National College Scholarships Available through SkyLine

WEST JEFFERSON, N.C.–Area high school seniors whose parents are telephone service subscribers of SkyLine Membership Corporation and SkyBest Communications may apply for national scholarships available through Foundation for Rural Service (FRS).

FRS was established in 1994 by the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA), of which SkyLine is a member.  The FRS promotes, educates and advocates rural telecom issues in order to sustain and enhance the quality of life within communities throughout rural America.  Through its various programs and initiatives, the foundation strongly supports the continuing education of rural youth.

This year, 30 one-time, $2,500 FRS scholarships will be awarded to rural high school seniors:  one per geographic region of the NTCA membership and one to a student sponsored by a NTCA associate member.  The remaining 19 awards will be distributed proportionate to the number of applications received per region.  FRS will fund $2,000 of each scholarship, with the sponsoring cooperative of each winning student providing a $500 match.

Additional scholarships to be awarded through this program include the following:

  • Four $5,000 FRS Staurulakis Family Scholarships. Students who are majoring in math, science, engineering or medicine will be given preference.
  • Two $1,500 TMS Scholarships.
  • One $7,000 Everett Kneece Return to Rural America Scholarship.

According to the FRS, more than two-thirds of rural Americans with postsecondary degrees never return to their rural communities, so this program gives particular emphasis to those students who plan to return to their community following college.  Other eligibility requirements include the following:

  • Applicants must be children of SkyLine members or SkyBest customers who subscribe to either company’s telephone services.
  • Applicants must be graduating from high school this year and reside full-time with their parent(s) in the companies’ service area.
  • Applicants must have at least a “C” grade-point-average (GPA).  FRS scholarships will be awarded to deserving students whose academic credentials fall within an average to above-average range.
  • Applicants must be accepted to an accredited two- or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school.
  • Applicants must express an interest to return to a rural community following graduation.
  • Applications must be sponsored by SkyLine, an NTCA-member company.

Scholarship applications are available at all area high school guidance departments and at SkyLine Customer Service Centers in West Jefferson, Seven Devils and Sparta.  Scholarship information and application forms also may be accessed through SkyLine’s website (www.skyline.org).  Completed applications must be submitted to SkyLine’s corporate offices by Monday, February 13.   All applicants must be sponsored by SkyLine, and completed applications received by this deadline will be signed by a SkyLine official and submitted to the FRS for consideration by the March 1 postmark deadline.

If any SkyLine-sponsored students are named winners, they will be announced in May. Since 2006, 13 area students have received FRS-related scholarships, including Jade Shepherd of Alleghany County, who received a $2,500 scholarship in 2016.

For more information about these national scholarships, please contact Karen Powell, SkyLine Public Relations Administrator, at SkyLine’s corporate offices at 1-800-759-2226.

Based in West Jefferson, SkyLine Membership Corporation is a member-owned cooperative which provides a variety of telecommunications services to customers in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties in North Carolina and Johnson County in east Tennessee. Along with its current focus of building a fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) network, SkyLine is committed to enhancing the quality of life across the region through various charitable, educational and economic development programs. Its wholly-owned subsidiary, SkyBest Communications, offers de-regulated products and services, including local calling services, business systems and networking solutions, broadband Internet services, long-distance, security systems, digital TV service, home automation and surveillance.

Tennessee’s handgun permits not accepted by eight states

The Tennessee Firearms Association confirms through the Department of Safety that 8 states that did accept Tennessee’s handgun permits for reciprocity no longer do or accept only some of them.

Tennessee changed its law effective January 1, 2017, so that a small number of individuals 18-20 years old can apply for civilian handgun permits.  That small group is, for reasons not entirely clear as a matter of constitutional analysis, limited to those individuals who are in or retired from the military.

As a result of this change in the law, Tennessee Firearms Association asked in writing of the Tennessee Department of Safety which states, if any, had changed their reciprocity status with Tennessee regarding handgun permits.
Based on the reply from the Department of Safety, it appears that EIGHT (8) states have limited or eliminated their willingness to accept Tennessee handgun permits for reciprocity purposes.
•    Colorado will not honor permits issued to 18-20 year olds or non-resident permits.
•    Delaware, as of September 23, 2017, they will no longer recognize non-resident Tennessee permits.
•    Florida will not honor permits issued to 18-20 year olds or non-resident Tennessee permit holders
•    Nebraska will not honor 18-20 year old permits.
•    North Dakota will not honor permits issued to 18-20 year olds
•    Washington will no longer honor Tennessee permits.
•    West Virginia will not honor permits issued to 18-20 year olds or non-resident permits.
•    Wisconsin will not honor 18-20 year old permits.

Contest looking for the greatest school nurse

nurse with childFrom the moment the bell rings in the morning to the zip of the last backpack at the end of the day, school nurses are there to handle every bump, fever, sore throat and upset stomach. They are the caregivers that look after children during the day, which is why Children’s Advil®, Children’s Robitussin® and Children’s Dimetapp® have launched a nationwide contest to find America’s Greatest School Nurse. We hope you will help spread the word!

The contest is running now through May 5th. Following are the details:

  • Phase 1: Nominations are being accepted nationwide now through February 23rd from anyone who would like to honor an exemplary school nurse.
  • Phase 2: One nurse from each of the 50 states and Washington D.C. will be named a finalist and will win $500. From March 27th – April 16th, consumers will vote for one of the finalists to win a grand prize.
  • Phase 3: One May 5th, one nurse will be named “America’s Greatest School Nurse” and will win an ultimate summer vacation.
  • More information, Contest Rules and the nomination form can be found at www.AmericasGreatestSchoolNurse.com.

US January outlook: Will milder weather return or will the polar vortex come into play?

IMG_6004By Alex Sosnowski, Senior Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com

AccuWeather reports  following snow and cold in 49 states during the first 10 days of January, cold air will retreat in parts of the United States but hold on with stormy consequences in others for the rest of the month.

The upcoming pattern for the remainder of the month will have some people in the South shedding winter coats, while others in the northern tier will be changing up their outerwear on a daily basis.

In many parts of the nation, early January lived up to its wintry reputation.

Temperatures plummeted to minus 30 F with AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures as low as minus 40 in parts of Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota. Actual temperatures plunged to nearly minus 50 in parts of Colorado. Northern California was hit with drought-busting rain and flooding, while yards of snow buried the high country of the Sierra Nevada, Cascades and Rockies.

At one point this past weekend, snow was on the ground and freezing temperatures existed in every state except Florida, thanks to a snowstorm that swept from the Northwest to the Southern states and then to the coastal Northeast.

Arctic air will sound the retreat in much of the southern half of the nation during the middle of the month. Highs most days in Atlanta will be in the 60s. The normal high is in the lower 50s.

“The main branch of the jet stream will retreat to near the border of Canada and the U.S.,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

The jet stream is a high-speed river of air at the level in the atmosphere where jet aircraft cruise. South of the jet stream, the weather is generally warm. North of the jet stream, the weather is generally cold.

“There will still be some dips in the jet stream, which will allow pockets of arctic cold air to periodically sink southward into parts of the nation, including across the Upper Midwest and Northeast,” Anderson said.

During the middle 10 days of January, highs in Chicago will generally range from the 20s to the 40s. In New York City, highs most days will be in the 30s and 40s with an exception here and there. For both cities, it will neither be bitterly cold nor warm for very long. Normal highs are near freezing in Chicago and in the upper 30s for New York City.

Sometimes, where the boundary of cold versus mild air sets up, episodes of snow, ice and rain can occur.

One such weather battlefield will set up from the southern Plains to portions of the Midwest and the Northeast from late this week into early next week.

In the Southwest, a storm will manufacture cold air and unleash wintry precipitation for a time during the middle of the month.

The formation of the storm over the interior Southwest will allow the weather to dry out for several days for weather-weary areas of California, Oregon and Nevada.

Around Los Angeles, high temperatures during the balance of the month will generally range from the middle 60s to the lower 70s, or within a few degrees of average. Likewise, in Seattle, highs will trend to near average, which is in the 40s.

The overall pattern first appears to be mild for much of the nation during the latter part of the month, unless the polar vortex comes into play.

“There are some indications that the polar vortex may weaken enough to allow a southward discharge of arctic air prior to the end of the month,” according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

“Even in cases when there is certainty about the weakening of the polar vortex, you never know for sure where the discharge of cold air will be directed, such as western versus eastern U.S.,” Pastelok said.

If the polar vortex remains strong, then it will keep the arctic air locked up in the Arctic and more places in the lower 48 states may trend warmer rather than colder late in the month.

“We believe the eastern part of the U.S. will trend colder and stormier again toward the end of the month, but the question is how much,” Pastelok said.

Tomahawk wants to know where in the world you came from

By:  Paula Walter

Assistant Editor

DNA research has taken off in the past few years with the advent of a simple DNA test that opens up the doors to what makes us who we are.  There are those who take the test mainly to discover what parts of their world their ancestors come from, and there are those who have unanswered questions and they are seeking family connections. Many genealogists, professional and amateur, prefer to conduct extensive research to create family trees, backed by years of documents collected from family members, census records and local information from their hometown library.  There are those who like the immediate resulgeneology-cmykts of the scientific results, and those who find the records to support the results.  Whatever method researchers prefer, the need to find family history and ancestors has become a growing trend.
Janie Gentry of Johnson County has had an interest in her family roots for many years.  She remembers her father telling stories when she was young.  “I wish I had written or recorded his stories,” she said.  Gentry had an Ancestry.com membership for several years before she decided to take the  DNA test.  After submitting her test, her results were back in just three short weeks.
According to Gentry, her family had always believed they had Cherokee Native American heritage, so she was quite surprised to learn there wasn’t even a trace of Native American in her test results.
Once your DNA results are in, Ancestry gives a list of all your DNA matches.  It updates continually and new contacts are added all the time.  Gentry has made contact with some new cousins, including one who lives in Montana.  For Gentry, her results have made sense and have been easy to check out.  Her test results show she is 13 percent Irish, 15 percent British and the remainder is a mix from Western Europe and Scandinavia.
Gentry plans on continuing to keep up with her DNA connections and is hopeful her children will decide to test, also. She is looking forward to new discoveries in the future.
Jenny Manuel has been working on her family tree between 40 and 50 years and has a database of over 40,000 relatives.  She searches records and has not taken the DNA test.
“There are hardly any hobbies that hold more passion than genealogy,” she said.  “Once hooked by the bug, most people never retire and one of the things they worry about passing down to their family are genealogy records, even if the family of today isn’t terribly interested.”
To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.

Chris Mullins named in ’40 Under 40 Rising Stars of Business’ listing

chris-mullensBy:  Marlana Ward

Freenlance Writer

A life-long Johnson County resident has been recognized for his business achievements as well as his community involvement by the Tri-Cities Business Journal with his induction into their 40 under 40 Rising Stars of Business listing.  This honor was bestowed to local businessman Christopher Mullins for his work in the real estate/auction business as well as his willingness to serve as needed within the community.
Mullins is a 1997 graduate of Johnson County High School.   Upon completion of his days at JCHS, he went to Northeast State Technical Community College to gain his Associates Degree then transferred to East Tennessee State University where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.  Mullins did not stop there, enrolling in Milligan College to gain his Master’s Degree in Education.  On top of all this, he also gained his Real Estate and Auction license in 2005.
Real estate was an early interest for Mullins.  With his father being involved in the business, he benefited from seeing it first hand and from there his interest in the field developed.
Succeeding in the real estate business in Johnson County is a difficult endeavor.
“The real estate market is very competitive and we could not make it without the referrals from friends,” Mullins shared.
Though competition is high, Mullins retains great optimism for the future of properties in Johnson County.
“I feel that the real estate market will continue to grow in Johnson County with people from different areas continuing to move here,” he explained.  One of the best things about working in real estate in the community where he grew up, is the opportunity to work with the people of this area as he explained,  “I enjoy meeting new people and reconnecting with friends that are in the market for real estate in Johnson County.”
In addition to his work in the real estate office, Mullins uses his business knowledge and background to be of assistance to local charitable groups.
“I offer my auctioneer services for organizations that have charity auctions,” said Mullins.  “The community loves auctions and the organizations are able to raise money.”
Additionally, Mullins serves on the Board of Directors for Johnson County Bank where he has served since 2011.
As a young businessman in Johnson County, Mullins knows what a difficult path the road to success can be.  He advises that entering into the business world as an entrepreneur is not an idea to take lightly and that great care should be taken:

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

City council addresses a wide variety of business

By:  Bonnie Davis Guy

The January city council meeting came to order with Mayor Kevin Parsons, Vice Mayor Jerry Jordan and all aldermen in attendance. City Recorder Sheila Shaw, City Attorney Steve McEwen and several city department heads were also in attendance.  The council moved directly to the consent calendar as no public hearings were scheduled.  Unanimous approval via roll call of both last month’s minutes and the second and final reading of budget amendment ordinances Number 1524- Number 1527.
Each council member was then given the opportunity to express any concerns or comments. Vice Mayor Jordan stated he felt the changing over of the cross-walk signals to LED and repairing those that had been broken was a very positive improvement. Jordan also mentioned he had received several complaints about the Christmas tree debris. Mayor Parsons responded saying the city would work with the Christmas tree plant allowing them to haul the leftovers and burn it at the city’s burn site.
Alderman Kenny Icenhour then brought up the ongoing issue of the Ralph Stout Park tunnel graffiti problem as well as graffiti already appearing along the newly opened Goose Creek Trail. The council agreed that police presence will be increased, lights will be installed, and when caught an example will be made of the persons defacing city property. In the meantime, city employees will paint over the graffiti each day at the early morning park check.
Alderman Bud Crosswhite brought up that he had received several questions regarding the guardrails on the new bridge. Mayor Parsons answered that he too had received complaints and was considering the situation. Parsons stated that although the guardrails are exactly to Tennessee Department of Transportation standards, inquiries are being made about the possibility of moving the rails closer to the bridge edge, making the lanes slightly wider.
Alderman Bob Morrison asked the mayor to assign a date for a formal dedication for the new bridge so it can be scheduled and advertised. They agreed the date would be set as soon as the weather permits an outdoor event.
City recorder Sheila Shaw told the council that a new water plant operator has been hired and will begin immediately. She also shared that the state had approved the time extension on the Goose Creek Trail project to April 1, 2017.
Attorney McEwen confirmed that the easement contract with the First Baptist Church was nearly ready to record. He further stated that the contracts needed for the Dry Run Utility were nearing completion.

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

Collection of outstanding court fines to begin in earnest

By:  Paula Walter

Assistant Editor

The Johnson County Circuit Court will soon begin collection efforts in order to recover some of the outstanding monies from court fines that are due to the court.
“There’s never been a collection effort that I’m aware of,” said Johnson County Circuit Court Clerk, Melissa Hollaway.
Hollaway received the nod from the county commissioners to begin collection proceedings for the county for those who have unpaid court fines and costs.  When fines are imposed, part of the money goes to the local county court,  the state, to the arresting agencies and for restitution if applicable.  ““It is believed that court fines owed just to the county are well over $1million,”  Hollaway stated. “There is no statute of limitations on money that is owed for various court costs.  There’s not enough manpower to be able to follow up on monies owed.”
According to Hollaway, Tennessee state law says if fines are not paid within one year of the court disposition date, the person who owes the fines can have their license suspended.  The circuit court clerk’s office informs the Tennessee Department of Safety of any payments in arrears.
Once an account has been turned over to the Tennessee Department of Safety, the department can be petitioned as  to why payments are late.  A payment plan can be set up with an amount that can be paid.  They will then go before the judge for a determination whether to grant an order reinstating the driver’s license or not.
Hollaway will begin to turn over monies to Capital Recovery Systems, a debt collection service company,  beginning March 1, 2017.
“Our county struggles yearly with balancing the budget,” Hollaway stated.  “The clerk’s office is not a collection agency.”
According to Hollaway, she worked closely with Johnson County attorney Perry Stout in making the decision which collection service to use.
“He has been very helpful in making sure our ‘i’s’ are dotted and our ‘t’s’ are crossed,“ she stated.

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

TDEC encourages Tennesseans to test for radon during Radon Action Month

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is encouraging residents to identify and address radon problems in their homes as part of Radon Action Month by offering free radon test kits and hosting educational outreach events.

“Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, resulting in 15,000 to 22,000 deaths per year,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “Radon has been detected in every county in Tennessee, so homeowners statewide should take the necessary steps to test their indoor air quality.”

Gov. Haslam has proclaimed January 2017 as Radon Action Month statewide to bring further awareness to this issue.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is released during the natural decay of uranium, which is found in most rock and soil. Radon is odorless, invisible and without taste. Radon can damage lung tissue in a way that may cause the beginning of lung cancer.

“Acquiring a simple do-it-yourself test kit to help determine the presence of radon is the first step to mitigation,” Martineau added. “TDEC’s Office of Sustainable Practices offers kits at no cost to residents across Tennessee.”

You can receive your free radon test kit by filling out this online form: https://tdec.tn.gov/Radon_Online/frmRADON_Online.aspx, or by calling the Tennessee Radon Program hotline at 1-800-232-1139.

As part of TDEC’s statewide indoor Radon Program, the Office of Sustainable Practices also provides technical information and specific materials for real estate professionals, home builders, home inspectors, school officials and others.

Johnson County students on ETSU dean’s list

JOHNSON CITY – East Tennessee State University has announced the names of students who attained a grade point average qualifying them for inclusion in the dean’s list for the fall 2016 semester. To receive this honor, students must successfully complete a minimum of 12 hours of undergraduate coursework with a grade point average of at least 3.7 on a 4.0 scale.

Butler: Kayla A. Arnold; Sky N. Campbell; Brianne G. Dunn; Bradley W. Greer; Brandy K. Lewis; Dianna L. Luckett; Matthew Presnell; Patrick D. South; Aaron J. Steele; Julia A. White

Laurel Bloomery: Jacob T. Reece

Mountain City: Cody J. Bailie; Angela D. Combs; Amanda D. Cornett; Brian L. Dempsey; Elizabeth R. Dugger; Crystal R. Dunn; Kassidy N. Foley; Casey A. Lunceford; Andrea R. McKinney; Haley M. Miller; Mikayla J. Moody; Austin L. Norris; Elijah R. Osborne; Lily G. Osborne; Lisa N. Potter; Amanda L. Rivera; Aisia T. Robbins; Logan B. Sargent; Deborah A. Smith; Kourtney Tolley; Layken R. Ward; Courtney N. Wilson

Trade: Sarah E. Roark; Samuele A. Wilson

Diosana C. Gutierrez on Merit List Honors at Brenau University

GAINESVILLE, GA (01/05/2017)– Diosana C. Gutierrez from Mountain City, Tennessee, achieved Brenau University’s Merit List Honors for the fall 2016 semester. Gutierrez is a 2017 student majoring in business, marketing.

Merit List Honors students must maintain a 3.5 grade point average while carrying 12 to 14 semester hours of course work with no grade lower than B in that semester.

Founded in 1878, Brenau University is a private, not-for-profit nationally prominent comprehensive institution of higher education that enrolls students in graduate and undergraduate studies on campuses and online. Gainesville, Georgia-based Brenau includes the residential Women’s College, which represents the academic and philosophical underpinnings of the liberal arts university. Brenau also provides coeducational opportunities through the doctoral level, including on-ground programs in Gainesville and other Georgia locales: Augusta, Kings Bay, Norcross and Fairburn, as well as Jacksonville, Florida. Brenau University offers doctorates in nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy, a terminal M.F.A. in interior design, specialist in education, master’s, bachelor’s and associate’s degrees as well as professional certifications. The Women’s College boasts 14 nationally competitive intercollegiate Golden Tigers sports teams, national honor societies and national sororities with dedicated residential facilities on campus. The university provides outlets for artistic expression and community service for all students. Brenau possesses an extensive and distinctive permanent collection of art and presents year-round programming that includes art exhibitions, lectures, debates and literary readings, and theatrical and musical performances. www.brenau.edu

Area blood drives

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

  • Thursday, January 5, 11:00a-4:00p, Ingle’s, Elizabethton, TN
  • Friday, January 6, 10:00a-12:30p, Lowe’s, Bristol, TN
  • Friday, January 6, 11:00a-3:30p, Lowe’s, Johnson City, TN
  • Monday, January 9, 11:00a-4:00p, Walmart, Unicoi, TN
  • Monday, January 9, 11:00a-3:00p, Food City, Damascus, VA
  • Tuesday, January 10, 11:00a-6:00p, A.O. Smith/American Water Heater, Johnson City, TN
  • Tuesday, January 10, 10:30a-1:00p, Petro, Glade Spring, VA
  • Tuesday, January 10, 3:00p-5:00p, Lowe’s, Abingdon, VA
  • Wednesday, January 11, 10:30a-3:30p, Twin County Regional Hospital, Galax, VA
  • Wednesday, January 11, 8:00a-2:00p, Hunter Elementary, Elizabethton, TN
  • Thursday, January 12, 9:00a-11:00a, Hermitage Health Center, Elizabethton, TN
  • Thursday, January 12, 12:45p-2:45p, Hillview Health Center, Elizabethton, TN
  • Thursday, January 12, 1:30p-4:30p, Teleperformance, Marion, VA
  • Friday, January 13, 9:30a-2:30p, Valley Health Care, Chilhowie, VA
  • Friday, January 13, 10:00a-3:00p, Food City, Blountville, 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.

New auto insurance verification system launches in Tennessee

NASHVILLE- The Tennessee Department of Revenue is launching a new insurance verification system in early 2017 to promote compliance with the state’s Financial Responsibility Law.
Ahead of the program’s launch next month, the Department of Revenue is encouraging motorists to ensure that proper insurance coverage or other financial responsibility is in effect for their vehicles. In particular, motorists should make sure that their Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, is correct on registration and insurance documents.
“Tennessee already has a financial responsibility law that applies to Tennessee drivers,” Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano said. “The goal of this new system is to efficiently and effectively check compliance in order to reduce the number of motorists who lack insurance or another form of financial responsibility.”
The James Lee Atwood, Jr. Law was passed during the 2015 legislative session in order to help reduce the overall number of uninsured drivers on Tennessee roadways. As part of this law, the Tennessee Department of Revenue developed an insurance verification program, which will be implemented in January 2017.
Under the program, all insurance carriers registered to write personal automobile liability policies in Tennessee must register with the Department and provide required policy information. The state’s new insurance verification system will check the policies provided by the insurance companies against all currently registered VINs in Tennessee. Rather than checking for insurance coverage at the time of registration renewal, the system will verify insurance coverage on a continual basis throughout the year.
If the system is unable to confirm insurance coverage for a vehicle, a notice will be sent to that owner directing him or her to a website where he or she can provide proof of minimum liability insurance or other means of financial responsibility. If a customer does not respond to the initial notice, subsequent notices will follow. Failure to comply with the notices could result in fines and eventual vehicle registration suspension.
For more information about the Department’s new program, please visit www.DriveInsuredTN.com.

Local blood drives

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

  • Thursday, December 29, 9:00a-11:00a, Cornerstone South, Johnson City, TN
  • Thursday, December 29, 10:45a-3:00p, Chilhowie Drug Company, Chilhowie, VA
  • Thursday, December 29, 1:00p-5:00p, Walmart-Browns Mill Road, Johnson City, TN
  • Friday, December 30, 10:00a-3:00p, Highlands Union Bank, Abingdon, VA
  • Friday, December 30, 11:00a-4:00p, Johnson City Ford, Johnson City, TN
  • Monday, January 2, 11:00a-3:00p, Food Country, Saltville, VA
  • Monday, January 2, 11:00a-4:00p, Ingles Supermarket, Jonesborough, TN
  • Tuesday, January 3, 10:30a-3:30p, Food City, Lebanon, VA
  • Tuesday, January 3, 11:00a-5:00p, Niswonger Children’s Hospital, Johnson City, TN
  • Wednesday, January 4, 9:00a-11:00a, Grace Health Care, Abingdon, VA
  • Wednesday, January 4, 9:00a-2:00p, Franklin Woods Community Hospital, Johnson City, TN
  • Wednesday, January 4, 1:00p-4:15p, Food City, Abingdon, VA
  • Thursday, January 5, 11:00a-4:00p, Ingle’s, Elizabethton, TN
  • Friday, January 6, 10:00a-12:30p, Lowe’s, Bristol, TN
  • Friday, January 6, 11:00a-3:30p, Lowe’s, 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.

The Year in Review

roe-2-cmyk

Rep. Phil Roe discusses current issues with The Tomahawk.

January
The Johnson County’s Sheriff’s Department issues a press releasing stating they were searching for a subject who had jumped out of a vehicle and fled on foot in the Holy Hill area of the county.  The subject was later apprehended and charged with feeling arrest by motor vehicle, burglary, theft of a vehicles and resisting arrest.  At the time of the reports, results were still pending and under investigation.
In another incident in the second week of the new year, according to a press release, there had been a shooting on McElyea road that started from a domestic argument. Five people were arrested and multiple charges were filed.
The Johnson County Middle School started the very first robotics team in northeast Tennessee.  The school received a grant to help form the first robotics team.  Students who were interested in joining the team wrote an essay explaining what skills that had that would make them an asset to the team.  Individuals were then selected to join the team.
At the January commissioners meeting, it was decided to honor a 1958 bridge agreement located off Big Dry Run Road. The bridge has been replaced in 2012, but the property had flooded several times and the driveway had to be replaced twice.  According to Perriann Stanley, the agreement was made to move the property line to accommodate the building of a new road.  The bridge was torn down in 2012 and the county installed a small tile at that time that seemed to cause flooding problems.  The commission concluded the county should replace the smaller tile with larger tile to accommodate the flow of the creek.
Congressman Phil Roe met with The Tomahawk to address current issues facing East Tennesseans, including Virginia not acknowledging concealed carry permits from 25 states, including Tennessee.
He raised concerns about reciprocity between the two states, especially in the Bristol area.

For the rest of the year’s top stories, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.

Tennessee Department of Revenue is launching a new insurance verification system in early 2017

NASHVILLE- The Tennessee Department of Revenue is launching a new insurance verification system in early 2017 to promote compliance with the state’s Financial Responsibility Law.

Ahead of the program’s launch next month, the Department of Revenue is encouraging motorists to ensure that proper insurance coverage or other financial responsibility is in effect for their vehicles. In particular, motorists should make sure that their Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, is correct on registration and insurance documents.

“Tennessee already has a financial responsibility law that applies to Tennessee drivers,” Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano said. “The goal of this new system is to efficiently and effectively check compliance in order to reduce the number of motorists who lack insurance or another form of financial responsibility.”

The James Lee Atwood, Jr. Law was passed during the 2015 legislative session in order to help reduce the overall number of uninsured drivers on Tennessee roadways. As part of this law, the Tennessee Department of Revenue developed an insurance verification program, which will be implemented in January 2017.

Under the program, all insurance carriers registered to write personal automobile liability policies in Tennessee must register with the Department and provide required policy information. The state’s new insurance verification system will check the policies provided by the insurance companies against all currently registered VINs in Tennessee. Rather than checking for insurance coverage at the time of registration renewal, the system will verify insurance coverage on a continual basis throughout the year.

If the system is unable to confirm insurance coverage for a vehicle, a notice will be sent to that owner directing him or her to a website where he or she can provide proof of minimum liability insurance or other means of financial responsibility. If a customer does not respond to the initial notice, subsequent notices will follow. Failure to comply with the notices could result in fines and eventual vehicle registration suspension.

For more information about the Department’s new program, please visit www.DriveInsuredTN.com.

Johnson County ethics committee takes no action in conflict of interest allegations

By Rebecca Herman

An ethics committee meeting was held on Tuesday, December 13 at 6:00 pm prior to the county commissioners meeting in order to address allegations of a county employee using county property, a computer, to write personal emails. The ethics committee explained that there are only two issues on which they can vote: matters that deal with disclosure of gifts and conflict of interest. If there is an issue that appears to be a criminal act, then the ethics committee must send the case to the district attorney.
This case was considered under the conflict of interest category.
Erick Herrin, a lawyer representing Lisa Crowder, the Trustee whose office was being investigated, addressed the committee. Herrin gave copies of the emails in question to committee members and showed that the emails were written to Johnson County attorney Perry Stout and the subject matter in the emails dealt with concerns over the legality of some of the commission committees. Herrin explained that these emails did not break any laws and that this could be viewed as a violation of the first amendment. Herrin also stated, “Someone didn’t like the questions being asked and brought the emails up at meetings in order to intimate this employee.”
Herrin also said that this kind of situation could potentially attract liability to the county. “Do not allow yourselves to be manipulated,” said Herrin.
County Mayor Larry Potter said that he wanted to, “make it perfectly clear that there has been no findings, of any kind, in her office.” The committee voted, based on no findings and no indication of improprieties, to take no action.

Citizen speaks to Johnson County commissioners about loss of Sunday beer sales revenue to other counties

By Rebecca Herman

The Johnson County Commission met for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, December 15; all commissioners were present. Senator-elect Jon Lundberg was also present at the December meeting. “I told you that if I won, I wouldn’t be a stranger…I look forward to working with you and for you because your success is my success,” he said to the commissioners.  Lundberg gave the commissioners his personal cell phone number and encouraged them to call him whenever they needed to. Mayor Potter hand delivered the sales tax resolution, which had previously been voted on my commissioners, for Lundberg to take to Nashville.
After a quick recess for an executive session, Al Gryder spoke to the commission about animal control issues in the county. Gryder presented the commission with a formal letter requesting that written guidelines be created in order for citizens to know how to handle stray and wandering animals. Gryder said that he feels there is, “no consistency in how the police deal with calls and no place to take animals that are picked up.”
The next citizen to address the commissioners was Scott Genaille, who spoke about taxes. Genaille said that he spent one hour on two Sundays at locations in Carter County and Damascus, Virginia that sell beer on Sunday. Within that one-hour period, 21 Johnson County vehicles purchased beer at the Carter County location. Twelve cars from Johnson County and 14 cars from North Carolina went to the location in Damascus, Virginia. Genaille said explained that he felt that the county could have benefited from those sales if Johnson County were to have beer sales on Sunday. He also said that many of these costumers purchased other goods and lottery tickets while in these locations, so not only was the county and state losing tax sales, but the education fund, through the sale of lottery tickets, was also losing money. Genaille ended by holding up the United States Constitution and saying that the document begins with “we the people,” so in this case, “you need to allow the people to vote.”
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.