Over 1 million papers delivered, Barry settles into a deserved retirement

After a long, dedicated and diligent service at the helm of The Tomahawk newspaper circulation department Wayne Barry smiles at the camera as he enjoys the spotlight during a small retirement party at The Tomahawk newsroom. Barry said goodbye after 12 years of transporting and delivering the weekly editions of the paper throughout the region. Photo by Meg Dickens

By Katie Lamb,
Freelance Writer

“If you don’t like my driving, just close your eyes,” said Wayne Barry, while training the newest employee to the Tomahawk newspaper. For the past twelve years, Barry has been a most reliable Circulation Manager. Dedicated, every Tuesday and Wednesday of each week, Barry picks up and delivers thousands of weekly-published papers to businesses, post offices, gas stations, restaurants, and little “mom and pop” shops, traveling nearly two hundred miles to do so. Rain or shine, snow or sleet, “The paper has got to go out,” he said, gratified and pleased with his indispensable purpose.
The new trainee for the Circulation Manager position spent three weeks learning Barry’s schedule, ins, and outs, and when to stop where and at what time. “You will learn, you will get it down, you will have your own thing going on,” he told the rookie who is going to have some big shoes to fill.
Prior to working for the paper, Barry retired from Eastman where he was a mechanic for more than thirty years. He has been married to his wife Vickie for almost fifty years and is retiring from the Tomahawk to focus on his farm that boasts of more than thirty cattle, several donkeys, and frequent visits from skunks, groundhogs and other local critters.
An animal lover, Wayne has rescued several dogs over the years, the latest, Little Bit, warms his heart and keeps him company while performing farm and house chores.
With utmost joy, weekly receivers of Wayne’s deliveries smile as soon as they see him. It is very clear how loved he is. “It is bittersweet (about retiring), says Barry, “I’m going to miss these good folks.”
Wayne will be deeply missed each week by the Tomahawk, locals, and folks that are accustomed to his paper distributions and his presence. While the trainee only spent six days with Wayne, she exclaims, “He is one of the kindest, most wonderful people I have ever had the pleasure to spend time with.
And, about his driving, I never had to close my eyes.”

Advanced Master Beef Program

Agriculture in Johnson County

By Rick Thomason

UT/TSU-Johnson County Extension Director

In order to qualify for the 50% cost share offered through the Tennessee Agriculture Enhancement Program, producers must complete the Advanced Master Beef Producer program once every three years. Beef Cattle producers in Johnson and Carter counties will have two options to complete the Adv. MBP program in 2019.
1. A seven night course will be offered in Mountain City on September 9, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26 and 30th. These classes will meet in the basement of the Johnson County Farm Bureau building at 6:30 p.m.
2. The Adv. MBP program will also be offered in Greeneville, TN on October 10th and 11th. These classes will be given over 2 full days and producers will be required to attend both days.
The registration fee for either class is $75 and will cover snacks/meals, educational materials, cap, farm sign and a MBP certificate. (Note: this does not include the Beef Quality Assurance certification fee. The BQA fee is $20 for members of the Tennessee Cattleman’s Association or $40 for non-members).
Beef cattle producers may pre-register for the program at either the Johnson or Carter county Extension office. The Johnson County office is located at 212 College Street in Mountain City beside the Mountain City Post Office. The Extension office in Carter county is located at 824 East Elk Avenue in Elizabethton
The Tennessee Agriculture Enhancement Program will be having several changes for the 2019-20 program year. New programs for the upcoming year include a Cattle Herd Health program and a Hay Equipment program. These are in addition to the Livestock Equipment, Genetics and Working Facility Cover programs.
Hay Storage (barns) will not be offered next year in order to have funds available for the Hay Equipment program. If you would like to read more about the TAEP program, their website is: https://www.tn.gov/agriculture/farms/taep.html
If you have any questions or need additional information, call the UT/TSU-Johnson County Extension office at 727-8161. You may also contact the UT-Carter County Extension office at 542-1818.

Senior News

The Johnson County Senior Center celebrated Book Lovers Day on August 9. Everyone that came on Friday received a new book and also other goodies that were donated from Food Lion of Mountain City. The Senior Center has a Book Club that meets the first Monday of each month. Anyone 60 years or older can come and join the fun. Submitted Photo.


How to help kids make friends at school

Akira (Pre-K) and Kemora Lipfird (7th grade) set off for their first day of school. Photo By Heather Moreno.

Staff Report

The average student likely spends more time at school and participating in extracurricular activities with classmates than he or she does at home. In close proximity to so many peers, it may seem like making friends would be a snap. However, some students have trouble connecting and can use a little push to make friends.

The family and parenting resource Parenting Science notes that research indicates that the most popular children are those who exemplify certain traits. These traits include being caring; a willingness to share; a willingness to offer help; and strong verbal skills. Children who embrace these traits may prove better at making friends. Parents may find that youngsters need some encouragement to build their social circles, and the following are some ways parents can offer that encouragement.

Encourage kids to seek out someone on their own.
It may be challenging to walk up to a group and introduce yourself. Encourage students to seek out someone who is alone and then strike up a conversation, which can be less intimidating than approaching a group. Emphasize to kids that other students may also be a little shy and looking to make friends.

Practice conversation starters at home.
Children can work with their parents to come up with topics that can help foster communication. These can include ice breakers and common interests, such as favorite television shows or video games.

Teach kids approachable body language.
Wearing earbuds or exhibiting negative body language, such as crossed arms or avoiding eye contact, can make a person seem less approachable. Smiling, engaging in conversation and being friendly can make it easier to make friends.

Ask teachers to help. The education resource Understood says teachers can give children responsibilities, such as the opportunity to hand out snacks or papers, which can build confidence and provide opportunities for kids to converse with their peers. Help children be active listeners.
An active listener is someone who makes it clear that he or she is paying attention. Making eye contact, orienting the body toward the speaker and making relevant verbal responses are some active listening strategies that can help kids more fully engage with their peers. Feeling valued and listened to may encourage other children to be more friendly and engaging.

Ask open questions. The social networking advisement site Young Scot suggests having students ask open questions, such as: “How was your summer?” or “What sports do you like to play?” These types of questions can kick-start in-depth conversations.Join a team or club. Students often make friends in social or extracurricular settings, such as on a sports team. With a shared interest, it’s easy to find topics to discuss.

Making friends in school can make time spent in the classroom more enjoyable for youngsters.

Laurel Student of the week

Dylan Blevins has been chosen by Mrs. Savery’s class as student of the week. Dylan is in sixth grade. His favorite subject in school is science. He likes to draw and ride his bike. Dylan wants to be a biologist when he grows up. Congrats Dylan!

JCHS Marching Band prepares for 2019-2020 school year

By Bethany Anderson

Students, staff, and volunteers of the JCHS Marching Band have completed another season of Band Camp and are ready for the school year ahead.

From Monday, July 29 through Friday, August 2, the young musicians worked from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at their host site, Bethany Baptist Church. The week ended with the traditional “Parent Preview” so that they could show off all their hard work.

This school year’s band show will be “American Idiot, The Musical” by Green Day and everyone involved has been hard at work getting ready.

JCHS Band Director Kaitlyn Cole commented, “Band Camp went great this year. Probably the best one since I’ve been here.” She added, “The students worked very well together and worked harder than ever.”

Band Booster President Jessica Dillard said, “I am honored to be a part of the marching band program, and I know from experience that the lessons learned here will last a lifetime.” Dillard went on to say, “I am so very proud of every one of these young men and women. Their dedication was evident all week in their hard work.”

Many local businesses helped contribute to the camp by donating meals for the students, staff, and volunteers. Cole wanted to be sure to thank those who have helped them so far this year saying, “I am very proud of my students and very blessed for having all the donations that were provided from the community.”

Cole also wanted to be sure to thank their band camp host site, adding, “I also want to thank Bethany Baptist Church for letting us use their church.” Dillard also commented on the support the band has received saying, “The continued support from our community as a whole has been amazing.”

The JCHS Marching Band can be supported during this week’s farmers market. The Band Boosters will be selling snow cones and popcorn as a part of their fundraising efforts for this school year’s activities.

The market is located at Ralph Stout Park on Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon. While the band appreciates all the community support they have received so far this school year, they could always use a little more.

Class of ’58 celebrates six decades

First row (left to right): Carolyn Tester Wagner, Joan Cress Stout, Mary Ann Lowe Worley, Darlena Dugger Mixson, Barbara Osborne Medley, Brenda McQueen McEwen, Earlene Wallace Reece, Mary Alice Snyder Norris, Shirley Morefield Widner. Second row(left to right): Benny Simcox, Teacher, Mrs. Evelyn Cook, Fred Ramsey, Paul Stegall, Bill Grindstaff, J.R. Long, Tom Worley. Back row (left to right): Truett Pleasant, Park Grant,Richard Brookshire, Jack Stout, and John Snyder. Attending but not pictured was Jim Everett. Submitted photo.

Submitted by Brenda McEwen

The graduating class of 1958 attended their 61st year class reunion on Saturday, July 20th in the Fellowship Hall of First United Methodists Church with the Levi Retirees catering a delicious buffet lunch. Mrs. Evelyn Cook, JCHS teacher entertained the class with stories of people she had known in the past. Truett Pleasant read the obituary of deceased classmate, J.N.Walker. Several members of the class attended Heritage Hall Saturday night to see the play, “Mom’s Gift”.

Tennesseans impacted by opioids share their stories

TDH Press Release

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Health kicked off the new “Tennessee Faces of the Opioid Crisis” public education and awareness campaign last month at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville. This project will feature people from every county of Tennessee sharing personal stories of how they have been impacted by the opioid crisis. The campaign also provides resources and information on how everyone can be part
of the solution to this problem.
“Our goal is to demonstrate the opioid epidemic is having an impact on people in every community and county in our state – our neighbors, friends, coworkers – and that together we can overcome this crisis,“ said TDH Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “We are so grateful to those sharing their stories as a way to give hope to others who may be struggling with substance abuse and connect people with resources in their communities.“
Campaign participants representing several Tennessee counties attended the launch event, which included the debut of public service announcements and artwork created for the effort. Each county participant will be featured on a poster sharing his or her photo and story. In addition to on-air and digital placement of the videos, TDH will make the videos and posters available to community partners who wish to use the materials to help educate people about the impact of the opioid crisis and resources available in the community to help prevent drug abuse and misuse.
“I’m excited for this campaign to show that, while drug abuse has affected so many of our lives, it’s not won. Glory to God for the successes and victories in my life and the lives of others!” said Pharmacist Robbie Monahan, Tennessee Faces of the Opioid Crisis participant from Washington County. “I want to be an example for others to see that they too can overcome obstacles and achieve greater things.”
“Tennessee Faces of the Opioid Crisis“ includes four public service announcements which will air through cable providers and digital placements from July 17 through September 29. Themes for these spots are: Faces (Tennessee Faces
of the Opioid Crisis);
Hands (Count It! Lock It! Drop It!); Pills (What Are Opioids?) and Texting. The spots include messaging designed for both adults and teenagers.
Visit TNFacesofOpioids.com to read the stories shared by Tennesseans across the state and learn about community-based resources available to assist people impacted by substance abuse and misuse. TDH will also share the stories on social media @TNDeptofHealth with the hashtag #TNFaces. Find the campaign on Instagram @TNFaces.

Does your child’s school have safe drinking water?

As millions of kids around the country trade swimsuits and popsicle sticks for backpacks and pencils, parents should be advised that current research shows that contaminants in school drinking water can pose a threat to student health. Municipal water, which is not always optimal quality, may contain chemicals, bacteria, lead or microplastics — all contaminants which have been found in tap and fountain water in schools nationwide.
Lead, in particular, is a major concern due to old metal pipelines and systems that carry water into schools. According to a Harvard study published in 2019, 44 percent of the nearly 11,000 schools tested nationwide had one or more water samples with a lead concentration at or above their state’s action level. What’s more, a lack of federal quality standards and statewide requirements for testing school water sources and pipelines means that schools may have an undiscovered problem or that test results may not always be public knowledge.
While students who use school water can be at risk of consuming unsafe contaminants, there are practical steps families can take to help ensure kids are hydrating safely while at school, one of which is using a filtered water
“Sending my children to school with a water bottle that filters out contaminants is an easy way to ensure my kids can always access clean and safe water at school,” says Tara Lundy, a mother of three and head of brand at LifeStraw, who arms her own children with a bottle that can filter fountain water on-the-go.
At a time when environmental health advocates are calling for the proactive removal of lead-bearing parts from schools’ drinking water systems, parents can start protecting their children’s health today with filtered water bottles.
An option designed specifically with children in mind is the LifeStraw Play featuring a two-stage filter that protects against bacteria, parasites, microplastics, some chemicals and heavy metals like lead. Using a filtered water bottle with this level of protection means that kids can safely and conveniently access water from any tap or public water fountain. The bottle is also great for use while camping or hiking and even traveling internationally, since it can remove bacteria and parasites. And because it removes bad tastes and odors from water, it is also a useful item for kids with sensory defensiveness who smell or taste water. The brand carries options well-suited for older children, teens and college students, too.
Benefitting not only the user, but children around the world, each LifeStraw water bottle provides a school child in need with safe drinking water for an entire school year. Their programs are implemented in places like Kenya, Mexico and India. More information can be found at lifestraw.com.
Parents can learn more about policies affecting the safety of drinking water in their child’s school, as well as access a Healthy Schools Checklist, by visiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s website at: www.epa.gov/schools.
For a safer, healthier school year, don’t forget to put a filtered water bottle on your family’s back-to-school shopping list.

 Motorists urged to be safety conscious with increased back-to-school traffic

By Tamas Mondovics

With August considered a national school bus safety month, the Tennessee Department of Education (TDE) student transportation appropriately put bus safety the department’s number one priority.
Motorists are reminded to take note of the increase in local traffic, including children walking or on bikes hurrying to get to school before the bell rings or parents trying to drop their kids off before work.
The start of the school year also includes the addition of yellow school buses picking up and dropping off
students prompting officials to urge motorists to be ever more vigilant on the roadways.
According to TDE, Tennessee schools transport approximately 700,000 students a day on about 8,700 bus routes in districts and charters across the diverse terrain of city, urban, and rural routes.
Although smaller in numbers, the increased traffic will also be felt in Johnson County.
The department’s student transportation office is responsible for overseeing all school bus inspections and determining whether public school bus systems are in compliance with the safety requirements outlined in the Tennessee Code.
TDE promises its continued commitment to providing all transportation supervisors with high-quality training and necessary resources to ensure that all buses are properly maintained.
Of course, drivers must meet strict licensing requirements, including successful completion of driver training, background checks, and drug and alcohol testing.
As local schools often have their own, very specific drop-off procedures for the school year, motorists and parents are urged to be sure of knowing them for the safety of all kids.
By exercising extra care and caution, drivers and pedestrians can co-exist safely in school zones.
Below are some reminders about bus safety, rules, and regulations:

Know When to Stop:

•When the red lights are flashing, and the stop arm is extended.
•Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red flashing lights are turned off, the stop arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they start driving again.
•When a school bus is stopped at an intersection to load and unload children, drivers from all directions are required to stop until the bus resumes motion.
•When driving on a highway with separate roadways for traffic in opposite directions, drivers must stop unless there is a grass median or physical barrier.
•A road that is a multi-lane or shared median, vehicles traveling in both directions must stop.
• The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) wanted to make drivers aware of the rules and penalties for improperly passing a school bus. Tennessee Law 55-8-151 addresses the overtaking and passing school buses while unloading/loading passengers and the penalties.
The Tennessee law states: “The driver of a vehicle upon a highway, upon meeting or overtaking from either direction any school bus that has stopped on the highway for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children, shall stop the vehicle before reaching the school bus, and the driver shall not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or is signaled by the school bus driver to proceed or the visual signals are no longer actuated. Subsection (a) shall also apply to a school bus with lights flashing and stop sign extended and marked in accordance with this subsection (a) that is stopped upon property owned, operated, or used by a school or educational institution, if the bus is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children outside a protected loading zone. It is a Class C misdemeanor for any person to fail to comply with any provision of this subsection (a) other than the requirement that a motor vehicle stops upon approaching a school bus.
It is a Class A misdemeanor punishable only by a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) for any person to fail to comply with the provision of this subsection (a) requiring a motor vehicle to stop upon approaching a school bus.”
It is noteworthy that while much emphasis is put on motorists—and for a good reason—such does not exclude parents, guardians as well as students from being aware of guidelines in connection with school bus safety.
With a new safety law in effect since January 1, 2018, there is much expected of each child while riding a school bus including no profanity used on the bus at any time for any reason.
Students are to sit as quickly as possible and to stay in their seat while the bus is moving. Riders are to wait until the bus stops before going to the front to exit
and to exit as quickly as possible.
Other requirements include: keep your hands to yourself; absolutely no horseplay or bullying will be tolerated; do not get things out of your backpack; no eating or drinking on the bus, which is a state law. Officials explained that buses may be taken off the road due to food and candy being on the floor (it attracts insects).
To keep the noise level to a minimum is a no-brainer as screams and loud noises
are very distractive to the driver.
For a complete list of rules, please visit www.tn.gov/safety/tnhp/cvemain/pupiltransport.html.

Rock Christian Homeschool Cooperative is building a supportive community


Rock Christian Homeschool Cooperative (RCHC) is a parent-run homeschool organization through which parents pool their resources, talents, and time to teach the children of the group one day per week. “Our goal is to provide a biblical learning and social environment and community for the areas home schooling families,” said school director, Bonnie Guy.
School officials held a question-and-answer session earlier this week, with registration scheduled for Tuesday, August 20, 2019, at 3:30 pm.
While the curriculum is from a Christian standpoint, Guy emphasized that the coop is open to anyone who will sign and agree to respect and abide by the policies of the organization.
Our mission is to build a supportive community of Christian Homeschool Families. We are committed to providing an uplifting and encouraging experience to all who attend. We offer classes, field trips, and other enrichment opportunities. Our Co-op serves all children nursery – graduation.
All volunteers, including teachers, monitors, and leadership with direct contact with the children, have had a clear background check and have signed a statement of faith agreement.
“This is true cooperative, and only works with each family volunteering their time and talents in areas such as teaching, hall and playground monitoring, cleanup, field trip organization, and leadership,” Guy said. “Children must be supervised at all times; parents must be on-site at all times unless arrangements have been made otherwise.
Mountain City Presbyterian Church along with Pastor Con Saul’s has graciously donated their church and grounds on Tuesdays for classes and activities. Rock Christian Academy Board is both gracious sponsors and supporters RCHC. Combined with their efforts and those of the home schooling families, the 2019-2020 school year will be the inaugural year.
Need-based scholarships are available upon request. However, we strive very hard to keep all costs at the bare minimum. In addition to volunteer efforts, a $12 facility fee per family is charged to cover paper and product needs. Teachers will charge a small fee per class to cover supplies and curriculum. The average cost thus far is $5-$10. There are no fees charged by the instructors.
Looking forward, as we grow, we plan field trips, Kindergarten and High School graduation ceremonies, Banquets, pictures, science and history fairs, spelling bees, and other enrichment opportunities.

2019’s States with the Best & Worst School Systems

With the Every Student Succeeds Act continuing to shape state curriculums and students getting closer to the end of their summer breaks, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2019’s States with the Best & Worst School Systems as well as accompanying videos.
Tennessee ranks 34th
In order to determine the best school systems in America, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 29 key measures of quality and safety. The data set ranges from pupil-teacher ratio to dropout rate to median standardized-test scores.

Best vs. Worst
Iowa has the lowest dropout rate, 9.00 percent, which is 3.2 times lower than in New Mexico, the highest at 28.90 percent.
Vermont has the lowest pupil-teacher ratio, 10.80, which is 2.2 times lower than in Arizona, the highest at 23.29.
Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Vermont have the lowest share of high school students who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, 4.80 percent, which is 2.7 times lower than in Louisiana, the highest at 12.80 percent.
The District of Columbia has the lowest share of high school students who were bullied online 8.90 percent, which is 2.4 times lower than in Louisiana, the highest at 21.20 percent.
To view the full report and your state or the District’s rank, please visit:
Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like to schedule a phone, Skype or in-studio interview with one of our experts. Feel free to embed this YouTube video summarizing the study on your website. You can also use or edit these raw files as you see fit. Full data sets for specific states and the District are also available upon request.

Bullying is not new, not okay

By Jill Penley
Freelance Writer

Bullying at school is an age-old problem, and too many take the “children will be children” attitude toward the problem. School violence has been the focus of media attention in recent years, mostly due to coverage of events such as school shootings and suicides and one of the common issues relating these tragedies is bullying. What exactly is bullying? Not surprisingly, there is no uniform definition of bullying.
A recent American Academy of Pediatrics publication defined bullying as: “A form of aggression in which one or more children repeatedly and intentionally intimidate, harass, or physically harm a victim who is perceived as unable to defend herself or himself. “
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, as many as half of all children are bullied at some point during their school years. At least ten percent are bullied
Despite the best efforts of educators to curtail it, bullying continues in Tennessee schools. State law now requires school systems to implement a policy defining bullying and outlining the punishment for students
who intimidate their classmates.
Besides the physical, emotional, and psychological tolls it takes on victims, bullying produces adverse socioeconomic outcomes. The Association for Psychological Science recently found that those who are bullies, victims, or both are more likely to experience poverty, academic failure, and job termination in their adulthood than those who were neither. In addition, the affected individuals are more likely to commit a crime and to abuse drugs and alcohol.
Bullying behavior can be physical, verbal, or electronic. With the advent of social media, bullying has expanded and can now penetrate every computer and cell phone in the country.
If a child becomes withdrawn, depressed, or reluctant to go to school, or if you see a decline in school performance, bullying may be the culprit.
“Your child doesn’t need you to go ballistic or take on the problem as your own,” said Peggy Moss, a nationally known expert on bullying and a tireless advocate for the prevention of hate violence. “Your child needs to know that he’s being heard and that his feelings matter. Once you’ve got the whole story out, depending upon what’s happened, you can take your next step.”
Parents are often reluctant to report bullying to school officials, but it may be necessary to contact a child’s teacher and principal. Experts caution parents, however, to keep emotions in check and provide factual information only.
“If you suspect your child is bullying others, it’s essential to seek help for him or her as soon as possible. Without intervention, bullying can lead to serious academic, social, emotional, and legal difficulties. Talk to your child’s pediatrician, teacher, principal, school counselor, or family physician. If the bullying continues, a comprehensive evaluation by a child and adolescent psychiatrist or other mental health professionals should be arranged. The assessment can help you, and your child understands what is causing the bullying, and help you develop a plan to stop the destructive behavior.”

Johnson County students among hundreds of youth leaders at the 2019 Tennessee Teen Institute  

Press release

Students from (Johnson County), Tennessee joined 490 youth leaders from across the state representing 45 counties at the Tennessee Teen Institute.
The Tennessee Teen Institute is a five-day youth leadership and prevention camp sponsored by the Jackson Area Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (J.A.C.O.A.).
This year event held in mid-June marked the 33rd Anniversary of the Teen Institute Program in Tennessee, which addresses teen issues such as bullying, violence, suicide, teen pregnancy, distracted driving, teen health and substance abuse prevention through a five-day, peer-led prevention camp designed to provide teen participants with the skills and education necessary to develop and implement alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs in their own communities.
According to event organizers, the comprehensive program trains mobilizes and empowers youth to prevent the illegal use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs and self-destructive behaviors in themselves and their peers.
T.T.I, prepares students to not only make positive changes but to be proud advocates of those changes. Students will have the opportunity to grow and learn as individuals while enhancing their leadership abilities. Because T.T.I. is peer-led, teens are given a unique opportunity to have a “voice” in addressing issues important to them. Giving youth some ownership in this type of program is one of the key factors in the success of enforcing a substance-free lifestyle.
Part of the responsibility of attending T.T.I. is to develop an Action Plan youth can implement in their respective communities.
Johnson County youth came home with a plan to target and reduce the use of electronic cigarettes among youth and participate in the Department of Health’s Red Sand Project to bring awareness to human trafficking.
“We are very excited to be able to work with Johnson County youth concerning these issues,” said Denise Woods, (A.C.T.I.O.N. Coalition’s Prevention Coordinator).  “Tennessee Teen Institute is a great conference to motivate youth to make a positive impact in the community.”
Participants leave motivated not only to make healthy decisions in their own lives but also committed to work so that others are making healthy decisions in their communities as well.

Getting the most for your money for the student-athlete

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

As students scramble to get their backpacks and other school supplies, the student-athlete has an additional list of necessities as the new school year rolls around.
For the student who may be playing a particular sport, the list of essentials may include the much-needed shoes, cost of uniforms and other equipment and sports physicals.
The National Retail Federation estimates that parents will spend around $670 on school supplies. Parents of athletes can add an additional cost of approximately $200-$300 on sports equipment, clothing, and transportation.
The equipment and cost may vary, but the extra expenditures will likely be something families have to budget for at the beginning of the school year. Travel time to and from games and the cost of getting into the venue is also an additional expense that can quickly add up.
However, any enthusiastic family member will easily do what it takes to see their student-athlete in action.
There are some ways to help slash the cost of sports expenditures.
Buying “gently-used” sports gear would be very economically efficient. Parents may be experiencing their own competition to see if the recently purchased athletic clothing and shoe purchases will last throughout the school year or will a child’s potential growth spurt be the real winner. Buying “broken-in” athletic wear or purchasing clothes a little bigger may help with the cost. As far as travel, the biggest way to reduce that additional spending would be simply car-pool with other family members of the team, which could also build relationships and provide a sound support system.
So, parents and other family members get ready, the feeling of accomplishment of getting everything on the school supply list will be short-lived, because as the athlete is picked up from the first school practice there just maybe a new set of “school supplies.”
Being a family member of a student-athlete is one of the greatest experiences one can have. Watching the beloved player have a great game or even suffer through a hard loss; the support from family is needed and essential.
However, less than five percent of student-athletes go on to play in college, so remember enjoying watching the athlete is more satisfying when knowing the bank
account is not empty by trying to keep up with all of
the “must-haves” on the child’s list.

Free meals for 100 percent of Johnson County students

By Katie Lamb,
Freelance Writer

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service, www.usda.gov, regarding its National School Lunch Program, states, “The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a non-pricing meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income areas. “CEP allows the nation’s highest poverty schools and districts to serve breakfast and lunch at no
cost to all enrolled students without collecting household applications.”
The School Nutrition Association (SNA), www.schoolnutrition.org, reports, “Nearly 100,000 schools/institutions serve school lunches to 29.8 million students each day, and over 90,000 schools/institutions serve school breakfasts to 14.71 million students each day.”
Kathy McCulloch, Director, Johnson County Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program, proudly stated, “One hundred percent of our students are eligible for free breakfast and lunch daily.”
Feeding America, www.feedingamerica.org,is an
organization that has responded to the hunger crisis in America by providing food to people in need through
a nationwide network of
food banks for thirty-five years.
“It’s a simple fact: A child’s chance for a bright tomorrow starts with getting enough food to eat today. But in America, one in six children may not know where they will get their next meal. “For the more than twelve million kids in the U.S. facing hunger, getting the energy, they need to learn and grow can be a daily challenge. Kids who don’t get enough to eat, especially during their first three years, begin life at a serious disadvantage. When they’re hungry, children are more likely to be hospitalized, and they face higher risks of health conditions like anemia and asthma. And as they grow up, kids struggling to get enough to eat are more likely to have problems in school and
other social situations. Children facing hunger may struggle in school and beyond. They are more likely to
repeat a grade, experience developmental impairments in areas like language and
motor skills, and have more social and behavioral problems.”
For more information, please call Kathy McCulloch, Director Johnson County CEP at 423-727-2657, visit www.schoolnutrition.org, www.usda.gov, or www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/community-eligibility-provision.

Back-to-School shopping is big business

Whether it’s high school or elementary, between school supplies, clothes, extra-curricular activity fees, and additional course fees, going back to school can cost a pretty parental penny but shopping special back to school sales can help ease
the expense.Photo by Jill Penley

By Jill Penley
Freelance Writer

It’s that time of year. Much to the chagrin of students, teachers, and parents alike, it is time to head back to the classroom. While students may dread the return to strict bedtimes and homework, parents have to worry about paying for back-to-school shopping, which has become expensive big business.
The bulk of back-to-school shopping took place during tax-free weekends, especially
since both Tennessee and Virginia’s dates were just before school resuming for fall semester.
Tennessee law provides for a sales tax holiday each year during the last weekend in July.
“This is an important savings opportunity for everyone,” Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano said.
Back-to-school represents the second-largest shopping season of the year, trailing only the holiday season. According to the National Retail Federation, parents will spend $26.2 billion on K-12 back-to-school necessities this year. That’s an average $696.70 per child, up 5 percent from last year’s $684.79. Elementary school kids cost the least, with high school kids nearing the top of the estimates.
“Consumers are in a strong position given the nation’s growing economy, and we see this reflected in what they say they will spend on back-to-class items this year,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “We’re expecting record spending and retailers are ready to provide students with all the items they need for a successful school year.”
School supplies make up 94 percent of purchases with clothing and accessories following close behind making up 92 percent. Ninety percent of back-to-school shopping is spent on shoes, and the remaining is spent on electronics.
Parents won’t be bearing the increased spending alone, the survey found. Teens and pre-teens are expected to spend more of their own money on back-to-school goods than students their age did ten years ago.
“Members of Generation Z are clearly becoming more involved with back-to-school purchasing decisions rather than leaving the choices up to mom and dad,” Shay said. “Over the years, both teens and pre-teens are spending more of their own money on back-to-school items.
In addition to parents and teens, the majority of teachers reach into their own pockets for classroom decorations and supplies. Ninety-four percent of U.S. public school teachers say they’ve paid for school supplies without reimbursement. The average amount was $479, according to a report prepared by the National Center for Education Statistics based on a nationally representative survey of teachers during the 2015-2016 school year.
An unofficial survey found parents in Johnson County spend $50-$75 on average for supplies for each student, not including clothes or electronics.

Johnson County schools back in session

Johnson County Schools will not be adding seat belts to its buses any time soon. The House of Representatives is currently reviewing legislation on the matter nationwide. Photo by Meg Dickens.

By Meg Dickens

A strong foundation is necessary for any successful structure. Education is no exception. That is why Director of Schools, Mischelle Simcox is focusing on this approach for the 2019-2020 school year.
Now that summer vacation is over; it is time for 2,059 local students to head back to the hallowed halls of learning.
“The beginning of a new school year reminds us that the future holds infinite possibilities,” said Simcox. “We are getting ready to start a brand new school year filled with excitement, hope, and possibilities.”
Johnson County Schools is in the process of several updates. The Johnson County Summer Reading Book Bus launched during this past summer and was a great success. Teachers can use the bus for additional classroom materials during the school year.
Simcox hopes to install additional School Resource Officers (SROs) at every school in the district. According to the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), an SRO is an officer deployed in a community-oriented policing designation to work with one or more schools. Whether this comes to fruition depends on grant applications currently being processed.
“We are always researching strategies and programs that will benefit our students. We make sure that all of our students are college and career ready,” said Simcox. “Safety is always a top priority, and we are constantly searching out grant opportunities to help provide our staff with additional resources.”
In higher education news, the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) building at JCHS is in construction. The auto-diesel mechanic program will be available to students and adults in the Johnson County area starting in spring 2020. The Perkins Reserve Grant will fund industry certification tests for the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department at the high school. Additional grants awarded to Johnson County include the 21st Century Grant, LEAPS, Gear
Up, Additional Targeted
Support and Improvement (ATSI), and the Adaptive Learning Technology (ADLT) Grant.
The State is providing additional funds for safety upgrades for the 2019-2020 school year. The regular safety budget goes towards maintaining precautions such as the Raptor Technologies program. This program allows schools to screen for sex offenders and custody violations and alerts officials and first responders during an emergency.
One safety concern for many is school buses. School bus safety is a prevalent issue of discussion. Arguments on seat belt requirements for these vehicles are ongoing. House Representative Josh Gottheimer proposed Congressional Act H.R. 2792, known as the Secure Every Child Under the Right Equipment Standards Act of 2019, to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on May 16, 2019. There has not been a decision as of yet. The previous bill with this goal failed.
Johnson County Schools will not currently install seatbelts. According to Johnson County Schools maintenance personnel, adding seatbelts would increase costs by approximately $20,000. They have, however, added cameras to bus arms for additional safety. Bus
recordings last for three
days, but officials can pull
this video if notified of an issue.
“I am excited about
beginning the 2019-
2020 school year, and I am looking forward to having
all of our students back
in class,” said Sicox. “I hope that
everyone is ready for the excitement of the new school year.”

Dealing with Heat Stress in Cattle

By Rick Thomason

Being proactive is the best approach for dealing with heat stress in cattle.

Having a solid management plan in place to address heat stress could pay big dividends in the form of maintained animal performance during periods of heat and in avoiding death losses in severe cases.

Here are 3 steps you can take to help deal with heat stress in cattle.

Step one:
Identify animals that are most susceptible to heat stress.
· Animals that are overweight have the least amount of lung capacity relative to body weight.
· Animals that are very young and very old also are at increased risk. They do not have the physiologic reserves to withstand prolonged periods of heat.
· Animals with dark hides are at a higher risk of suffering heat stress. Deaths of black-hided cattle on pasture without shade and limited supplies of water have been recorded.

Research has shown that in cattle that were genetically closely related but had different hide colors, cattle with dark hides had a 2 F higher core body temperature than their cohorts with lighter-colored hide.

Step two:
Develop an action plan for heat stress. The action plan is the essential actions you will take to protect the animals most susceptible to heat stress. The action plan should include the following:

· Animals in heat stress need to drink water, so have plenty of it readily available. Cattle consume more water on hot days.

· Provide shade. Providing shade stops solar radiation from increasing body temperature. Cattle will congregate naturally under available shade.

· Air movement is an additional factor that promotes animal cooling. A breeze or wind moving over the hide of cattle promotes evaporative cooling.

· Control flies as much as possible because hot cattle tend to bunch together and flies only will add to the stress of hot days.

· And maybe the most important, do not work cattle during temperature extremes.

If working cattle is absolutely necessary, keep working time as short as possible, use calm animal-handling techniques to minimize stress related to handling, and consider running smaller groups through the facility or into holding pens.

Provide sufficient water in holding pens. Get started as early in the morning as daylight will allow. Do not work in the evening after a heat-stress day; cattle need this time to recover.

Reconsider the necessity of working cattle during these periods; some working events need to be postponed or canceled.

Step three:
Know when to intervene.

· Heat stress is driven by a combination of factors. Temperature and humidity are two of the most frequently cited issues.

A Livestock Weather Hazard Guide can be found at: https://www.noble.org/news/publications/ag-news-and-views/2009/june/monitor-and-manage-heat-stress/

· Understanding that heat stress in cattle is cumulative is important. If the evening temperatures do not cool low enough, cattle cannot fully recover physiologically before the next onset of heat.

Cattle are at danger of death from heat exposure when the following occur:

· The heat index is 75 or greater for a 72 hour period

· The heat index during a 48 hour period is no lower than 79 during the day and no lower than 75 during the night

· The daytime heat index reaches 84 or higher for two consecutive days

Heat in summertime is not avoidable. However, you can take preventive measures before temperatures reach dangerous levels to minimize impacts of heat stress on cattle.

*Source: Dr. C.R. Dahlen, Beef Cattle Specialist & Dr. C.L. Stoltenow, Veterinarian; North Dakota State University.

Interest in hemp production growing in Tennessee

By Jill Penley
Freelance Writer

A combination of changing laws, consumer demand and favorable growing conditions have many Tennessee farmers toying with the idea of raising industrial hemp especially since the Tennessee Department of Agriculture has made big changes to its hemp program.
“Farmers have been growing and researching this crop in Tennessee since the program began in 2015 as a pilot program,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “The hemp industry and federal laws have changed in recent years, and we’re updating our program rules to be more consistent with how other crop programs are managed.”
Hemp producers are now able to apply for a license to grow the crop year-round and where the application period used to last for three months, from mid-November to mid-February.
The change means prospective growers can now apply whenever they want. Any person who grows hemp in Tennessee, however, regardless of the quantity, is required to have a hemp grower license.
Hemp, an incredibly versatile and sustainable plant, had played an essential role in history dating back to the colonial years when it was exported to England where it was used for clothing, shoes, maps, books, ship’s rigging, parachute webbing, baggage, sails, and tents.
Hemp remained a staple well after the United States earned its independence; however, most American history books contain no mention of hemp because of its close association with marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are both members of the same plant species, Cannabis sativa L, which can contain a wide spectrum of cannabinoid concentrations.
In 1937, the U.S. government passed the Marijuana Tax Act, essentially barring the cultivation, sale, and possession of the entire cannabis genus. The act made no distinction between hemp and marijuana, grouping all varietals under a single designation.
Historically, industrial hemp has been regarded primarily as an agricultural crop valued for fiber and grain. Hemp fiber is used to make textiles, building materials, animal bedding, mulch, paper, industrial products, and biofuels. Hemp grain, or seed, is used in the food and feed products, and oil from the seed is used to make personal care products and industrial products, including paints, solvents, and lubricants.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has licensed more than 2,900 hemp growers in 2019 as compared to the 226 hemp producer applications received by the agency in 2018. Some are suggesting this might be the crop to replace tobacco, which was a mainstay income for many small farmers not too long ago, but there remains a great deal of confusion and misinformation surrounding hemp especially since it is dogged by regulatory confusion and unclear terminology.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The plant contains the mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other related compounds. Extracts can also be made from the cannabis plant.”
Virtually all of the health care products derived from the cannabis plant center around Cannabidiol (CBD) oil and hemp oil.
Each is used and sold as natural health remedies. CBD, which is extracted from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants, does not produce intoxication. Marijuana’s “high” is caused by the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Presently in Tennessee, the cultivation and possession of marijuana are prohibited, and both the recreational and medicinal uses of marijuana are illegal. As of mid-July, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture reports only one licensed hemp grower in Johnson County.