving partnership

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Carter County official and a local emergency service have partnered up on a project aimed at helping to save lives.

Carter County Mayor Rusty Barnett and the Carter County Emergency and Rescue Squad joined forces recently to place two Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in county buildings. One of those AED units was placed at the Carter County Election Commission Office and the other unit was placed at the Carter County Highway Department.

After taking office in September, Barnett was surprised to learn that while county offices and operations are spread out in more than a dozen buildings, only two of those buildings had AED units in place – the Courthouse and the Justice Center. Seeing the number of employees and members of the public who visit county offices and facilities, Barnett started working on a project to make more of the units available in case of an emergency.

“I knew something needed to be done to help protect our employees as well as the citizens we serve,” Barnett said. “My goal is to have an AED in every county building.”

Barnett started his project by reaching out to the Carter County Rescue Squad to get their input. Terry Arnold, director of the Carter County Rescue Squad, and his agency offered to supply two AED units to the county.

“We are pleased to be able to partner with Mayor Barnett to help improve emergency medical outcomes in the community,” Arnold said. “We hope there will never be a need to use them, but if that need arises these AEDs could make all the difference for someone.”

When a person experiences a cardiac emergency, early defibrillation with an on-site AED can be the difference between life and death.

According to the American Heart Association, of the more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests that occur in the United States each year, more than 100,000 happen outside the home. Less than half (45.7 percent) of cardiac arrest victims get the immediate help they need before emergency responders arrive.

A study released by the American Heart Association showed that cardiac arrest victims who received a shock from a publicly-available AED had a far greater chance of survival than those who did not – 66.5 percent versus 43 percent.

“I want to thank the Carter County Emergency and Rescue Squad for partnering with me on this project,” Barnett said. “We are currently working to obtain grant funding to purchase enough AEDs to meet the goal of having one in each county building.”

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Betsy Crafts & Drafts set for this weekend

ELIZABETHTON STAR – A new festival is expected to see hundreds make their way to Joe O’Brien Field this weekend.

Organizers with Go BETSY! are putting the final touches on the inaugural Betsy Crafts & Drafts Festival, set to take place this weekend — Oct. 13-14 — from noon to 5 p.m. at the home of the Elizabethton Twins and Elizabethton High School Cyclones baseball team.

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Remains of Carter County sailor killed in WWII identified, to be returned home for burial

Navy Seaman 2nd Class William Campbell to be Laid to Rest in Tennessee After Nearly 80 Years

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder recognize the service and sacrifice of U.S. Navy Seaman 2nd Class William Campbell of Elizabethton.  Campbell was serving on the USS Oklahoma at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 when it was attacked by multiple torpedoes which caused the battleship to sink and resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen to include Campbell.  He was 20 years old.

The remains of the crewmembers were recovered from the wreckage, buried in multiple cemeteries after attempts to identify remains, but ultimately only 35 men from the USS Oklahoma were identified.  The unidentified remains were buried in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), knows as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, to include Campbell.

On June, 2015, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) began exhuming remains from the Punchbowl for identification.  Campbell was identified on May 9, 2018, using DNA analysis and anthropological evidence.

“Although the attack on Pearl Harbor remains a painful wound for our country, William’s return to be laid to rest in the state he called home is a source of comfort,” Haslam said.  “We join the Campbell family in remembering this hero and we are grateful he will soon rest under a headstone that bears his name.”

“Welcome home, William,” Grinder said.  “It is bittersweet to think about the day our country, this state and the Campbell family lost so much, while also being grateful for the closure this identification and burial with honors will bring.”

Haslam has declared a day of mourning and ordered flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, October 12 in honor of Campbell’s ultimate sacrifice.

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U.S. Rep. Phil Roe’s staff to hold office hours in Carter County on Oct. 17

ELIZABETHTON – Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) announced he will send staff to hold office hours in Elizabethton on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Carter County Courthouse in the 2nd Floor conference room in the mayor’s office.

Roe’s staff will be available to assist First District constituents.

Some of the ways that Roe’s district offices can be of assistance:

  • Senior Citizens: Social Security and disability
  • Students: financial aid, entrance to U.S. Service Academies
  • Veterans: VA claims and military service problems
  • Small Business: SBA loan applications, technical assistance and interpretation of federal regulations
  • Home Buyers: FMHA, FHA, and VA home loan application problems
  • Local Governments: disaster assistance, regulation compliance, and federal grant application problems
  • Taxpayers: IRS tax problems

 

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GROW Carter County provides water bottle station to Little Milligan

ELIZABETHTON STAR – Seeing a need, volunteers with GROW Carter County were able to spring into action.

In what will be a day to remember for the entire Little Milligan community, volunteers from GROW Carter County visited the area’s elementary school to recognize the installation of a water bottle refill station. The ability to install the station was made possible from grant money awarded to GROW Carter County, a recently designated Healthier Tennessee Community.

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