County awarded $7K grant to support emergency food and shelter program

Release by Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency

“Johnson County has been awarded Federal Funds made available through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program. Johnson County has been chosen to receive $7,052.00 to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.

The selection was made by National Board that is chaired by the U.S Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and consist of representatives from American Red Cross; Catholic Charities, USA; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; The Jewish Federations of North America; The Salvation Army; and United Way Worldwide. The Local Board was charged to distribute funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and
shelter programs in high-need areas around the country.

A Local Board made up of local representatives will determine how the funds awarded to Johnson County are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter program run by local service agencies in the area. The Local Board is responsible for recommending agencies to receive these funds and any additional funds made available under this phase of the program.

Under the terms of the grant from the National Board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must: 1) be private voluntary non-profits or units of government, 2) be eligible to receive Federal Funds, 3) have an accounting system, 4) practice nondiscrimination, 5) have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and 6) if they are a private voluntary organization, have a voluntary board. Qualifying agencies are urged to apply. Public or private agencies interested in applying for Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds must submit a written application that includes the amount of EFSP funding requested by program area (food, rent, utilities, etc.) to Local EFSP Board, P.O. Box 46, Kingsport, TN 37662. The deadline for applications to be received is May 31, 2018. “

Guns in School?

Tennessee Firearms Association: “Candidates need to talk to more teachers about whether they are willing to protect themselves, their students and their colleagues”

Editor’s Note: This editorial is included in light of last weeks shooting at a Texas High School ,which left at least 10 people dead. The incident adds more fuel to the nation’s debate over guns, which was already inflamed by a gunman killing 14 students and three adults on February 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla

John Harris, Executive Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, is encouraging Tennessee’s candidates for Governor to listen to more teachers before they speak for teachers. Harris was referring to the issue of whether teachers who have been issued a civilian handgun carry permit would be willing to get additional training and carry on campus in order to protect themselves, their students and their colleagues in the event of a school shooting situation.

During the gubernatorial forum on May 15, 2018, three of the five major candidates participating (Congresswoman Diane Black was absent) indicated that they opposed allowing trained and permitted teachers to carry their weapons on school grounds as an additional line of protection in the event of a shooting incident on campus. Democrats Craig Fitzhugh and Karl Dean joined Republican Beth Harwell as all indicated that they did not support allowing teachers to be armed. Republicans Bill Lee and Randy Boyd both supported allowing teachers, who wished to do so, and were certified and trained, to carry firearms into their schools.
“What was disturbing, aside from their unwillingness to increase security in our schools,

was that at least two of the candidates indicated that they didn’t know of any teachers willing to be armed on their campuses,” Harris pointed out. “Both Boyd and Dean claimed that they had not met or talked to any teacher willing to carry a weapon on school grounds — despite the fact that many teachers across the state already legally carry in some counties and more are willing to do so if the law permitted them to do so.”

Harris pointed out that a Professional Educators of Tennessee, PET, ( conducted a survey of over 1400 Tennessee teachers earlier this year. That survey indicated that over half the teachers had carry permits and 47 percent were willing to undergo additional training and carry their weapons on campus if allowed to do so.
J.C. Bowman, Executive Director of PET said that there are a large number of teachers across the state who have already been issued handgun carry permits, with many of them being former military or former law enforcement personnel.

“We sent our survey results to every candidate for Governor, Republican and Democrat, and they should all be aware that there are hundreds of teachers who are in fact willing and able to do what it takes to increase the safety of our schools, including carrying their own weapons on campus,” Bowman noted. “Instead of listening to education bureaucrats and politically correct anti-second Amendment advisors, we encourage all of the candidates to talk to more of the rank and file teachers and regular citizens across the state as they develop their public policy positions,” Harris concluded. “TFA would be happy to host a meeting for any of these candidate with gun owning teachers and citizens to help them better understand the reality of what Tennesseans really think and believe when it comes to the Second Amendment and protecting ourselves and our families.”

Annual drug take back a huge success

Annual drug take back a huge success

Members of local law enforcement and emergency operations including Jeff Norman, Mark Gladden, Matt Mullins and Joe Woodard pose for a photo last month during at the Mountain City Town Hall during the annual Drug Take Back event. Reading left to right on the officers standing. Also pictured Dr. Jeffrey Gray and pharmacy student Robert Barton who supported the day and assisted residents during the event.

By Tamas Mondovics

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Department in collaboration with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) provided residents the opportunity to rid their homes of potentially
dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. The annual Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign was a huge success both locally and nationally.

According to Kandas Motsinger, with the Johnson County A.C.T.I.ON. Coalition, the event on Saturday, April 28 was a great success.“We took in 51.5lbs of unwanted prescription medication,” she said. “Three pounds of that were controlled substances.”

Motsinger explained that the three collection locations included the Mountain City Town Hall, Butler Fire, and Shady Valley Fire Departments.

“We would like to send out a special thank you to our volunteers from the Mountain City Police Department, Johnson County Sherriff’s Department, and the participating fire departments,” said Motsinger, adding, “This day would not have been possible without you.”

As reported by The Tomahawk last month the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that the majority of misused and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including someone else’s medication taken from a medicine cabinet.

Aside from the annual drug take-back events, awareness strategies include education of health care providers, patients, parents and youth; establishing prescription drug monitoring programs in all 50 states; and increased enforcement to address illegal methods of prescription drug diversion.

TN Department of Education awards funding for more than 900 classrooms

NASHVILLE—Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced today that 18,320 students in 916 classrooms across the state will benefit from the Voluntary Pre-K (VPK) program in the 2018-19 school year. Nearly 95 percent of districts in Tennessee will receive VPK funding designed to serve 4-year-olds who are at-risk and those in high-priority communities.

In an effort to ensure the program provides children with a high-quality opportunity to develop school readiness skills and a strong foundation for learning, the application process was revised in 2017 to align with the department’s definition of excellence in Pre-K. Pursuant to the requirements outlined in the Pre-K Quality Act of 2016, VPK funding was awarded on a competitive basis in order to provide consistently high-quality VPK programs that prioritize serving students from low-income families.

“It is important that we set our students up for academic success from day one with high-quality early learning opportunities, especially for those students with the greatest need,” Commissioner McQueen said. “By supporting 95 percent of our districts with excellent Voluntary Pre-K classrooms, we will allow more students in Tennessee the opportunity to build a strong foundation from which they can jump-start their academic journeys.”

To ensure VPK funds are used to maximize and increase student outcomes, the funding is based on program quality standards, including:

•full enrollment in programs serving the highest-need students;

•use of a quality curriculum aligned to the Tennessee Early Learning Developmental Standards for 4-year-olds;
•consistent, positive and responsive student-teacher interactions;

•instruction that reflects an integration of standards and builds deep content knowledge.

•use of student outcome data to improve instruction;

•frequent classroom observations with job-embedded support for pre-K teachers; and

•family outreach to maximize enrollment and support at-home learning.

The department believes it is important to give districts the support and training necessary to improve the quality of VPK programs. In the coming weeks, all districts that applied for VPK funding will receive district-specific, narrative feedback on each section of their application, as well as targeted supports based on areas of growth noted on the application

The competitive application process is one of many targeted updates the department is undertaking to ensure VPK funding is utilized to support high-quality pre-K programs across the state. As the department continues to make pre-K program quality improvements, we will continue to partner with districts across the state to measure program quality and to provide strategic professional development and support.

A list of preliminary funding amounts by district and the number of classrooms that funding supports is located on the department’s website. To find out more about VPK in Tennessee, visit the department’s website or contact Candace Cook, director of voluntary pre-K programs, at For media inquiries, contact Sara Gast at (615) 532-6260 or

“Friends of the Market” Campaign

By Jana Jones

The Johnson County Farmers Market is pleased to announce our “Friends of the Market” launch for 2018. JCFM is a 501c3 non-profit organization and is dependent on grants and fund raisers to continue to operate. Since our inception in 2009 the local community has rallied around the JCFM to help us succeed in our mission to strengthen a sustainable local agricultural and food economy. We do this by providing education, engaging in community and economic development, promoting the availability and benefits of local food and agriculture, and preparing and serving local foods during our annual “Harvest Dinner” offered to the community. We are excited to offer our “Fresh is Best” T-shirts that were printed by The Final Touch in Mountain City. We have several beautiful colors and sizes to offer including children’s sizes. This is one way to support your local Farmers Market.

Another way to show your support is to become a member of the “Friends of the Market” by joining at one of the three levels offered this year.

GROWER – For a gift of $25 receive a “Fresh is Best” logo car decal and a shopping bag also with the “Fresh is Best” logo.

HOMESTEADER – For a gift of $50 receive a “Fresh is Best” T-shirts of your choice of color, a car decal and shopping bag with the “Fresh is Best” logo.

RANCHER – For a gift of $100 receive a ticket to our Community Harvest Dinner to be held August 18th with special recognition at our FOM table OR 2 “Fresh is Best” T-shirts, car decals and shopping bags.

No matter what level you join at, all of the Market Friends will enjoy special email notices of upcoming Farmers Market events, special recipes sent to no other group (including the prize winning recipes from our annual berry baking contest!) and special recognition on a sign at the market manager’s table. You will also receive a non-profit status receipt to use as a tax right off.
To support your local farmers market in any of the above ways, just come by the Market Manager’s table any Saturday morning, or email if you are unable to come by in person. We greatly appreciate those partnering with us to achieve our goal of having a fair, equal, and sustainable economy in Johnson County by building self-sufficiency and encouraging community engagement and economic development.

The Johnson County Farmers Market is located in Ralph Stout Park near the playground parking area. Open every Saturday from 9 til noon from May through October. 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 because . . . FRESH IS BEST!

National Police Week honors fallen heroes


By Tamas Mondovics

Sheriff’s deputies and police officers across the state of Tennessee are joining forces with the nation’s law enforcement agencies this week to recognize those that gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Several events were held across the Eastern District of Tennessee as part of National Police Week, Sunday, May 13 through Saturday, May 19, 2018, to remember such heroes.
Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

Commenting on the FBI’s 2017 Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey, Eastern District of Tennessee, emphasized the sad reality of the continued violence against law enforcement.According to statistics collected by the FBI, 93 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2017 – a 21 percent decrease from 2016.“Many of these were firearms related,” Overbey added. “This violence against police officers, as well as the violent acts occurring in our communities, must stop. As the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, I am personally committed to work in partnership with state and local law enforcement to develop strategies that work in our communities and make the streets safer for everyone, including law enforcement.”

The Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc, (ODMP) a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring America’s fallen law enforcement heroes reported that since 1791 more than 22,000 officers have made the ultimate sacrifice in the United States, “The countless stories of selfless courage and heroism exhibited by officers who lost their lives while serving and protecting the citizens of this great nation are a testament to the dedication of those men and women who wear the badge,” the ODMP stated.

For the first time in the history of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, TBI, the agency has released a comprehensive study detailing law enforcement-related deaths in the state.
“I am very proud of the efforts of all participating law enforcement agencies in the state to provide the data necessary to produce this report,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn. Reflecting on the special week, Mountain City Police Chief, Denver Church said, “We appreciate our officers very much as they continue to put their lives on the line to protect and serve.”

Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece stated, “I want to take the opportunity this week to thank all of our law enforcement but especially those in my department here at Johnson County. Being in law enforcement for 38 years, I know personally the physical, emotional and mental demands of the job. Being an officer requires long hours, continuous workload, and many hours away from family. Officers can get called in at any hour and also work extra days to appear in court for the incidents that they have worked. I want to thank all of my officers for the time they put in for the department and this county and they hard work that they do.”

The four officer lost in Johnson County include:

Deputy Sheriff Allen Richard Lipford whose end of watch was on Wednesday, December 11, 1991. Lipford, 28, was shot and killed by a felon as he escaped from the county jail after overpowering two other deputies.

Investigator John Cunningham, 53, suffered a fatal heart attack on Wednesday, January 15, 1986, shortly after completing a required 45-minute physical training exercise at the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy. He collapsed in the locker room following the workout. Cunningham served with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department for one year. He was survived by his wife and four children.

Deputy Sheriff Ronnal Ralph Stanley, 24, of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed on Wednesday, August 31, 1983, following a foot pursuit through a wooded area. Deputy Stanley had caught up to the suspect, but during the ensuing struggle the man was able to obtain control of his service weapon and shot him. Deputy Stanley had served with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department for nine months.

Deputy Sheriff Conrad Franklin Bunton, 31, of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, TN, a six-year veteran was shot and killed on Thursday, April 9, 1936, while struggling with a drunk suspect who was brandishing a weapon. During the struggle, Bunton was shot in the abdomen. Bunton had been with the agency for six years and was survived by his wife and seven children.

The ODMP is furthering its mission of honoring all fallen law enforcement officers with the announcement of its newest memorial program: ODMP K9. The program honors the hundreds of police canines that have been killed in the line of duty serving alongside America’s law enforcement officers. These loyal companions have given their lives to ensure their handlers, fellow officers, and citizens stay safe.

The full report can be found on the TBI’s website: For more information about National Police Week, please visit

Supporting local heroes

A motorist puts money in a bucket on Church Street as firefighters Brett Hibberts, 38, and Michael Sexton, 16, with the Second District Volunteer Fire Department participate in the department’s annual fundraiser Mountain City, TN. The effort helps keep the station on 938 Rhea Rd. function properly while serving area residents. Photo by Tamas Mondovicsws

Tomahawk Graphic Designer featured at Johnson County Arts Center

Tomahawk Graphic Designer Lewis Chapman and his wife Jeana were featured in the Johnson County Center for the Arts’ Birds, Blooms, Barn Wood and Song display on May 4, 2018. Stop by the gallery to view their work and the work of other talented individuals in the community.


Good Neighbor Awards Reception

Good Neighbor

Photo: Brayden Gentry, Allison Morefield, Madison Thomas and Karen Velarde were honored at the annual Good Neighbor Award Reception held recently in their honor. Not pictured: Graham Reece

The five Middle School students who were named Delta Kappa Gamma Good Neighbors throughout the school year were the guests at a reception held in their honor May 1, 2018 at the Johnson County Middle School Library. With their parents and family, they were treated to congratulatory remarks by many local leaders: Johnson County Director of Schools Dr. Mischelle Simcox, Middle School Principal Dr. Robert Heath, County Mayor Larry Potter, City Mayor Kevin Parsons, County Commissioner Chair Mike Taylor, and chairwoman of the Educational Excellence committee for Gamma Mu, Sheila Cruse.

State Representative Timothy Hill also spoke to the honorees and presented each one with a Proclamation in their honor which had been read on the floor of the Tennessee House of Representatives. United States Representative Dr. Phil Roe mailed personal notes of congratulations and affirmation to each Good Neighbor. Delta Kappa Gamma International is a society for key women educators whose mission is to promote excellence in education for children around the globe. Members of the local chapter understand that there must be a system of accountability, that we must measure student progress to ensure that what was taught was also learned.

However, the focus cannot be solely on academic performance, for that is not the only marker for a well-educated individual. With the Good Neighbor Award, the focus is shifted to a more personal dimension of characteristics “good neighbors” possess, especially compassion, kindness, and generosity, and recognizes students who are imbued with those qualities.

The Good Neighbors for 2017-18 are Allison Morefield, Brayden Gentry, Madison Thomas, Karen Velarde and Graham Reece. Each received a framed certificate to honor their exemplary neighborly qualities, a personalized copy of Shel Silverstein’s classic book, “The Giving Tree” and a “goodie bag” filled with items donated by local businesses. To make their recognition even more special, Sen. Jon Lundberg sent each one a Tennessee flag that had been flown at the Capitol Building in their honor, along with a certificate of recognition.

We are very proud of this year’s Good Neighbors, and wish them much future success in their personal and educational endeavors.

Career day a great success at Doe Elementary

By Tamas Mondovics

Public schools throughout Johnson County welcomed visiting speakers into their classrooms last week as part of the annual Career Day program. Doe Elementary School also welcomed visitors to their classrooms who become teachers for the day representing 25 businesses and three colleges. The question of who benefits more, the students or the volunteer speakers, is yet to be determined as Career Day brings area residents including professionals and hobbyists from all walks of life into local schools to demonstrate the benefits of getting an education. As part of the day’s activities, visitors include active members and veterans of the United States Armed Forces, police, firefighters and paramedics, animal trainers, attorneys, business professionals, chefs, elected officials, entrepreneurs, musicians, and school board members.

While most volunteers worked hard to bring the children something special, some that did not have to press too hard to spark the student’s interest and, in the process, stir their imaginations, perhaps motivate some to follow the presented career. According to school officials, every table had items for the students, from treats and suckers to American Airline pins, the student’s bags were overflowing.

Joining the day, Mountain Electric had a line truck, which took teachers up in the bucket. The fun didn’t stop there as students were able to explore an ambulance, a state trooper cruiser, an 18-wheeler cab, several fire trucks as well as a propane tanker. Northeast Correctional Complex brought a bloodhound that was the perfect addition as well as a favorite with the children.

“Hosting a career day served as a great opportunity for our students to learn about some of the many job opportunities that are available in our county,” said event organizer, Misste Phillippi, who was assisted by her colleague, Sadie Lundy. “We also included colleges so that the students could begin thinking about their next step after high school. It’s never too early to start planting those seeds.”

Phillippi emphasized the importance of including a wide variety of businesses because students are all so unique with different interest.

“We hope that something sparked an interest in our students,” she said. “Whether it be auto repair, pharmacy tech, or flying airplanes, our hope is that everyone found something they could envision themselves doing in the future.”

As expected, positive comments from both students and teachers were the order of the day, including Phillippi’s thoughts summing up the event when she said, “The students had a wonderful time and gained knowledge that can only come from hands-on learning. We would like to thank all of the businesses and colleges that attended as well as everyone who worked to make this event amazing.”

Medical emergency at Old Mill Music Park

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

On Monday, May 7 a man was airlifted from the Old Mill Music Park in Laurel Bloomery. Wings arrived around 7pm. An ambulance and fire engine were already
on site. First District Fire Department Fire Chief Kevin Colson was on the scene. According to Colson, they received a medical call that led to an air medical transport. The patient was suffering from shortness of breath. Colson was unable to provide any more information, but a bystander at the scene identified the patient as long time Johnson County resident Carl Daye. No further information is available at this time.

It’s Derby Time – Turtle Derby that is

The fifteenth annual Turtle Derby is now scheduled for Friday, May 25, 2018, at 6 p.m. at Ralph Stout Park. Sponsored by the Johnson County Lions Club, the derby has become a favorite event for families throughout the region. The free event organizers promise lots of fun for everyone and great door prizes including two brand new bicycles. Proceeds from the derby will support the work of the Lions Club in providing eye care and glasses for Johnson County residents in need of assistance. For more information, please call 727-8817 or 727-4119. Submitted photo

Longhorns’ Big Night Out

Local students compete to move on to 4-H regionals

The annual Johnson County 4-H County Demonstration and Table Top Exhibit Contest was held Tuesday, April 17th at Mountain City Elementary. This years’ event proved to be a success as contestants from across Johnson County presented their demonstrations and exhibits. 4th and 5th grade demonstrations ranged from creating a video to making slime. The 6th graders presented table top exhibits which showcased a wide range of project work including technology, engineering, line and design and more.

All of the contestants earning a blue award ribbon & 1st place may advance to the regional competition on April 26th at Hancock high school in Sneedville. In addition to the wonderful demonstrations and exhibits, the 2018 county poster design winners were also recognized. This year the 4-H t-shirt design winner was Zeke Hensley, a 4th grader from Mountain City Elementary. His design features a polar bear with the slogan “Chilling with 4-H”.

The other posters that were chosen to advance to the regional contest were designed by Harris Perkins a 4th grader from Mountain City Elementary and Joshua Ransom a 5th grade Home schooler. Zeke’s poster also received a blue ribbon award at the regional contest. Congratulations to all of our competitors and thanks to all the judges, parents, family and friends who support the contestants and the 4-H program.

4th Grade

Dalton Ward 1st place

Clothing and Textiles
Brookelyn Lawley 1st place

Companion Animal
Dylan Blevins 1st place

Engineering and Safety Science

Shayle Sileo 1st place
Liam Cranford 2nd place
Paola Vargos 3rd place
Emma Dugger blue award
Josie Grindstaff blue award
Chloe Sutherland blue award

Food Science
Kendon Keith 1st place

Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries
Nevaeh West 1st place

Line & Design
Ansley Clifton 1st place

Madison Colson 2nd place
Kaleb Walker 3rd place

Julia Crews 1st place

Nutrition, Health and Fitness
Miley Reynolds 1st place
Zoe Epperly 1st place

5th Grade

Computers and Technology
Silas Averill 1st place
Cameron Crowder 2nd place
Food Science
Shaydun Keith 1st place

Engineering and Safety Science
Anna Porter 1st place

Katie Lipford 2nd place

Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries
A.J. Laing 1st place

Nutrition, Health and Fitness
Joshua Ransom 1st place

6th Grade

Clothing and Textiles
Vanessa Perkins 1st place

Computers and Technology
Austin LaBond 1st place
Tracey Hicks 2nd place
Braden Cornett 3rd place

Eli Fritts 1st place

Engineering and Safety Science
Gaston Dugger 1st place

Plant Science
Connor Stout 1st place

Food Science
Lauryn Bishop 1st place
Tanner Bulliner 2nd place

Leadership and Personal Development
Kailahni Webster 1st place

Performing Arts and Recreation
Sophia Livorsi 1st place

National Technical Honor Society Recognizes 43 Students


This year’s NTHS inductees pose proudly after officially joining the organization.

On April 24, 2018, the families of forty-three juniors and seniors from Johnson County High School gathered to witness the induction ceremony for the JCHS chapter of the National Technical Honor Society. The National Technical Honor Society is one of the most prestigious organizations at Johnson County High School.The Motto for the organization is “ Success Favors The Prepared Mind “.

The names of the 2018 inductees are Nathan Arnold, Dalton Atwood, Jodi Baker, Lauren Buff, Savannah Bumgardner, Adrianna Canter, Mackenzie Cooke, Cristen Cornett, Cody Dickens, Kelly Dugger, Mikayla Fletcher, Shawna Forrester, Makayla Fritts, Jada Gentry, Chloee Graybeal, Madison Graybeal, Haley Greene, Shane Greer, Samara Humphrey, Madilyn Icenhour, Julia Jenkins, Kaitlin Lowe, Sydney Manuel, Chase McGlamery, Brooke McNutt, Summer Moretz, Tristin Norris, Hannah Osborne, Nora Parker, Zachary Peake, Kristina Phillippi, Trowa Potter, Cheyanne Pugh, Luke Rash, Gavin Reece, Danielle Shepherd, Kamryn Sluder, Abigail Smith, Caleb Trivette, Austin Trivette, Lindsey Wills, Kaylee Wittenberg and Haylee Wolfe.

Out of these students, six were selected to serve as officers for the 2018-2019 school-year:President: Madilyn Icenhour; Vice President: Gavin Reece; Secretary: Kaylee Wittenberg; Treasurer: Lauren Buff, Sargent-at-Arms: Cheyanne Pugh, Blood Drive Chairman: Hannah Osborne.

LCVP, (Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel) The teeth of the Tiger

Ken Wiley

With one of his published books in hand, D-Days in the Pacific-With the U.S. Coast Guard, The Story of the Lucky 13, Mountain City resident Ken Wiley, 92, poses for a photo at The Tomahawk Newspaper lobby, earlier this week. Wiley participated in seven major invasions, in the Pacific during World War II, and is scheduled to be visited next week by Jeff Copsetta, Educational Director at The National Museum Of The Pacific War, in Fredericksburg. Photo by Tamas Mondovics

By Tamas Mondovics

The High Country of North Carolina and Tennessee That provided you with advanced programs in answer to the Presidents request to document World War II veterans, is answering the call again. A representative of The National Museum Of The Pacific War will visit Mountain City next week. The museum has found and restored a WW II LCVP that made many of the 100 D Day Invasions in WW II. The representative, Jeff Copsetta will visit Ken Wiley, who drove an LCVP in seven invasions in the Pacific . The LCVP, famous from General Eisonhour’s statement that if it had not been for the LCVP we could not have fought the war. The Japanese referred to it as “The Teeth Of The Tiger” because it was the boat that landed the assault troops in every invasion. The Museum is Promoting a spectacular monthly program around it.

In World War II, the Americans made every ( D Day) invasion from the sea, with the LCVP, (Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel) leading the assault waves in every one. All 75 invasions that we made in the Pacific were from the sea and landing on hostile, enemy beaches. They weren’t about to provide docks for our ships to unload. The assault waves and their equipment were carried from the ships to the beaches in the LCVP’s and LCM’s. Their sole purpose was to establish and secure a beach head. That beach head was like a funnel so that all of the troops, equipment and logistics could be unloaded. The LCVP became an important part of the operation, moving troops around, rescuing troops and all sorts of utility usage.

Jeff Copsetta, Educational Director at The National Museum Of The Pacific War, in Fredericksburg, Texas is in charge of the restoration and program development of one of the last, original LCVP’s. Costa will visit the region on May 8-9 to visit and talk with Ken Wiley, of Mountain City, TN. Wiley, the Cox’n of an LCVP, off an Attack Transport, participated in seven major invasions, from Kwajalein to Okinawa in the Pacific during World War II. Wiley, a world war II history buff has written seven books on the Amphibious warfare in the Pacific. His first book, Lucky Thirteen; (Title named after the number of his boat), D Days In The Pacific With The Coast Guard in World War II, received 21 five star reviews and The Best Book Of 2007 by The Heritage Foundation. The book details the U S Amphibious Forces and the invasions as well as life of the boys that drove the LCVP’s.

A more recent book, 72 Hours That Changed The World describes the secret ambush that the Japanese had set for us if we had landed on the Japanese Mainland on November 1, 1945, as we had planned. In a secret plan, developed in mid 1943 called “Surprise Attack” to defend their homeland, they built 9,200 suicide boats , to hide in the coves around their homeland island of Tokyo and another 6,000 suicide planes, plus highly secret submarines that could launch airplane bombers.
Fortunately, the atomic bombs dropped 2.5 months before in August, 12945 and a threat to drop a third on Tokyo stopped the war. Wiley and Moretz , President and Vice President of The Appalachian High Country Round Table, both Co-Hosts of the seven year long T V show, Veterans Voice and Founders of The Local Veterans Video Museum’s , plus speakers at Symposiums, Schools, Universities and Civic organizations, have worked diligently to not only to give recognition to veterans, but to share their educational and historic contributions to the community .In order to offer autographed copies to an expanded area, they are opening a website, hopefully by July that will provide autographed copies, of the books along with DVD’s to the public, nationally . The National Museum of The Pacific War, with its LCVP program is a natural outlet for these.

Article provided by The Appalachian High Country World II Round Table
To The Tomahawk , Mountain City, TN . Also Recommend The Johnson City Press.
Ken Wiley; 182 Circle Dr. Mountain City, TN 37683; 423 460-1724;

Ken Wiley LCVP

Unique facts about Tennessee and Johnson County

Editor’s note: It is safe to say that over the years Jack’s column of “This ‘n’ That” has been enjoyed by many of our readers. Below is just one sample from last year of the dozens of great pieces that were regularly submitted by our own veteran newsman. While Jack may have had to slow down a bit, his work as this piece reminds us are simply timeless.

By Jack Swift

A portion of Tennessee called Johnson County is where I call home. In my 79 years on this planet I have never wished to live any-where else. Sure I’ve en-joyed visiting near and far, but that’s all I wanted to do — visit. I enjoyed a trip to New York when I was working full time for the Tomahawk newspaper. I was impressed with the busyness of the place and the massive tall buildings. But give me the friendly people and the relative tranquility of good old Johnson County. I feel that I am blessed to be a citizen of Tennessee and Johnson County.

Johnson County and Tennessee both have a number of oddities when it comes to their history. The word “Tennessee” is said to come from the Cherokee town of “Tanasi”, on what is now the Little Tennessee River in pre-sent day Monroe County.
Prior to becoming a state in 1796, the citizens of what is now East Tennessee at-tempted to form a new state called Franklin but it was short lived — only about four years (1784 – 1788). That effort to form a new state was brought about in part due to North Carolina’s failure to provide protection for the settlers who had crossed the Appalachian Mountains looking for a better life. Although North Carolina claimed that area, it was unable or did not choose to provide government or protection for the settlers who were under the threat of Native American attacks and who needed a workable government in order to transact their business.What would become Johnson County was a part of the East Tennessee area that be-came the State of Franklin. It is interesting to note that Tennessee is nicknamed the Volunteer State due its tremendous number of soldiers provided during certain wars involving the United States.

Tennessee became a state in 1796 only twenty years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Tennessee was the last to secede from the Union during the American Civil War and was the first state to re-join the Union. The war lasted from 1861 until 1865. Andrew Johnson, who later became president after President Lincoln was brutally murdered, was the only southern senator to keep his seat in congress during the Civil War.Johnson County leaned heavily toward the Union. It was a part of several East Tennessee counties that wanted no part in opposing the country they had revered so passionately.

Conventions were called to discuss their opposition to secession and to urge against any hasty decisions to wage war. It was evident that though Tennessee had in February voted against secession by a majority of 68,000, Tennessee Governor Isham Harris and the leaders in Nashville were determined from the outset to remove Tennessee from the Union. They had used any means possible to do so. The next referendum went to the folks who favored secession. Kentucky tried to remain neutral but several battles were waged in that state. West Virginia was formed from the northern portion of Virginia. Union leaders of East Tennessee tried to form a new state but were rebuffed in their effort by Governor Harris and his administration.

As many Johnson County folks know, their county came to be due to the difficulty off terrain and length of time they experienced getting to Elizabethton, then the county seat of Carter County. Petitions were delivered to Nashville, the state capital first desiring that the County Seat be moved nearer but later asking that a new county be formed. That re-quest was finally granted and Johnson County in 1836 was formed from the northeast section of Carter County. The county seat of the new county became Taylorsville, named for James P. Taylor of Carter County. The name was changed to Mountain City in 1885. Johnson County was named for Tho-mas Johnson a leading citizen of the area. There are a great deal more interesting facts about John-son County and Tennessee Perhaps I’ll have more in a later column.

Laurel Elementary Honor Roll

All A’s
Johnny Blankenship
Dylan Blevins
Chloe Ferguson Canter
Trista Dunn
Shaydun Keith
Skylar Mason
Rebekah Perez
Mazie Phillips
Izaya Reece
Rileigh Reece
Emma Savery
Nevaeh Swift
Owen Taylor
Eliah Tester
Kailahni Webster
Lily West
Micah West

A’s & B’s
Constance Blankenship
Emily Blankenship
Kelsey Blevins
Nevaeh Heaton
Cayden Huskins
Zoey Muncy
Marley Matheson
Rayley Matheson
Summer Norris
Elliana Owens
Eli Snyder
Allison Sutherland

Presidential Academic Award recipients

The following students will be receiving the 2018 Presidential Academic Excellence Award. This award is only given to outstanding students. To qualify for this award, students must have a 3.5 – 4.0 grade point average, no suspensions during the school year, and achieve test scores in the 85th percentile or higher in math or reading/language arts.Only three grades are eligible for the award- sixth grade, eighth grade, and seniors. Johnson County’s thirty-second Presidential Academic Excellence Awards Ceremony will be held at the Johnson County High School on Monday, May 7, 2018, at 6:00p.m.

Doe Elementary
Reese Young
Makenzie Kelly
Ezra Howard
Jeremiah Cummings

Mountain City Elementary
Adrian Arguello
Lauryn Bishop
Braden Cornett
Gaston Dugger
Braden Eastridge
Brady Fritts
Elijah Fritts
George Grill
Kevin Horner
Stephanie Knight
Natalie Oliver
Vanessa Perkins
Connor Stout

Roan Creek Elementary
Lydia Eastridge
Neveah Grover
Sophia Livorsi
Connor Simcox

Johnson County Middle School
Hailey Cox
Jayla Gregg
Hailey Rider
Siera Hodge
McGreger Barnhill
Jacey Eshelman
Katie McCulloch
Sydni Potter
Emma Grace Hodges
Chloe Capps
Anthony Dugger
Asa Lewis
Seth Conder
Bailey Townsend
Isaiah Fletcher
Hallie Noble
Gavin Wilcox
Hanna Brown
Juliaunna Connell
Gavin Wilson
Jackson Matherly
Devin Huskins
Allison Morefield
Knox Campbell
Joshua Austin
Kaci Tolley

Johnson County High School
Makayla Bilodeau
Caleigh Blair
Brittany Brooks
Courtney Brooks
Haley Brown
Elizabeth Coffey
Mikayla Fletcher
Haley Greene
Shahnoa Greene
Chloe Jones
Holly Lay
Sydney Manuel
Kyman Matherly
Chase McGlamery
Hailey Potter
Gabriel Reece
Andrew Robinson
Melinda Rozier
Nathaniel Shepherd
Abigail Smith
Sydney Snyder
Austin Trivette
Josie Ward

Mountain City Elementary Honor Roll

All A’s

Lilly Berger, McKenzie Jennings, Addison Joyce, Konner Self, Elizabeth Mann, Kylee Cannon, Aliyah Farrow, Sheylin South, Aaliyah Barrett, Elijah Dunn, Mason Gregg, Molly Lipford, Allie Mullins, Braylin Hansen, Barrett Parker, Sara Beth Pennington, Skyler Robbins, Gracey South, Hannah Sharp, Ethan Wilson, Michelle Chambers, Camden Johnson, Tanner Leonard, Savannah Mains, Andrew South, Addie Ward, Clara Wilson, Nicole Eppard, Scotty Orndorff, Evan Stamper, Peyton Edes-King, Macie Farrow, Lauren Henley, Kearstan Jennings, Alicia Littlewhirlwind, Katey Marshall, Destiny Alvarez, Jayleigh Kope, Sawyer Marshall, Isaiah Eller, Haidyn Farrow, Liyah Hillman, Gavin Mahala, Jillian Perkins, Zack Lipford, Bobby Sexton, Carter Atwood, Jalyn Blevins, Kyle Maple, Karleigh Sutherland, Sebastian Ferguson, Ella Icenhour, Jill Jensen, Gavan Condor, Emma Dugger, Erik Mendoza, Sadie Sato, Kaden Blevins, Julia Crews, Josie Grindstaff, Gracie Hammett, Carson Jennings, Isaac Lewis, Harris Perkins, Ethan Smith, Ariana Spencer, Ariel Tester, Derek Baird, Destiny Johnson, Alen Lin, Matthew Swift, Cameron Crowder, Lauryn Bishop, Hannah Fletcher, Sierra Green, Kevin Horner, Stephanie Knight, Shawna Arnold, Gaston Dugger, Eli Fritts, George Grill, Vanessa Perkins, Kindal Watson, Braden Eastridge, and Brady Fritts.


All A’s & B’s

Madison Arnold, Kingston Mills, Coleman Rider, Jakob Roark, Hattie Vines, Karoline Thompson, Ellie Beth Icenhour, Nyiah Reece, Kayla Bumgardner, Daniel Plank, Avery Blevins, Marin Feely, Kelsey Forrester, Mckynlee Smith, Jayden Anderson, River Burgess, Amilla Eckert, Bella Eckert, Eli Hammons, Hailey Lipford, Lily Bauguess, Reece Bulliner, Cassandra Edwards, Jacy Cook, Makenzie Dickens, Gage Grissom, Jillian Hately, Aiden Hope, Sophia Lin, Maddison Price, Carson Dorman, Madelynn Long, Hunter McElyea, Connor Wallace, Arraya Mounts, Emilynn Sedgwick, Alex Wright, Jaylinn Johnson, Lyric Mosely, Rylee Henson, Graham Long, Gustavo Martinez, Trinity Poe, Cypress Rohrbaugh, Chandler Townsend, Summer Wells, Braxton Bragg, Emma Brown, Eli Horne, Lanaya Joyce, Kacelyn Dunn, Karlie Jo Fletcher, Jada Furches, Maelie Luckett, Aleela Reece, Addy Snyder, Alexis Juarez, Hailey Lewis, Nate Sutherland, Lyric Fritts, Zeke Hensley, Krystal Kite, Cameron Lewis, Katie Timbs, Keegan Wright, Clayton Lewis, Lexi Mullins, Emily Orr, Hunter Paisley, Eli Stamper, Paola Vargas, Dylan Warren, Jasmine Cunningham, Madisyn Farrow, Trinity Fortener, Ivy Lakatos, Carter Rhudy, Tara Schoolcraft, Cole Smith, Peyton Woodward, Noah Brown, Tyasia Jones, James Kelly, Zach Lunceford, Alyssa McElyea, LaRue Mills, Kaylee Roark, Jace Stout, Mimi Zaldivar, Kylah Henley, Sadie Hood, Bella Lowe, Christopher Nelson, Tory Torbett, Allison Trivette, Ashlin White, Adrian Arguello, Sidney Bumgardner, Evan Moorefield, Mia Flores, Zyra Baker, Tanner Bulliner, Cassie Capps, Braden Cornett, Ethan Reece, Connor Stout, Chase Thomas, Emily Eppard, Kyle Isaacs, Mattie Jones, Natalie Oliver, and Caden Pennington.