Johnson County celebrates berry baking Contest this Friday

By Jana Jones
Farmers Market Manager

July is the month the Johnson County Farmer’s Market (JCFM) celebrates berry abundance and invites residents of all ages to join in on the fun. Just bring by your favorite berry pie, cake, strudel, tart, cobbler, muffin, or pastry to the UT/TSU Extension Office before 12 p.m. this Friday, July 20 and fill out an entry form to enter our 3rd annual Berry Baking Contest. Not a baker? You can still join in the fun by coming to the Farmers Market this Saturday, July 21 to sample all of the delicious entries and find out who won prizes in the various categories!

There will be three contests and three grand prizewinners. The grand prize winner in the 7 to 12 age range will receive an assortment of baking supplies including oven mitts, cookie sheet and mixing bowl. The grand prize winner in the 13 to 17 age range will receive a different variety of baking supplies including a muffin tin, pie plate, and spring form cake pan, and the grand prize winner of the adult categories will receive a $50 gift certificate to spend at the JCFM.

There will be a first place winner in each of the two categories. A contestant can enter one or both categories: Pies/Tarts/ Pastries and Cakes/Muffins/Cobblers. All contestants will receive a ribbon. First, second and third place ribbons, as well as participant ribbons, will be awarded. All winners will be announced Saturday morning at 9:30am at the Johnson County Farmers Market. WMCT radio will have their remote set up at the market recording the announcements live.

In recognition of the Johnson County Farmer’s Market 10th anniversary, a member of the original JCFM Board of Directors, Billy Ward, has agreed to be one of our judges. The second judge is Dennis Shekinah who has been an integral part of supporting the JCFM since it began in 2009 and is now himself a board member of the JCFM. The third judge is Adrian Holman who will be representing our sponsors for this event, Farmers State Bank.

Entry forms for the 3rd Annual Berry Baking Contest are available at the Johnson County Welcome Center or the UT/TSU Extension office located next to the Mountain City Post Office. The Johnson County Farmers Market is located at Ralph Stout Park every Saturday from 9 until noon.

We welcome all to visit us each Saturday and enjoy the live music while you shop for farm fresh local produce, dairy, eggs, meat, Berrry Baking JCFMas well as homemade baked goods, canned goods and handmaid local crafts. Follow us on Facebook to see weekly updates.

Chamber presents awards at annual dinner

By Tamas Mondovics
Editor

The Johnson County Chamber of Commerce was pleased to presents several awards during its annual business and awards dinner last month. According to Jeannie Countiss the well-attended banquet coupled with a prime rib and salmon dinner was once again held at RedTail Mountain Resort, Highway 421 South in Mountain City.Guests enjoyed and evening of celebration and awards ceremony recognizing several outstanding members of the community.

The Mac Wright Citizen of the Year Award went to JIM GILLEY for his efforts in the community. The Mary Nave Ahrends Volunteer of the Year Award winner, picked each year by the chamber president, was ELLEN WATKINS. This year’s Business of the Year Award went to MOUNTAIN ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE INC.

This Chamber is organized for the purpose of advancing the economic, industrial, professional, cultural and
civil welfare of the Johnson County area.  Its mission statement includes, “The Chamber shall encourage the growth of existing industries and businesses while giving all proper assistance to any new firm or individual seeking to locate in the Johnson County area. Of course, the Chamber of Commerce is not only a local organization but also a national organization.

“We appreciate our members and are thankful for the support of local residents whose commitment to the community supports the chambers success community.”

For more information about the Johnson County Chamber of Commerce please visit www.johnsoncountychamber.org.

The first in line

Benny Shupe

A handful of individuals arrived at the local election office even before the doors opened eager to cast a ballot in the 2018 state primary and county general election. Benny Shupe, of the Pleasant Valley community of Johnson County, was the first in line. “I consider it an honor to vote,” said Shupe, “and I enjoy being able to vote early and not have to wait until election day.” Early voting continues through Saturday, July 28.Photo by Jill Penley.

Center for the Arts continues STEAM summer camps

By Jill Penley
Freelance Writer

STEAM chasers puppet show

Local students gather for a photo at the conclusion of a recent puppet show at the Johnson County Art Center
in Mountain City. The event was the culmination of a three-day drama and puppetry camp a second installment
of the STEAM Chasers Summer Camps. Photo by Cristy Dunn

 

The Johnson County Center for the Arts is the place to be to get out of the heat and into the S.T.E.A.M., Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, as several dynamic summer camps have been planned.
Robotics Camp was the first installment of STEAM Chasers Summer Camps,” said Cristy Dunn, Center for the Arts Executive Director. “Students were thrilled to actually build and program claw robots with Ms. Susan Quave and Dr. Brenda Eggers.”

This past week, rising 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders had an opportunity to develop their creative skills during a three-day drama and puppetry camp. According to Dunn, the camp involved creating puppets and other crafts, writing
and performing skits, and exploring the world of drama and puppetry. Instructors for this event were Dottie Harmon and Mary Gale. “We spent the week building puppets, writing a play, and performing it,” said Dunn, who said the theme for the camp was Agatha’s Feather Bed: Not Just Another Wild Goose Story by Carmen Agra Deedy.
“The Cyanotype Printing camp was such a success we are offering another session,” said Dunn, “where students learn about light sensitive printing methods.” J. P. Jackson leads this class, which explores the photographic printing process that produces cyan or Prussian blue colored prints. Participants use the sun to develop prints on fabric using plants or any found objects that block light.
Finally, the last week of July, Kelley St. Germain will hold a filmmaking camp, where students are expected to plan, develop and shoot a short film. “As part of this workshop,” explained Dunn, “students will learn how to plan a short film and develop a story.” Also covered are interview tips and techniques, shooting b roll, music selection, copyright protection and simple equipment hacks. “His emphasis will be on using devices and equipment that students already have access to, such as cell phones and free/low budget editing apps,” said Dunn, “to capture the stories they feel passionate about.”
According to Dunn, each of the summer camp installments has a culminating event. The robotics group held an exciting competition, the drama and puppetry group put on a show, the cyanotype printers were able to create a t-shirt, and the plan is to feature the special student-created films as part of this year’s Long Journey Home.
Dunn’s experience in the field of Mathematics has proven useful in implementing STEAM integration programming. In addition to serving as executive director for Johnson County Center for the Arts, she serves as Co-Chair of the Long Journey Home Board, and is a member of Johnson County JAM Advisory Board. She is also a member of National Art Education Association and American Women Artists.
To learn more about STEAM summer camps or other Arts Center events and classes, go to www.jocoartcenter.org.STEAM chasers puppet show

Johnson County FSA holds election meeting

Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Jo Ann Reece in Johnson County reminds farmers and landowners that FSA is hosting an informational meeting regarding the 2018 County Committee Election process on July 18, 2018, at 9:00 a.m.at the Johnson County FSA Office located at 119 S Murphey Street in Mountain City, TN . Producers, including minority, women and new farmers, are encouraged to attend the meeting and participate in the 2018 election.

The county committee nomination period began on June 15, 2018. Nomination forms must be postmarked or received in the Johnson County FSA office by close of business on Aug. 1, 2018.For election purposes, counties are divided into local administrative areas (LAA). Each LAA nominates and elects one producer to serve a three-year term on the FSA county committee.

Each year, an election is held in an LAA where a committee member’s three-year term is expiring. For 2018, an election will be held in LAA 2, which includes the communities of Trade, Shouns, Neva and Dry Run.
To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the LAA in which the person is a candidate.

Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others. Organizations representing minorities and women also may nominate candidates. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. Nomination forms must be postmarked or received in the local USDA service center by close of business on Aug. 1, 2018.
COC members make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues.

Persons with disabilities who require accommodations to attend or participate in this meeting should contact Jo Ann Reece at 423-727-9744, ext. 5003, or Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339, by July 17, 2018.

Mountain City to host STEP, Inc. Interactive Training Special Education Transition Skill-building Session

Parents of children with disabilities are offered a special three-phase interactive post-secondary special education transition and skill-building workshop later this month. The event is presented by STEP Inc. (Support and Training for Exceptional Parents), Tennessee’s Parent Training and Information Center.

By Tamas Mondovics
Editor

Students, parents, and teachers are invited to find answers and make connections at a free post-secondary special education transition and skill-building session planed for later this month. The event hosted to be held at the First Christian Church Education Center 401 West Main Street, Mountain City is organized and presented by STEP, Inc (Support and Training for Exceptional Parents) Tennessee’s Parent Training and Information Center.

The three-phase morning, afternoon and evening programs scheduled for Thursday, July 26, 2018 is promising to offer parents, caregivers, and teacher’s special education assistance, information, and support regarding issues that impact students with disabilities. According to event organizers, the first of the three two hour sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., and will offer training and discussion on the topic “How to Effectively Participate in Planning Your Child’s Education.”

Parent are promised to learn their rights and responsibilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education or Act
(IDEA) along with what is required in a child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Tools and strategies to effectively
communicate information with teachers and actively engage in decision-making for a child’s education are all on the agenda to be presented.

“Students receiving special education services have a right to receive a high-quality education that will equip them to be
successful in life. Parents and caregivers have an important role in the development of their child’s education plan,” STEP Inc. spokesperson, Karen Harrison stated in a recent press release.

A second session between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. will provide free one-on-one assistance for families who would like additional
assistance reviewing their child’s IEP or 504 plan, discussing placement and services, reviewing IEP goals, and planning for upcoming IEP meetings.

“STEP staff will be on hand to assist parents with their individual concerns,” Harrison said.

Perhaps one of the most important topics for many parents will be discussed during an evening and the final session from
5 pm to 7:30 pm to provide information and answer questions about preparing for life after high school for students
with disabilities. Some of the pressing subjects will include the importance of creating a well-written transition plan that includes measurable post-secondary goals; the type of diploma options in Tennessee including the new Alternate Academic Diploma; post-secondary education options available to students after high school as well as transition tools and tips to make planning for transition much easier will all be addressed.

To register for the event residents are urged to contact Nancy Bailey at 828-808-7424 or email nancyannebailey5@ gmail.com or call the STEP office at 800-280-7837 or email info@tnstep.org. A light dinner will be provided at 5 p.m., for those who call to register. Childcare is available with prior arrangements made by July 24 by calling 828-808-7424.

Enjoying her fantasy job

Amber Icenhour

Local artist Amber Icenhour, 25, founder of Insane Angel Art proudly presents her work at a recent event at the Johnson County High School in Mountain City. Icenhour has been painting and drawing since she attended high school and currently takes on freelance work as well as draws illustrations for children’s books and fantasy art.

Kudos

Jim Tracy, Director of Tennessee USDA Rural Development, recognized Lewis with plaque June 27, 2018 at Hillcrest Apartments. Submitted Photo

David Lewis, employed by Partnership Property Management working at Hillcrest Apartments Mountain City, Tn. was awarded “USDA Multi-Family Housing 2017 Maintenance Person of the Year For Family Housing.”

Annual Fourth of July celebration draws sizable crowd

By Tamas Mondovics
Photos by David Holloway

A sizable crowd gathered to celebrate this 4th of July in Mountain City, which included a parade on Main Street, followed by performances on the stage at Ralph Stout Park.The pleasant sunny afternoon was completed with an impressive display of fireworks, also held at the park, which is traditionally coupled with the event across the nation.

This year’s parade, which was first said to be canceled was once again held and organized by the Chamber of Commerce encouraging children to decorate their trikes, bikes, wagons and buggies and ride in the parade. The lineup began at 4 p.m. at Mountain City Elementary School and the parade started promptly a half hour later as members of the community lined the streets to cheer the procession on.

Candidates strutted their signs advertising their candidacy and soliciting the favor of local voters. State Representative Timothy Hill was scheduled to take part in the festivities and speak to the crowd gathered at the park along with City and County Mayors and local government officials including Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece and his wife Temple.
The Johnson County Honor Guard presentation of Colors and National Anthem by Jamie McNutt added to the event’s patriotic setting not to mention fun, food and celebration that followed the following the parade. The Johnson County Children’s Community Singers, The Flower Pearl Groove Bank and The Famous Unknowns featuring Randy Dandurrand also took turns to perform to complete a full day of celebration.

Please enjoy the 2018 Mountain City, TN, 4th of July celebration in photos below.

Reader’s view: Facebook users comment on election snipe signs

With the state primary and county general now just weeks away, the local landscape is now inundated with signs soliciting votes. Once again, local computer savvy residents wasted no time to express their take on the topic that, of course, included the good, the bad, and, the ugly, thus continuing the conversation for at least, until the next weekly news cycle.
Of course, we are all more than happy to see our readers comments. Here are some of our Facebook users’ thoughts and comments on the election signs covering the landscape in and around town.

Michael Hollings: Although I think of them as unsightly and can be a bit to much. They are a useful tool for those officials as long as they aren’t blocking the view of on coming traffic…. but a real problem is that to many will leave them to rot where they are long after their intended use. I’ve seen signs up to a year after the election and nothing was done about them.

Tiffany Espinoza: Putting a sign out doesn’t show me anything! I want these people to come up and actually meet them and show me what they can do. If not just a name on a board to me. I’ve met TWO people running this year! So I gotta say I hate the signs.

Janie Reece: Hate em…..blowcks ur view and distracts ur driving and just looks trashy!

John Wright: I agree with the other comments – they certainly are unsightly! What’s not clear is whether there is any teeth in the law regarding removal of the signs? (What’s the penalty for not removing them all? What does someone do if they find one past the 3 week time frame?)

Patricia Lowe Reece: It is against the law to read text messages or send text messages…what is the difference of having 5 or 6 of these signs on one corner and trying to read them? Both things are distracting.

John Nunn: Time for a change. Vote out anyone in office. All I have seen is property tax and wheel tax increase and now they want voters to approve a larger sale tax.

Rick May: I’m with Janie, legal littering.

Mary L. Shull: They make real good winter panels for beehives with screened in bottom boards! Give ‘em to a beekeeper.

Teresa Tipton: Simcox Signs don’t influence my decision on who to vote for. Work ethic matters.

Barbara Arnold-Barnhill: They don’t block the drivers view unless you’re 3 foot tall in a child’s pedal car. The candidates and their supporters pay for them. They’re a fact of life, can we please find something else to whine about?? Please!!. It will all be over soon. Have patience. Someone destroyed ALL the signs at the intersection of HWY 167 and Big Dry Run Rd. I wish I knew Who! We should be more concerned about the drink cups and fast food bags scattered along the highways! THAT’S TRASHY! I will personally assist in picking up signs when the election is over. Why not be proactive instead of reactive?

In Honor In Memory

In Honor in Memory

 

Never forgotten

James Franklin Baker

James Franklin ‘Sergeant Frank’ Baker was born on November 13, Frank was a proud United States Veteran having honorably served in the Army.
Baker, 82, of Trade, passed away last month at his residence. He was a member of First Christian Church.
‘Sergeant Frank’ as he was known by his friends has served during the Korean Conflict and Vietnam Wars and completed 8 weeks of leadership school at Fort Jackson, four weeks 7th Army Non-commission officer academy, Munich, Germany, five weeks drill sergeant school, Fort Jackson, one week instructor seminar, Fort Benning, GA, three weeks guerrilla warfare training, 10th Special Forces Badtoe, Germany, and one week jungle mountain training, in Korea.
Bakers’ special friends included John Wayne Jefferies, John Jullian and David Sexton.
A graveside service and interment with Military Honors conducted by the Johnson County Honor Guard included Baker’s final farewell funeral ceremony.

Chronology of a local hero

Joseph Glenn Lipford

 

Submitted by: Joleen Lipford Marsh

Pre-War (Enlistment and Basic Training)
Joseph Glenn Lipford was born August 15, 1921 in old Butler, TN. At 18 years of age, he enlisted in the US Army in Johnson City on December 20, 1939. He traveled to Fort Oglethorpe, GA and was provided with serial number 7003364 and assigned to the 29th Infantry Division for three months of basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. After basic, he was promoted to corporal and assigned to Company C of the 4th Anti-Tank Battalion where he was squad leader of a five-man motorcycle unit for almost a year. He then joined the 94th Anti-Tank Battalion and trains as an antitank gun crewman for seven months.
Joe was scheduled for discharge around December 20, 1941, but on December 7th, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and he was re-enlisted by Uncle Sam for four years.

Headed Overseas
Early in 1942 while at Ft. Bragg, N.C., he joined Charlie Company, 894th Tank Destroyer Battalion (see photo) and left for overseas duty on August 6, 1942. Overseas he participated in four Campaigns: Tunisia, Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, and Po Valley.
He served as part of the 5th Army, 34th Infantry Division; the first U.S. Division deployed to Europe in WWII under the command of Major General Charles Wolcott Ryder from Topeka, Kansas, West Point Class of 1915, who led the Division through the North African and Italian campaigns, including the landings at Algiers and Salerno.
Leaving for overseas duty it took 11 days to cross the Atlantic to England. Joe vividly remembered eating lamb stew which was so distasteful to him that he started eating his C rations. By the time he gets to England on August 17, 1942 he had lost weight. In England, Joe trains for five months as a 37 mm antitank/tank destroyer gun crewman, light truck driver (jeeps, half-ton, ¾ ton, and 2.5 ton/deuce and one-half).

Tunisia Campaign
He arrived in Oran, North Africa on January 17, 1943. Afterwards, Joe participated in the battles of Kassarine Pass, El Guettar and Bizerte. At Kasserine Pass, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, famed Desert Fox launched a blitzed attack on advancing American forces. On February 14, 1943, Rommel and his well-known Afrika Korps burst through Faid Pass and overran the valley. Rommel at Kasserine Pass used his best panzer divisions to capture prisoners and an allied airfield. By February 21st they were 21 miles beyond the
Pass. The Allies had to retreat and Rommel bought three months of time before the German Africa Campaign collapsed.

Naples-Foggia Campaign
In the Naples-Foggia Campaign, in Italy, Joe was a field artillery private and landed at Salerno Bay September 9, 1943 with the 5th Army, where he was constantly in battle except for a two week rest period. Naples was taken by the Americans on October 1, 1943.

Rome-Arno Campaign
Prior to the battle for Cassino, Italy (which began on January 21, 1944) Joe’s unit was pulled back on January 9th to prepare for the invasion of Anzio. On January 26, 1944 the Allies joined the British and fought at Carocetto, a factory area in and around Arno, Aprilla, and Tarquinnia.
On February 4, 1944 near Anzio, Joe’s tank was hit and he was burned and bruised. One night, the Americans drove all night to rescue the British who were surrounded by Germans. On Joe’s tank, his sergeant had traded duty with the Battalion Commander, 1LT Forebush, who was a jetfighter pilot from Kentucky who everyone loved. Joe’s tank ended up being the lead tank in the battle. 1LT Forebush was standing up in the turret and caught the first round from a Tiger tank, killing him instantly. Joe caught some shrapnel, a minor scratch above one eye. Another round is suspected to have hit the motor and someone yelled, “Fire, get out of here!” Everyone in the tank got out but received burns. They were picked up by the medics and evacuated by truck to the 21st General Hospital in Naples, Italy to recover. While there, Joe along with four other men, (see Classified Secret photo and note dated October 3, 1944) received the Purple Heart. After recovering, due to a pilonidal (spinal) cyst which he later had removed, asked for relief from tank duty. He was then assigned other driving duties.
The Allies entered Rome on June 5, 1944. During the push from Rome to Arno the 894th Tank Destroyer Battalion raced ahead through Civitavecchia, Monte, and Alto.

Po Valley Campaign
Joe returned to his Company and could not drive tanks but performed various other driving duties. In the battle for Pietrosanta in the vicinity of Tarquinnia on June 8, 1944 with utter disregard for his own safety Joe drove his ammunition carrier over an exposed route under heavy enemy fire and succeeded in replenishing ammunition for the tank destroyers who were supporting his fellow infantry soldiers. On July 14, 1944, MG Ryder awarded him the Bronze Star for this heroic action. Joe continued to deliver ammo to his fellow tankers until April of 1945.

Back Home and Discharged
As part of the Fifth Army he was granted leave to go back home and reported to the
27th Replacement Depot on April 3, 1945. He left Europe after serving two years, 8 months, and 16 days on April 10, 1945 and after 13 days arrived home on April 22, 1945. After leave, having served five and one-half years and due to Allied forces being demobilized, Private First Class Lipford, Company C, 894 Tank Destroyer Battalion was honorably discharged at Fort McPherson, Georgia on June 18, 1945.
In all, Joe received the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, 3 Bronze Battle Stars, the American Defense Service ribbon, Good Conduct ribbon, European-African and Middle-Eastern Theater ribbons, and Lapel button.

Jeffries calls Brinkley and Crawford ‘Real American Heroes’

John Wayne Jeffries, left, observes this years Memorial Day celebration at Mountain City’s Ralph Stout Park. Photo by Tamas Mondovics

By Tamas Mondovics

Editor

Mountain City resident John Wayne Jeffries, who has served in the USMC including a tour of combat duty in the Republic of Vietnam, has many friends including some that he calls true American heroes.
“I am fortunate to become friends with many American heroes –some of whom live in Johnson County and the surrounding area, Jeffries said. “I consider them the best kind of friends.”
Some of those that Jeffries holds dear to his heart are: Harold Couch, United States Marine Corps Guadal Canal WWII. Bernie Cowan, 4th Marine Division, Siapan and the Marshall Islands WWII and his wife Beryl, Medical Nurse with the Marines WWII, Robert A. Townsend of Cove Creek a Medic with the 12th Armored Division at the Battle of the Bulge WWII.
“These people are real American heroes and some of the finest protectors God put on earth,” Jeffries said. “I can appreciate what these heroes have contributed as a Vietnam Veteran myself and as veterans, we all think the real heroes are the ones we lost, the ones who died in service to this nation- One Nation Under God.”
Two men that specifically earned a special spot in Jeffries’s life include Randolph H. Brinkley Colonel, USMC, Retired and Sergeant Major Leland Crawford.
Brinkley spent 25 years of service in the United States Marine Corps, most of it as a jet pilot but he was not aware that Jeffries had also served as company commander in Vietnam before going to flight training. Later, Brinkley and Jeffries both served with the Third Marine Division, which was deployed for combat operations along the demilitarized zone separating North and South Vietnam during the same timeframe in 1967 and 1968.
Jeffries was a Corporal in the First Battalion of the Fourth Marine Infantry Regiment while Brinkley a company commander in a sister regiment of the Third Marine Division. The two men later ended up living near each other as neighbors.
Sergeant Major Leland Crawford served as the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
from August 1, 1979 to June 30, 1983. Upon his retirement he was presented the Distinguished Service Medal for Exceptionally meritorious service to the government of the United States in a duty of great responsibility.
Crawford joined the 3rd Marine Division on Okinawa in February 1965, and the following month sailed for Vietnam.
In March 1966, he returned to Twentynine Palms, where he was promoted to first sergeant. A little more than a decade later in May 1979, Crawford became the Sergeant Major of the 1st marine Division and remained in that billet until his selection as the ninth Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps.
Crawford’s decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V” and gold star in lieu of a second award; the Purple Heart Medal; the Combat Action Ribbon; the Presidential Unit Citation with two bronze stars; the
Meritorious Un it Commendation with two bronze stars; the Good Conduct Medal, 9th award; the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with bronze star; the Vietnamese Honor Medal 2d Class; and 10 campaign medals with numerous stars and devices.

Ladies “Afternoon” tea time an elegant affair

Strutting summers dresses, and fancy hats a small group of local ladies, enjoy a well-designed afternoon tea party in Mountain City, TN. The elegantly accessorized and tastefully displayed tea time setting included savory, bite-size sandwiches,scones or biscuits, and sweets along with a nice variety of tea, of course, leaving plenty of time to share an intimate conversation,
to relax and to enjoy good company. Photos by Tamas Mondovics

Johnson County women lead the education field

By Meg Dickens

Freelance Writer

Statistically, women are far more likely to be teachers, but men are more likely to hold positions of power. Johnson County is an outlier with an overwhelming majority of women in charge of local schools.
As of now, 81 percent of current principals and assistant principals are women. According to local principals, men are relatively scarce in this field. Local elementary schools reportedly average two male teachers or less while higher levels of education are closer with an average of 45 percent male teachers. Mountain City Elementary is about to experience a school year with no permanent male teachers on the roster.
There are many aspects of these jobs that outsiders do not understand. Principals and assistant principals deal with much more than just attendance, parental interference, and discipline. Teachers must adapt quickly to change. Whether it is an altered state policy, standardized test changes or specialized training to learn to better protect their charges. It is a stressful job, but our principals and assistant principals take on the pressure beautifully. It is time to look at the women who take care of our children.
Lisa Throop is the principal at Johnson County High School. She has 29 years invested in education and has held the position of principal for 25 years. Despite being involved for so many years, Throop continues to “love every minute of it.” She particularly enjoys watching the kids grow and mature. “I have been in education this long because I make every decision with the students in mind,” Throop explained. “That is the only way to make it in education.”
Mechelle Arney is the assistant principal at Johnson County Middle School. 22 years in education taught her the importance of being flexible and well rounded. Arney handles testing, athletics, and after-school programs in addition to her other duties. “No two days are alike,” Arney mused. “That definitely makes things interesting.” She believes that the Golden Rule is the key to success.
Gay Triplett is the principal of Mountain City Elementary. She began as a substitute and advanced through the ranks. Triplett has been with the school system for the last 16 years. “It’s hard work, but you enjoy it,” Triplett said. “Education is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.” Her main obstacle in transitioning between teacher and principal was losing one-on-one time with students. She insisted on continuing to teach before agreeing to the promotion. “Why would you change when you love something?” Triplett asked.
Mary Ann Robinson is the assistant principal of Mountain City Elementary. She has been in education for the last 23 years. Robinson enjoys helping teachers find new and innovative ways to breathe new life into the classroom. “I have a love for students and learning,” Robinson stated. “That’s because I had fabulous teachers who instilled that love for learning in me at a very young age.”
Jessie Laing is the assistant principal of Roan Creek Elementary. In her nearly 22 years of experience, Laing discovered that time is the enemy and the calendar is your best friend. It is a juggling act but “a blessing to see the daily accomplishments of the students.” Laing looks at the big picture and helps others do the same.
Dana Smith is the principal of Shady Valley Elementary. She was a beloved teacher and coach at Johnson County High School for 31 years before becoming a principal in 2016. Smith embraced the new challenges that came with becoming a principal at a small school. “It’s something that I really want to do,” Smith said. Smith uses her wealth of knowledge to help her students reach their full potential and to make Shady a great place to learn.
Brenda Eggers is the principal of Laurel Elementary who is joining the ranks in the upcoming 2018-2019 school year. She did not wish to comment on the subject except to say that she did not feel like she could give constructive information at this point. Teresa Stansberry of Doe Elementary and Cheri Long of Roan Creek Elementary also chose not to comment.
These women work hard because they genuinely care about their students. In the process, they became strong role models for students and potential educators alike. These women offer advice for prospective teachers and principals; this job is not easy, but it is definitely worth it. Just make sure you understand what it entails.

JCFM calling all bakers

JCFM

By Jana Jones

Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries . . . July is the month of berry abundance in the Appalachian region. Do you have a favorite berry pie, cake, or cobbler recipe? The Johnson County Farmers Market (JCFM) would like to invite all of our fabulous bakers in the area to join in the fun and enter our 3rd Annual Berry Baking Contest.

This year we will have 3 contests, which will include children and youth: ages 7 to 12, ages 13 to 17, and adult 18 and over. There will be two categories to enter. The first category will include pies, tarts, and pastries while the second will consist of cakes, muffins, and cobblers. Each participant can enter one or both groups. The judging will be Friday, July 20.
All entries are to be dropped off at the UT Extension office located next to the post office at 212 College Street before 11:30am July 21. Contestants can pick up an entry form with all of the information at the UT Extension office, Mountain City Welcome Center, or at the JCFM on Saturday mornings.

Every contestant will receive either a blue, red, or white ribbon and there will be one grand prizewinner for each age group. The grand prize for the 7 to 12 ages and the 13 to 17-age range will be an assortment of baking supplies. The adult grand prize will be a $50 gift certificate to the Farmers Market! Judging will take place Friday afternoon, and all of the entries will be on display Saturday, July 21 at the JCFM where customers are welcome to taste all of the award-winning desserts. Contestants are asked to come by the market to pick up their ribbon and any prizes by 11:30.

If you haven’t visited the Johnson County Farmers Market this year, we are now located at Ralph Stout Park in the parking area near the children’s playground. Come to enjoy the live music, farm-fresh produce, eggs, meat, dairy, and local handmade baked goods and craft items each Saturday morning from 9 until noon. Check out our new “Breakfast at the Market” tent and come by the manager’s table to find your “Fresh is Best” t-shirt and other items and information. We offer the Fre$h Savings Program with doubles the dollars for EBT customers. Bring the kids by our GoJoCo Kids tent to make healthy snacks and participate in fun activities. We invite you to like us on Facebook to see all of the current news or visit our webpage at JohnsonCountyFM.org to learn more.

Local businesses continue to be lead by competent women

Susie Yoggerst and staff enjoy making people smile. Yoggerst and Debbie Fritts, one of The House of Flowers floral designers, enjoy a laugh with friend, Andrew Matherly.

By Jill Penley

Freelance Writer

It used to be that Johnson County’s business landscape was a man’s world, but times are changing as evidenced by the increasing number of female business owners and managers from one end of the county to the other. Research has shown the increase of women in leadership is helping businesses to thrive in unprecedented ways, and that is evident locally.
When Wanda Arnold opened Mountain Loans 24 years ago on Main Street in Mountain City, there were very few small consumer loan companies in Johnson County, and even less that were female owned.
“I always wanted to start my own business,” said Arnold, a Butler native, who worked for Johnson County Loans and Security Finance before opening her own business. “I saw the continuing need for this type of business, and I think Mountain City has proved to be a great place.”
Arnold still enjoys helping clients after all the years in business. “There is joy in knowing I am able to help someone when they have a financial need with even different circumstances in life,” she said, “and being able to listen to challenges that they are facing.”
“If I were to offer advice to prospective female entrepreneurs,” said Arnold, “I would say work hard, be honest and treat people like you would want to be treated.” She added that it is important to have a goal in mind. “Work towards a goal you long to achieve,” she said, “all the way to fulfillment.”
While she does not own the company, another local woman is succeeding in the business world specifically caring for others. After graduating from Johnson County High School, Jackie Dugger began the nursing journey. Norris, currently a registered nurse and Director of Operations at Amedisys Home Health in Mountain City, has worked tirelessly to achieve this goal. “I started my nursing career at the old Johnson County Hospital, “ said Norris, “and when the hospital closed I went to work for home health.” While Norris loved it, after several years working and living as a single mom, she ultimately made the decision to return to school and further her education. “I continued to work as I put myself through school,” recalls Norris, who at that time, had one son in college and another in high school. “It was a very trying time for me, both mentally and physically,” she recalled. “If it had not been for the support of my family I would have never survived.”
It is no surprise that many successful women are willing to advise others and share lessons they learn along the road to becoming a female business administrator. “The best advice I could give young ladies or anyone,” she said, “is don’t let adversities and obstacles in life keep you from reaching for your dream. Keep going because you never know where the journey may lead.”
Another local businesswoman, Susie Yoggerst, advises prospective female entrepreneurs to cement their commitment before venturing into any business. “Make sure you are committed specifically to being your own boss,” said Yoggerst, who has owned and managed The House of Flowers on South Shady Street in Mountain City for the past 14 years. “It can be tougher than you might think because you expect more out of yourself.” Yoggerst, in addition to keeping abreast of the latest floral designs, also makes custom cakes, including elaborate wedding cakes.
The latest numbers regarding women in business can’t be ignored. There are 9.1 million women-owned businesses nationwide, employing 7.9 million employees and generating $1.4 trillion in sales, according to the National Association of Women Business Owners

From student to Director of Schools, Dr. Mischelle Simcox ‘s journey

Dr. Mischelle Simcox

By Marlana Ward

Freelance Writer

One of the most important offices held in Johnson County is that of Director of Schools.
The individual who shoulders the responsibility of ensuring the educational opportunities of every student who passes through county schools must be strong, understanding, and have incredible foresight.
Dr. Mischelle Simcox’s experience as not only an administrator in Johnson County schools but also as a student, teacher, coach, and community volunteer has helped form the principles and values she brings to the office of Director of Schools.
Simcox was raised in Johnson County. Her early education took place in local schools, and she credits many of the teachers she encountered in her early years as influencing her passions today. “From my first day in Kindergarten at Forge Creek with Mrs. Emily Millsap’s to Senior Honors English with Mrs. Nancy Barrett, I have had the most amazing teachers in this school system,” Simcox remembers. “Mrs. Brenda Potter made learning your math facts fun, Mrs. Joann Mains instilled in me my passion for reading, Mrs. Barbara Henson showed me that dissecting a shark was the coolest thing ever, Mr. Kim Kittle prepared me for the College classroom, and Mr. John Mast challenged me to
think.”
After high school, Simcox set out to obtain her degree in pharmaceutical science but an experience given to her during that time changed her career path and life forever. “When I first entered college I was a Pre-Pharmacy major,” says Simcox. “I quickly had a passion for Chemistry and knew I wanted to do something in that field. In one of my college chemistry classes I had to opportunity to go teach a lab at University High School to a group of AP Chemistry students. I loved it, and I changed my major to education.”
Simcox graduated from ETSU in 1998 with a Bachelors of Science degree with her major being Chemistry and her minor being Biology. She was soon given the opportunity to return to Johnson County as not only an instructor but also as part of the athletic department.
“I was extremely lucky to obtain a job at JCHS right out of college to teach Chemistry and Biology, as well as coach volleyball,” she states.
Simcox has always sought out ways to advance and improve her own education and opportunities. This drive led her to continue her education well past what many achieve. “I obtained my Master’s Degree from Milligan in 2001,” she shares. “I obtained my Educational Specialist degree from Lincoln Memorial University in 2008 and my Doctorate in Educational Leadership from ETSU in 2011.”
As she continued her education, new opportunities within the school system opened up to her, and she gladly accepted new responsibilities. “In July 2006, I became the Supervisor of Student Services at Central Office and added on the responsibility of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction in 2009,” Simcox adds. “I obtained my Educational Specialist degree from Lincoln Memorial University in 2008 and my Doctorate in Educational Leadership from ETSU in 2011. I was very honored to be named the Director of Schools for the Johnson County School System in 2014.”
Simcox wasted no time in setting out to improve educational and career opportunities for Johnson County students upon being named Director of Schools.
“I had several goals I wanted to see completed in my first year, but one that I am most proud off is that we increased the number of Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment courses that were offered at JCHS and our CTE program,” she recounts. “This gave our students more opportunities to earn college credit in high school. A student can graduate from Johnson County High School with 28 college credits, making them a sophomore in College.”
It is not only the students that Simcox carries a passion for but also the staff of every school that operates in Johnson County. “In administration, you also need to be there for your teachers, assistants and any support staff when they need you,” she expresses. “At Central Office, we strive to always have an open door policy so that any parent, staff member, or community member can seek guidance or input when needed. My administrative aspirations are based on the desire to do what is best not only for the students but also for my peers.
Concerning her dedication, and the teachers who help make Johnson County schools the best they can be, Simcox says, “So many times, the teachers get left out on all the excitement of school and the decision-making. As an administrator, I try to never forget what it was like to be in the classroom, to feel all of the pressures that are put upon teachers. I will never forget the main reason that I wanted to become a teacher, to help others reach their goals, aspirations, and dream. I try my best to reach these goals as an administrator in the school system.”
Through her leadership and passion, Simcox have led Johnson County schools to many proud achievements.
“I am proud of all of our dedicated staff for continuing to provide the best education possible for the students of Johnson County,” she states. “We have had numerous grants that have enabled our students to receive extra remediation and enrichment through the 21st Century and LEAPS grants. We just received our 3rd GEAR UP Grant, which provides our students with college and career opportunities to enable them to choose their path in life early. Our college-going rate is 93percent, which I attribute to GEAR UP. We have updated our facilities and security cameras to ensure student safety, and we continue to look for funding to add additional School Resource Officers (SRO’s).”
For the future of the county, Simcox seeks to find ways for the county as a whole to bring in new industry and opportunities for students and adults alike. “We are currently working with our local mayor and several businesses to help bring the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) program to our CTE program at JCHS,” she states. “This high-quality competency-based training will provide students and adults in Johnson County with additional programs to make them career ready. With funding made possible by grants and local business leaders, we will help ensure that students gain the knowledge and expertise they need to be successful in the workforce in Johnson County.”
As a leader in the community, Simcox hopes to inspire others to not settle for ordinary but to charge forward toward goals and dreams as she shares: “I hope that I can show the youth of Johnson County that they can be whatever they want to be. Hard work and dedication does pay off. The future is theirs. Do not be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try.”