Conference champs

Conference Champs

Johnson County Longhorns running back, Nathan Lane (4) is filled with pride while leading his teammates toward a major 35-12 Region One 3A Championship victory against Unicoi County. Lane found the end zone five times during the game helping Johnson County repeat as conference champions in their derailing of the No.10 Blue Devils. Photo by Tamas Mondovics

Fall is in the air on Main Street

Constance Blankenship

Mountain City Elementary student, Constance Blankenship, 10, of Laurel Bloomery poses with a pumpkin last week after she was enjoying lunch with her mom. The beautiful sunny day was the perfect time to checkout the annual “Scarecrows on Main” displays now going on in downtown Mountain City. Photo by Tamas Mondovics.

Cleaning up

Watauga Lake Cleanup

A young volunteer, Vera Genille, proudly takes part in the 2018 Annual Watauga Lake Clean up. The event organizers would like to thank all 65 volunteers who participated in this year’s event held last month, as parents and grandparents brought their little ones to help the cleanup effort.  The children have learned the valuable lesson of refraining from casually tossing trash out their car windows or leave it behind in a public campsite, while helping to keep Watauga Lake one of the cleanest bodies of water in America.
Photo by Dennis Shekinah

Get your motor runnin’


Mountain City TN resident, John Wayne Jeffries enjoys a photo op, while taking his 1967, Dodge Coronet, 440 for a spin aroundtown. The region boasts of many classic car enthusiasts who make use of local events to show off their prized possessions. Photo By Tamas Mondovics.

First responders on the job

Firemen Laurel Bloomery

Johnson County Emergency Communications director and District 1 Fire Chief, Kevin Colson, left, instructs firefighters as they are entering an Eastridge Lane home last week following a call to dispatch of a structure fire. According to preliminary reports, the fire was electrical that started around the entertainment center in the family room but was quickly attended to by three units from District 1, 2 and Mountain City. Following the initial response, firefighters continued to put out hotspots, mopping up and removing burned and charred materials from the home. Photo By Tamas Mondovics.

Everyone loves a parade

Johnson County senior attendant, Renie Morrow, smiles while she is driven down Main Street during the 2018 Homecoming Parade in Mountain City. The annual parade made its way through town, ending at Paul McEwen Stadium ahead of the JC Longhorns 35-7 football game victory against the West Greene Buffaloes. Please see our complete Homecoming coverage in our “B” section. Photo by Tamas Mondovics

RCE August students of the month

Roan Creek Elementary August Students of the Month Roan Creek elementary students Blake Greene, Vada Clifton, Claira Porter, Kayden Epperly Maria Olmedo, Josie Cox, Lexie Faircloth, proudly present their certificates as the students of the month of August. Not Pictured: Desirea Robinson Aleya Hargett. Photo Submitted.




Doe Elementary leaders of the week

Doe Elementary Leaders of the Week 2018 09 12

A group of Doe Elementary School students smile big for a photo after a chance to be in the spotlight as leaders of the week. This year Doe has implemented “Leader in Me”! that selects
leaders from each homeroom and recognizing them throughout the week. Front row (left to right) – Nicole Leigh, Kaleb Walker, Abagail Garland, Danielle Dugger, Jasmine Katsaitis. Back row (left to right) – Jaycee Bunting, Skyelyn Lawley, Daniel Palmer, Parker Lundy, Ryleigh Perry, Gavin Lunceford, Keiana Wastell, Ian Lewis. Photo Submitted

Afternoon delight

Front Cover Photo Officers

Mountain City Police Sgt. Matt Mullins, left, and Assistant Chief of Police Joey Norris pause for some treats last week in Mountain City. Mullins had a sandwich, while Norris enjoyed a banana split during the afternoon break. Photo By Tamas Mondovics.

Double wedding ring quilt

Earning ‘Best of Show’ a Double Wedding Ring quilt hangs proudly at the 2018 Annual Appalachian Fair held earlier this month in Gray, TN. The quilt was pieced by Virginia McAninch, 90, a member of the Mountain City Senior Quilters last year. The Double Wedding Ring quilt is a traditional quilt design with a rich history of romance and love stories to tell but that continues to inspire quilters today. The interlocking rings are a symbol of the marriage – two people joining together to become one story. Historically made by mothers and grandmothers for their children to be given on their wedding day or anniversaries, and treasured for many years to follow.

MCFD in Action

flaming vehicle

Mountain City firefighter Capt. Johnny Roark works to extinguish a car fire last Saturday afternoon at the Marathon gas station across the Pioneer Village Shopping Plaza on South Shady Street. According to Mountain City police officers that were first on the scene, the vehicle owned by Tommy Johnson, 51, caught on fire while he was repairing the fuel pump. It took a little more than a half hour before a pair of MCFD units, and the assistance of firefighters Mark Arnold and Kenneth Dickens were able to bring the flames under control following the call to dispatch around 5:30 p.m. No injuries were reported. Photo by Tamas Mondovics.

Exceptional service recognized


At a special meeting recently held at Taylorsville Lodge #243, Brothers James Lefler (left), Vince Boag (center) and Clay Cochrane(right) received recognition for exceptional service to the fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons of Tennessee and were presented Fifty-Year Service Awards from Taylorsville Worshipful Master Brian Eller (back). Submitted photo

Living history

eva sue

In honor of her parents Ray and Rena Robinson Shoun and Macon L and Mary Dougherty Shoun, Colorado resident Eva Sue Shoun Littleton is standing in front of a quilt she donated to the Johnson County Welcome Center museum. Johnson County Historical Society president Kathy Terrill and vice president Bob Morrison was on hand to accept the quilt, which was given to Littleton’s grandparents as a wedding gift made and signed by neighbors and friends in Johnson County around 1896. Photo submitted

A perfect day for a concert

Harbin Hill Farms

Residents are enjoying a perfect day for a concert on The Mountain Stage at Harbin Hill Farms last week. Nearly 100 attended the event that featured the Kody Norris Band and the Johnson County JAM kids, raising $1,000 for the Johnson County JAM Program. Photo by Dennis Shekinah

A beautiful day for a festival

eghan Murphy and Kaitlyn McCord at the Sunflower Festival

Appalachian University students Meghan Murphy, 23, and Kaitlyn McCord, 22, of Boone, NC try on summer hats during the 14th Annual Sunflower Festival held last week in Mountain City. The pair were among the nearly three thousand from near and far that attended this year’s festivities making the events a success. See page B-3 for story and photos. Photo by By Jinifer Rae

Highland Games ready for annual four-day competition

A parade of pipers circles the field at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. The Games return for their 63rd year July 12-15. Photos by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation


By Tamas Mondovics


Grandfather Mountain is ready to host the 63rd Annual Highland Games this week.
The competition held on July 12-15 is promising of bagpipes, Scottish athletics, Highland melodies, Celtic cuisine, crafts aplenty and tons of tartans, as the Games take attendees back in time to the rich cultural traditions of Scotland in a setting not so different from the mountains and glens some 3,600 miles away.
The event begins Thursday afternoon, with Border collie sheepherding demonstrations, Celtic entertainment, the running of “The Bear” and the opening ceremonies.
Saturday will see the test of extreme endurance as the Grandfather Mountain Marathon winds from Appalachian State University in Boone to the site of the Games in Linville.
During a torchlight ceremony on Thursday evening, representatives of more than 100 clans are prepared to celebrate their heritage and to announce their families’ participation in the gathering.
Guests often bring dinner or purchase concessions at the field to enjoy a picnic at the opening ceremonies.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday will once again be filled with competitions in traditional heavyweight Scottish athletic events, highland dancing competitions, bagpipe band parades, piping, drumming and harp competitions, sheepherding demonstrations by Scottish border collies and concerts, featuring a colorful soundscape of Celtic music.
The nation’s top Scottish athletes clash Saturday in traditional heavyweight events, such as “Turning the Caber” and “Tossing the Sheaf.”
In the caber toss, athletes flip a telephone pole-sized log end over end. The sheaf toss challenges athletes to loft a 16-pound sack of hay over a bar more than 20 feet high.
Other ancient tests of strength await the contestants, including highland wrestling, the hammer throw and various weight throws.
Children are by no means left out of the festivities, as the Games will again host youth highland wrestling clinics and competitions, foot races and tug-of-war battles.
None would be complete was it not for the Games’ musical offerings including sets by Seven Nations, Nic Hudson, Rathkeltair, Scottish Octopus and Blue Ridge Brass, while the Saturday Celtic sessions feature Alasdair White, Ed Miller, Chambless and Muse, Seamus Kennedy and Piper Jones Band.
Other performers throughout the weekend’s daytime musical offerings include Billy Jackson & Gráinne Hambly, Atlantic North, Brothers McLeod and Marybeth McQueen.
The event is truly history in action as visitors get a chance to learn about their own Scottish ancestry and genealogy at clan tents or browse the open-air market for Gaelic and tartan gift items.
Adult admission to the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games is $15 Thursday, $20 Friday, $30 Saturday and $15 Sunday. Tickets cover all activities in the meadows, which last from early morning to midnight Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $5 each day for children ages 5-12, and children younger than 5 enter free.
Parking is available at the Games on Thursday and Friday on a first come, first served basis, with overflow parking at shuttle lots in Linville Friday only (no shuttle buses run on Thursday). Public parking is not available at the Games on Saturday and Sunday.
For tickets please call (828) 733-1333, or email For more information about the Games, visit

Full of imagination

Damascus Motor Sales owner Tim Brown is reading one of this month’s free books, I Hear a Pickle by Rachel Isadora to his grand children, Chloe, left, and Carson. The Johnson County Imagination Library Board thanked Brown for his participation in its Hometown Book Labels program. The program currently serves 719 preschool aged children with one free book per month.

It was a “dandy” Independence Day celebration

Members of the Johnson County Children’s Choir perform a musical piece, “Yankee Doodle” during the Fourth of July celebration on the Ralph Stout Park stage in Mountain City TN. The song was appropriately performed as it is often sung patriotically in the United States. While the song dates to before the Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution (1775–83), the melody is reportedly thought to be much older than both the lyrics and the subject, goingback to folk songs of Medieval Europe. Photo by David Holloway