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Boys & Girls Club utilizes CARES funding to offer Distance Learning

NEWPORT—The Boys & Girls Clubs of Dumplin Valley recently announced that Tennessee Community CARES funding will be aimed at supporting its four Clubs in Jefferson & Cocke Counties.

For more than 20 years, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dumplin Valley has continued to provide safe places for kids and teens. Today, the organization is more committed than ever, with Clubs doing whatever it takes to offer children, families and communities access to distance learning for youth specific programming, which will keep local youth focused on education and workforce readiness.

“We’ve had incredible support from our community partners and individual donors, but we know there is so much more we can and need to do for our youth,” said Cheryl Fehl, Chief Development Officer.

“Support from the Tennessee Community CARES Program will enable Clubs to host Distance Learning spaces so our kids can stay focused on their future.”

Organization CEO, Josh Yarbrough explains further, “With the support Tennessee Community CARES funding, our organization continues to provide safety and stability to the families in our communities which is needed now more than ever during these ever-changing times.

“With the help of Tennessee Community CARES funding, we can offer our services at little to no cost to families and the community we serve as we continue to adapt our service model to the needs of our youth.”

The organization’s Distance Learning program offers youth a safe space to complete their schoolwork virtually. From 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday, through Friday, the Dumplin Valley Clubs in Strawberry Plains, Jefferson City, White Pine and Newport will offer the experience to any child in Kindergarten through 8th grade, though priority is given to Club members.

The Distance Learning experience at the Clubs offers access to internet, technology assistance, physical activities, along with one meal and one snack each day.

This project is funded under a grant contract with the State of Tennessee through the Tennessee Community CARES Program. The Tennessee Department of Human Services, along with Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group created the program to invest $150 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds to help with ongoing efforts to address health and economic needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic

For specific information on Distance Learning at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dumplin Valley, please call (865) 761-0143 or visit us online at www.bgcdumplinvalley.org.

Smoky Mountain River Rat Tubing and Whitewater changes ownership

HARTFORD—Exciting opportunities are on the horizon for the beautiful mountain towns of Hartford and Townsend, also known as the whitewater rafting and tubing hubs of the Great Smoky Mountains.

The Clayton family and J Moore of Salubrious Farms LLC recently acquired hundreds of acres, along with beloved outdoor adventure provider- the Smoky Mountain River Rat Tubing and Whitewater- and another local favorite, the Burger Master.

Over the last decade, Hartford has grown to become one of the most popular whitewater rafting destinations in the U.S., drawing rafting-enthusiasts from around the globe.

In fact, River Rat Whitewater recently ranked among the top 10% of attractions worldwide on Tripadvisor and has maintained their five-star rating for seven years in a row.

Previous owners Wayne and Jennifer Duerer, along with Shannon and Shannan Skidmore, have made River Rat Whitewater, River Rat Tubing, and the Burger Master everything that they are today.

“We’re excited to see how the River Rat evolves and how they develop the outdoors experience overall in both Hartford and Townsend. We look forward to working with the Clayton and Moore families,” said Jennifer Duerer.

Though they transferred ownership of these businesses, you will still find the Duerers and Skidmores onsite as Salubrious Farms continues their tradition of improving river-bound fun for the whole family in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Kevin, Chelly, and J are pursuing their passion for the natural world through their acquisition of Smoky Mountain River Rat, its sister companies, and acres of additional land with sights on cultivating the area’s outdoor activity landscape for the enjoyment of locals and visitors alike.

Man charged after thanking officers for their service

NEWPORT—A Newport man is facing a number of charges including driving under the influence after police reports say he approached Newport Police Officers and offered to give them a hug while thanking them for their service on Friday, Oct. 9.

Newport police officials identified the male as Michael Boht, 37, Action Street.

On Friday, Patrolman Lindsey Laughter said while she and other officers were standing outside the Newport Police Department, they observed a Nissan Versa speeding towards them.

Officers reported that the driver, identified as Boht, “nearly jumped the train tracks”.

At that time, Boht came to a stop at the Newport Police Department where he approached officers and wanted to give each officer a hug and thank them for their service.

According to the report, officers detected an odor of alcohol about his person.

When officers began to question Boht, he got back inside his vehicle and fled the scene.

Ptl. Laughter said Boht proceeded to drive through Newport City Hall parking lot at a high rate speed and then drove over the train tracks.

Officers were able to conduct a traffic stop at the Cocke County Courthouse where Boht was detained without incident.

Officers administered a field sobriety test to Boht and he performed poorly on all tests given. He was placed under arrest and escorted to the Cocke County Jail Annex.

While searching his vehicle, officers located several empty bottles of alcohol.

Boht was charged with driving under the influence, violation of implied consent, open container, reckless driving and driving while license revoked.

Webb charged following altercation with officers

NEWPORT—Paul Webb, 48, West Highway 25/70, was arrested by the Newport Police Department following an altercation with Patrolman Paul Weber on Friday, Oct. 9.

On Friday, Ptl. Weber was dispatched to Walmart after complaints were made that an intoxicated male subject was throwing merchandise off the shelves.

Ptl. Weber located the male in question, identified as Webb, who was lying down inside a vehicle screaming and kicking the window.

As officers made contact with Webb, they noted he had an odor alcohol about his person and his speech was slurred. Officers also observed an empty bottle of moonshine inside the vehicle.

Officers escorted Webb out of the vehicle, but Webb was able to escape from officers and get back in his vehicle.

According to the report, Webb refused to comply with officers’ commands to exit the vehicle, therefore, he was tased twice to no effect.

Officers reported that Webb continued to resist arrest before being dragged out of the vehicle where he continued to kick Sgt. Derek Wright and Ptl. Weber.

Sgt. Wright then pepper sprayed Webb and he was finally placed in handcuffs and escorted to the police car.

Webb was charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, assault and resisting arrest.

Active COVID-19 cases nearing 100

COCKE COUNTY—Active COVID-19 cases in the county continue to rise as nearly 100 individuals are currently fighting the virus.

As of Monday, October 12, Cocke County had an active case count of 98.

That is an increase of 10 new cases in a three day period.

The total number of positive cases has increased to 866.

A total of 757 of those are now reporting as inactive/recovered from the virus.

Cocke County has seen 11 individuals die from COVID-19 related illnesses since March of this year.

Nearly 9,000 county residents have now been tested for COVID.

An additional 2,965 cases were confirmed across the state on Monday.

The state’s new total stands at 217,682.

Seven deaths were reported Monday statewide. More than 2,770 Tennesseans have now lost their lives to COVID-19.

Inactive/recovered cases are also increasing. An additional 987 recoveries have been reported, which brings the state’s total to 194,836.

The following is a list of surrounding counties showing their total COVID-19 count compared to active cases.

Sevier: 2,944/240

Hamblen: 2,232/246

Greene: 1,365/171

Jefferson: 1,359/195

More than 7.84 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed across the country.

The total number of U.S. deaths recently surpassed 215,000.

Globally, the numbers continue to rise as more than 37.9 million have tested positive for the virus.

Over 1.08 million lives have now been lost to COVID-19 around the world.

Worldwide recoveries now exceed 26.3 million.