Lets get started by running down the latest COVID-19 numbers. Northeast Tennessee’s active case count grew again on Thursday, the ninth day in a row with an increase in active cases.

Since March 16, when the streak of increases began, active cases have risen by 32.4% to 1,046 as of Thursday. Washington County, which saw the largest increase in actives case in the region over the past two weeks, saw its active case count rise by 25 Thursday, the most in the region. Washington County now has 300 active cases, its first time at the 300 mark since Feb. 7. There were also eight new reported hospitalizations in the region, half of which were reported in Sullivan County.

Carter County is hosting two first-come first-served vaccination drives next week at the Great Lakes Workforce Development Facility, 386 TN-91, Elizabethton.

The vaccination drives will be held Monday, March 29, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and Wednesday, March 31, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. while supplies last. No appointments are needed, and they are open to everyone 16 and older. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be used.

Ballad Health opened its Tennessee vaccine clinics to all adults beginning Wednesday, after Gov. Bill Lee’s Monday announcement that all adults in the state will be eligible no later than April 5. The community vaccination centers are open to anyone 16 and older, not only Tennessee residents. The centers are in Elizabethton and Kingsport, and both will offer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

To make an appointment for a vaccination, call Ballad Health Nurse Connect at 833-822-5523 (833-8-BALLAD).

“Evelyn Boswell’s Law” is on its way to be signed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee. The state House passed the legislation, sponsored in the House by state Rep. John Crawford of Kingsport, that previously had been passed by the state Senate on Thursday.

Named in honor of deceased Sullivan County toddler Evelyn Boswell, the bill requires a report of a missing child to law enforcement or the appropriate authority within 24 hours of the child’s disappearance. Under the bill, failure to report while demonstrating reckless disregard for the safety of that child would be considered a Class A misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,500 or both.

An investigation into the death of the 15-month-old toddler is ongoing. The girl’s mother and sole legal guardian Megan Boswell, has remained behind bars since being arrested on multiple charges of making false reports.

Finally, Allen Jackson, a retired Air Force veteran and historian with several veterans groups around the area, has been working since 2008 to find unmarked and undermarked veterans’ graves and document their lives and service.

His most recent find was on Monday at the Oak Hill Cemetery.

James Watson, who died in 1932 at the age of 78, was buried in an unmarked plot alongside his family in Oak Hill. Jackson came across his family’s burial plot card during his research, and decided to look into Watson, as his age at the time of his death would put him at the right age to have served during the Civil War.

There are roughly 434 unmarked graves just at Oak Hill alone, not to mention unmarked and undermarked graves in other cemeteries across the region, so Jackson continues to work to find veterans’ graves and make sure the history of their service stays alive.

Also, Jackson practices what is known as grave dowsing. He takes two dowsing rods and walks across a plot in a cemetery. Jackson said when he is over a grave, the dowsing rods will cross. Jackson said he can also determine the gender of the person buried in the grave, as the rod will turn right if the person was a female, and will turn left if the person was a male.