Mountain City Police officers indicted on drug charges; Sgt. Ken Lane free on bond; Lt. Ron Shupe agrees to plea bargain

Sgt. Elmer Kenneth Lane

Lt. Ronald Glen Shupe

By Angie A. Gambill

An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Drug Investigation Division, with the assistance of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, resulted in the indictment of two Mountain City police officers on a variety of drug-related charges last week.
In August, at the request of First District Attorney General Tony Clark, TBI Special Agents began investigating allegations that Mountain City Police Lieutenant Ronald Glen Shupe, 44, and Sergeant Elmer Kenneth Lane, 61, were involved in the use and distribution of illegal narcotics. According to a press release from TBI, during the course of the investigation, agents learned that Shupe and Lane were involved in obtaining, distributing, and using controlled substances both on and off duty. Further investigation revealed that some of the transactions occurred within a school zone. On Monday, November 6th, says TBI, during an undercover operation conducted by the TBI, FBI, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Shupe was found to be in possession of a quantity of Oxycodone pills while on duty. He was arrested and taken into federal custody.
Shupe waived a federal detention hearing in U.S. District Court in Greeneville during his initial court appearance last Tuesday on the charges.
Yesterday, November 14, Shupe agreed to conditions of a plea bargain on the federal drug charges in his preliminary hearing. The details of the agreement are not yet available.
A complaint filed on November 7 in Greeneville by FBI Special Agent John Anderson detailed the allegations against Shupe, which included numerous accusations that he provided oxycodone and meth to a confidential informant while on duty and allowed her to shoot up the drugs in his patrol vehicle. Shupe was also accused in the complaint of using narcotics while on duty.
The two-count criminal complaint charged Shupe with possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone and possession of a firearm that had been shipped and transported by interstate commerce. Those charges stem from an undercover operation where a second informant made plans to meet Shupe for an exchange of drugs.
Court records show text and Facebook messages between the two about the transaction. According to the records, Shupe was under surveillance when he met with the informant who was wearing a wire. He was arrested after paying for and taking possession of the oxycodone pills. As soon as he left the meeting with the informant, Shupe was surrounded by agents from the FBI, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
“He was arrested in possession of the pills (Schedule II controlled substances). He was in full uniform, driving a Mountain City police car, and armed with a department issued Glock pistol and ammunition,” the complaint states.
According to the filing, Johnson County sheriff’s investigators met with the first informant at the Ashe County, NC jail in June where she was incarcerated on drug charges. After waiving her Miranda rights, the woman told officers she had received methamphetamine from Shupe on several occasions while he was on duty.
The woman told investigators that she and Shupe communicated through Facebook Messenger. In August, TBI agents obtained a search warrant to get access to the woman’s Messenger account and found multiple conversations she had had with an account registered to Shupe.
In one exchange, Shupe reportedly asked the woman “the best way to do them Roxie Pills. Can they be shot.”
The woman told Shupe she’d never done that, but wanted to because she needed “some go go.” Shupe responded “me too” and that he worked the next morning and would try to find them some.
From other conversations between Shupe and the woman, investigators allege that Shupe was watching for warrants on the woman so he could warn her when law enforcement was looking for her.
In another conversation, Shupe’s text message to the woman said, “Hey baby girl. Just when ever u get to n town let me know and I’ll meet u behind foodlion. I’m still waiting on my candy to arrive and I’ll bring you some. I looked for a new thing but we don’t have any.”
Shupe went on to say that he’d bought a “G” which was described in the court filing as a gram of methamphetamine.
The report stated that the informant “reported she has given Shupe an intravenous injection of methamphetamine on two occasions while Shupe was in his patrol car and on duty. (She) advised she injected Shupe with the methamphetamine into a vein on his hand while they were sitting in his patrol car. (She) reported Shupe would refer to methamphetamine as go-go or an energy booster when they were discussing methamphetamine.”
On Thursday, the Johnson County Grand Jury returned indictments charging Shupe with one count of Possession of Schedule II Drugs with Intent to Deliver in a School Zone, one count of Conspiracy to Possess Schedule II Drugs with Intent to Deliver in a School Zone, one count of Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Dangerous Felony, three counts of Official Misconduct, one count of Solicitation to Commit Assault, one count of Accessory After the Fact, one count of Release of Confidential Information, one count of Simple Possession of Schedule II Drugs, one count of Casual Exchange of Schedule VI Drugs, and Theft of Property Valued at $1,000 or Less. He was served on the new charges in the Washington County Jail where he was already being held on the federal charges.
According to the presentment filed Thursday in Johnson County, the transactions involving a school zone were near Johnson County High School.
One official misconduct charge against Shupe stemmed from him allegedly soliciting a man to beat someone up and to do it in the city where “I (Shupe) will take care of it” so the unidentified person “will learn the hard way.”
The Grand Jury also returned indictments Thursday charging Sgt. Kenneth Lane with conspiracy to possess schedule II drugs (oxycodone) with intent to deliver in a school zone; solicitation to commit delivery of schedule II drugs (oxycodone); simple possession of schedule II drugs (methamphetamine). Lane was arrested Thursday afternoon and booked into the Johnson County Jail on a $25,000 bond.
The charges against Lane apparently stemmed from information authorities obtained while investigating Shupe, according to federal court records. Text messages obtained by officers between an account registered to Shupe and an informant led them to believe Shupe was buying narcotics for Lane as well as himself. Federal court documents detail much of the drug activity Shupe allegedly participated in, and Lane was implicated in those records. At press time, there was no record that he had been charged in the federal case.
In a Monday afternoon phone call, Mountain City Police Chief Denver Church expressed his concern that the community no longer has trust in the police department.
“We lost the trust of the public,” he stated. “They had faith in their officers and in the police department. That was violated. It’s something we’ll have to work on to gain their trust back. Trust isn’t given. It’s earned.”
According to Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece, the sheriff’s department’s involvement was limited to the initial investigation in August that eventually led to the recent arrests of the two Mountain City police officers.
“We received some information, and then referred it to Tony Clark,” said Reece. “We assisted in any way we could.”
Referring to the shortage of town police officers, Sheriff Reece said that although their own department is down seven officers at present, the sheriff’s office has been helping the city police department deal with the situation. According to him, Lane was already on medical leave when the arrest occurred and the county had supplied an officer to cover his position. That officer is still in place. A fully staffed Mountain City Police Department consists of eight officers while the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department should have 14 deputies on staff.
Mountain City Board of Mayor and Aldermen met Tuesday evening in regular session after press time. Decisions are expected to be made concerning the hiring of officers to bring the force back to capacity.
Mountain City Mayor Kevin Parsons declined to give a statement on the case at this time.
Lane posted bond the same day he was arrested. At press time, Shupe remained in the Washington County Jail.
The Tomahawk will keep our readers abreast of developments in the case via our website at www.thetomahawk.com.

Editor’s note: The Tomahawk would like to express appreciation to Becky Campbell, senior reporter with the Johnson City Press, as well as Sam Watson, content director, for assistance in obtaining information for this article, as well as credit Campbell with numerous excerpts appearing here.

Mountain City Police Lt. Ronald Shupe and Sgt. Kenneth Lane indicted on drug charges

Ronald Shupe

Kenneth Lane

An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Drug Investigation Division, with the assistance of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has resulted in the indictment of two Mountain City police officers on a variety of drug-related charges.

In August, at the request of 1st District Attorney General Tony Clark, TBI Special Agents began investigating allegations that Mountain City Police Lieutenant Ronald Glen Shupe (DOB 8/16/73) and Sergeant Elmer Kenneth Lane (DOB 7/24/56) were involved in the use and distribution of illegal narcotics. According to a press release from TBI, during the course of the investigation, agents learned that Shupe and Lane were involved in obtaining, distributing, and using controlled substances both on and off duty. Further investigation revealed that some of the transactions occurred within a school zone. On November 6th, says TBI, during an undercover operation conducted by the TBI, FBI, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Shupe was found to be in possession of a quantity of Oxycodone pills while on duty. He was arrested and taken into federal custody.

Today, the Johnson County Grand Jury returned indictments charging Shupe with one count of Possession of Schedule II Drugs with Intent to Deliver in a School Zone, one count of Conspiracy to Possess Schedule II Drugs with Intent to Deliver in a School Zone, one count of Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Dangerous Felony, three counts of Official Misconduct, one count of Solicitation to Commit Assault, one count of Accessory After the Fact, one count of Release of Confidential Information, one count of Simple Possession of Schedule II Drugs, one count of Casual Exchange of Schedule VI Drugs, and Theft of Property Valued at $1,000 or Less. He was served on the new charges in the Washington County Jail where he was already being held on federal charges.  The Grand Jury also returned indictments charging Lane with one count of Conspiracy to Possess Schedule II Drugs with Intent to Deliver in a School Zone, one count of Solicitation to Commit Delivery of Schedule II Drugs, and Simple Possession of Schedule II Drugs. This afternoon, he was arrested and booked into the Johnson County Jail on a $25,000 bond.

 

Mountain City Police Officer Ken Lane arrested

Mountain City Police Chief Denver Church has confirmed that a second town police officer, Kenneth Lane, has been arrested by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation today. Charges have not yet been released to the media but are believed to be connected to the arrest of Lt. Ronald Shupe earlier this week.

Shupe was arrested on Monday on charges of possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone and possession of a firearm that had been shipped and transported by interstate commerce. The charges stem from an undercover operation where Shupe allegedly met with an undercover informant and bought oxycodone pills, purportedly for himself and another officer at the department. Shupe waived a federal detention hearing in U.S. District Court in Greeneville during his initial appearance Tuesday on drug charges.

In addition to waiving a detention hearing, which means he won’t ask for bond at this time, Shupe filled out a financial form to see if he qualified for a court-appointed attorney. U.S. Magistrate Judge Cliff Corker granted the request and appointed Russ Pryor to the case. Corker also set a Nov. 15 preliminary hearing for Shupe.

The Tomahawk will update our readers when more information is available.

Mountain City Elementary honor roll

Superior Honor Roll (All A’s)

Grades K-6): Lilian Berger, McKensie Jennings, Konner Self, Aliyah Farrow, Mason Gregg, Braylin Hansen, Molly Lipford, Mason Luckett, Allison Mullins, Barrett Parker, Sara Beth Pennington, Hannah Sharp, Gracey South, Michelle Chambers, Camden Johnson, Tanner Leonard, Savannah Mains, Andrew South, Addison Ward, Clara Wilson, Nicole Eppard, Sebastian Johnson, Amillia Eckert, Issabella Eckert, Peyton Edes-King, Macie Farrow, Lauren Henley, Kearstan Jennings, Alicia Littlewhirlwind, Makenzie Dickens, Jayleigh Kope, Sawyer Marshall, Maddison Price, Isaiah Eller, Haidyn Farrow, Liyah Hillman, Gavin Mahala, Jillian Perkins, Zackary Lipford, Bobby Sexton, Alexander Wright, Carter Atwood, Jackson Bauguess, Rylee Henson, Graham Long, Kyle Maple, Summer Wells, Braxton Bragg, Ella Icenhour, Kacelyn Dunn, Sadira Sato, Nathaniel Sutherland, Kaden Blevins, Julia Crews, Lyric Fritts, Josie Grindstaff, Carson Jennings, Isaac Lewis, Alexis Mullins, Harris Perkins, Ethan Stout, Trinity Fortener, Ariana Spencer, Ariel Tester, Derek Baird, Alen Lin, Jace Stout, Cameron Crowder, Kylah Henley, Gaston Dugger, Eli Fritts, George Grill, Vanessa Perkins, Connor Stout, Kindal Watson, Brady Fritts, Natalie Oliver, Lauryn Bishop, Kevin Horner, and Stephanie Knight.
First Honor Roll

(All A’s & B’s – Grades K-6)

Coleman Rider, Hattie Vines, Kylee Cannon, Ellie Icenhour, Aaliyah Barnett, Ethan Wilson, Zoe Baker, Avery Blevins, Marin Feely, Kelsey Forrester, Mckynlee Smith, Jayden Anderson, Serena Dowell, Jaden Picazo, Eli Hammons, Hailey Lipford, Lily Bauguess, Reece Bulliner, Bentley Forrester, Tyler Lackey, Katelynn Marshall, Zach Roark, Johnny Ray Caygle, Clayton Furches, Gage Grissom Jillian Hatley, Aiden Hope, Sophia Lin, Chanel Vanover, Carson Dorman, Madelynn Long, Hunter McElyea, Connor Wallace, Arraya Mounts, Emilynn Sedgwick, Jalyn Blevins, Gustavo Martinez, Trinity Poe, Karleigh Sutherland, Chandler Townsend, Emma Brown, Michael Gray, Eli Horne, Jill Jensen, Lanaya Joyce, Jada Furches, C.J. Lipford, Aleela Reece, Addy Snyder, Gavan Conder, Emma Dugger, Hailey Lewis, Juan Mejia, Erik Mendoza, Izabella Thompson, Gracie Hammett, Ezekiel Hensley, Michelle Holman, Krystal Kite, Andrew Long, Austin Fritz, Clayton Lewis, Emily Orr, Hunter Paisley, Miley Reynolds, Paola Vargas, Dylan Warren, Jasmine Cunningham, Madisyn Farrow, Ivy Lakatos, Carter Rhudy, Tara Schoolcraft, Cole Smith, Ryder Stevans, Noah Brown, Destiny Johnson, James Kelly, Zachary Lunceford, LaRue Mills, Kaylee Roark, Gauge Stout, Matthew Swift, Sara Ward, Amiliona Zaldivar, Emily Brooks, Tristan Bunting, Gabriella Lowe, Chloe Main, Christopher Nelson, Jasmine Smith, Tory Torbett, Allison Trivette, Charity Weaver, Shawna Arnold, Zyra Baker, Tanner Bulliner, Cassie Capps, Braden Cornett, Alexis Proffitt, Ethan Reece, Chase Thomas, Braden Eastridge, Emily Eppard, Kyle Isaacs, Mattie Jones, Chloe Lackey, Leland Morley, Chance Norris, Natalie Oliver, Connor Orr, Caden Pennington, Samantha Reece, Adrian Arguello, Sidney Bumgardner, Sierra Green, Nathan King, and Evan Moorefield.

 

 

 

 

Mountain City police lieutenant faces federal drug charges

Mountain City Police Lt. Ron Shupe was arrested Monday by federal agents on a drug distribution charge

By Becky Campbell

Johnson City Press

bcampbell@johnsoncitypress.com

Federal agents arrested a Mountain City police supervisor Monday, accusing him of exchanging drugs with a woman who apparently turned on him while she was jailed in North Carolina.

Lt. Ronald Shupe, 44, was booked into the Washington County Detention Center in Jonesborough around 10:30 p.m. Monday and was being held without bond. According to the U.S. District Court website, no detention hearing had been set.

A complaint filed Tuesday morning in Greeneville by FBI Special Agent John Anderson detailed the allegations against Shupe, which included numerous accusations that he provided oxycodone and meth to the confidential informant, identified as CW1 in court records, while on duty and even allowed her to shoot up the drugs in his patrol vehicle.

Shupe was also accused in the complaint of using narcotics while on duty. 

The two-count criminal complaint charged Shupe with possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone and possession of a firearm that had been shipped and transported by interstate commerce. Those charges stem from an undercover operation where another informant, identified as CW3 in court records, made plans to meet Shupe for an exchange of drugs.

Court records show text and Facebook messages between the two about the transaction. Shupe was under surveillance when he met with CW3, who was wearing a wire. After the informant gave Shupe oxycodone pills, which Shupe paid for, the officer was arrested.

As soon as he left the meeting, Shupe was surrounded by agents from the FBI, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

“He was arrested in possession of the pills (Schedule II controlled substances). He was in full uniform, driving a Mountain City police car, and armed with a department-issued Glock pistol and ammunition,” the complaint states.

The complaint implicated another Mountain City officer, but there was no record in federal court that officer had been charged.

According to the filing, Johnson County sheriff’s investigators met with CW1 at the Ashe County, North Carolina, jail in June where she was in jail on drug charges. After waiving her Miranda rights, the woman told officers she had received methamphetamine from Shupe on several occasions while he was on duty.

The woman told investigators that she and Shupe communicated through Facebook Messenger. In August, TBI agents obtained a search warrant to get access to the woman’s Messenger account and found multiple conversations she’d had with Shupe.

In one exchange, Shupe reportedly asked the woman “the best way to do them Roxie pills. Can they be shot.”

The woman told Shupe she’d never done that, but wanted to because she needed “some go go.” Shupe responded “me too” and that he worked the next morning and would try to find them some.

From other conversations between Shupe and the woman, investigators allege that Shupe was watching for warrants on the woman so he could warn her law enforcement was looking for her.

In another conversation, Shupe’s text message to the woman said, “Hey baby girl. Just when ever u get to n town let me know and I’ll meet u behind foodlion. I’m still waiting on my candy to arrive and I’ll bring you some. I looked for a new thing but we don’t have any.”

Shupe went on to say that he’d bought a “G” which was described in the court filing as a gram of methamphetamine.

During the interview with CW1, she told investigators that she met with Shupe at least five or six times between August 2016 to March 2017 to get methamphetamine, and that each time he was in his patrol car to make the delivery.

“CW1 reported she has given Shupe an intravenous injection of methamphetamine on two occasions while Shupe was in his patrol car and on duty. CW1 advised she injected Shupe with the methamphetamine into a vein on his hand while they were sitting in his patrol car. CW1 reported Shupe would refer to methamphetamine as go-go or an energy booster when they were discussing methamphetamine.”

In a text communication from Shupe’s phone to an unidentified co-conspirator, investigators said Shupe arranged purchasing 10 mg Lortab for himself and another officer at the department.

Shupe is also accused of communicating with CW3 by text messages in which they discussed getting “high” and exchanging drugs for money. Also during the exchanges with CW3, Shupe was asked to check on any warrants on someone, and the officer later told CW3 there was a violation of probation on that person.

Reported earlier:

Federal agents arrested a Mountain City police supervisor Monday on charges he was exchanging oxycodone and methamphetamine with a woman who apparently turned on him while she was jailed in North Carolina.

Lt. Ronald Shupe, 44, was booked into the Washington County Detention Center in Jonesborough around 10:30 p.m. Monday and was being held without bond. According to the U.S. District Court website, no detention hearing had been set.

A complaint filed Tuesday morning in Greeneville by FBI Special Agent John Anderson detailed the allegations against Shupe, which included numerous occasions when he provided oxycodone and meth to the the confidential informant, identified as CW1 in court records, while on duty and even allowed her to shoot up the drugs in his patrol vehicle.

Shupe was also accused in the complaint of using narcotics while on duty.

The two-count criminal complaint charged Shupe with possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone and possession of a firearm that had been shipped and transported by interstate commerce. Those charges stem from an undercover operation where another informant, identified as CW3 in court records, made plans to meet Shupe for an exchange of drugs.

Court records show text and Facebook messages between the two about the transaction. Shupe was under surveillance when he met with CW3 who was wearing a wire. After the informant gave Shupe oxycodone pills, which Shupe paid for, the officer was arrested.

As soon as he left the meeting, Shupe was surrounded by agents from the FBI, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

“He was arrested in possession of the pills (Schedule II controlled substances). He was in full uniform, driving a Mountain City police car, and armed with a department issued Glock pistol and ammunition,” the complaint states.

The complaint implicates another Mountain City officer, but there was no record in federal court he had been charged.

According to the Mountain City Tomahawk staff, both Shupe and the other officer had been placed on administrative leave.

TCAT to offer free NRF certification the week of November 13 in Mountain City

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology has joined the Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency and Insight Education and Training Center in Johnson City to offer free National Retail Federal (NRF) certification training the week of Nov. 13.
The training will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the TCAT Elizabethton Mountain City Extension Campus, 110 Pioneer Village Drive. A hiring event will be held at the conclusion of the training.
Free textbooks and lunch will be provided to participants. The initial class will be limited to 24 applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional classes will be offered if there is a sufficient demand, officials said.
Led by instructor Mike Cummings of Insight, the NRF training includes retail fundamentals, communication and teamwork, problem solving, customer service, inventory tracking and payment procedures. A timed exam will be held on the final day of the training for NRF certification.
Dean Blevins, president of TCAT Elizabethton, said “It is critical that individuals have necessary job skills for a successful career. The NRF certification training is being offered on a complimentary basis to strengthen the employment base in the region.” Funding was made possible by a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
To register for the NRF certification training, contact Cummings at the Insight Education and Training Center, telephone 423-926-6777. Registration will also be held on the first day of classes.

STARLED Inc. to open in Doe Valley early next year with 50 new jobs expected

Charlie Blanco, Johnson County Mayor Larry Potter and Garry Garoni bring new business and jobs to county.

By Paula Walter

The spec building in the Doe Valley area of Johnson County will soon be humming with activity. STARLED, Inc. has a target date of early next year to begin operations in Johnson County.
STARLED manufactures and distributes light emitting diode (LED) lighting products for commercial and residential space, in addition to marine and automotive use. The company has been in business more than 10 years with operations in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Southeast Asia. They are currently manufacturing in China and will soon begin operations in Mountain City.
“This is a multiple phase project,” said Charlie Blanco, Chief Executive Officer. Initially, there will be approximately 10 employees to get the project off the ground, but it is anticipated there will be 50 jobs in the first year. STARLED will be searching for a senior manager to begin operations, and from there, they will build a team of people. They are looking to hire senior management, assembly workers and a warehouse manager.
Mayor Larry Potter has actively been looking for businesses to come to Johnson County and make use of the spec building that has been sitting empty for years. According to Potter, he recently was in touch with an old high school acquaintance, Brent Snyder, from Johnson County. Familiar with Potter’s interest in bringing employment to Johnson County, Snyder recommended Potter connect with Garry Garoni, chairman of STARLED, who had been a business manager for many years, providing energy efficient products that are environmentally friendly.
According to Potter, Garoni did research on this region of the country, and it was approximately a few weeks from their first meeting to sealing the deal. Johnson County is a strategic location for STARLED as they have warehouse districts in Charlotte, North Carolina, Atlanta, Georgia and Minnesota.
STARLED will finance outfitting the building and equipping it so business can begin. An economic development fast track grant of $275,000 was available to help cover some of the cost of getting the building equipped to begin production. The company has a long-term lease of 20 years with an option to buy. “This is a big commitment to our county,” said Potter. “We appreciate Mr. Garoni entering into a long-term partnership with Johnson County.”
LED lights are energy saving. They last longer, are more durable and offer better light quality than others types of lighting. LED lights are energy efficient and last approximately 25 times longer than standard lighting. They use 90 percent less energy than standard light bulbs and they are more cost effective. STARLED guarantees all its products for five years.
LED lighting is the most cost effective way to save energy. The amount of savings depends on the amount of space to be lighted. A standard light bulb will reach a temperature of 400 degrees, where an LED light is significantly less at 90 degrees. “People are becoming eco friendly, and LED is simply a way for someone to contribute to the cause,” said Blanco. “It’s a pioneer of the green movement,” said Blanco. According to Blanco, the product is easy to sell, it saves people money and the lighting comes in any color you want. “LED is a lot of color,” he added.
Currently, less than five percent of the world has changed to LED technology. Some of the businesses that have switched to LED lighting are Exxon Mobile, Hilton hotels, Hampton Inn, Carvel, Ford, Mitsubishi and high end car dealers.

 

 

 

Cash Express coat and toy drive

Cash Express will hold their 13th annual Coat and Toy Drive for the Children. You are invited to join us in the celebration of giving. We are pairing up with our local food bank and family resource center to become a blessing to families in our community.
We will be accepting toys, coats, shoes (washable), clothing, and non-perishable food items in many drop off locations in the area. We ask that all donations be received by Dec. 15th in order to have them delivered in time for Christmas.
Unable to donate items? Monetary donations are also accepted. You can purchase a Christmas stocking for $1 (to be hung in the store). Money collected will be used at the end of the drive to purchase the above items.
Items can be dropped off at Cash Express, 503A S. Church St., Mtn. City. Call 727-0028 for more info.

 

Looking for children to form chorus for Christmas

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.

Acreage reporting date for perennial forage is November 15

All producers are reminded that the acreage reporting date for perennial forage including hay and pasture is Wednesday, November 15, 2017. The acreage reporting date for perennial forage crops is for the 2018 crop year . Late filed fees will apply for these crops if acreage reports are not filed by the November 15 deadline. All other crop reporting requirements must be met. Farmers and landowners who participate in FSA commodity programs, the Non-insured Assistance Program and who signup up for LDP’s are required to certify all of their crop acres. Acreages are also used to calculate the amount of financial assistance producers can receive through various disaster programs.

For more information on filing acreage reports please visit the Johnson County Farm Service Agency at 119 S Murphey Street, Mountain City or call (423) 727-9744.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

 

Funds continue to come in for Johnson County Public Library addition

Farmers State Bank makes a $2,500 donation to library toward new addition. From left to right are Farmers State Bank vice president and compliance officer Cliff Mahala, president and CEO John Muse, assistant vice president Elizabeth McElyea, Johnson County Library board member Ken Erickson, board chair Karin Bell, board member Wayne Parker, director Linda Icenhour, and board treasurer Lloyd Taylor.

By Paula Walter

The Johnson County Library recently received at check in the amount of $2,500 from Farmers State Bank towards an addition to the library. This area will provide additional space for library patrons, allowing room for those seeking internet access, a reading room and a research area.
According to Johnson County librarian, Linda Icenhour, the bids that were received for the proposed addition were extremely high. “We built two wings previously for $300,000 total,” Icenhour stated. “According to the bids, we are $50,000 under where we should be. We won’t think about breaking ground until we have all the money in the bank.” According to Icenhour, the library has approximately $230,000 banked already for the library extension project. Recently, the library received a $100,000 grant from Tennessee State Library and Archives, a $24,000 grant from United States Department of Agriculture and $76,000 from a local major benefactor.
The Johnson County Library has become the hub of the community. It is not just a place to come and check out books, but offers internet availability, space for tutoring, meetings and fundraisers.
November’s calendar is packed full of activities that will be held at the library. There will be a book sale the first weekend of the month on November third and fourth. On November 9th, there will be a sewing class led by members of the Sunrise Quilt Guild. Karin Bell will hold a charcoal art class for youth 12 and up on November 15th. Additionally, there are paint classes offered for a fee that includes all supplies necessary to complete the artwork. In December, Gamma Mu and friends of the library will offer a time to make gingerbread houses with the children of Johnson County.
According to Icenhour, during the month of November through Christmas, for every non-perishable canned food item received, they will forgive one dollar in library fines.
“All money will stay in the county and go to local food banks,” Icenhour said.

Johnson County FSA committee election to be held December 4, 2017

The Johnson County FSA Committee election will be held in the Local Administrative Area 1 on December 4, 2017. LAA 1 consists of the communities of Forge Creek, Mountain City, and Laurel Bloomery. Ballots will be mailed to all eligible voters in LAA-1 on November 6, 2017. All ballots must be received in the county office or postmarked by December 4, 2017.

Listed below is the candidate nominated:
Anthony Van Arnold resides at 3541 Cold Springs Rd, Mountain City. Mr. Arnold has been farming in the Cold Springs community for 20 years. He produces corn, hay, and beef cattle, on his farming operation.
Mr. Arnold has stated he is willing to serve if elected.
The elected member to the Johnson County COC Committee will take office January 1, 2018 and will serve a three-year term.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

 

Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt to offer new cutting-edge treatment for type of pediatric leukemia

Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt is part of a select group of health care institutions recently chosen to offer a new FDA-approved immunotherapy for a subset of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Only 32 health care institutions in the United States will be certified to offer the therapy. Vanderbilt is only one of two centers in the state, and the only one located in the Middle and East Tennessee. This novel therapy, a personalized treatment known as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, is an innovative treatment designed for children and young adults with pre-B cell ALL that has come back after treatment (relapsed) or unresponsive to treatment (refractory). This therapy, called Kymriah, takes a patient’s own immune cells, white blood cells that normally help fight infection, and reprograms the cells to recognize and destroy the patient’s leukemia cells.
ALL is a cancer of the bone marrow, and is the most common form of pediatric leukemia. About 3,000 young children and adolescents are diagnosed with ALL in the U.S. each year.
“It is an honor and privilege to be selected as one of the first 10 centers in the country to offer this innovative therapy,” said Debra Friedman, M.D., director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology<http://www.childrenshospital.vanderbilt.org/services.php?mid=1224>, associate professor of Pediatrics and E. Bronson Ingram Professor of Pediatric Oncology. “This is in recognition of our expert oncology and stem cell transplant teams and the multispecialty care that we can provide here. We welcome referrals from around the region for this exciting new therapy to offer new opportunities for more children and young adults.”
Typically, 90 percent of ALL patients are cured with intensive chemotherapy treatment. The remaining 10 percent of ALL patients don’t respond to chemotherapy or relapse and have a very poor prognosis. Patients up to age 25 who have these high-risk features may be eligible for this innovative CAR T-cell therapy.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer this cutting-edge therapy to our patients, particularly when these families may be starting to feel like they have run out of treatment options for their ALL,” said Carrie Kitko, M.D., associate professor of Pediatrics and director of the Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant Program in the Division of Hematology/Oncology. “The Vanderbilt Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant Program<http://www.childrenshospital.vanderbilt.org/services.php?mid=1248> is ideally suited to care for these patients. Our team has been providing cellular therapy to the Middle Tennessee community in the form of stem cell transplantation and CAR T-cell is the latest and most personalized cellular therapy ever designed.”
The treatment works like this: a patient’s T cells are collected and shipped to the pharmaceutical company, Novartis, where the cells are engineered to express a chimeric antigen receptor designed to recognize the patient’s leukemia. The engineered CAR T-cells are grown in the laboratory and then shipped back to the hospital where they are infused into the patient. Each time a CAR T-cell recognizes a cancer cell it is activated to kill the leukemia cell. Once this happens, a signal is sent to the to the CAR T-cell to divide, producing even more of the cancer fighting cells.
The FDA approved the CAR T-cell therapy on Aug. 30 following multicenter clinical trials at several sites around the country that demonstrated an 83 percent rate of remission in these very high-risk patients, and these remissions are long lasting in many patients.
Because there are potential severe complications involved with this type of treatment, the FDA is requiring that all treatment sites have special certification acknowledging that the center is able to handle these risks. The most severe and potentially life-threatening side effects include high fevers, low blood pressure and difficulty breathing that may require care in the intensive care unit.
“Vanderbilt is uniquely well-suited to provide this treatment,” Friedman said. “We have the specialized laboratory to collect and process the patient’s T cells, expertise on our team with CAR T-cell therapy from previous clinical trials and exceptional oncology and comprehensive subspecialty services and intensive care facilities, all located within our hospital.”

Halloween safety tips for seniors

While seniors may love to see children in costumes on Halloween night, the constant door knocking, masked visitors and unfamiliar faces can be intimidating.  After all, one-third of all seniors who live at home, live alone and most are women.
Tips for making Halloween fun, not frightening, for senior citizens.
Provide companionship and a sense of security so any possible troublemakers get the idea more than one person is living in the home.
Never leave a senior with dementia or physical limitations home alone on Halloween – they are more sensitive to noises and unfamiliar faces.
Keep guests outside – never let an unknown trick-or-treater inside to use the bathroom or make a phone call.
Turn on interior and exterior lights during trick-or-treating hours even if no one is home or if the senior chooses not to answer the door.
While a dark home may signal to trick-or-treaters that there is no candy, it also tells vandals the house could be empty
Stay inside while handing out candy.
Post a sign on the door that says “Sorry, No More Candy” when the goodies run out.
Make sure all floors, entry ways and porches are free from decorations
Remove any Halloween décor that involves flames, such as a lit pumpkin, from outside stairs and footpaths. This is a fire hazard for the dozens of kids stopping by with tails and capes.
Place carved pumpkins outside to keep the smell out and bugs away.
Add night lights to hallways, walkways and rooms.
Avoid window decorations that block light or the view of the front entry.
Don’t play music outside for Halloween guests – be aware of your surroundings.
I’d love to set up interviews with experts in your area who can talk about Halloween safety for seniors and possibly walk you through a senior’s home to show how to prepare senior loved ones, and their homes, for Halloween night.

Donate a deer in Johnson County to feed the hungry in the area

Hunters for the Hungry connects generous hunters in Johnson County and across the state with Tennesseans in need
Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Hunters for the Hungry program is open for the season. Participating deer processors throughout the state are now accepting donations of whole deer to feed local families in need. This year, more than 80 deer processors in 66 counties are accepting deer donations. In Johnson County that includes Real Life Taxidermy & Game Processing. Contact information and additional processors in neighboring counties may be found by visiting tnwf.org/processors.
Hunters for the Hungry is a unique program providing healthy protein to hungry Tennesseans. When hunters harvest a deer, they may donate it to Hunters for the Hungry at a participating processor. The venison is processed for free or at a reduced rate and then provided to area food banks or soup kitchens. One deer provides as many as 168 meals of venison.
“For the first time ever, we have full funding in Tennessee. Every participating processor has funds to accept 10 or more donated deer at no cost to the hunter,” said Matt Simcox, Hunters for the Hungry manager. “We were able to expand the program this year thanks to the hard work of high schoolers across the state who raised money as part of the Hunger Challenge.”
Donations above the funded allotment are also accepted. Hunters may redeem Deer Coins purchased from Tennessee Wildlife Federation or pay a reduced, $50 processing fee directly to the processor to cover processing costs.
Both 2015 and 2016 were record seasons for Hunters for the Hungry. Tennessee Wildlife Federation is hoping to continue the trend—making the 2017 season the most impactful yet and providing more meals to those in need.
“Hunters for the Hungry is in its 20th year in Tennessee and has provided nearly 6 million meals in that time,” Simcox said. “The program also connects hunters to their communities, allows them more opportunities to hunt, and helps better control our state’s deer population.”

Drug Take Back Day Sat., Oct. 28th

Time to clean your medicine cabinets and safely dispose of expired, unused and unwanted medications at Drug Take Back Day on Sat., Oct. 28th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local participating locations: Mountain City Town Hall at 210 S. Church St., Mtn. City; Butler Fire Dept. at 291 Piercetown Rd., Butler; Shady Valley Fire Dept. at 10114 US Hwy 421 in Shady Valley. Each participant will receive a complimentary gift.

Direct to farmer grants available to farmers in a five county region

By Rick Thomason

University of Tennessee
Johnson County Extension Director

Heifer USA, a global non-profit organization dedicated to working with communities to end hunger and poverty while learning has dedicated roughly $50,000 which will be distributed to local farmers in Johnson County, Tennessee and Alleghany, Ashe, Wilkes, and Watauga counties in North Carolina.  Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA) will facilitate the granting process.  BRWIA is dedicated to strengthening the High Country’s local food system with resources, education, and skills related to sustainable food and agriculture.
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture is releasing a request for proposals for farmers focusing on increasing production through innovation and sustainable methods.

Applications will be due by November 30, 2017 and can be found on the BRWIA website http://www.brwia.org/direct-to-farmer-application.html.
Interested applicants must attend one of two pre-grant application clinics happening in October, 2017.  Details for those required clinics are as follows:
Clinic #1: Beyond Grants Funding your Project,Watauga County)Date:Octobrt 24, 2017 from 6-8P
Location: Blue Ridge Energy, Conference Room, US Hwy 421 South, Boone, NC 28607
Facilitator: Chris Grasinger, High Country Regional Manager, Mountain BizWorks
Clinic #2: Knowing Your Markets
(Ashe County) Date: October 26, 2017 from 6-8PM

Location: Ashe County Library, West Jefferson, Downstairs Conference Room, 148 Library Drive, West Jefferson, NC 28694
Facilitator: Jason Roehrig and Shiloh Avery from Tumbling Shoals Farm in Miller Creek, NC
Farmers are required to work with their local extension agent on the application and throughout the grant cycle.  Please contact the Extension Agent in your county before attending one of the clinics if you are interested in applying.  This will help you come prepared to the clinic with a defined goal.  You must be within BRWIA’s service area (counties listed above) to apply.

Applicants are able to apply for funds from a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $2,500.  All of those who are awarded grants will receive business-planning support and will have a functioning business plan by the end of the grant cycle.  Resources on business plan development are available through BRWIA, Ascent Business Network, and local extension agents.  This grant program is modeled after WNC AgOptions, exclusively funded by the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.
Applicants should be farmers who demonstrate the economic viability of farms in the five-county region.  Support is provided to farmers who are diversifying or expanding their operations to increase farm income and encourage the sustainability of the farm businesses.  Funding requests should be for items directly related to the growing and harvesting of crops for sale, including livestock.  Please contact Sherri Gallant by email (sherri@brwia.org) or phone (828-386-1537) with any questions.

Possible senatorial candidate Fincher begins tour of state in Mountain City

By Paula Walter

Former United States Congressman, Stephen Fincher, is traveling across Tennessee to listen to the voices of Tennesseans before making a decision as to whether or not he will run for the senate seat currently held by Senator Bob Corker. Corker recently announced his decision that he will not run again for office in the 2018 election.
Fincher, who calls Frog Jump, Tennessee home, began his tour this past week, traveling across the state, beginning in Mountain City and completing his travels in Memphis. According to Fincher, he and his family prayed together and made the decision to listen to what the voters want in their next senator. He did not want to make a rash decision as to his possible run. “Faith is very important to me and our family,” he said.
Although he previously was a United States congressman, Fincher considers himself a farmer, a businessman and a part of gospel singing group his grandmother started that has been in existence for 60 years. “What you see is what you get with me,” Fincher said.
Fincher previously served six years as a United States Congressman and represented Tennessee’s eighth congressional district. He was the first Republican to hold that seat since the Democrats gained control in 1898. According to Fincher, he did not accept congressional health insurance or their retirement plan when he previously served. He will once again not participate in those programs if elected.
Fincher’s focus will be bringing more decisions and control from the federal government in Washington DC back to Tennessee. “Should I run, I will bring Tennessee values and common sense, balanced budgets, conservative spending, and conservative solutions to Washington,” Fincher previously stated.
He has described himself as a “Tennessee conservative who will work with others to do what’s right for Tennessee. I would be totally committed to the people of Tennessee, to listen to them, to serve them with humility and integrity.”
Fincher stressed the importance of working together for common goals and fighting for values. “I want to fix problems, “ he said. “We need lower taxes and better healthcare. We can fix this. We’ve got to be able to work together.”
Fincher is looking at finalizing his decision in the next few weeks. “This is a very serious decision and we want to do what Tennesseans want,” Fincher stated. “Tennessee values and principles are what we are going to fight for.”

Rep. Hill addresses need for reliable broadband internet services

NASHVILLE) — During the 2017 legislative session, Representative Timothy Hill (R-Blountville) began the process of addressing Tennessee’s need for reliable broadband internet services by cosponsoring House Bill 529, also known as the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act.
The Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act expands broadband internet access and adoption across Tennessee through business investment and deregulation. Coupled with the state budget, the legislation makes targeted investments through grants and tax credits that focus on underserved or unserved areas. Additionally, this initiative permits Tennessee’s private, nonprofit electric cooperatives to provide retail broadband service — something they have been completely unable to do in the past.
Recently, Tennessee ranked 29th in the country for broadband access, with 13 percent of Tennesseans lacking accessibility to high speed internet. While only 2 percent of urban citizens lacked access, 34 percent of rural residents are without coverage, placing them at a distinct disadvantage over their city counterparts.
Representative Hill believes the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act is an important first step in providing a more permanent, long-term solution to a complex issue that has hindered rural Tennessee businesses and families in recent years.
“The rural areas of our state need access to what has become a vital resource,” said Representative Hill. “I am pleased that my colleagues and I have begun working to resolve a critical issue that has stunted development in many communities across Tennessee. While we have made some initial progress and potentially created new and exciting possibilities for our businesses and families, we still have a long journey ahead. I look forward to exploring additional ideas and solutions in the coming years that complement the work we have already achieved, thanks to the passage of the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act.”
Timothy Hill serves as House Majority Whip. He is also a member of the House Calendar & Rules, House Transportation and House Insurance & Banking Committees, as well as the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee. Hill lives in Blountville and represents House District 3, which includes Johnson and part of Carter and Sullivan Counties. He can be reached by email at: Rep.Timothy.Hill@capitol.tn.gov<mailto:Rep.Timothy.Hill@capitol.tn.gov> or by calling (615) 741-2050.