New quilt barn mural in Johnson County commemorates old family history

Maggie Brown and her Tulip quilt surrounded by four generations of the Brown family.

“Growing up we raised our own food,” says Debbie Snyder (nee Brown), of Mountain City, “the only things I remember buying were staples like sugar and flour.”
The Brown Farm, at 2107 Forge Creek Road (Highway 167), is the newest addition to the Quilt Trail of Northeast Tennessee. Installed on the oldest barn on the property, the quilt mural is visible from the road.
The Brown family has lived on the farm since late 1800’s. Originally tobacco, corn, hay and cattle producers. Snyder remembers as growing up our family was pretty much food self-sufficient , “we had a huge garden every year and canned and froze our vegetables. We had dairy cows, chickens, and hogs so we had eggs, milk, beef, and pork.”
The new mural is the quilt pattern, “Tulip.” It is inspired by a real quilt that Maggie Brown made when the fourth generation Brown was born. “My grandmother had always loved her flower garden,” says Snyder, “and quilted every winter before her eyesight left her.”
When Snyder heard about the Quilt Trail, she knew she wanted her family barn to have a quilt mural. “This farm is special,” she says, specifically proud of the five original structures from when the farm was established in the turn of the 20th century. “The barn, granary, chicken coop, wood shed, spring house, smoke house, were built by my grandfather’s uncle in the early 1900’s along with the farmhouse.”
Maggie Brown’s granddaughters and great-grandchildren are continuing to carry on the tradition. Snyder and her family raise their own garden, hogs, beef, and chickens. New to the farm, Debbie has become a Small Ruminant certified producer of Kiko meat goats. Her sister, Deena, and her family are hay and cattle producers.
The quilt mural was painted by Matt Blevins, elementary art teacher in Johnson County.
Johnson County is home to 13 quilt barns (see From 2005-2007, the cost of installing murals was sponsored by the TN Department of Agriculture which covered the artist and material costs in order to promote rural tourism.
“We no longer have grant funds for repainting,” says coordinator Emily Bidgood with the Appalachian RC&D Council. “I’ve seen that a few of the Johnson County quilt blocks are in need of some love and care. If there are any artists out there who would want to give the murals a facelift, we need you!”
Contact the Appalachian RC&D Council at 423-979-2581 or for more information.

7 Foods for a Healthy Immune System

7 Foods for a Healthy Immune System

Supporting your immune system with the proper vitamins, minerals and nutrients can give your body a fighting chance against flu, colds and other infections that run rampant this time of year. Don’t forget that in addition to these super immune supporting foods you should also:
Eat a varied diet including plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
Wash your hand frequently.

1. Yogurt

Greek or European yogurt contains a whole host of probiotics or “good” bacteria that can help keep your gut healthy and running smoothly. A healthy gut is important for two reasons. First, it can dispose of any bad pathogens you come into contact with through food or your hands, and secondly, a healthy gut means you will properly digest your food and obtain the nutrients you need to stay healthy.

2. Garlic

There’s a reason that folk tales say that garlic keeps vampires away! In fact, garlic contains allicin, much like onions and shallots, which is a known anti-bacterial. In a study in England, those who were given a garlic extract were 60% less likely to contract common viruses and infections.
3. Whole Grains

Whole grains like oats and barley have beta-glucan, which is a fiber with proven antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. These grains can assist antibiotics in their work, and boost immunity, and speeds healing.

4. Tea

Tea is high in a compound called L-theanine, an amino acid which boosts the immune system. Black and green teas are highest in this compound, and you can drink up to several cups a day to get your fill of L-theanine. This compound is also prominent in decaffeinated teas too, so drink those if you are sensitive to caffeine.

5. Chicken Soup

This magic cure from mom’s kitchen really does work! The mix of vegetables, protein from the chicken, garlic’s antibacterial properties, and the salty broth work in many ways. The vegetables give you vitamins and minerals, while the broth helps keep you hydrated and makes sure your electrolytes are properly regulated.

6. Mushrooms

Mushrooms have long been used in traditional medicine for a variety of illnesses, but recent studies have shown that mushrooms do actually help your body fight off infections by making the white blood cells more aggressive, and therefore more effective.

7. Beef

Zinc is a vital mineral for your immune system, and most American adults are in fact zinc deficient. As vegetarian diets become more common and Americans generally cut back on beef, our zinc deficiency becomes even worse. Zinc supports the development of white blood cells, which fight off infection. Even a mild zinc deficiency can result in increased risk of infection. So if you’ve cut back your beef intake, consider having it instead of another meat at least one to two times a week.

Other foods loaded with zinc:
Fortified cereals

Try incorporating any of these super-immunity foods into your diet to support your immune system.

Roan Creek Baptist Church has medical equipment for those in need

Roan Creek Baptist Church has medical equipment for those in need

East Tennessee Medical Mission at Roan Creek Baptist Church has medical equipment for those in need. This is a free service. If you are in need of medical equipment please call Roan Creek Baptist Church on Monday, Wednesday or Friday between the hours of 8:00 am and 12 noon at 423-727-7061. If there is no answer, you can call Hugh Slemp 423-480-0167, Tom Nelson 423-727-7589, Joe Barry 423-727-7837 or contact Roy Hodge 423-895-3507. We also take used medical equipment. If you want to donate equipment to our church please call any of the numbers listed above.


4-H to host Chili Cook-Off

4-H to host Chili Cook-Off
The Johnson County 4-H will be hosting a Chili Cook-Off on
Friday, February 24, 2017 at the National Guard Armory in
Mountain City from 6:00-8:00 p.m. 4th – 12th grade 4-H’ers
will be competing in 3 different categories: Best Home-Style,
Most Unique, and Spiciest, as well as for the honor of People’s
Choice. Admission will be $3.00; guests will get to sample
all of the chilies, they will also receive a drink and a ballot to
vote for their favorite chili. In addition to the chili competition,
we will also be having a dessert and cake auction at
7:00pm to help raise funds for our programs. All proceeds
from the event will benefit Johnson County 4-H programs. For
further information about the event you may contact Danielle
Pleasant or Leigh Anne Taylor at 727-8161 or dsilver2@utk.

Johnson County Health Department to receive Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence Interest Recognition





Mountain City, TN – The Johnson County Health Department has earned Interest Level Recognition in the annual Excellence in Tennessee recognition program administered by the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNCPE). TNCPE is Tennessee’s only statewide quality program and is patterned on the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, the national standard for recognizing role model performance through innovation, improvement, and visionary leadership. The Johnson County Health Department will accept the award at the 24th Annual Excellence in Tennessee Awards Banquet on March 2, 2017, at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs.

“The Johnson County Health Department, led by County Director Caroline Hurt, is actively and eagerly embracing this continuous process of improvement in carrying out our collective Mission,” said Regional Director Rebekah English, Northeast Regional Health Office.

The Johnson County Health Department provides clinical-based and population-based public health services to residents in and around Johnson County, Tennessee.

Through an annual evaluation and assessment process, TNCPE recognizes high-performing organizations that demonstrate continuous improvement and role model processes. This year, TNCPE has named 42 organizations as 2016 Award winners that represent outstanding achievement in the following industry sectors: health care, manufacturing, service, education, government, and nonprofit.

“This award represents hard work, focus, and a dedication to performance improvement,” Gov. Bill Haslam said. “The Johnson County Health Department’s efforts to improve its processes will go beyond the walls of the organization’s workplace to touch lives throughout Tennessee.”

Organizations like the Johnson County Health Department apply to the TNCPE program at one of four levels. As the levels increase, so does the depth and complexity of the application, which is based on the Baldrige Excellence Framework. Since the program was founded in 1993, only 23 organizations have attained the excellence designation. One will receive the Excellence Award this year; two organizations will be honored with the Achievement Award; thirteen will receive a Commitment Award; and 26 will receive Interest Recognition.

“This program helps organizations look at the big picture and continuously strive to implement the best practices in their industry,” said TNCPE President Katie Rawls. “But it’s not easy—organizations like the Johnson County Health Department are truly passionate about performance excellence and have chosen TNCPE and the Baldrige framework to help them become the best they can be.”

A full list of winners can be found on the TNCPE website

Established in 1993 as a public-private partnership, the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence strives to promote economic development and drive organizational excellence by helping companies and organizations grow more competitive in today’s global marketplace through affordable, in-depth assessments. A statewide nonprofit, TNCPE is grounded in the Baldrige Excellence Framework—a holistic framework used by organizations across multiple industries to improve their performance and achieve sustainable results. More than 1,300 organizations have participated in and benefited from the TNCPE program. Four Tennessee businesses—Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation, Pal’s Sudden Service, Eastman Chemical Company, and Federal Express—have been honored with both the prestigious Baldrige National Quality Award and the TNCPE Excellence Award.

For more information about the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence, contact Katie Rawls, president and CEO, at

For more information on the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, visit

For more information on Johnson County Health Department, contact Caroline Hurt at

Daily Routines to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Daily Routines to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Making changes in your lifestyle to keep your heart healthy may sound overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. If the commonest advice (join a gym or go on a diet) seems daunting, try making small daily changes that improve your health in the long run and are easy to incorporate into your life. Here are a few ideas for keeping that muscle in tip-top condition without having to make radical changes in your life:

Good Morning

Always eat breakfast. Coffee and a muffin may kick-start your energy in the morning, but that uptick in energy will last longer if you substitute oatmeal or whole-grain toast for the muffin. Add lean protein like peanut butter to your toast, or if you feel ambitious, whip up an egg white omelet with fresh chopped vegetables or turkey bacon Follow this with a mid-morning snack of fruit or a handful of nuts. Your energy level and your heart will thank you.

Kitchen Staples

Many of us have a pantries loaded with ingredients we reach for automatically when we are cooking or preparing food. Try a simple re-stocking and keep only the heart-healthy oils like olive oil for cooking and grapeseed or walnut oil for salads. Switch the white rice for brown; ditch sugary cold cereals for high-fiber cereals; whole milk for low-fat or skim; white pasta for whole wheat. Keep canned tomatoes, tuna, aromatic vinegar, nuts and peanut butter; switch out salt for a seasonings blend that uses little or no salt in it, but still adds appetizing flavorings to food.

Move It

You don’t have to join a gym or commit to a rock-climbing class in order to add some movement to your daily routine. You can simply add a little here and there to add up to an amount of daily activity that will help your heart stay healthy. If you’re heading for the mall, park further away than you normally would and use the stairs instead of the elevator. Increase your steps with a short walk at lunch or walk the dog a little further, vacuum for five extra minutes, switch the radio from talk shows to music and dance.


Stress is a ticking time bomb that can increase your blood pressure, weaken your immune system, interrupt your sleep and make you feel lethargic and depressed. Taking a class in yoga or meditation may not be the answer for you right now, but you can find something much closer to home to help you de-stress on a daily basis. If you enjoy crafting – whether it’s knitting, making model airplanes or doing jigsaw puzzles – make time to relax with something you like doing every day.


Current research indicates that laughing can decrease inflammation in your arteries and raise your levels of the “good cholesterol” HLD (high-density lipoprotein). So turn off the news and watch a funny YouTube video or sit-com as part of your daily heart health routine, because laughing is good for your heart!

Robotics state qualifying match at JCMS this Saturday

Johnson County students and teachers are preparing for a FIRST in the HISTORY of Johnson County Schools. On Saturday, February 18, 2017 beginning at 9:00 am, the robotics teams at Johnson County High School and Johnson County Middle School will be co-hosting the FIRST VEX Robotics State Qualifying Match this side of Dandridge, Tennessee.

Students on VEX Robotics teams from Blountville, Brentwood, Collierville, Dandridge , Kingsport,  Mountain City , and Nashville, Tennessee will be competing for a State Qualifying slot at the JOCO Robos VEX “Winter Wonderland” State Qualifier at Johnson County Middle School.  Teams will challenge each other in qualifying matches during the morning competition.  Once qualifying matches are completed, alliances will be chosen and the elimination matches will begin.  Teams will be eliminated during the quarterfinals as the teams battle it out to see who will be the champion and state qualifier in the final match.

We invite you to join us for this event which will be held in the JCMS Gymnasium.  Come for the day or come for an hour, you will be amazed to see the excitement the students have for STEM related learning, problem solving and networking with other teams.  Watch as teams complete practice matches, run skills events, compete in qualifying matches, interview with judges and network with students from other schools.

JCHS Class of 1967 reunion June 3rd

The Johnson County High School class of 1967 is planning their 50th year class reunion on Saturday, June 3, 2017. We are attempting to locate anyone who was in our class anytime during high school, whether or not you graduated in 1967. If you are a classmate or know of one who did not get a preliminary notification postcard, please contact:

Jane Payne Winters, 256 McElyea Rd. Mtn. City, TN 37683; phone: (423) 727-7105; or email: .

Jerry/ Novella Tester, 556 Noah Snyder Rd. Mtn. City, TN 37683; phone (423) 727-6002; or email: .

Janie Bunton Nelson, 2611 Cold Springs Rd. Mtn. City, TN 37683; phone: (423) 727-7589; or email: .

Northeast TN Reconnect Community Hosts Education Open House for adults interested in earning a college degree or certificate in Johnson County


Mountain City, TN, February 15, 2017–Northeast Tennessee Reconnect Community is hosting an Education Open House for adults wishing to earn a college degree or certificate in Johnson County.  The Education Open House will be at the Johnson County Welcome Center at 716 South Shady Street in Mountain City on February 23, 2017 from 4-6 p.m.

The Northeast Tennessee Reconnect Community program is partnering with The Alliance for Business and Training, American Job Centers, and The Northeast Tennessee Workforce Development Board to provide adults free advising, career counseling, support, and a personalized path to and through college.  The program connects community partners throughout the area in statewide degree attainment initiatives.

WHO:  Adults in Johnson County who would like to earn a college degree or certificate

WHAT:  Northeast TN Reconnect Community Johnson County Education Open House

WHEN:  February 23, 2017, 4-6 p.m.

WHERE:  Johnson County Welcome Center, 716 South Shady Street, Mountain City

Tennessee Reconnect Communities (TRCs) are locally-based collaboratives focused on empowering adults to complete a postsecondary degree or credential. Each TRC is comprised of local leaders from the community, employers, and higher education institutions, each focused on a localized plan to engage adults in the area. The TRCs provide adults with free advising, career counseling, support, and a personalized path to and through college. TRCs were established in 2016 by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission in partnership with the Graduate! Network and through technical assistance and funding from Lumina Foundation and the State of Tennessee.

4-H to host Chili Cook-Off

4-H to host Chili Cook-Off

The Johnson County 4-H will be hosting a Chili Cook-Off on Friday, February 24, 2017 at the National Guard Armory in Mountain City from 6:00-8:00 p.m. 4th – 12th grade 4-H’ers will be competing in 3 different categories: Best Home-Style, Most Unique, and Spiciest, as well as for the honor of People’s Choice. Admission will be $3.00; guests will get to sample all of the chilies, they will also receive a drink and a ballot to vote for their favorite chili. In addition to the chili competition, we will also be having a dessert and cake auction at 7:00pm to help raise funds for our programs. All proceeds from the event will benefit Johnson County 4-H programs. For further information about the event you may contact Danielle Pleasant or Leigh Anne Taylor at 727-8161 or

Safe Haven available to victims of abuse

Safe Haven available to victims of abuse

Johnson County Safe Haven, Inc. offers services for victims of domestic violence. We provide a 24- hour crisis line (423-727-1914) and a public office (423-727-0202) located at 311 South Church Street in Mountain City. If you are a victim of domestic violence, we can help.

Earn your diploma for free

Earn your diploma for free

FREE HSE/GED Classes being held in Mountain City/Johnson County, at our new class location, 372 Cold Springs Road, in the Department of Human and Child Services Building- side entrance. Call our local classroom number (423)460-3330 or the toll-free number (844)637-5697 to get started, today. With a new state-of-the-art local classroom, great teachers to help you through the process, and FREE testing, there’s no better time than now to get started. Earn your Diploma for free.


Shady history museum meeting Feb. 21

Shady history museum meeting Feb. 21
Shady Valley community meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 6:30 p.m., Shady Valley Elementary School. Plans are underway to open a ‘history’ museum in Shady Valley and you can get involved. Attending this meeting you will learn about plans to preserve memorabilia from local families, old photos, tools, equipment, household items, Indian artifacts, and so much more for future generations. We need your help. If you can physically help us or you’d like to volunteer, once it’s open, we’d love to hear from you. If you and/or your family have heirlooms to share or if you can financially help we’d welcome your support. For more information please contact the Shady Valley Historical Society 423.739.2942.

Health Leaders Celebrate Tennessee Quit Week

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, will join former U.S. Senator Bill Frist, MD, founder and chairman of Nashville Health and Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness CEO Richard Johnson Tuesday, Feb. 14 at the Tennessee State Capitol to celebrate Tennessee Quit Week and discuss opportunities for residents, government, business and non-profit leaders to partner in reducing tobacco use in Tennessee. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Old Supreme Court Chamber and is open to the public.
Tennessee Quit Week was created as an initiative of the TDH Statewide Tobacco-Free Coalition to reduce the burden of tobacco use by raising awareness of free resources available to help Tennesseans quit smoking and/or using other tobacco products. The coalition consists of key stakeholders and community partners from around the state whose purpose is to identify strengths, gaps and opportunities for tobacco control in Tennessee.
Tobacco use claims the lives of at least 30 Tennesseans each day and directly causes more than $2.6 billion in annual health care costs in the state. In addition, tobacco use costs Tennessee billions of dollars each year in lost productivity. These consequences could be eliminated by reducing nicotine addiction and tobacco use among Tennesseans.

Bristol Herald Courier reports Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont have visitation restriction in place to protect patients from influenza

Bristol Herald Courier

JOHNSON CITY AND KINGSPORT, Tenn. – All of the hospitals operated by Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System have put in place visitation restrictions in order to protect patients from influenza.

The health systems are asking anyone younger than 12 and anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms refrain from visiting patients in the hospital at this time.

Flu-like symptoms include cough, fever, body aches, headache, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, chills and fatigue.

During the week of Jan. 29 through Feb. 4, Mountain States hospitals recorded 86 positive flu cases. The following week, Feb. 5 through 11, that number nearly doubled to 167 positive cases. Wellmont hospitals diagnosed 60 positive flu cases from Jan. 30-Feb. 5, and the number grew to 91 cases from Feb. 6-12.

“We are definitely beginning to encounter the peak of flu season,”  Jamie Swift, Mountain States corporate director of infection prevention said. “These numbers are higher than anything we saw last year; for comparison, the highest peak for Mountain States during the 2015-2016 season was 118 cases in one week. This week, we started out Sunday with 38 cases in our emergency departments, so we’re anticipating that flu activity will be even higher than last week.”

With flu actively circulating in the community, everyone is encouraged to take extra precautions to stop the spread of infection.

Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes, and please – stay home if you are ill,”  Dr. Gail Stanley, an infectious disease physician at Bristol Regional Medical Center said. “People can spread the flu for up to 24 hours before they start to show symptoms, and they can continue to be contagious for a full week after the onset of symptoms — sometimes even longer with children.”

Prior to implementing restricted visitation, Wellmont and Mountain States hospitals were already employing a number of other precautions, including providing masks at each entrance and registration area and designating separate waiting areas for patients experiencing fever or respiratory symptoms.

“Our emergency departments and urgent care centers are always available for people when they are vulnerable. Because of the high volumes, it is likely wait times may increase during this spike in flu-related activity,” Dr. Stanley said. “If individuals have certain health conditions (i.e., pregnancy, weakened immune systems or people with medical conditions like Asthma, diabetes or lung disorders), we encourage them to contact their physician if they start to experience any symptoms.”

To further protect children in the community, Niswonger Children’s Hospital offers the following tips:

• Children who have a fever should be kept home from school or daycare.

• A child who has a fever that lasts longer than 72 hours should see his or her doctor.

Johnson County students named to TCAT Honor Society

IMG_6747ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. –Three Johnson Countians, Elizabeth Hackler, Lindsey Proffitt, Makayla Wood, pictured from left, were inducted into the National Technical Honor Society at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Feb. 9. Membership is reserved for students with a 95 grade point average with no attendance violations who are nominated by a member of the faculty.