Appalachian Sustainable Development offers Forest Farming Expo and Field Day

ABINGDON, Va. – Registration is now open for two events designed to offer networking opportunities for experienced and beginning forest farmers, herbal product makers, and herb buyers. Both events are hosted by Appalachian Sustainable Development and the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition, and generously sponsored by Gaia Herbs, Mountain Rose Herbs, Pennsylvania Certified Organic, and United Plant Savers. Forest Farmer Grower-Industry Expo and Training: May 19, 9:00am-5:00pm, Renaissance Center, 1200 E Center St., Kingsport, TN. $15 fee, includes breakfast, lunch, expo, panel and training sessions. Registration required:

This event will bring together herb companies, apothecaries, and herbal product makers with experienced and aspiring forest farmers for a day of networking and learning. Panel discussions with forest farmers and herb buyers will share valuable experiences and advice, and technical training sessions will be offered for all skill and experience levels. Topics will include herb cultivation and propagation techniques, plant conservation, certification, harvest and post-harvest handling, value-added production and more.

Farmers of all experience and readiness levels and businesses of all shapes and sizes who are interested in sustainable sourcing of forest botanicals are encouraged to attend. Vendors are also welcome, with a limited number of tables available at no charge. Those who wish to have table space at the expo will be given an option to reserve during registration.

The Forest Farmer Field Day: May 20, 10:00am-3:30pm, Appalachian Harvest Herb Hub, 280 Boone Trail Rd., Duffield, VA. $15 fee, includes lunch and site visits. Registration required:

Start the day with a tour of the Appalachian Harvest Herb Hub and a discussion on the economics of cultivating forest-grown medicinal herbs. After lunch, attendees will visit forest farmer Ryan Huish’s farm, learning about his plans for cultivating forest herbs, plant identification, site selection and more. The tour will include a mildly strenuous hike through diverse forest ecosystems.

About the Appalachian Harvest Food and Herb Hub
Since 2000, Appalachian Sustainable Development’s Appalachian Harvest food hub has helped produce farmers access markets by securing orders from food brokers and retailers, providing aggregation and distribution support, training in food safety and handling, organic certification and marketing services. In 2017, an herb hub was established at Appalachian Harvest, offering the same services to medicinal herb farmers. Appalachian Harvest farmers have sold more than $15 million worth of produce its products are sold to wholesale grocers and food brokers who have access to approximately 3,800 stores from Maryland to Georgia.

About Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD)
Nationally known and respected for its commitment to local farmers, Appalachian Sustainable Development is transitioning Appalachia to a more resilient economy and a healthier population by supporting local agriculture, exploring new economic opportunities and connecting people with healthy food.

Since 1995, Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) has been working in 15 counties in Central Appalachia. ASD’s reach has since expanded to include eastern WV and KY and southeast OH. ASD uses 6 strategies to accomplish its work: closing the knowledge gap, increasing local food production, developing markets, increasing distribution of local agriculture products, engaging strategic partners, and researching/consulting and advising. ASD operates programs that create jobs in farming and agriculture and address food insecurity. For more information about ASD go to, Facebook or Twitter.

My Turn: Animal abusers will now be registered like sex offenders

Editor’s note: Animal abusers registered as sex offenders is a no-brainer.


By Tamas Mondovics

As a crime beat and public safety reporter for more than a decade, I had my fair share of writing about bad guys and bringing pertinent safety information
and tips to my readers. But I couldn’t be any more delighted to see a recent report about a topic that I believe most can agree on and is close to the hearts of many across the nation.

The article dealt with animal offenders registry that is reportedly growing in popularity,and which will publicly reveal the names of known,convicted animal abusers in the area, similar to how sex offenders are registered.To be sure we all know what we are talking about an “abuser”or “animal abuser” means a person convicted in this state of committing an animal abuse offense or aggravated cruelty to animals.

Since January 1,2016, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) has been posting a publicly accessible list on its website of any person convicted of an animal abuse offense on and after that date. While currently, Tennessee is the only state to have an animal offenders registry, many other communities nationwide have them at a local level; something that is now considered a win for all animals.The effort will help to identify as well as prevent convicted
animal abusers from acquiring and owning animals.A few facts related to the registry include the length of time that a convicted abuser will remain on the list and what information is included.

According to the TBI, first time animal abusers will be registered for two years. An additional five years are added for every subsequent offense after the two years. Each abuser will have their name, date of birth, offense,conviction date, and expiration date, all of which is monitored by and can be accessed
at the TBI or any local country office.

In a recent report, Suffolk County (eastern part of Long Island) legislator Jon Cooper, who was instrumental in establishing the first animal offenders
registry in the country was quoted to say that a very strong correlation is between animal abuse and domestic violence. Cooper noted that almost
every serial killer starts out by torturing animals so “the registry can help protect not only the animals but also people.”

Aside from being on the list of animal abusers, offenders will be made to pay a $50 registration fine. Abusers 18 or older must supply a recent photo as well as any aliases they go by. Those that fail to register, face one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

One final thought that also caught my attention was the question at the end of the article,which asked: Do you agree with this registry? Then it
added, “Let us know.”I would venture to say that there is no shortage of thoughts on this topic but to wonder about the importance, necessity or legitimacy of the registry seems, at least to me is a no-brainer.

For more information about the registry or to see those currently on the abuser’s list, please visit

Fre$h saving program provides free produce to EBT customers

During May and June, EBT customers new to the Farmers Market will receive a complementary planter as shown.

By Jana Jones
Farmers Market Manager

Have you heard of the FRE$H Savings Program? The Johnson County Farmers Market (JCFM) was selected as one of 10 counties in Tennessee to participate in the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program (FINI), a provision of the 2014 USDA Farm Bill, to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients increase their purchase of fruits and vegetables.

FRE$H Savings is the official name of this program, and the JCFM is excited to be among the farmer markets chosen again this season. Wholesome Wave and the AARP Foundation are partnering through FINI to oversee the implementation of the program, providing signage, flyers, and support. The FRE$H Savings program offers matching dollars for fresh fruits and vegetables at the Farmers Market. When a SNAP customer swipes their EBT card for $20 or less, they will get an additional matching dollar amount in FRE$H Savings tokens to spend at the market. This “double dollar” incentive is good up to a $20 match each transaction which translates to $20 worth of FREE fruits and vegetables for those in need.

During May and June, EBT customers who are new to the Farmers Market will also receive a complementary planter complete with potting soil and their choice of 3 varieties of seeds to start their own mini-garden at home! This incentive program is a part of the grant received through the East Tennessee Foundation’s Johnson County Community Fund. The Garden Barn, R&D Campground, and Tri-State Growers have also donated to this program. We are very grateful for the businesses and organizations that make these opportunities available to our community. The Johnson County Farmers Market 2018 outdoor season begins Saturday, May 5 at 9 a.m. until 12. We have a new location this year, so watch for the signs to lead you to Ralph Stout Park. Until then, you can still get local farm fresh produce; home-baked bread, pasture raised chicken eggs and many other local items at our Winter Market located in the basement of the Welcome Center. We look forward to serving you because FRESH IS BEST.

Roan Creek Elementary third nine weeks honor roll


All A’s

Vada Clifton
Carson Icenhour
Shelby Lipford
Austin Shaw

All A’s & B’s

Brady Blevins
Kylee Mink

1st Grade

All A’s

Marley Burgos
Nick Cano
Madison Johnson
Savannah Simcox
Cameron Snow
Kagen Townsend

All A’s & B’s

Joey Bendell
Jacob Bentley
Gabbi Crowder
Eli Danner
Zoey McCard
Sophia Meade-Hernandez
Olivia Roark

2nd Grade

All A’s

Ezzy Aguilar
Elsie Clifton
Karter Cox
Claira Porter
Audrey Shaw
Amelia Stout

All A’s & B’s

Luke Anderson
Jake Anderson
John Baldwin
Braiden Folsom
Avery Furches
Avonna Humphrey
Chasity Osborne
Konner Stines
Matthew Connor Stout
Ariya Toth
Dylan Vanover

3rd Grade

All A’s & B’s

Kayleigh Crotts
Kaleigh Dunn
Daniel Gunter
Tyler Hicks
Catie McFadden
Chloe Rhymer
Marley Snyder

4th Grade

All A’s

Liddy Arnold
Maddie Benton
Ansley Clifton
Donovan Cooper
Josie Cox
Layla Crotts
Jack Csillag
Conner Gentry
Landon Greene
Kloi Hopkins
Landin Lipford
Emma Lipham
Makaela Mabe
Charlie Salmons
Shayla Sileo
Chloe Sutherland
Trinity Winters

All A’s & B’s

Maddie Colsen
Myleigh Crowder
Logan Davis
Zoe Epperly
Elizabeth Jennings
Kaleb Jennings
Abel Johnson
Olvia Lynch
Brisa Mendoza
Parker Miller
Josh Potter
Emily Roark

5th Grade

All A’s

Jack Able
Denni Berduo Perez
Jackson Clifton
Eli Dickens
Savanna Dowell
Emma Eller
Kayden Epperly
Kylie Hampton
Flor Hernandez
Johnathan Jennings
Hannah Johnson
Joe Johnson
AJ Laing
Savannah Lewis
Lanie Mink
Kylie Morefield
Sarah Morris
Anna Porter
Sydney Prater
Amberlynn Reece
Desirea Robinson
Trinity Slimp
Stephen Swift
Marley Townsend
Addison Ward

All A’s & B’s

Elizabeth Bass
Carson Brown
Shane Cable
Tyler Campbell
Logan Fletcher
Bailee Grindstaff
Courtney Hargett
Maleia Leonard
Kemora Lipfird
Denns McCranie
Gage McDaniel
Zahlan McNeal
Owen Price
Sammy Seviers
Emilie Vanover
Nathanael Walker
Caleb Williams
Johnalyn Yates

6th Grade

All A’s

Jackson Baker
Alexandria Childers
Luke Davis
Lydia Eastridge
Neveah Grover
Sophia Livorsi

All A’s & B’s

Geno Bunce
Donald Bunce
Brayden Cannon
Paiten Carroll
Sami Csillag
Noah Eastridge
Christopher Eller
Austin LaBond
Jessica Lopez Berduo
Mason Potter
Shainna Putnam
Madison Riffle
Connor Simcox
Kaylee Snyder
Trinity Vanover
Emily Walker
Kara Ward
Lily Wilcox

Shady Valley student of the week

Brooklyn Woodell

The Student of the Week program has one simple purpose: celebrate individual academic achievement and to recognize students who model outstanding exampleray character and citizenship.

Thanks to the generosity and the support of the community and local businesses each week area students enjoy the spotlight providing a way for fellow students in the class to learn more about each other and each other’s families.

Last week’s students of the week was Brooklyn Woodell.Brooklyn is a students at Mrs. Hodge’s Pre-K class at Shady Valley Elementary School. Recognizing her talent and abilities Brooklyn received her spot in the light and of course in the Tomahawk Newspaper as Fine Arts Student of the week.

Go Brooklyn.

Johnson County’s famous facilities

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

Most locals know about the Johnson County High School greenhouses and aqua center as a staple in the FFA program. What you may not know is just how popular these premises really are. Hundreds of people travel from around the world to tour these facilities per year. School groups, state groups, and even national groups come to visit. A few examples of faraway visitors include North Korea, China, Belgium, England, Holland, Scotland and every state in the United States. It is time to take a closer look at a familiar place.

The greenhouses opened first. The state owned the original greenhouse located in Jackson, Tennessee. After former agriculture teacher Harvey Burniston Jr. requested the greenhouse, four volunteers traveled to Jackson, dismantled it and reconstructed it at JCHS. Greenhouse One, opened in 1985 and holds mostly flowering plants. Greenhouse Two opened in 1989 and holds tropical plants. Greenhouse Three, opened in 1994 and holds hydroponic plants. It was built from funds from a House grant from the University of Tennessee to raise floating tobacco. Together, these greenhouses cover 3,000 square feet.

Many are more familiar with Greenhouse Three than they would imagine. Other than supplying local schools and the regular customer, its produce is also used in many restaurants like Mateo’s, TeamMates, La Cucina and Butler Grill to name a few. Produce is grown with care by students with help and encouragement from their mentors. They do everything from planting the seed in perlite, testing and adjusting the water acidity, configuring the perfect fertilizer formula, weeding, pollinating, harvesting and packaging the product once it is ready.

The Aqua Center was proposed in 1995 and came to fruition in May of 1997. Johnson County High School would use these facilities to pioneer aquaponics. The facility is 9,000 square feet and includes raceways that are far deeper than most people are tall. The staff and students perform a variety of different agricult

ure there including hydroponics, aquaponics and recently aeroponics.

Aquaponics is a type of aquaculture in which farmed fish waste supplies nutrients for hydroponically grown plants, which in turn purify the water. The JCHS Aqua Center does this most prominently with tilapia and ferns. The ferns feed off the fish waste and return the water oxygenated to the fish while destroying harmful nitrates in the process. It is a good example of symbiosis at work.

Agriculture teacher Thomas Boyd loves seeing growth. Both the plants and students mature over time. Boyd enjoys working with the students. The word “with” is the keyword. This program functions as a partnership. Students work with the help and guidance of their teachers, who maintain the fish and plants during breaks and weekends. The program gives students real-life experience in the field.

“The field is wide open,” Boyd said. “It’s a fine option for a lot of people, and you get to see new life spring forth every year.”Alexa Daye and Kala Thompson, both juniors are so inspired by their experience that they plan to open a greenhouse and landscaping business together later in life. “I love this class,” Thompson said. “You’re not stuck in a building all day. “She also expressed her love of selling plants to customers. She and Daye are the primary sellers.

Do you want to support this program? Produce, herbs, flowers and more are available for purchase at Johnson County High School. 100 percent of proceeds go back into the program. While you are there, check out the hard work that makes this all possible.

Click below to enlarge the photos.

Reece named March Good Neighbor

Graham Reece is presented with the March Good Neighbor award by Sheila Cruse and JCMS Assistant Principal Mechelle Arney. Photo courtesy of Sheila Cruse.

Graham Reece was recently notified that he has been named the Good Neighbor for March 2018. Sponsored by the local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, this award recognizes students in the Middle School who have a generous spirit, who put others before self. Graham is described as a hard -working member of the Student Council, and is always willing to lend a helping hand to his peers. He volunteers his time during lunch to work in the school store, and always has a positive attitude. He has a great work ethic and is a model citizen. Sheila Cruse and JCMS Assistant Principal Mechelle Arney, presented Graham with letters of congratulations.

JoCo Robos prepare for Worlds

JCMS Robotics

The Johnson County Middle School team poses after winning the state competition. Photo courtesy of Susan Quave.

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

The JoCo Robos team is strapped for time as it prepares for the Vex Robotics World Competition at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. The students now practice nearly every day doing tasks such as improving and creating a new autonomous, practicing and discussing strategies, practicing driving and working to achieve their overall best performance.

The students’ excitement is palpable; they are all first-time competitors at Worlds. The middle school participants will be split into two divisions with a total of 184 teams participating. The main competition is divided into three categories: middle school, high school, and college students.

Both the team and the team sponsors would like to thank the community for its support. Funds raised from fundraisers within the community, including a spaghetti dinner, a school dance and a silent auction, are going towards paying for the trip.

Team Sponsor Susan Quave gives a specific shout out to Roan Creek Elementary for raising over 600 dollars for the team with popcorn sales. Programmer and driver Wyatt Decker delivers a message from the team to the community. “Thank you, and we’re trying to do our best.”

The group hopes to come home with at least one award, preferably the Design or Creative Award.

The students look forward to competing while making new friends from all over the world. The Parade of Nations is the “Olympics of robotics” where ambassadors from all over come together. Every team sets out a booth with memorabilia such as buttons, wristbands, and etcetera to share with the others. It is also popular to exchange coins.

The team will leave for Worlds on April 24 and compete for four days. Watch the Johnson County Middle School Robotics team compete live at Next year’s new game will be revealed at the end of the competition. Check in with The Tomahawk for more news on Johnson County Middle School’s remarkable team.

Do you want to be part of the JoCo Robos? The team will be traveling to the elementary schools after the competition to show off their robots and pass out applications for next year’s team. They hope to increase both male and female interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and make new friends.

Mountain City Elm. students receive reading awards

Mountain City Elementary students pose with their reward for excellence and enthusiasm in reading. Photo courtesy of Gay Triplett.

Six MCE students were surprised on Thursday, March 29 when they were presented with an Easter basket for excellence and enthusiasm in reading. The baskets are donated each year by Ms. Janice Russell in memory of her sister, Ms. Anne Atkinson. The awards were initiated to promote reading at home. We would like to give a special thanks to Ms. Russell for making these awards possible this year.The students recognized this year are: Kindergarten – Kayla Bumgardner and Mason Gregg First Grade – Addy Ward and Tanner Leonard Second Grade- Cadence Townsend and Isaiah Eller. These students had the highest number of books checked out in library, maintain a great attitude towards reading, and they exhibit enthusiasm in reading. The students are shown with their gifts. Congratulations to these students for their persistence in checking out books so often and reading with their parents at home.

Johnson County Farm Bureau National Agriculture Week Photo Contest

Photos @ Arts Center

The Johnson County Arts Center displays the winning photographs from the Johnson County Farm Bureau’s “What does Agriculture mean to you?” photo contest. Winners are all elementary school students.

In celebration of National Agriculture Week (March 18-24, 2018), the Johnson County Farm Bureau Women held a photo contest encouraging local students in 4th – 12th grades to enter photos with the subject being “What does Agriculture mean to you?” The Farm Bureau Women were pleased with the participation of this contest and would like to recognize several students and their photographs.

The 1st place photo titled, “Majestic Mountain Sunrise” was entered by Jack Csillag, a 4th grade student from Roan Creek Elementary. The 2nd place photo titled, “Not Too Chicken to Do Some Pickin’ “was entered by Gaston Dugger, a 6th grade student from Mountain City Elementary.

The 3rd place photo titled, “In the Woods” was entered by Bridget Masters, a 6th grade student from Roan Creek Elementary. The following students received Honorable Mention: Lexie Proffitt (6th grader from Mountain City Elementary), Erica Hightower (6th grader from Doe Elementary) and Sami Csillag (6th grader from Roan Creek Elementary).

These photos are on display at the Johnson County Center for the Arts. The Farm Bureau Women would like to congratulate these students and encourage the public to stop by the Arts Center to see the photos. Anyone interested in joining Farm Bureau Women may email with any questions.

Then and now: 60 years of community service

Members of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department pose for a photo in front of the old jail in 1954. Left to right: Hill Wallace Roscoe (Tobe) Gambill, Jim Wright, Sheriff Dayton Payne, Thurston Gregg, Paul Snyder, Dennis Shupe and Howard Wallace. The department has come a long way during the next six decades, while continuing to serve the community with the utmost integrity.
Photo courtesy of JCSO.

Seeking talent for Kids Day at the Market

By Jana Jones

Planning is underway for our annual Kids Day at the Johnson County Farmers Market. This year Kids Day isset for June 16. This day is set aside to spotlight young talent in our area. Clogging, playing music, singing, or even magic tricks will have a venue to shine. Elementary age through High School may participate in Kids Day at the Market.

Kids Day is also the day that we welcome Kids Art and Crafts. A special booth will be set up where children, along with a parent, may sell their handmade items with no booth fee. If there is enough interest we will also have a tent where children who are raising plants can sell their plant starts. This will help children learn the value of creating, growing, and entrepreneurship.

When children participate in the market there are many lessons that are learned. They learn the work it takes to set up a booth, to prepare their items for sale and develop their display. They learn how to exchange money and make change. They also learn how to interact with the public and talk about their creations. A price cannot be placed on the value of building self-esteem and a work ethic when efforts are rewarded with earning their own money.

The Farmers Market welcomes anyone who desires to participate in Kids Day to contact Jana Jones, JCFM manager at or call 727-5725. You are also welcome to attend our annual vendor meeting/pot luck on April 9th in the basement of the Johnson County Farm Bureau at 5:30 p.m. Applications will be accepted and auditions schedule during the month of April. Space is limited. Please encourage your talented children friends to share their gift with us on Kids Day at the Market!

Tennessee Department of Education Releases New Resources to Support English Learners

NASHVILLE—The Tennessee Department of Education released today a framework for supporting and empowering districts to more effectively serve their students who are English Learners. This new resource is designed to support administrators, educators, and advocates as a reference guide and a tool as they meet the unique needs of this group of students.

The department developed the framework to help districts implement new requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which is part of the department’s Tennessee Succeeds plan. ESSA has a heightened focus on ensuring English learners are learning and growing. The tool released today helps all teachers – not just those who teach English as a second language (ESL) programs – understand the needs of English learners and the best instructional practices to support their classroom success.

Alongside the department’s English as a Second Language Manual, these resources will inform decisions on planning, assist teachers in differentiating supports for students, and ensure that ESL programs are implemented with fidelity and in the best interest of students.

“Our vision is that all students are equipped with the knowledge and skills to successfully embark upon their chosen path in life, and this includes students who are learning English,” Commissioner Candice McQueen said. “We are committed to ensuring that English Learners have the same opportunities for success with access to rigorous coursework, early postsecondary opportunities, and highly effective teachers on every step of their educational journey as we further the work for equity and excellence in public education.”

As the English Learner population has steadily grown across the country, Tennessee’s EL population has more than doubled in the past ten years. In the 2016-17 school year, 132 Tennessee districts and 1,451 schools served ELs, with 17 districts serving a population of ELs exceeding 6 percent of their student body. As a result, districts and educators have been tasked with supporting ELs in both language acquisition and content knowledge by providing instruction tailored to the needs of this group of students. To support this work, the department has developed the new framework that outlines supports for ELs and provided the ESL Manual to offer guidance for teachers and administrators who are working to improve outcomes for ELs. These complement a policy update from the State Board of Education that requires general education teachers who engage with ELs to be trained on the WIDA development standards, which the department is offering in April.

In Tennessee, schools are expected to meet the needs of all students, and those who are furthest behind and have been historically underserved must be prioritized, as demonstrated by the department’s commitment to All Means All in Tennessee Succeeds, the department’s strategic plan. Further, Tennessee’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan, which is a continuation of Tennessee Succeeds, outlines supports for ELs as they are developing English language acquisition skills and academic skills. Tennessee’s ESSA state plan is grounded in equity, which includes access, opportunity, and supports for all students with an increased emphasis on both the proficiency and achievement of ELs. With the new guidelines and accountability, district and school leaders are called to review and to make data-driven decisions to benefit all students, especially for historically underserved student groups.

Additionally, divisions across the state department are working to provide dynamic and coordinated professional development focused on supporting ELs for general education teachers through a series of workshops and work sessions provided within professional learning across Tennessee. Districts are further empowered through increased learning around ESL program designs and provided continuous support as they select the design that best fits their EL population and local needs. The state is actively developing even more programs and resources that districts can use to create an individualized learning plan and a growth trajectory for English language acquisition for each EL in grades K-12.

The complete framework for supporting English Learners is available online here. For more information about the department’s English Learner resources, contact Jan Lanier, director of English Learner, immigrant & migrant programs, at For media inquiries, contact Sara Gast, director of communications, at (615) 532-6260 or

Tennessee students lend their insight to issues facing public education

Johnson County Students

Johnson County representatives (left to right): Hazlee Kleine, Chase McGlamery and Renie Morrow. Photo courtesy of Johnson County Schools.

Students from Johnson County Schools joined approximately 350 of their high school peers in Murfreesboro on March 6 to express their views on public education in Tennessee at the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) Student Congress on Policies in Education (SCOPE). The event took place on the Middle Tennessee State University campus.

Attending from Johnson County High School were: Hazlee Kleine, Chase McGlamery, and Renie Morrow).

Now in its 36th year, SCOPE is designed to give students a voice where public education issues are concerned and to involve young people in finding solutions to the topics that are discussed. Attendees participated in mock school board sessions, where they assumed the roles of school board members, school officials, parents, students and concerned citizens. The sessions were led by actual school board members, superintendents and educational leaders from across the state.

Students then chose speakers to represent each of their 16 small groups who went on to take part in full-scale debates on current education issues. This year’s four debate topics and results from the poll were:

1.Student information shall be shared without parent permission. (Agree: 53%, Disagree: 47%)
2.Corporal punishment shall be banned from all schools. (Agree: 47%, Disagree: 53%)
3.All students shall pass a civics exam to graduate (Agree: 69%, Disagree: 31%)
4.Cyberbullying shall be a zero-tolerance offense. (Agree: 17%, Disagree: 83%)

SCOPE delegates elected 2019 SCOPE officers and they are:
•President: Emily Morgan, Maryville High School, Maryville
•1st Vice President: Kevin Loo, Dobyns-Bennett High School, Kingsport
•2nd Vice President: Abhi Manda, Central Magnet School, Rutherford County

The Tennessee School Boards Association was organized in 1939 to provide a united voice in education for local public school boards. In 1953, the State Legislature officially recognized TSBA as the “organization and representative agency of the members of school boards in Tennessee.”

The Tennessee School Boards Association is a service organization to all the state’s school boards. It serves as an advocate for the interests of Tennessee’s public school students and school districts and provides in-service training and assistance for the state’s 945 board of education members.

JCHS invests in healthcare providers of tomorrow

Members of the Johnson County High School Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) program pose for the camera at the school’s gymnasium. The students take HOSA program courses to help them pursue an education in healthcare careers. Photos courtesy of Johnson County High School

By Marlana Ward
Freelance Writer

For primary care in Johnson County, many residents depend on providers who were born and raised here and who returned after obtaining their degree to help those in their own community. It is this appreciation and dedication to the community that the Johnson County High School’s Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) program hope to instill in the healthcare providers of tomorrow.

“HOSA helps with this problem by getting kids involved as soon as we get them,” shared Tina Reece, Health Occupations Instructor, and HOSA Advisor. “We introduce them to community service based care from day one in our classes. We encourage and empower students to set their goals in life and to follow through. I feel like educating them with a strong sense of community is key to getting them to come back and practice. I mentor a clinical internship program where our students can visit different departments and agencies in the community for job shadowing. They can see first hand what the job entails and this assists them with career choices.”

The program is very popular among JCHS students with a third of the student body participating in classes related to the HOSA program.

“Yearly around 200 students take courses to help them
pursue an education in healthcare careers,” said Reece. “This year’s graduating class is the largest we have had with over 35 graduating who are concentrating in pre-healthcare, which means
these kids are interested and focused on continuing their education at the post-secondary level in the health-care arena.”

The students who are in the program are not just seeking primary care positions, but their exposure to the world of healthcare has resulted in many branching out to other specialties. “We have students interested in a large range of different careers, Reece said. “These include biomedical technology, nursing, nurse practitioners, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, family medicine, and various specialties including pediatrics, cardiovascular medicine, surgery, pharmacy, dentistry, laboratory science, optometry, radiology, emergency medical services and many, many others.”
While the interest and passion are present with the generation currently seeking careers in healthcare, Reece explained how the community could help ensure that the young men and women consider returning to Johnson County to provide much-needed care to the area.

“I think it is imperative that we educate kids from the time they start school on what a wonderful area Johnson County is and stressing the positives,” she said adding, “Too often the negatives are emphasized, and that is what tends to have focus. Also fostering a sense of community in kids is important, and we emphasize the importance of this in HOSA.”

Though the number of healthcare providers in Johnson County is currently low, some steps could be done by the community to increase the likelihood of more providers coming into the area. The consensus is that everyone has an opportunity to make a difference in the future of the county. Whether it be support for the local healthcare providers trying to garner participation in healthcare initiatives, encouraging the youth of the county to succeed in obtaining their education and then returning to their hometown as a practitioner, or making sure that local government officials understand the importance of having local healthcare options available.

A pair of Johnson County High School students practice some clinical skills as they participate in the school’s Health Occupations Students of America(HOSA) program.

Johnson County Kindergarten registration

local registration information

Johnson County Schools will register Pre K, Head Start and Kindergarten students for the 2018 -2019 school year according to the following schedule:

The Kindergarten registration process is as simple as going to your school of zone and giving your information. But don’t forget to bring the necessary forms and paperwork.

The state laws governing kindergarten eligibility have changed, so please read the following carefully:To be eligible for kindergarten in 2018 – 2019, your child must be five years of age on or before August 15, 2018.

Children whose third birthday is on or before August 15, 2018 or fourth birthday is on or before August 15, 2018, and who meet income guidelines, are eligible for Head Start.

Children whose fourth birthday is on or before August 15, 2018, are eligible for Pre-K.

Children whose fifth birthday is on or before August 15, 2018, are eligible for kindergarten.

Parents of children with disabilities who will be 3 years of age during the 2018 – 2019 school year need to contact Karen Bishop at 727-2640 for registration information.

Parents need to bring the following items to the registration:
• child’s birth certificate (a certified copy, not a mother’s copy)
• child’s social security card
-record of recent physical and up-to-date immunization (shot) record.

Immunization forms have been re-named: Tennessee School Immunization Certificate (K- 12 students), and Tennessee Pre-School Immunization Certificate (ages five and under).

Children are required by Tennessee law to have the following immunizations before entering school for the first time:

• 3 doses Hepatitis B (Effective July 1, 2010 this will also be required for Head Start)
• 4 doses DPT – one of which was given on or after the fourth birthday. If age seven or older three doses are required.
• 1 dose Chicken Pox Vaccine (or documented case of disease) Head Start
• 1doses Chicken Pox Vaccine (or documented case of disease) Effective July 1, 2010 for children entering Kindergarten, 7th grade, or new enrollees in a TN school.
• 4 doses Polio Vaccine
• 2 doses MMR – one dose must be given on or after the first birthday.A second dose of MMR is required for entrance into grades K, 4, 8, and 12
• 1 dose MMR – (Head Start)
• 2 doses Hepatitis A (doses must be 6 months apart) (required for Kindergarten entry effective July 1, 2011)
• 1 dose Hepatitis A – (Effective July 1, 2010 required for Head Start entry)Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)- (Effective July 1, 2010 required for Head Start entry under 5 years of age)
• Tdap Booster- (Effective October 1, 2010 for 7th grade)-Anyone registering a child for Head Start or Pre-K should bring proof of income (copy of check stubs, W-2 forms, AFDC eligibility form, etc.) to registration.

Parents are encouraged to have all requirements completed for registration. HOWEVER, THEY SHOULD STILL REGISTER THEIR CHILDREN EVEN IF THEY ARE LACKING SOMETHING AT THE TIME OF REGISTRATION. This will provide an early, accurate count so schools can be well prepared and adequately staffed to meet the needs of the children of our county. Any parent who has a child entering kindergarten next year and cannot attend registration should call the appropriate school.

If the child is entering Head Start, and the parent cannot attend registration on the scheduled date, the parent should call 727-2640 and speak with Lorie Plank, Karen Bishop, or Shelia Billings. If parents have questions regarding the registration process, they may call the appropriate school or the Board of Education Office at the above number and speak with Ruth Ann Osborne.

Farmers market celebrates its tenth year serving johnson County

Farmer's market

By Jana Jones
As Winter comes to a close and Spring greets us with daffodils, the Johnson County Farmers Market (JCFM) is revving up to begin our 10th year, offering fresh produce, meat, and baked goods direct from the farmer, rancher, and baker. Starting the first Saturday in May, look for the 2018 outdoor JCFM at our new location – Ralph Stout Park!

We are excited to be moving to a location that will be more visible, more accessible with additional parking, and have the ability to expand with new vendors. We hope to attract more children with a new GoJoCo Kids tent thanks to the Johnson County Health Department and the UT Extension Office. Each week children will have an opportunity to make their own healthy snacks and learn fun games that will encourage activity and exercise as part of the GoJoCo Healthier Tennessee initiative. EBT customers will have the ability to double their spending power on fresh fruits and vegetables again this year with the Fre$h Savings Program.
Our annual vendor meeting/pot luck will be held on April 9th at 5:30 in the basement of the Farm Bureau office on 421. This meeting is open to anyone interested in finding out more about being a vendor at the market. We promote local foods that are grown in Johnson and adjacent counties as well as local crafts and baked goods. You can also go to our website to download an application and learn more about joining our quest to strengthen a sustainable local agriculture and food economy, because “FRESH IS BEST!”

Morleys celebrates 75th Anniversary

Delmer and Mandlene Morley

Delmer and Mandlene Morley
Photo courtesy Morley Family

Delmer and Mandlene Morley of Shady Valley, Tennessee will celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary Wednesday, April 25, 2018. The couple’s children and their son-in-law are Jewell Walker of Johnson City, Tennessee and Carolyn and Wayne Moser, Lewisville, N.C. The couple’s grandchildren are Amy Forrester (Wes) Drake of Knoxville, Tennessee and Jason (Kirn) Moser of Advance, N.C.
Their great grandsons are twins born December 16, 2012 to Amy Forrester Drake and Wes Drake. The twins are Asher James Drake and Walker Howard Drake.
Delmer is retired from Raytheon, Bristol, Tennessee and is a World War II Veteran. Mandlene is a homemaker, Delmer and Mandlene were married April 25,1943.
Congratulations to Delmer and Mandlene on 75 years of marriage.

Correctional officers receive Behavioral Health Certification

NECX correctional officers Nicholas Deloach, Alexander Curd, Melissa Miller, William Luster, Rick Matherly, Tracy Salyers, Gary Lewis and Dustin Diffenderfer, Sgt. Brian Eller, and Sgt. Angelo Giarrusso are joined by Warden Randy Lee, and Director Vicki Freeman after receiving their Correctional Behavioral Health Certification (CBHC) from the American Correctional Association (ACA). Photo courtesy of NECX

By Tamas Mondovics
The Northeast Correctional Complex (NECX) at 5249 Highway 67 West in Mountain City, Tennessee made headlines after ten of its correctional officers received their Correctional Behavioral Health Certification (CBHC) from the American Correctional Association (ACA).
The nationally recognized certification training is a major addition to the arsenal of skills of its personnel as it is designed to ensure correctional staff is more knowledgeable and better prepared to interact with offenders who exhibit behavioral health issues.
According to East Tennessee Region, Public Information Officer Robert Reburn participants in the training undergo 40 hours of behavioral health training, which is augmented by a rigorous study of the ACA Behavioral Health Study Guide.
In a recent press release, Reburn emphasized that following the training, correctional officers are to complete a difficult proctored test designed to validate their knowledge of national behavioral health standards and guidelines, legal and ethical principles, and relevant security regulations.
The release added that CBHC now validates the role of correctional professionals associated with the provision of behavioral health and recognizes the high-level capabilities and accomplishments they’ve demonstrated in the field of correctional behavioral health.
“This is incredibly valuable training, and I applaud the ten officers from NECX, as well as all the officers and staff from across the State that has undergone this training,” Warden, Randy Lee said. “The more tools our officers and staff have at their disposal the better prepared they’ll be to manage the different populations we supervise. That, in turn, creates a safer environment for our staff, offenders, and community.”
To date, 95 TDOC officers and staff have voluntarily completed the Correctional Behavioral Health Certification program, four of which received honors for receiving a 90 or above on their certification test.
Northeast Correctional Complex in Mountain City, is a close custody facility that incarcerates up to 1,880 male inmates, 300 minimum security inmates at the Annex, and 180 inmates at Carter County.
Additional assistance inmates at the NECX are provided include intensive anger management and substance abuse treatments along with counseling. The NECX participates in the TRICOR program employing inmates in hardwood flooring production.
Offenders can also work in community service programs that provide labor to local state and government agencies performing tasks like clearing roadways of trash and debris, as well as landscaping and painting. Vocational training and educational courses, which include adult basic education, and the ability to earn a GED are also available for inmates.
Visits at Northeast Correctional Complex occur on Saturdays, Sundays and State holidays from 8am-3pm, and on Mondays by scheduled appointment only from 5pm-8pm. Do not arrive any earlier than 7:30 am, or you will be denied visitation.
Visitation starts to end on
the weekends around 2:45 pm and around 7:30 pm on Mondays.

Schools evaluate safety plans following recent shooting

Roan Creek Elementary School requires all visitors to report to the office. Photo by Jill Penley

By Jill Penley
Since the recent shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 students and staff members dead, much of the nation’s focus has zeroed in on increasing school safety. Federal, state and local authorities continue to examine the breakdown in security measures that allowed a gunman to enter a school of nearly 3,000 students without confrontation.
“Safety is the top priority of the Johnson County School System,” said Angie Wills, Safety Coordinator for Johnson County Schools. “We are continually reviewing our procedures and plans to ensure that we are doing as much as possible to protect students while they are in our care.” Studies suggest students learn best when they are part of a supportive, safe learning environment, and the local school district works each day to provide a safe place for all to learn, work and grow.
Law enforcement and local education agencies have a long history of partnering together for the safety of students. Strong relationships have strengthened the ability of both agencies to prepare for and respond to threatening incidents that occur in school settings. School resource officer (SRO) programs can provide the crucial link between school districts and law enforcement agencies in their continued efforts to establish and maintain secure and safe learning environments.
The high school campus, which includes the county’s only high school, the middle school and the vocational school currently has a School Resource Officer on duty each day. “District administration has also met with the city mayor to discuss safety measures, and the city police department is supporting our city schools by providing extra security throughout the day,” said Wills. “We have also been in communication with the sheriff’s department, and they are also going to provide additional security checks to our county schools.”
In addition to extra patrols and the SRO, a comprehensive safety plan for emergency
and crisis situations is in
place. According to Wills, the district and each of the county schools recently completed a thorough update to individual school improvement plans by collaborating with area law enforcement and the Johnson County Emergency Management office. Also, all schools participate in monthly required drills that include: fire, earthquake, tornado, and armed intruder drills. These drills must be logged and are verified by the state fire marshal. “All district personnel will also participate in a mock armed intruder drill before school starts next year,” said Wills. “This is currently being planned along with Johnson County Emergency Management and area law enforcement and will provide all agencies with an opportunity to evaluate our current plan and procedures which will be updated if needed.”
Unlocked entrance doors are a thing of the past, and gone are the days when parents can pop in and check on their children without proving their identity and reason for the visit as experts suggest one of the most critical aspects of security is stopping an intruder from entering the school. “The district has updated entrances at the majority of our schools with secured entrances,” said Wills. “The district plans to continue this project until all entrances are made more secure.” The board of education has also appropriated funds to upgrade some outdated security cameras this year.
School officials shy away from speaking publicly about specific details of school building security as a precaution to keep such information from those who may be planning violence at local schools, but they said overall school buildings are vastly better secured than in the past.
The physical layout of school buildings constructed in the last 20 years is far superior regarding intruder prevention, officials said. “District administration is evaluating all school buildings and developing a comprehensive needs assessment to present to the board of education,” explained Wills. “The board plans to review and discuss this assessment and take appropriate action as needed.”
Increased vigilance is also essential to curtail school violence. Local school administrators continue to emphasize the necessity of reporting suspicious behavior and taking immediate action. “We provide JCMS and JCHS students an avenue to report safety concerns anonymously through an app that we purchased called STOP IT,” explained Wills. This app, which has been available for students use for the past two years, notifies administration immediately so that situations can be investigated in real time.
Gov. Bill Haslam recently announced the formation of a working group of leaders made up from the executive branch, General Assembly, safety, education, and mental health communities to immediately begin reviewing school safety in Tennessee and provide recommendations to enhance the security of school children.
While all schools in Tennessee currently have safety plans in place, the Governor’s new task force will review the policies, procedures, and process of developing and implementing those plans, as well as other school safety measures, including increased communication among law enforcement, educators, and mental health professionals.
County Mayor Larry Potter reached out to the director of schools soon after the most recent school shooting
tragedy. “I wanted to see if administrators and the board
of education would be agreeable to me contacting State Senator Jon Lundberg and
State Rep Timothy Hill to seek funding at the state level to provide this security for our children,” said Potter. “With the support of Dr. Simcox, I have reached out to both Sen Lundberg and Rep Hill asking the state to fund school security.”