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Howl-O-Ween Party Draws Crowd

Rudy the pig and Frank the duck joined two dozen dogs and cats to stroll the stage with their human companions in the 19th annual Howl-O-Ween Party and Costume Contest, a “friend-raiser” for the Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society. The pets and their people vied for prizes and the adoration of spectators at the Greene County Fairgrounds Saturday afternoon.

The event featured live music by the alternative country band Avant Farm, numerous door prizes, a silent auction, a live auction, face painting, inflatables, games, crafts and a fortune teller.

Emcees John Brown and John Price, as U-Geen Owens of Dog Leg Creek, Mississippi, and his brother Blue, kept things moving and drew laughter and applause from the crowd with their comedic narration of the contest and live auction. Local vendors Creamy Cup and Camo Kitchen served food and ice cream.

Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society Executive Director Amy Bowman and Shelter Manager Janet Medcalf said they were thankful for the turnout and the good weather during the event.

“We want it to be fun and exciting,” said Bowman. “We hope that the Howl-o-ween party will give people a better awareness of the Humane Society. They get to see pets in the contest that were adopted from the humane society, which really makes us excited. They once had nothing and now they’re dressed up in fancy costumes.

“We have a lot of regular participants that have done this for years,” added Bowman. “They’ll plan for months ahead for the costume contest.”

The Bobadilla family hasn’t missed a Howl-o-ween Party in its 19-year history. They said they love animals and the humane society and want to show their support for the organization. Steve Wilhoit and his dog, Rambo, visited for their eighth year to enjoy the fun with friends.

“I just love this and I think they do a great job,” Wilhoit said.

Camryn Sponcia and her Peking duck, Frank, attended for the first time this year after Frank learned to walk on a leash.

“I started taking him on a walk on a leash and then he ended up just loving it,” said Sponcia, who thought a duck would add some variety to the contest. “I think that he’s a unique animal, and I thought it would be cool for other people to see him.”

Rudy the pig donned a “pig-in-a-blanket” costume and squealed into the microphone when judges awarded him second place in the non cat or dog costume category.

Bowman said she is thankful for all who attended and made the event possible.

“I really want to thank all of our sponsors, the local businesses, for making this possible,” Bowman said. “We would not be able to do it without them. I want to thank all the volunteers that help with the event and, of course, everyone that took time out of their day to have a really great time.”

This year’s winners were grand prize: Moose, a dog, as a fried egg sitting with Humpty-Dumpty on a brick wall, entered by Brooke and Jamie Kilgore; first prize for dogs: Coot as John Brown of JB and the Wild Honey Band, entered by Angel Bobadilla; second prize for dogs: Poppers as the Top Dog Hot Dog Man, entered by Antonio and Winter Bobadilla; third prize for dogs: Cracker as a dog tag, entered by T.J. and Amelia Greer; first prize for cats: Phoenix as Oscar the Grouch, entered by Samantha Spillman; second prize for cats: Diemond as a witch cat, entered by Jordyn Potter; third prize for cats: Natlie as Day of the Dead, entered by Brooklynn Desrosier; first prize costume: Frank, a Peking duck, as Frankenstein, entered by Camryn Sponcia; and second prize costume: Rudy the pig, as a pig in a blanket, entered by Sandy Hollenbeck.

Honorable mentions were received by: Booger as a black widow spider, entered by James and Charlotte Secrist; Dragon as back-to-school, entered by Vivianca Jardinez; and Kila as the crazy cat lady, entered by Samantha Spillman.

Howl-o-ween Party sponsors included Andrew Johnson Bank, Greeneville Federal Bank, Eastman Credit Union, Rogers Family Dental, The Greeneville Sun, Phil Thwing M.D. Family Practice, David M. Ellis CPA, Rocky Top Veterinary Hospital, Commissioner Robin Quillen, Morning Pointe of Greeneville, King & King Attorneys, Mop Squad, Tusculum Farm Bureau-Joel Burns, Artistic Printers, Greeneville Women’s Club, Greeneville Beverage and Waggin’ Wagon.

Proceeds from the auctions go to the Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society. To adopt a pet, volunteer or donate, visit the shelter at 950 Hal Henard Road or call 423-639-4771.

Businesses Step Up To Sponsor Student Tickets To Luncheon

Many students will be attending Tuesday’s High Tops to High Heels luncheon free of charge to hear a message of empowerment and encouragement thanks to the support of some local businesses.

The focus of the luncheon, sponsored by the Greene County Partnership’s Sports Council, is to empower, enlighten and encourage girls in pursuing their dreams.

“We want these young students and student athletes to know that they can achieve whatever they set their heart and mind to do whether it is in business or sports,” said Tammy Kinser, director of tourism for the Greene County Partnership.

With that focus, Kinser said the council wants as many students as possible to attend the event, which will feature former Olympic swimming champion Kate Ziegler and Miss Tennessee Brianna Mason.

“Last year, some students were not able to attend because they could not afford the $10 ticket, and it broke my heart,” she said. “We are trying to encourage young women in Greeneville and Greene County and trying to get as many there as possible to hear that message.”

With that goal in mind, Kinser said some local businesses were approached about sponsoring one of the local high schools and providing the funding for the meal tickets. She said an effort was made to approach businesses that already have a tie in some way to a local high school. There are also businesses sponsoring students from Tusculum University.

Getting the businesses to participate was not difficult as most agreed to a sponsorship after the reason for the effort was made known, Kinser said.

Three businesses were sought for South Greene High School because of the number of students it wanted to send, she said.

After securing the sponsorships for the high schools, Kinser said she then learned that other schools were also making efforts to attend the event.

Highland Elementary School is using grant funding to send fourth- and fifth-graders, she said. Chuckey Elementary School, Greeneville Middle School and Holston Home for Children are sending students to attend the event, she said.

Attendance is expected now to be around 550, Kinser said, and a new location was sought for the event to accommodate the large numbers. The event will be held at the EastView Recreation Center.

Kinser said the Sports Council is appreciative of all the sponsors of the event. “If we did not have them, this event would not happen,” she said.

The school sponsors are American Greetings for Chuckey-Doak High School; the Leonard family for Greeneville High School; Apex Bank for North Greene High School; AMSEE, Creekside Markets and Gary’s Paint & Body for South Greene High School; the Town of Mosheim for West Greene High School; and Corley’s Pharmacy and the Kiwanis Club of Greeneville for Tusculum University.

The title sponsor of the event is Consumer Credit Union. Table sponsors are the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, Centriworks-Thermocopy, Greeneville Light & Power System, Grand Rental Station and Professional Vending.

Lane sponsors are Ballad Health, Bristol Motor Speedway; Davy Crockett TA Travel Center; Farm Bureau (Carla Reaves at Mosheim); First Tennessee Bank; Greeneville Federal Bank; Greeneville Water Commission; Hampton Inn; Hometown Realty; McInturff, Milligan & Brooks; Signature Healthcare; Greeneville Reds; and Tusculum University athletics.

South State Contractors and Rocky Top Veterinary & Q-Care are the sponsors for Miss Tennessee. The media sponsors are The Greeneville Sun and Jewel 95.5 radio.

Supporting sponsors include 1 Team Clinic, Andrew Johnson Bank, General Morgan Inn, Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association, Capitol Theatre, Captain’s Cleaning Service, Carnegie Hotel, City Garage Car Museum, Firemen on Call, Greene County YMCA, Kelly Merkel/Crossfit Arcane, Noon Rotary Club, Sharron Collins and Sports Destination Management.

The Tip, The Raid, The Reveal: The Takedown Of al-Baghdadi

WASHINGTON (AP) — The helicopters flew low and fast into the night, ferrying U.S. special forces to a compound where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was hiding in Syria. Half a world away, President Donald Trump watched the raid in real time via a video link as troops blasted into the hideout and sent the most-wanted militant running the last steps of his life.

The daring raid was the culmination of years of steady intelligence-gathering work — and 48 hours of hurry-up planning once Washington got word that al-Baghdadi would be at a compound in northwestern Syria.

The night unfolded with methodical precision and unexpected turns. This reconstruction is based on the first-blush accounts of Trump and other administration officials eager to share the details of how the U.S. snared its top target, as well observations from startled villagers who had no idea al-Baghdadi was in their midst.


Events developed quickly once the White House learned on Thursday there was “a high probability” that al-Baghdadi would be at an Idlib province compound.

By Friday, Trump had military options on his desk.

By Saturday morning, the administration at last had “actionable intelligence” it could exploit.

There was no hint of that interior drama as Trump headed to Camp David on Friday night to celebrate the 10th wedding anniversary of daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Then he was off to Virginia on a brisk fall Saturday for a round at one of his golf courses.

He teed off with Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, in town for the World Series, and Sens. Lindsey Graham and David Perdue.

Trump got back to the White House at 4:18 p.m. By 5 p.m., he was in a suit in the Situation Room in the basement of the West Wing to monitor the raid. They named it after Kayla Mueller, an American humanitarian worker abused and killed by al-Baghdadi.

The rest of Washington had its focus on Game 4 of the World Series about to get underway a few miles away at Nationals Park.


Moments after the White House team had gathered, U.S. aircraft, mostly twin-rotor CH-47 helicopters, took off from Al-Asad air base in western Iraq.

Within hours, al-Baghdadi was dead.

The first inkling that something was afoot came when villagers saw helicopters swooping low on the horizon.

“We went out in the balcony to see and they started shooting, with automatic rifles. So we went inside and hid,” said an unidentified villager. Next came a large explosion — Trump said soldiers blasted a hole in the side of a building because they feared the entrance might have been booby-trapped. Al-Baghdadi fled into a network of underground bunkers and tunnels that snaked through the compound.

The stout, bearded militant leader wore a suicide vest and dragged along three children as he fled from the American troops.

Trump, happy to play up the drama, said that as U.S. troops and their dogs closed in, the militant went “whimpering and crying and screaming all the way” to his death.

“He reached the end of the tunnel, as our dogs chased him down,” Trump said. “He ignited his vest, killing himself and the three children.”


Al-Baghdadi’s body was mutilated in the blast, and the tunnel caved in on him. To get to his corpse, troops had to dig through debris.

“There wasn’t much left,” Trump said, “but there are still substantial pieces that they brought back.”

That’s when the military raid turned into a forensics operation — and the special forces had come prepared.

They had brought along samples of al-Baghdadi’s DNA.

The soldiers who conducted the raid thought the man who fled looked like al-Baghdadi, but that wasn’t enough. Various accounts had heralded his death in the past, only for him to surface yet again.

This time there could be no doubt.

Lab technicians conducted an onsite DNA test to make sure and within 15 minutes of his death, positively identified the target.

“It was him,” Trump said.

Al-Baghdadi’s body wasn’t all they retrieved.

Trump said U.S. troops remained in the compound for about two hours after al-Baghdadi’s death and recovered highly sensitive material about the Islamic State group, including information about its future plans.

After the American troops retreated, U.S. fighter jets fired six rockets at the house, leveling it.


Trump was so excited he couldn’t contain himself.

He hinted of the successful military operation late Saturday by tweeting obliquely that “something very big has just happened!” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley announced the president would make a “major statement” Sunday morning.

That sent reporters in Washington and the Middle East scrambling, and news organizations soon confirmed that U.S. forces believed they had killed America’s most-wanted man.

It was a measure of the strained atmosphere in Washington that two top Democrats — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Adam Schiff, who heads the House intelligence committee — didn’t get a heads-up from Trump about the operation.Trump didn’t trust them to keep it secret.

“Washington is a leaking machine,” Trump said. In this case, he said, “there were no leaks, no nothing. The only people that knew were the few people that I dealt with.”


Trump chose the Diplomatic Room to make his big announcement on Sunday.

In announcing al-Baghdadi’s death, he leaned into comparing the successful operation with the 2011 mission to kill 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.

While bin Laden orchestrated the deadliest militant attack in U.S. history, the killing of al-Baghdadi — who helped the IS group at its height control more than 34,000 square miles of territory in Iraq and Syria — was “the biggest there is,” Trump said.

Reveling in the moment, Trump spent more than 45 minutes speaking and taking questions about the raid.

By late Sunday afternoon, Trump’s reelection campaign was ready to turn the raid into political capital. It sent a text to supporters that said, “Trump has brought the #1 terrorist leader to justice-he’s KEEPING AMERICA SAFE.”

Greene County Schools
Remodel Of C-DHS Cafeteria OK'd

The Greene County Board of Education voted Thursday in favor of remodeling inside Chuckey-Doak High School’s cafeteria.

The project will involve moving a serving line away from its current position at a side wall to allow space for the new “student choice” concept, explained Dustin Burnette of Chartwells, which provides food service for the school system.

The “student choice” concept will be introduced at Chuckey-Doak and South Greene high schools during the spring 2020 semester, Burnette said.

Students will be given the opportunity to try different menu items during the “student choice” period and the one that is most popular will become a regular item on the menu in the future. Students at North Greene and West Greene high schools were able to select a new menu item during “student choice” periods last school year.

The remodeling will be funded with the remaining balance of the renovation plan investment that is part of the partnership between the school system and Chartwells, Burnette explained.

More than $30,000 is left in renovation plan funds and should cover the expense for moving the serving line, he said.


In other business, the school board approved a calendar for the 2020-21 school year. The calendar includes 176 instructional days for students, nine professional development days and five administrative days.

The school year will begin for students with an abbreviated day on Aug. 5, 2020, with the first full day on Aug. 7. Fall break for the system will be Oct. 12-16, Thanksgiving break Nov. 25-27 and Christmas break Dec. 21-Jan. 4, with students returning on Jan. 6, 2021.

Spring break will be March 15-19 and the last full day will be May 25, 2021.


The board approved a change in high school attendance procedures, adding a parent note as acceptable documentation for an excused absence. The revised procedure also states that no more than two parent notes will be accepted each semester.

In related action, the high school attendance policy was pulled from consideration to be referred back to the policy committee to clarify wording about the parent notes.


The board also approved a contract with Schnieder Electric to provide technical services for energy saving projects for the school system. The goal of the project is to provide savings to help offset the cost of new HVAC units that are needed throughout the district. The system has more than 400 units that have been in operation 15 years or longer.

Jen Miller and Todd Smith from Schnieder Electric explained the company will begin the process by conducting a detailed technical audit of each school and system facility. Design plans for energy saving measures will be created, and if school board approval is given for those measures, Schnieder would manage their installation.

Based on initial work with the system, Schnieder Electric estimates measures could be implemented to save the system between $260,000 and $400,000 in utility costs, Miller said.

Kimberleigh Lester spoke to the board to request consideration of revisions to hair color regulations in the student dress code. The dress code currently states that no unusual hair color will be permitted with examples listed as neon colors, green, purple, etc.


Lester explained that her niece and nephew have come to live with her in the past year. Her niece has always had colored hair because her mother is a hairdresser.

“I know that we have rules and regulations for a reason, but times do change,” she said. “I am just asking that you consider a change.”

North Greene High School was recognized for having 97% attendance during September. Chuckey-Doak Middle School earned the faculty award with 98% attendance.