Skip to main content
A1 A1
Animal Care Center offering free adoptions

SEVIERVILLE — The Sevier Animal Care Center is offering free adoptions for the holidays as it works to relieve ongoing overcrowding.

The Animal Care Center, overseen by the county and city governments of Sevier County, was opened in 2018 as a temporary facility to take in and care for strays and other animals.

Those local groups are set to build a larger, permanent facility next year. The existing facility, a converted repair garage, has been full for much of the past year.

Director Ashley Thomas said that between an increase in intakes over the past year and animals from some hoarding cases they’ve been at capacity for much of the year.

“There’s just such a great need in our community right now and we’re struggling to meet that need in this building,” she said.

They’ve just about managed to find homes for all of the dogs from the most recent hoarding case, where one person had about 40 dogs. There are still a few at the shelter, but most are gone, Thomas said.

On Monday, they also sent a few dogs to a rescue group in Ohio.

They were still using all available space on Monday, however, including offices, to house animals looking for a new home.

They’re running a free adoption event called Harvest of Love and Thomas said she expects the free adoptions to continue over the next few weeks.

“We’re running that through Thanksgiving, but I’ll probably have to rename it and keep it going because we’re still full,” she said.

“Dogs are moving, but we’re filling those kennels up immediately.”

Like many shelters throughout the country, they’ve seen their numbers go up more than 30% consistently over the past few months compared with where they were before COVID-19.

They’ve got several large black dogs that have been around for a while, and they’re still looking to find permanent homes for them.

But they are also looking for fosters, not only for those dogs but for the others. It gives the animals a break from being in the shelter and frees up some space.

“That’s just to let them hang out with you, give them a break from the shelter. If you want to post about them or get some interest in their adoption, that’s bonus points.”

If people would like to help with materials, right now they need blankets, toys, and chew bones that aren’t rawhides.

“Just comfort items to keep the animals’ minds busy and keep them comfortable since we’re so overcrowded,” Thomas said.

CNB kicks off Santa Fund with
  • Updated

SEVIERVILLE — Each year Sevier County residents show their generous spirit with their donations to The Mountain Press’ Santa Fund.

Citizens National Bank once again kicked off The Mountain Press’ Santa Fund campaign, this year with a $5,000 donation.

“We are extremely proud to be able to continue this tradition and kick-off the campaign with a donation of $5,000 for the 26th consecutive year. With more people facing additional needs and hardship this holiday season, it’s more important than ever to support each other during this time of year,” said Jason Holliman, President and CEO of CNB.

“A hallmark of a good community bank is supporting the local community needs. Because so many people in Sevier County entrust CNB with their financial needs, we are able to support many great causes like the Santa Fund. It is very important to me, our employees and board of directors to continue to support our community needs throughout the year, but especially this time of year.”

The Santa Fund was started in 1996 by former publisher Bob Childress and has continued with the current publisher of The Mountain Press, Jana Thomasson. The fund helps provide needed items for senior citizens and members of The Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains.

“We are always so grateful to Citizens National Bank for kicking off our campaign each year,” Thomasson said. “The people of Sevier County always blow us away with their generosity and giving spirit every holiday.”

The charitable funds are collected by The Mountain Press and administered by Douglas Cherokee Economic Authority.

“The youth and elderly are often the most vulnerable people in any community and for the Santa Fund to support their needs each year is a great tribute to the good work the Fund does through donations throughout the community,” Holliman said.

Last year, a total of $61,706 was donated to the Santa Fund.

Donations can be mailed to The Mountain Press, 119 Riverbend Drive, Sevierville, TN 37876. The Mountain Press acknowledges donations in the publication unless donors wish to remain anonymous. The donations can be made in someone’s honor or memory.

New Hope returns its 'Buy a Tree, Change a Life' tree lot
  • Updated

KODAK — Buy a tree. Change a life.

That is the motto New Hope Church has for its Christmas tree lot that starts Friday, Nov. 25, at 2450 Winfield Dunn Parkway (the old Lee Greenwood Theatre). The tree lot is part of a greater movement that has raised $6 million to help children locally and around the world.

In 2021, the program raised $1.8 million.

“You’re not just buying a Christmas tree,” said Rhea Marshall, worship pastor at New Hope Church. “It provides food to the hungry. It provides for kids at North View Primary and Intermediate. Also, portions go to an orphanage in Southeast Asia.”

Locally, proceeds have helped with backpacks and school supplies for Northview children as well as donations to Smoky Mountain Children’s Home and those children affected by the Gatlinburg fires in 2016.

Yearly, the local donations have been used to supply weekly snack bags to selected children in need to provide meals over the weekends and outside of school.

“They are loaded with stuff for the entire weekend. So many kids are on free and reduced lunch and they need extra for the weekend,” Marshall said.

New Hope has been providing the snack bags for quite some time, and those efforts to help the children of the community are appreciated.

“New Hope Church faithfully brings food bags to our school to support students’ nutritional needs when they cannot be met during the school week. It has been such an amazing program that has helped so many of our students over the years,” Northview Primary Principal Hans Ballew said.

“Our students are so excited to get the bags and I can see the difference that it makes. Times are tough right now and it is awesome to see the ministry of Jesus being executed by New Hope to help feed our students and meet their basic needs. We are grateful for their partnership and ministry within the Kodak community.”

In addition to the local donations, the other half of the money raised goes to provide education, care, mentoring, food and housing, support for children’s homes, learning centers, schools and feeding programs for children around the world.

Those buying a tree are encouraged to not only buy a tree but consider a donation above the tree cost.

The initiative was inspired by a family in south Florida adopting a child from Ethiopia and needing $25,000 to cover the adoption fees. A group of people decided to sell Christmas trees to raise the money, selling 450 trees and raising the $25,000.

The success of that effort inspired the creation of a nonprofit organization called “Buy a Tree. Change a Life,” and every year sites all over the country sell trees and give away 100% of the money raised both in the local community and to those in dire need around the world.

Gift certificates are available and delivery is offered at a reasonable fee. Those wishing to be a sponsor of the nationwide program can email

For more information about New Hope, visit or call 865.932.4673. The tree lot is open daily, through Dec. 8 or until all trees are sold. Monday through Thursday the lot is open 3 to 8 p.m., and Friday through Sunday the lot is open noon to 8 p.m.

For more information about the nonprofit, visit

Gatlinburg offices relocate due to water break

GATLINBURG — Most city offices have been temporarily relocated to the American Legion Building next to city hall after a water break caused damage throughout the building.

The damage was spread throughout the three-story facility, forcing many departments to move to the American Legion Building at 1222 East Parkway, next to city hall.

Administrative offices for the city manager, finance department, and building and planning department were relocated Tuesday.

“Staff members from those departments will be on hand to assist the public with any questions or issues they have,” city spokesperson Seth Butler said.

The temporary offices were set to open Tuesday, Nov. 22, and to be open Wednesday, Nov. 23; city offices were already set to be closed for the rest of the week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

The water break occurred on the main floor, in the city manager’s offices, but the water damaged offices in all three floors of the complex.

It was discovered Sunday morning, and remediation work began soon after.

Officials weren’t sure Tuesday whether the offices would be set to reopen next week.

Rezoning of Pittman Center Road properties approved on second reading
  • Updated

SEVIERVILLE — The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the second reading to rezone properties on Pittman Center Road from Low Density Residential to Intermediate Commercial Monday evening, despite objections from some property owners.

Prior to the first reading at an earlier meeting, four of the properties were removed from the rezoning ordinance. The change would allow homes in the zone to be used as short-term rental properties.

There are some properties in the area already operating as short-term rentals, and this ordinance would bring them into compliance and expand the adjacent Intermediate Commercial district.

Vice Mayor Mitch Rader voted against the change on second reading, and Aldermen Wayne Helton, Devin Koester and Joey Ohman voted in favor of rezoning. Alderman Travis McCroskey was not at the meeting.

One property owner addressed the board to raise concern about the other potential uses in an Intermediate Commercial district. Dustin Smith, Sevierville development director, offered to meet with property owners prior to the third reading to discuss their concerns and give them some clarifications on the rezoning.

Also approved was an award to Spiniello Companies for the 36-inch Sanitary Sewer Interceptor Rehab project for $7,963,300, which is under the budgeted amount. The city anticipates using an ARPA grant of $3,288,000 towards the project with the rest funded from capital reserves.

The board also approved placing the High Density Residential designation and Intermediate Commercial designation on properties on Chapman Highway; rezoning property at 4101 Boyds Creek Highway from Low Density Residential to Agriculture Residential; closing and abandoning a portion of right-of-way on Red Cedar Ridge Road; rezoning Oak Haven Resort property from Low Density Residential and Medium Density Residential to Tourist Commercial.

The board also approved a mutual confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement with eBen Employee Benefits; purchase of golf course equipment in the total budgeted amount of $274,965.40; purchase of 1,240 linear feet of HDPE Stormwater pipe for $16,324 and two Stormwater Quality Units for $32,470 for the Sevierville Community Center expansion; and an updated contract with WK Dickson Engineering for TDOT SR35 (US411) Sims Road to Dickey Road, in the amount of $20,265 for a new total contract not-to-exceed the amount of $133,265.