JONES COVE — A 911 call about shots fired at a home near Jones Cove School led to a lockdown at the school and eventually an arrest Tuesday, according to the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office.
Dispatchers got a call at about 1:20 p.m. about possible shots fired at a home off Jones Cove Road, along with a description of a car that left the scene, Deputy Chief Jeff McCarter said.
A deputy who was already working on a call in the area saw the car and attempted to get it to pull over, but the driver refused to stop and wrecked on Bogard Road, a short distance away.
There were no reports of injuries in the initial incident or the wreck.
“Everybody is OK and the guy is being taken to the jail,” McCarter said.
The incident led to a lockdown at Jones Cove School.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the school was placed on a hard lockdown,” said Tony Ogle, assistant superintendent of student services.
The school prepared a note for students to take with them at the end of the school day to give parents information about the lockdown, he said.
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An East Tennessee veteran’s widow sought to honor her late husband’s memory by donating his wheelchair to a veteran in need.
Nancy Kaylor lost her husband William “Bill” Kaylor, a U.S. Army veteran, on Sept. 17, 2019, and she reached out this year seeking a worthy veteran who could use his specially-made power wheelchair.
That veteran turned out to be American Legion Post 104 Chaplain John Lewis, a U.S. Army veteran.
“That has warmed my heart and honored my husband. I’m just so glad Mr. Lewis has been able to use it. For him to be a chaplain is appropriate,” Kaylor said.
She and her husband were active in their church, First Christian Church in Morristown for 41 years, where he served as a deacon and elder.
“He started quite a few ministries there that are still going,” Kaylor said.
Lewis called Kaylor to express his appreciation. He was presented the chair during a ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 8.
Since then he’s been able to attend more American Legion Post 104 functions, including their recent picnic over the Labor Day weekend.
Mike Blackstock, the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 104 finance officer, organized the donation and went with Wayne Powell, first vice commander of the Sons of the American Legion, to pick it up.
Blackstock said when he contacted Kaylor to let her know who they had in mind for the chair, she was excited.
“When Mrs. Kaylor found out our chaplain needed the chair she almost cried. It was tears of joy. She said she wanted to donate it to a veteran and a man of God. She said, ‘now I’m happy,’ ” Blalock said.
The chair is practically new. Kaylor said her husband only got to use the chair one time, after coming home briefly from a time at an nursing home facility.
GATLINBURG — When two armed, teen-aged Sevierville men went to the SkyLift to confront an ex-girlfriend, they wound up stuck on the ride while police converged on the scene.
Quick thinking on the part of the attraction’s staff helped to keep 19-year-old Dylan Moncier and 18-year-old JaJuan Draper from reaching the top after they allegedly displayed a gun and a knife and said they were looking for employees at the attraction.
Moncier had worked at the attraction at one point, according to warrants, and at some point Friday he had called his ex-girlfriend who still works there.
She had told him she didn’t want to see him, but Moncier still showed up at the attraction along with Draper. The warrants indicate Moncier “had a problem” with a juvenile who still worked there, and went with Draper to find them.
They pulled into the employee parking lot and confronted two other employees, asking where they could find that employee, and Moncier threatened one of the two with a knife.
“(Moncier) brandished an open knife waving close to her face and chest, screaming at her and demanding to know where the juvenile was and that he had a beef with him,” Detective Rodney Burns wrote in a warrant charging Draper with aggravated assault.
Draper allegedly lifted his shirt and said “I could pop them if I had to,” Burns wrote.
The two eventually boarded the SkyLift, but the ride was stopped while they were on it, according to GPD spokesman Seth Butler.
Gatlinburg police officers arrested them without incident at the top.
Both men were charged with aggravated assault.
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SEVIERVILLE — The Sevier County Board of Education offered the director of schools position to interim director Stephanie Huskey on Monday.
She has been serving in the position since last year shortly after longtime director of schools Jack Parton announced his plans to retire.
“She’s done a great job. We get a lot of feedback from the community and schools system. A lot of people have been telling us what a good job she’s done,” said board member Mike Oakley.
“You can tell she’s for the children. She loves children.”
A room full of school system personnel erupted in cheers upon the vote to offer the position to Huskey.
Board members noted one of the things they appreciated about Huskey was her engagement within the system.
Board member Kevin Townsend said he thought she had went into and visited at each school in the system within the first two weeks of being made interim in October 2021.
Oakley made the motion to offer Huskey the job, with a second from board member Charles Temple. The recommendation was approved, with board chair John McClure abstaining.
The next step, officials said, was to have the school board attorney draw up a contract with Huskey, which will be discussed for possible approval at the board’s next meeting, which is 4:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3. Typically they meet later in the month, but that meeting date would have fallen during the school system’s fall break.
Huskey has worked for the Sevier County School System for 29 years, first as a high school teacher and later as principal at Sevier County High School. She later was promoted to director of personnel at central office before being named interim director.
“When I started as a teacher and assistant girls basketball coach in Sevier County back almost 29 years ago I never envisioned being even a principal at that time,” Huskey said. “But things just happened. Opportunities came. I was fortunate enough to be able to work under some great people and be molded and mentored. I’m just absolutely thrilled to be able to work toward bettering the kids of Sevier County,” Huskey said.
“It has just been something that I love. Kids and people are the most important. I just feel like I wanted to invest my life in trying to help others. That was instilled in me from an early age. I just try every day to do that.”
SEVIERVILLE — The Boys & Girls Club of America recently recognized the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains with the Program Excellence in Health & Life Skills award for the state of Tennessee.
The award recognizes the club for its Productive Futures program, which gives teens a leg up on life skills necessary for a productive and successful life.
“Productive Futures is a program we started in 1998. What it was meant to do is it was meant to identify life skills kids growing up in disadvantaged circumstances may not learn,” explained Mark Ross, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains.
In its original conception, the clubs would take teens out for hands-on experiences, from budgeting for and buying groceries to identifying talents and interviewing for a career based on those talents.
However, COVID-19 inspired ingenuity on the part of club staff, in particular with Senior Teen Director Tyler Redding. He said he partnered with another staff member who knew how to build websites to take Productive Futures online.
He sees a huge benefit to the program.
“This program tries to teach them life skills. It is really eye opening for these kids,” Redding said.
Redding is a dedicated staff member, because he saw what the club can do for young people when he was a young person himself.
“I want to be the difference the club was for me,” Redding said.
He attended the Boys & Girls Club himself, and some of his fondest memories are things he did as a member, including as part of the Keystone Club, which teaches leadership skills and included a community service element.
“Some of the coolest stuff I did was with Boys & Girls Club. Probably the coolest trips I did in high school were part of the Keystone Club,” Redding said.