Meet your neighbor … Mandy Neylon works miracles with animal control in Mountain City

By Paula Walter

Mandy Neylon is the animal control officer for Mountain City. Her job is to run and operate the Mountain City Animal Shelter, which includes feeding and providing care for the cats and dogs that find their way to the facility, along with maintaining the shelter building. The shelter often houses rescue animals that had been found abandoned and abused.
Originally from Ohio, Neylon moved to Johnson County in March of 2015. It wasn’t long before she was working for Mountain City at the animal shelter. Her background included working in a veterinarian hospital.
Neylon is the only animal control officer in the city. The majority of her calls involve animal abuse and dogs at large. Not only does she work for the city, but Neylon also responds to calls from Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece if an emergency situation arises. These include dog bites, vicious dogs, along with abused and/or neglected animals. “We need animal control in the county,” Neylon stated, who is on call 24/7. “It’s a lot of work,” she said. “But I do love it.”
According to Neylon, she sees a lot of abuse in her job. If abuse is discovered, the animal or animals are removed from the owners, who are then charged with neglect. The animals are then housed at the Mountain City Animal Shelter during the legal proceedings. “Every animal that was abused is now in a good home. Some dogs that were abused turn into the best pets,” she stated. “There is always help,” she stated. “If people see something, call.”
According to Neylon, animal abuse is higher in the county. “ In Mountain City, people generally take care of their pets,” she stated. According to Neylon, she often receives phone calls from neighbors reporting possible abuse. “A dog’s basic needs are food, water, shelter and a rabies vaccine,” she added. According to Neylon, there were two positive cases of rabies in raccoons in 2017.
The animals at the shelter are adopted or transferred to no-kill shelters in states up north, including New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania, among others. Neylon is constantly looking for homes for dogs and cats. “I’ve always been an animal lover, she added.” Her first job working with animals was with the Humane Society in Ohio.
Neylon’s day is busy as she not only feeds and cleans the animal shelter, but she also transports the animals to the vets for spay and neutering. She works closely with Melissa Gentry, who runs Rescue DOG and Sanctuary, finding homes for those dogs and cats that have come under her care.
According to Neylon, the euthanasia rate at the Mountain City Animal Shelter in 2012 was 70 percent. In 2013, it was 65 percent. It increased in 2014 to 79 percent, and in 2015, it was 68 percent. In 2016, it drastically dropped to 24 percent, followed by 1.9 percent in 2017.
If a stray dog is found, it will be held for three days at the Mountain City Animal Shelter. Information about the dog is put on Facebook, on Neylon’s own Facebook site, along with the shelter’s site. After three days, the lost cat or dog is available for adoption. Those interested in adopting must fill out an application. Vet checks are made to make sure the animal is being cared for. “We want to make sure they are going to really good home,” Neylon stated. If they are not adopted, Neylon works with other animal rescues to place them. “If it’s puppies or a small dog, Melissa Gentry will take them,” she stated.
Although the animal shelter cannot take cash donations, they rely on donations such as food, toys and blankets. Neylon works with Fisher Hollow Veterinary Clinic in Damascus. Donations are accepted at Fisher Hollow that will go toward medical bills for those animals at the Mountain City Shelter.
In 2016, there were 91 dogs picked up in the city limits, while 55 were picked up in the county. There were 127 cats in the city limits and 79 within the county limits. Sixty-nine dogs were transferred to foster home, and 100 cats were sent to foster home. There were 42 dogs in the city and the county who were adopted, and 96 adopted cats both in Mountain City and Johnson County. Thirty-three dogs and three cats were returned to their owners.
“My wish is that every dog would have a home,” Neylon said. “We have to be their voice.”

Home Country

By Slim Randles

“Ahhh! Coffee!” said our resident cowboy, Steve, raising his cup at the philosophy counter. “Let’s raise our cups to whichever Brazilian came up with this stuff.”

Very slowly, Herb Collins stood with his cup of coffee there in the midst of culture and education at the Mule Barn truck stop.

“Actually, Steve,” Herb said, in his most professorial tone, “his name was Kaldi. He lived in Ethiopia.”
And here Herb grinned fiendlishly at Steve. “And he was a sheepherder!”
“No way, Herb!”

“The truth, cowboy, nothing but the truth. In fact, it wasn’t so much Kaldi doing anything, it was his sheep. You see…” (and he turned to face the tables and booths to find he held a rapt audience) “… ol’
Kaldi had noticed his sheep munching these red berries and going kinda hyper all over the place, looking for a lion to whip or something. Well, Kaldi knew that hyper sheep were too busy running around eating the plants flat to the ground to be putting on any mutton, so he decided to investigate.

He chewed some of these berries himself and beat the sheep back to the ol’ Mutton Mansion. He made a couple of laps around the house and said ‘Man, I just can’t live without my coffee!’
“Now that was about 1000 A.D., you know. The word got out, and people started up their drip machines, and morning stopped being such a dirty word.

Of course, as with anything good, there are always party poopers who want it stopped. And so it came to pass with coffee. Six hundred years after Kaldi’s sheep, a bunch of Christians (obviously on decaf) petitioned Pope Clement VIII to ban coffee, believing anything that made mornings pleasant must be the devil’s drink. Being a fair-minded guy, the Pope didn’t want to do that without giving it a try first, so he had some cardinal whip up a batch and he sucked it down. Well, he gave the drink his blessing, said it was an official Christian beverage, had a mug made with ‘Clem’ on it, and hung it over the sink.

“Here’s to coffee!” Herb said to the audience, “The choice of sheepherders everywhere!”
Where does he get these things?

Brought to you by “Stories from History’s Dust Bin,” by award-winning author Wayne Winterton.  Available from all online booksellers.

Keep your horses healthy this winter

By Rick Thomason

University of Tennessee
Johnson County Extension Director

As winter is upon us, it is important to consider the impact of winter weather on equine management practices.  Often, horses acclimate well to cold temperatures, and are typically maintained well outdoors, but Jennie Ivey, University of Tennessee Extension Equine Specialist, says special considerations should be given to the horses’ nutritional needs, and overall maintenance to ensure they maintain good health and welfare in the cooler months.
Despite horses having a higher water intake requirement per day in cold ambient temperatures, colder water temperatures can reduce how much horses will drink per day.  “On average, a 1000-pound horse will consume approximately 10 gallons of water per day, but this amount can vary greatly depending on the horse’s diet, activity level, and general health,” said Ivey.  “Make sure water troughs or buckets are defrosted at least twice a day and let horses drink their fill during these times.  Also, if using an electric water heater, make sure to keep the cord and other hazards away from curious horses.”  The equine specialist adds that snow and ice are not adequate sources of water intake for horses.​​
Low temperatures, high winds and precipitation can increase the amount of energy horses need per day in order to maintain body temperature.  “It is best to provide extra energy to horses by feeding extra hay or other forage rather than increasing concentrates,” Ivey states.  “Since the amount of heat produced from fermentation of fiber contained in hay is greater than the amount of heat produced when the horse digests concentrates, supplementation with grain or concentrate is needed when a horse is having difficulty maintaining weight or body condition.”
Ivey also recommends owners make sure to check a horse’s body condition regularly by feeling the horse’s body, especially since the long winter hair coat can easily hide weight gain or loss.  “Ideally, a horse should consume two percent of their body weight (dry matter basis) in forage per day.  For example, a 1000-pound horse will eat 15 to 20 pounds of hay daily. That’s the equivalent of roughly one small square bale of 40-60 pounds every few days.”  Ivey says the exact number of bales needed for winter feeding will depend on the weight of the bale, how much the horse consumes per day, amount of waste and the horse’s activity level.  She recommends owners submit forage samples for testing to determine the nutritional content and the amount of nutrients provided to your horse daily.
A horse’s winter hair coat does an excellent job of insulating from the cold winter temperatures.  Although horses may not choose to seek protection from the elements, horses should have access to shelter from wind, precipitation and other winter weather conditions.  Ivey says, “Shelter can be natural, such as a tree line or rock formation, or constructed, such as a run-in or stall barn.  Ensure shelter is large enough to accommodate all horses in the turn out area to prevent any horses being excluded based on herd hierarchies.”  Constructed shelters should allow for 150 square feet per mature horse, at a minimum, she advises.
If possible, maintain exercise programs and turnout throughout winter months.  “Confinement and limited exercise can lead to respiratory issues, lower leg swelling (edema or stocking up) and colic,” cautions Ivey. Use care to avoid icy areas, and spread sand, salt or wood ash to increase traction.

Unique wood artistry on display at arts center

This month the Johnson County Art Center presents the work of electrified wood artist, Brenden Bohannon.

Each month the Johnson County Arts Center features an artist or presents a specialized show. During the month of January the center is featuring the work of electrified wood artist, Brenden Bohannon, as well as Japanese woodblock prints from the Magrill Collection.
A reception was held to introduce the art and artists on a very cold January 5th. The volunteers provided refreshments, and Maggie and Caleb Aldridge entertained the visitors with their beautiful style of music including original songs.
“Brenden is a very talented artist and watching his process of creating beautiful works of art from items that would sometimes be discarded is amazing,” Reece stated.
Through a demonstration by Johnson County Center for the Arts Director Cristy Dunn, one can learn about the concept of fractals, which are never-ending patterns, along with self-similar patterns in natural and man-made processes with these artworks on display.
The featured Japanese block prints are by Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858).
“We studied him in art history and can now see the work on display right here in Johnson County,” said Temple Reece. The prints were donated to Reece for the arts center by Nann-Alix Wickwire Magrill and will be available for purchase after the show with all proceeds going to the center.
The show will be open throughout the month of January. Everyone is invited to come by, see their work and the work of all our local artisans on display and for sale. The winter hours are Wednesday through Friday 10:00-5:00 and Saturday 10:00-2:00

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and Prevention Alliance of TN join forces to address opioid issue

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. (Dec. 21 2017) – The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, a national nonprofit that supports families struggling with their son’s or daughter’s substance use, has announced that the Prevention Alliance of Tennessee, a public health nonprofit focused on substance abuse prevention, will become its newest Alliance Partner. This partnership is part of a statewide effort to help communities and families address the opioid issue.

Based in Goodlettsville, Tenn., the Prevention Alliance of Tennessee (PAT) is composed of over 50 coalition members that tackle substance abuse issues in counties across the state. Funded by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Prevention Alliance coalitions implement data-driven and evidenced-based programs across the state, helping build stronger and healthier communities in Tennessee. As a Partnership for Drug-Free Kids Alliance Partner, PAT will help educate families about substance use, particularly related to opioids, and strategies they can use to help their children.

“Our team is proud to be the first Tennessee Alliance Partner with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids,” said Leah Festa, executive director of the Prevention Alliance of Tennessee. “The goals of both of our organizations align perfectly; we both believe in empowering, supporting and guiding families who are affected by substance use toward a healthier future.”

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids has already made strides to support Tennessee families by presenting to groups across the state, including prevention and treatment groups, law enforcement, churches, and civic organizations, to raise awareness about the nonprofit’s resources. Those resources include a toll-free helpline (855-DRUGFREE), a peer-to-peer parent coaching program and a host of online tools. The Partnership has trained more than 20 parent coaches in Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville to provide support to other parents struggling with a child’s substance use.

“We are honored to have the Prevention Alliance of Tennessee join us in supporting families coping with a loved one’s substance use,” said Kevin Collins, vice president of Parent and Community Support Services for Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “Through this partnership, we hope to provide families throughout Tennessee with the resources and guidance they need to address this difficult issue.”
To learn more about the Prevention Alliance of Tennessee, please visit http://www.tncoalitions.org/.

About Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is committed to helping families struggling with their son’s or daughter’s substance use. We empower families with information, support and guidance to get the help their loved one needs and deserves.

On our website, drugfree.org, and through our toll-free helpline (855-DRUGFREE), we provide families with direct support and guidance to help them address teen substance use. Finally, we build healthy communities, advocating for greater understanding and more effective programs to treat the disease of addiction. As a national nonprofit, we depend on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and the public sector and are thankful to SAG-AFTRA and the advertising and media industries for their ongoing generosity. We are proud to receive a Four-Star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities, as well as a National Accredited Charity Seal from The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.

Over 110,000 Tennesseans over 65 are living with Alzheimer’s

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today in Tennessee, 110,000 people over the age of 65 are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2025, that number is expected to grow to 140,000. The Tennessee Department of Health is working with the Alzheimer’s Association Mid-South Chapter to provide support and education for Tennesseans on this disease.
“Alzheimer’s takes a terrible toll on those diagnosed with the illness and their family and caregivers as well,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “The growing risk and impact of Alzheimer’s disease across Tennessee, now our sixth leading cause of death, will require intensified efforts and collaboration to promote research and better understanding of evidence-based best practices for prevention along with risk assessment, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and management of dementia.”

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for loss of memory and other abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.
Early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include:
• Challenges in planning or solving problems
• Difficulty completing familiar tasks
• Confusion with time or place
• Trouble understanding visual images and judging distance
• New problems with words in speaking or writing
• Misplacing things and losing ability to retrace steps
• Withdrawal from work or social activities
• Changes in mood and personality
Alzheimer’s and dementia are not a normal part of aging, but aging is the greatest risk factor for these conditions. While risk factors such as age and family history cannot be changed, research suggests brain health is closely linked to the health of the heart and blood vessels. Factors associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease such as smoking, diabetes and obesity in mid-life can be changed or modified to reduce risk of dementia.
Regular physical exercise may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Exercise may directly benefit brain cells by increasing blood and oxygen flow in the brain. Evidence suggests heart-healthy eating may also help protect the brain. Heart-healthy eating includes limiting intake of sugar and saturated fats and eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Studies also indicate maintaining strong social connections and keeping mentally active as we age might lower the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s

Learn more about healthy aging on the TDH website at http://tn.gov/health/article/healthy-places-healthy-aging. For information about resources and support for Alzheimer’s disease, contact the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org/altn or 800-272-3900.

Winter wellness tips as we enter the cold season

A busy lifestyle and cooler weather can take a toll on the body, especially for those who suffer from chronic aches and pains. Whether the cause of your pain is due to injury, stress, or poor sleep, there are many ways to feel better while avoiding future pain.
To stay well this season and naturally manage muscle pain, consider these tips from professional ballroom dancer Tony Dovolani, who’s no stranger to the subject of pain management.
• Stretch. Stretching is not just for before or after a workout. Stretch throughout the day to keep blood flowing, particularly if you have a job that keeps you sedentary.
• Eat right. Your diet should include lean protein and healthy carbs. “And I eat my vegetables, too!” says Dovolani. “Mainly spinach, string beans and broccoli.”
• Figure out which vegetables you like best, and be sure to incorporate them into your diet.
• Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Water is necessary for muscle repair. Drink water throughout the day and especially when you’re active.
• Apply heat. Heat is a timeless remedy, and it’s clinically proven to relieve pain associated with muscle tension and stress, helping to relax muscles and improve blood flow. The increased blood flow restores oxygen and nutrients to inflamed areas to help accelerate healing.
“After every rehearsal and performance, I use heat to soothe aches and pains and improve blood flow to my neck and shoulder muscles,” says Dovolani, whose pain relief routine includes using The Sunbeam Renue Neck Wrap. “It’s great for providing relief to the back of my head, neck and shoulders.”
Because it features an adjustable neck collar that contours to the shape of the neck of the user, it can provide high-level, concentrated heat for targeted relief.
Don’t let aches and pains set you back. With a healthy, active lifestyle and simple, natural remedies, you can feel your best. (StatePoint)

Many opportunities in Johnson County to stay lean and healthy

Peggy Rogers knows the benefits of stretch and exercise to keep the body flexible and healthy especially during the cold winter months in the mountains.

By Paula Walter

It’s the New Year, and with it comes a host of resolutions we initially are determined to carry out. For many, high on the list is eating healthy and getting in some form of exercise during the day.
There are many benefits to increasing the amount of your regular physical activity as it has many health advantages, including controlling your weight, fighting health conditions such as high blood pressure and lowering your cholesterol and triglycerides. Exercise helps reduce your risk of heart disease as it strengthens your heart as well as improving circulation. It also helps lower your blood sugar levels. It strengthens your bones and muscles, slowing the loss of bone density as your age.
It also helps keep you mentally sharp and reduces your risks of falls as you age.
Exercise not only improves your physical condition, but it helps improve your mood and relieves stress. Walking quickly for 30 minutes not only helps burn calories, but it also gives you a mental lift and leaves you feeling relaxed. If you can’t get out and hit the gym, try being more active during the day. Simple changes such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator are small ways you can increase your activity level. Although you may feel exhausted and don’t want to head to the park to walk or hit the treadmill, regular physical activity will make you feel better. Exercising delivers oxygen and nutrients to your body and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently, giving you more energy. It has also been shown to help you fall asleep easier.
Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have health problems, such as heart disease or high blood pressures, among others.
If you are looking for exercise opportunities in Johnson County, there is an abundance of classes geared for seniors. The senior stretch class, led by Phil Walter, meets from 10:00 am to 11:00 at the fellowship hall at First Christian Church on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There is no charge for the class and you do not need to be a senior to participate.
Walter focuses on balance and fall prevention with his class. “If you think of fitness as a three-legged stool, it’s muscular strength, endurance and flexibility,” he stated. “You need those three components to be balanced. “ According to Walter, there are three things that control your balance, your cerebellum, your inner ear and your vision. “As you age, you start relying more and more on visual clues for balance,” Walter said. According to Walter, you need to more alert and focused when in the shower or night when you get up and it’s dark.
“Most of the ways to prevent falls is to always keep well focused on where you are stepping, how you are stepping and what you are stepping on,” Walter stated. “Focus is the main thing. If you keep your muscular strength, endurance and flexibility, you have a better chance of not falling. We dance, we stretch and lift weights, as well as do balance drills in our class.”
According to Walter, you need to put socialize in exercise. “You can’t underestimate the importance of getting out and socializing. I try to put the word socialize in exercise, he stated. “People don’t need to be isolated.”
According to Walter, most of the class are in their seventies. The oldest member is approximately 87 and the youngest is in her mid forties.
There are multiple exercise classes held at the Johnson County Senior Center, in addition to activities that work your brain. There is a Silver Sneaker class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10:00. There is also a line dancing class on Monday and Thursday at 12:30. The class is taught by Linda Gee.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am to 11:00 am, Sarah Ransome teaches an arthritis exercise class. Later on Tuesday, Chris Laing teaches a Tai Chi class at 12:30. There is also a gym at the senior center that offers several treadmills, incumbent bikes and weights. “We are getting a lot more equipment,” said Kathy Motsinger, director of the senior center. Typically there are between 20 to 25 people who use the gym each week.
According to Motsinger, director of the senior center, there is a Turtle Triathlon held in July, and a Golden Mile event where participants walk one mile at Ralph Stout Park. Last year, approximately 100 seniors participated and over 70 completed the journey. According to Motsinger, there were two participants that were 89 and 92 years old who participated and finished the event.
Don’t forget to check out the local gym and also check to see if there are other exercise classes you might be interested in that are available in the county.

December 2017 in review

A Mountain City man has filed a civil lawsuit against Carter County over a December 2016 stop sign that culminated in a county constable allegedly pointing a gun at the plaintiff’s head.
Two new police officer candidates were approved and discussion continued about the Farmer’s Market park location as the Mountain City Board of Mayor and Aldermen met on December 5, 2017. Police Chief Denver Church presented the board with police officer candidates Zachary Reece and Richard Norris.
The Johnson County Center for the Arts held a reception this past Friday to celebrate My Appalachia. The works of over 20 local artists were featured as they explored what Appalachia means to them. Participants were invited to create a work of art in response to the theme of My Appalachia.
The Johnson County Public Library continues to move forward with their plans for an extension onto the existing library. “The plans are complete,” said Linda Icenhour, library director.
According to Icenhour, when the library received the bids for the extension project, they came in much higher than expected.
Old Mill Ministries held their 10th annual Christmas celebration this past Saturday at the Tennessee National Guard Armory. A traditional Christmas meal of turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and all the trimmings was served as each child eagerly waited a special gift from Santa. Although Andy and Lisa Zeggert, with Old Mill Ministries, have moved out of the area, they return each year, as this event is one of their largest and most eagerly-awaited gatherings.
Tom Sharpe, of Shady Valley, recently reported a large bear attacked his 300-pound pet donkey. The incident was caught on security camera. According to Sharpe, the bear was able to climb into the fenced-in area, attack the donkey several times before managing to drag the animal over the fence and off into the woods. “It was a very vicious attack,” said Sharpe.

July 2017 in review

Volunteers with the Appalachia Service Project (ASP) have returned to Johnson County again this year. They are making repairs on nine homes in the county during the summer months.
ASP is a Christian ministry that was founded in 1969. In the past 48 years since its beginnings, ASP has sent 393,486 volunteers to help 17,866 families in 26 counties in Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and West Virginia. This year, volunteers for Johnson County came from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Oregon, along with four staffers who call Idaho, Delaware, Connecticut and Washington, DC home.
Republican Mae Beavers recently announced her bid for governor of the State of Tennessee on June 3rd. Governor Bill Haslam is restricted from running again due to term limits. Beavers served as a Wilson County Commissioner from 1990 until 1994. She was then elected to the legislative house from 1994 for eight years before she ran for senator. 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 $6,764.00 to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.
Since 1999, the Johnson County Community Foundation has been able to gift over $4.3 million to students, teachers, organizations and community partners. What began as one scholarship fund has grown into four that raise money throughout the year in the hopes of enhancing Johnson County and the lives of community members. Funds. Have been raised by The Johnson County Growth Fund, Johnson County Scholarship Fund and the Margaret M. Wachs Youth Leadership Fund.

June 2017 in review

A road trip and the hope for a loving home are in store for some lucky canines that recently made the transition from local Rescue Dog and End of Life Sanctuary to North Shore Animal League (NSALA) of Port Washington, New York. On Monday, May 1, 2017, over 90 dogs began their journey northeast in search of loving families to welcome them in. Since 2000, Melissa Gentry, founder of Rescue Dog and End of Life Sanctuary, has been on a mission to see that area animals are treated humanely and given the chance to be loved.
Access to high-speed, broadband internet is becoming more and more widespread throughout the United States. In some rural areas, however, gaining access to the valuable service can be difficult given the terrain and reluctance of providers to install and maintain equipment in hard to reach locations. Recently, Tennessee legislative bodies have taken steps to encourage providers to reach beyond their normal service areas and offer broadband access to more Tennesseans.
According to The National Weather Service in Morristown, Tennessee, an EF-0 tornado hit Shady Valley this past Friday, May 12th. Officials say the path of the tornado was approximately 40 feet wide, stretching out about 250 yards. Tornadoes are rated on a scale from EF-0 to EF-5. According to the weather service, estimates are the highest wind speed from the tornado this past Friday was 80 miles per hour, falling into the EF-0 category.
The body of a Damascus, Virginia man wanted for first-degree murder in the shooting death of his sister and brother-in-law was found Wednesday, May 17th around 8:00 pm on Copperhead Hollow Road in Johnson County, located in the Butler area of the county. Johnson County authorities had been assisting in locating the deceased, 48-year-old John Anthony Able.

May 2017 in review

A road trip and the hope for a loving home are in store for some lucky canines that recently made the transition from local Rescue Dog and End of Life Sanctuary to North Shore Animal League (NSALA) of Port Washington, New York. On Monday, May 1, 2017, over 90 dogs began their journey northeast in search of loving families to welcome them in. Since 2000, Melissa Gentry, founder of Rescue Dog and End of Life Sanctuary, has been on a mission to see that area animals are treated humanely and given the chance to be loved.
Access to high-speed, broadband internet is becoming more and more widespread throughout the United States. In some rural areas, however, gaining access to the valuable service can be difficult given the terrain and reluctance of providers to install and maintain equipment in hard to reach locations. Recently, Tennessee legislative bodies have taken steps to encourage providers to reach beyond their normal service areas and offer broadband access to more Tennesseans.
According to The National Weather Service in Morristown, Tennessee, an EF-0 tornado hit Shady Valley this past Friday, May 12th. Officials say the path of the tornado was approximately 40 feet wide, stretching out about 250 yards. Tornadoes are rated on a scale from EF-0 to EF-5. According to the weather service, estimates are the highest wind speed from the tornado this past Friday was 80 miles per hour, falling into the EF-0 category.
The body of a Damascus, Virginia man wanted for first-degree murder in the shooting death of his sister and brother-in-law was found Wednesday, May 17th around 8:00 pm on Copperhead Hollow Road in Johnson County, located in the Butler area of the county. Johnson County authorities had been assisting in locating the deceased, 48-year-old John Anthony Able.

April 2017 in review

There has been one confirmed case of rabies in Johnson County so far this year. The incident occurred on March 21st on Copperhead Hollow Road in the Dry Run area of the county.
According to Jerry Taylor, an environmental health specialist with the Tennessee Department of Health, all parties in the neighborhood were advised of the positive rabies test. According to Taylor, a skunk attacked and bit a dog.
Johnson County’s roots in agriculture go back for several generations. This deep connection to the past makes it especially exciting that this year’s FFA American Star in Agribusiness is Taylor Long, a Shady Valley native whose family has been farming the fertile land of Johnson County for many years. The award is a highly sought after honor that is desired by many but awarded to few.
According to a “State by State Breakdown of 80 Rural Hospitals Closures” from Becker’s Hospital Review, Tennessee takes the lead in the country in the rate of rural hospital closings.
Middle school robotics teams from around the world gathered in Louisville, Kentucky to compete
for top honors at the 2017 VEX World Robotics Competition from April 19th through the 22nd. Teams from North America, South America, and across different parts of the Asian continent came together to showcase their youths’ talent for engineering and passion for the world of robotics.
Johnson County Middle School represented our community well as they took to the world stage with their enthusiasm and professionalism. “

Tennessee Home Garden vegetable 2018 calendar available

By Rick Thomason

University of Tennessee
Johnson County Extension Director

Home gardeners and growers across the state can enjoy a new resource in 2018 available free from University of Tennessee Extension.  The Tennessee Home Garden Vegetable Calendar has been developed by the UT Extension Fruit and Vegetable Workgroup to help users create a comprehensive plan for home vegetable gardens.
Natalie Bumgarner, UT Extension plant sciences expert, says, “We are excited about this new calendar because it can support both new and experienced gardeners with schedules, tips and information on vegetable varieties for the garden.”
The calendar includes tips for scheduling planting, harvest and general management. It is formatted like a regular calendar, and you can print and display in a convenient area or use on your computer throughout the year. Also included in the calendar are monthly tasks for growers and an area for taking notes about that month’s weather and crop observations. The calendar is area-specific as well, with suggestions for East, Middle and West Tennessee.
The Tennessee Home Garden Vegetable Calendar is available for download from the UT Extension website, and the final pages of the file include management templates for crops, climate, pests and diseases. The file also includes fillable boxes that enable it to be used as an electronic record keeping system for gardeners who do not wish to print the file.
To download your copy of the Tennessee Home Vegetable Garden Calendar for 2018, visit this website: https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/W436.pdf.  Dr. Bumgarner also points out the PDF contains links to connect readers to other UT Extension gardening resources, denoted by green text throughout the calendar.
For more information about gardening, contact your local county Extension office located at 212 College Street, Mountain City, TN 37683 or call 727-8161.

Brayden Gentry selected for the Good Neighbor Award

Brayden Gentry was recently notified that he has been selected the Good Neighbor for November, 2017. Sponsored by the local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, this award recognizes students in the Middle School who have a generous spirit, who put others before self. Brayden is described by his teachers as a young man who can be counted on to do the right thing, who does not waiver from the virtues in which he believes, and can be counted on to lend a helping hand whenever and wherever one is needed. Sheila Cruse, joined by Dr. Robert Heath, Principal of JCMS, presented Brayden with letters of congratulations.

Old Mill Ministries serves 400-500 at annual Christmas gathering

By Paula Walter

Old Mill Ministries held their 10th annual Christmas celebration this past Saturday at the Tennessee National Guard Armory. A traditional Christmas meal of turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and all the trimmings was served as each child eagerly waited a special gift from Santa. Although Andy and Lisa Zeggert, with Old Mill Ministries, have moved out of the area, they return each year, as this event is one of their largest and most eagerly-awaited gatherings. “There are usually between 400 and 500 who come for the Christmas meal,” said Lisa.
Despite the cold weather this past weekend, a long line formed for those waiting not only for the festive Christmas party, but there was also a large selection of new coats, hats and gloves for adults and young alike. Gently used clothes, toys and household items had also been donated. According to Lisa, there has only been one year where the weather made it difficult for people to attend. “We went door to door to take it to them,” she added.
According to Lisa, attendees fill out a registration form with contact information, but stress there is no criteria for people to meet to partake in the Christmas celebration. Their events are non-inclusive and non-denominational. “We’re here to be a blessing,” Lisa said. “Every year it grows.”
While the group was still gathered in the main room where the Christmas meal was served, Andy Zeggert shared the Christmas story of the birth of Jesus.
A closed off separate area held toys for boys and girls. Each child had the opportunity to go in and chose an item. The room was full with items for all ages, from cars and trucks to Barbie dolls, stuffed animals and even Olaf from the movie, Frozen. According to Lisa, Cash Express is the central location for donations. “They collect the toys and donations for us,” she said.
An endeavor of this size cannot be carried out without the help of the community. According to Kim Potter of Cash Express, the community is very supportive of the coat and toy drive. “We had so much,” she stated. “Our office was full and the front was full. It was such a success. It was the best toy drive we’ve had.” According to Potter, jars are set out at various business locations across the county. The money collected is then used to purchase toys and coats.
If you are interested in contributing to next year’s Christmas Celebration, donations can be taken to Cash Express, located at 503 A South Church Street, next to Duffy’s. Collection for next year’s event begins at the end of October.

International harpist Eryn Jones Fuson performs right here at home

By Paula Walter

Eryn Jones Fuson, an international harpist, will be performing at First Methodist Church of Mountain City on Saturday, December 23rd at 2:00 pm. Fuson has a newly released CD entitled “Trail of White.”
Fuson was born in California but moved across the country to our own Johnson County with her family and grew up in Mountain City. She began singing at a young age and started playing the violin and piano when she was nine years old. A few years later, she added guitar to the growing list of her musical achievements, soon followed by the harp lever. Fuson began playing at weddings and special events in 2005 while she was in college in Chattanooga. She also has given private lessons since 2008.
Fuson plays a variety of music, from classical to contemporary to Celtic. Lately, she has added a twist to her music and has added pop, rock and indie genres to her harp performances. Fuson enjoys playing folk music on her guitar, especially some of the works of Stevie Nicks and Carole King. She also plays the piano, enjoying church hymns and classic hits.
Fuson, as an accomplished musician, has won multiple awards for her achievements. In 2007, she won four awards at Grandfather Mountain Scottish Highlands Festival, including the most promising harper. In 2017, she again won most promising harper, as well as first place in harps and vocals and at the National Scottish Harp Convention held at the Edinboro Highland games.
First Methodist Church of Mountain City is located at 128 North Church Street in Mountain City. There is no charge for the Christmas Harp Concert, but a love offering will be accepted.
Fuson will be playing songs from “Trail of White,” along with other Christmas favorites, followed by a closing story by her husband, Jadie, who is an award-winning storyteller.

Johnson County leadership class embarks on adventures

Members of the 2017-2018 Johnson County Leadership Class have had two great adventures in October and November. On October 19th, the class enjoyed a day filled with the history of Johnson County. The day started with a tour of the Trade Grist Mill hosted by Frank Lawrence. They then followed the Daniel Boone Trail to the Shouns Crossroads. The class climbed to the Shoun monument in memory of Leonard and Barbara Slemp Shoun and enjoyed a most spectacular view of the Neva community. The group proceeded down Highway 167, detouring to the site of the cave at Maymead where in 1949, Indian relics were found during a mining blast. The relics were studied by the archeology department of the University of Tennessee. The next stop was along the Daniel Boone Trail at the beautiful Butler Museum. The most knowledgeable Herman and Nancy Tester guided our tour. In the afternoon the group was privileged to go inside the infamous Butler Mansion. The owner, Joan Trathan, was most gracious and welcoming to the class. The day ended at Sunset Memorial Cemetery viewing some locally well-known and some little known but very interesting gravesites.
On November 18th, the class attended Regional Leadership Day at the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce. This is a fun day in that leadership groups from Greene, Hawkins, Johnson, and Unicoi Counties, along with the city of Kingsport, come together to interact and learn about each other. The group heard three amazing motivational speakers; Miles Burdine, Kingsport Chamber President and CEO, Jeff Hostetler, Director of Sales and Marketing, Tele-Optics, Inc., and David Golden, Senior Vice-President, Chief Legal Officer, and Corporate Secretary, Eastman. The day was topped off with a ride on the Kingsport Carousel and ice cream sundaes from Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers.

Johnson County 4-H student reports

Mrs. Greer’s fourth grade class has once again succeeded in another assignment. This project was to do a speech about someone or something in our Tennessee history. We had four weeks to do the assignment. On Friday, November 10th, our speech winners were selected. First place was Izzy Thompson, second place was Serenity Jones, and third place was Nate Sutherland. The next assignment is to create a poster. Mrs. Greer’s fourth grade class is excited for this next project. We hope to get a lot of points this year! Hailey Lewis
Mrs. Greer’s 4th Grade
Mountain City Elementary

In our recent 4-H meeting we shared our speeches to the class. Many of our speeches were on Egyptian History: pyramids, Pharaohs and artifacts. In 1st place was Gaston Dugger who did his speech on Osiris. In 2nd place was Vanessa Perkins who did her speech on the sphinx and in 3rd place was George Grill. Then we learned our next project, the poster project!!
Eli Fritts
Mrs. Gentry’s 6th Grade
Mountain City Elementay

Ms. Dugger’s 4th grade class had their 4-H meeting on November 3, 2017. Today we gave our speeches to the class. Everyone did a great job! In 1st place was Josie Cox, 2nd place was Sarah Presnell, and in 3rd place was Ansley Clifton. Our next project is the poster contest.
Katelyn Osborne
Ms. Dugger’s 4th Grade
Roan Creek Elementary

In 4-H we talked about our next project, which is the poster contest. When designing your poster, you will have to use your imagination and creativity.
Mattie Jones
Mrs. Henson’s 6th Grade
Mountain City Elementary

Ms. Parrish’s 5th grade 4-H club had their ornament project contest. We all knew that there would only be three winners. The winners were: 1st place- Zachary Lunceford, 2nd place- Matthew Swift, & 3rd place- Kaylee Roark. Our next project is the public speaking contest.
Matthew Swift
Ms. Parrish’s 5th Grade

Mountain City Elementary
In our last 4-H meeting the teachers talked about our next project, the speech contest. We have to write a speech on U.S. History. The ornaments were judged and ribbons were given out. This was the end of our meeting.
Sarah Johnson
Mrs. Chambers’ 5th Grade
Mountain City Elementary

This month we talked about our Public Speaking contest. Mrs. Pleasant said it will be a big contest if everyone tried their best. We also talked about the hamburger method and how to write a speech. You can see me next month in the Tomahawk.
Mattie Jones
Mrs. Henson’s 6th Grade
On November 3, 2017, Mrs. Stalvey’s 6th Grade class gave their 4-H speeches. Everyone did a great job on their interesting speeches. Our winners were Hunter Taylor- 3rd place, Brayden Cannon- 2nd place, and Alexa Childers- 1st place. Congratulations and great job! The next project is the poster contest. Your poster needs to have a great message and description. Have a nice evening!
Alexa Childers
Mrs. Stavey’s 6th Grade
Mountain City Elementary

In our 4-H meeting we learned about our 4-H project. It is going to be the poster contest. If you use the clover on your poster, it can be green with white H’s or a black and white version. Then we started the speeches. First place was a tie between Ivy Lakatos and Ariel Tester.

Sarah Johnson
Mrs. Chambers’ 5th Grade
Mountain City Elementary