Sunday, May 3, 2009

Washington Post article response

In response to The Washington Post article...

Here's the short version -

I beg to differ with The Washington Post article on several points. First, the census statistic about high school diplomas printed in The Washington Post article was reported incorrectly. That was irritating.

Further, Rose Hill does have potential, worthy of both mention and investment. With hopes to gain many jobs in Rose Hill, local and regional leaders recently completed a new shell building in Rose Hill’s Constitutional Oaks Industrial Park, now served by fiber-optic Internet. In addition, eco-tourism and heritage tourism are growing sectors in our area. For example, nearby Wilderness Road State Park attracted over 138,000 visitors last year. Particularly with fiber-to-the-home now available, Rose Hill has potential for significant self-employment, small business, and entrepreneurial growth. Rose Hill residents are more likely than other U.S. residents to launch and operate a sole proprietorship. According to the census, in Rose Hill, 23% of the employed civilian labor force are self-employed workers in their own not incorporated business, in comparison to only 7% in the U.S. Rose Hill has produced successful entrepreneurs, including Pete DeBusk, whose company, DeRoyal Industries, Inc., employs over 2,000 people around the world. Today, residents in western Lee County are successfully embarking upon e-commerce. My personal favorite is, where you can fill up your online shopping cart with some of the area’s latest products. I heard they were featured on Japanese television.

Many Rose Hill residents desire and value education and training. While Connect Rose Hill project leaders had set a goal of attracting 80 computer/Internet training participants to Rose Hill Library’s new computer center, more than 450 participants showed up.

Finally, The Washington Post article incorrectly reported that Rose Hill is a town. Rose Hill is not a town. In my opinion, Rose Hill is most certainly a “hamlet,” which according to my 1959 Random House American College Dictionary, is “1. a small village. 2. a little cluster of houses in the country.”

Here's more detail -

High School Graduates Census Statistics Correction -

The Washington Post incorrectly quoted the census statistics. The statement, “About 71 percent of Lebanon’s residents have a high school diploma, compared with Rose Hill, where only 29 percent do, according to the census” is incorrect. A correct statement would be, “About 71 percent of Lebanon’s residents age 25 years and over have a high school diploma or higher, compared with Rose Hill, where about 48 percent do, according to the census.”

Another correct statement would be, “At least 51 percent of Lebanon’s residents have a high school diploma or higher, compared with Rose Hill, where at least 35 percent do, according to the census.” The U.S. Census Bureau’s Census 2000 reports: Lebanon’s population is 3,273. Lebanon’s population 25 years and over is 2,325. Among Lebanon’s population 25 years and over: 1,657 residents are a high school graduate (includes equivalency) or higher. Rose Hill CDP’s population is 714. Rose Hill CDP’s population 25 years and over is 528. Among Rose Hill CDP’s population 25 years and over: 253 residents are a high school graduate (includes equivalency) or higher.

The Desire for Many Jobs -

According to a recent Middlesboro Daily News ( article, “The shell building in Rose Hill’s Constitutional Oaks Industrial Park has finally been completed, and is ready for an industry to move into it.” The article provides a quote from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Executive Director Jonathan Belcher stating that, “…everyone would have to be ‘patient’ and the building won’t have ‘overnight success.’” The grand opening was held in early 2009. The Tennessee Valley Authority and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership are among the organizations working to market the industrial site. Property details about Constitutional Oaks Industrial Park are also available at

Information about Rose Hill’s Constitutional Oaks Industrial Park is also available at Information is presented in both in the website’s “Business and Industry” section and also in several of the website’s blog entries. The blog presents photos from the groundbreaking event in the March 26, 2008 post; of site preparation work in the June 12, 2008 post; and of the building while under construction in the August 17, 2008 post.

Eco- and Heritage Tourism Opportunities -

Rose Hill is located at the original site of Martin's Station which was at one time the westernmost fort. Today there is a replica of Martin's Station fort down the road less than 10 miles at Wilderness Road State Park. Wilderness Road State Park was mentioned in a recent Kingsport Times News article about Virginia State Parks and their economic impact. The article explained, "Park officials reach the economic impact funding based on an average of $75 spent per overnight visitor and an average of $16 per day use visitor. Wilderness Road State Park had 138,890 visitors and a $2.2 million impact in 2008.

Self-employment Among Rose Hill Residents -

Census statistics document that many Rose Hill residents are aspiring to achieve self-reliance through self-employment. According to the census, in Rose Hill CDP, a remarkable 23% of the employed civilian labor force are self-employed workers in their own not incorporated business, in comparison to only 9% in Lee County, 6% in Virginia, and 7% in the U.S.

Rose Hill Entrepreneurial Success -

Rose Hill also benefits from having a local role model entrepreneur, Pete DeBusk. Rose Hill’s primary private employer is DeRoyal Industries, Inc. The company’s founder was born and raised in Rose Hill and his company now employs over 2,000 worldwide, including two facilities in Rose Hill. Raised in Rose Hill, entrepreneur Pete DeBusk operates his international headquarters in nearby Tennessee. According to their website at, “Since 1973, DeRoyal has been a leader and an innovator in the healthcare industry. From our humble beginnings as a cottage industry, DeRoyal has grown into an international corporation with over 26 locations worldwide.” The company website mentions facilities in Estonia, Dominican Republic, and Guatemala. The website further reports, “DeRoyal's success can be attributed in great measure to its owner and chairman, Autry O.V. "Pete" DeBusk. Pete was born and raised in Rose Hill, Virginia. Pete graduated from Thomas Walker High School in Rose Hill, received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee and attended graduate school at the University of Georgia. Pete began his career in 1965 as a pharmaceutical salesman for Hoechst Laboratories. In 1969, he joined Solar Laboratories as a regional sales manager. His education and experience led him to the development of his first company, Pete DeBusk and Associates in 1970. In 1973, Pete patented his first orthopedic product and founded STAT Medical. In 1976, DeRoyal Industries, Inc. was incorporated. Since that time, DeRoyal has grown to manufacture over 30,000 different medical and surgical supplies with over 2,000 employees.”

Many Rose Hill Residents Desire to Learn -

Both the USDA Community Connect guidelines and the Connect Rose Hill project leaders recognized the need for computer/Internet training. The project goal was for at least 80 residents to participate in a training workshop at the new computer center inside the library. Resident response to the training opportunities was fairly remarkable. Workshops began in June 2007 and by December 31, 2008, a total of 453 participants had attended 100 computer/Internet training workshops in the new Rose Hill Library computer center.

Held 19 times, the most popular workshop was Microsoft Word, which attracted 76 participants. Eight (8) Digital Photography workshops attracted 46 participants. Repeated workshops on Basic Keyboarding, Email Basics, and Navigating Internet Explorer were also well-attended. Each of those topics attracted over 20 total participants through 4-5 workshops. Other training workshops included Computer Basics, Using the Mouse, Library Home Page, Copy & Paste, Intermediate Email, Basic Games, and Burning CDs. The Virginia Electronic Commerce Technology Center conducted an e-commerce short course series, providing training on E-Commerce 101, How to Improve Your Website, and Internet Marketing.

Not a Town, But a Little Mountain Village, a Hamlet

The Washington Post article incorrectly refers to Rose Hill as a town. Rose Hill is not a town. Rose Hill is only a Census Designated Place (CDP), as defined by the U.S. Census. I like to call Rose Hill a “little mountain village,” although I can’t imagine that any of my Rose Hill neighbors would refer to Rose Hill as a “village.” A few call it “RoseVegas.” One of the locals called me a “resident tourist.” I like that term. It suits me well. In my own opinion, Rose Hill is also most certainly a “hamlet,” which according to my 1959 Random House American College Dictionary, is “1. a small village. 2. a little cluster of houses in the country.”

Joan Minor

Sunday, April 12, 2009

hunting hickory chickens

So it's Easter Sunday and today was a warm and sunny day in Rose Hill. It rained all week, snowed some, and it will likely rain again tomorrow. But a bright and sunny Easter Sunday was tucked in between the dreary days. After church I took off on my scooter heading out towards Martins Creek and Possum Holler and Giles Holler... my usual route. There were lots of fishermen enjoying the nice weather on the banks of Martins Creek. Martins Creek was stocked on Thursday. Folks were catching as many as 12 fish in a day on Friday. I saw one trout pulled out today. So I'm hanging out with these fishermen on the banks of Martins Creek and one of them starts talking about "hickory chickens." I got to laughing, saying, "I've heard about these hickory chickens, but I wouldn't know one if I saw it." Apparently, they are edible mushrooms which only grow in the Spring. And it's a special pasttime for some of the local Rose Hill folks to go out in the woods in search of "hickory chickens," which is a type of morel mushroom. Apparently, you fry them and eat them. Seeing my interest in hickory chickens, the fisherman took a break from his fishing to find me a hickory chicken. After seeing what one looks like, I then spent most of the afternoon walking around in the woods along Martins Creek looking for hickory chickens. Only found a few. I brought one home and showed it to the youngins. My daughter started laughing and talking about when her buddy at school was telling her about having a jolly good time going into the woods looking for hickory chickens. At first, my daughter had pictured her buddy chasing wild chickens in the woods - until her buddy explained that hickory chickens are mushrooms. It was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon - instead of hunting Easter eggs, I found myself hunting hickory chickens. I found lots of real pretty little wild flowers. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how much growth and life is happening on the forest floor. Looks like nothing but brown leaves covering the ground in the woods from the road. But you get out there walking in the woods - and far out - there's all kinds of wonderful fern prawns and flowers, and I even saw a wild geranium blooming already. I couldn't find much info very easily on the web about hickory chickens, except in several blogs. But I did find a bit of information on -- "Hickory chickens are little mushrooms that look like a christmas tree, with a stem (resembling the trunk of the christmas tree and a cap, resembling the shape of a christmas tree), with the exception that it is colored much differently. The color generally varies between beige to dark brown. These mushrooms only come out in Virginia/Kentucky areas once a year, usually in the spring and can only be found in woods, but are more common to some areas in these states than others. Some people refer to or call these mushrooms "dry land fish" instead of hickory chickens. They are wonderful when dredged in a flour/salt/pepper mixture and fried. They have a very distinct taste. The only other detail I can think of is that they normally grow on the mossy sides of trees, in areas that are dark and moist, and grow up together in groups. They normally will grow up and above ground in a day or two and usually not last more than a week or so, but may bloom more than once in a given season." Anyways, it was sure fun to walk around the woods looking for hickory chickens! Red buds are blooming, lots of flowers are blooming, and it's hickory chicken season in Rose Hill.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

local scenery

well, I've never tried to post so many photos in one blog entry. Thank you to the visitor commenting on the Giles Hollow Road post. Here's some more local scenery photos. These were all taken on the same little scooter ride in May 2008. The two photos with the bright yellow fields were taken on Giles Hollow Road.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fire near White Rocks

Got out and about today on my scooter. Sure enjoyed touring around the backroads. Went all the way out to the river in Hancock County TN. Here's a photo from my scooter ride, back in western Lee County. There were some forest fires on the mountain, but last I heard they don't seem to be spreading.

warm and sunny

The whole community and countrysides were out and about in the yards and gardens and anywhere outdoors today. It must have hit 70 degrees. Warm and sunny! Here's the last crocus photo for the year.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

snow and Spring

Weather has been a big topic in Rose Hill this week. We woke to snow on the ground on Monday morning. The temperature was going down below 10 degrees earlier this week, making for some very cold nights. School was closed on Monday and then on 2-hour delay on Tuesday. The forecasters say it will be way up near 70 degrees over the weekend. Could there be a little scooter-riding weather spot in there soon?? The first photo in this post was taken on Monday. The second photo was taken today. It's the same little bunch of crocus in both photos, just outside my back door. They sure are a bright and cheerful sight today!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Video from Rose Hill!

This is my first attempt at uploading a video onto the blog.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yesterday's Rainbow

This photo is copyright 2009
by Mitchell Van Etten.

The photo was taken in western Lee County (looking just to the East of Whiterocks) as yesterday's storm passed by. Photographer Mitchell Van Etten can be contacted at

School is on 2-hour delay today due to a power problem.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

snow on the Rose Hill trail

It snowed! School is closed again. Here's a photo of the downtown Rose Hill trail, which runs from Martin's Creek all the way to the heart of downtown up behind O'Dell's Furniture. There's only critter tracks on this end of the trail so far today. I imagine by the end of the day, there will be pedestrian tracks and maybe four-wheeler tracks. Folks round here often enjoy getting out and playing in the pretty snow on their four-wheelers. I bet it's beautiful up on that mountain today with everything covered in white. It's snowing again now!
Happy Winter Wonderland!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

winter scenes

okay, I'm sure the amateur photography and blog post layout will look really goofy, but I tried to upload four photos - basically two different scenes from standing in my yard. I took the blue sky photos on Sunday. I took the snowy photos yesterday (Monday). School is closed today. Maybe a bit more snow coming tonight? It's snowing right now, well, just enough to make it "kinda extra purty" out the window.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Martin's Station and 138,890 visitors

Rose Hill is located at the original site of Martin's Station which was at one time the westernmost fort. Today there is a replica of Martin's Station fort down the road less than 10 miles at Wilderness Road State Park.
Wilderness Road State Park was mentioned in a Kingsport Times News article on Thursday about the 35 Virginia State Parks and their economic impact. The article explains, "Park officials reach the economic impact funding based on an average of $75 spent per overnight visitor and an average of $16 per day use visitor."
The article reports on the economic impact estimates for Natural Tunnel State Park in Duffield, Wilderness Road State Park in Lee County, and Southwest Virginia Museum (which actually is a state park) in Wise County. In 2008, Natural Tunnel had 158,000 visitors and a $3.2 million economic impact. Wilderness Road had 138,890 visitors and a $2.2 million impact. It's a great place, Wilderness Road State Park. Serene, set before a stunningly beautiful mountain. Buffalos live there. I've walked and biked (or you can ride your horse) parts of the trail there many times. We've had birthday parties in a park shelter there. We've had picnics there, etc.
Even though over 138,000 came to visit the park last year - it's still one of this area's best kept secrets. There's about three REALLY big reenactment events each year - when people come in from all over the country - both the reenactors and the visitors. For those weekends, the fort is back in use, running just like it once did, complete with battles between the settlers and Native Americans, who live out in the woods for the weekend. There's lots of smaller events and happenings at the park during the year too. But most the time, it is so quiet and serene with very few visitors scattered across the grounds. Warm days you'll find bunches of kids and families near the playground part. If you go, make sure to go in the visitors center and watch the free movie which runs every 20 minutes. It's a high quality film with stunning scenery. I could watch that same film many times. It's really good.
For more information about Wilderness Road State Park go to

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Rose Hill Farmer Named Expo Farmer of the Year

Here's the latest scoop - from the Middlesboro Daily News by reporter Steve Woodard --
ROSE HILL — A Rose Hill man was given a top award this past weekend for his agricultural accomplishments. Edmond Hensley of Rose Hill won the Times-News Farm Expo Farmer of the Year Award during ceremonies held at the Meadowview Convention Center in Kingsport, Tenn. Hensley received a $1,000 award, along with a Kubota jacket and plaque from Lawson’s Building Supply in Rose Hill, who was a sponsor for 2009.“I was surprised and happy for him when I was informed he had been selected to receive the Farmer of the Year award,” said Harold Jerrell, Extension Agent for Lee County.“Since I nominated him, I also had to fill out the application and ‘tell his story,’” said Jerrell. “I am not a writer and my concern was that I would not be able to put into words what Edmond has been able to accomplish during his farming career. I enjoyed visiting in his home and allowing him to answer the many questions I needed to ask.”Jerrell said that any agricultural agency may nominate a farmer for the award. He said five counties were represented in the competition from Virginia, as well as five from Tennessee. The Kingsport Times-News has sponsored the event for 12 years. Around 7,000 people attended the event.Hensley’s story as a farmer began with a single cow nearly 65 years ago.But, now, things are quite different. Hensley manages a herd of approximately 625 Angus or Angue Charolais cross steers, grows nearly a 100 acres of corn silage, and 250 acres of hay. Surprisingly, Hensley has been able to manage his operation with only the help of Teddy Ramsey, an employee of his for 22 years during harvest and feeding seasons.Not only is Hensley an accomplished farmer, but also a family man. Married to Jacinta Davis Hensley, Mr. and Mrs. Hensley are the proud parents of three children and 11 grandchildren.From all his years farming, Hensley said that he believes strongly the contributions the agricultural industry has made to the economy. He stated that farming is the backbone of our economy and that he believes it is essential that our government support the farming industry. He said that if it isn’t supported, young farmers will quit farming due to the high input costs and the uncertainty of the price of farm crops.Jerrell said he had known Edmond for about 53 years. “I was glad to see Edmond win,” said Jerrell.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Rose Hill Resident Alan Crockett Honored

Rose Hill resident Alan Crockett was recently honored by the Council of Virginia Archaeologists with the Virginia Sherman Award, recognizing his outstanding achievements toward recording and protecting Lee County archaelogical resources.

I'm reading back over various related articles, including a front page story in yesterday's Powell Valley News Weekender titled "Rose Hill Resident Alan Crockett Earns Archaelogy Award" and a Kingsport Times News feature story dated December 7, 2008 titled "Archaeologists honor Lee teacher for efforts on historical preservation" and a feature article in the Kingsport Times News from June 18, 2007 titled "Indian mound in Lee may reveal secrets of the past."

What I'm learning is that it's not just one Indian mound located near here - there must be more than one, maybe even several of these, and they must be pretty old in comparison to other Indian mounds elsewhere. Personally I have a hard time trying to imagine what life was like around here in A.D. 1000 or A.D. 1600. It appears that these mounds could have been places for "ceremonial feasting," and that The Ely Mound is a special type of "temple mound," in an area that would have been a trading post, near the gap. Sounds like you could eat, worship, and go shopping - near a mound back then?! haha! ya reckon?! I see references to The Ely Mound, the Rose-Robinson Mound, the Carter Robinson Mound. Wonder how many mounds are around here??

Tom Klatka, an archaeologist for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, nominated Alan Crockett for the award explaining, "Crockett has spent a career as an educator in the Lee County schools. Because he is reserved and humble, his efforts to promote an understanding of Lee County archaeology and site protection often go unnoticed." Klatka said that Alan Crockett has continually worked with Virginia archaeologists to promote public interpretation and protection of archaeological resources.

Alan Crockett explained, "It was surprising to get this. I've been told that no one west of Charlottesville has ever been given this award, so i was really surprised, pleased, and honored to receive it. The idea of being the most outstanding amateur archaeologist in the state was surprising to me. I never expected this at all."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Rose Hill Waterfall

This photo of the Rose Hill waterfall above Blue Springs was taken last week by Rose Hill resident Kevin W. Jerrell.

Here's excerpts from his email: "I enjoy checking out the Rose Hill website from time to time, and seeing the photos in and around Lee County. Last week, I hiked up to the waterfall above Blue Springs. With the recent rains, it was really breathtaking as it cascaded over the rocks. (I was there a couple months ago, but the falls were dry because of the lack of rain). Since I was up there I have been surprised at the number of Rose Hill residents that, like myself, had lived here for years but have never been up there. Although the hike is steep in places, it only took me about one hour and a half to make the round trip (including time out to make photos going up and coming down). Anyway, I thought you might mention this little-known attraction in your blog sometime. It is definitely worth the hike. Thanks. Kevin W. Jerrell, Rose Hill, VA"

Kevin, THANK YOU for sharing the beautiful photo and "Rose Hill ecotourist info." I've not seen those falls before, but I do have a nice new pair of hiking boots. One hour and a half round trip to a waterfall sounds like a great hike to help break in those new boots.

I know where the Blue Springs sign is (near where the 4-wheelers unload) and I've seen that creek running through there. Do you just follow that creek up the mountain to get to the waterfall?? Could it be that simple??

Again, thank you for the great photo and info!