Planning and building fences on the farm

By Rick Thomason

University of Tennessee
Johnson County Extension Director

Many innovations have occurred in the fencing industry in recent years, giving producers an array of options for fences to confine and protect livestock.  Whether used as permanent, periphery boundaries, temporary pasture dividers or to encircle a house, fences need careful planning and construction for efficient usefulness, long life and low maintenance.
The first consideration in deciding the best fence is the purpose for which it will be used.  Livestock protection and confinement are the main reasons for considering fencing, but the fencing needs for various types (species, age, breed, production system) of livestock vary widely.  Following are some of the livestock types and situations with special requirements:
Cattle – Most types of fence can be used with cattle, so most cattle producers assess factors such as expense, ease of construction and expected life of the fence when considering fencing strategy.  In the past, woven wire and barbed wire were the most common fence types; however, high-tensile fencing is rapidly gaining popularity in Tennessee.
Fence height for perimeter cattle fences should be a minimum of 54 inches.  When bulls are penned separately from cows, special attention must be paid to construction.  Heavy posts with thick-gauge wire or cables are required, or electric fence may be effectively used.
Fences for handling facilities must be strong enough to withstand heavy usage, tall enough (60 inches minimum) to prevent escape, and clearly visible.  Treated wood or heavy wire panel fences are preferred.
Sheep and Goats – Fences for sheep and goats do not have to be as tall as for cattle, but they have other special requirements.  Predator control is more important.  Electric fences are particularly useful for discouraging predators such as dogs and coyotes.  Barbed wire is not as effective with sheep, as the barbs tend to become covered with wool.
Horses – Visibility is a necessary characteristic in fencing for horses.  Barbed wire should be avoided because there are many opportunities for horses to tear their hide on the barbs.  High-tensile wire fences poses a threat to horses because they may become entangled in the strands.  The chance of this can be decreased if high-tensile fences are made more visible by placing posts closer together, or hanging ribbons or something else from the wire.  Board fences are ideal for horses.  Woven wire also works well, particularly with a single board at the top so the horses can easily see the fence.
For more information on planning and building fences on the farm, check out the UT Extension Publication, PB 1541, “Planning and Building Fences on the Farm”.  This publication can be accessed on-line at:

Johnson County Senior Center to hold a health fair tomorrow, Wednesday, November 15th from 8:00 am to 10:00 am

Senior blood tests Nov. 15th
The Johnson County Senior Center will be having a Health Fair on Wed., Nov. 15th from 8-10 a.m. The Mtn. States Health Alliance will be doing blood tests for any senior in Johnson County for $10. (This is a $300 blood test). Free blood pressure checks and vitals will also be available for seniors. The center will open at 7 a.m. to register for blood tests and please no early birds. If you have any questions please call the senior center at (423) 727-8883.

Barks and Bubbles holds blessing of the animals

This past Saturday, Barbs and Bubbles held a blessing of the animals at their location on Highway 421. Dogs, cats and animals of all breeds were invited to attend, along with their owners, to receive a blessing given by a minister.
During the month of October, churches all around the world hold a service for the blessing of the animals. It all began approximately 800 years ago with Francis of Assisi. Across the world, people bring their pets to be blessed on the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.
According to Nina Richards, any animal was welcome to the event. They asked that everyone bring a can of dog, puppy or cat food that will be given to Melissa Gentry for her Rescue Dog and End of Sanctuary mission. According to Richards, there were snacks for both animals and their people.
Although the crowd was small with eight dogs and one cat were part of the blessing, they raiseed $25 for Melissa Rescue Dog and some food for her furry friends.

The woolly worm makes its annual prediction

Joseph Gambill doesn’t seem to be bothered at all with the woolly warm curled up in his hand.

It’s been 40 years since the folks of Banner Elk held their first woolly worm festival. According to local lore, the severity of the winter months is based on the 13 body segments of the wooly worm that wins the race to cross the finish line first. Each segment equals one week of winter. Black segments indicate snowy and bitter week, while lighter brown segments mean a milder weather.

According to this year’s wooly worm winner’s predictions from Banner Elk, week one through week three indicate average temperatures with snow. Weeks four through nine shows average temperatures. Week 10, although the temperatures will be average for that time of year, there will be some light snow. Week 11 also shows averages tempers, and weeks 12 and 13 will be in the normal range but with snow.

For those who follow a more traditional approach to our winter weather predictions, The Old Farmer’s Almanac says our region will see a warmer than normal winter, with above the normal amount of precipitation and below normal amounts of snow. Late December, early to mid January, early and mid February will be the coldest time periods. The snowiest time will be mid to late November, early and mid to late January and finally, the middle of March.

If the Old Farmer’s Almanac is correct, it looks like we could have snow for the Thanksgiving weekend.

Local chapter of Daughters of American Revolution formed

The Blue Ridge Mountains Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution of Johnson County became Tennessee’s newest chapter on Sunday, November 5, 2017. The organizing meeting of the chapter was held at the fellowship hall of the First Christian Church of Mountain City with Organizing Regent Janet Rhea Payne presiding.
Tennessee State Regent Charlotte Stout Reynolds installed officers of the chapter. Officers are Regent Janet Rhea Payne, Vice Regent Janet Cress Payne, Recording Secretary Nancy Shoun, Corresponding Secretary Martha Elvidge, Treasurer Nancy Wills, Registrar Katherine Stout, Historian Margaret Westphal, Librarian Maggie Lewis, Chaplain Sue Howard and Parliamentarian Mary Nave.
Members of the new chapter signed the chapter’s charter with State Regent Charlotte Reynolds and State Organizing Secretary Nancy Carr welcoming each member. Organizing members of the chapter are Cindy Church, Martha Cress Elvidge, Sarah Hernandez, Frankie Hammonds, Sue Howard, Jennifer Icenhour, Maggie Lewis, Mary Nave, Janet Cress Payne, Janet Rhea Payne, Lynne Payne Phillips, Carolyn Roberts, Nancy Shoun, Rosemary Stanbery, Joan Cress Stout, Amelia Stout, Katherine Stout, Margaret Westphal, Nancy Wills, and Jane Winters.
Supporting the Blue Ridge Mountains Chapter in its organization in addition to State Regent Charlotte Reynold and State Organizing Secretary Nancy Carr were State Vice Regent Cecile Wimberly, State Treasurer Betty Stevens, DAR chapter officers and members from surrounding areas and family members.
The DAR, founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a volunteer women’s service organization that honors and preserves the legacy of our patriot ancestors who fought in the American Revolutionary War nearly 250 years ago. Members are women who can prove a lineal descent from a Patriot of the American Revolution.
The Blue Ridge Mountains Chapter NSDAR will meet at 6:00 pm on the third Tuesday of every month at the Johnson County Library.

Bridge construction and Johnson County High School/Middle School traffic flow change delayed to Nov. 13

A map of traffic flow during bridge construction was provided by Mountain City Mayor Kevin Parsons.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation will be replacing the Fairground Lane bridge at the entrance to Johnson County Middle and High Schools beginning Thursday, November 13th. According to Mountain City Mayor Kevin Parsons the original start date of November 8th was delayed due to the JCHS football team hosting playoff games.
Traffic will not be able to enter at the front entrance due to the construction. The new entrance during bridge construction will be at Fairview Avenue (at the track) and continuing up the hill from there. Traffic will exit by the vocational school and proceed down East Hillcrest Drive.
JCMS car riders and walkers will be dismissed at 3 p.m. with pickups in front of the high school. Parents will not be permitted to drive around the building in the afternoon due to bus pickups. JCHS walkers will also dismiss at 3 p.m. Student car drivers will dismiss at 3:10 p.m. Bus riders will dismiss at their normal time.
Mayor Parsons advises parents, teachers and students that the new traffic pattern will cause delays until everyone is accustomed to the temporary route. He suggests those using that route to allow extra time before and after school. “Our city officers will be assisting traffic around the detour area as well as enforcing both direction of travel and vehicle speed for the duration of the project,” said Parsons.
Traffic flow should go back to normal in the spring of 2018.


First Free Will Baptist to hold turkey dinner Nov. 4th

First Free Will Baptist Church will hold a turkey dinner at their fellowship hall on November 4th from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The menu will include turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green beans, roll, dessert and drink for only $7.00. Thank you for supporting First Freewill Baptist Church youth group.

Johnson County Winter Farmers Market to open November 4

By Richard Calkins

The Board of Directors of the Johnson County Farmers Market is pleased to announce the grand opening of its new Winter Farmers Market on Saturday, November 4, beginning at 9 AM in the basement of the Johnson County Welcome Center.
This new initiative reflects both the growing demand for fresh local produce, pasture-raised beef and pork, farm-fresh eggs, local honey, baked goods and other “value-added” agricultural products, and the increasing availability of such products from farms in our area. The winter market will observe the same hours as the summer market (Saturdays from 9 AM to Noon), but will be located in the warm and cozy basement of the welcome center. (Parking is available in the back of the building.) In addition to space for 20 vendors, the facility will feature a seating area (the “Friends of the Winter Market Café”), where, for a small donation, patrons can enjoy a cup of hot coffee or tea, and perhaps a locally produced pastry or other baked goods from one of our vendors. Like the summer market, local musicians will be invited to perform for the listening pleasure of our customers.
Several vendors will also be joining together to offer a weekly “CSA” box (Community-Supported Agriculture), including beef and pork products, baked goods, and fresh produce. In addition to farm-fresh edibles, we will also have locally produced crafts, art work, soaps, candles, and the like, perfect gifts for the up-coming holidays. For more information on the winter market, please find us on Facebook at “Johnson County Farmers Market”. Vendors interested in selling at the winter market can call or text the winter market manager (Anna Timmerman) at 919 616-0932.


Johnson County 4-H reports

Today, we had our second 4-H meeting. We learned how to go through our club meeting. We learned about our next project, which is the Public Speaking contest. The winners of our recyclable ornament contest are: Megan Stout won 1st place. Lilly Powell won 2nd place. Anna Norris won 3rd place.
Jaida Garland
Mrs. Eggleston’s 4th Grade
Doe Elementary

On September 21, 2017 Mrs. Dugger’s 6th Grade had their 4-H meeting. In our meeting, we talked about our officer jobs and who was going to be elected as President, Vice President, Secretary, and Reporter. The winners of our election were: Josh Lowe- President, Casey Ollinger- Vice President, Chase Muncy- Secretary, and I, Destiny Nicholson- Reporter. After the election, we talked about our first project, the recyclable ornament contest. Then, Mrs. Pleasant and Ms. Taylor showed us examples of other ornaments that had been made and they gave us great ideas.
Destiny Nicholson
Mrs. Dugger’s 6th Grade
Laurel Elementary

This month Mrs. Dugger’s 6th grade turned in their recyclable ornament. Mrs. Pleasant told us about our next project for next month. Our next project is the speech contest. We learned about writing a speech using the hamburger model. We have to have an introduction, a body and a conclusion to our speech. We need to remember to make eye contact, remember to practice, and to meet our time limit. Then Mrs. Pleasant gave examples of posture and the way we should stand. We shouldn’t lean against the board or move from side to side. We also went over an example speech about Abraham Lincoln. Last, Mrs. Pleasant and Ms. Taylor gave out the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons. The 1st place winner was Kailahni Webster. The 2nd place winner was Trista Dunn. In 3rd place was a tie between Casey Ollinger and Allison Sutherland.
Destiny Nicholson
Mrs. Dugger’s 6th Grade
Laurel Elementary

Mrs. Shepherd’s 5th Grade class had their 1st 4-H meeting on September 26, 2017. At this meeting we elected our class officers and they are: Tory Torbett- President, Taylor Chapman- Vice President, Secretary- Bella Lowe, and Reporter- Kylah Henley. Our 1st project was the Recyclable Ornament contest. Today, October 27, we found out who won the contest. The winners were: 1st place- Kylah Henley, 2nd place-Cameron Crowder, and 3rd place was a tie between Ethan Ward and Bella Lowe.
Kylah Henley
Mrs. Shepherd’s 5th Grade
Mountain City Elementary

Revised schedule of events for downtown Mountain City’s Christmas on Main

Johnson County Chamber of Commerce will be presenting Christmas on Main on Friday December 1 from 5pm-9pm. Main Street will look like it has never looked before. Businesses on Main Street will be encouraged to decorate and light up their store fronts to celebrate the festival. There will be a live nativity, Christmas caroling and busking as well as clogging. Kids can enjoy riding the Polar Express. Santa will stop by and be in the courthouse lawn for pictures. The annual tree lighting will be on Friday at 6pm. There will be local vendors set up so come on down and start your Christmas shopping early.
If anyone has any questions, contact Megan McEwan on facebook or email her at the month, the Positive Thinkers are collecting Christmas gifts for children in Johnson County. If you would like to put a smile on a child’s face this Christmas morning, stop by the Johnson County Bank or contact Amy Lewis at 423-727-7701.

Calling all students grades 2-6 to be members of a Community Children’s Chorus

Calling all students grades 2-6 to be members of a  Community Children’s Chorus

Calling all students in grades two through six to be members of a community children’s chorus to perform at Heritage Hall at the Christmas “Sing in the season” performance at Heritage Hall on Saturday, December 9th at 7:00 pm. Rehearsals will be at Heritage Hall on Sundays, from 3:00 to 4:30 pm October 29th through December 3rd. Dress rehearsal will be on Thursday, December 7th at 6:00 pm. Contact Marie Jo Thum at 561 901 4322 or Leni Smith at 423-727-1947.

If you miss the first practice, join us on November 4th.

Blood Assurance Regional Blood Center will conduct public blood drives at the following locations

Blood Assurance Regional Blood Center will conduct public blood drives at the following locations:

Thursday, October 26th, 11:00a-6:00p, Advanced Call Center Technologies-Boones Creek, Johnson City, TN

Friday, October 27th, 11:00a-4:00p, Advanced Call Center Technologies-Boones Creek, Johnson City, TN

Monday, October 30th, 9:00a-3:00p, Galax High School, Galax, VA

Monday, October 30th, 9:00a-1:00p, Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Tennessee, Johnson City, TN

Tuesday, October 31st, 9:00a-2:00p, Food City, Galax, VA

Wednesday, November 1st, 8:30a-10:45a, Danny Herman Trucking, Mountain City, TN

Wednesday, November 1st, 12:30p-3:30p, Johnson County Community Hospital, Mountain City, TN

Thursday, November 2nd, 11:00a-6:00p, Advanced Call Center Technologies-Fairview, Johnson City, TN

Friday, November 2nd, 11:00a-4:00p, Advanced Call Center Technologies-Fairview, Johnson City, TN

Donors also welcome at Blood Assurance Donor Centers:

16000 Johnston Memorial Dr., Medical Suite 110, Abingdon, VA

100 Linden Square Dr., Bristol, VA

1 Professional Park Drive, Suite 14, Johnson City, TN

300 Clinchfield St., Kingsport, TN


Donors must be at least 18 years old (16-17 years old with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. The process usually takes about 30 minutes and includes a complimentary gift and snacks. Donors should eat a healthy meal and drink plenty of fluids -avoiding caffeine- prior to giving blood.

To schedule a blood drive at a local business, school, church or civic/community organization, please contact:

In Tennessee, Mike Patterson, 423-298-4335,

In Virginia, Sam McKinney, 276-780-4136,

Christmas will transform downtown into magical mountain village for the holidays

By:  Paula Walter

Assistant Editor

It’s not too early to start thinking about Christmas in Mountain City. The town will be bursting with activities and it all begins on December 2nd at 5:00 pm at the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the courthouse lawn. It is a part of the “Magic of Christmas,” sponsored by the Johnson County Chamber of Commerce. In addition to the lighting of the tree, there will be live music, Christmas singing, hot chocolate and candy for the children.
December is full of activities, beginning with The Johnson County Community Theatre. They will present “A Christmas Play” on December 1st, 2nd and 3rd. For more information, call 423- 727- 7444 or visit .
On December 2nd, there will be open and guided rides as part of the “Jingle Bells Ride at Doe Mountain Recreation,” located at 1208 Harbin Hill Road. The ride will end at Mountain City Elementary. All riders are invited to ride in the annual Christmas parade.
On Saturday, December third, the Chamber holds its eagerly awaited Christmas parade. The line up begins at 3:30 and the parade itself begins at 5:30 pm. Be on the look out for Christmas carolers, bright lights and food vendors along the way. Businesses are planning to stay open, include the new arts center in Mountain City.
Throughout the month, the Positive Thinkers are collecting Christmas gifts for children in Johnson County. If you would like to put a smile on a child’s face this Christmas morning, stop by the Johnson County Bank or contact Temple Reece at 423-727-7701.
The Festival of Trees will be held throughout the month of December at the Johnson County Welcome Center. Everyone is invited to come and view the trees provided by local business and different organization in the county. They are open 8:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Saturday, and on Sunday afternoons. If you would like more information, call Kelly at 423-727-5800 or email them at
The eagerly awaited Christmas craft show will be held on November 18 from 9:00 until 4:00 at the National Guard Armory. The booths are already sold out and the armory will be packed with crafts of all kinds. There are approximately 70 vendors this year. It’s a great opportunity to do some early Christmas shopping and shop local. The Center for the Arts will be opened 10:00 to 4:00 and there will also be opportunities to support local crafters.
On December 9th, there will be “Christmas Community Sing Along” at Heritage Hall. To purchase tickets, call 423-727-7444 or go to
On December 10th, the Rotary Club will present its Tour of Homes, part of the Magic of Christmas in a Small Town. The tour is from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Call 423-727-7988 for more information. Tickets are available at the welcome center.


Halloween observed in town Tuesday

Halloween will be observed in the city limits on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. Trick or treat hours will be from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. only. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen have set the following rules for observance and to ensure the children’s safety:
Masks shall not be worn by anyone over 12 years of age.
The blocking of streets, throwing of missiles, and acts of vandalism of any kind will not be tolerated.
Juvenile offenders will be detained by the police until parents are called to pick them up at the police department. Parents will be responsible for property damages done by minor children.
It is recommended that parents accompany their children and only trick or treat in your immediate neighborhood. Parents are encouraged to check what they allow their children to eat from their treats. Please stay on the edge of the road and wear something that can be seen in the dark. Additional police officers will be on patrol. Please drive slowly and be on the lookout for other little goblins.

Major traffic flow changes for middle and high schools till completion of bridge

The Tennessee Department of Transportation will be replacing the bridge at the entrance to Johnson County Middle and High Schools beginning Thursday, November 9th. Traffic will not be able to enter at the front entrance due to the construction. The new entrance during this time will be at Fairview Avenue (at the track) and continuing up the hill from there. Traffic will exit by the vocational school and proceed down East Hillcrest Drive.
JCMS car riders and walkers will be dismissed at 3 p.m. with pickups in front of the high school. Parents will not be permitted to drive around the building in the afternoon due to bus pickups. JCHS walkers will also dismiss at 3 p.m. Student car drivers will dismiss at 3:10 p.m. Bus riders will dismiss at their normal time.
Johnson County Schools asks that everyone be patient while the bridge is under construction. Traffic flow should go back to normal in the spring of 2018.

County’s quarterly reports mostly positive and approved unanimously

By:  Marlana Ward

Freelance Writer

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.  Farmer passed away recently after many years as bailiff at the Johnson County Courthouse. Vice-Chairman of Commission Rick Snyder read aloud a proclamation which documented Farmer’s lengthy work in law enforcement as well as the many accolades he had received over his career.  County Mayor Larry Potter shared how Farmer took his job very seriously and how Farmer’s friendliness and dedication would be missed.  Commissioner George Lowe made the motion to officially accept the proclamation as a commission and Commissioner Huey Long seconded the motion.  All in attendance voted unanimously to approve the proclamation.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, David Lawrence of Trade stepped forward to share his recent bout combating stolen checks.  Lawrence shared how his government payment which was direct deposited to his bank account was stolen by check thieves and how this had put him in financial distress.  Vice-Chairman Snyder expressed the commission’s sympathy for Lawrence’s situation but explained that there was nothing that the commission could do as a legislative body to help with the problem.  Snyder thanked Lawrence for taking the time to speak to the commission.
At 7:10 pm Vice-Chairman Snyder announced that at that time the meeting would recess into an executive session.  All commissioners, the mayor, county attorney, and a few department supervisors exited the courtroom to reconvene in another room.  The executive session lasted approximately fifteen minutes. Those who had exited the courtroom returned to their seats and the regular county commission meeting continued at 7:25 pm.
Quarterly reports for the various departments within the county body were given to the commissioners for review ahead of time and a portion of the departments had representatives available for any questions the commissioners may have.  Airport nanager Dave Garris gave the commission a positive report about the summer quarter at the airport.  He shared that the airport had been very busy with great numbers and great people visiting the location.  Angie Stout of the county health department shared that the department would soon have a full time dentist on location to better serve the local community.  Also included in the quarterly reports that were given to commissioners were reports from the following departments:  Accounts and Budgets, Emergency Management, Highway, Library, Planning Commission, School System, Sherriff, Solid Waste, Trustee, and Veterans’ Affairs.  All reports were approved unanimously.
Notaries unanimously accepted by the commission were Rebecca Gouge, Mary Ann Hamilton, William Cockett, and Cristy Clark Taylor.
The budget amendments, which were given to the commissioners for review beforehand, were approved along with the request by Accounting and Budget Director Russell Robinson for the approval of two leases for the school system.
The next item brought up for discussion was the proposed transfer use of a transmitting tower from the county to the Cold Springs Utility District.

To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.

Republican Women of Johnson County to meet October 26th

The Republican Women of Johnson County announce their monthly meeting for October 2017.
Please come join us for our monthly meeting on October 26 at Johnson County Library in the conference room.
Our guest speaker will be State Executive Chairman, Scott Golden.  Come learn about the GOP process and get questions answered.
We will have snacks and drinks at 1230.  Plus come early to speak with Scott.  The formal meeting will start promptly at 1pm.
All are encouraged to attend.  Contact us at


BBQ fund-raiser for Jessica Tester

There will be a barbecue fund-raiser for Jessica Tester on Sat., Oct. 28th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Delivery made to businesses with large orders or may be picked up at the Coffee House. Tickets will be available for a $10 donation in advance at various locations or contact by text or calling Sharon Sala at 423-557-6476, Melody Grayson at 423-432-8736 or Shannon Clark at 423-895-4902.
Meal will consist of pork barbecue, bun, slaw, baked beans, dessert and a drink included. Walk-ins welcome.

Cast your vote for your favorite scarecrow

It’s time for “Scarecrows on Main”! Scarecrow exhibit dates will be from October 7th through the 31st. First, second and third place prizes will be awarded, as well as “People’s Choice”. Please cast your vote for the “People’s Choice” at City Hall from Monday, October 16th through Friday, October 20th. The winner will be announced on October 23rd. If you need more information, please call 423-727-8005.

Holiday Fair at the Farmers Market Oct 28th

For our last outdoor market of the season, the Johnson County Farmers Market will go out with a bang.  We have over 24 vendors coming to the Holiday Fair Market providing not only farm fresh produce and fresh baked goods, but a variety of local crafters as well.  We’ll have pumpkin painting for the kids, hot apple cider, fall and Christmas decorations, gifts, and live music.  The Holiday Fair will be at the County Courthouse parking lot across from the post office in downtown Mountain City from 9am until 12pm Saturday, October 28th.  Extra parking will be across the street at the Community Center.