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9/11 Memorial Fire Truck Muster & Car Show coming to Sayrah Barn

ROGERSVILLE — The Hawkins County Volunteer Fireman’s Association will mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with a memorial fire truck muster and car show.

The association is teaming up with the East Tennessee Fire Historical Society, a chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America, for a daylong event — complete with a memorial service — on Saturday, Sept. 11, at the Sayrah Barn in Hawkins County.

The 9/11 Memorial Fire Truck Muster and Car Show gets underway with registration from 9 to 11 a.m. and judging from noon to 2 p.m.

Admission and registration are free. However, donations are encouraged.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the HCVFA and the ETFHS.

Concessions will also be available.

Paying tribute

The 9/11 memorial service will begin at 10 a.m. It will include guest speakers and a tolling of the bell. It will honor three Tennesseans from the Knoxville area who were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

A special “We Did Not Forget” T-shirt bearing the names of Tennesseans Tim Haviland, Tony Karnes and Rob Lenoir, will be available for purchase. The shirts are $15 each.

Fire truck and car show

Fire apparatus, including the 1959 Oren Little Squirt, a 1920 Obenchain-Boyer, a 1975 CF Mack and a 1975 Olds Cutlass are among the vehicles preregistered for the fire truck muster and car show. Event registration on site will run from 9 to 11 a.m. There is no registration fee.

Dash plaques will be awarded to the first 100 registrants.

Judging will be from noon to 2 p.m. with awards for oldest motorized fire apparatus, best appearing antique motorized (fire department owned/privately owned by ages), best appearing antique ambulance, best appearing antique fire chief’s car, best appearing antique brush truck and best appearing hand- or horse-drawn apparatus. There are will be special awards for longest distance transported (department/private) and longest distance driven (department/private). There will also be several best of brand awards, as well as the best of show for both cars and fire trucks.

The People’s Choice Award will also be presented.

Little Squirt a big hit

One entry sure to draw attention is the 1959 Oren Little Squirt, owned and exhibited by the Herman family. It was the first antique vehicle registered for the event.

According to a press release, the vehicle was manufactured by Oren Fire Apparatus Company in Roanoke, Virginia, when the company’s president, Francis Brigham, was contacted by his brother, Dave, about building him a mini fire truck. As the story goes, Dave was running for national commander of the American Legion and was brainstorming ideas to draw attention to his campaign. Francis, an engineer, first sketched out the mini fire truck on paper. Then he acquired a three-wheel postal carrier vehicle from the Cheston L. Eshelman Company of Baltimore. The craftsmen at Oren took the three-wheel chassis, stripped it and custom built a mini fire truck based on Francis’ sketch.

The first outing for the unit was in 1960 to the American Legion National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, to spearhead Dave’s campaign and appear in the big parade. Show attendees will notice the lettering, “B.B.C.V.F.D.,” which stood for “Boost Brigham Club Volunteer Fire Department.” The campaign didn’t pan out, but Little Squirt is still a hit at fire truck musters and car shows all these years later.

The Sayrah Barn is located at 4144 U.S. Highway 11-W on the very eastern end of Rogersville, near Surgoinsville.

To learn more about the show, email the committee at [email protected].

Biden blasts high court failure to block Texas abortion curb

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday blasted the Supreme Court’s decision not to block a new Texas law banning most abortions in the state and directed federal agencies to do what they can to “insulate women and providers” from the impact.

Hours earlier, in the middle of the night, a deeply divided high court allowed the law to remain in force. It is the nation’s biggest curb to abortion rights since the court announced in its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that women have a constitutional right to abortion.

The court voted 5-4 to deny an emergency appeal from abortion providers and others but also suggested that their order likely wasn’t the last word and other challenges can be brought.

Biden said in a statement that his administration will launch a “whole-of-government effort to respond to this decision” and look at “what steps the federal government can take to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions as protected by Roe.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement that the Justice Department was “deeply concerned” about the Texas law and “evaluating all options to protect the constitutional rights of women, including access to an abortion.”

Biden, who has come under pressure from Democrats to expand the size of the Supreme Court, has ordered a review of the court that is due next month.

The Texas law, signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May, prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks and before many women know they’re pregnant.

The law is part of a broader push by Republicans nationwide to impose new restrictions on abortion. At least 12 other states have enacted bans early in pregnancy, but all have been blocked from going into effect.

The high court’s order declining to halt the Texas law came just before midnight on Wednesday. The majority said those bringing the case had not met the high burden required for a stay of the law.

“In reaching this conclusion, we stress that we do not purport to resolve definitively any jurisdictional or substantive claim in the applicants’ lawsuit. In particular, this order is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas’s law, and in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including in Texas state courts,” the unsigned order said.

Chief Justice John Roberts dissented along with the court’s three liberal justices. Each of the four wrote a statement expressing disagreement with the majority.

Roberts noted that while the majority denied the request for emergency relief “the court’s order is emphatic in making clear that it cannot be understood as sustaining the constitutionality of the law at issue.”

Separately, the justices are planning to tackle the issue in a major case when they begin hearing arguments again in the fall.

That case involves the state of Mississippi, which is asking to be allowed to enforce an abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The vote in the Texas case underscores the impact of the death of the liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last year and then-president Donald Trump’s replacement of her with conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Had Ginsburg remained on the court there would have been five votes to halt the Texas law.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor called her conservative colleagues’ decision “stunning.”

“Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of Justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand,” she wrote.

Texas lawmakers wrote the law to evade federal court review by allowing private citizens to bring lawsuits in state court against anyone involved in an abortion, other than the patient. Other abortion laws are enforced by state and local officials, with criminal sanctions possible.

In contrast, Texas’ law allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone involved in facilitating abortions. Among other situations, that could include anyone who drives a woman to a clinic to get an abortion. Under the law, anyone who successfully sues another person would be entitled to at least $10,000.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote that the law was “patently unconstitutional,” and Justice Stephen Breyer said a “woman has a federal constitutional right to obtain an abortion during” the first stage of pregnancy.

However, anti-abortion groups cheered the court’s action.

“This is the most significant accomplishment for the pro-life movement in Texas since Roe v. Wade,” said John Seago, legislative director for Texas Right to Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion group. “We had the Supreme Court that is allowing the strongest bill we’ve ever passed to go into effect. And that is unheard of.”

Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America, said in a statement that her group was “celebrating this decision for what it is, baby steps in the right direction toward the obvious conclusion that Roe is fatally flawed and must go.”

But Nancy Northup, the head of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents abortion providers challenging the law, vowed to keep fighting it.

“Right now, people seeking abortion across Texas are panicking — they have no idea where or when they will be able to get an abortion, if ever,” she said.

Texas has long had some of the nation’s toughest abortion restrictions, including a sweeping law passed in 2013. The Supreme Court eventually struck down that law, but not before more than half of the state’s 40-plus clinics closed.


Associated Press writer Paul J. Weber in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.

John Anderson added to Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion as Tanya Tucker backs out

BRISTOL — Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion lost one country legend but added another to its lineup this week.

John Anderson is now featured as one of the lineup’s most well-known artists and will perform on Friday, Sept. 10. The news came after Tanya Tucker announced she would be unable to perform at the festival “due to unforeseen circumstances and travel complications.”

“I’m so sorry y’all, but I will see you at Bristol Rhythm and Roots in 2022,” Tucker said in her announcement via social media on Wednesday. “See you on the road this weekend and at my other stops on my Bring My Flowers Now Tour 2021!”

Anderson’s name was added to the lineup on Thursday. On Wednesday, the festival added three other acts to the list: A Thousand Horses, Cory Wong and John R. Miller. Charlene Baker, the communications manager for the Birthplace of Country Music in Bristol, said no further lineup changes are in the works.

“Booking for the festival is now complete and we are not anticipating any additional changes at this time,” Baker said. “... We are excited to celebrate our 20th anniversary in downtown Bristol as we honor the legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and about the additions of A Thousand Horses, Cory Wong, John Anderson, and John R. Miller. We have a wonderful lineup and look forward to welcoming everyone.”

The additions came after a slew of artists backed out of the festival due to COVID-19 concerns over the past few weeks.

On Wednesday, Ian Noe canceled “for the safety and peace of mind of his band and team,” a social media announcement stated. The singer also canceled his World Chicken Festival performance in London, Kentucky. Noe said in his announcement he would return to the Bristol music festival next year.

Noe joins Yola, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Morgan Wade and Annabelle’s Curse in the list of recent Bristol Rhythm & Roots cancellations. The artists made individual announcements saying they would not perform at this year’s festival due to COVID-19 concerns.

Isbell was set to headline the festival on Sunday, Sept. 12. In August, the singer threatened to cancel any indoor or outdoor shows where a venue won’t require proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative test. The Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion later announced that Isbell would not perform at the festival, adding, “We have concluded that we cannot impose such a requirement as it is specifically prohibited by Tennessee state law (Senate bill no. 858 section 6).”

Organizers for the Bristol music festival continue to encourage concert goers to get a vaccine or COVID-19 test before the festival, though it’s not required.

Baker said, “We strongly encourage everyone to take health and safety precautions at this time by masking in congested areas and getting tested for COVID-19 before attending the festival and urge everyone to download our free festival app prior to the event to stay up to date with any changes or alerts in real time.”

Isbell, Yola and Wade are now scheduled to perform on Sept. 12 at Terrapin Beer Co. in Athens, Georgia, where masks and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result within 48 hours of the event will be required.

The show goes on in Bristol, however.

Anderson touts a 40-year career in country music with hits like “Swingin,” “Wild and Blue,” “Straight Tequila Night,” and “Money in the Bank.” He is a three-time Country Music Award winner, an Academy of Country Music winner and is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Anderson will perform on Friday, Sept. 10, at 8 p.m. at the State Street stage.

A Thousand Horses is best known for its 2015 country chart-topper, “Smoke.” The Nashville-based band will close out the festival on the State Street Stage on Sunday, Sept. 12, at 5:30 p.m.

Country/Southern rock band Blackberry Smoke will perform on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 10:30 p.m. on the State Street Stage, and Dr. Dog will perform at Cumberland Square Park at 9 p.m. Rhonda Vincent will play on Sunday at the Country Music Mural Stage at 4:40 p.m. Hayes Carll will perform on Friday on the Piedmont Stage at 9 p.m.

The festival kickoff show featuring Cruz Contreras has moved outdoors to the Jim Lauderdale Stage at the Sessions Hotel. The show was sold out with a waitlist, but additional tickets are now available. The event will be held on Thursday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m.

For more Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion information, go to https://birthplaceofcountrymusic.org/festival/.

Raising the flag in space: St. Paul Elementary School students put their name on space launch

ST. PAUL — Students from Wise County have participated in their second spaceflight in two years, including raising a flag over the world.

Thursday’s launch of a Firefly Alpha rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California carried St. Paul Elementary School’s Dream Deacons flag, signed by students, faculty and staff, to low Earth orbit as part of the company’s DREAM program, according to Wise County Schools chemistry teacher Jane Carter.

Carter in 2019 coordinated a team of students from Wise, Russell, Bland and Washington counties and Norton that sent one of several small data satellites into orbit. The project — piggybacked on a Northrop Grumman supply rocket mission to the International Space Station — gave the team a chance to track its satellite and gather downlinked data for various class projects.

“We went with a non-technical project this time,” said Carter, who was a part-time science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) coordinator at St. Paul Elementary during the 2019 launch.

DREAM, or Dedicated Research and Education Accelerator Mission, carried a combination of technical (onboard mini-satellites and experiment packages) and non-technical payloads (photographs, student drawings and St. Paul Elementary’s flag).

“We always wanted to provide STEM opportunities here,” said St. Paul Elementary Principal Karen Dickenson. “Jane jumped at the chance to do this, and it’s really sparked our kids’ interests in STEM.”

While Carter took the 2019 team to NASA’s Wallops Island launch facility — a day’s drive from Wise County — to see that launch, Vandenberg is considerably farther away. Because Thursday’s launch was set for a four-hour window starting at 9 p.m. Eastern time, Dickenson said the launch would be recorded so students who did not stay up late to watch it online can see it later.

A duplicate of the flag onboard Alpha hangs in the school’s hallway as a reminder of Thursday’s launch.

“Jane is absolutely amazing,” she said of Carter’s involvement with students and space technology. “This is something we’d like to see more of.”

“We’ve had several different things going on in STEM in the last couple of years,” said Carter, “and this project was just to be able to inspire kids. The stars should be their inspiration.”

Editor’s note — Firefly’s Alpha rocket exploded about two minutes into its flight. In a tweet, Firefly said the rocket “experienced an anomaly during first stage ascent that resulted in the loss of the vehicle.”