Senior road safety 101

Seniors visit with guest speaker Lt. Rick Garrison after his presentation.

By Meg Dickens

The Johnson County Senior Center had a special guest on Friday, February 8. Lieutenant Rick Garrison from the Tennessee State Trooper Highway Patrol came to discuss warning signs and dangers for senior drivers. His mains points focused on vision, hearing, medication and alcohol effects.

Reuters studies suggest that adults who are no longer easily mobile have a much higher risk of depression. That is why programs such as MyRide TN Johnson County are so popular. Here are some tips on when to hang up the keys.

Bodies change as people age. CDC research shows that 7,400 senior drivers died and more than 290,000 were hospitalized from traffic accidents in 2016, which averages 20 deaths and 794 injuries per day. Be aware of medication effects, attend check-ups, and avoid driving when in immense pain. Certain ailments such as Parkinson’s disease can also weaken personal judgment.

Sensory issues
Eyesight and hearing fade as time goes on. Conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration cause vision problems especially at night. Sound comes second to eyesight in driving. Both of these senses help drivers react to possible obstacles and remain safe. Seniors can miss out on important noises such as sirens. Experts suggest limiting distractions, wearing a seatbelt, and receiving yearly eye exams.

Mental state
Confusion can undermine a driver’s cognizance at inconvenient times. It becomes more difficult to follow driving directions and easier to become lost. Seniors can plan the trip thoroughly beforehand to avoid problems.

Age does not necessarily mean that it is time to stop driving. There are a lot of factors that go into driving. Stay aware and receive regular check-ups to stay safe on the road. A few small tweaks could be all that is needed.

Keep an eye out for more activities at the Johnson County Senior Center. Upcoming events include the Valentine’s Ball Friday, February 15 at 6 PM. Enjoy great food, music, and photos from BlooBird Photography. The menu includes amuse-bouches, surf & turf, roasted potatoes, red velvet cheesecake, a drink, and extra surprises. Tickets are required. Cost: $18. Proceeds go toward the Senior Center & the JCHS Culinary Arts Dept. Find out more at (423) 727-8883.

Vegetables, kids & healthy appetites

By Sarah Ransom

There is an ever increasing number of people not eating their recommended daily serving of vegetables. One survey reported that almost 60 percent of children are not meeting their daily servings (Healthy Kids, 2013).

There are many reasons that children, and adults, lack sufficient nutrients. Some of these include the ease of getting less healthy foods, the cost of vegetables, and the lack of knowledge about how to prepare these vegetables.

Instead of stocking up on chips, dip, candy, and soda pack the fridge with carrot sticks and hummus, cucumber slices, celery with peanut butter, apple slices, grapes and natural fruit juices, water or milk. Children (and adults!) will eat what you make available to them. Make vegetables more appealing by paring them fun fruits or their favorite healthy drinks.

When preparing vegetables, find recipes that use favorite spices, such as garlic, table blends, cinnamon, nutmeg or fresh onions. When you flavor food properly, it makes it more appealing to the taste buds. You can also insert vegetables into favorite recipes. Adding them slowly allows the children to adjust to the new flavors. You may even find they will soon come to crave them.

A great way to increase the intake of vegetables for your children is to include them in the preparation. If the child sees what is being fixed and contributing to the end product, they are more inclined to try the new food willingly.

Also, by consuming more vegetables, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that as children increase nutrient intake, they will lower the risk of health problems, such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma and sleep apnea (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011).

The need for vitamin supplements and doctor visits may also decrease as the children are receiving the vitamins naturally through their food intake and are gaining healthier lives. Eating healthy reduces costs across the board.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011, October 31). Tips for parents – ideas to help children maintain a healthy weight. Retrieved from

Healthy Kids: Eat Healthy, Get Active, “Healthy Kids: Eat More Fruits and Vegies.” Last modified 2013. Accessed June 10, 2013.

Local program provides support to new parents

By Kelly Rupard,

Parenting is a huge responsibility, and let’s be honest – it’s not an easy job. But we also know that parents set out wanting the very best for their children, and the free, local program, Healthy Families Tennessee, is there to make sure that parents have the caring, non-judgmental support they need to create a happy, healthy childhood for their children.

Parents are a baby’s first teacher, first friend, and first love. Our goal is to support that relationship, so it can thrive. The first three to five years of life are crucial to a child’s physical, cognitive, and social-emotional well-being over a lifetime.

Children of families who participate in evidence-based home visiting programs like Healthy Families are more likely to have good health and education outcomes and are less likely to enter the foster system.
Since 2013, Healthy Families Tennessee, a program of Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee, has been supporting new parents by providing the latest information on child development, parenting skills, and parent-child bonding and attachment.

Through in-home visits, parents have fun while learning with interactive games and toy making. As a lifelong resident of Johnson County, I know how hard it can be to find the resources you need.
As a home visitor in the Healthy Families program, I help connect families with those needed resources and help parents to set and achieve goals.

Wanda, a mother who has been participating in the Healthy Families program for over a year, says, “I personally LOVE the program. They have helped me set and achieve goals. This process has helped me to be the best mommy I could be. Other than support from loved ones, this has been the best support I’ve had to help me through my pregnancy and after.”
If you are interested in receiving honest support and helpful guidance, please call or text (423) 440-1298 for information on how to get started. You can also email

If you enroll before the end of November, you will receive a free pack of diapers. For more information about in-home support, visit You may also email program supervisor, Jessica Anderson, at or call at 423-834-1267.

For over 30 years, Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee (PCAT) has been supporting parents, educating communities, and building safe, stable, nurturing environments where children can thrive. Through in-home support, crisis intervention, and advocacy and education, PCAT is strengthening families and building stronger communities across the state. Learn more at

Rupard, is a Home Visitor with Healthy Families

Doe Elementary Students of the Weeks

Thanks to their hard work and diligence, Doe Elementary School leaders of the week, Jaycee Bunting, Harmony McClure, Jada Dugger, Aya McNabb-Bailey Lilly Powell, Emiliano Ramirez, Jadynn Smith Cheyenne Hilliard, Sherri McDaniel, Taylor Dillard, Kaylee Katsaitis, (Toby Johndro not pictured), are enjoying the spotlight last week. The students are encouraged to keep up the good work by means of the weekly recognition ceremony. Photo submitted

Laurel Elementary announces the 2018 – 2019 Teachers of the Year

Laurel Elementary School, Teachers of the Year, Kim Tolliver (left) and Katelin Vincent (right) pose for a photo last week after being recognized for their hard work. Photo submitted

By Tamas Mondovics
Teacher of the Year for grMembers of Laurel Elementary School administration were pleased to announce its teachers of the year last week. The event was celebrated with an awards ceremony recognizing teacher Katelin Stanley Vincent, who teaches Pre K and Kindergarten and Kim Tolliver who teaches grades 5th-6th at Laurel, as Teacher of the Year.

Katelin Stanley Vincent
Vincent is from the Laurel Bloomery area and attended Laurel Elementary School as a child.
She earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education K-6 and a Master degree in Early Childhood Education.

According to school officials Vincent has been teaching at Laurel for three-and-a-years, and hopes that her students will gain a love of learning that they will carry on throughout their lives.

Kim Tolliver
Tolliver is the daughter of Jim and Betty Plummer, from Shady Valley, TN where she lives with her husband Stephen and children, Jaden and Kyla.
In 1988, Tolliver earned a Bachelor of Science degree from East Tennessee State University and a Master of Education from Tusculum in 1996. She has taught Special Education in grades Pre K to sixth grade for three decades in Johnson County and has taught at Laurel Elementary school for the last ten years.
“Tolliver believes that every student can learn and that nothing brings her greater joy than to witness one of her students experience a light bulb moment,” said Laurel Elementary school Principal, Brenda Dishman Eggers, adding, “The longer it takes to get there, the more joyous the moment.”

For more information about Laurel Elementary School please visit,

Stout named Good Neighbor for January 2019

Johnson County Middle School student Connor Stout smiles while he receives his award as the Good Neighbor for January, 2019. Photo submitted

By Tamas Mondovics

Johnson County Middle school student Connor Stout was recently notified that he has been named the Good Neighbor for January, 2019.
Sponsored by the local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, each month the award recognizes students in the Middle School who have examplary traits and qualities such as a generous spirit. The award also honors those that are willing to put others before self.
Connor is one of such stidenst and is described as a young man who is a joy to know, who always thinks more about others than himself.
According to teachers and fellow students Connor is both kind and considerate and an example to his peers.
He is said to lead his fellow students in his actions that are a reminder of a time when manners and kindness were of the greatest importance.
Dr. Bob Heath, Principal of JCMS, joined Sheila Cruse, representing Gamma Mu, in presenting letters of
congratulations to Connor last week during an award ceremomy.

Local schools implement ‘Raptor’ visitor management system

By Jill Penley
Providing safety and security in our nation’s schools is a continual effort, and a new system is now operational that is expected to give additional protection to Johnson County students. The electronic system, known as ‘Raptor,’ alerts school officials and local law enforcement if a registered sex offender attempts to enter the building.
“The safety of our students is our highest priority and the Raptor visitor management system allows us to quickly identify those that may present a danger to our students,” explained Dr. Mischelle Simcox, Director of Schools, in a letter distributed to parents. “The Raptor system will better allow us to screen visitors, contractors, and volunteers in our schools and provide us with a safer environment for our students and staff.”
Angie Wills, who serves as safety coordinator and Supervisor of Elementary Education, explained how the process works emphasizing that upon entering a district building, visitors will be asked to present identification such as a state driver’s license, which can either be scanned or manually entered into the system.
“If a parent or guardian for any reason does not have a government-issued ID, the school staff member can use any form of identification and manually enter the person’s name into the Raptor system,” said Wills.
The Raptor system will search a database to ensure that registered sexual offenders are not entering school campuses without knowledge of school administrators. The registered sex offender database is the only official database checked by the Raptor system.
“No other data from the ID is gathered or recorded, and the information is not shared with any outside agency,” said Wills, adding that once entry is approved, Raptor will issue a badge that identifies the visitor, the date, and the purpose of the visit.
“A visitor’s badge will not be necessary for those who visit our schools simply to drop off an item in the office or pick up paperwork,” she said.
Raptor has pioneered many of the most effective school safety technologies in the country since 2002, and is trusted by more K-12 schools than every other system in the country combined.
Over the years, Raptor has reportedly continued to lead the way by expanding into innovative new applications backed by our unrivaled customer service.

For more information, please visit

Dunn gives back to the senior center

Seniors from the Johnson County Senior Center join Cristy Dunn for a special art lesson. They are currently making Valentines’ Day cards for nursing home residents. Dunn leads these types of activities twice a month. Submitted photo.

Senior News

Kenny Price performs at the senior center.

Meg Dickens,

Kenny Price is a great local musician. Many may know him from his performances during Long Journey home, including a performance on BCMA radio Bristol. You could say that music is in his blood. Seniors found out on Monday, January 28 that his talent did not end with music. Price is also a master storyteller. He told the tales of old ballads and picked up his fiddle to treat the seniors to the music. One such song was “Barbara Allen,” which dates back to the 1800s or earlier.

Price dove into Appalachian Mountain musical history. He explained the importance of bagpipes and fiddle history. Each story and explanation came with a demonstration. Price told the story of Mountain City’s Old-Time Jamboree. Local radio station WMCT hosted locals like his father Fiddlin’ Fred Price, guitarist Clint Howard, banjo player Clarence “Tom” Ashley, and Doc Watson. Price performed an original song based on this story and other local artists. The evening ended with Price inviting his sister Lois Dunn and nephew Andrew Matherly to join him in a final number.

Storytelling is an essential way to learn and keep history alive. Every story has a purpose whether it is an old legend or personal parable. Locals such as Minnie Miller, Flo Bellamy, Ina Bellamy, Rick Ward, Brenda Johnson, Junior Maze, Frances Henson VanLandingham, Lois Dunn, and Evelyn Cook devote their time to telling these stories at the Johnson County Senior Center the last Monday of every month.

The Johnson County Senior Center provides recreation, health screenings, health education and wellness, material aid resources, outreach projects, physical fitness and exercise opportunities, resource and information to seniors. Storytelling became an activity after Kathy Motsinger and Minnie Miller put their heads together for a new, fun and educational activity.

“Minnie Miller has become such an asset to the senior center. She does a fantastic job organizing Storytelling Day. She even donates special door prizes and treats for the seniors attending the storytelling events,” said Senior Center Director Kathy Motsinger. “She has such a big heart and has been so supportive to me while at the senior center. I have many wonderful volunteers, but she is one of the exceptional ones that goes above and beyond for others.”

The next storytelling session will be on Monday, February, 25 at 11 am during lunch at the senior center. Storyteller Fauna Fay Gardener will focus on love in honor of Valentine’s Day. She will recount the story of the time she and her husband spent as missionaries around the world focusing on their mutual love for each other and God.

Roan Creek Elementary Honor Roll 2nd Nine Weeks

All A’s
Lillian Bendon
Emma Costigan
Blake Greene
Tanner Hampton
Fernando Linares
Kitiana Poteat
Gunner Shull
Adalynn Winters

A’s & B’s
Josie Baker
Charlotte Canter
Edith Collette
Leon Gentry
Hazel Luttrell
Lily Potter
Aiden Roush

1st Grade
All A’s
Elijah Beam
Brady Blevins
Vada Clifton
Darren Eggers
Austin Shaw
A’s & B’s
Trina Brewer
Carson Icenhour
Hayden Isaacs
Viviana Robinson

2nd Grade
All A’s
Marley Burgos
Nicholas Cano
Gabriella Crowder
Jenna Forrester
Madison Johnson
Macie Morefield
Olivia Roark
Cameron Snow
Kagen Townsend

A’s & B’s
Joey Bendell
Jacob Bentley
Mason Brown
Emma Cannon
Brie Epperly
Lexie Faircloth
Tyler Fletcher
Winter Hargett
Taylor Jennings
Sophia Meade- Hernandez
Alice Richards
Adam Roush
Karly Seatz
Savannah Simcox
Lindsey Yates

3rd Grade
All A’s
Elsie Clifton
Braiden Folsom
Audrey Shaw
Ariya Toth

A’s & B’s
Ezzy Aguilar
Jake Anderson
Luke Anderson
CJ Brown
Ethan Cannon
Karter Cox
Bradley Henderson
Avonna Humphrey
Claira Porter
Dominic Ruiz
Connor Stout
Dylan Vanover

4th Grade
All A’s
Kayleigh Crotts
Matthew Davis
Kaleigh Dunn
Ciara Garr
Daniel Gunter
Tyler Hicks
Aiden Holdaway
Cora Johnson
Catie McFadden
Trevor Rawls

A’s & B’s
Riley Brown
Allie Colson
Jay Cornett
Grayson Espinoza
Emily Ibarra
Laura Icenhour
Bella Justice
Chris Key
Roma Lipford
John McCranie
Maria Olmedo
Anna Potter
Chloe Rhymer
Marley Snyder
Jack South
Lyla Williams

5th Grade
All A’s
Liddy Arnold
Madeline Bendon
Ansley Clifton
Josie Cox
Layla Crotts
Jack Csillag
Kloi Hopkins
Elizabeth Jennings
Shayla Sileo
Destiny Stout
Chloe Sutherland
Trinity Winters

A’s & B’s
Zoe Epperly
Landon Greene
Abel Johnson
Christian Lysiak
Parker Miller
Emily Roark

6th Grade
All A’s
Jack Able
Jackson Clifton
Savanna Dowell
Emma Eller
Flor Hernandez
Gunner Hutchins
A.J. Laing
Zahlan McNeal
Lanie Mink
Amberlynn Reece
Desirea Robinson
Trinity Slimp
Stephen Swift
Marley Townsend
Addison Ward

A’s & B’s
Elijah Anderson
Tyler Campbell
Alana Gaud
Bailee Grindstaff
Kylie Hampton
Johnathan Jennings
Hannah Johnson
Meleah Johnson
Maleia Leonard
Kylie Morefield
Sarah Morris
Anna Porter
Owen Price
Vincent Stout
Johnalyn Yates

Emily Blankenship is Laurel’s Fifth Grade Student of Week

Emily Blankenship was chosen by her peers as fifth grade student of the week at Laurel Elementary School. Emily’s favorite subject is math. She enjoys reading books at home. Her favorite books are the Magic Tree House. She likes to talk with her friends. When she grows up, she wants to be a doctor. Congrats Emily. Photo submitted

East Tenn. Foundation Announces Scholarship Opportunities for Johnson County Students

Scholarships available for the 2019-2020 school year

By Tamas Mondovics

Scholarships available for the 2019-2020 school year

East Tennessee Foundation (ETF) a public charity and community foundation created by and for the people of East Tennessee announced last week that its 2019 scholarship opportunities include 15 scholarships for Johnson County students for the 2019-2020 school year.

According to ETF Vice President for Scholarship Programs, Beth Heller, the scholarship program requirements range from financial needs to academic achievement.
“Several scholarships are targeted toward specific schools or counties, particular fields of study, students involved in certain extracurricular activities,” Heller said.

The program also works for those who may not display the highest scholastic rankings yet still possess great potential and motivation.

The two we discussed are the two that are available to Johnson County residents ONLY. There are
additional scholarships available to Johnson County Residents that are also available to residents of other counties.
I have attached the list.
The two scholarships available for Johnson County residents only are the Johnson County Education Growth (JCEG) and the Johnson County Scholarship Fund, JCSF).

“Scholarships administered by ETF allow individuals and groups to honor loved ones while helping change the lives of those pursuing higher education,”

Heller explained that the additional scholarships available to Johnson County Residents are also available to residents of other counties. “Scholarships administered by ETF allow individuals and groups to honor loved ones while helping change the lives of those pursuing higher education,” she said.
JCEG is a $1,000 per year award for two years and was established in 2002 through a gift from the Levi Strauss Foundation with support from Johnson County businesses, banks, individuals, and the Johnson County Community Foundation to provide a source of financial aid to Johnson County residents.

ETF is awarding six JCEG scholarships for the 2019-2020 school year.
The second scholarship JCF available for Johnson County residents for the 2019-2020, school year is an $8,000 per year award for four years.

“JCF was established in 2000, by anonymous donors to provide Johnson County High School graduates the opportunity to continue their education at the college or university of their choice,” Heller said. “The donors desire to recognize those students who may not have the highest academic rankings, but who have the potential to successfully complete college.

All this, of course, is good news for the region. The EFT scholarships have been established to honor the memory of a parent, spouse, or child. “Some have been founded to honor teachers, coaches, or prominent community leaders,” Heller said, adding, it feels great to know that the community cares about their students and to have a hand in assisting many to “reach their potential through higher education.”

For additional information about the scholarships available through ETF, please visit

Information and applications for 2019 are available at The application deadline is February 15, 2019.

For more information, visit


Budget-friendly shopping tips

By Sarah Ransom

We all make trips to the grocery store. Some of us visit the farmers market, and some just grow their own food in gardens and greenhouses. Living in rural areas, we have a wider variety of options when it comes to food availability. However, just because it’s available doesn’t mean it’s always affordable for the families needing to feed their members.
There are some easy tips to keep in mind when it comes to grocery shopping and trying to stretch your dollars.

•Meal planning is key. Planning out your meals on a weekly basis is helpful. If you get really motivated, you can plan on a monthly basis. If you know what your food budget is for the month, divide that by the weeks, and you will know what financial resources you have to work with to feed your family. As you make your meal plan, be sure to check the sale papers and prepare your meal around what has the best price option for your family. Many groceries stores and retail chains will match sale prices – so be sure to ask.
Look for coupons. While ten cents may not seem like a big deal on its own, when you add it with a bunch of others you can save several dollars, which means significant savings over the course of a month.

•Check prices. There are several ways you can save on pricing outside of coupons. One way to do this is to check between fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables. Choosing canned or frozen fruits and vegetables can help save money during times when fresh foods are not in season. Canned and frozen options have many of the same nutrients and can be found lower costs when foods are not in season. Be sure to check the unit pricing on the foods you are purchasing. Sometimes selecting smaller or larger quantities can be cheaper. Also, do not be afraid to eat the store brand, they are frequently made by the same companies but offered at a much-reduced cost.
Before shopping, be sure to check your pantry, freezer, and fridge before purchasing new foods. Having a few staple items on hand can help stretch the food you are buying. Beans, rice, and potatoes are just a few things that provide a lot of nutrients while staying on a budget.
Lastly, check into your local resources. The Farmers Markets provide matching SNAP dollars, which can allow you to maximize dollars for some fresh foods. Food banks also help offer some staple items to complete your meals with vital nutrients. Being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t eat good, well-balanced meals.

Representative Timothy Hill Honors Mountain City’s John Muse With House Joint Resolution


(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Representative Timothy Hill (R-Blountville) this week honored Mountain City’s John Muse with a resolution during Monday’s session in the House chamber.


House Joint Resolution 57 recognizes Muse for his tireless dedication and integrity to the local banking and insurance communities in Northeast Tennessee, and for his lasting contributions as a board member, and as President & CEO of Farmers State Bank in Mountain City.


Muse has also exceled as a State Farm Insurance agent for 25 years. A graduate of East Tennessee State, he is currently serving a one-year term as chairman of the Tennessee Bankers Association — an organization that since 1890, has helped its members provide a full range of financial products and services, while also maintaining safety and soundness.


“We are fortunate to have effective local leaders like John Muse, who are incredibly dedicated to meeting the needs of our citizens,” said Chairman Hill. “I know we are all proud of John, and we are grateful to him for his many contributions within our insurance and banking industries. This resolution is a small way we can thank him for all he has done for Johnson County and Tennessee.”


Muse and his wife Kay have been married for 40 years; the couple is active within their local church, and they enjoy spending time with their children and five grandchildren.


Timothy Hill is Chairman of the House Commerce Committee. He is also a member of the House Calendar & Rules Committee, as well as the Business, Utilities, Banking & Investments, and Life & Health Insurance Subcommittees. Hill represents Tennessee House District 3, which includes Johnson, and part of Carter and Sullivan Counties.Hill can be reached by email at: by calling (615) 741-2050.


Tie the knot with less stress

By Meg Dickens

Marriage is a concept as old as civilization itself. Some form of recognized union has existed since ancient times. The idea changed as time passed, but primitive traditions carry on in modern day practice. For example, the wedding ring came from an Ancient Roman belief that a vein in the left-hand ring finger ran directly to the heart.
This vein was known as the Vena Amoris, which translates to the vein of love.
Johnson County may not be the first place most people picture walking down the aisle, but there are a surprising number of local resources. Flowers, beauty care, catering, photography, venues, budgeting, and crafting materials can all be found right here in Johnson County. Tying the knot can go hand and hand with supporting the local economy.
According to The Knot 2017 Real Weddings Study, the average wedding costs more than 33 thousand dollars. Select banks and finance companies help set a budget to help cost-conscious couples have a ceremony that will not “break the bank.” Budgeting is easier now that engagements periods are on the rise. The average engagement period lasts approximately 13 months. Partners now work together on many tasks. For example, 50 percent of couples choose an engagement ring together.
Wedding trends have evolved over the years, and casual weddings have become increasingly popular. DIY (Do It Yourself) projects are a modern way to add a personal touch to an event or outfit while cutting costs. Burlap is a common material used for country chic weddings. It is commonly paired with lace and used for accents on pieces such as runners and silverware rolls. Using these projects can be the perfect way to keep a steady theme.
Craft stores are cornerstones for DIY events. Stores carry necessary supplies and can order what they may not have in stock. More people are coming in for gifts and wedding materials according to local business owner Rebecca Mink. Customizing and creating items such as centerpieces greatly reduces cost. According to estimates, a recent customer saved thousands on her wedding.
“DIY weddings allow couples to be creative and have exactly what they want,” explained Mink. “It’s also a great way to get kids, friends, and family involved. “
Bouquets are a featured part of any wedding. Many choose personal favorites to make up their bouquets. Flowers are a traditional way to convey feelings throughout many cultures. Type, color, and the number of flowers can completely transform their meaning depending on the part of the world. Learning floral symbolism became a beloved pastime during the Victorian era. For example, purple violets symbolize thoughts occupied by love. Adding a message can make a bouquet more personal.
According to local business owner Brenda Church, residents tend to lean more towards peonies and roses for wedding arrangements. Common meanings for peonies include romance, prosperity, a happy marriage, honor, and compassion. Church says that peonies are easiest to get in the window between May and June.
“Their bouquets need to be what they love,” explained Church.
Bouquets are not just for the ceremony. Dry out the flowers for a keepsake so buyers can get the most out of their purchase and a nice reminder of that special day.
Catering is an important part of any wedding. There are several local professional options as well as locals with the needed expertise. The main thing clients should know before approaching a caterer is attendance numbers. Caterers base a lot around how many they are feeding and what they are making.
“The type of menu is important and strongly impacts prep time,” said local Sue Gentry.
Always be prepared for the unexpected. Caterers make a little more than numbers demand. That way unexpected or ravenous guests still have plenty to eat. Caterers use this technique to reduce unnecessary stress.
Weddings are a personal experience but include an overabundance of people. Choosing the right wedding party is crucial. Consider expenses, personality clashes, and reliability before popping the question.
Adding pets to the wedding party has also become increasingly popular over the years. Before including that furry friend, make sure that there is an infrastructure in place to care for
the animal. Make sure that the venue allows pets, there is someone to help during and after the ceremony, and that the animal has the right temperament for public events.
There is a lot to think about before walking down the aisle. Remember that bigger is not always better. Simplicity is the most recent trend. There are a lot of steps that couples can take to save money and support local businesses. Enjoy that special day. In the end, the important thing is being with the one you love.

Doe Elementary School Celebrates its leaders

Doe Elementary School students enjoy some time in the spotlight as leaders of the week. The school’s “Leader in Me”! initiative selects students as leaders from each homeroom and recognizing them throughout the week. Back row (left to right): Abby Garland and Aaron Ferguson. Front row (left to right): November Gates, Audrina Lynch, Kiera Webb, & Addison Leonard. Not pictured: Karlie Lipford. Photo Submitted

Chant is student of the week

Mrs. Savery’s class at Laurel Elementary School chose Hailey Chant as this week’s student. Hailey’s favorite subjects are math and science. She likes to ride her bike, joke around and watch movies with her friends. Hailey enjoys sports such as basketball, softball and soccer. When she grows up, Hailey wants to be in the WNBA. Congrats Hailey. Photo Submitted

There’s snow place like the Jo. Co. Senior Center

Seniors got active while enjoying a snowball fight at the recent Snowball Party on January 25.

By Meg Dickens

The Johnson County Senior Center was abuzz with energy on Friday, January 25. Seniors took refuge from the cold with an inside winter wonderland. Randy Dandurand provided music while the senior Snowball Party had seniors out of their seats with snowballs in hand. The “A-Team,” AKA Amanda Mullins and Amanda McGlamary from School Coordinated Health, helped coordinate frosty, fun events.

“We are always thrilled to partner with the Senior Center on various activities and programs! We were able to coordinate several games that incorporated movement for the Snowball Party,” said Amanda Mullins of School Coordinated Health. “Engaging with our community partners is an important component of our Coordinated School Health program.”

The seniors competed in several games. A Snowflake Walk, AKA cakewalk, had seniors on their feet dancing from snowflake to snowflake to win baked goods provided by Food Lion. Seniors paired up to test their memory matching winter scenes. They also played Pin the Nose on the Snowman. Winners Valarie Edes and Linda Neely both received baked goods from Food Lion.
The group got creative with a few items to make a unique snowman. The fastest group won the contest, and the “A-Team” chose a group to award with ribbons as well. No snow party is complete without a snowball fight. Numbered buckets took the brunt of the fight. The senior with the highest score won.

“Thank you for the fun party. It made me feel young again,” said senior Wilma Smith.

The day ended with volunteers’ homemade chili and warm hot chocolate with “snow cream” ice cream for dessert. Seniors played a game of bingo sponsored by Ballad Health Trauma Center then headed home.

Keep an eye out for more activities at the Johnson County Senior Center. Upcoming events include Inspire Your Heart with Art Day, which includes a free class with Cristy Dunn on January 31 at noon. Also look out for the Valentine’s Ball Friday, February 15 at 6 PM. Enjoy great food, music, and photos from BlooBird Photography. The menu includes amuse-bouches, surf & turf, roasted potatoes, red velvet cheesecake, a drink, and extra surprises. Tickets are required. Cost: $18. Proceeds go toward the Senior Center & the JCHS Culinary Arts Dept. Find out more at (423) 727-8883.

Foreign investors notification

Submitted by Melissa G. Eller

The Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDA) requires all foreign owners of U.S. agricultural land to report their holdings to the Secretary of Agriculture.
The Farm Service Agency administers this program for USDA.
Any foreign person who acquires, transfers, or holds any interest, other than a security interest, in agricultural land in the United States is required by law to report the transaction no later than 90 days after the date of closing.
For AFIDA purposes agricultural land is defined as any land used for farming, ranching or timber production, if the tracts total 10 acres or more.
Failure to submit the AFIDA form ( FSA-153) could result in civil penalties of up to 25 percent of the fair market value of the property.
Disclosure reports are also required when there are changes in land use. For example, reports are required when land use changes from nonagricultural to agricultural or from agricultural to nonagricultural. Foreign investors must also file a report when there is a change in the status of ownership such as owner changes from foreign to nonforeign, from non-foreign to foreign or from foreign to foreign.
County government offices, realtors, attorneys and others involved in real estate transactions are reminded to notify foreign investors of these reporting requirements.
For more information contact the Johnson County FSA office at (423) 727-9744 or visit the office at 119 S Murphey Street, Mountain City, TN.
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all of its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs, genetic information, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and
TDD).To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”