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


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


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 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
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.”

USDA deadline extended

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the re-enrollment deadline for the Margin Protection Program (MPP) for Dairy will be extended until June 22, 2018. The new and improved program protects participating dairy producers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below levels of protection selected by the applicant. USDA has already issued more than $89 million for margins triggered in February, March, and April, and USDA offices are continuing to process remaining payments daily.

The re-enrollment deadline was previously extended through June 8, 2018. The deadline is being extended a second time to ensure that dairy producers are given every opportunity to make a calculated decision and enroll in the program if they choose. This will be the last opportunity for producers to take advantage of key adjustments Congress made to provisions of the MPP program under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 to strengthen its support of dairy producers. USDA encourages producers contemplating enrollment to use the online web resource at to calculate the best levels of coverage for their dairy operation.

The next margin under MPP, for May 2018, will be published on June 28, 2018. Therefore, all coverage elections on form CCC-782 and the $100 administrative fee, unless exempt, must be submitted to the County FSA Office no later than June 22, 2018. No registers will be utilized, so producers are encouraged to have their enrollment for 2018 completed by COB June 22, 2018.

All dairy operations must make new coverage elections for 2018 during the re-enrollment period, even if the operation was enrolled during the previous 2018 signup. Coverage elections made for 2018 will be retroactive to January 1, 2018. MPP payments will be sequestered at a rate of 6.6 percent.

Mountain City Elementary celebrates Awards Day 2018

Mountain City Elementary students celebrate their achievements from the 2017-2018 school year. Photo courtesy of Gay Triplett.

It was another great year at Mountain City Elementary! Students experienced success throughout the 2017-2018 school year and end-of-the-year award programs highlighted only a few of the accomplishments.

Perfect Attendance: Camden Johnson, Dylan Reece, Nate Sutherland, Harris Perkins, Alyssa McElyea, Vanessa Perkins and Sidney Bumgardner.

Present Attendance: Emma Brown, Kylee Cannon, Jill Jenson, Hayden Parker and Ashlin White.

All A’s for the Year: Mckenzie Jennings, Elizabeth Mann, Aliyah Farrow, Braylin Hansen, Molly Lipford, Allie Mullins, Barrett Parker, Sara Beth Pennington, Hannah Sharp, Gracey South , Camden Johnson, Tanner Leonard, Savannah Mains, Andrew South, Addie Ward, Clara Wilson, Nicole Eppard, Sebastian Johnson , Macie Farrow, Peyton Edes-King, Lauren Henley, Alicia Littlewhirlwind, Kearstan Jennings, Sawyer Marshall, Jayleigh Kope, Isaiah Eller, Haidyn Farrow, Liyah Hillman, Gavin Mahala, Jillian Perkins, Bobby Sexton, Carter Atwood, Graham Long, Kyle Maple, Elle Icenhour, Josie Grindstaff, Carson Jennings, Isaac Lewis, Harris Perkins, Ethan Smith, Ariana Spencer, Cameron Crowder, Gaston Dugger, Elijah Fritts, George Grill, Vanessa Perkins, Kindal Watson, Brady Fritts, Lauryn Bishop, Hannah Fletcher, Kevin Horner and Stephanie Knight.

All A’s & B’s/All B’s for the Year: Lilly Berger, Addison Joyce, Coleman Rider, Konner Self, Karoline Thompson, Hattie Vines, Ellie Beth Icenhour, Kylee Cannon, Aaliyah Barnett, Mason Greg, Skyler Robbins, Ethan Wilson, Avery Blevins, Michelle Chambers, Marin Feely, Kelsey Forrester, McKynlee Smith, Jayden Anderson, Scotty Orndorff, Evan Stamper, Amillia Eckert, Bella Eckert, Hailey Lipford, Lily Bauguess, Reece Bulliner, Katey Marshall, Jacy Cook, MaKenzie Dickens, Gage Grissom, Jillian Hatley, Aiden Hope, Sophia Lin, Maddison Price, Carson Dorman, Madelynn Long, Hunter McElyea, Connor Wallace, Zack Lipford, Emilynn Sedgwick, Alex Wright, Rylee Henson, Gustavo Martinez, Trinity Poe, Karleigh Sutherland, Summer Wells, Braxton Bragg, Emma Brown, Eli Horne, Jill Jenson, Kacelyn Dunn, Jada Furches, Alexis Juarez, Aleela Reece, Addy Snyder, Gavan Condor, Emma Dugger, Hailey Lewis, Erik Mendoza, Nate Sutherland, Izzy Thompson, Kaden Blevins, Julia Crews, Lyric Fritts, Gracie Hammett, Krystal Kite, Katie Timbs, Clayton Lewis, Lexi Mullins, Emily Orr, Hunter Paisley, Miley Reynolds, Paola Vargas, Dylan Warren, Jasmine Cunningham, Madisyn Farrow, Trinity Fortener, Ivy Lakatos, Carter Rhudy, Tara Schoolcraft, Cole Smith, Ariel Tester, Derek Baird, Noah Brown, Destiny Johnson, James Kelly, Alen Lin, LaRue Mills, Kaylee Roark, Jace Stout, Matthew Swift, Kylah Henley, Tory Torbett, Allison Trivette, Shawna Arnold, Zyra Baker, Tanner Bulliner, Cassie Capps, Braden Cornett, Ethan Reece, Connor Stout, Chase Thomas, Braden Eastridge, Emily Eppard, Kyle Isaacs, Mattie Jones, Leland Morley, Natalie Oliver, Caden Pennington, Samantha Reece, Adrian Arguello, Sidney Bumgardner, Sierra Green and Evan Moorfield.

IXL: Kayla Bumgardner, Avery Blevins, Liyah Hillman, Jill Jensen, Kaden Blevins, Cameron Crowder, Chase Thomas and Cassie Capps.

Citizenship: Paislee Evans, Madden Reynolds, Zane Spicer, Addison Joyce, Nyiah Reece, Kayla Bumgardner, Clara Wilson, Sebastian Johnson, River Burgess, Kearstan Jennings, Jillian Hatley, Liyah Hillman, Bobby Sexton, Jayln Blevins, Ella Icenhour, Maelie Luckett, Erik Mendoza, Carson Jennings, Kimerly Bonilla, Madisyn Farrow, Matthew Swift, Sadie Hood, Vanessa Perkins, Evan Dollar and Sierra Green.

Six sixth grade students had a 4.0 GPA for kindergarten-sixth grade. Students recognized for this accomplishment were Gaston Dugger, George Grill, Vanessa Perkins, Brady Fritts, Lauryn Bishop and Stephanie Knight. Thank you to the staff, students, families, and community for the role each played in making 2017-2018 another successful year! Pictured is the 2018 sixth grade class.

Correction: Sebastian Johnson (All A’s) and Miley Reynolds (All B’s) were omitted from the publication of the 3rd nine weeks honor roll.

Our readers’ view: KFC and Taco Bell

New Taco Bell and KFC to be built in Mountain City lights up local Facebook users

As expected, the pair of recent articles about the construction of two new restaurants, Taco Bell and KFC, now underway in Mountain City, prompted Facebook users to post a wide range of comments on the topic. The good, the bad, and of course, the ugly were all represented in the various posts including the ones from those that may have very little to do with supporting or assisting the community. Some of the latter, while the most entertaining were especially slighting, perhaps in hopes of bringing some attention to what local officials and community representatives do not.

Here are some of our Facebook users’ thoughts and comments about the two new eateries soon to open in town.

Fulenwider Enterprises: We are so excited to be joining the Mountain City Community! If you are interested in applying for a position with either KFC or Taco Bell, please visit our website to fill out an application or stop by the construction site for an open interview! We host open interview days every Wednesday and Saturday! Thanks to the Community for making us feel so welcome—we are so excited to open!

Jean DeLong: That’s what you all need there, some more junk food places. Guess it will never change there as long as everybody is happy with cheap junk food!….For my taste the best restaurant in town is Suba’s and is always good. I’ve never been disappointed in their food, which is more than I can say for a lot of the restaurants in Mountain City…

Ted Barnhart: Mountain city needs booze to make it grow, no booze, no fun, no growth. Who wants to open a good restaurant when you cant get a nice glass of wine or a beer with your meal. Mountain City is destined to be a junk food meca in a dry county.

Kimberly Frake: Need a Dunkin Donuts.

Kathleen Maurice: Obviously the Taco Bell will not be of the new cantina style since the town leaders would go into cardiac arrest if beer or wine was sold within city limits.

Beverly Gorski: Not crazy about taco Bell, would like more southern food restaurants.

Ben Jones: How will the new KFC business be against Sherry & J.p.’s Chicken House? Mountain City is not really large enough for TWO chicken houses.

Patty Wright: Wow Mountain City finally coming up in the world.

Mary L. Shull: Need Captain D’s instead of Heart Burn Bell.

Johnson County School projects continue during summer break

“All of the projects will be completed by August 1” Director of Schools, Dr. Mischelle Simcox

By Jill Penley
Freelance Writer

With work on schedule and the deadline looming, the end is now in sight for school construction and renovation projects going on in Johnson County.“We have several projects going on this summer,” said Dr. Mischelle Simcox, Director of Schools, “and all of the projects will be completed by August 1.”

In addition to painting, waxing floors and general cleaning to spruce up each of the county’s five elementary schools, the middle school, the high school and the Career and Technical Education building, there are maintenance crews continuing to mow and landscape at each location.

One of the more extensive projects is nearing completion at the Johnson County Middle School. “We are enclosing our computer labs at the middle school,” said Simcox, “to make them more private when testing is occurring. ”

According to Simcox, Laurel Elementary is in the process of getting a brand-new roof and a foyer is being constructed at Doe Elementary as an additional layer of security. Many school safety administrators are looking to enhance how people, goods and services enter their facilities and adding a foyer, which creates a secure entrance, can prevent unauthorized entry. Without properly screening visitors, schools are at risk of allowing people into their buildings who pose a threat to staff and students.

Announcing farm to table harvest dinner

Attend the Johnson County Farmers Market’s (JCFM) Second Annual Harvest Celebration Dinner – Taste of Appalachia on August 18th. Photo submitted by Jana Jones.

By Jana Jones

Mark your calendars for August 18th to attend the Johnson County Farmers Market’s (JCFM) Second Annual Harvest Celebration Dinner – Taste of Appalachia. The menu is set from locally sourced ingredients, live music planned, the venue is reserved, and invitations have been sent to City, County, State and US officials. Senator Jon Lundberg and his wife Lisa have confirmed they will be able to attend! Since we sold out last year, we have been able to secure a venue that will allow for more seating at the new Christian Life Center on Main Street in Mountain City. Early bird tickets are offered at a discount prior to July 31 and are now available at the Welcome Center in Mountain City, at the JCFM Manager’s Tent on Saturday mornings, or from any of our market vendors or board members. Seating is limited and we expect to sell out, so reserve your table early to ensure a spot.
Farm to table dinners have grown in popularity across the country as the “Eat Local” movement has gained momentum. The Jonesborough annual outdoor gala fundraiser seats 216 and sells out within the first few weeks of offering tickets at $100 each. The Marion Virginia Farmers Market farm to table event is also a large draw for the area with tickets going for $50 a piece. Supporting the local farmers and crafters is important to these areas. The proceeds raised from our fundraiser dinner allows the JCFM to continue being involved in the community offering education, economic development, and providing the freshest local produce and handmade items for our corner of Tennessee. Ingredients for our meal are purchased from each vendor and prepared by Chef Craig Cox and his Culinary Arts Class. This family style meal will feature a choice of pork tenderloin provided by Old Beech Mountain Farms or fresh herbed chicken provided by Leander Mountain Farms. A vegetarian option of stuffed squash will also be offered. Harbin Hill Farms, Sweet Spring Farms, Grieber Family Farm, and A Bushel and a Peck will also be providing other produce for the Appalachian Fare meal including dessert choices of apple stack cake or fresh berry crisp. All of this is offered for only $35 a ticket. However, early bird tickets are offered for $30 each or $50 per couple. Tables of 8 can be reserved at any of the locations where tickets are offered.
One of the favorite activities of our 2017 Harvest Celebration Dinner was a silent auction. Beautiful hand carved bowls, stained glass, a basket of homemade jams, gift certificates, and fine art prints were a few of the items that were eagerly sought after. This year’s silent auction of local craft items and area business offerings will be available from 5:00 until 6 pm when the dinner will begin. Donations of silent auction items are greatly appreciated and can be dropped off at the Mountain City Welcome Center.
If you haven’t visited the Johnson County Farmers Market this year, we are now located at Ralph Stout Park in the parking area near the children’s playground. Come enjoy the live music, farm fresh produce, eggs, meat, dairy, and local handmade baked goods and craft items each Saturday morning from 9 until noon. Check out our new “Breakfast at the Market” tent and come by the manager’s table to find your “Fresh is Best” t-shirt and other items and information. We offer the Fre$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 to learn more.

Imagine that

Shelia Cruse, left, of the Imagination Library Board presents, Daryel Robinson, Manager of Food Country with a book for the participation in the Home Town Label program. Food Country is proudly supporting 717 Johnson County Pre-K children who receive free books through the program. Children eligible to receive these books can go by the local library and get signed up. Photo submitted.

Shining a light on art

Madi Burgess and Aden Thomas show off their cyanotype prints they made Friday at the Johnson County Center for the Arts as part of the STEAM Chasers summer camp and workshop series. Photographer J Jackson showed participants how to use the sun to develop cyanotype prints. Upcoming camps include robotics, filmmaking, drama, and art. Visit or stop by the Arts Center to get involved! Sponsored in part by Tennessee Arts Commission. Photo Courtesy of The Johnson County Center for the Arts.


Summer season sets drowning prevention awareness center stage

By Tamas Mondovics

The beginning of the summer season and the warmer weather brings large numbers of people to the water; backyard pools, beaches, waterfronts and public aquatic facilities. Such swimming holes available for young and old to beat the heat, have fun, exercise and learn includes the local public pool, 206 College Street in downtown Mountain City TN. The facility is now offering swimming and water aerobics lessons and is operates daily under the watchful eyes of eight certified lifeguards.

To ensure that summer fun does not end in tragedy, officials across the country have focused on safety ahead of the season by designating last month as National Drowning Awareness month. Sadly annual drowning awareness events also signal an increase in drowning tragedies across the nation. As reported by the CDC (Center for Disease Control), drowning continues as the leading cause of unintentional death for children between ages 1-4.The agency reported that 10 drowning deaths per day occur in the USA with children ages 1 to 4 having the highest drowning rates. Most of the drowning occur in home swimming pools.

Of course, statistics are just that; numbers. They only alert and remind of the realities of life. Change comes not from numbers, but action or implementation of real solutions and prevention. One such tip for water safety is to “ALWAYS be aware of potential dangers in all environments, such as when visiting other homes, while on vacation, or at public/community pools. Survey the area for secure fencing, locked gates, covered pools and spas, and protected backyard ponds. Never leave your child in an environment with unprotected water hazards.”

Additional hands-on practical ways to ensure safety in the water include some fundamental forms of protection such as those listed in the call-out box:

Drowning prevention Safety Tips

1. Never leave a child unattended near water in a pool, tub, bucket or ocean. There is no substitute for adult supervision.
2. Designate a “Water Watcher” to maintain constant watch over children in the pool during gatherings.
3. The home should be isolated from the pool with a fence at least 60” tall, with
a self-closing, self-latching gate. The gate should open away from the pool, and should never be propped open.
4. Doors and windows should be alarmed to alert adults when opened. Doors should be self-closing and self-latching.
5. Power-operated pool safety covers are the most convenient and efficient. Solar/floating pool covers are not safety devices.
6. Keep a phone at poolside so that you never have to leave the pool to answer the phone, and can call for help if needed.
7. Learn CPR and rescue breathing.
8. Keep a life-saving ring, shepherd’s hook and CPR instructions mounted at poolside.
9. Do not use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision.
10. Never leave water in buckets or wading pools.
11. If a child is missing, always check the pool first. Seconds count.
12. Remove toys from in and around the pool when not in use.
13. Don’t use floating chlorine dispensers that look like toys.
14. Instruct babysitters about potential pool hazards, and emphasize the need for constant supervision.
15. Responsibilities of pool ownership include ensuring children in the home learn to swim, and that adults know CPR.
16. Do not consider children “drown proof” because they’ve had swimming lessons.
For more information on National, Drowning Prevention Awareness Month visit the National Drowning Prevention Alliance’s (NDPA) at

Decision 2018-Constable

Johnson County Constable Candidates

District 1

*Photo not submitted: James E. Brown.

District 2

*Photo not submitted: Ben Price

District 3

*Photos not submitted: Ray Lunceford & David Price


While the constables position is one of the most misunderstood elected offices in Tennessee, it is historically the oldest law enforcement position in the United States.A Tennessee Constable is an elected position with full power of arrest and is a state peace officer. While their powers as peace officers are valid statewide, their activities are generally conducted in the county where they are elected.

Constables operate as individual officers at no cost to the citizens or governments of the county. Constables provide their own uniforms, vehicles, fuel and equipment and stand ready to aid or assist all citizens and/or agencies within the county. Their mission is to provide additional law enforcement presence in the county and to assist and supplement the county Sheriffs Office and the Police Departments.

Services the Tennessee Constable Association offer include: Evictions, Home Security
Checks, Delivery of Legal Documents, Subpoenas, Federal/Civil Process, Proposed Parenting Plan, Security Escorts, Formal & Uniform Security, Summons, Business Security Checks, Traffic, Garnishments.
For a list of qualifications for each specific office, please visit /

Decision 2018- School Board

School Board Member Candidates

District 1

*Photos not submitted:Howard L. Carlton

District 3

*Photos not submitted: Gary Matheson

Job Description

Tennessee school board members are elected by the community to make and to oversee critical decisions about the school district. Though the State Department of Education is the primarily responsible agent for overseeing education in Tennessee, the local school board is charged with overseeing the governance of education in Johnson County.

Perhaps most importantly, the school board is charged with employing a director of schools under a written contract of up to four years duration, which may be renewed. This director may be referred to as “superintendent” and replaces the former superintendent of schools. The school board is the sole authority in appointing a director of schools.

Upon the recommendation of the director of schools, the board elects teachers who have attained or who are eligible for tenure and are the primary group that determines how the district functions as the board consider and adopts school policies that are followed throughout each of the schools. The policies they approve follow federal and state laws, so all decisions made within the district comply with those laws.
Other various duties include: purchase of all supplies, furniture, fixtures, and materials for schools, dismissal of teachers, principals, supervisors and other employees upon sufficient proof of improper conduct, inefficient service or neglect of duty, and to develop and implement an evaluation plan for all certified employees in accordance with the guidelines and criteria of the state board of education, and submit such plan to the commissioner of education for approval.

The school board is also responsible for requiring the director of schools and the chair to prepare a budget on forms furnished by the commissioner of education and, when the local board has approved the budget, and to submit it to the county board of commissioners.

Decision 2018- Road Superintendent

Road Superintendent Candidates

Job Description

This position is responsible for the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges throughout Johnson County.