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A king-sized quilt for a king-sized event

KINGSPORT — Jim McKinney brought his Fun Fest quilt to the Times News on Monday because he wanted everyone to see it, especially since it was Fun Fest week.

We’re glad to oblige, Jim.

The quilt is ginormous, coming in at 7 feet wide and 9 feet long. It’s made up of 28 Fun Fest T-shirts from McKinney’s personal collection. The shirts are from 1983 through 2014 and the quilt is only used on McKinney’s king-sized bed during the week of Fun Fest.

And since we’re in the middle of Fun Fest, Jim wanted to show off the quilt to the community. At first he wanted to display the quilt in the Fun Fest store (where Jim has volunteered for decades), but the quilt was just too big.

So, he came to the newspaper.

The quilt took two years to make and was completed in 2019. Lisa Johnson of Church Hill quilted it, and Jill Rich of Sullivan Gardens pieced it together and did the stitching.

Thanks, Jim for sharing this beautiful quilt with our readers.

Kingsport Nutrition is ready to shake up healthy options

KINGSPORT — There aren’t too many places you can find a fast meal you won’t regret later. But the folks at Kingsport Nutrition are hoping to change that.

Kingsport Nutrition offers meal-replacement shakes and loaded teas for a healthy alternative to typical food you can get on the go.

“It’s fast food for healthy people,” said Betsy Gray, one of the co-owners of Kingsport Nutrition. “We have a lot of good healthy choices for folks. It makes a good healthy breakfast and lunch. You can balance that out with a healthy dinner and you’re in good shape for that day.”

The store has been open for two weeks. Already, patrons are filtering in, perusing the lengthy list of protein-filled shakes and fruity teas. On Friday, just an hour before closing time, a young girl came by for a Fun Fest tea with a bit of added raspberry flavor. Later, two women came by to try an orange cream shake.

“We already have regulars that come in every single day,” Gray said. “Some come in and get the same thing, and some say they’re working their way down the menu. They want to try everything.”

The shakes have 200 to 250 calories, 24 to 27 grams of plant-based protein and 24 vitamins and minerals. They also contain five to 10 grams of sugar and 15 grams of carbs. There are 50 different shake options that range from decadent chocolate options like the Chocolate Elvis to fruity selections like the Lemon Shortie or Strawberry Banana.

The teas contain 24 calories, antioxidants, vitamin B and vitamin C and aloe for digestion and absorption and no sugar. Options range from choices like Georgia Peach and Vol Tea to the Miami Vice to the Kingsport-inspired Fun Fest loaded tea, which Gray said has been a favorite so far.

“Fun Fest tea is a lavender lemon,” Gray said. “It’s mild, refreshing and you can add a strawberry, topping, orange flavoring or grape. It’s delicious.”

The Kingsport Nutrition team includes Gray and her son, Drew Korzybski, along with Gray’s husband, Aarron, and Korzybski’s wife, Savannah. Gray said the group decided to bring the shop to Kingsport to offer healthy options that the family also enjoys.

“We started visiting some (similar) stores in Knoxville and we loved it,” Gray said. “We’ve always been health conscious. Drew was a student-athlete all through college. So this piqued our interest, but when we started trying everything we were like, ‘This is fantastic.’ ”

Korzybski played baseball at East Tennessee State University.

He said he felt a place that offered healthy food on the go is a great alternative to typically unhealthy fast food — and one he might have utilized during his college days.

“They have pregame meals now,” Korzybski said, “but we always had to go to Bojangles or Subway. … I really wanted (the store) to be close to D-B. I have some buddies who played baseball at D-B, and they said, ‘It’d be really helpful if there was something here that wasn’t fast food or greasy,’ something that is going to fill you up and make you feel full but not make you feel groggy.”

For Kingsport resident Cheryl Rice and her friend Ann Gross, the decision to try Kingsport Nutrition for the first time was an easy choice after seeing the healthy details.

“These are low calorie and plant-based. There’s hardly any sugar,” Rice said. “I wanted something refreshing, and this was the first thing that came to mind because I hadn’t been here before.”

Apart from offering healthy shake and tea options, Gray said Kingsport Nutrition also aims to offer a welcoming atmosphere.

“Kids roll around on the rug and the couch and (their parents) will say, ‘They just feel right at home,’ ” Gray said. “That’s exactly what we were going for. We didn’t want folks to feel like this is anything other than a comfortable place to be.”

The store also offers Wi-Fi, tables and a couch, which Gray said she hopes will be utilized by customers wanting a place to work or for people to meet in small groups.

It’s also a place Gray and Korzybski want to share with their family, friends and community all in the heart of Kingsport — with maroon and gray walls inspired by Dobyns-Bennett just down the street.

“If you’re going to open a store in Kingsport, what other colors are you going to go with?” Gray laughed.

For Gray, it’s also about bringing the store to the place she and her family will always consider home.

“We just believed this was an option that Kingsport needed,” Gray said. “We have so many customers that come in and say, ‘We’re so glad you came here and not Johnson City.’ This is home base for our family. Our hearts are in Kingsport.”

Kingsport Nutrition is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The store is located at 1137 N. Eastman Road in the Green Acres Shopping Center.

For more information, go to www.kingsportnutrition.com

Fun Fest schedule for Tuesday, July 20

F3 Free Men’s Workout

Sponsored by F3 Kingsport

6:30-7:30 a.m.

Dobyns-Bennett track parking lot on Stadium Court, off Eastman Road

Birding Kingsport Bird Walk

Sponsored by Riverfront Seafood

8-9 a.m.

Warriors Path State Park, Duck Island

Putt-Putt Tournament

Free ticket required

Sponsored by Putt-Putt Golf Course

9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Putt-Putt Golf Course, 346 W. Stone Drive

Free tickets available at Fun Fest Store

Kids Central presented by Niswonger Children’s Hospital

Sponsored by Ballad Health, Niswonger Children’s Hospital, Indian Path Community Hospital, City of Kingsport

10 a.m.-3 p.m.

V.O. Dobbins Sr. Community Center

Splash Dance @ Kids Central

Sponsored by Kingsport Fire Department

3 p.m.

Senior Social

Sponsored by The Blake at Kingsport, Humana

3-5 p.m.

The Blake at Kingsport, 915 Holston Hills Drive

Admission $5 ($4 if wearing 2021 Fun Fest T-shirt)

Pool Party at Kingsport Aquatic Center

Sponsored by City of Kingsport, Kingsport Aquatic Center

4-8 p.m.

Kingsport Aquatic Center

Admission $5 ($4 if wearing 2021 Fun Fest T-shirt)

Adult One-Pitch Softball Tournament

Pre-registration required

Sponsored by Kingsport Parks and Recreation, Action Athletics

6-10 p.m.

Brickyard Park, 2017 Brickyard Park Drive

$100 per team (double elimination)

Registration deadline was July 14

Appalachian Express Chorus

Sponsored by Food City, Humana, Appalachian Express Chorus

6-8 p.m.

Kingsport Civic Auditorium

Tickets: $5

97.3 Love FM Family Comedy Night with Anita Renfroe, brought to you by Bojangles

Ticket required

Sponsored by 97.3 Love FM, Bojangles

7-9 p.m.

Ross N. Robinson Middle School Auditorium

Tickets $20 at www.loveradio.fm or at Fun Fest Store.



Sponsored by: Kingsport Art Guild, Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts, William King Museum of Art

July 11 through Aug. 16

Monday-Friday 8 a.m.- 8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-12 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.; Kingsport Renaissance

Center Main Gallery


Sponsored by: Archives of the City of Kingsport, Friends of the Archives, Downtown Kingsport Association July 16-24

Various times and locations

Pick up forms at Fun Fest Store or Kingsport Public Library


Sponsored by: Kubota of Kingsport

July 19-July 24

Various locations


(Pre-registration Required)

Sponsored by: Partner Industrial, Down to Earth, Hales Chapel Christian Church

1 p.m.-8 p.m. 280 Hales Chapel Road

12 team double-elimination tournament began July 16

Preliminary rounds; Dates subject to change.

breaking featured
Multiple special meetings raise possibility Baby Doe lawsuit settlement in works

Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Thursday for the damages trial in the Sullivan Baby Doe opioids lawsuit. But that might not be necessary as multiple, if not all, local governments involved as plaintiffs in the case appear to be rushing to consider a potential settlement.

Kingsport City Manager Chris McCartt confirmed to the Times News the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen “will consider a resolution regarding the opioid litigation” at its meeting on Tuesday, although that resolution had not yet been added to the agenda.

“More information regarding the matter will be available at that time,” McCartt said, after conferring with an attorney before going on the record about the issue.

The Bluff City Board of Mayor and Aldermen announced a special called meeting, set for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, with one agenda item: discussion/action on “settlement of opioids lawsuit,” presentation by Sullivan County District Attorney Barry Staubus.

That meeting announcement and agenda were faxed to the Times News at about 4:30 p.m. on Monday.

Earlier in the day:

An “emergency meeting” of the Washington County Commission to “consider settlement of a pending litigation matter” was announced. It is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

The Sullivan County mayor’s office announced the Sullivan County Commission’s Executive Committee will hold a public meeting “to review pending litigation” at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday. That announcement noted the committee will exclude the public for a portion of the meeting.

State law allows local governing bodies to meet behind closed doors to discuss litigation, but votes on what action to take must be conducted in public.

On Monday evening, the Greene County Commission met in closed session prior to its regular monthly meeting. Earlier in the day, District Attorney General Dan Armstrong, 3rd Judicial District, told the Times News he intended to attend the Greene County Commission’s closed session to discuss an issue, but he wasn’t sure it would become an action-item on the agenda. Armstrong said he couldn’t stay long in Greene County because he had to be in Hamblen County later in the evening.

During the Greene County Commission’s regular meeting, under “old business,” the 16 commissioners present voted to accept the county attorney’s recommendation on a claim number, a move not listed on the agenda. There was no discussion prior to the vote and no details to identify the claim in question.

The Sullivan Baby Doe lawsuit was originally filed on June 13, 2017, by the district attorneys general of Tennessee’s First, Second and Third judicial districts in Sullivan County Circuit Court in Kingsport.

The complaint originally listed prescription opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma, L.P. and its related companies, along with Mallinckrodt PLC, Endo Pharmaceuticals, a pill mill doctor and other convicted opioid dealers as defendants.

As part of the national scrutiny brought to bear on opioid producers and distributors, due in part to Sullivan Baby Doe’s arguments, Purdue and Mallinckrodt have declared bankruptcy, with claims proceeding against them in related courts. Endo remains the only active corporate defendant.

In April, Sullivan County Chancellor E.G. Moody granted a default judgment in plaintiffs’ favor; imposed sanctions for defendant Endo Health Solutions Inc. and Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc.; and reserved issuing a final judgment pending the damages trial, which is scheduled to begin July 26.

After the lawsuit’s initial filing, local governments replaced the districts attorney as the official plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs are seeking $2.4 billion in compensatory damages, and punitive damages above and beyond that amount.

Unless a settlement agreement is reached, a jury will determine the amount of damages plaintiffs will receive.

Staff writer Matthew Lane contributed to this report

Chris McCartt

Rick Pannell’s pit is decorated for his 200th consecutive start at Kingsport Speedway.