Back on the beat, where I belong

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Convinced I had missed the kickoff, imagine my surprise to see a gang of runners just waiting to hit the gas pedal as I pulled up in front of East Carter Middle School at 8 a.m. Saturday.

“I have to change that camera lens and get out there,” I thought, just as the runners left the starting line and pointed themselves determinedly toward Grayson’s Robert & Mary Avenue.

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I detached the big lens on my Canon camera and swapped it out for the shorter zoom, flipped the power on as I opened the car door and crossed the road, lifting the camera and snapping two or three full frames before the first runner pumped on past. Smiling deep, deep in my heart, I caught images of every single runner on their way by.

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“That felt pretty good,” I said to myself as I gave in to my hometown journalism instincts, jumped back in the car and passed the pack of runners in order to park and snap them all again from a second spot along the route.

I spent the rest of the day following my “nose for news,” starting next with the Grayson Rotary’s annual pancake breakfast at Prichard Elementary.

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By the time the sun went down, I had hundreds of fresh photos and a notebook full of scribbles to be polished into features for the debut ofcartercountypost.comthis weekend.

From the ribbon cutting ceremony at Bit O Time to the late-night sewing session at Quilt Heaven, I was served with outstanding reminders of my passion for writing about small businesses and the brave souls who show up every day to run them.

That was punctuated by a visit to the former Toro Loco restaurant, where a sign in the door announces closure and also thanks customers for their loyalty. 


Counterbalance that with signs for a new business at a space where I once worked.

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Sprinkle in a pancake breakfast, incoming exhibits for the upcoming F!nal Fr!day ArtWalk show,

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and a visit to the future site of Grayson’s sports park and it made for an exciting day of hometown journalism.

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Among the best parts was the joining of forces from the Olive Hill Chamber of Commerce and Grayson Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon cutting at the new vacation rental property, Bit O Time.


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The Olive Hill Chamber president’s reaction to news of this online publication was particularly appreciated on a personal level.

“I like that you went with Carter County for the name instead of Olive Hill or Grayson,” Lisa Messer Conley said, adding the rivalry between the cities has accomplished nothing and the time for cooperative efforts has arrived.

And, I can’t deny I also greatly enjoyed hanging out with the ladies at Quilt Heaven. My wife got to go with me for this one as well, and that alone made it special. The quilters themselves, however, were just an incredibly welcoming gang, willing to educate and entertain a man with a notebook and camera. The women with the rotary cutters, scissors and sewing machines were as colorful as the fabric before them. I have a ton of photos and many notes to share. I also learned a bit about the coveted, antique Singer “Featherweight” machines being used by two of the evening’s quilters.

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Others in the group utilized the latest high-tech machines from around the world, yet the decades-old Singer machines used by on the go dressmakers of days gone by remain among the most sought after of them all. I like that.

We have a lot of work to do before we get the way we want it to be, but it is a challenge I personally welcome and embrace. For the time being, I will be chasing local stories and photos during evenings and weekends, so I welcome your input, notes and submitted photos.Yes, this is a volunteer gig, running on faith. I shake a loaded fist at anyone who would attempt to take from this community without giving back to it.

My intent is to keep a place for “good news” stories, although I do plan to include as much public record information (land transfers, marriage licenses and more) as possible.

Editor and Community Journalist Tim Preston can be reached at


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