Efforts to bring together local professionals and businesses to share their expertise and best practices with the community in limiting the spread of the coronavirus have resulted in the creation of a new website and the launching of a YouTube channel.
A local group of professionals and business people have launched a website, “COVID-Free Greene,” which offers best practices and tips for individuals for going into the public and for businesses wanting to protect employees and customers from the virus.
One of those group members, Dr. Theo Hensley, has also launched a new YouTube channel, “The Dr. Theo Show,” that will feature videos initially about COVID-19 and then expand to address other health issues.
Hensley, who is a physician with Greeneville Internal Medicine and Family Practice, has already produced two videos interviewing a doctor and nurse who are on the front lines of treating the pandemic in hotspots in other parts of the country.
While creating videos is not new for Hensley, who has posted videos about the pandemic as well as other health topics on his “Dr. Theo Hensley” Facebook page, the new channel is an effort to take those to a higher level.
“The COVID-19 pandemic seemed like a good time to try it and try to provide high quality, trustworthy information from local voices,” he said. “We wanted to give the community the option of hearing from respected local professionals.”
The goal for both efforts is to provide unbiased, quality information locally to assist residents and businesses in Greene County, and to allow people to share their expertise to help others, Hensley said.
“We want to hopefully become a trusted source of reliable information,” he continued. “This has brought together people from all walks of life to share their life skills and expertise and apply those for the betterment of the community. This seems a great way to that.”
The website has been developed through the combined efforts of a group of local professionals that includes a dentist, pharmacist, veterinarian, health care professionals and retail and other business professionals. The group is chaired by local dentist Dr. Jon Rogers.
That group began discussing best practices in response to the pandemic with the goal of having members share them with others in their professions and businesses locally. The tips are designed to help keep the number of cases in Greene County as low as possible. Greene County had 47 confirmed cases Friday, an increase of one from Thursday, according to the daily report from the Tennessee Department of Health. The newest case is the only active case listed in the county. Two people in Greene County have died from the virus, according to the state agency.
After compiling a list of best practices from their experiences and expertise for individuals going into public places and businesses to implement to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the idea developed to create a website where the tips could be shared as well as other information related to the pandemic.
One member of the group, Garren Parkins, used his design expertise in creating the website, which can be found at covidfreegreene.com.
Sections of the website provide basic tips for people as they go out into public with specific tips offered for visiting a doctor’s office, a pharmacy and a restaurant for drive-thru or pick-up service.
Recommendations are also provided for businesses in protecting employees and customers and preventing cross contamination of materials.
A blog section of the website will hopefully address specific issues surrounding the pandemic and allow more members of the community an opportunity to participate, Hensley said.
The group welcomes participation from others within the community who have expertise to share. For example, he said, addressing specific issues may be a good project for public health students at either Walters State Community College or Tusculum University to take on.
The first blog entry on the website concerns animals and COVID-19, looking at whether animals can catch the virus from people, the possibility of pet spread of the illness, what happens to animals that may contract the coronavirus and tips for animal care during the pandemic.
Similar questions about animals and best practices will also be the topic of a future video of the “Dr. Theo Show” on YouTube.
There are two videos already uploaded to the new channel. In one, Hensley interviews Dr. Ken Nickle, who is a physician in the Tusculum Family Physician Group in Greeneville, about his experiences in treating people with the coronavirus. Nickle serves in the U.S. Army Reserve and is currently assigned to a facility in East Connecticut to treat COVID-19 patients, one of the hotspots near New York City.
Another features an interview with Joshua Lippincott, a registered nurse who is working in an intensive care unit for COVID-19 patients in New York City.
On his Facebook page, Hensley began doing informational videos a few years ago about various health topics such allergies. When the pandemic began, he started doing videos related to COVID-19, including videos answering questions from his patients or those submitted through the Facebook page.
The new YouTube channel is an effort to take the videos to a new level, providing another format to allow professionals to share their experiences and expertise with the community, Hensley said.
The physician is working to line up others to interview or feature in the videos to address a variety of facets of the coronavirus pandemic, he said, and then other health issues in the future as the community moves beyond the virus.
Through the video platform, different perspectives on the virus can be presented by a variety of individuals, providing a wide spectrum of information about COVID-19, not just one voice, Hensley said.
As a new virus, the medical community and scientists are learning more about the illness, and updates about new developments regarding treatment can be provided through the videos or any recommended changes in precautionary measures to limit the spread, he said.
Providing people information about the virus is important as it can help strengthen the message about taking measures to limit its spread and reduce the number of cases and deaths, Hensley said.
The videos can also be used to spotlight businesses that are following best practices through having representatives of those businesses describe what they are doing and their experiences during the virus, he said.
One of those will be on an area where people have many questions, animals and illness, and will feature local veterinarian Dr. Al Claiborne, Hensley said.
Hensley said he hopes to produce about a video a week for the channel, which will depend on his work schedule and family responsibilities.
On those too-rare occasions I’ve been able to be around other writers of western novels long enough for good conversation, I’ve noticed that a frequent topic is discussion of favorite western movies. One film always mentioned is Clint Eastwood’s 1976 classic “The Outlaw Josey Wales.”
For atmosphere, action, scenery and great characters, that one indeed is a jewel.
There’s something in the backstory of that film, though, that many fans of the movie may not know about. I knew nothing of it myself until years after first seeing the movie. And Clint Eastwood himself didn’t know about it when he made the film.
It has to do with the man who wrote the novel from which the film was adapted.
His name was Forrest Carter … in a manner of speaking. Forrest Carter actually was a pen name for a man from Anniston, Ala., who was born in 1925 as Asa Earl Carter.
Before Asa Carter became a western novelist, he worked in radio and assorted jobs, then became a writer of controversial political material. Remember George Wallace’s famous line in his inaugural speech as Alabama governor, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”? Those words were written by Asa “Ace” Carter, say many who knew the man.
Some have noted a rhythmic and structural similarity of the famous line to a slogan associated with the Ku Klux Klan: “The Klan now, the Klan tomorrow, the Klan forever.” Did Carter base the line he wrote for Wallace on that Klan chant?
It’s possible, because Asa Earl Carter was a Klansman. He even formed a KKK splinter faction of his own, calling it the “Original Ku Klux Klan of the Confederacy.”
You read it right: the man who created Josey Wales was associated with the KKK, though Eastwood and company didn’t know that at the time they adapted Carter’s novel. Nor did most people who viewed the film, which concerns a Confederate-leaning Missouri farmer who seeks to avenge the murder by Union “Redlegs” of his wife and son, and refuses to recant his allegiances and actions after the war ends, making him an outlaw.
Carter sent his Josey Wales novel to Eastwood’s Malpaso production company unsolicited. It was just one item in a “slush pile” stack of unrequested submissions when one of Eastwood’s associates picked it up randomly one day on his way home, read the entire thing that night, and recommended his boss do the same. Eastwood did, and suddenly Asa Earl “Ace” Carter, (hiding behind a pen name he derived from the name of Confederate general and KKK founder Nathan Bedford Forrest), was being offered a movie deal by people who would have fled at top speed had they known his true identity and history.
But if the author of the Josey Wales book was racist and controversial, his novel’s content was not, nor was the resulting film’s. In fact, the film is noticeably sympathetic toward Native Americans, exemplified in the characters of Lone Watie, Little Moonlight and Ten Bears. Some over the years have expressed surprise that a story by a man of Carter’s background would treat non-white characters so positively.
In a 2011 documentary about Carter, “The Reconstruction of Asa Carter,” which aired on PBS and can now be viewed on YouTube, a man who knew the late Carter in his “Ace” Carter days presented an intriguing speculation about Carter’s positive portrayal of Indian characters.
He suggested that Carter saw Native Americans as enemies of a despised federal government that took away the world they knew and forced a new way of life upon them. Carter, he speculated, may have been using Native Americans as a stand-in of sorts for white southerners of pro-segregation mentality, who also disliked the federal government and perceived it as forcing unwanted changes upon them.
If lumping Native Americans and white segregationists together feels like a contradictory pairing, it does mirror the contradictory qualities of Carter himself.
Those who knew the man in his early days in a community and family setting knew him by the nickname of “Bud” and found him a likable man. Likewise, the literary agent who handled the sale of film rights to Eastwood’s film company, was surprised when she later learned her client’s background.
Carter seems to have been a salesman and something of a shape-shifter, able to make those around him see him as he wanted. His literary agent said in the PBS documentary that Carter “handled” people. She said that Carter “was handling me, he was handling the publishing world, he was handling Clint Eastwood. He was handling our LA (agency) office. We weren’t handling him.”
Howell Raines, former executive editor of the New York Times, also is interviewed in the Carter PBS documentary, and said the Carter he knew was driven by “a desire for celebrity, for being noticed.”
The Times was among the first media outlets to uncover and publish Carter’s actual identity.
The success of the first Josey Wales book and film inspired Carter to write a second Wales novel, “The Vengeance Trail of Josey Wales,” which also was adapted for film, but without Eastwood’s involvement. With the late Michael Parks playing the title role, and with a much-reduced production value and quality level, that second project never achieved the success of the the first Josey Wales novel and movie.
Carter was moving on past Josey Wales anyway, writing under his Forrest Carter pen name a purported true memoir of his life as an orphan raised by Cherokee grandparents who called him “Little Tree.” He titled the work “The Education of Little Tree.”
The book became a best-seller and major award winner and Oprah Winfrey promoted it … until it was discovered that Carter had made the whole thing up. He was not an orphaned child, nor had he been raised by Cherokee grandparents, and maybe had no Cherokee heritage at all. Carter was “handling” others again. He had hoaxed the world.
The publisher reclassified the already-popular book as “fiction” and continued to sell it. Oprah Winfrey withdrew the title from her list of recommended books.
Carter, despite it all, set out to write a followup, “The Wanderings of Little Tree.” He was finished before the book was, though. A heart attack ended his life in 1979.
When they buried him, a public graveside service was held that was attended by publishing and movie industry figures. The tombstone had on it the name Forrest Carter. Carter’s family left the ceremony early, as a group.
After the public ceremony was over, the family returned and held its own private graveside ceremony. The Forrest Carter name on the unassuming tombstone was replaced by Carter’s real name of Asa.
Here are some further details, in random order, about this man of multiple names and personas and how he lived and operated:
• Carter actually visited East Tennessee during his anti-desegregation period. When the previously all-white high school in Anderson County’s Clinton finally allowed black students to enter, Carter and some fellow segregationists came to Clinton the week after the so-called “Clinton 12” group of black students entered the school. Carter and another vocal pro-segregation activist led in public agitation against the change.
The Sept. 1, 1956, Knoxville News-Sentinel reported on the day:
“The frenzied mob was hurled to emotional peaks by white supremacy advocate Asa (Ace) Carter, a professional agitator who is executive secretary of the North Alabama White Citizens Councils and who has been likened to Adolf Hitler’s Fascists by members of his own movement.
“Then, while Carter slipped away, the mob went about tearing up the town,” the News-Sentinel reported.
Cars with African-American passengers were stopped, rocked and shaken and their occupants terrorized, a dynamite blast was set off in nearby Oliver Springs, shots were fired at the courthouse, and a lingering state of riot went on until National Guard and Highway Patrol personnel called in by the governor over a two-month period helped quieten things down. Tensions were not gone, though. In 1958 a bomb was set off in the Clinton High School building, severely damaging it, fortunately on an early Sunday morning when the school was empty.
• As public sentiment shifted in favor of civil rights, George Wallace ultimately disassociated himself from Carter (who had been paid for his speechwriting “under the table” by some of Wallace’s staff). And Carter grew disillusioned with Wallace when the latter sought to soften his firebrand reputation. Carter ran for governor but gained almost no support, his segregationist values having fallen out of favor.
• Members of one of the segregationist groups Carter helped build and advance physically assaulted the popular African-American singer Nat King Cole in mid-concert in Birmingham, Ala. in 1956. This apparently was in retaliation for Cole’s favorable stance on the civil rights movement. Carter was not involved in the attack beyond helping perpetuate the hostility that led to it.
• Failure in political life is what spurred Carter to reinvent himself as a writer, producing the first Josey Wales book. He moved himself and his family to Texas, ditched his old black suits and ties in favor of western garb, a cowboy hat and a mustache, and lost weight. He tried to erase his own history, even denying he was or ever had been Asa Carter. Unfortunately for him, “Forrest Carter” was recognized by several people when he did a national television interview with Barbara Walters, and also because his photograph was on the dust jacket of his books.
• There are hints that Carter might have been backing away from some of his more extreme views late in life. He was hired to write a racist speech for another speaker, who delivered it with great success at a racist group’s meeting, and when Carter was told later by a friend that he should have delivered the speech and gotten the applause himself, Carter shrugged off the notion.
“Ace” Carter replied that for a man to effectively deliver such a speech, he would have to actually “believe that sh — t.”
To learn more about Carter, the aforementioned PBS documentary is a great source of information. To find it online, do a YouTube search for “The Reconstruction of Asa Carter.”
As an endnote: I have read Carter’s “The Rebel Outlaw Josey Wales” once and have seen the film many times. The book was readable, but I liked the movie better, because some of the best characters in the film were created by the screenplay writers and didn’t appear in Carter’s novel. I might have liked the book better had it been a “novelization” of the film.
The Greeneville Sun’s Tiny Day gave me two gifts I treasure to this day. One was a record of him singing “Foggy River,” his trademark song. The other is the poster for “The Outlaw Josey Wales” film, the same poster that hung in the Capitol Theatre when the movie played there as a new release.
Tiny operated the theatre in its cinematic days in addition to his celebrated work as Sun sports editor.
My kids may put that poster on eBay someday, but as long as I’m around, I’m keeping it as a memento of Tiny.
Despite an unexpected end to the school year, Greeneville High School senior Chloe Waldroupe graduates this year with both her high school diploma and her associate’s degree.
While many students finish high school with some college credit through dual enrollment at Walters State Community College, Waldroupe is one of just three dual enrollment students at the college to complete enough credits to earn a full associate’s degree as a high school student.
Waldroupe said it has been a long term goal she set as early as 8 years old to fully complete the dual enrollment program.
Having earned her associate of science degree in general studies allows her to transfer to her four year university as a junior and get a head start towards her other long term goal of becoming a surgeon.
Waldroupe will start at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the fall, where she will study biology on a pre-med track.
To complete the dual enrollment program and finish with her associate’s degree, Waldroupe took 22 classes, totaling 60 credit hours at Walters State in addition to her course load at Greeneville High School, which she finished a year early by taking summer classes.
Being a year ahead of her classmates was tough at times, but Waldroupe said taking classes with upperclassmen and then with college students made her more confident as she was forced to get used to talking to older students.
“I feel more comfortable talking to people and putting myself out there for my education,” Waldroupe said. “It really provided me with great insight into what college is actually like and how to succeed, and I feel better prepared to go to UT.”
Throughout her academic career, from kindergarten through high school, Waldroupe has maintained a record of perfect attendance, which Greeneville High School Principal Patrick Fraley said might be her most impressive feat. She also kept perfect attendance at Walters State.
Waldroupe graduates from both Greeneville High School and Walters State with honors as a member of both the National Honor Society and Walters State’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. She graduates Magna Cum Laude from Walters State.
Waldroupe also earned two Industries Certifications from Greeneville High School in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.
In addition to her studies, Waldroupe has been an active member of YoungLife throughout high school and at First Presbyterian Church in Greeneville, where she served as Youth Elder and in multiple committees, from a young age.
Waldroupe said the volunteer work she has spent most of her free time doing with the church is especially important to her and was what motivated her to choose UT for the next step in her academic career.
“The spirit that they have, that you can be a volunteer and you can share that with your community — that hit home on what is important to me and what I want to do with my life,” Waldroupe said.
Waldroupe said part of her motivation to complete the dual enrollment program was to be a role model for younger students.
To those younger students considering dual enrollment, Waldroupe said her advice is, “go for it.”
“If you have a dream to do it, then do it. It has honestly been the best thing that’s happened to me,” Waldroupe added.
Fraley said fewer than five students, including Waldroupe, have completed the dual enrollment program in the eight years he has spent as principal of Greeneville High School.
“It says so much about what they’re willing to do and the work they’re willing to put in,” Fraley said. “Chloe is a very amazing young lady.”
Waldroupe said she is thankful for the support from faculty and staff at Greeneville High School and Walters State.
Mark Wills, Dean of Walters State’s Niswonger Campus in Greeneville, called Waldroupe an outstanding student who excelled at Walters State through lots of hard work.
“Her determination, persistence, and academic excellence will continue to serve her well into the next chapter of her educational pursuits,” Wills stated. “Our motto at Walters State is ‘Write Your Story.’ I am happy that we have been able to be a part of Chloe’s story, and I am eager to see what the next chapters of her life reveal. All the faculty and staff of the Walters State Niswonger Campus congratulate Ms. Waldroupe, and we are excited to add her to our list of outstanding alumni.”