With Hurricane Florence hitting the Carolinas this weekend, and causing storm surges throughout our region as well, millions along the East Coast are enduring mandatory evacuations — and some have found refuge here in the Tri-Cities.
For the second year in a row, Bristol Motor Speedway opened its campground to hurricane evacuees on Tuesday, and by 4 p.m. Wednesday, more than a dozen RVs and campers were already parked inside the Medallion Campground, just off Highway 394 beside the Bristol Dragway — also known as Thunder Valley.
RV campers have access to water, sewer and electricity hookups, as well as WiFi. Last year, during Hurricane Irma, more than 100 guests found shelter at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Evacuees can call 866-415-4158 to learn more about camping at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Across from the speedway, the Red Barn Campground is also offering free camping to evacuees.
Johnson City Police were busy downtown yesterday, and are asking the community to be on the lookout for a man who robbed the downtown branch of Select Seven Credit Union.
According to Sgt. Don Shepard, a clean-shaven white man in his 40s, wearing a baggy, royal blue button-up shirt and a blue baseball cap and sunglasses entered Select Seven Credit Union on E. Main St. at about 3 p.m. on Thursday with a firearm and told a clerk he wanted to make a withdrawal. Jessica Fuller was able to record an interview with the detective (see video).
Anyone with information that can assist in identifying the suspect is asked to call the JCPD Criminal Investigations Division at 423-434-6166, or to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 434-6158. To send a confidential tip, text 423JCPD and your information to 847411 (TIP411) or send a tip to www.citizenobserver.com.
This morning, the Johnson City Development Authority Board of Directors voted to enter into a contract to purchase the John Sevier Building for $4.1 million, hoping to redevelop the historic building as a multi-use property.
The JCDA will seek to secure the successful placement of John Sevier residents in suitable housing, and begin searching for developers to revitalize the property.
“This is an exciting initiative for Johnson City,” according to JCDA Board President Robert Williams. “We have the opportunity to provide improved housing accommodations for 150 of our citizens, while creating a vibrant, attractive new economic driver downtown.”
A couple of notes about this weekend - the ETSU vs VMI football game scheduled for Saturday was moved to today at 2:30 p.m. in response to Hurricane Maria. The game is still being played in Lexington, Virginia as I post this video.
The TriPride Parade and Festival is still scheduled for tomorrow afternoon in downtown Johnson City and Founder’s Park, and we’re hoping for beautiful blue skies throughout the day. If you get a chance, visit downtown and celebrate diversity and inclusion of all people throughout our wonderful part of the country.
Whatever you do this weekend, remember to be prepared and stay safe.