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Homicide Victim Christopher Scott Short Remembered As 'A Family Man'

Christopher Scott Short was a family oriented man who would go out of his way to help others.

Short, 33, the victim of a homicide last week in Greeneville, was remembered Wednesday by his wife and employer as someone with a ready smile who enjoyed interacting with customers, when he wasn’t spending time with his wife and children or embracing his passion for fishing.

Short’s loss was made all the more tragic by the sudden passing of his father, Alan “Mike” Short, on Oct. 3, just a day after his son’s death.

Christopher Short’s wife, Heather, thanked the community for the outpouring of concern and support.

“On behalf of me and our children and our family, we just want to send out sincerest thank-yous and say that we appreciate all of the love and support we’ve received, and to let everyone who has worked and is working on behalf of Scott, we want to say thank you,” Heather Short said.

Christopher Short worked as a butcher in the meat department of United Grocery Outlet in the Eastgate Shopping Center on Tusculum Boulevard. His face was familiar to many customers, but store manager Emma Cole said many regular customers were shocked to find out Short was the victim of the crime that occurred late on the night of Oct. 1 or early Oct. 2 near the Celebrity Coin Laundry in a strip mall plaza on East Andrew Johnson Highway.

Short had gone to do laundry because his family was in the process of moving and appliances were not yet hooked up. The honorable way “Scottie” Short lived his life made him an unlikely target of such a violent crime, his wife said.

“It was just a horrible tragedy, and he was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Heather Short said. “It is terrible, but he was a family man. He loved his kids, and I just want everybody to try to keep that in mind, that rumors are hearsay.”

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Greeneville Police Department continue an investigation into the murder. No details about the crime have been released.

“We have no updates to pass along at this time other than to say that investigators continue to follow leads. We are not releasing information about the cause of death due to the very active and ongoing nature of the investigation,” TBI spokeswoman Leslie Earhart said Tuesday.

Cole hired Short a little over two years ago. He started as a stocker but was eager to learn and wanted to pursue a career after beginning work as a butcher. Short was well-liked by fellow employees and customers and had been chosen to attend training to become a meat market manager. Short was to leave for the training Oct. 6, Cole said.

“He’s every bit worth being remembered for the good things, not this,” Cole said. “He was always smiling and helpful.”

A benefit lunch for the public to assist the family with expenses related to Short’s death will be held beginning at noon Saturday outside United Grocery Outlet, 873 Tusculum Blvd.

A dish that includes pork barbecue and sides will be available for a donation.

“All the proceeds will go to the Short family,” Cole said. “It’s been a bad time coming into work, and that’s one of the reasons we’re doing this fundraiser.”

Heather Short said her husband enjoyed spending time with her and their two children, ages 13 and 7. The couple would have celebrated their first wedding anniversary in November.

“I would say he was kind and he was funny,” she said. “He had a wonderful sense of humor, and he was an amazing father and a husband and a friend and a son and a brother and a cousin.”

Short was from Kingsport and moved to Greeneville about six years ago, but kept in close touch with his family.

“We loved the area. We always talked about it. It’s not hard to fall in love with Greene County,” Heather Short said.

Christopher Short was also close to Heather Short’s brothers. Among his favorite pastimes were cooking, working on model cars and fishing, often with his 13-year-old son. Short spent many hours fishing at locations like Hardin Park, she said.

“We were always doing things together. We were always together,” Heather Short said. “He loved spending time with our kids. If it wasn’t fishing, he loved spending (family) time together.”

Short’s father, known as “Mike,” passed away unexpectedly Oct. 3 after suffering a heart attack. Arrangements for father and son, handled by Trinity Memorial Center Funeral Home in Kingsport, are incomplete.

Heather Short said her husband will be remembered for his many good qualities.

“He loved to talk to folks. Anybody that ever needed anything, if you would call him, he did his best to help,” she said.

Christopher Short’s co-workers at United Grocery Outlet have made sure the grieving family knows he is not forgotten.

“I knew he had an amazing work family. His manager in his store (and co-workers) have been amazing. They have made sure we had food and daily essentials and checked in daily to make sure we have what we need,” Heather Short said.

Short wants to spend time with her children as the family copes with the tragic loss. She is grateful to those who continue to reach out.

“I didn’t realize how many friends he had,” she said. “Their love and support has been overwhelming. I don’t know how we would have made it through the last week without this help.”

Cole echoed the sentiments of others who want to provide what solace they can in the wake of the senseless crime.

“They’re young. They’re not ready for this, not that anybody is ready for this,” she said.


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Bereaved Family Emphasizes Individuality Of Conjoined Brothers

Fifteen balloons rose into the sky in eastern Greene County Wednesday, and that they were colored in two different shades of blue was by intent.

The balloons were the part of a local family’s goodbye to two sons, born Friday in Knoxville’s UT Medical Center, only to pass away a little over two hours later. The brothers, Nolen and Noel Jones, were conjoined twins, and though they shared a single tiny form, they were individuals, an aunt and one of their grandmothers told The Greeneville Sun Wednesday afternoon.

That individuality was the reason behind the two different shades of blue on the balloons: one hue represented Nolen, the other Noel.

The balloons were released after midday funeral services for the boys in the Jeffers Funeral & Cremation Services Afton chapel.

Kendra Haynes, sister of Noel’s and Nolen’s father, Austin Jones, in an interview that she and her mother had requested with The Greeneville Sun, re-emphasized the point: Despite sharing one physical form, the boys “were two separate lives. Two souls, not the same person.”

Though the boys’ lifetimes in the world outside their mother’s body were exceptionally brief, those lifetimes were immersed from start to finish in the love and presence of parents and family. That family is left to grieve them today, but at the same time there is a third child receiving their love. That is Noah, Nolen’s and Noel’s brother.

Noah developed and was born along with his two brothers, but was not bodily conjoined to them.

Had the developmental process of Nolen and Noel not been affected by an unpredictable incomplete division of an egg cell, the three boys born Friday would have been triplet brothers, growing up together.

That two of the three boys were conjoined was something Austin and his wife, Christine, learned weeks before they made the journey to Knoxville’s University of Tennessee Medical Center for the cesarean delivery. They also already knew that a crucial artery had not developed to work with the single heart the boys shared.

That heart, Kendra said, possessed six chambers rather than the usual four, and doctors believed it could have sustained the boys had the undeveloped artery been there. Even so, the lack of the crucial artery made the possibility of long-term survival impossible.

Doctors had told them that, at best, Nolen and Noel could live only a few days, and would do so best within the embrace of their family rather than in an operating room undergoing futile surgery. As it turned out, the boys lived not days, but hours.

During that time, though, their parents were able to hold and kiss them while they still lived, and to see for themselves something attending nurses had commented on: the perfectly formed faces of the boys, whose shared form weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces.

Non-conjoined brother Noah, delivered immediately after his brothers, weighed 4 pounds 10 ounces. He required some initial help with breathing and nutrition, but as of Tuesday was expected to be sent home with his parents this week, Kendra Haynes said.

Kendra’s mother, Tracy Throckmorton, who participated in the interview by speakerphone, said little Noah can anticipate a likely overload of attention and affection from his loved ones once he is home. Kendra and Tracy described Noah as a blessing and bright point in the midst of a sad time.

Making the loss of the two boys all the harder for the family is that death has not much touched the family previously, Tracy said. And though she is a person of faith, a worshiper at First Christian Church’s Afton location, the bereaved grandmother admitted she is struggling hard with one question: “Why?”

“I’ve got a lot of anger about this,” she said. “I just can’t understand why this should have happened.”

When she confessed her anger to her pastor, he assured her that her emotions are natural, and not wrong or offensive to God.

Another sentiment being experienced by the family, both women noted, is gratitude toward friends, neighbors and even complete strangers who are helping Austin and Christine through the sorrow and expense their situation has generated.

A Gofundme page created to help the family cover expenses for the parents of Nolen and Noel is gaining strong support. Publicized mostly through word-of-mouth and social media, the fund quickly began receiving support and reached half its goal, though family members say the other half is greatly needed as well.

Financial stresses on Austin and Christine Jones have been heightened by the fact Austin has been unable to work recently as he and Christine prepared for the birth.

Kendra noted, “I’ve seen people on that donor list I don’t even know.” She and her mother repeatedly stressed the family’s gratitude toward the caring people who are stepping in to help them.

As noted in their obituary, the boys are survived by their parents, plus two sisters and two brothers: Alexis Pierce, Bentley Jones, Rose Jones and Noah Jones; their grandparents: Angela and James Callahan, and Tracy and Monty Throckmorton; their great-grandparents: Butch and Dianna Haynes; a great-aunt and great-uncle: Butch and Sandy Haynes; aunts and uncles: Chatty and Isaac Trent, Kendra Haynes, Hayden Throckmorton, and Lindsey and Johnny Williams; cousins: Jason and Denise Trent, Tristan Wright, Gracie and Parker Williams, and Emma Haynes; and several other family members and friends.

Wednesday’s funeral was officiated by the Rev. Tommy Staggs.


Ap_national_news
Polls Show Close Divide Over Impeachment And Removal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans are following impeachment proceedings closely and are slightly more likely to approve than disapprove of the inquiry itself. But the public is more closely split over whether President Donald Trump should be removed from office.

Several polls published since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the start of an impeachment inquiry on Sept. 24 show a shift in views from earlier this year as the House of Representatives investigates whether Trump violated his oath of office in asking the government of Ukraine to investigate a political opponent.

WHERE THINGS STAND

Polls find support for impeachment has shifted significantly from earlier this year. The public is now more closely divided after earlier polls showed majority opposition to impeachment.

A Fox News poll conducted Sunday through Tuesday found 51% of Americans now say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, up from 42% who said that in July.

Likewise, a Washington Post-Schar School survey conducted in early October shows 58% of Americans are supportive of the decision by Congress to initiate an inquiry, including 49% who say Congress was right to begin an investigation and should also take the next step to remove Trump from office. Earlier this year, Post-ABC polls found less than half saying Congress should begin impeachment proceedings.

And polls show that the shift was closely tied to Pelosi’s announcement of the inquiry. An early October poll from Quinnipiac University finds 45% of voters say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, up from 37% in a poll conducted immediately before that announcement.

CONSISTENT (AND POLARIZED) VIEWS

Approval of Trump’s overall performance has remained steady, as it has over the course of his presidency. The Quinnipiac poll shows Trump’s approval rating standing at 40%, where it was in its poll conducted just before the inquiry began.

But, as with most political issues in today’s environment, views of the Republican president and impeachment are intensely polarized. A wide share of Democrats express support for impeachment, while the vast majority of Republicans stand opposed.

PRECEDENT

Today’s presidential impeachment inquiry is only the fourth in U.S. history, and polling demonstrates different scenarios for how opinion has changed as impeachment proceedings proceeded.

While opinions of President Bill Clinton and support for his removal from office moved slightly throughout 1998 and 1999, he emerged largely unscathed. According to polling by Gallup, support for Clinton’s removal reached no more than about a third of Americans throughout impeachment proceedings over Clinton’s handling of allegations of his extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern. Before, during and after the impeachment process, Clinton’s job approval was much higher than that of Trump.

By comparison, approval ratings for President Richard Nixon took a severe hit as the public learned more about his transgressions, according to Gallup polling. At the same time, support for impeachment steadily grew.

Even so, far less than half supported Nixon’s removal from office throughout 1973 and into 1974; it wasn’t until after the House Judiciary Committee passed articles of impeachment in late July that more than half held that view.


Local_news
Data Shows Increase In Town's Median Income, Decline In Poverty Level

Greeneville’s median household income went up and the percentage of those living in poverty declined over the last year, according to recent economic demographic information released by the Sycamore Institute.

Median household income increased from $37,920 in 2017 to $47,383 last year in the town, according to the statistics that were compiled by the Sycamore Institute from data released in September by the U.S. Census Bureau for municipalities and states.

Similar data for counties is expected to be released later this year.

The Sycamore Institute is an independent, non-partisan public policy research center for Tennessee. Its mission is to help policymakers, media, and the public understand complex issues that affect and connect Tennesseans’ health and prosperity.

The median household figure reflects the mid-point for salaries, with half of households earning less than the designated figure and the other 50% earning more.

The percentage of households in Greeneville under the federal poverty line decreased almost six percentage points, from 19% in 2017 to 13.6% in 2018, the statistics indicate. In 2018, the poverty threshold for a family of three was set at about $20,000 per year.

Likewise, child poverty for Greeneville also dropped between the two years with a 27.4% level recorded in 2017 and 24.5% last year.

City Administrator Todd Smith said the statistics present an interesting perspective. There is a significant difference between 2017 and 2018, and it is not clear whether there is a data discrepancy or if the town grew that much, he said.

“However, the 2018 numbers do show Greeneville is very competitive to our neighbors in Northeast Tennessee,” Smith said. “The numbers point to the recent existing industry job expansions we have seen the last couple of years, as well as the number of retail announcements we have had. Interestingly, the numbers do not reflect the most recent retail openings at the Commons.”

The town’s median household income was higher than other municipalities in Northeast Tennessee included in Sycamore Institute’s compilation. In 2018, the median income was $45,839 for Johnson City and $41,957 for the Kingsport-Bristol metro area. Greeneville’s was slightly lower than Morristown’s median income of $47,439 last year.

Johnson City’s and Morristown’s median incomes were higher last year than in 2017, while the Kingsport-Bristol metro area saw a decrease of about $2,000.

Greeneville’s median household income increase was also larger than the climb in salaries for the state, which was about $1,000 between the two years. Tennessee’s median household income increased from about $51,000 in 2017 to more than $52,000 last year, the institute reported.

There was also a mixture in the region of increases and decreases in the poverty level. Like Greeneville, Johnson City saw a decline of almost 1% in those below the poverty line. However, both Morristown and the Kingsport-Bristol metro area experienced an increase.

Johnson City and Morristown experienced slight decreases in the proportion of children living under the poverty line while the Kingsport-Bristol metro area saw about a five-point increase in that percentage.

Statewide there was an increase in the proportion of households under the federal poverty line both overall and for children. The percentage of people in Tennessee living under the poverty line increased from an estimated 15% in 2017 to 15.3% a year ago.

A larger increase was reflected in the statistics for children living under the poverty line statewide. The proportion of children living in families under the poverty line increased from an estimated 21.2% in 2017 to 22.3% in 2018 — the first increase since 2013, according to the release from the Sycamore Institute.

EDUCATION, HEALTH INSURANCE DATA

In addition to the economic data, the Sycamore Institute also compiled information about education and health insurance coverage with Greeneville seeing an increase in the proportion of its population who have earned a bachelor’s degree but also seeing a jump in the share of children and individuals overall who do not have health insurance coverage.

The percentage of Greenevillians with a bachelor’s degree has jumped a little more than three percentage points from 14.2% in 2017 to 17.9% last year.

Similarly, an increase is recorded for municipalities in the region — Johnson City, the Kingsport-Bristol metro area and Morristown.

Statewide, a recent upward trend in the number of Tennesseans with post-secondary degrees slowed in 2018, according to the Sycamore Institute. While the percentage of adults with associate degrees and bachelor’s or higher degrees increased, that jump was slight, two-hundredths of a percent.

The statistics for health insurance for the town are similar to statewide numbers with growth in each.

In Greeneville, the overall share of the population without insurance coverage went from 8.8% two years ago to 11% in 2018. A larger increase was recorded in the number of uninsured children, jumping from 1.3% in 2018 to 7.7% last year.

Likewise, the share of individuals and children without health insurance also increased in Morristown and the Kingsport-Bristol metro area. In Johnson City, the percentage of uninsured was down in 2018 for both individuals and children.

The percentage of Tennesseans who are uninsured also grew in 2018, the second year of increases. According to data, the percentage of Tennesseans without health insurance rose from an estimated 9.5% in 2017 to 10.1% in 2018.

Likewise, the share of children in the state without health insurance increased from an estimated 4.4% in 2017 to 5.2% in 2018.