All Addictions Recovery meeting in Johnson County

We are an open 12-step fellowship concentrating on working steps towards healthy relationships while managing codependency. We meet Mondays at 6 p.m. at the Forge Creek Community Center in Mountain City.
Persons with any addictions are welcomed to attend.
For more information contact Holly at 828-265-9963.

Thomason explains why trees die

By Rick Thomason

University of Tennessee
Johnson County Extension Director

The answer to “Why do trees die?” follows a reverse chronological sequence.  Trees die because respiration terminates.  Respiration terminates because carbohydrate production ceases and stored carbohydrates are depleted.  Carbohydrate production ceases because photosynthesis discontinues.  Photosynthesis discontinues because the factors necessary for photosynthesis are interrupted or obstructed.  Those factors include: sunlight, water, nutrients, temperature, carbon dioxide and oxygen.  Factors for photosynthesis are interrupted because of human activities or environmental changes.
To understand why or how trees die, we must first understand the processes by which they live.  These processes can be categorized under physiology, which is the branch of science dealing with the functions of living organisms and their parts.  Major physiological processes in trees include photosynthesis, respiration and translocation.  The process of photosynthesis combines carbon dioxide with water in the presence of the sunlight to produce simple sugars (known as carbohydrates) and oxygen.  This chemical reaction for photosynthesis occurs in leaves.
Photosynthesis is the most essential and basic physiological process, inasmuch as tree growth is dependent upon successful conversion of the sun’s energy into carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates are the substances by which all other organic compounds are synthesized.  They are the chief building blocks of cell walls and they form the starting point for synthesis of fats and proteins.  They are oxidized in respiration and any amount still remaining after all these processes accumulates as stored food reserves.
Carbohydrates are transported from the leaves to the stem and roots via phloem cells located inside the bark in the trunk of the tree.  The tree uses carbohydrates in respiration and other physiological processes, including growth.  Excess carbohydrates not used in growth and respiration are stored in roots, buds, stems and the cambium layer just inside the bark of the tree.
Respiration is the oxidization of carbohydrates to provide energy to keep cells alive and to fuel growth.  Respiration essentially works in reverse order of photosynthesis, whereby the synthesized carbohydrates react with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide, water and energy.  Unlike photosynthesis, which is seasonal in most climates, at least some respiration occurs at all times (even during the dormant season).
This is why the production of carbohydrates through photosynthesis must exceed the oxidation of carbohydrates through respiration.  Without a surplus of carbohydrates, tree vigor declines and eventually death occurs.  As trees age, the demand for carbohydrates increases, because the volume of respiring tissue increases while the amount of leaf surface area (photosynthesizing surface) remains fairly constant.  Less carbohydrates are made available for root and stem elongation because more is demanded for life-sustaining respiration.  Perhaps this is why younger trees, having a higher ratio of photosynthetic surface to respiring tissue and grow more rapidly than older trees.
Translocation, the third major physiological process, allows photosynthesis and respiration to function properly.  Without the “piping” system of translocation, moisture and nutrients would not reach the leaves, leaves would not produce carbohydrates, carbohydrates would not be transported to organs and respiration would cease.
Through translocation, trees allocate carbohydrates to support five different physiological processes.  These processes placed in priority order for allocation of carbohydrates are:
•         Maintenance of living tissue (respiration)
•         Production of fine roots,
•         Flower and seed production,
•         Primary growth (elongation of branches and roots)
•         Secondary/diameter growth (growth of xylem – the water-conducting cells)
When a tree is healthy and rapidly growing, each of these five processes is fueled by ample supplies of carbohydrates.  Because secondary growth is the last to receive carbohydrates, wide annual growth rings of the lower trunk indicate that the needs of the other four processes are first being met and that excesses are being used for diameter growth.

At such point, life for a tree is good.  If, however, annual growth rings (secondary growth) begin to show a narrowing, this is a first indication that tree vigor is declining and that subsequent reductions in primary growth could also soon occur.
For instance, if a tree must allocate carbohydrates to either branch and root expansion, or seed and flower production, it will choose the latter.  Likewise, production of fine roots comes before seeds and flowers and lastly, respiration is a higher priority than fine root production.
This reversal or recall of carbohydrates continues until there are essentially none left, at which point mortality occurs.  Tree mortality is not always a gradual, energy losing process.  Tree mortality can also occur rapidly through mechanical disruption. Examples include:
•         severing the cambium layer inside the bark – disrupts translocation
• compacting soil – reduces availability of water and nutrients, resulting in poor aeration (oxygen content) in the soil needed for root respiration;
•         damage to or loss of larger limbs – reduces photosynthesis and carbohydrate production
A tree growing in a suitable climate and on suitable soils will continue increasing in size until one or more factors for growth are no longer available.  More often than not, environmental factors work concurrently or sequentially to weaken trees, predisposing them to other insect, mite and disease agents, in turn leading to mortality.
So why do trees die?  Their death follows a reverse chronological sequence.  Trees die because respiration terminates.  Respiration terminates because carbohydrate production ceases and stored carbohydrates are exhausted.  Carbohydrate production ceases because photosynthesis discontinues.  Photosynthesis discontinues because the factors necessary for photosynthesis are interrupted or obstructed.  Factors for photosynthesis are interrupted because of human activities or environmental changes.

Johnson County Republican Women meeting January 18th

The Republican Women of Johnson County announce our monthly meeting for January 2018.
Please come join us for our monthly meeting on Jan. 18th at Johnson County Library.
We will discuss RWJC goals for the year.  Also the yearly membership fee is due. Refreshments will be provided.  The formal meeting will start promptly at 1pm.
All are encouraged to attend.  Contact us at

Johnson County Healthier TN launches GoJoCo website


The UT/TSU Extension Office received funds through the Rural Child Poverty Center in Kentucky to work on reducing child food insecurity by improving Child Nutrition Assistance program coordination with other nutrition assistance programs and services that are already being implemented in the county. The nutrition programs specifically identified to be targeted include Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), and Child and Adult Care Food Programs (CACFP). Sarah Ransom, University of Tennessee Family and Consumer Science Extension Agent, said, “While these funds are coming through our local office, we want to make sure the county knows this is something for everyone. We are working with several partners to make sure the funds are going to be spent in ways the county can use right now as well the years to come. We are very excited to be blessed with this opportunity to work with a new audience and are looking forward to the new partnerships we are building because of this funding.”
The newest resource available for the county to use is the website with a calendar feature. This website will be a place for organizations working with children and nutrition, and many others, to provide a place for families to learn more about what they do. The best part of this resource will be the calendar that will be open to organizations from every sector to advertise what they are doing in the county that is open to the public. The hope is that through this resource community organizations can cross-market programs better and provide the children and families of Johnson County with activities and resources to enhance their lives. The grant will also be providing resource guides, newsletter inserts, countywide mailings and much more so families across the county can be informed of various nutrition programs and things happening in their area.
Go check out the website at Post your upcoming events for the county and share feedback! We hope to make this a great resource for the community. Check out our Facebook back at “GoJoCo – Healthier TN Johnson County TN Initiative” or our local Extension page at “UT TSU Extension – Johnson County”. We are excited to offer this in the county and look forward to improving the lives of families across the miles.

Johnson County Health Department offers free flu vaccines

Mountain City, Tenn. – Flu season is here, with seasonal influenza cases now reported across Tennessee. The Johnson County Health Department is working to protect the entire community by providing flu vaccinations at no charge to area residents on a first come, first served basis. A small amount of vaccine is still available and to ensure they can be used to protect health will be provided at no charge to patients until vaccine supplies are depleted. Appointments must be made to receive flu vaccine, and are now being scheduled at the clinic.

“Anyone, even healthy people, can get the flu and serious problems related to the flu can happen at any age. Vaccination is the best protection against the flu, and the Johnson County Health Department recommends that everyone six months of age and older get a flu vaccine every year,” said Caroline Hurt, County Director. “It takes about two weeks to be protected after you get the flu vaccine, so we want everyone who hasn’t had their flu shot to get one right away to help keep our community healthy.”

The flu vaccine is especially important for people at high risk for serious illness or death from influenza such as the elderly, pregnant women and young children, as well as healthcare workers, and family and friends of anyone at high risk. Expectant mothers should be vaccinated during pregnancy to protect themselves and pass protection on to their unborn babies.

Flu shots will be provided at no charge to patients. Both adults and children may receive flu vaccine at the clinic. Please call the Johnson County Health Department at (423) 727-9731 today to book your appointment. The clinic is located at 715 West Main Street in Mountain City and open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Van Arnold elected to represent local farmers on FSA committee

Congratulations to Anthony Van Arnold who was elected to represent farmers in LAA-1 on the Johnson County FSA County Committee. LAA-1 consists of the communities of Forge Creek, Mountain City, and Laurel Bloomery. Mr. Arnold was elected to a 3-year term. The term will begin on January 1, 2018 and will continue thru December 31, 2020. David Wilson was elected to serve as first alternate.
County Committee members are a valuable asset because they are local producers who participate in FSA programs themselves and have a direct connection to farmers in the community.
Elected committee members are responsible for making decisions on FSA disaster, conservation, commodity, and price support programs, as well as other important farm program issues.
FSA appreciates all of the voters for taking the time to complete the election ballot. The County Committee system works only because of your participation.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).

Why don’t farm families plan for succession?

By Rick Thomason

University of Tennessee
Johnson County Extension Director

Nearly everyone will recognize the importance of a succession plan for successfully transferring a business to the next generation.  Doing no planning or choosing to avoid the issues involved almost always leads to disastrous results.  However, less than 40 percent of agricultural businesses have a succession plan.

What’s the hold up? Logic would suggest that developing a succession plan would be an obvious step toward transferring management and business ownership.  However, complex forces are at work and, despite recognizing the importance of a plan, most farm owners and managers decide to do nothing about succession.
Some of the reasons they give for this include:

•   Control: Few business owners find it easy to come to terms with the idea that the business could operate and survive without them.  Thus, they are reluctant to give up control.  Facing the reality that others may be able to run their business as well or better than they can is painful and threatening.  The business defines them and surrendering power can be the one sacrifice they are not prepared to make.

•   Fear: Fear of retirement can also be a powerful force.  The thought of leaving their day-to-day involvement in the business and adapting to a whole new life style can be scary.  Succession planning forces business owners to think about the end of their lives and come to terms with their own mortality.  These thoughts can evoke feelings of fear or regret.

•  Inability to Choose: The inability to choose among children often discourages succession planning.  The dilemma focuses on differences between business values and family values.  Should the selection be based on business competence versus the family values of loving and treating all family members equally?

Owning and operating a farm or ranch has some unique differences compared to most other occupations.  The primary differences that most hinder succession planning in agricultural business include:

•   Emotional Attachment to the Land: Most farmers are emotionally attached to the land they own and manage.  In many cases, these lands have been a part of the family for more than one generation.  Selling or dividing the land is often not considered due to these emotional attachments.
•  No Plans to Retire: Many full-time farmers have a very difficult time hanging-up their hats when the time comes to retire.  They often never expect to fully retire from farming. The reasons are many but often center around the 24/7 work ethic and personal drive that led them into farming in the first place.  Most farmers have developed a lifelong attachment to farming and many find it hard to accept the slowdown that generally comes with retirement.

•  Farming Lifestyle: Farming is a lifestyle and most people in agriculture feel it offers something non-farm life can’t match the opportunity to live, work, and play together; live in the country; teach children responsibility, a strong work ethic, and healthy goals and values.  Most who have lived this lifestyle are not willing to give it up for any reason.

•   No Retirement Income: No source of retirement income is another issue that often prevents agricultural managers from fully retiring.  In many cases, farmers have invested in agricultural assets (land, machinery, livestock, buildings, etc.) throughout their careers and have had few resources to invest in retirement plans.  In order to perpetuate the business, it is inadvisable to sell or otherwise liquidate productive assets.

Planning for the transition of management responsibilities to the next generation brings up a number of additional issues.  These can be grouped into three broad categories: interpersonal issues, business issues, and succession planning issues.
Interpersonal Issues can arise from differences in perspective of the founder and next generation managers.  Those perspectives vary across family and non-family members of the business, as well as across blood relations versus those who have married into the family.

Differences in perspective can be sources of conflict between founders and next generation managers, including: control over the performance and direction of the business, different ideas about gender roles, and generational priorities and values (relationships, sibling rivalry, etc.).
Founders tend to adopt one of three attitudes regarding the family business and managing transition to the next generation:

•  Proprietors are focused on ownership of the business and see themselves as central to the business’ future.  They can be very controlling of any involvement of children in the business, as they do not trust others’ abilities to make good decisions.  As a result, their children often become passive or rebellious as a reaction to the over-authoritarian approach of the proprietors.

•   Conductors like the idea of the family business and encourage children to become involved.  However, they remain firmly in control of the business.  They are not usually interested in developing a detailed succession plan, but try to foster a business culture and environment.

•  Technicians create a business around their own technical skills and creative abilities.  They generally dislike the management aspects of the business and often delegate those responsibilities to others.  However, they view themselves as essential to the business, where no other person could possess the same skills as they do.  As a result, they do not pass on their skills to others, nor do they easily let go of their role in the business.

Transferring ownership of a business the founders have put blood, sweat, and tears into may be very difficult.  Seeing someone else own and control what they have started may initiate a strong sense of loss and start a grieving process.  Many legal questions and personal preferences must be considered.  The level of stress will be reduced by beginning preparations early and methodically.  Adequate legal and financial advice by attorneys, accountants, lenders, etc. is a must.  Founders must realize that someone else will own the business someday, even if it is after their eventual death, and it is best they make the decisions and preparations rather than a probate court.

*Source: John Hewlett, University of Wyoming Farm Management Specialist

East Tennessee Foundation announces 17 scholarships for Johnson County

East Tennessee Foundation (ETF) announces the availability of 17 scholarships for Johnson County students for the 2018-2019 school year. East Tennessee Foundation scholarship information and applications for 2018 are available at The scholarship application deadline is February 15, 2018.

ETF scholarship program requirements range from financial need to scholastic achievement. Several scholarships are targeted toward specific schools or counties, particular fields of study, students involved in certain extracurricular activities, or those who may not display the highest scholastic rankings yet still possess great potential and motivation.

Over $570,000 has been disbursed in 190 ETF scholarship awards for the 2017-2018 academic year. Scholarships provided through ETF help fulfill the dreams of those students wishing to obtain a post-secondary education, whether they are graduating high school seniors or returning adult students.

Scholarships administered by ETF allow individuals and groups to honor loved ones while helping change the lives of those pursuing higher education. Many of the scholarships have been established to honor the memory of a parent, spouse, or child. Some have been founded to honor teachers, coaches, or prominent community leaders.
For more information, please contact Beth Heller, ETF Director of Scholarship Programs at
(865) 524-1223, toll free at (877) 524-1223, or by e-mail at For additional information about the scholarships available through ETF, please visit

Johnson County 4-H Reports

Mrs. Gentry’s 6th grade had 4-H on December 8, 2017. In this month’s meeting we started with one question, “What do you want for Christmas?” Most answers were technology, then we turned in our 4-H posters to be judged. Also for after school activities there is the 4-H Honor Club on December 13th from 5:00 to 6:15 pm and the 4-H Horse Judging Team practice on December 13th at the JCHS Aqua Center from 3:30 to 4:30 pm. Next we had a lesson on Merchants and Traders, we traded things and had to consider the bad things that might come. Each round something good or bad affected us that was Social Studies related. Finally we learned the winners of the poster contest. 1st: Ethan Reece and Gaston Dugger, 2nd: Elijah Fritts, 3rd: Shawna Arnold.
Elijah Fritts
Mrs.Gentry’s sixth grade
Mountain City Elementary

Ms. Jarvis’ fifth grade class held their 4-H meeting on November 7, 2017. The winners of the speech contest were: Audrey Decker- first place, Skylar Feltner- second place, and Micah Lunceford- third place. Our next contest is the poster contest. We have to make a poster to advertise 4-H.
Danielle Dugger
Ms. Jarvis’ fifth grade
Doe Elementary.

On November 1st, Mrs. Proffitt’s sixth grade class held their 4-H meeting. We learned about the 4-H poster contest. This project is due on December 6th. The winners of the Public Speaking contest are: Reese Young in third place with her speech on Joan of Arc, Makenzie Kelly in second place speaking about Mary, mother of Jesus, and Ezra Howard in first place with his speech on Joseph, father of Jesus.
Bryanna Hayworth
Mrs. Proffitt’s sixth Grade

Doe Elementary Mr. Timbs’ fourth grade had their 4-H meeting on November 2, 2017. At today’s meeting we gave our speeches. These were the winners: 1st place- Chloe Sutherland, 2nd place- Abel Johnson, and 3rd place- Liam Cranford. Next month’s project is to design a 4-H poster. You are not allowed to use anything copyrighted.
Zoe Epperly
Mr. Timbs’ 4th Grade Roan Creek Elementary

At our last 4-H meeting, we got straight into our speeches. Then after our speeches, Mrs. Pleasant announced our next project which was the poster contest. Then the winners of the Speech contest were announced. The winners were: Carson Brown- 3rd place, Jackson Clifton-2nd place, and myself, Desirea Robinson-1st place.
Desirea Robinson
Mrs. Gregory’s 5th Grade
Roan Creek Elementary

November 2017 in review

A large crowd gathered at the Johnson County Senior Center this past week as Monday, October 23rd was designated Coach Harold Arnold Day. Tables were covered with pictures, framed awards and newspaper articles that all gave tribute to the man simply know as Coach.
The spec building in the Doe Valley area of Johnson County will soon be humming with activity. STARLED, Inc. has a target date of early next year to begin operations in Johnson County. STARLED manufactures and distributes light emitting diode (LED) lighting products for commercial and residential space, in addition to marine and automotive use. The company has been in business more than 10 years with operations in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Southeast Asia. They are currently manufacturing in China and will soon begin operations in Mountain City.
An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Drug Investigation Division, with the assistance of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, resulted in the indictment of two Mountain City police officers on a variety of drug-related charges last week.
Commissioner Kevin Triplett and Dave Jones of the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development visited the Doe Mountain Adventure Center on Harbin Hill Road Friday morning to discuss the next steps in building Doe Mountain into a world-class wilderness adventure destination. One of the former Mountain City police officers charged in an undercover drug operation has a new indictment against him in federal court. Elmer Kenneth “Ken” Lane, 61, was arrested Monday on a single-count indictment charging him with possessing weapons while being an “unlawful user and addict of a control substance.” The indictment also stated the weapons were “shipped and transported in interstate commerce.”

October 2017 in review

Since 1916, Parkdale Industries has worked to become a leader in the textile industry. In addition to celebrating 101 years as a company, on Friday, October 6, company executives, retail partners, and government officials gathered in Mountain City to celebrate the relationships which help not only Parkdale to continue to be an industry leader in American manufacturing. “I thank Parkdale Mills for the magnitude of this project in Johnson County,” said Johnson County Mayor Larry Potter.
The Tomahawk was contacted recently by the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) requesting information about a body that was found in 1977 in Johnson County. Forty years later the middle-age male remains unidentified. We are reaching out to our readers that lived in the area during this time that might have information helpful l to the investigation. Articles that appeared in The Tomahawk in December of 1977 recount a gruesome tale of some two dozen elderly men living in the abandoned buildings and grounds of the property known as the Shady Mountain Orchard.
The weight of sadness can be felt in the Johnson County Courthouse. One of their own, Jerry Farmer, known to all as “Farmer,” passed away suddenly on Friday, September 29, while he was on duty at the courthouse. Farmer was 67 years old. Despite attempts to revive him, he passed away from a heart attack. The county’s commissioners, officials, and department heads assembled at the local courthouse to discuss monthly business at the Johnson County Commission meeting on Thursday, October 19, 2017. One of the first items of business addressed by the commission was to officially recognize and voice appreciation for Jerry Farmer’s service to Johnson County.

September 2017 in review

The Johnson County Senior Center hosted the first event for Long Journey Home 2017 last Thursday evening with a great concert from Kody Norris, Mary Rachel Nalley and their band, a wonderful country dinner, and a night full of dancing. This was the perfect venue since folk dancing was a big hit in the l950’s in the high school gym, which is now the Senior Center. Approximately 140 people enjoyed the evening. The Town of Mountain City Board of Mayor and Aldermen held its monthly meeting on September 5, 2017. All council representatives were present as well as various department supervisors to discuss business for the town. The first item of business for the council was to recognize Donna Nelson for 20 years of service to the Town of Mountain City. Nelson was given a plaque and certificate to commemorate her dedication to helping the town throughout her years of employment.
This past week, Equifax, one of three credit-reporting agencies, recently announced hackers were able to obtain personal information, including names, social security numbers and other identifying information, from an estimated 143 million Americans. This amounts to approximately half the population of the United States.
The Johnson County Farmer’s Market held their first annual Johnson County Harvest Celebration Dinner this past weekend. Approximately 110 people packed the Roan Creek Church Fellowship Hall, ready to enjoy a scrumptious meal prepared with foods grown locally in Johnson County.
Richard Calkins, president of the Johnson County Farmers Market, welcomed all to the annual dinner. “I hope each year the dinner gets bigger and better,” Calkins said. He introduced Tennessee State Senator, Jon Lundberg, who made a brief appearance before leaving to celebrate his son’s 21st birthday with his family.

August 2017 in review

Tennessee Housing Development Agency has awarded a $500,000 HOME Program grant to the Town of Mountain City that will be used to bring substandard homes back up to code. The HOME program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered in part in Tennessee by THDA.
The Rural Roots Music Commission was formed a number of years ago, in Iowa, to find a way to honor excelling recording artists who deal with traditional old-time music, and many other traditional rural musical art forms. Since most traditional music genres have now been locked out of participation at the national level in America, the Rural Roots folks found a way to honor these gifted musicians, vocalists, songwriters, recording artists and small production companies, by honoring them with ‘CD of the Year’ awards. One of the participants in this rather large gathering of musical genres is Kody Norris of Mountain City, Tennessee.
Appalachian Miles for Smiles mobile unit could be found in the parking lot of the First Baptist Church in Mountain City this past week. Approximately 100 people had signed up to partake in a free two-day dental clinic that offered not only dental cleanings, but also fillings and extractions. As part of an effort to care for the entire patient, blood pressure checks, x-rays and blood sugar checks were also available.
Old Time Music enthusiasts from around the country and beyond gathered by the shores of Laurel Creek on August 26 and 27th to celebrate the music that has rung through these mountains and valleys for generations. This year’s Old Time Fiddlers Convention marked the 92nd year of musicians trekking into Johnson County to showcase their talent for fans and to compete for the title of best in their class.

Johnson County and Mountain City government offices holiday schedules

The offices of Johnson County Government will be closed Mon., Dec. 25 and Tues., Dec. 26 in observance of Christmas.  The Johnson County Clerk’s office will also be closed Sat., Dec. 23rd. All offices will resume regular business hours on Wed., Dec. 27th. The Johnson County Transfer Station will be closed Mon., Dec. 25th in observance of Christmas. They will resume normal business hours on Tues., Dec. 26th.  The offices of Johnson County Government will be closed on Mon., Jan. 1s tin observance of New Year’s Day. The Johnson County Transfer Station will also be closed on New Year’s Day. All offices will return to regular business hours on Tues., Jan. 2nd.

The Johnson County Election Commission office will be closed Dec. 22nd, 25th and 26th for the Christmas holiday. The office will reopen on Wed., Dec. 27th.

The Town of Mountain City offices will adhere to the following schedule for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Fri., Dec. 22 city wide garbage pickup; Mon., Dec. 25 closed, no garbage pickup; Tues., Dec. 26 closed, no garbage pickup; Wed., Dec. 27 city wide garbage pickup; Mon., Jan. 1 closed, no garbage pickup. In the event of a water/sewer emergency, please call 727-5200. The town would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Senior Center book club takes trip to Oakridge

By Janet Rhea Payne
Members of the Johnson County Senior Citizens Center enjoyed a field trip on Monday, November 27 to Atomic City, more commonly known as Oak Ridge, Tennessee to explore the American Museum of Science and Energy and its role in the Manhattan Project. History is preserved in the Manhattan Project National Historical Park operated cooperatively by the National Park Service and the Department of Energy.
Members of the Senior Center Book Club had read The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan. In the New York Times bestseller the story of the Tennessee town of Oak Ridge that was created from scratch in 1942 is told through the eyes of young women who worked there. Oak Ridge, one of the Manhattan Project’s secret cities, didn’t appear on any maps until 1949, and yet at the height of World War II it was using more electricity than New York City and was home to more than 75,000 people, many of them young women recruited from small towns across the South. Their jobs were shrouded in mystery, but they were buoyed by a sense of shared purpose, close friendships and patriotism that permeated the story.
Those participating in the trip to The Secret City included Dennis and Barbara Henson, Howard and Linda Moon, Ollie Phipps, Wilma Smith, Jeanette Lawrence, Fred Price, Janet Rhea Payne, and Carolyn Eller.Members of the group enjoyed a bus tour which included many sites, including Y-12 New Hope Visitor Center which houses the spacious History Center featuring displays about the Manhattan Project, the Cold War, and other Y-12 missions; New Bethel Baptist Church and Cemetery, founded in 1851, was officially closed by former church members as a house of worship in 1949 following the area’s Manhattan Project incorporation into the Oak Ridge Reservation; The Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory which is a national historic landmark, having served as the pilot project that led to the first production of plutonium; Spallation Neutron Source which is an accelerator-based neutron source facility that provides the most intense pulsed neutron beams in the world of scientific research and industrial development; and the East Tennessee Technology Park Heritage Center, formerly K-25 where tour visitors learn about the gaseous diffusion process that enriched uranium (later sent to Y-12 for further enrichment) to power the first atomic bomb.
For more information on programs and activities available at the Johnson County Senior Citizens Center visit the center 128 College St, Mountain City, TN 37683 or call 727-8883 for more information.

Letters to Santa from local children

Dear Santa,
How are you and Mrs. Claus? I hope you are great! How are the reindeer and elves? I hope that they are great!  This year, I hope you will deliver to the poor and homeless. All I really want for Christmas is a mini piano, a hoverboard, or a gymnastics bar.  I only want one of these items. Thank you, Santa.
Adrianna Porter

To read all the letters to Santa, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.

Send us your letters to Santa

Christmas is just around the corner and The Tomahawk would love to publish those precious letters from your children or grandchildren to Santa! If you are interested in sending us a message we can pass along to Santa for you, email it to, send us an online message or post it on Facebook. As Santa is just about ready to hit the skies in his sleigh, we would love to have the letters by 9:00 am Monday morning, December 18th.