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Missing child recovered cross state

A missing child has been recovered after spending 12 hours unaccounted for.

Her biological mother and grandmother are now being questioned by authorities for their role in her disappearance.

The Lebanon Police Department (LPD) was on the cusp of issuing an AMBER Alert for Jocelyn Kennedy Tall, 6, of Lebanon on Sunday evening while it also attempted to obtain warrants. Ultimately, the efforts proved needless once the child was officially located in Savannah.

According to the LPD Public Information Officer Lt. P.J. Hardy, the child’s non-custodial mother and grandmother were taken in by the Savannah Police Department for questioning.

Tall had previously last been seen around 3 p.m. Sunday. She remained missing until early Monday morning.

Upon her recovery, she was turned over to the State of Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, where she will remain until she can be returned to custodial guardians.

Tall’s biological mother, Krystal Tall, of Savannah, and grandmother, Connie Lovering, of Florence, Alabama, were suspected of involvement in the abduction.

There was an active restraining order issued against Krystal Tall to stay away from her daughter. The restraining order stated that due to an “immediate threat of harm, no contact shall be made.”

At the time of the Democrat press deadline, no formal charges had been filed against either Krystal Tall or Lovering.


Lebanon
All in this Thanksgiving

Heather Young cried as she looked upon New York City.

However, it wasn’t the sheer size and wonder of the immense city that moved her to tears of joy.

Instead, it was what was lacking that led to a hopeless response.

“We would go into New York City, and I would cry when I saw the homeless,” the New Jersey native said. “I just didn’t know how to help.”

Young is quickly figuring it out though.

The current Lebanon resident plans to be reaching out on Thanksgiving Day, serving food for anyone who needs a meal from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Travel Inn in Lebanon.

“It was just a dream of mine,” Young said. “I just wanted to serve the unhoused. Being as I lived in Lebanon, I started to see the need all around. The Travel Inn in Lebanon heard about what we were doing. They said we were welcome to come serve if we wanted to.”

While she’s frequently delivering food and distributing meals to needy individuals in the area, Young normally doesn’t have a Thanksgiving service activity that she takes part in.

“I don’t have any family here,” Young said. “It’s just my immediate family. I normally don’t serve on Thanksgiving. They (other groups) all come out of the woodworks on Thanksgiving. I’m like, ‘I’ll come the next day’ … but Lebanon is my town. I want to do something special for them. I don’t want anybody sitting in their car on Thanksgiving. I want them to know they can come have a meal and something that is special for them.”

As joyful as they may be for some individuals, Young realizes that the holidays can be a difficult time for many.

“Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s not the warm and fuzzy and unicorns … it’s a lot of trauma for a lot of people,” Young said. “There’s circumstances out of their control. I can’t fix your problem … but I’m here to listen and to love on you. We can’t fix it, but I think being real with people and just being there if they want to talk — or if they don’t want to talk — that it’s good that they can come there and be with us.

“It’s not a photo opp (opportunity). We just listen and do what we can. We just try to make the best of whatever situation we’re in.”

Young is the founder and president of All For Him Ministry, and despite the rare occurrence of assisting on Thanksgiving, she’s quite familiar with providing meals.

“We’ve built such a relationship with the people that come every Sunday, so I wanted to do something special,” Young said. “I just wanted to make a special meal for these people who come out every week.

“Everybody is cooking. We’re going to set it up and have all the fixins. My team members and others are just making something because they want to help.”

All For Him serves meals on Wednesdays and Sundays of each week.

“We invite everybody every week, anybody who wants a meal and conversation and to be loved on just to come,” Young said. “We have one gentleman who has a home who comes just to have conversation. He comes just to talk every week.”

The ministry began six years ago. However, ministering is nothing new to Young.

“My entire life, when I met my husband (John Young), I was volunteering at the prison for women,” Young said. “I was at the halfway house.

“My heart is to help people. This is all I know.”

For the first four years, Young was limited as far as how much time that she could commit.

“I had a full-time job, so I was basically just doing ministry on the weekends,” Young said.

However, two years ago, she took a leap of faith.

“Thank God my husband is supportive,” Young said. “Most people would have been like, ‘I don’t think so.’ My dream was to have a non-profit, and my dream was to do it full-time. I wanted to be able — when it comes to financial donations — to be able to sustain. I had to get to a place to where the monthly donations were going to be steady so that I could do this full-time. So, I had to get to a place where I was more secure before I gave everything up.

“It was a decision I had to come up with and pursue. We just went on faith. Every month, it has come through. It’s sacrificing a lot. I had a full-time job and health benefits. Giving that up to do something like this is incredible, but it’s so rewarding.”

That plunge into ministry didn’t come without skepticism from others.

“My own family, not my husband, but my father and my brother were like, ‘Heather, this is crazy,’ ” Young said. “They said, ‘You’re going to give up your full-time job for this?’ I said, ‘I’m going to follow my heart.’

“Now, they see where we’ve come from. Nobody is saying anything now.”

Confirmation of her decision has come in a variety of the ministry’s needs that have been provided.

All For Him has had two vans donated, refrigerators, a deep freezer, tables and chairs.

“It was a dream for the two vans,” the 47-year-old Young said. “I was grateful for one, much less two.

“We have a warehouse for half the cost of what it would have been. The financial monthly support nowadays is a blessing, with the way the economy is … but we can’t do what we do without those vans. It’s essential to have that. We’re lugging tables. We’re lugging food.”

The warehouse — which is located at 319 North College St. in Lebanon — is open daily from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m.

Unhoused individuals can drop by the warehouse to get blankets, shoes, food bags, hygiene bags … as Young calls it, the “basic essentials to living on the street.”

“Or I’ll get a call about someone needing gas, and I’ll meet them at the Pilot (convenience store),” Young said. “We get to know a lot of the people in the community. So, we’ll get a phone call saying, ‘Do you have food or underwear?’ We’ll get those calls, and that’s how I know where to go during the week.”

Young will also visit certain areas on weekdays to leave essentials for individuals living in some of the Lebanon hotels.

“I leave food bags by the door,” Young said. “That’s a step above being homeless. I put them by everybody’s door where I know someone is staying.”

The organization also operates three blessing boxes in the area — one at the warehouse, one at Cruz Tire Service and another at the Travel Inn. All For Him built two of the blessing boxes — which Young says include “basic functional living items” — while the third was built by Friendship Christian School.

“We can’t be everywhere, so we wanted to have these boxes around,” Young said. “We do go through quite a bit of food in these blessing boxes.

“The owner (of the Travel Inn, Vinod Patel) has been so good. He buys stuff for the blessing box. He really is wanting to help people in this area.”

And while Young spends a wealth of time immersed in the ministry, she relies upon numerous volunteers in order to function.

“I have a Lebanon team of volunteers … I have a Nashville team of volunteers,” Young said. “I have volunteers from each area that I’m in.”

Young’s ministry actually started in Nashville and then spread to Lebanon.

“I started in Nashville until I saw the need here,” Young said. “I brought a (rolling) teacher cart and filled it with peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches and started giving them out in Nashville. I would wheel it down the street on my lunch break.”

Among those volunteers is the mother of two’s 11-year-old daughter, Ava.

“She’s been serving with me since she was 6 years old,” Young said. “She has heart for the homeless. They know her. They ask how she’s doing. She can walk the streets of Nashville and not have any trouble. She’s definitely my mini-me. She doesn’t care if they’re dirty. She’s not afraid to hug them. She high-fives them. They all have different stories, and I love that she sees them for how they are.”

However, Young’s daughter is not the only younger individual who volunteers. In fact, some of the students from Nashville’s Father Ryan High School volunteer in an attempt to fulfill service hours.

“We had an autistic child who needed to do service hours,” Young said. “He loved it so much that he stayed with us.

“I encourage kids to participate in this. I love getting kids down there. I want people to see people for people. Everybody has a story.”

Other volunteers can identify with some of the struggles of the individuals who All For Him encounters.

“We had a lady who had gone through rehab who wanted to be a part of this,” Young said.

Young is also aided by the secretary, Robert Gray, who has been with All For Him since it’s inception, and treasurer Anita Wollard operates the warehouse.

On Sunday mornings, there is a group of volunteers in the Nashville area who distribute food underneath the bridge at Joe’s Crab Shack and another group who go to the area known as the Hermitage camp, which consists of approximately 150 homeless individuals who stay together in small camps.

While those people are volunteering their time, many others voluntarily give of their resources.

“We live off of donations,” Young said. “We put a need out on Facebook. Then, they’ll donate it.”

Feeding Nashville donates 100 meals per week, which feeds all of the organization’s Nashville people.

Cumberland Presbyterian Church is among the organizations who donate meals for the hungry in Lebanon.

All For Him served 1,245 meals in October, which consists of all who were served in Lebanon and Nashville combined.

When All For Him began serving meals in Lebanon, it gave out four meals on its first day. On the first Sunday of November, All For Him served 89 meals in its normal area under the awning at the Travel Inn.

“I can’t believe we’ve come this far,” Young said.

Individuals needing assistance can call or text 615-308-1301, and they can also visit the All For Him web site at www.allforhimministry.org.


Lebanon
Shopping extravaganza aids MJCA

Mt. Juliet Christian Academy hosted a shopping extravaganza at its gymnasium Saturday, with area residents having the opportunity to shop for handmade items from more than 60 vendors.

Sweet Lizzy’s Bakehouse, a local home bakery specializing in decorated cookies, was among those vendors. They even allowed residents to paint their own cookies.

“I love seeing how happy people are to support small businesses like us,” said owner Rachel Stinson. “We enjoy providing cookies to everybody here. It brings me joy to see people smile when they look at our cookies and buy them.”

Residents also got to shop for candles from Scattin Yaks Candles, a Fairview-based candle company. Scattin Yaks sells different types of candles, including scents such as vanilla lavender and blueberry cobbler.

“Many vendors we have here in this event are local,” said MJCA Athletics Booster Club President Scott Lanier. “We really try to support our local businesses, and if you look around, the majority of our vendors are family-owned, and the multitude of items you see are both local and handmade.”

Lanier added that MJCA’s shopping extravaganza is a great way for people to go and purchase unique handmade items from local businesses, especially before Thanksgiving.

The MJCA Booster Club has hosted its annual shopping extravaganza since 2009.

“We’ve been blessed with some forward-thinking parents to come up with the idea to do this extravaganza years ago,” said Lanier. “They have also helped us in other fundraising opportunities to continue to supplement the funds we had for our student-athletes.”

The MJCA Booster Club works collectively with the school to organize the event year after year.

Lanier said that it consists of a team effort by MJCA and its booster club to support their athletics department with this extravaganza.

Last year, MJCA’s shopping extravaganza was canceled due to damage from the EF-3 tornado in March.

Lanier thought it was exciting for the school to be back and host the extravaganza for their community this year. He said that the event has expanded over the years.

“We were turning vendors away from our last shopping extravaganza, because we did not have any space for them,” said Lanier. “We are now working on bringing that space back for these vendors, something we are trying to get back to in past years.”


Lebanon
Federal health officials open up access to COVID-19 booster shots to all U.S. adults

WASHINGTON — Federal health officials on Friday moved to expand access to COVID-19 booster shots to all American adults, in an effort to bolster protection against infections as case counts rise again across the United States.

Officials with the Food and Drug Administration on Friday morning authorized booster shots for anyone over age 18 who received their second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago.

By late afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisory panel had affirmed that recommendation, leaving only the sign-off from the CDC chief.

The policy change streamlines what had been a nuanced and confusing set of criteria.

Anyone older than 65 had been urged to get an additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, as well as anyone over 18 who has an underlying health condition.

Those under age 65 deemed to be at higher risk due to their work environment also were allowed to seek a third shot. Anyone who received the one-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson already can receive an additional dose at least two months later under the federal rules.

But a growing number of states — including Maine, Colorado and New Mexico — have been forging ahead on their own to better protect their residents and to make it easier to communicate who exactly needs another vaccine.

During Friday’s CDC advisory panel meeting, Dr. Nirav Shah, president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, said that during a conference call on Thursday, his counterparts across the country expressed strong support for “expanding, clarifying, and simplifying” the booster guidelines.

“There was not a single state that voiced opposition to this move,” said Shah, who also serves as director of Maine’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “The current guidelines, though well-intentioned and thoughtful, generate an obstacle to uptake of boosters. In pursuit of precision, they create confusion.”

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey also found confusion about who is eligible for a booster shot, with 4 in 10 fully-vaccinated individuals responding that they were unsure if they qualify.

So far, 31 million Americans have received a booster dose, including 17 million who are 65 and older, according to CDC data.

Determining who exactly needs those booster shots has been contentious.

Pfizer initially sought to offer booster doses to all American adults, and the Biden administration proclaimed in mid-August that it would launch a national booster campaign by Sept. 20.

But vaccine experts who advise the FDA and CDC recommended narrower eligibility requirements, expressing skepticism that the available data shows a need for every adult to receive another dose.

The CDC’s vaccine panel initially declined to recommend including employees at higher risk of exposure to the virus at their workplace, but the top CDC official added them back in the agency’s official guidance.

Tennessee Lookout is a nonprofit news site covering state government and politics.


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