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Tennessee Presidential Trail Launching For Upcoming Holiday

This Presidents Day, the state’s three presidential homes are uniting to launch the Tennessee Presidential Trail.

The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site and Cemetery in Greeneville will be linked with Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage outside of Nashville and the President James K. Polk Home and Museum in Columbia to form the trail, according to a release from organizers. Also included in the trail are the State Capitol and Tennessee State Museum in Nashville.

The project was spearheaded by Kellye Murphy, tourism and marketing director for Visit Columbia TN (City of Columbia), and completed through the working partnership with Ann Dee Jones, vice president of marketing and communications for Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage.

“I had this idea two years ago to link together our state’s presidential homes in a way that would bring greater tourism to the state at large,” Murphy said. “To see this idea come to life is amazing. Visitors to the homes are able to step back in time and learn what life was like during the respective time periods — not just in Tennessee but in our country as a whole.”

Murphy was inspired to create the Tennessee Presidential Trail when the Tennessee State Museum opened, the release stated. The State Museum is home to 13,000 years of Tennessee art and history, including an 1817 painting of Andrew Jackson and artifacts related to James K. Polk and Andrew Johnson.

“Tennessee has a rich presidential history, and we encourage residents and tourists to take advantage of the many resources available right here in Tennessee to learn more about that history,” said Tennessee State Museum Executive Director Ashley Howell. “The State Museum, the State Capitol and the three historic sites on the Presidential Trail make for a remarkable start on that journey.”

Visitors who follow the trail will find several locations to explore at the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site and learn more about the life and legacy of the 17th U.S. president. Guests are encouraged to tour the homestead, which served as Andrew Johnson’s home before and after his presidency, as well as his early home, tailor shop museum and the national cemetery. For hours and information, visit nps.gov/anjo.

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, home to the seventh U.S. president, is one of Tennessee’s most visited historic sites. Opened to the public in 1889, Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage is a 1,120-acre National Historic Landmark with more than 20 historic buildings, including Jackson’s mansion and tomb, restored slave cabins, a church and gardens. For hours and information, visit thehermitage.com.

President James. K. Polk Home and Museum preserves and interprets the only surviving home of the 11th president. The site features a 30-minute docent-guided tour of the main house. Guests can also visit the Visitor Center, gardens and kitchen outbuilding, as well as exhibits featured in Polk Presidential Hall. For hours and information, visit jameskpolk.com.

To learn more about the Tennessee Presidential Trail, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TNPresidentialTrail.

Cobble To Run For Re-Election To School Board

An incumbent is the first candidate to file for the Greene County Board of Education election in August.

Tom Cobble, 106 Patterson St., Afton, who currently serves on the school board representing the 2nd School Board District, has filed a nominating petition for the Aug. 6 county general election, according to the Greene County Election Commission.

Cobble is the first to file a petition to seek one of the seats on the Greene County school board in the upcoming election.

A representative from the 7th School Board District is also to be elected in August. Currently, that district is represented by School Board Chairman Rick Tipton.

The deadline is noon April 2 for candidates to file nominating petitions for school board and for the Baileyton, Greeneville and Mosheim municipal elections.

Five offices will be determined in the Greeneville municipal election. On the ballot will be the mayor, an at-large position, and two aldermen and two school board members from the 2nd Ward.

Four offices will be chosen in the Baileyton election — mayor, two full-term aldermen and an alderman to fill an unexpired term.

In Mosheim, three offices will be on the ballot — the mayor, a 1st Ward alderman and a 2nd Ward alderman.

Candidates for state and federal offices that will appear on the ballot this year also have an April 2 qualifying deadline. The primary for the races for both the Tennessee and U.S legislative bodies will be in August with the general election in November.

A majority of Greene County will choose a candidate for the 5th state House of Representatives District in this election cycle. Greene Countians living in the northwestern and southwestern ends of the county will select a representative for the 11th House district, which also includes portions of Cocke and Jefferson counties.

Greene Countians as well as other voters in the 1st Congressional District will be choosing a new individual for the U.S. House of Representatives as incumbent Phil Roe announced earlier this year he would not be seeking re-election.

Tennesseans will also be choosing a new U.S. Senator with incumbent Lamar Alexander’s announcement last year that he would not seek reelection.

Republican Candidate For Congress Addresses GOP Women

Nichole Williams, a self-described “feisty, conservative patriot,” sought support for her candidacy for Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District on Thursday when she addressed a Republican Women’s Club meeting at the General Morgan Inn.

Williams, 33, said that as women celebrate the 100th anniversary of their right to vote, it’s also significant that she is seeking to be the first elected female congressional representative in the 1st district.

Current GOP representative Phil Roe has announced he is not seeking reelection.

“We’re going to need a very strong representative (in the U.S. House of Representatives) in case Tennessee goes blue (Democratic) in the next few years,” Williams told a packed banquet hall at the downtown hotel. She said congressional representation in northeast Tennessee may change because “more people are dying (in the 1st district) than being born.”

Williams, born and raised in Kingsport, said she interned in Roe’s Kingsport congressional office for about three months in 2012-2013 while a college student.

The mother of three daughters said she was adamantly “pro-life,” and pro-Second Amendment.

Williams said she has been campaigning across the large district seeking “grass-roots” support since she announced her candidacy in August.

“I’ve been to all the gun shows, fall festivals, and Christmas parades” in the district, and to many other public gatherings and utilized social media heavily in an effort to become the Republican nominee for the seat, and then to win the post in November, she stated.

“I’ve been everywhere, just like Johnny Cash,” she quipped.

“I’m just a regular person,” said Williams, who also said she was a Christian.

Williams said she first thought she’d like to make a difference after a New York abortion rights law passed the state legislature there last year and was signed into law on Jan. 22, the 46th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered One World Trade Center and other state landmarks to be lit in pink to celebrate the bill’s passage, which especially irked Williams, she said.

After her talk, Williams told a Greeneville Sun reporter that, “It’s scary when you get pregnant, whether as a young mother, or even as a not-so-young mother like myself. We’ve got to better support women.”

Williams also said being pro-choice “is not feminism. If it were a right, your baby would come with an abort button.”

She stated, if a woman chooses to have an abortion, “You are infringing on someone else’s right — the baby’s right ... to life.”

Williams said she “can’t wait to get elected and make abortion illegal.”

A college graduate, Williams said she initially sought to study constitutional law, but ended up working in “the car business” as a receptionist, cashier, then service manager.

She said her work as a small business owner and time employed in the auto sales business has prepared her well to be an effective representative in Washington.

She said successful lawyers, politicians, and car salesmen share some common personality traits, including the ability to make a quick, attractive sales pitch, offer a product at a reasonable price, and follow up with customers.

A graduate of Northeast State University, she said she recently learned that she is a cousin of former congressman Jimmy Quillen. Quillen was a Republican representative for this area in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1963 to 1997.

Williams said, “If we don’t have the Second Amendment (right to bear arms), we don’t have any amendment.”

Williams also said she supports reining in the federal government’s powers, and if elected will seek repeal of the 16th and 17th federal amendments.

Following her brief speech, during a question-and-answer period, one man asked her if she thought she would be strong enough as a representative to debate and refute “AOC,” (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), a Democrat.

Said Williams, “I can’t wait to get up and slap AOC” and oppose her views.

Williams also said, “I’m not going to pander to anyone, and just be myself.”

On her web site (www.nicholewilliamsforcongress.com), Williams says she supports “building the wall” to stop illegal immigrants, “quality” education, a balanced federal budget, deregulation of the economy and cutting federal bureaucracies.

Floodwaters Recede As Assessment Phase Begins

Heavy rainfall has let up in Greene County at least for the next several days, but water remains on some roads and surrounding low-lying areas.

At least 12 roads had standing water in sections and four more were barricaded early Friday as waterways like Lick Creek and its tributaries slowly begin to recede.

A mudslide covering about 100 feet of Pates Hill Road was cleared enough to be reopened Thursday afternoon by the Greene County Highway Department, but officials advised caution in traveling on the road near the Nolichucky River.

Sunny skies are forecast for Friday by the National Weather Service, with a noticeable drop in temperatures. The forecast low temperature for Friday night into Saturday is 18 degrees.

“Use extreme caution tonight,” county Highway Department Superintendent Kevin Swatsell said. “Wet roads are likely to freeze.”

Greeneville received about 1 1/2 inches of rain between 4 p.m. Wednesday and 4 p.m. Thursday. Between Feb. 5 and Thursday afternoon, 7 inches of rain fell in Greene County, according to the National Weather Service from measurements taken at the University of Tennessee’s Agricultural Research and Education Center on East Allens Bridge Road.

The latest bout of heavy rain brought the precipitation total since Jan. 1 for Greeneville to 12.27 inches, 7.31 inches above the average precipitation figure from Jan. 1 to Feb. 13, Morristown-based NWS meteorologist Doug Schneider said Thursday.

“It’s way above normal. The weather pattern that we have been in has been very warm and brought a lot of moisture into the area. It’s much wetter than average, and it’s been warmer for this time of year,” Schneider said.w

Rainfall for February 2019 totaled 8.21 inches, breaking a record for the month going back 75 years. There is plenty of time left in February 2020 for the record to be broken again, officials said.

Gary Rector, county highway department coordinator, said crews will be out Friday to begin assessing road damage caused by the rainfall.

County roads with barricade signs remaining up Friday morning included Pottertown Road, North Massengill Road and Holder Road.

Others with signage warning of standing water included Spears Dykes Road, Marvin Road, Toby Road, Sunnydale Road, Johnson Road, Lauderdale Road, Holly Creek Road, Gilbreath Mill Road, Bethamny Road, Woolsey Roadm, Reed Road and Greene Mountain Road on the Viking Mountain side.

Poplar Springs Road remains closed due due a culvert washout last week.

“We will be out checking on the roads (Friday) to see if the water is down,” Rector said.

For some areas that experienced heavy flooding in the past week, it “will be a long time” before all the water recedes, he said.

The next chance for rainfall will be Tuesday, Schneider said.