Tennessee Department of Health confirms first Tennessee Measles case for 2019

online photo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Health is investigating a case of measles after the State Public Health Laboratory confirmed a positive test for the illness in a resident of the East Tennessee.

While the investigation is currently centered in East Tennessee, all Tennesseans should be aware of measles and its symptoms. These symptoms may include fever, runny nose, body aches, watery eyes and white spots in the mouth. The illness is typically accompanied by a red, spotty rash that begins on the face and spreads over the body. Nearly one in three measles patients will develop ear infections, diarrhea or pneumonia. Measles can be fatal in approximately one to two out of every 1,000 cases.

“Our efforts are focused on preventing the spread of illness to others,” said TDH State Epidemiologist Tim Jones, MD. “This appearance of measles is a reminder about the importance of vaccines and how they can particularly protect our most vulnerable, including infants and those with compromised immune systems.”

The measles virus is highly contagious and can stay airborne or live on surfaces for up to two hours. People recently infected with measles may not have any symptoms of illness, but can transmit the virus for about five days before the typical measles rash appears.

“Most people in Tennessee are vaccinated against measles and that’s important, but infants and those with weakened immune systems are still at high risk for infection,” said TDH Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “The measles-mumps-rubella or MMR vaccine is safe and widely available. Call your health care provider to check your immunization status and schedule your vaccine if you haven’t had one.”

All Tennesseans are urged to ensure they are up-to date on MMR vaccine. Anyone who believes they or a loved one has measles symptoms should call first before going to a health care facility to keep others from being exposed.

People with questions about what to do to protect themselves against measles should call a health care provider, the local health department or a hotline established to provide answers to questions from the public about measles. The hotline number is 865-549-5343; calls to the hotline will be answered from 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Central time/8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Eastern time daily until further notice.

Tennessee has had only 15 cases of measles in the last decade due to relatively high vaccination rates. All children should have their first measles vaccinations at age 12-15 months, followed by a second dose at four to six years of age. Teens and adults should check with their doctors to make sure they are protected against measles. Talk with your health care provider about vaccination before leaving for international trips.

For more information about measles, visit www.cdc.gov/features/measles/index.html.

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 www.tn.gov/health.

April is Stress Awareness Month

By Meg Dickens

Stress is a frequent problem for all ages, and everyone reacts to stress differently. Forbes states that work stress in on the rise but many other sources exist. The American Psychological Association (APA) 2017 Stress in AmericaTM survey found that the most common sources of stress include America’s future (63 percent), money (62 percent) and work (61 percent).

April is Stress Awareness Month. The Health Resource Network (HRN) sponsors this annual national educational effort. This lessens dangerous misconceptions and teaches successful coping methods.

“Even though we’ve learned a lot about stress in the past twenty years,” says Dr. Morton C. Orman, M.D., Founder and Director of HRN, “we’ve got a long way to go. New information is now available that could help millions of Americans eliminate their suffering.”

Stress is an unavoidable part of daily life. However, lessening stress is entirely possible. Chronic stress leads to an overwhelming amount of negative side effects both physically and mentally.

Mental side effects
According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Stress negatively impacts mood and is linked to depression. It also causes trouble focusing, including on work-related tasks.

Physical side effects
Stress does more than just affect the mind. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, chronic stress can suppress the immune system. The Mayo Clinic lists headache, muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, and decreased sex drive as common symptoms. An upset stomach and insomnia can also develop.

These side effects are a breeding ground for more stress. Stop the cycle. Defeat stress with these simple tips.

Take a break
The APA shows that taking a break is a healthy way to reduce stress. Find something else to work on in the meantime. Stand up for a moment and move around. Something as simple as walking to grab a drink helps. Sitting at a desk all day without a break contributes to decision fatigue. Decision fatigue compromises decision-making skills which may lead to poor decisions or not being confident in decisions.

Planning is a proactive way to avoid stress. There are numerous free apps available to help. The best way to avoid stress is to prevent it in the first place.

Practice cognitive framing
Cognitive reframing is a technical term that means to change your perception. Try to look at the problem from a different perspective. The mere idea can trigger stress.

You’ve got this! Kathleen asks: How can I deal with my constant anxiety?

By Tracy Becker

Licensed Counselor

Kathleen asks: How can I deal with my constant anxiety?

Kathleen. I’m so sorry you haven’t found any relief for the anxiety you are experiencing. Any mental health professional would want to know how long you have been having anxiety; what you’ve done thus far to help yourself; if you have seen a counselor or doctor; are you on any medications for anxiety, if so, what are they and how long have they not been working; and if you know the original source or timeframe in which it started?

Having said that, it makes it bit difficult to specifically guide you. However, I would ask you to visit YouTube and search for Solfeggio Tones (also known as Binaural Tones). These tones come in 9 different hertz, you must take the time to listen to all 9 hertz with earbuds to find the one that creates a relaxing sensation in your body, i.e., your shoulders drop, your stomach softens and you begin to breathe easier.

Make sure you note what hertz it is, as that is the hertz that activates your own Parasympathetic Nervous System (PSNS), the rest and recover aspect of your nervous system. Listening to this with earbuds twice a day for 20 minutes will help “rewire” your neurotransmitters so the PSNS will kick into action resulting in relaxation and ease. This allows you to respond with a more reasonable and rational approach.

When we have anxiety for extended periods of time our Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) can get “stuck” in on. Resulting in our Fight or Flight system to be in overdrive. When this happens, we filter many incoming situations as a “warning” or even “danger”, much like a traffic light that is constantly on yellow or red.

Of course, Kathleen, this is just one of many tools that can help. If you are not under the care of a counselor or a psychiatrist, I would highly recommend it, mostly because no one doesn’t deserve to live like this. Wishing you all the best.

Please submit questions to tracy@tracybecker.com

Senior News

By Meg Dickens

“Music has healing power, said singer Elton John. “It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.”

Multiple scientific studies support this claim. Music has a positive impact on personal health. Seniors at the Johnson County Senior Center use the center piano for Senior JAM sessions, group singing, skits, and accompaniment for skits and guest singers. The senior center’s 1920 Hallett and Davis piano has a long and rich history, but it is time for it to retire.

Music in medicine
Music is often a useful tool for relaxation. Experts have found that this works in more extreme cases. A Clevland Clinic study shows that patients who listened to music during their brain surgery can manage anxiety, reduce pain and relax more fully during the procedure.

Music and the mind
Caring Voice Coalition studies show that music has a positive impact on the brain. It often enhances memory and stimulates both sides of the brain, which helps those recovering from strokes or mental impairments. Music also stimulates the reward center of the brain and creates dopamine leading to positive emotions.

Music and physical health
Music is an ideal way to make exercise fun, but it does not end there. Undergraduate studies from Wilkes University suggest that music promotes faster recovery.

Senior Center Director Kathy Motsinger hopes to receive the Johnson County Community Foundation grant. If so, the seniors will only need $3 thousand dollars for a high-performance piano adequate for the space.

For more information about the Johnson County Senior Center and its events, contact Kathy Motsinger at 727-8883. Event calendars and the daily menu can be picked up at the Center. More information on available resources is also available at the Center. The Johnson County Senior Center is a multi-purpose center in Mountain City, TN that provides a variety of services for people 60 and older.

Sherry Tester (at piano) leads the Join the J senior JAM session
every Wednesday at 11 AM. Submitted photo.

World to celebrate Earth Day with focus on “Protecting our Species”


By Tamas Mondovics

Millions will be taking a moment out of their busy lives next Monday to pause and reflect on the ground they are standing.
And, for a good reason.
For nearly a half a century on April 22, people around the world have been celebrating Earth Day as the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970, when people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development.
According to Earth Day Network (EDN) president, Kathleen Rogers, in the U.S. and around the world, smog was becoming deadly, and evidence was growing that pollution led to developmental delays in children. Biodiversity was in decline as a result of the heavy use of pesticides and other pollutants.
Rogers stated that the global ecological awareness was growing, and the US Congress, leading to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and robust environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, among many.
“Earth Day is now a global event each year, and we believe that more than one billion people in 192 countries now take part in what is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world,” Rogers said.
This years’ celebration under its fitting title “Earth Day 2019 – Protect Our Species” will once again promising to draw attention to the challenges facing the planet and the effort to save it.
EDN is now is asking all to join its “Protect our Species” campaign, while pursuing several goals, such as education, raise awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction of millions of species and the causes and consequences of this phenomenon.
EDN hopes to achieve major policy victories that protect broad groups of species as well as individual species and their habitats while building and activate a global movement that embraces nature and its values.
EDN also encourages individual actions such as adopting a plant-based diet and stopping pesticide and herbicide use.
While 2018 focused on “End Plastic Pollution” as its theme, officials are already making big plans for 2020, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
Earth Day representatives emphasized that April 22, is a day of political action and civic participation with people marching, signing petitions, and meeting with their elected officials.
Many will plant trees, clean up their towns and roads, while corporations and governments use it to make pledges and announce sustainability measures, and faith leaders, adding their input in the hope of protecting God’s greatest creations, humans, biodiversity and the planet.
For more information, please visit www.earthday.org.

Package Stores and Beer Board discussed at City Council

By Bethany Anderson

The Mountain City Board of Alderman met last week to discuss the business of the month. There were quite a few more than usual in attendance as one of the topics of discussion was the new liquor and beer ordinances.
Once the floor was opened up to public comments, a woman (who wishes to remain anonymous) questioned the council on their plans for the approval process for those who apply to open package stores in town.
Her question was, “If you have 10 applicants and all 10 meet the requirements, how will you pick which 2 gets a permit? What’s the criteria?”
City Attorney George Wright answered, “First of all, we don’t have to approve 2. We’ll give 1, but that may be all.”
The woman again asked, “But how will you pick? What’s the process going to be like for that?”
Alderman Bud Crosswhite answered, “We’re going to step-by-step. This is new to us so we just don’t know yet.”
Mayor Kevin Parsons added, “We just don’t have an answer yet. This is all new to us. We’ll just have to figure it out. Sorry we can’t be more clear than that, but we will try to be fair.”
The woman was visibly frustrated with the lack of a helpful response to her questions, but was then asked to “take a seat” thus ending the line of questioning on the subject.
Later in the meeting, it was mentioned that in a previous work study meeting a “Beer Board” was discussed. The Beer Board would be put in place to take on any issues with on-premise consumption of beer only. In the work study meeting it was decided that the Board of Alderman themselves would serve as the Beer Board. However, that was amended during the reading of this at the City Council meeting.
The amendment made states that the Beer Board shall be appointed by the Board of Alderman. It shall have a total of 5 members with at least 2 of those members required to be from the Board of Alderman (aka: City Council). The Beer Board would also require 3 members present for any votes.
Those who were present to ask questions about the Board of Alderman’s plans for the approval process made a final attempt to ask about that before the meeting was concluded, but were quickly shut down. No clear answer was given regarding the approval process for package stores, so that remains to be seen.

Dylan Blevins is Laurel Elementary Student of the Week

Dylan Blevins has been chosen student of the week by his peers. Dylan is in Mrs.Savery’s fifth grade class at Laurel Elementary. His favorite book is Harry Potter and his favorite television show is Star Wars. He likes to read and play on his tablet. When he grows up, Dylan would like to become a scientist. Congratulations Dylan.
Photo submitted

Laurel Elementary Third Nine Weeks Honor Roll Kindergarten thru Sixth Grade

All A’s
Emily Blankenship
Dylan Blevins
Jasper Eckert
Penelope Luna
Ellie Owens
Zachary Owens
Sofia Perez
Emma Savery
Kaylee Stanley
Ava Taylor
Lily West
Micah West
River Younce

A’s & B’s
Johnny Blankenship
Jenna Eckert
Aleah Hampton
Kaleb Hicks
Kendon Keith
Marley Matheson
Rayley Matheson
Ryleigh Miller
Zoey Muncy
Rebekah Perez
Rileigh Reece
Lily Savery
Nevaeh Swift
Owen Taylor

tnAchieves TN Promise Students exceed previous year’s FAFSA record

Press release

More than 53,000 tnAchieves Class of 2019 TN Promise students filed the 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by February 1, 2019, breaking the previous year’s record. In fact, this number is the largest in tnAchieves’ history to date. The FAFSA, a federal application, is the primary financial aid application that any student enrolling in post-secondary must complete in order to determine some state and federal scholarship and grant qualifications.
“The FAFSA application process can often times be the most challenging application families will face prior to post-secondary enrollment,” says tnAchieves Senior Director of Communications, Amanda Bolden, “Students who file the FAFSA have access to more financial aid and have more post-secondary opportunities. tnAchieves is excited for every student and family that has filed the 2019-2020 FAFSA because this helps the student to be one step closer to enrolling in college.”
According to Data Insight Partners, Tennessee is leading the country in FAFSA completion rate for the 2019-2020 academic year, with over 74% of current high school seniors completing a FAFSA as of March 8, 2019. Tennessee has been the leader in FAFSA completion three of the last four years, tying with Louisiana for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Collectively, 93% of the tnAchieves TN Promise college cohort filed the FAFSA to continue receiving aid for the 2019-2020 academic year.
tnAchieves is the partnering organization to TN Promise in 84 of Tennessee’s 95 counties and is responsible for all non-financial components of the program.

Johnson County students among TCAT Nurses Pinning Ceremony

By Tamas Mondovics

Anthony D. Barker, Joshua D. Finney, Brenna L. Jones, Naomi A. King, Casey D. Lowery of Johnson County are among the 42 practical nursing students at TCAT Elizabethton scheduled to participate in the nursing pinning ceremony to be held in the Monarch Auditorium of Bristol Regional Medical Center at 5:30 p.m., Monday, April 22.
Students will also represent, Carter, Greene, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington counties. Several students also represented Ashe County NC and Washington County VA.
The practical nursing program at TCAT Elizabethton prepares students for the State Board of Nursing examination to become a Licensed Practical Nurse.
According to TCAT officials in the 12 months ending August 31, 2018, the licensure pass rate for TCAT nursing graduates was 98 percent, and the current season is just as successful.
TCAT is encouraging students to take full advantage of the programs available including the practical nursing classes that are offered at the TCAT Elizabethton Main Campus, 426 Highway 921 North in Elizabethton, beginning in May and September each year.
The program is also offered at its ETSU at Kingsport Campus at Allandale, 1501 University Blvd., Kingsport, beginning in January.
A few things to keep in mind for those desiring to enroll in the Licensed Practical Nursing Program at TCAT Elizabethton include having a high school diploma or equivalent.
To be admitted to the program, students must pay a $40 test fee for the HESI Admission Assessment Exam. There are eight areas in the academic portion of the exam–math, reading, vocabulary, grammar, biology, physics, anatomy/physiology, and chemistry.
Students can select the preferred date of the test, which is given in the Administration Building at the Main Campus, 426 Highway 91 North, across from the Elizabethton Municipal Airport.
New student registration is May 1, for the 2019 Summer Trimester for students previously admitted to TCAT Elizabethton. Students must complete an online application to attend TCAT Elizabethton by visiting www.tcatelizabethton.edu. Select Apply Now.
Financial assistance is also available. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), via the Internet at www.fafsa.ed.gov, to determine financial need.
The TCAT Elizabethton code, #005281, must be included on the FAFSA form.
For more information, telephone 423-543-0070 or visit www.tcatelizabethton.edu.

Include fresh produce in your everyday meals

By Sarah Ransom

We all have grown up hearing about how good it is for us to eat our fruits and vegetables. We know these foods provide a good source of fiber, potassium, folic acid and a variety of vitamins. We have been told that fruits and vegetables show benefits to lowering blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health and helping reduce risks of many chronic conditions, helps with weight management, improves vision and more.
Even with all these reasons to eat fruits and vegetables, we find people are preparing and eating these less and less.
Some quick tips to eating more fruits and vegetables include the following: keep fruit and vegetables where you can see them. Have ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables in a bowl. Grapes, carrots, apples, celery, berries, and broccoli are just a few that are great to have easily accessible and ready for snacking. Explore the produce aisle, or visit your local Farmers Market, and purposefully choose a new food to try.
Variety and color are key to having a healthy diet. Skip the potatoes. We all know how much we enjoy potatoes, and while they provide some vitamins and nutrients, they are high in starch. Step
out and try another vegetable on occasion. Salads,
soups, and stir-fries are a great way to increase vegetable intake.
If you still find you are struggling with including these great foods, especially vegetables, here are some additional ideas of ways to include it with foods you may already be making! Shred those veggies and include them in bread, scrambled eggs, and breakfast casseroles.
In your fruit smoothies, add a few healthy greens, beets or other vegetables of choice to get those vitamins without altering the flavors too much. Add extra chopped vegetables to your spaghetti sauces or pasta dishes, and speaking of pasta – don’t hesitate to try some noodles made from vegetables. Add them to pancakes, chili or baked goodies. Add chopped vegetables to your homemade burgers. Using sliced zucchini, avocado, carrots or green beans, you can make some tasty alternatives to fries. Add vegetables, finely chopped, to your pizza, soups, and stews. When the weather warms up, many fruits and vegetables also turn out great on the grill.
If you would like more ideas on how to include fruits, veggies or learn more about having a healthy, balanced diet – please contact Sarah Ransom at the UT/TSU Extension Office (423)-727-8161 or e-mail sransom@utk.edu for more ideas or recipes you can try. Be sure to visit us at the Farmers Market this summer for some great recipes and samples to try.
Source – The Nutrition Source, Vegetables, and Fruits by Harvard Public School of Health https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vegetables-and-fruits/; Choose MyPlate

UT Gardens’ April Plant of the Month: Iris

The Iris, genus Iridaceae, is the official state cultivated flower of Tennessee.

By Andy Pulte

In Greek mythology, Iris was the goddess of the rainbow; she was a messenger who brought an arc of color to the sky. In our gardens, the blooms of the iris bring a rainbow of color to our landscape. It doesn’t matter if you live on a country road or on a downtown street; iris are plants that catch your eye when in bloom. For most of Tennessee and the Mid-South this begins in April and persists through May with other iris blooming later in the season. By mid-April, the largest flush of bearded iris flowers are what is taking center stage in most gardens.
There are 200-plus species of iris including some North American natives. Species are separated into two main groups – rhizomatous and bulbous. Bulbous irises form a more typical bulb and include Persian, reticulate and many dwarf irises. Rhizomes are underground stems that grow horizontally and are used as storage for the plant. Bearded iris falls into this group as do both the Japanese and Siberian iris.
The Iris, genus Iridaceae, is the official state cultivated flower of Tennessee. While iris come in several different colors, and the act naming the iris as the state flower did not name a particular color. However, by common acceptance, the purple iris is considered the state cultivated flower.
If you love and enjoy iris you may consider having a secession of iris bloom in your garden comprised of several different species. This could begin with Iris reticulata a small bulbus iris, followed by a dwarf bearded iris like ‘little sighs.’ Next, add classic tall bearded iris to your garden. There are many to choose from, ‘Team Player’ and ‘Gypsy Lord’ are two of my favorites. Follow this up with a Siberian iris like ‘Caesar’s Brother’ and Iris tectorum, the Japanese roof iris.
If you like iris, why not get involved with one of the many iris societies we have right here in Tennessee? These can be great ways to meet new gardening friends, share knowledge and gain insight into gardening in your specific region of the state. There are iris societies in neighboring states as well. To get more information, simply search the internet for any of these iris gardening groups. Or visit the website of the American Iris Society at www.irises.org.

Managing your home garden

Elevated Gardens

By Sarah Ransom

While gardens are very popular in Johnson County, it is essential to take proper care of your garden and to manage it well so that
you can reap bountiful harvests all summer and early fall. Growing some of
your food at home can be a big saver. Take full advantage of these benefits of home gardens – there are some helpful things to know when it comes to gardening besides planting, watering and getting adequate sunlight.
The first is weed management. Weeds take your
crops water, nutrients
and can block out sunlight. Weeds also can attract
insects or hold diseases
that are harmful to your plants.
Annual weeds, germinate, grow, mature, produce seeds and die all in the same season. Perennial weeds typically live for three years or longer; these can be the most challenging.
Prevention is the best way to manage weeds that
appear. Most methods are meant to reduce weeds
over time. Mulching is a process of covering the sur
face of the soil; this helps reduce weed pressure, maintain moisture and moderate temperatures; depending on the type of mulch, you can also improve soil structure. Using solarization is a process of using plastic to trap the sun’s radiation and heat the soil to kill off annual weeds.
Row spacing, and how
you are planting is another way to combat weeds.
Crops like beets, radishes
or lettuce can be planted close together to cover the ground and prevent weeds from being able to grow there. Placing cover crops at the end of the season can help smother and cover the ground to prevent weed growth.
You can also use hand or machine weed management techniques that include hand pulling, hoeing, tilling, and spraying. These can be effective in the short term process, but they are also time-consuming. The amount of water can also affect plants; it is estimated that garden crops need 1-1.5 inches per week of water.
There is much more information about various mulching methods and types, weed management, watering techniques and more in the article Plant Management Practices. Information for this article came from this resource. Visit www.extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/W346-D.pdf

Spring into action with spotlight on Home and Garden

By Meg Dickens

With winter fading it is time to spring into action.
It is the ideal time to beautify and improve your surroundings while taking the term ‘spring cleaning’ to a whole new level with lawn and garden renovations.
It is no secret that Tennessee has a rich agricultural history. Johnson County’s economy has been hinged on agriculture for most of its existence.
It was known as the Green Bean Capital of the World, and current school breaks are a byproduct of planting schedules. Present day agricultural staples continue to put Johnson County in the spotlight.
For starters, the Johnson County High School agricultural facilities continue to draw many visitors from around the world.
The region is also boasting of a real estate boom as realtors report record sales for the beginning of 2019. Agencies around the area are low on inventory, which may increase property prices to reflect the shortage prompting this spring to be the ideal time to sell extraneous properties. Agents agree that spring is a fruitful time for real estate because of the blooming flowers so improving property values with home and garden renovations is a must.
“I would have to say that ‘first’ impressions even in real estate are a big deal,” said local real estate agent Mina Norfleet. “Homeowners can do some very simple things to improve the value of their homes.”
Curb appeal is the first impression. Whether this is positive depends on several factors. Landscaping and hardscaping are essential steps toward improving this impression. They also improve home values quite a bit.
“Landscaping does wonders for curb appeal for a home or business. The return on investment is usually 100 to 200 percent,” said local expert Harvey Burniston Jr.
Outdoor lighting is a commonly neglected way to advance curb appeal. This aspect has a plethora of uses. Outdoor lighting increases property values, and it is also an excellent tool for safety and outdoor events. The easiest way to improve curve appeal is by applying new paint.
Local expert Michael “Red” Jordan declares that this is an excellent time of year to paint. The best window to paint is from late April through July because of the lower humidity. Pressure wash and remove flaking paint before adding a new paint job. Flaking paint prevents new paint from bonding effectively. According to Red, contrast is an essential part of painting.
“A new coat of paint will do wonders,” said Red. “It’s like a facelift.”
Accents and contrasting colors can make a home look more extensive and more open. Two such techniques include accent walls and high contrast exterior walls. Red suggests to paint the base of the house in a lighter color and to pain the eaves in dark colors.
Add a different type of color with great landscaping and gardening.
It is the ideal time to plan your garden. The Farmer’s Almanac lists this year’s last spring frost date as May 7. Without the frost, a plant’s worst nightmare is pests. There are simple ways to protect them with items lying around the house.
Deer are one of the most persistent pests. Despite that, they are relatively easy to deter. Scare tactics such as light tricks only require a reflective surface. Stringing fishing line and planting in levels are also effective. According to a study from the University of Vermont Extension Department of Plant and Soil Science, tallow in soap repels deer as well.
Many renovators use DIY (Do it Yourself) projects to cut costs. This method is useful but not recommended for renovators without experience. Small mistakes can skyrocket budget costs.
“You can’t replace experience, and you can’t beat a man at his own trade,” said Red.
The Tomahawk’s service directory is a renovator-friendly source. Locals offer everything from construction and excavations to lawn care and installations. For those who want to try their hand at DIY renovations, there are three simple steps to follow.
Do your homework. Learn as much as possible about the project. It includes online tutorials. Different sources emphasize different aspects. These tutorials also show possible pitfalls to avoid.
Buy the right tools. Saving cash on less practical or improper tools could actually cost more in the end. Be aware of tool pros and cons before making a purchase. It is also wise to practice before taking on the project. Tools differ per project. For example, a professional landscaper would need a larger rototiller than someone using the machine for personal use.
Find a consultant. Whether it is a professional or just someone knowledgeable in the field, find someone with experience. Experienced DIYers can save money by completing some labor independently. Average labor costs fall between 25 percent and 60 percent.
Timing is everything. Plants have their own preferences and grow accordingly. Soil and fertilizer maintenance, weather, and sunlight are important factors in plant growth. Vegetables planted during their proper time of the year taste better than others. Each plant has its own needs.
Home and garden renovations go hand-in-hand. They are not mutually exclusive, but they are mutually beneficial. Whether the renovations are for personal use or to increase property value, they are well worth the effort.

Grant Program Offers Support For Projects Of Young Innovators

Staff report

Nonprofit Fund Offering $5,000 Grants To Innovative Young People

There are a lot of young people with new ideas, enthusiasm and passion, but without the financial means to change their dreams into reality. The Hunter Watson Memorial Fund is now offering grants to help support these young innovators and their projects.

Founded in memory of Hunter Brooks Watson, a college sophomore who died as a passenger in a distracted driving accident, the Memorial Fund offers grants of up to $5,000 to provide young men and women between the ages of 16 and 25 with the financial means to take their ideas and dreams to the next step.

The deadline for the next grant cycle is June 15, 2019 and the Fund is encouraging young people to submit their applications as soon as possible. There is no cost or obligation to apply. Applications are evaluated by a committee looking for innovative ideas in a variety of areas, including music, the performing arts, computer technology and entrepreneurship.

In recent grant cycles the Memorial Fund has helped finance new Internet and cell phone applications, music and performance projects, audio and video recording, and expansion of online businesses, all projects developed by passionate young people.

Grant applicants need not be in school and the grants are not scholarships nor intended to cover tuition costs.

The grants are direct financial support for a young innovator’s project and come with the help of a mentor to help the grant winner move his or her project forward.

Further information, and the grant application itself, is available online at
hunterwatson.org/grants. The application deadline for the current grant cycle is June 15, 2019.

For more information visit www.hunterwatson.org.

Payton Grizzle is Laurel Elementary Student of the week

Mrs. Savery’s fifth and sixth grade at Laurel
Elementary has chosen Payton Grizzle as student of the week. Payton likes to work outside with his grandparents and play around the house with his dog and friends. When he grows up, he wants to be a mechanic. Congrats Payton!

Doe Elementary Leaders of the Week

Doe Elementary School students smile big for the camera after a chance to be in the spotlight as leaders of the week. The school has implemented its “Leader in Me”! initiative that selects students as leaders from each homeroom and recognizing them throughout the week. Front row (left to right): Kayelynn Terrill, Victoria Matherly, Pandy Vanover, Mason Wilson, Gavin Lunceford. Back row (left to right): Peyton Perry, Brynna
Phillippi, Landon Searls, Keiana Wastell, Emilano Ramirez. Photo submitted

Class enjoys limelight on finished quilt

The Johnson County Senior Center present Mrs. Faye Baker’s Pre-K class at Mountain City Elementary School with a finished quilt they sewed together. As part of a project to learn the letters Q, S and R, the
students took turn at the sewing machine to create each piece, which was than connected by members of the Senior Center quilters. Submitted photo.

Call it a picture perfect weekend

Sunset on Grandfather Mountain offers a cascade of colors to delight photographers of all skill levels. The park’s annual
Nature Photography Weekend returns May 31 to June 2. Photo by Terri Campbell

Grandfather Mountain’s annual Nature Photography Weekend returns May 31 to June 2. This three-day workshop features presentations from renowned photographers, one-of-a-kind shooting opportunities and a friendly, but competitive (and optional), photo contest.
Online registration begins Monday, April 15.
2019’s featured presenters include Tamron Image Master Mike Moats, Nikon Legend Behind the Lens Tony Sweet, Tamron Pro Ambassador Lisa Langell, MindShift Gear & Think Tank Photographer Vinny Colucci and celebrated commercial photographer J. Scott Graham.
The speakers will discuss a variety of photography-related topics, encompassing both the technical and artistic elements of the craft and beyond.
Presentations take place in the afternoons and evenings, allowing participants to explore Grandfather Mountain and take their own shots during the day, while also participating in several outdoor field sessions (weather permitting) with professional photographers. Opportunities for sunrise and sunset photography will also be offered.
Participants are invited to camp for free at the Woods Walk Picnic Area during the weekend, taking advantage of one of the few opportunities to stay overnight inside the park.
Admission to Nature Photography Weekend is $115 and covers three-day park admission, a Saturday evening meal, entry to all presentations and field sessions, and a flash drive for submitting contest entries. A $95 level includes all of the above, but does not include participation in the photo contest.
Family members and guests of participants may visit the mountain at a discounted rate during the weekend if registered in advance.
Online registration begins at 9 a.m. Monday, April 15, at www.grandfather.com. Photographers should act fast, as the event fills quickly.
For more information, visit www.grandfather.com/events/nature-photography-weekend/ or email frank@grandfather.com.