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Flooding was reported in numerous areas across East Tennessee including Hattie Branch Road
Torrential rains has flooded many areas in East Tennessee and forced schools across the region to close. Heavy rainfall Monday night closed many roads or made them impassable.
The National Weather Service reported rainfall amounts up to 3 inches Tuesday and predicted 1-2 inches Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Flood warnings were issued throughout East Tennessee and remained in effect for the region through the evening.
The Little Pigeon River reached a crest of 10.8 feet Monday night which was down from Monday’s highest level of 13 feet.
In Sevierville flooding was reported on Burden Hill Road, Apple Valley Road, White School Road and River Divide Road.
In Pigeon Forge, River Divide Road was and Tiger Drive resembled a lake. Trees and power lines were reported down on Sugar Hollow Road. Flooding was reported on Boogertown Road, River Divide Road, and Battle Hill Road.
Gatlinburg appeared to experience the brunt of the flooding when excess runoff water caused the partial collapse of Stone Fence Lane and forced the evacuation of three rental cabins.
Residents in Seymour reported flooding on Happy Creek, Long Branch Road and Heather Lane.
Webb Creek, Jones Cove Road and River Song Way in the Pittman Center area were evacuated.
The American Red Cross Disaster Action Team opened a shelter at the Pigeon Forge Community Center for anyone who has to evacuate due to flooding.
According to Bob Stahlke, Sevierville rescue personnel rescued two people from a car behind the Tanger Outlet Mall. Two employees of the outlet center drove their cars into standing water in the parking lot, and quickly realized the water was much deeper than they anticipated. A firefighter retrieved both drivers and took them safely to higher ground. No injuries were reported.
Sevier County Schools, Jefferson County and other area schools were closed Tuesday due to heavy rainfall and flooding.
A Sevier County couple is in police custody in connection with several area burglaries following a car chase. According to reports, on Oct. 23, several stores were burglarized during the early morning hours in the Kodak area. The suspect and vehicle, a PT Cruiser, were observed on video surveillance.
On Thursday, Oct. 25, at app. 3:04 am dispatchers with the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office received a burglar alarm at Pizza Plus on W. Dumplin Valley road in Kodak. A B.O.L.O. (be on the look out) was issued for a purple Chrysler PT Cruiser. A short time later, the Knox Co. Sheriff’s Office received a burglar alarm at a convenience store on Ashville Highway and the responding officer spotted the purple PT Cruiser leaving the parking lot.
The Knox Co. officer gave chase and the vehicle headed toward Jefferson County on Hwy 11E. where the car was eventually stopped inside Jefferson County by Jefferson County and Knox County Sheriffs’ Officers. Sevier County Detectives responded to the scene where the investigation led to the arrest of the two occupants of the car. Both are in Custody in the Knox County Jail. Sevier County authorities have charged the pair with five counts of burglary of the stores in Sevier County. The pair will be transported back to Sevier County at a later date. Arrested were Curtis L. Lawson, age 31, and Fantasia D. Smith, age 25, both of 428 Keegan Drive Pigeon Forge
The investigation is continuing and more arrests may be pending.
Gwen Ford inside the Loy United Methodist Church which is facing foreclosure
A historic church that has served as a center of community activity for almost a century is facing the prospects of foreclosure. Time is running out for property owner, Gwen Ford, to save the Loy United Methodist Church.
The church was built in 1909 on present day Andrew Johnson Highway in New Market. Construction was undertaken by local farmers and members of the community who volunteered to build the church.
The church became a centerpiece for the community. Weddings, funerals and baptisms were performed there for decades. Countless prayers were sent up from the sanctuary when the community came together in the spirit of worship.
Over the decades, membership began to decline. By 2006, there were 17 active members remaining. At that point, church leaders decided to merge with Wooten’s Chapel Church. After 97 years the doors were closed for what appeared to be the final time. That is, until Gwen Ford, founder of the God’s Country Festival bought the property in 2007.
“When I bought it, I wanted to get back to that old time religion,” Ford said. “I wanted to return it to its former glory. I wanted it to be available for the community for family reunions, weddings and other family milestones. I wanted to have revivals there as well.”
The pews in the church are all original as are the stained glass windows that bear the names of several families that aided in the founding of the church. The hymnals are the same ones used in the early 1960s and the piano is almost a century old.
Ford was working as a mortgage broker at the time she bought the church. The church needed substantial repairs but she was certain she could raise the money to restore it. The furnace was outdated and needed to be replaced. There were electrical problems and flooring problems. But, those problems seemed insignificant to Ford who had faith her prayers for the money to make the repairs would be answered.
Her prayers were answered in a most unexpected manner. In 2010, the New Market community was flooded by torrential rains that destroyed several homes and flooded the basement of the Loy Church.
“The insurance money was enough to make those repairs and replace the furnace as well as the electrical problems,” Ford said. “It was the answer to a prayer.”
Though her prayers for the repairs had been answered, Ford was about to face a new challenge that threatened the ownership of the hallowed property.
“When I bought the property I was making payments on it out of my own pocket,” Ford said. “Then the economy got worse and my finances began to suffer.”
Ford was unable to keep up payments and the church went into foreclosure in March. Fortunately, a benefactor stepped forward and paid off the mortgage. He signed a new mortgage with Ford that has a balloon payment at the end of one year. If Ford should fail to pay the $117,000 mortgage in March, she will lose ownership of the church.
Ford gave up the mortgage business after the economy failed to turn around. Currently, Ford works as the host of “I Believe,” a Christian themed talk show on CTN 48.The show airs Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Fridays at 4 a.m. She continues to organize the annual God’s Country Festival which was held in Pigeon Forge several weeks ago. During the festival, Ford received an unexpected surprise.
“I was presented with an honorary doctorate from Emmanuel Baptist University,” Ford said. “I can now legally call myself doctor.”
Although, Ford is keeping busy with her festival and TV show, her income is a fraction of what it once was and she does not have the money to meet the financial obligations of the church.
“I don’t make any money off God’s Country,” Ford said. “That’s a labor of love. The TV show isn’t profitable, yet. We need a sponsor for the show. My goal is to have a revival at the church on Thanksgiving Day. I would like to get back to that old time religion.”
Ford plans to take up love offerings at revivals and plans to begin a drive to save the quaint country church. Those funds would be applied to the balance owed on the property. Still, it is unlikely the love offerings offered at revivals would be enough to pay off the mortgage. Ford stands by her unwavering faith her prayers will be answered.
“I don’t make any money off the church,” Ford said. “It was never my intention to make money off the church. I simply didn’t want to see it fall into disrepair from sitting vacant. I tried to maintain the place using my own funds but the economy simply hasn’t rebounded.”
Ford is hoping the community will step up and organize an effort to save the property. Anyone who is interested in making a contribution to retire the mortgage can call Ford at 865-680-1981.
A Knox County man is in custody at the Sevier County Jail following an early morning carjacking and assault Wednesday in Kodak.
The attack occurred on W.A. Brown Road at approximately 7:30 a.m. when the victim, Bobby Hilliard, was driving and came upon a traffic accident. A gray Honda was upside down on the road. Hilliard stopped his vehicle to render aid and spoke to the driver. Hilliard exited his Dodge pickup truck and started calling 911, when the driver of the Honda quickly got into Hilliard’s truck in an attempt to flee the scene of the accident. Hilliard attempted to stop the suspect and got into a scuffle with the man. The suspect, later identified as Farris Jay Dobbins, 19, of 203 Barber Road, Strawberry Plains, pulled a pistol and fired at Hilliard. Dobbins fled in Hilliard’s truck and began traveling toward Asheville Highway.
Dobbins fled just a short distance before crashing the vehicle. He then fled on foot. Shortly afterwards Dobbins was arrested in Jefferson County by Jefferson County deputies who found him lying in the bed of a pickup truck that was stopped at a check point.
Dobbins was arrested and identified by Hilliard. Investigators found several items that belonged to Dobbins in Hilliard’s truck including a Ruger .380 pistol that was allegedly stolen from Knox County. Dobbins is awaiting arraignment in the Sevier County Jail where he was charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated assault. Other charges are pending. It was determined that Dobbins has outstanding warrants in Jefferson County.
On a hot summer day a family is boating on Douglas Lake. Finally, the heat forces them to make a pit stop. Mom calls Scrappy's General Store and puts in an order for a fresh cooked pizza, some ice cold drinks and a few other refreshments.
Less than 15 minutes later, the family slowly drifts closer to the dock just outside of Scrappy's. There to meet them is LeElyn Linx, part owner of the popular stop. LeElyn holds in one hand a bag containing drinks and refreshments. In the other she holds a steaming hot pizza right out of the oven. It don't get more convenient than that.
Before there was Walmart and other chain stores, Americans depended on general stores for their needs. The old general stores sold generally anything, hence the name general stores. They provided goods and services at competitve prices but most of all, they were the neighborhood grocery where they knew most of their customers by name.
Most of all, they provided convenience and friendly service unlike their more modern counterparts.
The old general stores are mostly gone from the American landscape except in Dandridge where Scrappy's General Store continues to serve the community with quality merchandise at a fair price and the customer can get generally anything.
The Crew of Scrappy's General Store and the Lakeside Grill. Clockwise from left are Jay Linx, LeElyn Linx, Evelyn Brooks, Larry Brooks, Ellie Lynx and Paxton Linx.
The store is located at 2661 Chestnut Hill Road in Dandridge. Jay and LeElyn Linx own the store and the restaurant that sits behind it where they serve up pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and dinners.
The store delivers groceries and hot meals to patrons that are within the delivery area whether it's at their home, at their business or on the dock. The store has a large selection of grocery items as well as livestock feed.
Behind the restaurant is a staging area where LeElyn and other live bands frequently entertain. LeElyn is an accomplished performer that frequently sings at "The American Oldies Theater" in Pigeon Forge.
Jay is a retired veteran. The couple share their enterprise with their 5-year-old daughter, Ellie, who, like her mom, enjoys belting out a few tunes for patrons at the restaurant.
The restaurant and store are located on beautiful Douglas Lake. From the lake visitors can see English Mountain on one side of the store and a 40-foot lighthouse on the other side.
Lynn Baxley and Casey Leighton serve up a variety of hot meals, burgers and much more at the Lakeside Grill.
The Linx's latest venture is an ice cream truck that sells ice cream and other frosty treats along the road in Dandridge and nearby communities.
Scrappy's and the Lakeside Grill are open for business year round. They deliver groceries or hot meals to your home, or to your boat. For those who enjoy boating but don't have a boat, Scrappy's rents out boats for fishing, recreation or jetting across the lake
A nearby camground gives patrons a place to sleep as well as a place to watch the fireworks displays on the Fourth of July.
For more information call 865-484-1459.
The Easter holiday turned tragic Sunday night when a Knoxville man and a Sevier County Teen drowned in Douglas Lake just inside the Jefferson County line.
The call came in to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office at approximately 6:30 p.m. Sunday night.
According to reports David O'Bryan Reed, 23, of Knoxville was swimming with the two sons of his girlfriend in chest-deep water near the boat ramp off Flora Road near Mulberry Way when a boat came by creating a wake that rocked the water.
The three began swimming toward shore. The 11-year-old made it to shore. Reed and Charles Joseph Smith, 13, of Sevierville didn't make it back to shore.
Emergency personnel recovered the bodies of the two victims approximatley 45 minutes later.
The two were taken to Jefferson Memorial Hospital where they were pronounced dead.
Jefferson County Sheriff C.W. "Bud" McCoig ruled the tragedy an accident.
"This was a sad day for both families," McCoig said.
A secret tracking device on a television stolen Tuesday from a Pigeon Forge rental cabin led Sevier County Sheriff's officers to the alleged thieves when they returned to sell a second stolen TV.
Matthew Vaughn, 24, of Kodak, and Justin L. James, 19, of Sevierville, have both been charged with two counts aggravated burglary by the Sevier County Sheriff's Office for their alleged involvement in the theft of two flat screen televisions from cabins in the Hidden Mountain Resort.
Sevier county Sheriff Ron Seals said that detectives investigating a Tuesday burglary at Hidden Mountain Resort in Pigeon Forge discovered a GPS tracking system was inside a television stolen from one of the rental cabins on the property. Following the devices signal, detectives tracked the television to a home on Thorngrove Pike in Jefferson County.
It was determined by detectives that Vaughn and an unidentified male, who would later be identified as 19-year-old James, sold the TV to the home's occupants, Tuesday afternoon.
Wednesday, detectives were alerted that Vaughn and James were returning to the Jefferson County residence to sell a second television to the occupants. Detectives intercepted the pair at the Jefferson county residence and determined that second TV was also stolen from the Hidden Mountain Resort.
Vaughn and James will have their preliminary hearing March 16 in Sevier County General Sessions Court.
Anyone with information on the two suspects is asked to contact Sevier County Sheriff's detective Jim Huddleston.