Editorial Roundup: Tennessee

Recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:

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Oct. 2

The Johnson City Press on the Appalachian Baseball League:

Now that professional baseball is a thing of the past in Northeast Tennessee, the Appalachian League has been handed what could either be a boon or a disaster.

Just how well the league handles its community relations will be the difference.

The new partnership between Major League Baseball and USA Baseball will convert the league from rookie level professional teams to those made up of top prospects among rising college freshmen and sophomores. In other words, pre-rookie rookies.

Even though we’re losing more than a century of pro tradition, the change could work out to be a better Appalachian League in the long run.

Why? Connections.

Hopefully the guys who pull the strings will be smart enough to develop local teams with players not just from Texas and California, but also those from clear ties to the region. Mining players from King, Milligan, Appalachian State and East Tennessee State universities — even the University of Tennessee — would go a long way toward building a loyal fan base.

Another key component will be for team management to work closely with the local Chambers of Commerce and tourism bureaus to market the league in ways tying the teams directly to their communities. Players will need to be visible residents while they are here, pitching in (pun intended) at community events and projects as often as time allows. Johnson City’s team, for example, won’t be the heavyweight that ETSU or Science Hill High School are, but it could be a significant part of the culture and the city’s identity.

The league’s managers, though, apparently are forging ahead with naming the 10 teams without asking the public for input. One can understand why officials would not entertain a naming contest with a public vote, given the possibility of an ill-conceived winner.

But why not ask for suggestions? Managers have promised that the names will fit into the local culture and traditions, but at least some teams have apparently already narrowed the lists to finalists. This may have been a missed opportunity for community buy in, but it’s not too late for the league to reconsider. Who knows this culture better than the people who live here?

As the new Appalachian League develops, leaders should give thought to just how integrated the league is into the heart of these mountains. Nine of the 10 teams actually sit in the Appalachians — five of them are right here in Northeast Tennessee. But the Appalachian League has its headquarters in Chapel Hill, well east of mountains in the Piedmont section of North Carolina. USA Baseball is right next door in Durham. The Appalachian League’s sole outlier, Burlington, is in the vicinity. If this new league is to capture this region’s attention, its leaders should understand us, appreciate us and live here with us.

The Johnson City Press intends to support this effort wholeheartedly. After all, we have a rich tradition of involvement. Our late longtime publisher Carl A. Jones Jr. was the president of both the Johnson City Cardinals and the Appalachian League for several years.

This league can succeed. Baseball can thrive here if everyone involved steps up to the plate with the region’s people in mind.

Online: https://www.johnsoncitypress.com/

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Sept. 29

The Kingsport Times-News on charity work during the holidays:

With chilly mornings comes recognition that Christmas is but a dozen or so weeks away when we not only celebrate the birth of Christ, but reach out to those in need. Everyone needs a little help sometimes, and if life has given you blessings, there is no greater reward than sharing them.

To that end we use this space at this time of year to remind you how you can help with efforts such as Of One Accord Ministry’s Christmas for the Children, aimed to make Christmas a little bit brighter for underprivileged children in Hawkins County.

Some 145 motorcycle riders participated in the ministry’s recent toy run, raising $1,600 for this program. But more help is needed due to the number of riders being down because of the pandemic. The toy run is the only fundraiser of the year for Christmas for the Children, which last year served 1,250 children at an estimated cost of $20,000.

“But we had about 250 Christmas backpacks filled with gifts that showed up as donations last year, and that allowed us to serve an extra number with backpacks. We’re anticipating the same number of children this year,” said ministry director Sheldon Livesay. The program also distributed 1,200 family Christmas food boxes last year, and that number is expected to be the same or more in 2020.

Under normal circumstances, the ministry, as well as various churches and organizations, host parties for groups of children where they receive a meal, live entertainment and then they receive their gifts. This year the parties will be optional, depending on what the sponsoring church or organization feels comfortable doing.

“It will probably affect some of them,” Livesay said. “Last year we had 38 parties, and we’re going to be working with several churches and organizations that sponsor these parties. The churches and groups that want to have parties this year will try to practice safety. We’ll try to do all their parties at a church location, but if they’re not willing to (host a party), we will still give the gifts out.

“We’ve just got to modify the way that we do it. We don’t know all of the answers to that yet because we’ve never been there before, but we’ll have to improvise a little bit, I’m thinking.”

Registration for CFTC begins Oct. 5, and takes place on Monday through Thursday at the CFTC office located on Main Street in downtown Rogersville, directly across the street from the Shepherd Center, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and 4 to 6 p.m. at the Church Hill Medical Mission in the Church Hill Shopping Center off of Highway 11-W.

The deadline to register a child for CFTC is Nov. 19. The goal is not to take Christmas programs away from any church or organization, but to help coordinate names, eliminate duplication of services to one family, and ensure every needy family is served. For more information, contact Of One Accord at (423) 921-8044.

Anyone who wishes to contribute to CFTC can drop off a check made out to “Christmas for the Children” at any of the ministry’s locations.

You may also mail a donation to Of One Accord Ministry, P.O. Box 207, Rogersville, TN 37857.

The ministry website (www.ofoneaccordministry.org) also has a donation page where contributions can be made specifically for the CFTC program.

Online: https://www.timesnews.net/