Deer are already prepared for winter, are you prepared for deer?

Contributed by Green Earth Media Group

A deer standing in the grass Description automatically generatedLike many mammals, deer physically prepare for winter by better insulating their bodies. In the fall, deer gradually trade their summer coats for a warmer winter one, which is more substantial and has thicker, longer, darker hair called “guard hairs” to protect their fur and skin from rain and snow.
Their winter coat naturally absorbs more sunlight and traps more body heat than their warm-weather coat, which provides an exceptional amount of protection from the cold. Deer also have oil-producing glands in their skin that help make their hair, water resistant, which is especially valuable in the snow. For even further insulation, their bodies naturally begin to retain more fat in winter, for even more protection.
They generally become less active, sometimes dropping their metabolism by half, which allows them to save energy.
Deer can hunker down during particularly harsh winter weather and survive on their fat, but eventually they have to eat something, although their preferred food sources are long gone.
Although amazing, deer do survive harsh winters when the vegetation they prefer is nearly impossible to find. Deer’s usual winter diet includes food that is not particularly nutritious, but it’s above the snow and available to feed on, like twigs, leaves, bark and evergreen shrubs and trees like yews and arborvitae.
Arborvitae is a popular tree and a common backyard hedging solution that grows moderately fast and looks pretty around the perimeter of any yard. During a harsh winter, deer can decimate arborvitae trees, turning them into trees that look like lollipops!
Because food is so scarce during winter and high deer populations mean more competition for food, deer are likely to be more resistant to efforts to repel them. They’ll return to areas, like your yard, where they found plentiful pickings in warm weather and be more inclined to stay put until your yard is stripped clean of all possible food sources.
A single adult deer eats about 7 pounds of food a day and does usually occupy the same 3- to 4-square-mile area for their entire lives. That means if you’ve had deer in your yard before, it is more than likely your yard is already on their list to forage food this winter, so your shrubs and trees – your most expensive landscaping- is at risk this winter.
Your best defense against deer is the continual use of a proven-effective repellent, like easy-to-use Bobbex Deer Repellent, foliar spray. The product is an environmentally friendly, nontoxic and long-lasting deer deterrent that’s safe for people, pets, wildlife and aquatic life.
Ingredients include putrescent eggs, fishmeal, fish oil, garlic, and other natural ingredients — all materials that offend a deer’s sensitive sense of smell and taste. Additional ingredients such as urea and Epsom contain natural fertilizer components which are actually beneficial for all plantings.
Bobbex Deer mimics predator scents, which deer have an aversion to and is classified a fear repellent, it also tastes terrible to deer, adding another layer of protection. Because it contains effective sticking agents, the repellent won’t wash off even in harsh winter weather. And it’s been 3rd party tested against 9 other like-repellents and is rated #1 for protection against deer browse.
The experts at Bobbex recommend a steady course of repellent application in every season as deer shift their feeding patterns.
Since we know deer learn from experience, maintaining repellent applications throughout the year will “school” them to continually bypass your yard in favor of less objectionable fare elsewhere.
Left undeterred, deer can strip bare your landscape’s most expensive and susceptible plantings in winter, leaving you with an unattractive yard and high replacement costs when warm weather arrives.
Preparing now and taking preventive steps against the ravages of deer can help ensure they’ll learn to leave your yard alone throughout the winter, and with continued use, you can keep them at bay, all year long.
For more information, please visit

Prostate cancer awareness in Tennessee

Staff Report

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. One in nine American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
While prostate cancer affects all races and socioeconomic classes, African American men are at an increased risk of developing the disease. African American men are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with – and 2.2 times more likely to die from – prostate cancer.
“Raising awareness and providing education about prostate cancer can save lives,” Ira Baxter, executive director of the Prostate Cancer Coalition of Tennessee, said. “The earlier it can be diagnosed, the better the opportunity for effective treatment, decreased risk of side effects post-treatment, and cancer-free life.”
In 2018, there were nearly 165,000 new cases of prostate cancer nationwide, with 2,750 of those in Tennessee. Prostate cancer claimed nearly 30,000 lives across the country and 600 across the state last year.
“We appreciate Gov. Bill Lee for proclaiming September as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month,” Baxter continued. “It is important that we talk about this disease and change the stereotype of this disease. We need to learn all we can, increase funding for prostate cancer research, get involved with community activities to raise awareness about the disease, and do all we can to support men and their families dealing with it.”
Men must talk to their physicians regarding their potential risks to developing prostate cancer as well as when screening and related tests for early detection are needed. African American men should be screened earlier, and all men should know their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) number.
For individuals diagnosed with prostate cancer, shared decision making between the patient, his family, other caregivers, and his physician is important to support the right care, and patients should talk to their doctor to learn more about the disease, treatment options and to find support groups and services in their communities or online, such as the Prostate Cancer Coalition of Tennessee (PCCTN).
The Coalition desires to become the information and support hub for anyone touched by prostate cancer within the State of Tennessee. Ultimately, PCCTN envisions a world free of prostate cancer. To learn more, visit

Cancer overtakes heart disease as biggest killer in wealthy countries


Press release

Cancer has overtaken heart disease as the leading cause of death in wealthy countries and could become the world’s biggest killer within just a few decades if current trends persist, researchers said on Tuesday.
Publishing the findings of two large studies in The Lancet medical journal, scientists said they showed evidence of a new global “epidemiologic transition” between different types of chronic disease.
While cardiovascular disease remains, for now, the leading cause of mortality worldwide among middle-aged adults — accounting for 40 percent of all deaths — that is no longer the case in high-income countries, where cancer now kills twice as many people as heart disease, the findings showed.
“Our report found cancer to be the second most common cause of death globally in 2017, accounting for 26 percent of all deaths. But as [heart disease] rates continue to fall, cancer could likely become the leading cause of death worldwide, within just a few decades,” said Gilles Dagenais, a professor at Quebec’s Laval University in Canada who co-led the work.
Of an estimated 55 million deaths in the world in 2017, the researchers said, around 17.7 million were due to cardiovascular disease — a group of conditions that includes heart failure, angina, heart attack, and stroke.
Around 70 per cent of all cardiovascular cases and deaths are due to modifiable risks such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diet, smoking and other lifestyle factors.
In high-income countries, common treatment with cholesterol-lowering statins and blood-pressure medicines have helped bring rates of heart disease down dramatically in the past few decades.
Dagenais’s team said their findings suggest that the higher rates of heart-disease deaths in low-income countries may be mainly due to a lower quality of healthcare.
The research found first hospitalization rates and heart disease medication use were both substantially lower in poorer and middle-income countries than in wealthy ones.

Improve education for impact
The research was part of the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiologic (PURE) study, published in The Lancet and presented at the ESC Congress in Paris.
Countries analyzed included Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe.
Despite including as many as 21 countries, the researchers said to exercise caution in generalizing the results to all countries, particularly since they lacked data from west Africa, north Africa, or Australia with few participants from the Middle East.
The effect of risk factors such as poor diet and household air pollution varied by the economic level of the countries, the journal’s editors said. Global health policies should be adapted to different groups of countries based on factors such as the expected benefit and access to health care.
Stephanie Read of Women’s College Research Institute in Toronto and Sarah Wild of the University of Edinburgh, U.K., wrote a journal commentary published with the research.
“[T]heir findings can inform the effective use of limited resources — for example, by indicating the importance of improving education across the world and improving diet and reducing household air pollution in less developed countries. The value of collecting similar data to inform policy in a wider range of countries is clear while improving lifestyle choices, and modifying their social and commercial determinants remain a challenge,” Read, and Wild wrote.
They said the findings suggest that improving education in low-income countries and middle-income countries might be expected to have a larger effect on mortality than reducing the prevalence of diabetes, abdominal obesity, depression, or low physical activity.
Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said heart and circulatory diseases remain the leading cause of death and disability worldwide.
As the population grows and ages, more people can expect to survive heart attacks and strokes, and the number of people living with the debilitating after-effects of the two conditions will continue to rise, Pearson said in an email calling for research into the prevention, treatment, and cures for all heart and circulatory diseases.

Locals honor cancer survivors

Attendees at the Annual Cancer Survivor Dinner participate in a balloon release to honor lost loved ones. Photo by Megan McEwen.

By Meg Dickens

Johnson County Bank and the Levi Retirees have partnered for the second year in a row for the annual Cancer Survivor Dinner. The event has only continued to grow. The 2018 dinner had 106 guests, while the 2019 dinner had more than 150 attendees. According to the Levi Retirees, this year’s attendance numbers exceed the average from the Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) previous survivor dinners in Mountain City. Those dinners averaged roughly 140 guests.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” is this year’s theme and t-shirt design. Bank employees passed out free t-shirts emblazoned with the verse that was wrapped with ribbon and had personalized name tags after dinner provided by the Levi Retirees. The Levi Retirees are long-time volunteers for this dinner and cater annually without asking for anything in return.
“The Levi Retirees are a great asset to the community. They are eager to help and provide the food at no charge,” said last year’s event coordinator Sandy Snyder.
According to the ACS, there are approximately 15.5 million cancer survivors in the United States alone. This cause is close to both groups. Many of the Levi Retirees are survivors, and multiple bank employees are survivors or have lost loved ones to cancer. More likely than not, statistics show you know someone touched by cancer either through a diagnosis or a loved one. Volunteers are determined to treat each guest as a guest of honor in their own right. As per tradition, there was a balloon release in honor of those lost.
“It was a very humbling experience, and I feel blessed to a part of it,” said new chairperson and loan department worker Donna Kirby. “We look forward to many more years of recognizing cancer survivors.”
The Johnson County Bank employees and the Levi Retirees would like to thank everyone who attended the event. The Cancer Survivor Dinner happens yearly at the Crewette building on a Saturday in September. If you are a cancer survivor or know a survivor who would like to attend the dinner next year, contact Donna Kirby at Johnson County Bank at 423-727-7701.
Thank the Levi Retirees and Johnson County Bank employees for taking the time to support and encourage local survivors.

JCHS athletes to honor cancer heroes with pink out night


By Beth Cox
Sports Writer

Joining thousands of student-athletes across the nation, Johnson County High School has held a long-standing tradition to honor those who have struggled with cancer.
Each year in October, a football night is set aside for “pink out night.”
So, on Friday, October 25, the Paul McEwen Stadium will be covered with pink to honor and remember those who suffered from breast cancer or other forms of cancer.
The football team will be wearing pink socks as a tribute to those who have endured the struggles of the dreadful effects of cancer. The JCHS cheerleaders will be wearing their pink out t-shirts and will be mindful of one of their own, cheer mom Mary Martin who fought and survived breast cancer this past year. The JCHS band will be wearing pink bandanas as a part of their uniforms, and the color guard will have pink-out bows. The color guard received the bows from the National Honor Society who will be selling them at the football game. Fans are also encouraged to dress in pink for the game against
The “pink out” night is a time of reflection for those who have had friends and family that got the diagnosis of cancer.
It is remembering the shock of receiving the
news, the recounting of doctor’s visits, the struggles with chemotherapy,
watching loved ones fight with everything they have
to not only survive but thrive.
One beloved coach, Craig Cox, knows the heartbreak of cancer quite well.
Cox lost his father to cancer nearly five years ago.
“The hardest part is the helplessness of not being able to make it better for someone you love,” he said. “My dad was a strong man who loved the Lord and loved his family. He was a hard worker and never asked for help from anyone. Cancer robbed him of his pride because he needed help, and it bothered him, but what he didn’t realize is that by helping him, it helped us. I miss him every day, so do my children. He was a wonderful grandfather and role model.”
Cox added, “ I will be on the football field on “pink out” night, remembering my dad.”
In 2019, it is estimated that 1.8 million people will be diagnosed with cancer. Studies show that breast, lung, and bronchus, prostate, and colorectal cancers makeup over 50 percent of new cancers in the United States and causing around 50 percent of deaths in the U.S. alone.
Early detection is the key to decreases the statistics of cancer in the United States.
As quoted by a cancer survivor,” cancer doesn’t care, so you have to.”

Awareness can be the key to survival

With cancer awareness in mind, Levi Retires, along with many members of the community, host a number of annual events and donate items toward the effort to offer continued support and encouragement to local survivors as well as those associated with the Johnson County Cancer Support Group led by Flo Bellamy. Submitted photos

By Meg Dickens

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), cancer is made up of more than 100 diseases characterized by uncontrolled and abnormal growth throughout the body. The American
Cancer Society (ACS) estimates there
have been 14,840 deaths from different types of cancer in Tennessee in 2019. Female breast cancer, prostate cancer, and lung and bronchus cancer have the highest death rates.
There have been 37,350 new cancer diagnoses in Tennessee this year alone. ACS statistics show that 1 in 3 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer sometime in their lifetime. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the second leading cause of death globally. The prevalence of cancer is why awareness is such an important issue.
Awareness can be the key to survival. Stories such as local businesswoman Nancie Svensen’s show that. Svensen went for a mammogram in memory of a close friend who lost their fight to cancer. The Johnson County Community Hospital diagnosed Svensen with breast cancer in its early stages. Later bilateral lumpectomies showed two distinct types of breast cancer. Early detection works wonders. Svensen is now a happy and healthy individual.
“We’re grateful for our beautiful town and the wonderful people in it,” said Svensen. “We’re grateful for the outstanding medical team and the outcome.”
There are a lot of factors in developing cancer. Certain habits and actions are risk factors. High body mass index (BMI), lower fruit and vegetable intakes, a lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use are risk factors for developing cancer, according to the WHO. Hepatitis and HPV cause 25 percent of cancer cases in low and middle-class countries as well.
Fundraising is an excellent way to raise awareness while supporting cancer research. Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is an event organized by the ACS to raise money for breast cancer research, treatment help, and treatment transportation. There are walks scheduled in Charlotte, Kingsport, Raleigh, and Greensboro within the next week or so. Details on these events can be found at There will also be a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Nashville, Knoxville, and Memphis within the same timeframe.
Statistically, most people know someone suffering from cancer. There is not a definitive medical cure, but showing support and offering a helping hand can do wonders. Remember to get the recommended tests for your age group. After all, the first step
to prevention and an eventual cure is

Hot, dry weather may provide later and less vibrant foliage

By Jill Penley
Freelance Writers

The end of September is when East Tennessee typically starts enjoying autumn colors before a mid-October peak; however, fall foliage prognosticators fear as unusually hot and especially dry weather continues, leaves might begin to turn brown and fall off before displaying the colors we have come accustomed to enjoying in East Tennessee and beyond.
“In all likelihood, our fall foliage colors will not be as good this year,” said Rick Thomason, UT/TSU Johnson County Extension County Director. “This is due to the hot temperatures and dry weather we’ve experienced here in late summer and continuing into the fall. When you have this combination of dry weather and hot temperatures, the leaves just dry up on the trees, turn brown and fall off prior to the pigments being formed in the leaves, which give us the bright fall colors. Many trees have already been shedding their leaves. What color we do have this year is predicted to be a little later than normal. Instead of the peak season for fall foliage in Johnson County is expected in late October, we expect it to be later in November
this year and the mountains not being as colorful this year.”
Prime fall foliage in East Tennessee also varies by elevation as the first hints of fall color begin at the highest points, then week after week, sweep down to the lower elevations and valleys where it tends to be cooler.
Shorter days and cooler — but not freezing — nights help those biochemical processes start changing the leaves’ colors. The University of Tennessee Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center explains that during summer, it is chlorophyll that gives leaves their green color. This complex chemical, which is essential in the photosynthetic production of food sugars, is continually being manufactured and broken down at approximately equal rates.
Leaf-changing is more than just a scenic occurrence. It is the scientific process that prepares trees and leaves for the winter ahead. As fall approaches, the steadily decreasing length of day and cooler temperatures interact to biologically trigger the formation of a corky layer of cells across the base of the leaf. This formation gradually decreases the supply of water and minerals to the leaf; reduces the manufacture of chlorophyll; and traps sugars in the leaf. When chlorophyll is reduced, pigments become prominent and are responsible for the coloration of autumn leaves.
“Sourwood, dogwood, maple, sassafras and birch trees are the first to make the change, turning red, orange and yellow,” explained Thomason. “At this point, there is just a hint of fall color change among those early autumn starters.”
While temperature, sunlight, elevation, and soil moisture all play a role in how to fall foliage appears, year after year, despite the conditions, the East Tennessee mountains come alive with deep yellows, oranges, reds. This year is no difference, except they may appear slightly later and somewhat muted.

Cluster of illness in 49 states linked to E-cigarette use

Tennessee Department of Health in partnership with CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating cases of severe pulmonary disease among people who use e-cigarettes or vape, there has been nearly 1,300 cases reported to date in 49 states.

Press Release

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Health has received reports of 49 cases of serious lung injury among people who use electronic cigarettes or other vaping devices. This is an immediate public health concern with potentially severe consequences.
At this time, no single product or substance has been linked to all the lung injury cases and the specific chemical or ingredient causing lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use or vaping remains unknown.
While this investigation is ongoing, TDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend Tennesseans consider refraining from using e-cigarette or vaping products.
Regardless of the ongoing investigation, youth should not use e-cigarette or vaping products, and adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start. TDH also advises that women who are pregnant should not use e-cigarette or vaping products. Adults who used ecigarettes to quit cigarette smoking are advised not
to return to smoking cigarettes.
TDH in partnership with CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating these cases as part of a nationwide outbreak of severe pulmonary disease among people who use ecigarettes or vape, with nearly 1,300 cases reported to date in 49 states.
TDH is providing information about this investigation and the number of Tennessee patients associated with this outbreak online at
Electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices are
not approved by the FDA
for smoking cessation. Smokers attempting to quit should use evidence-based treatments including counseling and FDA-approved medications. If you need help quitting tobacco products including e-cigarettes, contact your health care provider, your local health department or the Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or
The mission of the
Tennessee Department of Health is to protect,
promote and improve the health and prosperity of
people in Tennessee. Learn more about TDH services and programs at

Four-year-old still in need of a service dog

Kourtnee Dawn Peters poses for the camera at her recent soup bean dinner benefit. Peters’ family is working hard to raise enough money to pay for a service dog to help better Kourtnee’s life. Photo by Meg Dickens.

By Meg Dickens

Four-year-old Kourtnee Dawne Peters is a cheerful child. She loves horses, cats, and dogs. She loves to learn about cooking and cannot choose a favorite color because she loves them all. To use her own words, “I’m sweet!” Unfortunately, this little angel has a difficult life. Peters struggles with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia (ONH) and autism. She deals with sensory overload, social anxiety, communication issues, motor difficulties, and noise sensitivity daily. The ONH is continuously worsening Peters’ eyesight to the point where she is nearly blind.
Peters’ family quickly realized that a canine companion would improve her life. The major hurdle in the way is cost. Peters needs a service animal with multiple specialties. A dog with this amount of training costs approximately $25,000. This fee includes all of its training and a Session with Kourtnee. They have raised about $12,500 so far. It is a good start, but they are still only halfway there.
“For her, this will make life a lot better. We want to try and make her life more comfortable,” said Peters’ great uncle David Torbett when asked about the service dog plan. “We can make it where she is not so scared in life.”
The Peters family has not told Kourtnee about their plan to get her a service dog. Any mention of the plan has the family spelling out D-O-G. They do not want to get her hopes up prematurely. The Peters’ family asks the community to offer any support it can for this little girl. Kourtnee Dawne Peters is a friendly little girl who tries her best to help others. Hopefully, she will have a furry friend to help keep her calm, safe, and happy in the near future.
The family has hosted a yard sale, spaghetti dinner, bass tournament, a benefit through Freddy’s in Johnson City, and a soup bean dinner to fundraise. Keep an eye out for further fundraisers. Interested parties can donate on the Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers (SDWR) page at Look for Kourtnee’s Paws of Hope campaign.

Homecoming: Success! Happiness hits the JCHS football field

Johnson County junior Sadie Stout enjoys the spotlight during the 2019 Johnson County High School Homecoming Parade that started the evening’s festivities ahead of the football game just minutes later against Claiborne County, Mountain City. Photo by Tamas Mondovics

By Beth Cox
Sports Writer

The 2019 Johnson County High School Homecoming is over and embedded in the sweet memories of all who participated.
This year’s homecoming was just about as wonderful as the weather at Friday night’s football game.
The week was filled with crazy outfits reconstructing some favorite characters and paying homage to good ole red, white and blue, and of course, maroon and white.
The annual powder puff football game brought in a big crowd with spectators enjoying Kona ice as they eagerly cheered on their favorite team Friday afternoon on the JCHS football field.
The powder-puff game gave the ladies a chance to show off some football plays of their own and allowed the football players to trade in their jerseys for a whistle for a brief moment.
Jared Kimble, Jy Webster, Lucas Walters, Jamal Scott, Chance Phillips, and Luke Osborne were some of the players who helped with coaching. The game was a contest between classes, the freshmen and sophomore against the juniors and seniors. The juniors and seniors could not let the freshmen and sophomores get the winning edge over the team, so they gained control early and kept the touchdowns going throughout the game and taking the win 33-0.
The annual homecoming parade began at 5:30, starting at the First Baptist Church and ending at the high school. The streets of downtown were lined with excited fans ready to see the lovely homecoming
court, wave to some football players, hear the band and see the cheerleaders. The rowdy young fans also had an agenda of their own; they did not want to leave empty-handed, so they eagerly waited with
hopeful anticipation of receiving the candy tossed their way.
The homecoming court walked on the field at halftime as many waited to see who the 2019 football homecoming queen and princess would be. The nine young ladies were escorted across the area to the Longhorn sideline by members of the football team.
Homecoming princess, Emily Miller, was crowned by senior cheerleader Danielle Robinson. The homecoming queen for 2019 is Natalie Winters. Jada Gentry made a special appearance to relinquish her role as homecoming queen to Winters.
The Longhorns completed the week perfectly by playing a great game against Claiborne County. It was nice to see the boys walk off the field, smiling for gaining a sweet victory over their opponents.

Is Fall a Good Time to Plant Trees and Shrubs?

Submitted by Rick Thomason

Many people assume that the best time to plant trees and shrubs is in the spring because they have the entire growing season to become established.
However, spring weather isn’t always cooperative when it comes to getting plants in the ground. Late snow or excessive rainfall can make the soil too wet and unstable to properly plant. If an extended rainy period is immediately followed by hot, dry summer weather, new trees and shrubs can suffer. This stress manifests as scorched leaves and limited growth. Thus, fall planting becomes an attractive alternative.
Planting in the fall has some of the same benefits as planting in the spring. Temperatures are typically cool, causing plants to lose less water through their leaves due to transpiration than they would in hot weather.
This makes it less likely for plants to experience stress, and more energy can be directed to root production. When the air temperature drops below that of the soil, shoot growth ceases and roots continue to develop until the soil dips below 40℉.
A healthy, well-established root system goes a long way towards ensuring vigorous growth in the spring.
Planting in the fall is not without risks, and the chance of plant failure increases the later in the season you wait. Aim to give plants at least six weeks of mild weather for root growth before freezing temperatures arrive. While the exact timing of this is impossible to know, October is a good deadline.
As a general rule, deciduous plants are more suitable for fall planting than evergreens. Evergreens, like arborvitae or rhododendrons, lose water through their leaves throughout the winter and are especially susceptible to winter injury before their roots are established.
Plants with shallow, fibrous roots are usually the best choices for fall planting because they recover faster than those with large, thick taproots.
Deciduous species that respond well to fall planting include apples, crabapples, lindens, maples, hawthorns, honey locusts and elms. Success is also likely with most deciduous shrubs such as lilacs, witchhazels and forsythia.
Important aspects of planting successfully in the fall are choosing healthy plants. Only purchase plants that have a good structure and are free of diseases, and dead or broken branches. Also make sure there are no signs of girdling roots.
After planting, new trees and shrubs should be watered thoroughly and consistently, applying enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of eight to ten inches at least once a week.
Continue watering until freezing temperatures arrive. Winter weather is unpredictable, and even tough plants may not survive if conditions are severe, particularly in early winter.
However, fall planting can still be a great option for gardeners to consider.
*Source: University of New Hampshire Extension.

Jones named Good Neighbor for October

JCMS student Mattie Jones, center, enjoys the
spotlight, while recognized as this month’s Good Neighbor. Photo submitted

Johnson County Middle School student Mattie Jones has been named the Good Neighbor for October, 2019,

Sponsored by the local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma International, this award recognizes students who demonstrate neighborliness through exemplary kindness and respect, generosity of spirit, and the ability to put others’ needs before themselves.

Mattie’s teachers describe her as a young lady with a wonderful work ethic who is kind and respectful to staff and fellow students.
She is always willing to lend a helping hand to others.

Mrs. Teresa Stansberry, Principal of JCMS, joined Sheila Cruse, representing the Johnson County Chapter of DKG, in presenting Mattie with letters of congratulations.

Laurel student of the week

Nevaeh Heaton is a second grader in Mrs. Freeman’s class at Laurel Elementary School. She is a strong role model of how a student leader should act engaged in the lessons of the day. She is the granddaughter of David and Bobbie Jo Watson. When she grows up,
Nevaeh wants to be a veterinarian. She has a passion for
helping animals. Nevaeh’s favorite subjects are math and recess. In her spare time, she loves to play with her dog, Libby. She loved school. Congratulations Nevaeh.

County schools stand against bullying

Mountain City Elementary wear blue to celebrate the World Day of Bullying Prevention. Director of Schools Mischelle Simcox encouraged all county schools to participate. Photo by Gay Triplett.

By Meg Dickens

World Day of Bullying Prevention was Monday, October 7. Director of Schools Mischelle Simcox encouraged schools countywide to follow Stomp Out Bullying’s advice to “Blue Up” by wearing blue to show support to stop bullying.
Stomp Out Bullying’s motto is to stand against hate, racism, and discrimination to create harmony.
“The staff and students at Mountain City Elementary participated in the World Day of Bullying Prevention. This happens on the first Monday of every October,” explained Mountain City Elementary Principal Gay Triplett. “Students, schools, and communities all over the world go BLUE together on this day to show support against bullying. It kicks off National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.”
Bullying does more damage than some may think. It harms the victims, bullies, and bystanders in the process.
The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has linked bullying to negative consequences, which include mental health problems, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.
Events like these promote awareness and discourage bullying. A push in the right direction may be all it takes to turn a bystander into an “upstander.”
The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) defines the bystander effect as a psychological phenomenon where bystanders feel discouraged to help if others are nearby. The more bystanders, the less likely someone will take action because he or she assumes someone else will. This is called diffusion of responsibility.
According to DHHS, there are many simple ways to curb bullying. Most of these tips depend on shifting the focus off of the victim. Redirecting conversation, diffusing the atmosphere with humor, and walking with targets to avoid leaving them alone are all simple and easy ways to help decrease potential bullying.
Anti-bullying tactics operate best when adults and children work together to cover the full spectrum.
The best way to prevent bullying is to teach children what it involves. Common bullying consists of teasing, threatening to harm someone, spreading rumors, intentionally not including someone, or attacking someone either physically or with words.

Find more information on bullying and how to prevent it at

Wildlife rabies vaccination project protects people and pets

Tennessee works with USDA, other southeast states to prevent raccoon rabies

Press Release

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Health is working with the United States Department of Agriculture to help prevent rabies by distributing oral rabies vaccine for wild raccoons along Tennessee’s borders with Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. The annual baiting program administered by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services began earlier this month.
“Controlling the spread of raccoon rabies is vital,” said Deputy State Epidemiologist John Dunn, DVM, PhD. “We are pleased to partner with USDA-WS in this important and effective program to reduce rabies in wildlife, which helps prevent transmission to people, pets and livestock.”
This is the 19th year Tennessee has participated in baiting with rabies vaccine to slow and possibly halt the spread of raccoon rabies. There have been two cases of raccoon variant rabies in Tennessee this year. Since raccoon rabies was first detected in Tennessee in 2003, the disease has not spread as rapidly here as has been documented in other areas of the United States.
Vaccine packets coated with fishmeal will be distributed by helicopter Oct. 3 – 13 and by airplane Oct. 9 – 20 throughout an 18-county area in Tennessee. Distribution of vaccine will target areas where raccoons are likely to live and feed. The oral rabies vaccine is distributed by helicopter in Johnson County until October 13.
“Rabies is most commonly found in wild animals in Tennessee, posing a risk to people and domestic animals that may come into contact with wildlife,” said TDH Medical Epidemiologist Mary-Margaret Fill, MD. “In addition to avoiding contact with wildlife, it’s important for pet owners to make sure rabies vaccinations are current for dogs and cats to ensure their health and safety, and to help provide a barrier between rabies in wild animals and humans.”
Rabies, once disease develops, is almost always fatal. However, it is completely preventable if vaccine is provided prior to or soon after exposure.
Although the vaccine products are safe, the USDA Wildlife Services program has issued these precautions:
•If you or your pet finds a vaccine bait package, confine your pet and look for other baits in the area. Wear gloves or use a towel and toss baits into a wooded or fencerow area. These baits should be removed from where your pet could easily eat them. Eating the baits won’t harm your pet, but consuming several baits might upset your pet’s stomach.
•Do not try to remove an oral rabies vaccine packet from your pet’s mouth, as you could be bitten.
•Wear gloves or use a towel when you pick up bait. While there is no harm in touching undamaged baits, they have a strong fishmeal smell. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water if there is any chance the vaccine packet has been ruptured.
•Instruct children to leave baits alone.
•A warning label on each bait advises people not to touch the bait, and contains the rabies information line telephone number.
For more information on rabies prevention or the oral rabies vaccine program, call the USDA Wildlife Services toll-free rabies line at 1-866-487-3297 or the Tennessee Department of Health at 1-615-741-7247. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a website to help educate children about rabies. Visit the site at

Seven tips to help choose your health plan during open enrollment

By Gregg Kunemund
CEO, UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Retirement in Tennessee

Open enrollment season is here, a time when more than 4 million people in Tennessee and millions of Americans across the country will have the opportunity to select or switch their health insurance plan for 2020.
To help guide you during this important time, here are some tips that may help lead you to better health and cost savings.

Tip 1: Know your open enrollment dates
For the more than 178 million Americans with employer-provided coverage, many employers set aside a two-week period between September and December when employees can select health benefits for the following year.
For the more than 64 million people enrolled in Medicare, Medicare Annual Enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year.
For most people, changes made during this time will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Tip 2: Understand your options. When it comes to selecting a plan, one size does not fit all. Take the time to understand your options so you can find what will work best for you. A good first step is to make sure you understand health insurance lingo, such as premium, deductible, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum. If you need a refresher, check out UnitedHealth Group’s Just Plain Clear Glossary (in English, Spanish and Portuguese) to learn and understand health care terms. And if you’re eligible for Medicare, make sure you’re familiar with the difference between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage as you weigh your options.

Tip 3: Anticipate next year’s health expenses. When reviewing your options, plan ahead. Maybe you are expecting a significant health event next year, such as a surgery or having a baby. If so, then it’s even more important to compare the “total cost” of your plan, not just your monthly premium. Plan designs
vary, so also compare deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.

Tip 4: Check to make sure your medications are covered
Even if you don’t expect to change plans, it’s important to make sure your prescription drugs will still be covered next year. Costs can change from year to year, and how much you pay for generics vs. brands may differ among health plans.

Tip 5: Ask about well-being programs. Many health plans now offer financial incentives that reward you for taking healthier actions, such as completing a health survey, walking, going to the gym
or not using nicotine. Also, many Medicare Advantage plans offer gym memberships and wellness programs for members at no additional costs.

Tip 6: Don’t forget about specialty benefits
Additional benefits, such as dental, vision, hearing, disability or critical illness insurance, are often cost-effective coverage options
that can help protect you
and your family from head to toe. For Medicare beneficiaries, some may be surprised that Original Medicare doesn’t cover prescription drugs and most dental, vision and hearing services, but many Medicare Advantage plans do.

Tip 7: Try the convenience of virtual visits. If you
are busy juggling kids’ schedules or work travel, or simply prefer to connect with a doctor from the comfort
of your own home, consider choosing a plan that includes 24/7 virtual visits. It may
be a convenient, lower-cost way to talk to a doctor
about minor health issues,
and all you need is a smartphone, tablet or computer. Often, telehealth is available to members of employer-sponsored, individual and Medicare Advantage plans.

For more helpful articles and videos about open enrollment and health care, visit

Knowing when it’s too hot to ride

By Danielle Pleasant

Warm summer days have many equine enthusiasts ready to saddle up and ride, however with the rising temperatures, we must be cautious of overheating our equine partners. Being aware of our horse’s physiology, as well as, knowing the signs and symptoms of dehydration and heat related illnesses can help us provide the best care for our animals during sweltering summer days.

Horses release excess body heat by sweating. As the sweat evaporates, it causes a cooling effect. High humidity, along with high temperatures, compromise this effect, reducing the horse’s ability to efficiently cool down. A good rule of thumb is if the combined air temperature and humidity are over 150 care should be taken to ensure the horse does not become heat stressed.

As horses sweat, water and electrolytes are lost. The average horse typically consumes 6-10 gallons of water daily. Factors such as diet, exercise and temperature can greatly influence water intake, increasing the maintenance level anywhere from 20-300 percent. Meaning a horse may drink 20 or more gallons of water during hot, humid weather. Providing clean, fresh, cool water along with salt will help avoid dehydration. If electrolytes or flavorings are used, be sure to offer plain water as well (Ivey).

Take advantage of cooler temperatures in the early morning, late evening and even overnight for turn out times. Sunscreen, masks, and flysheets may be beneficial for horses prone to sunburn. It is best to avoid riding or exercising during the hottest part of the day. However, if your horse must be worked (perhaps for a show or competition) help keep them cool between classes and after excising by taking advantage of shady and natural breezes, utilizing fans and misters, and sponging or hosing them off. Be aware that water can be insulating and if not scrapped off, negatively affecting the horse’s ability to cool down (Porr).

When stalling your horse, keep the barn as open as possible and use fans if necessary to keep good ventilation; just be sure to keep electrical cords and plugs out of the horse’s reach. Pasture kept horses also need shade, run-in sheds and trees are sufficient. Be aware that shaded areas may change throughout the day as the sun moves, so have a plan to provide sun relief throughout the day (Johnston).

Body condition and feed management also affect a horse’s ability to stay cool. The additional body fat in an overweight horse acts as insulation, trapping body heat, making cooling down more difficult. Furthermore, the digestion of feed generates body heat, with some grains and forages producing more heat than others. This can be a problem, particularly for thin horses, if a horse goes off feed when too hot. Adding fat to the daily ration(s) will increase calorie intake without increasing the volume of the feed. Fat also produces less heat when digested compared to protein and carbohydrates. Additionally, feeding grass, instead of legume, forages will also decrease metabolic heat (Porr).

Knowing your horse, as well as the dangers of prolonged exposed to high temperatures are vital to maintaining your animal’s health and avoiding costly treatment. Overheating, due to hot weather, excising, standing in a hot stall or trailering can result in dehydration, muscle spasms, colic, heat stress and even heat stroke.

Profuse sweating or lack of sweat, lethargy, dry mucus membranes, prolonged skin tents (4-10 seconds), increased heart rate, incoordination and rectal temperatures above 103° are common signs of heat related illness. If you suspect your horse is suffering from a heat-related illness, move your horse to a cooler environment and contact your veterinarian immediately. Prevention is much easier and less detrimental to your horse and wallet, so before saddling up, think about how you are going to keep your horse cool (UMN Extension).

You’ve got this! Rede asks: Catastrophic illness has hit our family, and we are having trouble coping. What would you suggest?

Dear Rede, I’m very sorry to hear this and hope that what I have to say can help soften this journey for you all.
Catastrophic illness impacts every part of being-human.
Physically is the most obvious. Yet it doesn’t stop with the illness or the treatment of it. It impacts every part of our normal life. What we can do, not do and have to now do changes most every aspect of our daily routine.
Emotions are the next hardest hit areas as we have to learn how to cope with something often unexpected, and typically find ourselves unprepared to deal with the wide range of emotions and how to express them in healthy ways.
Mentally we may be impacted by medicines, being house, hospital bound or under the constant care of others. We aren’t ourselves and we are often left to our own fearful thoughts.
Next is the social implications. We aren’t able to get out and interact the way we normally did. Also, the way are friends and family react to the illness will impact us as some will not be as comfortable with our illness and may stay away leaving us feeling abandoned and lonely.
Spirituality is another area impacted as we may question more deeply. We may or may not find the answers to our questions. With this we may find ourselves either blaming our creator, or the illness may draw you in deeper in to this relationship.
Lastly, financially, we are often hit hard with bills and loss of income. Leaving another burden that is not helpful in the recovery process. Sometimes requiring us to make decisions that have long-term impact.
My suggestion to you and your family, Rede, is to choose one of these areas and start building some strength, or ask for support from outside resources. As that begins to improve focus on another area. I can not promise things will get completely better, but one little improvement at a time will help in the long run.
All the best to you and your family.

Senior News

Barbara Wilson (left) holds a fall wreath presented to her for her many years of service to the seniors of Johnson County. Submitted photo.

By Minnie Miller
The September storytelling at the Senior Center featured Barbara Wilson. She told the history of the Johnson County Senior Center, which was founded in 1980. The center has played a major role in serving citizens 60 or older for the last 39 years.
Wilson was the first director of the center and served in that role for 20 years. Others who were vital in establishing the center include Paul McEwen, Louise Chappell, Bonnie Gentry, Hill May, and R. D. Campbell. They secured the old high school gymnasium as a location for the center and a grant from the Area Agency on Aging to renovate and hire a director. The renovation was completed, and the center opened on September 1, 1980.
The center did not have originally have a van, so the FTHRA provided transportation and a borrowed school bus. With a staff of three and a host of volunteers, many services were provided. These include daily nutritional meals, day trips, long travel trips, ceramic and art classes, pool time, exercising, quilting, grocery shopping, and traveling to doctor appointments.

Special holiday meals were sponsored by Farmers State Bank and Johnson County Bank. Before Wilson retired and was replaced by Joyce Kidd, she made sure that a van was purchased for the center, so it had its own transportation.

Kathy Motsinger is currently the center director. The Johnson County Senior Center is definitely a success story. It has continued to grow over the years, has 1,294 members, owns 3 vans, and has recently added MyRide TN Johnson County. Anyone 60 or older is welcome at the Senior Center, where you will always find friends and interesting activities.

Storytelling is during lunch the last Monday of each month. Senior center volunteer Minnie Miller is in charge of storytelling. She says everyone has a story to tell. Some are historical or factual, some are life stories, and some are just for fun.

Anyone interested in telling a story at the center should contact Miller at 727-6993. October’s story will be “Haunted Places in and Around Johnson County,” told by Miller and followed with an open mic session where others will tell their haunted or ghostly stories.

Laurel Student of the Week

Elliana Owens shows great leadership and a strong desire to learn and is always on top of her work. She sets a good example of what a student’s work ethic should be in Mr. Taylor’s third grade class at Laurel Elementary School. In Ellie’s spare time she enjoys playing on her tablet. She also likes playing with her sister Emma. Her favorite subjects in school are Math and Recess. Ellie would like to become a veterinary when she grows up. Ellie has a great love for reading. Ellie is the daughter of Nathan and Alexa Owens. She has two sisters Fayah and Emma and one brother Zachery. Congratulations to Ellie.