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.

Johnson County Community Band to hold first rehearsal

The Hills are alive with the sound of music!  Johnson County has always been known as a birthplace of Appalachian and folk music, but now a new song rings in the air.  The sound of brass, woodwinds, and drums will join those of guitars and banjos.
On October 17th a new group will be forming to play wind ensemble music.  The Johnson County Community Band will have its first rehearsal on that evening at 6:30pm.  Anyone who has a background in concert or marching band is welcome to join regardless of age.  The only requirement for wind players is their own instrument and a desire to play.
According to band manager, Scott Wilks, “Our purpose is to bring music to the community, to give adult musicians a chance to reconnect with their musical past, and to enrich our own high school band program.  We will begin rehearsing Christmas music with the goal of a mid-December concert.”
“I hadn’t played a brass instrument in 25 years.  I was amazed at how much came back to me and how much fun it was.  Connecting with other musicians confirmed that I wasn’t the only one with this desire.”
The band will have its first rehearsal on October 17th at the new arts center at 6:30.  All are welcome!

Heritage Hall presents ‘Back Home Again’ a tribute to John Denver

By Paula Walter

Heritage Hall Theatre presented Back Home Again, a tribute to John Denver with Tom Becker this past weekend. Becker, a former band member of the New Christy Minstrels, has also jammed with Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Willie Nelson, Greg Allan and Jerry Jeff Walker.

Becker assembled his new band with the intent to inspire both the fans of John Denver, and those who may not have heard his music before. Denver was Becker’s mentor, not only as a singer and songwriter, but also as a humanitarian.

According to Becker, one dollar from the sale of every CD from their group goes to planting and maintaining a tree in its native setting to help support John Denver’s organization, Planet 2020. The band has played across the country, from Florida to Asheville, North Carolina to the west coast.

The band opened the evening with Denver’s Sunshine on my shoulders to the delight of the audience, followed by Take me home, Country Roads and Annie’s song.
The audience clapped and sang during much of the performance, singing along with Becker and his band, along with some head bobbing and foot stomping. They played The Ballad of Spiro Agnew, Fly Away, Leaving on a Jet Plane, Rocky Mountain High, Thank God I’m a Country Boy, Grandma’s Feather Bed and Rhymes and Reasons.

Throughout the performance, Becker entertained the audience not only with the music of John Denver, but the history of the times and the meaning behind the songs. Becker also captured the smiles and laughter of his audience with a Kermit the Frog voice impersonation.
Becker and his band travel up and down the east cost from Pennsylvania to Florida with many stops in between. They will finish out the year in Aspen, Colorado before returning home.

It’s time to prevent invaders from spending the winter in your home

By Rick Thomason

University of Tennessee
Johnson County Extension Director

It’s officially fall and time to prevent occasional invaders from spending the winter in your home. Occasional invaders typically live outdoors and enter structures to avoid unwelcome environmental changes.

So it makes sense to take action to keep the pests on the outside.
The list of occasional invaders is quite extensive and includes multicolored Asian lady beetles, brown marmorated stink bugs, kudzu bugs, boxelder bugs, numerous flies (face fly, blue bottle and cluster flies), mice and clover mites to name a few.
Most can be stopped from entering structures by taking a few simple steps:

1. Check around doors to ensure light cannot be seen around the edges which could indicate gaps. Gaps larger than a 1/4 inch will let mice and smaller pests enter.  Add a brush door sweep, new threshold or weather stripping.  Ensuring brush door sweeps are intact is the single, most important step to stopping mice from entering.

2.  Place hardware cloth behind vents in the attic, roof, crawlspace and elsewhere.
3.   Penetrations around pipes, wires and conduit should be sealed.
4.   Seal gaps around window and door framing.
5.   Holes and cracks in foundation walls should also be sealed.
6.   Repair leaks before they attract pests to the structure.
7.  Keep a bare zone on the ground 18 inches from the foundation base.  That’s right, mulch is an issue.
8. Remove debris (boards and other clutter) lying on the ground close to buildings.
9.  Remind everyone to keep exterior doors closed.  Large stones, bricks or similar objects found near exterior doors indicate these are used to prop doors open and should be removed.

10.  Don’t open windows unless they are screened.

A good publication on “Lady Beetles Invading Homes” can be found at the following website:  https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/SP503-C.pdf  This publication contains excellent information about pest proofing your home in the fall prior to the insects invading your home.
For more information, call or come by the Extension office.

Spearman proposes citizen-funded account for Mountain City police, firefighters, etc. that are hurt on the job

By Marlana Ward

The Mountain City Board of Mayor and Aldermen met for their regular, monthly meeting on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017.  All members were in attendance as well as department supervisors and interested citizens.
Mountain City resident Lewis Spearman approached the board to present an idea that could benefit town employees who find themselves in a tough financial situation after being hurt on the job.  Spearman explained how the current plight of city policeman, Ken Lane, brought his attention to this need for community support.  Spearman shared the story of how Officer Lane was injured while making an arrest.  Lane suffered a torn rotator cuff and had to wait for several weeks until Worker’s Compensation took effect to have surgery.  Lane’s doctor stated that the officer’s shoulder is worse after the surgery and Lane is still unable to work due to the injury.
While Worker’s Compensation does provide some support, employees find themselves at a 30 percent decrease in income while on the program.  A loss of income this size can place employees and their families in a financially difficult situation.  Spearman shared how even though Lane had purchased the AFLAC coverage for disability for such emergencies, the insurance policy would not cover disability due to injuries sustained while on the job.
Spearman’s idea is to begin a publicly funded account at a local bank to benefit these town employees who find themselves facing financial stress after being hurt while serving the town.  Spearman stated that while he knew the town itself could not authorize an account to be made, he wanted to be up front about the citizens’ intent with the account and ask for the town’s approval in moving forward with the plan.  Mayor Kevin Parsons reiterated that no town funds would be placed in the account and that the account would not be an official town account.  Spearman expressed his understanding of the town’s restrictions and again expressed that this was to be something that some residents of the city wanted to do to help the town’s officers, firefighters, and other public works employees.  The board voiced their gratitude to Spearman and spoke of their confidence in his ability to establish and oversee the project.
While he had the floor, Spearman took the opportunity to ask about a situation on Ivy Street he had discussed with the board previously.  The property in question had been ordered to comply with city ordinances regarding appearance and habitability by court order.  Spearman informed the council that despite reporting compliance, the owner of the property had failed to perform the necessary improvements.  Mayor Parsons stated that he believed the town to have done all they could legally do regarding the situation given the current court orders in effect.  City Attorney George Wright said that there could be past orders still in effect on the property and Spearman was encouraged to meet with Wright for further discussion of the matter.
Ted Gentry, a city resident who has been assisting the town with the proposed skating rink project, came to the podium to discuss his progress.  Gentry shared that he had been busy sorting through the many skates that had been donated to the town.  He stated that because pairing the skates was not as simple as finding two of the same size and that it would take some time to give an accurate count of usable pairs of skates possessed by the town.  Gentry has begun the tedious work and has successfully refurbished 35 pairs of skates so far.  When asked, Gentry stated that the town would need at least 350 pairs of various sized skates to feasibly begin a successful rink.  He intends to continue his work on the skate project and give further updates to the board as needed.
During the time when aldermen bring forth concerns for discussion, Vice Mayor Jerry Jordan shared the concerns of citizens regarding trees located along Crestwood and adjoining streets.  Jordan said that he had been approached about the town’s ability to assist with tree trimming on the properties although they were not in the power lines. Some residents saw the trees’ shedding and limb loss as liabilities during winter snow removal efforts.  Mayor Parsons suggested that any concerned residents see street superintendent, Gary Phillips, about the town’s responsibility in each situation.
Alderman Bob Morrison expressed his gratitude in advance to the town employees’ dedication and cooperation in seeing that the public partaking in Halloween activities within Mountain City are kept safe.
City Recorder Sheila Shaw reported that the state had awarded contracts to Adam’s Contracting for the bridges to be built on Fairground Lane and Circle Drive.  Shaw reminded the board that the town’s 1.34 million dollar portion of the financial agreement had already been paid.  She stated that contractually, the work must be completed by April 30, 2018.
Shaw also shared with the board that the Gooseneck Trail issues regarding the sidewalks and driveway entrances at Elizabethton Federal and Atwood Street were still being debated amongst the state, the construction company, and engineers.  The state has found the work unsatisfactory and insists the construction company tear out and reinstall the sidewalks in these areas.  There have been no attempts by the company to correct the issues at this time.
Also along the Gooseneck Trail, barriers that have been placed to keep motorized vehicles off the trail continue to be tampered with and destroyed.  The board decided to look into the feasibility of installing a fence along the portion of the trail where vehicles have been observed illegally traveling on the trail to further discourage entry.  It was also asked about the cameras that are to be installed and monitored at the park.  Shaw stated that internet must be installed at the park for the cameras to function and that Charter Internet had not been returning contact regarding the installation.  Mayor Parsons instructed Shaw to contact Skyline/Skybest about taking on the project as the company is eager to work in Mountain City and may provide better service at a better rate for the town.  Mayor Parsons also requested that Police Chief Denver Church increase police patrols of the park to discourage destructive behaviors.
Street Superintendent Gary Phillips came to the podium to ask the board’s opinion about street repairs to be made on Stout Road.  Phillips shared that the county is currently repairing their portion of the road and that it may be in the town’s best interest to contract with the county to repair the 3/10th of a mile the town is responsible for while they are in the area.  The board asked Recorder Shaw about the availability of funds for such a project.  Shaw reported that there was a $50,000 surplus from the Village Square bridge project but that those funds needed to be used in the repair of the parking lots and driveways of the businesses that allowed the town to redirect traffic through that area during the bridge construction.  Phillips agreed that the town should first keep their word to the businesses that allowed the increased traffic on their property.  Alderman Bob Morrison put for the motion that because of the time constrictions on the proposed road improvements due to availability and weather, Mayor Parsons and Recorder Shaw be given the authority to review estimates and funds to make a decision on behalf of the town regarding the repairs.  The motion was seconded by Alderman Bud Crosswhite and passed unanimously.
Phillips went on to update the board about continued work to repair the traffic signals at the Shouns Crossroads intersection.   He stated that this was the main area of storm damage received by the city and that all repairs should be completed soon.  Phillips also stated that two new utility poles would soon be placed along Purdue Lane as previously discussed in earlier meetings.
Water Plant Manager Andy Garland asked about progress made in discussions about the relocation of the Dry Run water tank.  It was stated that estimates were still being made as to which solution, a new road to be made at the existing property or acquiring of a new location for the tank, would be more cost effective for the town.
Mayor Parsons asked all members of the board to review a proposed resolution to express Mountain City’s appreciation and support for the National Park System.  Several board members expressed their gladness that the town and the park system cooperate and compliment each other well.  The motion for approving the resolution carried unanimously.
The minutes and budget ordinances brought before the board in September’s meeting were approved.  The only new budget ordinance introduced was an additional $3,983 needed to supplement the town’s property insurance due to the acquisition of assets from the Dry Run Utility District.  The increase was deemed necessary and approved by all members.
The next meeting of the Mountain City Board of Mayor and Alderman will take place on November 14th at 6:30 pm.

Honor Guard flag retirement ceremony

The Johnson County Honor Guard will hold a flag retirement ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 17th at 5 p.m. at the American Legion Post 61 at 318 N. Church St. The public is invited to attend and bring any used, faded or tattered American or Tennessee flags for honorable retirement and disposal. For those interested, a limited number of new 3’x5’ nylon American flags will be available for sale. Flags may also be dropped off at City Hall before the ceremony or placed in the drop box beside the driveway at the American Legion Post.

Fall is in the air and several holidays are just around the corner

By Jana Jones

Johnson County Farmers Market Director

Fall is in the air and that means several holidays are just around the corner. The Johnson County Farmers Market (JCFM) is prepared with many of your decorating items – pumpkins, gourds, wreaths – as well as foods that you will need for your holiday meals. For our last outdoor market of the season we are planning a BIG BASH that we call our Annual Holiday Fair.
On Saturday, October 28th the JCFM will not only have our regular beautiful fall produce, pasture raised meats, and beautiful homemade breads and canned goods, but many more craft vendors will be setting up with ceramics, bird houses, jewelry, stained glass, woodwork, hand painted gourds and many other items. Last year our Holiday Fair drew 15 additional local craft vendors. If you are the type of person who loves to give one-of-a-kind handmade gifts to your friends and family, you don’t want to miss our Holiday Fair.
So mark your calendars for October 28th and help us celebrate our last Farmers Market in the county courthouse parking lot as we will be relocating to Ralph Stout Park for our 2018 season. Bring the kids and grandkids to paint a pumpkin and enjoy hot apple cider while you listen to music by “The Broken Road” starting at 9am. We will be accepting the Fre$h Savings tokens that DOUBLE the money for EBT/Food Stamp customers for the remainder of October. Like us on Facebook for the latest updates.
I will leave you with a lovely spiced apple cider recipe to keep you warm as the nights turn cooler and the leaves turn brighter.

Spiced Apple Cider
Ingredients

SERVINGS: MAKES ABOUT 8 CUPS
1 large orange
4 quarts apple cider
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
15 whole cloves
10 whole allspice
8 whole green cardamom pods, crushed
5 cinnamon sticks, each broken in half

Using a vegetable peeler, remove peel (orange part only) from orange in strips. Place orange peel in a heavy large pot (reserve orange for another use). Add apple cider, lemon juice, cloves, allspice, cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks to pot.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until cider mixture is reduced to a generous 10 cups, about 30 minutes. Strain cider into a medium pot.

 

Fire Prevention Week begins October 8

Ask anyone who has had a home fire and they’ll tell you it’s fast, faster than they ever imagined. Home fires burn hot and spread quickly. The heat and smoke can make a fire deadly in less than two minutes. Every second counts to escape. Planning can help save lives in unwanted fires. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) wants everyone to know, “Every second counts… Plan 2 Ways Out!” It is a great time to make sure your family knows and can
practice your escape plan.
Talk about what each person would do if you had a fire. Make a plan around everyone’s abilities. As children grow, their abilities increase. As adults age, it may take longer to get outside. Make sure your plan is right for your family.
Escape plan essentials include: talk about your fire escape plan with your family And together, draw a map of your home, including all doors and windows. Find two ways out of each room. Mark these on your map.  Make sure windows and doors open easily from the inside and are not blocked.  Choose a place in front of your home where firefighters can see you. Everyone will meet at this place after they escape.    Practice your fire drill with everyone in your home. Go to your meeting place. Only dial 9-1-1 in a real emergency.  Practice your drill at least twice a year.
Access the escape plan essentials info graphic on the USFA website: www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/2017fpw_infographic.pdf
Make sure everyone can unlock doors and open windows. If you have security bars you need quick-release devices inside. Practice using all escape routes in your home. Practice unexpected situations, like having to escape through a room with smoke: crawl low, under the smoke, to your exits.
Practice going to your meeting place. Everyone should know how to dial 9-1-1 to report a fire. Don’t dial 9-1-1 when you’re practicing.
To learn more about Fire Prevention Week and home fire escape planning, please visit: www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/fpw.html. Follow USFA on Twitter at @USfire and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usfire.

Johnson County Farm Bureau to hold annual meeting

Johnson County Farm Bureau to hold its annual meeting
All members of Johnson County Farm Bureau are invited to the Annual Meeting, Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm at the Johnson County Rescue Squad Crewette Building.

Door prizes will be given and refreshments served by the Johnson County Crewettes. We look forward to seeing you.

Wildlife rabies vaccination project protects people and pets

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Health is working with the United States Department of Agriculture to help prevent rabies by distributing oral rabies vaccine for wild raccoons along Tennessee’s borders with Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

The annual baiting program administered by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Wildlife Services, will begin Sept. 25.
“Control of raccoon rabies is vital to human public health. We are pleased to be part of this important and effective program now in its sixteenth year to reduce rabies in wildlife, which helps prevent transmission to people, pets and livestock,” said State Epidemiologist Tim Jones, MD.
Vaccine packets coated with fishmeal will be distributed throughout an 18-county area in Tennessee. The 2017 bait zone will include portions of Bradley, Carter, Cocke, Franklin, Greene, Grundy, Hamblen, Hamilton, Hawkins, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Polk, Sequatchie, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties. Baits will be distributed by airplane and helicopter.
The oral rabies vaccine will be distributed on the following schedule:
September 25 – October 13:  Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hawkins, Sullivan, Unicoi and   Washington counties
September 30 – October 25:  Bradley, Franklin, Grundy, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Polk and Sequatchie counties
“Rabies is most common in wild animals in Tennessee, and it poses a risk to people and domestic animals that come into contact with wildlife,” Jones said. “It’s important for pet owners to make sure rabies vaccinations are current for dogs and cats to ensure their health and safety, and to help provide a barrier between rabies in wild animals and humans. It is also extremely important that people don’t transport raccoons from one area of the state to another.”
Rabies, once disease develops, is almost universally fatal. However, it is completely preventable if vaccine is provided prior to or soon after exposure.
This is the sixteenth year Tennessee has participated in baiting with rabies vaccine to slow and possibly halt the spread of raccoon rabies.
There have been three cases of raccoon variant rabies in eastern Tennessee to date in 2017. Since raccoon rabies was first detected in Tennessee in 2003, the disease has not spread as rapidly here as has been documented in other areas of the United States.
Although the vaccine products are safe, the USDA Wildlife Services program has issued these precautions:
If you or your pet finds bait, confine your pet and look for other baits in the area. Wear gloves or use a towel and toss baits into a wooded or fencerow area. These baits should be removed from where your pet could easily eat them. Eating the baits won’t harm your pet, but consuming several baits might upset your pet’s stomach.
Don’t try to remove an oral rabies vaccine packet from your pet’s mouth, as you could be bitten.
Wear gloves or use a towel when you pick up bait. While there is no harm in touching undamaged baits, they have a strong fishmeal smell.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water if there is any chance the vaccine packet has been ruptured.
Instruct children to leave baits alone.
A warning label on each bait advises people not to touch the bait, and contains the rabies information line telephone number.
For more information on rabies prevention or the oral rabies vaccine program, call the USDA Wildlife Services toll-free rabies line at 1-866-487-3297 or the Tennessee Department of Health at 1-615-741-7247. You may also find rabies information on the TDH website at http://tn.gov/health/article/rabies.
The Tennessee Department of Health urges people to enjoy wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats from a distance and keep pets up-to-date on rabies vaccination to help protect them from exposure to rabies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a website to help educate children about rabies. Visit the site at www.cdc.gov/rabiesandkids/.
TDH will also take part in World Rabies Day September 28, 2017. Founded by the CDC and the Alliance for Rabies Control, the goal is to increase awareness about rabies and support for prevention and control efforts. Despite being 100 percent preventable in humans, it is estimated more than 55,000 people worldwide die from rabies each year.
In the United States, some 30,000 to 40,000 people are potentially exposed to rabies and require post-exposure treatment every year.
Learn more about World Rabies Day at https://rabiesalliance.org/world-rabies-day/.