Dear Editor,

It seems that every time I read an article in the Tomahawk I am amazed at the lack of common sense “our” politicians possess.
The latest lack of common sense is directly related to the Tennessee school vouch program that passed in the House (narrowly) and Senate. It has been demonstrated, according to Mary Mancini, that voucher programs have not been successful in any other state. How can you take X number of children from a poor producing education school and place them in a very successful school system? You are mixing poor achieving students with high achieving students which will bring down the high achievers because the teacher must spend more time with the poor achievers. Teachers, our most valuable educational resource, will attempt to bring the poor achievers up to par with the high achievers. This, in my view, will bring down the higher achievers to lower achievement standards. What about the all students left behind in the poor achieving schools who will not benefit from this legislation? Does this mean that once you get some of the low achievers transferred mean that those still in the low achievement school will improve?
Perhaps what is needed is a common sense approach to the problem without getting politicians directly involved. One commission should be developed to determine why the poor achieving school system children are failing and one commission set up to determine why the achieving schools are succeeding. Then have the two commissions meet to discuss and really learn what problem(s) exist. These commissions should include educators, teachers and school leaders, principals and school board members with legal advisers, assisting to handle legal matters only in guiding the commissions along the legalities involved in the political process. Governor Bill Lee never discusses why the failing schools are failing only that the children should go to a high achieving school.
I think that the parents of poor achieving students are not learning what their children are learning in school and need to be more proactive in their children’s education.
This means supporting the school systems through an active partnership. Government should not be in the business of raising children but ensuring that they are all getting the best public education possible. Parents should learn that schools are nota baby sitting service.
To spend 125 million over five years, not counting the additional monies parents would be required to spend out of their own pockets, is ludicrous to say the least. Mr. Lee should realize that it is NOT an important day for the children of Tennessee. This money should be spent to retain and better support the teachers in the public school systems. Teachers and school administrators need to be better supported to enable them to improve the education of Tennessee children. This voucher system exemplifies another failure of the politicians to improve the standards of higher education in Tennessee. It is merely throwing money in the wrong direction.
Politicians seem to not vote for their constituents view points but rather their own personal view(s).

George A. Spreyne

Thank you

Dear Editor,

On behalf of Delta Kappa Gamma International and its Johnson County chapter, Gamma Mu, I wish to thank those who generously donated to the contents of the “Goodie Bags” that were presented to the recipients of The Good Neighbor Award at a reception in their honor May 1, 2018.
Elizabethton Federal, Farmer’s State Bank, Johnson County Bank and Mountain Electric contributed generously, much to the students’ delight. THANK YOU for helping us recognize and affirm the five Middle School students who were named Good Neighbors for consistently demonstrating the qualities we want in our neighbors: compassion, kindness, and generosity.
In addition to local support, the students were especially honored by Rep. Timothy Hill, who sent each one a Proclamation which had been read on the floor of the Tennessee House of Representatives in their honor, and Sen. Jon Lundberg, who personally presented to each student a flag that had been flown on the Capitol Building in Nashville in their honor. Their support of our students means a great deal!

Sheila Cruse
Chair, Educational Excellence Committee
DKG/Gamma Mu

Johnson County Young Artists presents The Aristocats Kids at Heritage Hall

Members of the Johnson County Young Artists cast pause during rehearsal for their upcoming performance of Disney’s The Aristocats Kids scheduled for this week at Heritage Hall Theater in Mountain City. The JC Young Artists is a theatre group based out of Johnson County Tennessee. The presentation is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, May 24, 25 at 7 p.m. The show will feature nearly two-dozen eager and enthusiastic children from area schools ages 5-18. Tickets for this week’s presentation general seating is available for $5 at door.
For more information, check Submitted photo

The Johnson County Center for the Arts

This ‘n’ That; By Jack Swift

It had been awhile since I visited the
Johnson County Center for the Arts on College Street and I decided to visit the Center and see what new works that might be featured there. As always I was very
impressed by the quality of the works presented. I’ve always felt that there is a great deal of talent in Johnson County. Visiting the Johnson County Center for the Arts bares that out.
While I’m certainly no expert in art, I can appreciate it for its beauty, its impact and its value in the world of today. We read and learn about it, we attend museums to view it, and perhaps sometimes draw it out of ourselves in moments of extreme emotion in our lives. Art takes many forms. Often the word art brings to our minds various kinds of painting. Landscapes, seacapes and still life are just a few of the many types of painting that people have produced in the annals of time. The making of pottery dates back many hundreds of years. Cave drawings has been discovered that date back thousands of years.
I have painted a couple of pictures using oil as a medium. I tried watercolors once, but that just wasn’t for me. I was fortunate to know Mrs. Blain Cole when I was a youngster. She was a local artist who lived on Highway 67 about three miles west of Mountain City. She taught me a lot about painting. Her paintings hung in every room in her spacious house. I wonder what happened to them. I also took some lessons in painting under David Huyard, who was once a Johnson County minister and artist.
Art can take many forms. Other than painting, there is sculpture, pottery and more. I suppose drawing is an art form as well. My experience in drawing occurred when as part of my job at the Tomahawk, I also sold advertisement. One business owner would only advertise if I would draw a cartoon strip and charge him with the space. The cartoon I drew featured characters Rhea and Bo and their various activities concerning the place of business being advertised. Anyway, it was a pleasure indeed to visit the Art Center and see the talent displayed there.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I never could understand what the “water war” was all about. It seems that the City of Mountain City was running a deficit in collecting water and/or sewer rates for sometime.
It seems that the State Water and Waste water Financing Board wanted to know why. It would have been more cost effective if the Mayor and Alderman would have corrected the deficiency in rates long before it became an issue with the State of Tennessee. It seems that, they the mayor and Aldermen, should have complied with the state’s mandate originally without having to expend finances to travel to the WWFB.
It seems that even after months of discussions between the Mayor/Aldermen and WWFB and the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) nothing changed. It seems the MTAS first recommendation was approved and, as the Tomahawk reported, it was an unnecessary trip to appear before the State.
As stated by City Recorder Sheila Shaw the increase will commence in July 2019 and will take at least three years to get out of the red. This could all have been avoided if the City had been more proactive in addressing the rate increase prior to being mandated to do so.
The Mayor’s response that there was a difference between inside and outside the city lacks credence. The rates collected were not sufficient to balance the budget, therefore it makes sense to increase rates prior to having to become ordered to do so. Greater oversite should be undertaken by the Mayor and/or Aldermen in reviewing the city of Mountain City’s various departments to ensure they comply with local, State or Federal requirements. Sometimes common sense seems to disappear when needed most.

George A. Spreyne

You’ve got this! Celeste asks: I often get called codependent, but I think I’m compassionate, what’s the difference?

By Tracy Becker

Licensed Counselor

Licensed counselor Tracy Becker answers your questions.

Celeste, people who are codependent do believe they are being compassionate, but codependency is the likely culprit. So let me give you the results of some recent research.

If you are codependent you will likely relate to these behaviors: your sense of purpose involves making sacrifices to satisfy other’s needs; it is difficult to say no when other’s ask for your time and energy; you minimize problems or addictions that others have; you constantly worry about others’ opinions of you; you feel trapped or like you can’t say no; you keep quiet to avoid arguments; you devalue your wants and desires; you are a people pleaser at the cost of your own wellbeing; you often feel resentful or taken advantage of.

Here’s the good news, Celeste, everyone can heal from codependency and release themselves from codependent relationships. To gain more personal power and fulfillment you’ll need good guidance and to start setting limits and boundaries with yourself and others.

Having and setting healthy boundaries is a good thing for everyone’s well-being. The definition of a healthy boundary is to honor your personal limits so that you can live and/or work together with another person in kind and loving ways. They also allow everyone to have the limits to heal. If they are done correctly love grows, not resentment.

Compassion is defined as a deep awareness for another’s suffering. The human quality of understanding the suffering of others. It doesn’t mean that you necessarily act on the awareness, but feel it and wish for it to improve. You may help in some way by joining an organization, donating money or volunteering.

However, your self-worth isn’t connected to it. It doesn’t drain you. In fact, you’re uplifted by it. With compassion you will never feel unheard, or devalued. You will feel empowered and authentically able to be you and be appreciated by giving when and however you can.

All the best in this journey, Celeste.

Please submit questions to

Heritage Hall offering affordable, world-class entertainment

The Kody Norris Show will be performing at Heritage Hall in Mountain City on Saturday, May 11, at 7 p.m. From L-R Tyler Wiseman, Mary Rachel Nalley,
Kody Norris and Josiah Tyree Submitted photo.

Staff Report

Music lovers will once again get a chance to enjoy some entertainment presented by one of their own; The Kody Norris Show scheduled for Saturday, May 11, 7 p.m. at Heritage Hall in Mountain City TN.
Norris grew up in this area, which is known for its abundance of musicians. He began honing his talent at the age of nine, playing in local churches, and soon developed a love for bluegrass.
At 17, Kody was offered the opportunity of a lifetime, a fill-in tenure as lead singer and guitarist with Dr. Ralph Stanley and The Clinch Mountain Boys. That was his starting point into the world of professional bluegrass bandleader. His band, now billed as the Kody Norris Show travels approximately 46 weeks per year and appears at music events across the nation, The Kody Norris Show gives a bluegrass fan one of the most solid, entertaining and animated performances they will ever experience.
The performances of The Kody Norris Show are reminiscent of traditional bluegrass artists, yet Kody brings his own unique, distinct flair to the music. Kody is backed up by one of the highest energy bands in bluegrass today, The Watauga Mountain Boys. The twin fiddles of Michael Feagan and Mary Rachel Nalley truly complement the performance. Michael is a Grammy Award-winning fiddler, with a long resume including, Bill Monroe and Jerry Reed. Evan Lanier handles the five-string banjo duties, and the upright acoustic bass player is Ben Silcox.
The show is sponsored by Mina Norfleet, Realtor and Bob Stout Construction.
“On sale” dates for online ticket purchases for each event will be announced on our website,, on Facebook and by email.
Online tickets will go off sale at 2:00 p.m. on the day of each event. You may still purchase walk-up tickets at the door for each event (CASH ONLY).
As always, you may still purchase event tickets at our box office, open Tuesdays through Fridays from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. Please call 423 727 7444 and leave a message; a staff member will return your call within 48 hours.
For more information, check

Letter to the Editor

Dear fellow workers,
It’s been almost six years since I came to the Tomahawk not knowing anyone over there and very little about the town of Mountain City. I can now say that it’s been six of the best years of my life and many of you are the reason why.
I want to thank Bill Thomas who has not only been my boss, but a special friend to me. Thank you for taking a chance on somebody you didn’t know anything about and let me have a free reign of the sports here. You are one of the best men that I ever worked for.
I want to thank Tamas, Rita, Meg and David because you all have been very special to work with. Tamas has a passion for what he does and will do wonders with the Tomahawk.
Rita is a go-getter who could sell snowballs in July and she is excellent at what she does. So are Meg and David. Thank you for being so good to me.
I’ll never forget Angie Gambill and Paula Walters for what they meant to me. They are and will always be like a family
member because I love them dearly.
But father time has finally caught up with me and now it’s time to retire and be more involved with my grandkids, while my health is good. My eyes have been an issue; trying to cover games and my doctors advised me to give it a rest.
I also want to devote more time to my ministry and trying to build up our church.
Please don’t hesitate to call me if I can ever help you in any way. It’s time for me to make like Roy Rogers and ride off into the sunset.
May God bless and all of you are in my prayer. You’re the best.

Tim Chambers

This ‘n’ That By Jack Swift

Coach (General) Robert R. Neyland

As I was growing up on a small farm in rural Johnson County I was greatly interested in sports, especially the Tennessee football program. During my younger year, I kept up with Volunteer football via newspapers and radio. While I didn’t have much interest in current events in that era, I sure read the newspapers and listened to the games soaking up all the news I could about the Volunteers. Some of the players that stand out were: Hank Lauricella, Johnny Majors, George Cafego and others.
Francis Edward “Hank” Lauricella was one of my favorites. He is noted as one of the University of Tennessee’s greatest running backs. He played from 1949 to 1951 under famed General Robert R. Neyland. One of the things that I admired about him was that he only weighed 75 lbs. and that is pretty light for a college football player. I felt that at that weight and being able to play so well he must be tough. During his senior year at Tennessee he was named All-American and was the first runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Johnny Majors was both a player and a coach. He was a standout halfback at Tennessee and went on to be Tennessee’s head coach from 1977 to 1992. As a player at Tennessee, he was an All American in 1956. He finished second in the voting for the Heisman Trophy in that year.
George Cafego became one of Tennessee’s backfield stars. He was a native of West Virginia. He ultimately returned to Tennessee as an assistant and coached 30 years. He retired in 1984.
Now I want to put my spotlight on who in my opinion was one of the greatest coaches Tennessee ever had. General Robert Reese Neyland was born February 17, 1892, in Greeneville, Texas. After graduating West Point in 1916, he was ordered to a number posts. He returned to West Point as an assistant adjutant and an assistant coach in football, baseball and basketball. He also served as aide-de-camp to Academy Superintendent General Douglas MacArthur. His career found him at The University of Tennessee as R.O.T.C. Commandant. In 1926 He became head football coach at the university of Tennessee from 1926 to 1934. During that period, his teams won 75 games, lost seven and tied 5. He was sent to the Panama Canal Zone, in 1935. He retired from the Army and returned to Tennessee as head coach. Under his coaching, the Volunteers won 11 games in 1938; 10 in 2939 and 10 in 1940. Coach Neyland was called back into the military but he returned to coaching in 1946. He was very successful during the remainder of his coaching career. He retired in 1954 but continued as
athletic director at Tennessee. He died on March 28, 1962.

“Y’all come back now, y’hear? ”

The Johnson County Community Theater featuring The Community Theater Cast, along with actors from Johnson County High School presented The Beverly Hillbillies at Heritage Hall in Mountain City last week. Each performance of the stage adaptation of the popular 60’s sitcom directed by Judy Walsh enjoyed a full house. For information on how to join upcoming productions by the Johnson County Community Theater, check out their Facebook group. Also watch The Tomahawk for announcements on
upcoming auditions and productions. Photo by Tia Thomas

You’ve got this! Licensed counselor Tracy Becker answers your questions.

Sam asks: I am my own worst enemy. How can I be a better friend to myself?

By Tracy Becker

Licensed Counselor

Hello Sam, thank you for this great question. It is unfortunate that many, if not most of us, go through situations in our lives where we know we aren’t being our best, we are sabotaging our success, practicing a lot of negative and self-deprecating thoughts, and behaving in ways that will never turn out in our favor.

I have often said that the longest relationship you are going to have in your life is the one you have with yourself. Thus, this relationship has to be strong, positive, forgiving, honest, disciplined and uplifting. That’s a lot to ask, right? But it is what is required for undoing what’s already been done.

I would suggest a simple exercise to get started. Write down all the qualities that you believe a good friend would have. Spend some time on it, read a book or article on friendship, and ask a few people you admire about this.

Then examine this list to determine which qualities you have – which you do have some – and ask yourself what it would take to enhance them. An example would be: if you have the quality of kindness, what can you do daily to enhance this quality? Create a plan and follow through. Do this until you are working on enhancing all the good qualities you have.
Secondly, choose one quality on the list that you would like to have, but feel you may be lacking. Do the same thing. An example would be: Maybe you find yourself telling “little white lies” for no reason, and you want to be an honest person.

Make a decision to monitor your urges to lie. Then take the time to evaluate what made you, in each of those moments, want to tell a lie? This will take commitment and time, but you can work through this. In a very short time, you will notice that you are being a better person to yourself. That makes it easier to be a better person to others. Best wishes, Sam.

Please submit questions to

Bankers turn out for Financial Literacy Week

By John Muse

As a long-time member and current chairman of the Tennessee Bankers Association, I know firsthand the contributions that bankers make to help their communities grow and prosper, and to help people succeed individually.
Simply put, bankers do a lot more than just keep your deposits safe, keep track of your balances, and lend money for homes, businesses, and personal needs—they are actively involved in their communities in a number of ways, all aimed at improving the quality of life not just for their customers, but also in their hometowns.
A case in point is bankers’ outreach on improving financial literacy in the state, something that was on full display April 8-12 as part of Tennessee Financial Literacy Week, which we celebrated during National Financial Literacy Month, held annually in April. There were hundreds of presentations across the state made to a variety of groups, from elementary students to senior citizens and to people at all stages in their financial lives.
While we often tend to emphasize lessons for students and young people, financial literacy is a constant learning process. The knowledge and skill that a person has to manage their financial resources properly and responsibly is integral to success in school and in life. Each lesson you learn builds on another as you move from one life stage to the next.
For young students, financial literacy can mean learning to save an allowance or money from a gift and identifying wants versus needs. High school students need to learn how to handle paychecks for the first time. As a college student and young adult, living within your means, using credit wisely, and paying student loans are top of mind. Financial literacy then starts to look further ahead, starting and maintaining a 401k, saving for a new car or your first home, and eventually avoiding financial scams that
prey upon our elderly neighbors.
We took April 8-12 of this year to put a spotlight on the importance of financial literacy, but bankers provide these resources year-round in communities across the state. If you’re a teacher who wants a speaker for your class or run a senior center and would like a presentation on living in or near retirement—or anything in between—please reach out to your local banker to ask about setting something up. You can also get in touch with the Tennessee Bankers Association (contact information can be found at The TBA would be glad to assist you.
Remember, improving your financial literacy skills is a life-long endeavor—and your local banker is here to help.
John Muse, chairman of the Tennessee Bankers Association, is chairman, president and CEO of Farmers State Bank in Mountain City.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

The Johnson County Community Foundation (JCCF) would like to thank all of the sponsors who supported the 14th Annual Johnson County Talent Show. These businesses, organizations, and individuals, not only support JCCF, but they also help make it possible for our talented young people to perform in a professional setting.
Platinum Plus Sponsors of $500 or more were: Danny Herman Trucking, Inc. Herman Enterprises LLC, Donald & Carole Tarr, Joe & Marian Ashley, Farmers State Bank, Johnson County Bank, Mountain City Medical Center, Maymead, Inc. and JCCF Board Members. Platinum Sponsors of $200-$499 were: Beta Theta Club, Inc. Bob and Minnie Miller, Adams Pharmacy LLC, Swan James, Heritage Hall, Positive Thinkers, Three Sisters, LLC, Elizabethton Federal, and Rush Oil Company. Gold Sponsors of $100-$199) included: Mountain City Funeral Home, Wednesday Music Club, Hux Lipford Funeral Home, Inc., Mike Taylor, Carey Pritt & Son Trucking, Levi Retiree Club, Mina P. Norfleet, Realtor, Kenneth & Mina Norfleet, Keith & Shirley Stewart, and Betty Brown. Silver Sponsorship of $50-$99 was Suba’s Restaurant, Johnson County Builders Supply, Mullins Real Estate, Snyder Surveying, Inc., Damascus Motor Sales, Dr. Mischelle Simcox, Quality Furniture, Janice A. Russell, Atty at Law, Larry & Brenda Potter, Hendrik G. Sijthoff, Johnson County Farm Bureau, Family Prescription Center, and Freida May Gwinn, Register of Deeds. Hardee’s and KFC of Mountain City provided gift certificates to the students who received Honorable Mention. We encourage people to support these businesses who in turn support local events.
In addition, the talent show would not
have been nearly as successful without the
help of the school system’s music teachers, Kim Franklin, Nathan Jones, Kaitlyn Cole, Michael Eggers, and Kathy Ransom, Homeschool. We also appreciate the coverage
given to the talent show by The Tomahawk and WMCT. We value the Heritage Hall volunteers, who give so much of their time and a special thanks to Randy Danderand, Alice Glenn and Bob Morrison along with Chase McGlamery. Jeanie Royston was a great asset for being the contact person.
JCCF is made up of volunteers who love Johnson County and give their time and money to support scholarships, youth leadership, schools, and non-profit organizations in Johnson County. Anyone wishing to make a donation to JCCF or discuss leaving something in the will to JCCF should contact Jane Ann McGee, Chair person of JCCF at 727-1059.

Carol Stout
Talent Show Chair
JCCF Board Member

You’ve got this! Debra asks: Some people like to “stir the pot” and cause trouble. How can I get it across to them it isn’t kind or effective to do this?

Hey Debra, I recognize your dilemma as you can’t change another person and this is often frustrating. However, you can ask them to change. I would suggest instead of telling them how hurtful and unkind their actions are ask them to speak more kindly when you are around.
You might have to prepare yourself ahead of time by having some topics you are willing to talk about, and know the topics you are unwilling to talk about. If they get started on the “pot stirring” kindly tell them you aren’t willing to participate in this type of conversation, and walk off, if you can. Most people who do this, do it by habit. It is likely they’ve been surrounded by others who do this and have taken on this unfortunate way of communication.

You will actually be helping them by asking them to stop, as long standing habits are hard to break for most people. It is also a possibility that no one else has ever asked them to clean up the way they communicate.

Therefore, you might be the one to lead them down a road of better living and certainly better relationships.

Be sure to always be grateful to people you are going to engage at a level of change or healing. You either value your relationship with them, or you are forced to be in relationship with them through family or work commitments. Either way tell them how much you appreciate them and why. Make sure that they know you want to be able to communicate and/or work with them in a more positive way.

Wishing you all the best in this endeavor, Debra.

You’ve got this! Kathleen asks: How can I deal with my constant anxiety?

By Tracy Becker

Licensed Counselor

Kathleen asks: How can I deal with my constant anxiety?

Kathleen. I’m so sorry you haven’t found any relief for the anxiety you are experiencing. Any mental health professional would want to know how long you have been having anxiety; what you’ve done thus far to help yourself; if you have seen a counselor or doctor; are you on any medications for anxiety, if so, what are they and how long have they not been working; and if you know the original source or timeframe in which it started?

Having said that, it makes it bit difficult to specifically guide you. However, I would ask you to visit YouTube and search for Solfeggio Tones (also known as Binaural Tones). These tones come in 9 different hertz, you must take the time to listen to all 9 hertz with earbuds to find the one that creates a relaxing sensation in your body, i.e., your shoulders drop, your stomach softens and you begin to breathe easier.

Make sure you note what hertz it is, as that is the hertz that activates your own Parasympathetic Nervous System (PSNS), the rest and recover aspect of your nervous system. Listening to this with earbuds twice a day for 20 minutes will help “rewire” your neurotransmitters so the PSNS will kick into action resulting in relaxation and ease. This allows you to respond with a more reasonable and rational approach.

When we have anxiety for extended periods of time our Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) can get “stuck” in on. Resulting in our Fight or Flight system to be in overdrive. When this happens, we filter many incoming situations as a “warning” or even “danger”, much like a traffic light that is constantly on yellow or red.

Of course, Kathleen, this is just one of many tools that can help. If you are not under the care of a counselor or a psychiatrist, I would highly recommend it, mostly because no one doesn’t deserve to live like this. Wishing you all the best.

Please submit questions to

This ‘n’ That Do we really have to have it and have It now

Do we really have to have it and have It now

By Jack Swift

Johnson County Historian

We seem to be living in an era when folks “want it and want it now,” “It” being goods and services that make life easier and more pleasant. Perhaps it has always been so. But in my lifetime I believe I have seen a rise in the “want it now” philosophy. Of course, now there are a greater number of goods and services to have than ever before. In an earlier day, time wasn’t as important as it is now.
Folks just have to have the latest “device” that Silicon Valley can come up with. Who would have thought we would be carrying around a pocket-sized telephone. A number of machines have come about due to the miniaturization of electronics. I thought the so called “car phone” was about the ultimate in bringing the phone to us instead of us going to it. I was really wrong about that. Now comes along the smart-phone and it is amazing indeed, since it has a number of functions in such a small machine.
People want the latest fashions in clothing. And they want them now before they go out of style. Children have to have the latest in the toy line. They must have Elmo or whatever toy has been featured on television.
I believe our use of time has changed much in my lifetime. Folks often let time rule them instead of them ruling time. I’m reminded of a joke that I enjoyed a lot when I read it. It seems a man came along and saw a man holding a pig up and letting it eat apples off a tree. The man said “Don’t you know you can save time by letting the pig eat off the ground? The man replied, “What’s time to a pig?
Perhaps there are advantages to wanting it and wanting it now. But sometimes I believe it is better to slow down, be patient and let the world go by. Perhaps the item you want will be less expensive then.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:
April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Founded and sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) since 1987, this year’s theme is: “Changing Attitudes: It’s not a ‘rite of passage’.” No other substance is more widely used and abused by America’s youth than alcohol, making alcoholism and alcohol-related problems the number one public health problem in the United States.
Fostering healthy and responsible attitudes, talking openly and honestly, encouraging supportive relationships, and showing children that their opinions and decisions matter, are all ways to help prevent the use of alcohol and drugs. Parents often forgive underage drinking as a “rite of passage.” They can simply sit back and hope their kids will “get through it,” or they can change their attitude and take an active role in learning about alcohol and drugs and help their kids do the same.
It can be challenging to develop the communications skills needed to talk with your children about drinking and drugs, but it will be well work the effort you put into it, as you get to know your children a little better and help them build the coping skills they need to handle the anger, stress, peer pressure, loneliness and disappointment that are part of being an adolescent.
So let’s get started. We can’t afford to wait any longer.

Denise Woods
Prevention Coordinator, A.C.T.I.O.N Coalition, Inc.

This ‘n’ That By Jack Swift Johnson County Historian

Education in Johnson County

If you read my column of the last two weeks about me as a student at Dewey Elementary School, you may wonder how we came from the way things were then to the modern schools of today.
As I was gathering information for my last two columns, one of the most interesting bits of information I came across was the fact that there had been 67 different schools in Johnson County. Many were two-room, two-teacher schools. When consolidation came about, not a few citizens were unhappy that consolidation was taking place. Some people felt that the schools should be in their own communities. But consolidation advanced and now students have modern well furnished, well staffed schools to learn in.
I didn’t plan it but I thought it was ironic that last week’s column ran in the annual Progress Edition of the Tomahawk. From my description of Dewey School then and the way schools are now shows a great deal of progress. Progress is shown in the school plants, the modern equipment, the qualification of teachers, and in many other ways as well. While it took many years for education to become available for everyone, Johnson County was progressive in the field of education. Thomas Jefferson once said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”
Our founding fathers were men who valued education highly. Early on the citizens of Johnson County or what would become Johnson County were descendents of the hardy sturdy, fearless frontiersmen who marched westward to claim the American Dream.
In the early existence of Johnson County few children were enrolled in the schools. In 1839 (three years after Johnson County was established), there were 787 enrolled in school. In 1840 there were 736 enrolled. In 1842 there were 768. The enrollment jumped to 1,189 in 1848.
The first Johnson County public secondary school was opened February 1, 1908. The semester was three months. The opportunity to achieve an education increased in Johnson County over time with a few blips along the way. To enable some students to attend high school who lived in outlying areas, a dormitory was constructed on North Church Street.
History shows that Johnson County folks were education-minded and they wanted their children and youth to become an educated citizenry.

DeAnna Greer receives Governor’s Volunteer Stars award

DeAnna Greer, left, receives a plaque from Miss Tennessee, 2018, Christine Williamson, during the Annual Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards ceremony held earlier this year in Franklin, Tennessee. Submitted photo

By Tamas Mondovics

Eleven years ago Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee developed the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards to recognize the most outstanding adult and youth volunteers in each county each year.
Earlier this year, DeAnna Greer and her family traveled to Franklin, TN to attend the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards Ceremony where she enjoyed the spotlight as one of the awards recipients.
Executive Director for Volunteer Tennessee, Jim Snell, opened the 11th Annual Awards ceremony as Jennifer Kraus with Nashville Channel 5, read each nomination and biography.
During the ceremony, Miss Tennessee, 2018, Christine Williamson, handed Greer her plaque as recognition of this special day.
“DeAnna has always had a passion for volunteering and community service,” her mom Kelly Greer said, adding that after losing a very close friend to cancer, DeAnna wanted to make a change in her community and developed S.T.O.P. and Serve which stand for “Serving to Teach Others Passion.”
“This platform was created to teach individuals the importance of volunteerism and community service,” DeAnna said.
So far, DeAnna has accumulated more than 1,000 hours of community service and helped raise $7,000 for Relay for Life to benefit the cancer survivor fund in East Tennessee.
She also volunteers for the Haven of Mercy Mission Homeless Shelter, Serving with Style, Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child, Relay for Life, the Santa Train, Jurnee’s Journey Foundation, and Tim Tebow’s “Night to Shine” Prom for
individuals with special needs.
Congratulations DeAnna.

Vintage photos cause quite a stir

This photo, which was taken from well-preserved Kodachrome slides and put in Adobe Photo was taken from where The Tomahawk office is located today on North Church Street. Photos by Dan Reece

By Jill Penley

Back before cell phones, social media “selfies,” and digital cameras, one might easily recognize a professional photographer. Perhaps an individual was always toting around a large, cumbersome camera or maybe spending a lot of time in a dark room developing photos. These labors, in some instances, provide our only glimpse to the past.
When Harry “Bud” Reece decided to share some of his late father’s photography on social media, he wasn’t prepared for the public’s reaction. “People are enjoying reliving the past through the photos,” said Reece, who says his father left “boxes and boxes” of photographs and negatives. The shared photos include the old Johnson County High School, which is now the Johnson County Offices, the former Fire station and Library on Donnelly Street and the Masonic Hall.

Dan Reece old school “selfie,” which son, Bud Reece explains was done by photographing oneself in a mirror.

Dan Reece, Bud’s father, was a man of many talents including being a photographer extraordinaire. “He was basically a jack of all trades,” said Reece, who advises his father was an electrician in addition to his photography. “At one time, he had a studio and appliance store on Church Street,” Reece states as he recalls his father moving the business to a basement space of the former Blackburn’s Supermarket, a historical icon of Johnson County. The market used to operate near Food Country, which is prominent in many of the photos the elder Reece made of the downtown area of Mountain City.

Fire station and Library on Donnelly Street. Across
the street from the current city fire station near City Hall. Reportedly, Many fondly remember Lil Greer
as the librarian.

Other buildings and landmarks in the photos, presumably shot sometime in the 1950s, may look somewhat familiar such as the “old fairgrounds,” where the famous bean festivals brought in huge crowds. If “fairground” sounds familiar, it is probably because it is the current site of Johnson County High School campus.
Vintage photos capture the lives and happenings of yesteryear. “With a photo, you can capture a moment,” said Reece, “and have it forever.”