News Breifs:

Maryville man drowns at the Sinks in the National Park
A 24-year-old Maryville man drowned Monday when he slipped on rocks above a waterfall at the "Sinks," a popular section of Little River five miles from the Townsend Y, Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials said.

The body of Joshua Roberson, 24, Maryville, was recovered at 12:45 a.m. Tuesday, June 7. He was taken by Rural/Metro Ambulance Service to Blount Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

According to the Blount County Sheriff’s Office about 30 people from several agencies, including the Blount County Rescue Squad, National Park Service, Blount County Special Operations Team, Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Townsend Fire Department and Blount County Fire Department responded.

Shortly before 5:45 p.m., Roberson slipped on rocks and fell 12 feet with a large volume of water that plunges forcefully into the boulder-strewn Little River.

According to a National Park press release, after falling into the turbulent pool at the base of the falls, Roberson did not resurface. Two of Roberson’s companions witnessed the accident and other individuals drove to the nearest town in Townsend, to use a cell phone to relay the emergency to Blount County 911.

Roberson’s companions reported that he was scooting along rocks, and when he tried to stand he slipped and the current carried him over the falls, wedging him into a submerged V-shaped log.

Divers located Roberson’s body around 10 p.m. The operation to extricate the body from the water was challenging because of the swift whitewater and strong undercurrents that pinned the victim below the water surface, rangers said.
"It probably took six hours by the time they located him but he was lodged between rocks where the rapids came down," Blount County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Marion O’Briant said. "It took a long time to get him out."

According to the National Park, drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in the National Park, second only to motor vehicle accidents. Since the Park began keeping records in 1971, to date there have been 28 drownings of which
five occurred at the Sinks.

New exhibit opens at Southland Books
A new art exhibit will open Saturday, June 9, Southland Books at 801 E. Broadway Avenue. Featured photographers Jim Bray and Ken Marine will be available to discuss their work at an artists’ reception beginning at 4 p.m. A performance by
local musician Brian Campbell will follow at 6 p.m.

Bray said he looks to nature as an inspiration for his work. "My photography is married to another hobby, hiking, resulting in a varied collection of waterfalls and scenic landscapes," Bray said. Bray has 35 years of experience as a photographer and has published photographs in Field and Stream and Ducks Unlimited, as well as shown his work in galleries in Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem, N.C.

Marine’s portfolio also includes nature photography in addition to still life and portraits shot in the studio. Like Bray, Marine’s interest in photography is long-standing, beginning at the age of 8 with his father’s gift of a Kodak Brownie camera and darkroom access. Though Marine has never completely abandoned his traditional darkroom, he said he now enjoys using the flexibility of digital photography in his work.

The new showing will run for the month of June. More information is available by calling 865-984-4847.

Blount County Humane Society holds fundraiser
The Smoky Mountain Critter Festival to benefit the Blount County Humane Society will be from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 9, at the Passion Play outdoor amphitheater in Townsend.

Steve Phipps with Blount County Humane Society said the benefit festival will raise money for the Blount County Humane Society’s No Kill Shelter Effort and Animal Cruelty Investigation Program.

There will be entertainment all day on the amphitheater stage including Wild Blue Yonder, a local bluegrass band. Other entertainers include Misty Newcomb, Matthew Miller, Candi Loveday and Avenue C Band, John Adam Thomas, Scottish Song and Story, Matt Woods, Mountain Folk Reunion Band and Jeff Greenblatt.

There will be crafters and vendors with goods and food for sale, plus contests, including the "Loudest Bark or Howl" and the "Fastest Licker" contest involving peanut butter, Phipps said.

Phipps said there also will be educational exhibits by the Knoxville Zoo, Smoky Mountain Bear Center, Bunny Bits, P Paws Spay/Neuter Clinic, Ferret Corner, Great Dog Rescue, St. Bernard Rescue and Wildlife Rehab.

"This is a family-oriented event so there will be kids’ activities and plenty to do and see for all members of the family," Phipps said.

Blount County Humane Society is heading up a separate effort from that of Smoky Mountain Animal Care Foundation, which is working with the Blount County government to create a new animal care facility in Eagleton. The Blount County Humane
Society is working to build a no-kill animal shelter and also create an Animal Cruelty Investigation Program.

For all the details about the Critter Fest, go to

For more info call Steve at 865-742-3070 or email

Everett High School annual luncheon will benefit scholarship fund
Everett High School alumni are preparing for their annual luncheon and are working to strengthen the scholarship fund that has helped 21 graduating seniors since 1986.

The Everett High School annual luncheon will be held at noon June 26 at Heritage High School. Each class will have time to visit, share old pictures and take new ones. Tables will be set up and marked for each class to eat with one another.

The host class for 2007 will be the Class of 1954. Members will be responsible for organizing the food tables and greeting and registering all who attend. Money for expenses will be accepted at the door.

Donations also will be accepted for the Everett High School Scholarship Fund. The EHS Alumni Scholarship is the result of a successful Homecoming ’86 celebration held on the campus of Everett High School. An estimated 10,000 former students attended the three-day event. After the event occurred, committee members agreed that the money that was left at the time after paying expenses from the event would go to a scholarship fund for descendants of Everett High School

Twenty-one high school seniors have received a $500 scholarship since the 1986 Homecoming celebration. With the exception of a tie in 2004, only one scholarship has been given annually.

The source of funding for the Scholarship Fund is individual donations, class reunion gifts, memorials to deceased EHS class members and funds from the sale of prints of the original painting by Class of 1949 member Carroll Shope of the main campus building.

"As costs have continued to increase over the last 21 years, we recognize the need to increase the amount of our scholarship," Alumni Scholarship Fund treasurer Linda Keller West said. "This can only be accomplished with the continued support of our alumni through donations, memorials from individual classes and gifts to the Scholarship Fund from class reunions."

West said many classes choose to remember class members by making gifts to the Scholarship Fund. "This is another way to channel yearly donations to a worthy fund which is dedicated to helping young men and women achieve their dream of completing college," West said.

To order a print of the Everett High School painting by Carroll Shope, call 865-984-3092.

© 2007 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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