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It's easier to do the long run if friends are pacing you


Lydia Shelton, at left, is title clerk for Cocke County Clerk Janice Butler, shown
here at her office on Valentine's Day. Janice said she was glad when Lydia joined
the office 16 years ago and she has watched Lydia's children Amber and Paul grow up.
Published: 9:26 PM, 02/15/2013

Author: David Popiel
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

Spring-like weather arrived on Thursday to warm hearts on Valentine's Day in our hometown, but folks were also stocking up at grocery stores anticipating some snow for the weekend in these mountains.

A met a couple of interesting people who are new to me. Reverend James Robert Allen came to the Plain Talk office last week to place a notice about reorganizing the Clear Creek Coon Club. In past years Kenneth Reed had handled these news items with me. James is an evangelistic preacher who lives near Newport Raceway off Industrial Road and is a long-time resident of the Rankin area. The reorganization takes place on February 16 at 7 p.m. at the Hill Top Baptist Church fellowship hall in Newport. Hill Top church is easy to spot off West Broadway near the old Rhyne Lumber Company plant. The coon club like others in the county does far more than hunt, and helps the community. We will be announcing the club's new officers soon.

While picking up some snacks at For Heaven's Cake Bakery where chocolate is still the number one choice, I met Mark Mathis, who is a self-taught airbrush artist. When walking up to the building, a giant painted cupcake on the east wall easily caught my attention, and it is the artwork of Mark. Having known many in the Mathis family, I asked his kinship to the late Albert Mathis, who was an outstanding Mason, 33rd degree, and Mark said Albert was a brother to Mark's father, Cleve Mathis. This means Cocke County Trustee Rob Mathis is a nephew. I will soon make some photos and tell you more about his artistry.



Time to test the pavement


Last week we began talking with Lydia and Larry "Yogi" Shelton about their families and their enjoyment of running for sport. Lydia (Suggs) Shelton got her inspiration for running from her children and friends. Over the years she has improved her physical conditioning and endurance plus lost weight. I asked her to refresh my memory on how she ended up in Newport with Yogi. Being raised in Portsmouth, Virginia, she had no contact or connections with East Tenn., except through church. She attended First Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville. While there she was a member of a traveling drama group for the college and in the early 1980s visited Newport. She met Yogi at the church and by 1982 they were married.

Once in Newport, she started teaching at Newport Christian and Grace Christian schools. Lydia was an elementary grade school teacher for about 10 years. Scott Gorrell was an administrator at Grace Christian for part of that time. I got to know her because she worked at the Newport Plain Talk in 1994 as classified dept. manager and did a fine job. We hated to see her leave but she was able to join the county clerk's office. For about 16 years she has been working for County Clerk Janice Butler. And serves as a title clerk in that office.

I have mentioned Yogi and Lydia's children, Paul, 27, and Amber, 21. She is earning her degree at East Tenn. State University. Paul teaches at Unicoi County Middle School and is also high school football coach in his fourth year. Paul's wife, Sarah, attends the Quillen School of Medicine where she is studying to be a doctor. Her family name is Himmelreich and she grew up in Bearden.

Paul tells me he began running track at Cocke County High School in cross-country. Sarah was also a runner. In 2009, Paul completed the Atlanta marathon and this encouraged Sarah to run the Cincinnati marathon along with Amber. So Paul, Sarah, and Amber all completed the popular Ohio marathon in May 2011. At first Lydia had no intentions of ever running 26 miles at one time and started running to get in better shape. She would run a few miles but when she turned 50 thought it might be a challenge to run 10 miles. In 2010, she ran the Bluegrass Half Marathon in Johnson City, as did "the kids." She continued her training with lots of support from both Lincoln Avenue Baptist pastor Craig Ward, an avid runner, and his wife, Ann, who is a regular running partner with Lydia.


Craig and Ann marathoners


Craig ran the Flying Pig Marathon and Ann has completed two marathons. By May 2012, Lydia was ready and did run a full marathon. The family all cheered her along and it required a lot of cheering and Gatorade during that six hour run. Amber joined mom to run the last six miles together. Ann also ran alongside. "If you are training to run a marathon, you have to have a partner," said Lydia.

"There are so many things I learned I can do better," she said, reflecting on her running. Prior to her first marathon she trained four months to gain the endurance and confidence required. While she has not scheduled to run another marathon soon she does do many five-mile runs.

Looking back at the start of her marathon training it was also the time Yogi had his colon cancer surgery. Lydia and Ann had planned to run 20 miles non-stop but put this on hold. Later, as Yogi's health improved, he was there during training to cheer her along. "My two kids are some of my best supporters," she said. They also post on Facebook to share their running interest. Other friends have begun running regularly including Clyde and Lisa Allen. And so the journey continues for the running Sheltons.



People are learning gun safety


Over the next couple of weeks we will be talking about a topic that should be of interest and meeting with folks who use and train others in the handling of weapons, particularly handguns. The highlight of 2012 for me must have been the Cocke County Sheriff's Department handgun carry permit class at the Newport Community Center. Or was it the death of my long-time redbone hound Zeke? 

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