A Limestone man was one of two people killed Saturday afternoon in a crash on southbound Interstate 81 in Kingsport.
The victims in the two-vehicle collision just before 2 p.m. Saturday at I-81 mile marker 62 are identified by Kingsport police as 50-year-old Jeffrey L. Goode of Limestone and 56-year-old William Henry Carpenter Jr., of Bristol, Virginia.
A police news release said that Carpenter was alone on northbound I-81 in a 2008 Honda Ridgeline pickup truck “when for unknown reasons it veered left, crossed the grass median, and began traveling in the southbound lanes.”
Goode was the sole occupant of a southbound 1995 Ford F-150 pickup truck when it was struck head-on by the truck driven by Carpenter. The Ford pickup truck caught fire “and became fully involved until extinguished by responding firefighters” from the Kingsport Fire Department, the news release said.
A third pickup truck driven by 18-year-old Blake E. Lucas of Bristol was southbound on I-81 behind the truck driven by Goode and did not have time to react, and the truck struck the Honda Ridgeline driven by Carpenter after the initial impact, the release said.
Goode and Carpenter were killed in the crash. Lucas was not injured. All three vehicles were disabled and had to be towed from the scene.
Both lanes of I-81 were closed “for an extended period of time to allow for the thorough investigation of the crash and the safe removal of all involved vehicles and associated debris,” the release said.
A crash investigation by the Kingsport Police Department Traffic Unit remains active.
Assistance was provided by the Sullivan County Fatal Incident Response and Support Team, the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Saturday was a record-setting day for Jump TN.
Late in the afternoon, 37 skydivers came together in a complex star formation, breaking the previous state record of 36.
Jump TN hosted the “Tennessee 40way State Record Jump” at Greeneville Municipal Airport, bringing 40 experienced skydivers to the community for a weekend of complicated aerial feats.
“It was a great weekend,” said Mikeal Stevens, who operates Jump TN with Angie Alley. “Everyone was getting tired Saturday afternoon after a long day, but everything came together in the air. We went up to 16,500 feet and had the star built by 7,000.”
Experienced skydivers gathered from several states for the endeavor. Each had at least 300 jumps under their belt, as required.
“Most importantly, everyone stayed safe and there were no injuries,” Stevens said. “While you don’t expect to have accidents, everyone was professional in keeping safety a priority.”
Jumps began Friday morning and continued throughout the day into evening. There was one delay as threatening clouds gathered mid-afternoon.
Attempts resumed Saturday around 8 a.m. and continuing through the day until the record of 37 was set in the afternoon.
On Sunday, the skydivers tried two more times to get 40 in the formation, but didn’t reach that mark, Stevens said. They were trying for 40 as a celebration of his 40th birthday this month.
Lou Corleto, a participant and skydiving instructor, said that those without skydiving experience often do not have a point of reference to understand the complexity of creating such a formation in the air.
“I describe it this way,” he said: “Imagine having 40 NASCAR drivers who are driving 125 miles an hour and asking them to do it while holding hands.”
Jumpers have to determine their speed to reach the formation and angle of their dive to connect, he explained.
The record-setting attempts were further complicated by having to jump from two separate planes. One group jumped first to form the base of the star. Two separate sets followed complete the formation.
During the day Friday and on Saturday, each attempt improved, and the skydivers got closer in their successive attempts, Corleto said.
Completing the formation at a certain height and duration are not the only requirements. To meet the U.S. Parachute Association’s rules, skydivers also had to be in the correct place and connected to another skydiver in a designated way.
If jumpers swap positions for some reason in the air — even if everything else is perfect — it disqualifies the jump, Corleto said.
To make the star, the skydivers connected by holding hands or handles of another skydiver’s pants. A person holding onto handles instead of a hand, or vice versa, would also disqualify the attempt.
To record the attempts, two videographers were required to film in air. Their footage and still photographs were basis for U.S. Parachute Association judges’ determinations.
Alley said that Jump TN was fortunate to be able to schedule Norman Kent as one of the videographers/photographers, and many skydivers were excited to learn that Kent, who is considered “a legend in skydiving,” would be filming them.
Kent is an award-winning photographer/videographer who has made more than 24,000 helmet camera jumps and has filmed footage for films such as “Kingsman — The Secret Service” and “Enders Game,” as well as television shows around the world, Olympic games and commercials for dozens of international companies.
He was joined by Raymond Adams, of Atlanta, whose photography career grew from his work as a hairdresser and expanded into aerial photography after he began skydiving. He combined those two passions six years ago.
Between jumps, skydivers also took time to cool off, rehydrate and rest. Their camaraderie and passion for the sport was obvious in the Jump TN hangar, where they crowded to talk and discuss attempts and other skydiving experiences.
The diverse group included men and women ranging in age from their 20s to 60s.
Corleto said he started skydiving as a hobby and feels blessed to now teach the sport to others. “I have jumped on six continents, and joined Mikeal and Angie in jumping over the pyramids in Egypt,” he said. “It is just amazing.”
Some traveled a great distance to participate.
Val Slocum lives in Belize, but has a daughter living in Greeneville who recently gave birth. While traveling to see her new granddaughter, the jump was an extra treat, Slocum said.
She has made more than 6,000 jumps in her 43 years of skydiving and has been part of several formation jumps, including record attempts in Poland, Belgium, France and Thailand.
“It is something about this sport,” she said. “You have friends everywhere you go. It is such a small community, you can go around the world and can runt into someone you know.”
She recalled that her sister was traveling in Italy and had a traffic accident. Her family was struggling to learn information about her condition due to the language differences. Slocum contacted a skydiving friend in that country, who went to the hospital, talked to the doctors and was able to translate the information for her family. “It is a great network,” she said.
Another older network of skydivers renewed their friendships Saturday. A lunchtime reunion brought together the Tennessee Falling Stars Skydiving Team that were based at Decker Farm Airport that sat between the Nolichucky River and Highway 107 in Washington County.
The reunion was held near the Jump TN hangars. Those attending were able to watch the Jump TN record attempts while reminiscing and perusing scrapbooks and photo albums.
With her crowning as Miss Tennessee on Saturday, Brianna Mason twice made history — as the first Miss Greene County and first African-American contestant taking top honors.
Prior to the announcement of her win at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Mason went “2-for-2” in talent and on-stage interview events, making her the first Miss Greene County to ever be a double preliminary winner.
Her accolades continued accumulating as she advanced through the Top 15, Top 10 and Top 5 before being crowned at the competition’s Saturday night conclusion.
Events in the 2019 Miss Tennessee Scholarship Competition began Wednesday in Knoxville.
Mason was crowned Miss Greene County in October 2018, a competition with highlights that included her piano talent performance of Edvard Grieg’s “A Minor — Rhapsody Medley.”
“My goal has always been to become Miss Tennessee and to serve the state in that capacity,” Mason told The Greeneville Sun ahead of the competition.
Saturday’s win capped the 23-year-old University of Tennessee — Knoxville graduate’s fourth attempt. She was Miss Knoxville 2018. A native of Nashville, she holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UT and is a first-grade teacher in Murfreesboro.
Her winnings include $15,000 in scholarships.
Also earning scholarships were first runner-up Miss Lexington Lauren Dickson; second runner-up Miss Middle Tennessee Savannah Maddison; third runner-up Miss West Tennessee Abbie Bayless; and fourth runner-up Miss Music Row Tally Bevis, state news outlets reported.
In May, the organizing foundation’s chairman, Eddie Smith, told The Greeneville Sun why, after decades, the statewide pageant moved from its traditional location in Jackson.
“It was time for a change,” he said. “The move to Knoxville was a no-brainer. We hope that in the future, several cities in our great state will be able to host. Our goal is to become accessible for fans, volunteers, and posterity living throughout the state.”
For the first time this year at the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Competition, the swimsuit portion of the event was absent.
“The new competition reflects a greater inclusiveness, giving more women the opportunity to earn scholarships and compete for the job of Miss America, to make a difference in their communities, states and beyond,” the competition’s website said.
Also representing Greene County there were Miss Historic Greeneville Harley Ramsey and Miss Pioneer Lydia Hollis, who were crowned March 31 after the Miss America Organization instituted a new board of directors for the region.
For more information, see www.misstn.org.
Updated revenue projections for the 2019-20 fiscal year that starts Monday were good news for Greeneville City Schools.
Updated revenues allowed the school system to fund more than requested in new allocations from the Town of Greeneville, when earlier revenue projections stood at $437,000 less.
The Greeneville Board of Education on Thursday finalized its 2019-20 fiscal year budget, totaling $28.6 million.
In June, the board had approved a budget totaling $28.1 million. The school system had requested additional allocations from the town after a $191,194 shortfall was projected in the preliminary budget.
The town did not include any additional funds in its 2019-20 fiscal year budget for the requests, which included an additional kindergarten teacher at EastView Elementary School due to enrollment increases, an additional special education teacher based on an increasing number of students that need more individualized instruction, and $66,000 for one-third of the cost to replace the gymnasium floor at Hal Henard Elementary School.
After the town approved its budget, the school system’s leadership team reviewed its budget and priorities and also looked at updated information, the system’s Chief Financial Officer Ellen Lipe told the board.
“The problem is sometimes you don’t have complete revenue projections when you are developing a budget to submit to the town,” she said.
Since the school system had to present its budget in May to the town, early revenue projections were used, Lipe explained.
However, in preparing the final budget, more up-to-date information about projected local revenues has been received from the Greene County Trustee’s Office, and the Tennessee Department of Education has provided new updates for the system’s projected state Basic Education Program funding, she said.
With the new information, revenues were projected to total $28,615,116, Lipe said, which allows the school system to add the additional kindergarten and special education teachers as well as the Hal Henard gym project.
In addition, the new revenues will help fund technology improvements and professional development for school bookkeepers, she said.
One of those technology improvements funded in the budget was approved during the Thursday meeting — purchase of a data storage network for the school system from MerIT Group at a cost of $66,022.
A purchase of 1,000 computers for use by students was approved at a total cost of $249,000 from Technology Express was also approved by the board. The new computers will replace all computers now being used by students in grades 9-12.
A public hearing was held regarding the system’s internet safety policies during the meeting. No one spoke. Assistant Director of Schools and Chief Technology Officer Beverly Miller said the policy is signed each year by students and system employees.
Teresa Spears, a teacher at Hal Henard Elementary School, and Greeneville Middle School teachers Cindy Monroe and Jamie Young were recognized for writing proposals that were awarded Science, Technology, Engineering and Math grants from the Tennessee Valley Authority.
The GMS grant of $5,000 will provide a new 3D printer and robotic circuits for the school’s Maker Space.
The Maker Space at Hal Henard will also be enhanced by the $2,500 grant written by Spears. That grant will provide robotics and super-polymer materials as well as provide for cardboard recycling.
The school system is applying for a new safety grant announced earlier this year by Gov. Bill Lee’s office to provide funding for a School Resource Officer for the Greene Technology Center, Greeneville Schools Director Steve Starnes reported
A report was given to the board about the Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma program that is now being explored as a possible offering at Greeneville High School. In the program, students must complete an AP seminar course, an AP research course and take four AP exams, scoring at least a three or higher on all to receive a diploma. Students can receive a certificate for taking the seminar and research courses.
Assistant Director of Schools Dr. Suzanne Bryant and GHS Principal Patrick Fraley discussed the possible benefits and challenges to the program. The program would provide additional opportunities for students, they said, but it could provide challenges in scheduling and perhaps limiting the range of courses a student can take.
A report was also given on the Coordinated School Health Program by its coordinator, Jeannie Woolsey. The program includes efforts to provide health services and encourage healthy lifestyle choices, to students and system employees.
Walking trails at Highland and Tusculum View elementary schools have been provided in the program through a state diabetes grant. That grant provided additional playground equipment at both schools in the past year and has also funded hydration stations and new physical education equipment for all the schools in previous years.
The school system is seeking grants for Tusculum View and Greeneville Middle school to provide support for activities to increase physical activity by students during the academic day, she said.
Another focus of the coming year is establishing a comprehensive mental health plan for providing services for students, Woolsey said.