Johnson County Farmers Market will have a new home for the 2018 season

By Jana Jones

Since its founding in 2009, the Johnson County Farmers Market (JCFM) has been looking for a place to call home. We are grateful to Danny Herman for allowing us to use his Quonset hut by Rainbow Rd and Hwy 167 for the first three years, and to the county for allowing us to use the courthouse parking lot for the last six years. These locations have served us well as the community has supported us in good weather and not so good weather. But we have longed to have a permanent covered home that would allow customers to shop out of the rain and allow the vendors to not have to worry about tents blowing away with wind gusts that can occur suddenly here in the mountains.

The JCFM will be celebrating 10 years in 2018 and we are super excited to announce that Mayor Kevin Parsons and the Town of Mountain City, with the help of the JCFM, will be applying for 2 grants through the USDA Rural Development Department to build a pavilion at Ralph Stout Park that will be used as a permanent home for the Farmers Market! Architect and Engineer Eric Nordmark has designed a beautiful timber framed pavilion and will be working with General Contractor Alan Hammons to gather bids for the project. Pictured here is Nordmark’s pencil sketch front view and aerial view that was revealed at our Harvest Celebration Dinner last Saturday.

Aside from Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, the proposed pavilion will mainly be used as an additional picnic shelter for the community and be available to reserve for special events. The design is made up of two 30’X50’ buildings set at an angle that are attached in the center by the roof structure covering. The location at Ralph Stout Park will be behind the existing stage in the grassy area below 421.

Should the grants be fully funded, we are estimating that construction could commence as early as March 2018. Since we don’t expect the building to be completed at the start of our 2018 season, the JCFM vendors will set up tents in the vicinity of the stage area until our new pavilion home is completed.

But for the remainder of our 2017 season, the JCFM is located at the county courthouse parking lot across from the post office in downtown Mountain City. Open every Saturday from 9 til noon through the end of October. We accept SNAP/EBT and currently have a program that doubles the dollars for fresh fruits and vegetables for our EBT customers. Follow us on Facebook to keep abreast of new items offered each week. Or visit us online at We welcome all to come enjoy live music, kids’ activities, sample recipes and all of the great items offered by our terrific farmers and vendors at every market!



Hee-Haw’s Lulu, Chosen Road, and JAM at Heritage Hall tomorrow

Chosen Road

Thursday, September 21 at 7:00 p.m., Hee-Haw’s LuLu Roman with Chosen Road (with special guest The Johnson County JAM Program), a gospel bluegrass performance. Chosen Road is one of the busiest groups on the bluegrass scene, working as many as 250 dates each year, taking their message of forgiveness to music lovers all across the US. Tickets are $12 at the door – open seating. Presented by

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 423-727-9787. We also take used medical equipment. If you want to donate equipment to our church please call any of the numbers listed above.

Johnson County Farmers Market Farm to Table Harvest Celebration Sept. 23rd

The Johnson County Farmers Market is hosting the first annual Harvest Celebration Dinner to be held September 23.  Tickets are now available at the Johnson County Welcome Center or at the Farmers Market Saturday mornings.  Early bird price available through September 9th or until supply lasts.  There are a limited amount of tickets available for this event.  Silent auction donations for the dinner are being accepted also at the Welcome Center.  For more information go to

Next Johnson County historical lecture coming September 17th

The Johnson County Historical Society, which is celebrating its 40th year of serving the citizens of our community, is pleased to announce its 2017 Program of Lectures and Special Events. The lectures will be held at the Johnson County Welcome Center (716 S Shady St., Mountain City, Tennessee 37683) on the third Sunday of each month, at 2:00 pm, beginning Sunday, May 21 2017.
The monthly lecture topics have been selected to appeal to both new-comers to the area and those whose family has lived in the county for many generations; to the young and the old; to those with a passion for history, and those who are simply curious about the historical legacy of those who have come before them into this rugged but beautiful section of the southern Appalachian Mountains.
September 17: “The H Lee Walters 1940 16mm film (now digitized) of Mountain City, including several Johnson County schools.” Ever wonder what the town of Mountain City looked like “back in the day”? The houses, stores, government buildings, schools, the roads and vehicles, the people – what they looked like, how they dressed, etc.? Well, here’s your chance! Attend this presentation and see Mountain City in its heyday, just before the start of WWII. This short film, archived in the original format at ETSU, will be shown twice – the first time without interruption; the second time allowing us stop the film to examine (audience-selected) scenes in greater detail.
October 15: The Watauga Purchase of 1736: The Origin of today’s Deeds of Trust
November 19: Tracing Your Family Tree: Genealogical Resources Available in Johnson County
Attendance at these events is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Johnson County schoolteachers and their students are encouraged to attend. Those interested in joining the Historical Society may do so at any of these events. Annual dues are just $7.00 for singles; $10 for couples.
Comments or questions regarding this program may be referred to Bob Morrison, President, Johnson County Historical Society, through the Welcome Center at (423) 727 5800.

Johnson County Hikers Club headed to Grayson Highlands

The Johnson County Hikers Club is open to everyone. You do not have to be highly experienced though the ability to hike the length of the trail is essential. Beginners and supervised children are welcome. We will meet in the parking lot of the Food Lion in Mountain City on the Hwy 421 end. We meet at 8:45 a.m. and leave at 9:00 a.m. sharp unless otherwise stated. We carpool from there to hike sites. Bring a walking stick, lunch, plenty of water and sunscreen. A hat often comes in handy, too. All hikes are on Saturday unless otherwise stated. Because of weather conditions or unexpected events, we may need to substitute our stated destination for something more fitting to the day. If you have questions, call Carol at 727-5947 or check us out on Facebook.
Sept. 23rd – Today we will be going to a new hike for all of us at Squibb Creek Falls in the Erwin area. This is a 4.5 mile hike of moderate difficulty and moves through the woods and along a creek that pools and tumbles the whole way. Note: we will need to cross the creek several times along the way by “rock hopping” so please wear shoes that can get wet but still give you good footing. (Dry shoes and socks for the way home might come in handy too). This creek crossing could be very refreshing! Come and adventure along with us.

Fall is an excellent time for spreading lime

By Rick Thomason

University of Tennessee
Johnson County Extension Director

Although lime can be applied whenever soil, weather, crop and labor conditions permit, fall is an excellent time for spreading.  Fields are usually dry, lime dealers are less rushed and growers are not occupied with spring planting.  In addition, the physical condition of the soil is generally much better in the fall than in the spring. This will be advantageous in supporting the weight of the lime spreaders and minimizing the likelihood of doing structural damage to the soil as well as getting stuck in fields.  Any compaction or wheel tracking damage done in the fall will have winter freezing and thawing cycles to help alleviate some of these adverse effects.
Soil test results indicate that approximately 40 to 60 percent of the cropland in Tennessee is too acidic for optimum crop production.  Because of this, determining the need for lime by soil testing should be the first step in developing a sound crop fertilization program.  Soil testing should be done annually where high value row crops are being produced and once every 3 years on other fields (such as hay and pasture), lawns and gardens.
What is Soil Acidity? Soil acidity refers to the level of acids present in soils. As acid levels increase, the pH of the soil decreases.  While the pH scale ranges from 0-14, most Tennessee soils range in value from 4.5 to 7.5.  Soils with pH values greater than 7.0 are alkaline or sweet, and those with values of less than 7.0 are acid or sour.  As the soil pH decreases below 7.0, the amount of acidity rapidly increases.  For example, a pH of 5.0 is 10 times more acidic than 6.0 and 100 times more acidic than a pH of 7.0.    Acid levels increase as basic nutrients (calcium, magnesium and potassium) are replaced by hydrogen through soil erosion, leaching and crop removal.  In addition, the use of acid-forming fertilizers greatly enhances acid levels.
What Does Lime Do?  Applying lime to acidic soils provides the following benefits:
1.      Reduces amounts of soluble aluminum and manganese to non-toxic levels.  As soil pH increases, the amount of aluminum and manganese that can be toxic to plants decreases.
2.      Supplies calcium, and if dolomitic limestone is used it supplies both calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg), which are essential plant nutrients.  Also, the availability of secondary and micronutrients is about optimum in the pH range of 6.1 to 6.5.
3.      Increases the efficiency of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) use by plants.  For example, the efficiency of applied phosphate may be more than doubled when soil pH is increased from 5.0 to 6.1 because of less fixation or tie-up in the soil.
4. Increases the availability of molybdenum (Mo), which is important for nitrogen fixation in legumes.
5.      Enhances microorganism activity.  Acidic soils slow the growth and multiplication of certain microorganisms, which in turn reduces soil processes such as the release of nutrients from organic matter decomposition (mineralization) and nitrogen fixation in legumes.
6.      Improves the effectiveness of certain herbicides when used at the right rate of application. Several herbicide families are soil pH dependent.
7.      Increases yields and profits.
*Source: UT Extension Publication PB1096, “Liming Acid Soils in Tennessee”

Wide variety of business at city council meeting

By Marlana Ward

The Town of Mountain City Board of Mayor and Aldermen held its monthly meeting on September 5, 2017. All council representatives were present as well as various department supervisors to discuss business for the town.
The first item of business for the council was to recognize Donna Nelson for 20 years of service to the Town of Mountain City. Nelson was given a plaque and certificate to commemorate her dedication to helping the town throughout her years of employment. Mayor Kevin Parsons expressed the town’s appreciation to Nelson and voiced his hope that she would continue to work with the city for many years to come.
Ryan Fletcher with the ACTION Coalition appeared before the council to request permission for the organization to hold a road block fund raiser on city streets. Permission was granted unanimously and Fletcher was instructed to gain proper permits from the police department.
Town resident Ted Gentry approached the podium to discuss the town’s plans for a skating rink and his willingness to assist in the endeavor. Gentry explained that he had multiple years of experience through previous employment at a local skate rink and was eager to use his knowledge to help the town as they try to establish a new rink. Gentry said that his work to refurbish the 800 pairs of skates given to the town would be at no cost to the town and that he would help in any way possible to see the idea come to fruition. A motion was made to allow Gentry access to the stored skates and to accept his help with the project.  The motion passed unanimously.
Johnson County Mayor Larry Potter presented the council with research he had done concerning bringing Internet provider SkyLine/SkyBest into the Mountain City area.  Potter shared that the company presently provides service to Shady Valley and that the residents using the service are extremely happy with the company and the speeds they are able to achieve in the community are higher than those presently available in many parts of the county.  Mayor Potter expressed that the county courthouse was in need of updating its Internet service and that SkyLine had made known its interest in locating a service building within town limits beginning its service in town.
Mayor Potter explained that the increase in Internet speed would be invaluable to the county as increased connectivity could lead to the county being designated a “Gig Certified Community.” This designation could help bring more technology based businesses into the county as well as make Johnson County a desirable locale for individuals who work from home. The number of people who are able to make a living by telecommuting is increasing every year and if the county could advertise itself as boasting internet speeds comparable to big cities such as Atlanta and New York City, it could make the area more appealing to home seekers and business owners.
The next agenda item was for council members to bring any concerns up for discussion.  Vice Mayor Jerry Jordan mentioned the need for street light repairs at the intersection of North Church Street and Circle Drive.  He shared that Mountain Electric was aware of the need for repairs but that the town should put high visibility cones to better mark the entrance to Circle Drive until the lights are operational again.
Also brought up for discussion were the complaints that had been received concerning school traffic on South Shady Street during pick up hours at Mountain City Elementary.  While the traffic situation had gotten some better since the beginning week of school, the lines waiting in the turning lanes and north bound lanes on the major roadway does continue to raise concern.  With many parents lining up early to pick children up at the school, the roads quickly become congested and could lead to hazardous conditions on the busy thoroughfare.  It was determined that the police department and county school system should look into the legality of traffic patterns near the school and what could be done to alleviate the congestion.
The discussion of traffic issues lead into the next matter of business which was the delayed start of construction on the bridge on Pedro Shoun Road.  Sheila Shaw reminded the council that the town had prepaid $500,000 toward the planned construction and council members expressed that records should be kept of delays and interest figured on the deposit paid to deduct from any additional charges attempted to be billed to the city.
Also concerning Pedro Shoun Road was discussion about the future pump house which would serve that community.  While the pump house location and logistics are still being determined, Water Supervisor Chris Hook suggested that new water lines preemptively be laid to help the current water situation on the road.  While the new lines would not completely alleviate the pressure issue, Hook explained that it would help some as well as be a step toward progress on the project.  The council voted unanimously to begin the work.
Another site of water concerns was Pardue Lane where a resident had requested a hydrant and additional streetlights be located nearer to their home.  Alderman Bud Crosswhite stated that the issue had been brought to his attention and requested discussion of the matter.  A city works representative stated that a new hydrant had been added in that area and the lack of a main water line on the road leads to the lack of a hydrant on the road itself.  It was believed that there was a hydrant within legal proximity to the residences on that road.  Collection/Distribution Superintendent Hook was asked to visit the location to measure exact distances to ensure compliance.  The lights were considered a manageable and agreeable task with the council authorizing the plan to move ahead with installing lights on poles already installed along the lane.
Mayor Parsons expressed his appreciation for the town’s staff for their work with the recent Long Journey Home event as well as the sidewalk improvements done by the City Works Department. Gary Phillips, Public Works Director, explained that his department had a small portion of sidewalks to finish pressure washing and then a few repairs that needed to be made along the sidewalks.
Mayor Parsons additionally brought attention to the new animal control truck that was parked outside City Hall.  Parsons shared that the truck had been purchased from the city of Knoxville for $2,000. This was determined to be an excellent price due to the extreme savings versus purchasing not only a truck but also the special animal containment box on the truck which would was estimated to be worth over $12,000.
Finally, Mayor Parsons informed the council that he continues to research websites after which to model the town’s website. He stated his desire for the town’s website to be functional, informative, and made mention that he would like to see the ability to live stream city council meetings through the site for citizens who would like to observe a meeting but are unable to attend. Mayor Parsons expects to have more information to present to the council by next month.
When department heads were invited to the podium to discuss new business, Collection/Distribution Superintendent Chris Hook presented the board with news that two of the water department’s employees had successfully taken state exams and were now officially licensed. Hook requested that the town promote the men to operator and foreman so two additional crews could be dispatched from the department in compliance with state regulations. The council expressed their pleasure that the men had taken the initiative to obtain their licenses and approved the motion for promotion and pay increase for the men.
Hook’s last item brought before the council was the results of his research towards making the water department’s pump houses and sewage lift stations able to receive auxiliary power during extended power outages. Hook explained that the project would be costly with the switches needed to accommodate the power shift costing $2,000 alone. Additional wiring and supplies needed would make the project cost over $10,000 per location. Hook shared that while some portions of the water supply could continue service without power for up to 48 hours, there were locations that lose water service immediately during a power failure. Hook also said that sewage lift systems could only operate for 12 hours without power. Hook suggested that the town take on the project one location at a time to decrease the financial strain that changing all stations at once could cause. The town asked Hook to determine which locations were in most need of auxiliary power capabilities and begin there.
Parks and Recreation Director Flo Bellamy came forward to thank the town for its continued support of the community center.  Bellamy also shared how the center had received grants to install a pool table, air hockey table, and basketball goals much to the delight of the kids who frequent the property.
City Recorder Sheila Shaw brought before the council continued business concerning construction within the town and budget concerns.  Shaw shared that work continued on the Goose Creek Trail and that repairs to the sidewalk and crosswalks still needed to be completed by the construction company hired by the town before the work would be considered finished.
Shaw also mentioned that while a $50,000 grant was given to the town to bestow upon businesses located on Main Street which wished to improve their storefronts, only one owner had applied for the funds.  She encouraged everyone to visit the jewelry store on Main Street to see the improvements made.  Shaw also said that a representative of the Economic and Community Development had visited and encouraged the town to again reach out to businesses along Main Street to take advantage of the funds given. The council asked Shaw to contact the business owners in hopes of having them take the opportunity to improve the appearance of downtown.
An item of discussion which garnered various reactions was the number of roadblocks being held on city streets for organizations raising funds.  Current regulations state that roadblocks may only be held every other week in city limits for 501c3 and 4 approved and non-profit organizations.  Mayor Parsons acknowledged that while it did seem like there were many roadblocks held, they serve an important function for local organizations.  Alderman Bob Morrison asked for city statutes to be researched to make certain that a maximum number of roadblocks that could be held each year had not been previously established and being exceeded.
Shaw additionally brought before the council the need for an additional $100,000 to be added to the town’s contribution for the 2016 EDA Grant and Wastewater Treatment Plant Rehabilitation Project.  Shaw stated that cost estimates for the project had gone up and that the funds were needed in case of overages.  The council voted unanimously to amend the budget to allow for the overage keeping in mind the large sum that was promised by the government for the project and the savings that this meant for the town.
Other items discussed and approved by the town council included:  Circle Drive/Fairground Lane Water and Sewer Line Relocation Project as capital expenditure; authorization for the Dry Run water storage tank; proposed bid for Wastewater Treatment Plant rotor support repair; resolution authorizing approval of the program policies and procedure for the Town of Mountain City 2017 HOME Program; and budget amendment ordinances for Community Center/Leaps, PR/OPC Grants, Community Center Heat Pumps, and Animal Control Truck.
The next meeting of the Mountain City Town Council will be held on October 3, 2017 at 6:30 pm.  Meetings are held at City Hall and are open to the public.


Volleyball Longhorns play well despite losses

Senior leaders Shahnoa Greene, Courtney Brooks, Kamryn Sluder and Brittney Brooks have all played well.

By Tim Chambers

The Lady Longhorns have been unable to get a volleyball win since their conference victory over Sullivan North, but they’ve played well at times according to head coach Donna Poteet. It showed in a trio of sets at the Cyclone Invitational.
Johnson County lost to Sullivan South and South Greene 22-25 in a couple of sets. Both teams are always contenders to reach the state tournament so playing them close showed much improvement.

They also dropped a 22-25 set to Morristown East.
“We’ve been able to compete against some very good teams in a set or two, but we can’t put it together for a whole match,” said Poteet. “I’ve watched us play more aggressive and we appear to be getting better each time out. We just have to play with a lot more confidence.”
The Longhorns did show some savvy in a pair of recent matches.
They bounced back to defeat Sullivan South in a set at home before losing 3-1. They also lost to Sullivan Central 3-1, falling in the last set by a slim 23-25 score.
“We’ve had some girls that have stepped up and played well,” said Poteet. “Margaret Morrow has been leading us on the front row and her sister, Renie, has also given us some great play. Taylor Parsons keeps getting better and has really played good on the front line. They have been a huge bright spot for us.”
Poteet was quick to commend her senior quartet of Kamryn Sluder, Courtney Brooks, Brittney Brooks and Shahnoa Greene.
“The seniors have given us some good play and leadership,” added Poteet. “We lean on them a lot to make big plays and we’ve gotten that from them at times.”
Poteet was pleased with the play of sophomores Taylor Cox, Natalie Winters, Abby Cornett and Hannah Brooks in addition to Parsons.
“Those girls keep getting better,” added Poteet. “We moved Hannah up to varsity so we now have five sophomores on the varsity roster. They’re really played well on the junior varsity team and are getting in some during the varsity matches. We’re expecting good things from them.”
The Lady Longhorns will play a make-up game on Wednesday at Chuckey-Doak and at home against Unicoi County on Thursday.
“We’ve been on the road a lot since the season started,” said Poteet. “We’re getting ready to play a big stretch of games at home. Hopefully we’ll play with a lot of confidence when we get back at our place. I know the girls are really looking forward to that.”


Senior Center kicks off Long Journey Home weekend

The Johnson County Senior Center hosted the first event for Long Journey Home 2017 last Thursday evening with a great concert from Kody Norris, Mary Rachel Nalley and their band, a wonderful country dinner, and a night full of dancing. This was the perfect venue since folk dancing was a big hit in the l950’s in the high school gym which is now the Senior Center. Approximately 140 people enjoyed the evening.
Kody, just returning from a tour to several states including Iowa where he received a prestigious award in Bluegrass music, gave an outstanding concert. He invited people to dance and the audience was treated to Lois Dunn, Andrew Matherly, Clarence Braden, Howard Hicks, and others demonstrating flat-footing and clogging. Others enjoyed line dancing and a waltz by Mary Rachel’s fiddle rendition of “Faded Love.” The Sugarfoot Shufflers with their instructor, Linda Gee, demonstrated line dancing and taught members of the audience a line dance and “The Virginia Reel.” Her husband, Jim Gee, entertained the audience with two bagpipe tunes.
The evening ended with Willie Hammons and his local square dancing group dancing two tips and inviting the audience out to the floor to learn a square dance. The caller did an excellent job and traveled several miles from North Carolina to participate in this event.
In addition to all the fun, Kathy Motsinger and her great cooks cleared over $600 for the new Center for the Arts and the Long Journey Home Committee made $548 from the sale of T-shirts, Liner Notes, and donations.
This is just one of many activities going on at our beautiful senior center thanks to grants from Johnson County Community Foundation, Pocket Change, and other donations. Fundraisers like the one above is open to the public; but if you are 60 or older, you are invited to come to the center for any or all activities. You will love what a happy and busy place it is.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony opens new Johnson County Center for the Arts

Evelyn Cook had the honor of cutting the ribbon for the opening of the new Center for the Arts.

Temple Reece welcomed everyone to the ribbon cutting of the Johnson County Center for the Arts on Tuesday. She introduced the board as follows: Cristy Dunn, Executive Director, and Evelyn Cook, Mona Alderson, Celia Pennington and Russell Love, thanking all the donors and volunteers.
Reece welcomed members of the Johnson County Chamber of Commerce, Mountain City Mayor Kevin Parsons, Johnson County Mayor Larry Potter, Sheriff Mike Reece, Rep. Timothy Hill and Mark Stevans from First Tennessee Development District. Russell Love led the group in prayer.
Carmen Deedy and John McCutcheon each shared a positive vision for the county and were appreciative of all the hard work that has been done to make this center a reality. Everyone was invited to Heritage Hall for their performance to benefit the Center for the Arts.
Betty Brown introduced Anne Pope, Executive Director of the Tennessee Arts Commission, who commended The Center for the Arts for their grant writing  and the success of the renovation and establishment of the art center.
Evelyn Cook expressed appreciation to everyone and was excited to cut the ribbon and invited everyone in to see the new Center for the Arts.
The Center for the Arts plans to have a Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) session in honor of all the many donors and volunteers on Friday night, September 15.  The official opening will be September 16. Hours for fall will be Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sundays 1 to 3 p.m. and Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

‘The Long Journey Home’ grows to span Labor Day weekend

Jammin’ at the old Fiddlin’ Fred Price homeplace

The third annual “Long Journey Home” continues to grow with the senior center kicking off the 2017 celebration on Thursday with a dinner, performance by Kody Norris and Mary Rachel Nalley, and square dancers and line dancers. Friday evening the streets in downtown Mountain City were alive with buskers and crowds of people enjoying the ambience. There was a quilt turning and an art show which will be highlighted at a later date. Saturday morning began with the unveiling of the mural that was a cooperative effort of various local artists. It depicts the 1925 Fiddlers Convention and can be seen on the side of the new arts center building. After the unveiling, attendees started a self-guided tour at various sites throughout the county. The day ended with a jam session at the home place of Fiddlin’ Fred Price. A new feature added to this year’s “Long Journey Home” was an old-time Sunday singin’ at Heritage Hall. A steady drizzle throughout the day on Saturday didn’t stop those that have been waiting in anticipation for this year’s “Long Journey Home.” More pictures available on The Tomahawk, Center for the Arts and Long Journey Home Facebook pages.

No Lane Closures on Tennessee Highways for Labor Day Weekend

No Lane Closures on Tennessee Highways for Labor Day Weekend

Travelers Won’t Be Delayed by Road Construction during Holiday


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Transportation will halt all lane closure activity on interstates and state highways for the Labor Day holiday travel period.  Construction crews will stop all lane closure activity beginning at noon on Friday, September 1 through 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 5.  This will provide maximum roadway capacity for motorists traveling during the busy Labor Day holiday.


“Because we anticipate thousands of motorists will be traveling Tennessee’s roadways during the Labor Day holiday, we are halting lane closures for the busy weekend,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer.  “We want to do what we can to get travelers to their destinations safely, and without road construction delays.”


While lane closure activity will be stopped, workers will still be on site in many construction zones, and drivers are urged to obey posted speed limits.  Drivers convicted of speeding in work zones where workers are present face a fine of $250 to $500, plus court fees and possible increased insurance premiums.


From your desktop or mobile device, get the latest construction activity and live streaming SmartWay traffic cameras at Travelers can also dial 511 from any land-line or cellular phone for travel information, or follow us on Twitter at for statewide travel.  As always, drivers are reminded to use all motorist information tools wisely and Know Before You Go! by checking travel conditions before leaving for your destination.  Drivers should never tweet, text or talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel.


In 2016, the Tennessee Department of Transportation lost three workers in the line of duty. All three were struck by passing motorists. Those tragedies bring the total number of TDOT lives lost to 112. We don’t want to lose another member of our TDOT family. We’re asking you to WORK WITH US. Click on the WORK WITH US logo to learn more.

Early deadline this week

Early deadline this week…classified deadline is Friday at 12:00 and editorial deadline is Friday at 4:30. The Tomahawk will be closed on Monday for the holiday.

Mountain City Cycle presents FFA with grant

When people think of Mountain City Cycle they think of four-wheelers, ATV’s, and great service. When Johnson County FFA members think of Mountain City Cycle they are reminded of the continued support of the students. In cooperation with Arctic Cat, Shelia Fenner at Mountain City Cycle presented Johnson County FFA with an $800 grant. With continued community support and generosity from local businesses, Johnson County FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of its members. Here FFA members Dawson Cress, Taylor Long, Jacob Baker, Faith Poteet, Mackenzie Cooke and Megan Rice accept a check from Mountain City Cycle’s Shelia Fenner.

Johnson County Longhorns derail Hampton Bulldogs 20-8

JC’s Gage Hampton #20 runs for a first down against the Bulldogs.

Troy Arnold #1 scores a TD to put JC up 14-0.

Shane Greer makes a diving catch at the 5-yard line vs. HHS

JC’s Bud Icenhour #9 returns a kick off 40 yards vs. HHS

JC’s Tyler Norris #6 makes a textbook tackle on HHS’ Hunter Davenport #25

JC’s Nathan Arnold runs for a key first down vs. HHS

JCHS players celebrate with Longhorn fans after their 20-8 win over Hampton 

By Tim Chambers

Johnson County fans turned J.C. Campbell Stadium into a sea of maroon on Friday night well before the 7:30 kickoff. It later became their oasis for rejoicing after the Longhorns ended a 40-game drought without a win over Hampton.
Their 20-8 victory was the first since the 2013 season over the Bulldogs who came in ranked No. 6 in the state’s first Class 2-A poll. Johnson County proved worthy of their No. 8 ranking in 3-A which hyped up the contest even more.
“This was unbelievable, the crowd and all,” said JCHS’ head coach Don Kerley. “It’s a big win for us and I’m proud of all our kids and fans that made it possible. I thought we had more people here than Hampton which speaks well for our school and community. We appreciate the way that everyone got behind us tonight. It definitely was a factor.”
That and several other things would factor in the win.
Hampton drove 53 yards on their first drive, but it stalled at the 12 thanks to a pair of open field tackles from Will Kerley and R.J. Snyder.
The most impressive thing came next.
Johnson County took to the air to mount an 11-play, 88-yard scoring drive. The biggest play was a 51-yard pass from Nathan Arnold to Bud Icenhour that gave them great field position at the 27.
Gage Hampton got them on the board by taking Arnold’s screen pass 20 yards for a touchdown. Jared Kimble added the extra point giving the Horns a 7-0 advantage.
“We wanted to score first because Hampton has such a good team,” said Hampton. “I caught the pass and saw the field open up all the way to the end zone. I believe our depth wore them down because we played a lot of people and they had several going both ways. They looked a little tired late in the game. Everybody played a role in this win. We distributed the ball equally and our defense made several big plays.”
The senior running back hit the nail on the head.
The Bulldogs had trouble moving the football against Johnson County’s speedy defense led by linebacker Hayden Osborne.
He collected three tackles on their next drive while Cameron Clawson and Stephen Osborne had a sack each.
Hampton never found the end zone in the first half and trailed 7-0 at the half. Hunter Davenport accounted for most of their offense by rushing for 117 yards on 11 carries but couldn’t find pay dirt.
The Longhorns however would find it for the second time on their opening drive of the third quarter.
Arnold hit Hampton for a 17-yard gain and Shane Greer added two clutch receptions for 16 more.
Troy Arnold’s 4-yard touchdown plunge capped off a 12-play, 55-yard drive that ended with 7:02 showing in the quarter. Kimble’s PAT gave the Longhorns a 14-0 advantage.
Hampton closed the gap to six with a 12-play scoring drive that covered 77 yards. Jason Russell’s 2-yard touchdown run made it 14-8 after Alex Hardin’s two-point conversion with 11:27 remaining in the game.
The pumped-up Bulldog crowd was silenced on the ensuing kickoff.
Icenhour’s 40-yard kickoff return through heavy traffic gave the Horns great field position at their Dogs’ 40-yard line. They followed that up by delivering the dagger.
Hampton had a pair of runs that totaled 21 yards and Greer kept the drive alive with a diving grab on fourth and 10 that moved the football inside the five-yard line.
Nathan Arnold’s 1-yard run came with 7:40 remaining in the game.
A fourth down sack by Jordan Edes-King on Hampton’s next possession allowed the Johnson County fans to start celebrating behind the Longhorn bench.
It’s probably the best feeling in the world at the moment,” said Icenhour. “They scored and were fired up, but we took the energy right back out of them with the kickoff return and scoring drive. Our seniors knew this was the last time we would ever play them so we wanted to go out with a bang. We weren’t about to let this one slip away.”
Icenhour ended the game with 145 all-purpose yards including five receptions for 75 yards.
Arnold completed 14-22 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown. He made no bones about who this win was for.
“This one is for Coach Don because he deserves it,” said Arnold. “We came out here and got it for him. The line blocked extremely well and our defense played outstanding. This was a team effort not just one or two players doing it all. Nobody believed in us to start the year so we wanted to prove ourselves worthy of our ranking.”
Arnold also led the team in rushing with 48 yards on 10 carries. Starting tackle Tristan Dishman said the play was simple.
“We felt like our line could dominate at times,” said Dishman. “We were quicker off the ball than they were. We tried to keep Nathan safe in the pocket and open up some holes for Gage to run through. It’s sweet to finally get a win over them.”
The Longhorns defense held Hampton’s high-powered offense in check. Their speed posed problems especially keeping the Dogs from getting out on the corners.
Osborne led the way with 13 tackles including two for losses and a sack.
“To beat a good team like Hampton is huge,” said Osborne. “They had dominated us the past two years so we had to get a win our senior year for bragging rights. It’s a great feeling winning in front of a packed stadium like this. Now we have to get ready for Chuckey-Doak. “
Osborne wasn’t the only linebacker that racked up double-digit tackles. Tyler Norris finished the game with 12 and RJ Snyder provided 11. Edes-King had 10 tackles and two sacks.
“It feels good to beat somebody who can really play,” said Edes. “We want to win every game on our schedule and this definitely was one of them. We hadn’t beaten them since seventh grade in middle school. We can leave here tonight with a good feeling.”
Cameron Clawson, Nathan Lane, Zack Eller and Will Kerley provided five tackles each. Clawson and Kerley had a sack each.
“I felt like our kids played hard for 48 minutes against a good football team,” said Kerley. “Hampton was 9-1 last year and they very seldom lose at home. To come down here and win is huge. Our seniors, Nathan Arnold, Bud Icenhour, Hayden Osborne, Gage Hampton and Jordan Edes-King all had big nights at their positions. The other kids played well too, especially RJ (Snyder) and Tyler (Norris). Shane (Greer) had a big diving catch that saved us on fourth down and our defense gave up some yards but kept them from breaking the long runs. That’s hard to do against a good back like (Hunter) Davenport.”
Davenport ended the night with 155 yards on 24 carries. He felt like Johnson County’s depth played a key role in their win.
“They were able to anticipate everything we had worked on,” said Davenport. “They did the things they had worked on better than we did the ones we had worked on. They had a lot more players to rotate than we did and that was a factor. We’re young at several positions and many of us play both ways. We only had 14 combined juniors and seniors but we have to grow up quick. We have a big game with Happy Valley this week. Playing a team like Johnson County can only help you get better.”
Jason Russell and Gavin Hardin had 10 tackles apiece for the Bulldogs.
The Longhorns have a short week to get ready for Thursday’s game at Chuckey-Doak. Kickoff will take place at 6:30 inside the “Black Hole.”



Johnson County Youth Football Tidbits

JC”s Colton Grindstaff #54 runs for 25 yards against Hampton’s Grasscutters

By Tim Chambers

A large group of youth football players watched Johnson County defeat Hampton 20-8 on Friday before a packed house at J.C. Campbell Stadium. It was evident they wanted in on some of the action too.
The Grass-Cutters and Junior Pee Wee prevailed over Hampton on Saturday while the Mighty-Mites lost a heartbreaker at J.C. Campbell Stadium.

Johnson County 32
Hampton 0
The Longhorns scored early and often against the Baby Bulldogs that resulted in their lop-sided victory.
Sawyer Marshall got them on the board with a 45-yard touchdown run on the second play of the game. Hunter Paisley added the conversion for an 8-0 advantage.
They increased that to 14-0 on Kyle Maple’s 60-yard touchdown run. Maple ended the game with 153 yards on only five carries. He later tacked on an 80-yard touchdown outrunning several Bulldog defenders to the end zone.
Hunter Paisley got in on the scoring act with a 12-yard touchdown run. Carter Atwood’s 17-yard pass to Marshall and another completion to Nate Price helped set up the score.
Atwood’s 30-yard run would later set up a 28-yard touchdown run from Bryson Kimble.
Marshall would tack on a 65-yard touchdown and end the game with 110 yards on a mere two carries. Colton Grindstaff had a 25-yard run.
Paisley collected 30 yards rushing including his 12-yard touchdown and conversion run but the offense got plenty of help from the defense.
Maple led the way with six tackles. Atwood added five and two sacks. Marshall, Eli Tester and Paisley collected four apiece. Hunter McElyea and Ian Lewis recorded three each. Copper Murray, Brayden Dickens and Riley Henson had two each and Nate Price delivered a game-ending tackle.
The Longhorns were coming off a win over Cloudland from the previous Saturday.
Paisley scored a pair of touchdowns and ran for 105 yards. Atwood ran for 20 yards and added a 20-yard completion along with six tackles.
Colton Grindstaff provided a couple of bone crushing tackles and Daniel Yax collected one in the backfield. Tester was a force in the offensive line at his center spot.
“I’m proud of all these kids because they play hard,” said Coach Austin Atwood. “They all love to hit. They’ve worked hard in practice and it’s starting to show on the field. I couldn’t ask for a better coaching staff. They’re a huge part of our success too.”

Junior Pee Wee
Johnson County 25
Hampton 6
The Longhorns ran like a well-oiled machine led by the outstanding play of Kyle Sluder.
His 35-yard touchdown run in the first quarter allowed Johnson County to tie the game at 6-6 after Hampton had scored. It stayed that way through halftime but the Longhorns broke it open in the third quarter.
Sluder’s 47-yard touchdown run stood tall and so did another 35-yard touchdown scamper from Jace Stout.
A 30-yard pass and circus catch from Carson Jennings to Ethan Stout would pretty much salt the game way from Johnson County.

“This was a great all-around performance from our kids,” said Coach Charlie Jennings. “They work hard in practice every day and they bring that on the field to the games.”
Travis Waspi had a strong game on the defensive line with five tackles. Corbin Presenll played lights out making 10 tackles to lead the defense.
Nate Dorman provided five tackles and some outstanding blocking in the offensive line along with Thunder Fletcher. Sam Cretsinger collected a touchdown saving tackle. Dylan Blevins and Gunter Hutchinson were singled out for their outstanding play.
Sluder led the offense with 125 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
The team was coming off a big win over Cloudland from the previous Saturday.
Sluder scored a pair of touchdowns including one of 58 yards. Carson Jennings added a TD as did Jace Stout. Nathaniel Walker and Zachary Lunceford each had a two-point conversion.
Dorman led the defense with eight tackles. Stout was singled out for his outstanding defensive play as was Andrew Long.

Hampton 8
Johnson County 0
The Little Horns fell to Hampton 28-0 in their recent jamboree but took the Bulldogs down to the wire in this one.
It appeared like they might pull out a win but Camden Johnson’s 58-yard touchdown run got called back due to a holding infraction.
Grayson Hensley played a strong game and rushed for 80 yards.
Avery Blevins led the defense with an astounding 11 tackles.
Kingston Mills and Hunter Stanley provided some solid play in the offensive line. Matt Stout and Luke Cretsinger played hard during their time on the field.
“These little guys give it everything they’ve got,” said Coach Jamie Lundy. “I can’t believe how much we’ve improved since the jamboree. We have all young kids. We’re probably a year away from being a really good team.”

Tim’s Tomahawk Talk – King Ralph, role model to all

By Tim Chambers

I remember a movie titled King Ralph starring John Goodman where he was supposed to take over the Royal Throne. But the real “King Ralph” lived in Mountain City. He too, had a throne of his own.
Stout was a legend to all those who knew him.
He was a standout basketball player at Johnson County High School and graduated in 1939. His team won 26 straight games that year before losing to Kingsport in the tournament.
Stout told me that you never forget a loss like that. You never forget a man like Mr. Stout either.
Johnson County named their local park after him because Stout was a legend to his hometown people. He served in the U.S. Navy and played college basketball at Lincoln Memorial.
The eagle-eye Stout would graduate from the Elgin Watch Makers College in 1945. Five times he was awarded the “Silver Whistle” award for being the best official in the Southern Conference. He could have won that 10 times plus among the residents in Mountain City.
That’s because Mr. Stout was simply the best.
It’s funny how Stout was always the one handing out the compliments.
He stated that Larry Hutchinson from Shady Valley was the best football official in Tennessee. I definitely agreed with him on that one.
He stood toe-to-toe with the likes of North Carolina’s legendary basketball coach Dean Smith and NCAA championship coach Norm Sloan of North Carolina State.
But Stout was proud of his Johnson County heritage. Mountain City was his hometown and he never forgot it.
Nor did he forget those here who were closest to him.
He was proud of Johnson County native Mark Blevins stating he was one of the best high school basketball coaches in Tennessee.
He also praised former major league pitcher and Johnson County native Clyde “Hardrock” Shoun for being a great official with tons of knowledge about the game.
That was Stout; praising the people he loved most, those from Johnson County.
But Stout wasn’t all about sports.
His pride and joy was his granddaughter, Jeanie Bower, and her sons. His close friends such as Joe Atwood and Tom Reece often saw another side of him as well.
“Ralph was one of the kindest and nicest people that you could ever meet in this life,” said Reece. “I would always stop in and visit him. He always thanked me when I came and he never failed to thank me again when I left. That spoke volumes about the type of man he was.”
You could say that Mr. Stout was one of the most respected men ever to wear the stripes as an official for 55 years. It was common to find him as the lead referee in a big time college basketball game on television.
He called 37 games in the professional ABA league. He was supervisor over the Ohio Valley Conference officials for 37 years too.
But there is so much more to say about Ralph.
I am amazed that he found time to serve as the mayor of Mountain City years ago. But why should any of this be a surprise?
Ralph Stout was the king of Johnson County with his castle located at the entrance of Mountain City. He gave the town everything he had for 96 years as a role model citizen.
It would take a movie the length of “Gone with the Wind” to tell his complete story.
May I suggest King Ralph 2 without John Goodman?
Nobody will ever be as good as Ralph Stout was.