politico.com: 19th day/Government Shutdown 2019 Latest updates from Capitol Hill and the White House

“President Donald Trump and congressional leaders are preparing Wednesday for a breakneck series of meetings aimed at ending a 19-day partial government shutdown.

Trump will meet with Senate Republicans for their party lunch at the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, along with Vice President Mike Pence and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Then the president and the top Senate and House leaders in each party will huddle at the White House at 3 p.m., the third such bipartisan meeting in a week’s time.”

United States Government Shutdown for the 21st Time in History

Reported by Wallethub


As the clock struck midnight December 22, 2018, the United States government shut down for the 21st time in history. This time, it’s a less-intense partial shutdown, which occurs when Congress fails to pass necessary appropriations bills.

The partial shutdown has lasted into the New Year, hitting the thirteen-day mark on January 3, 2019. For context, the longest shutdown ever was 21 days under President Bill Clinton, and only seven shutdowns have ever lasted ten days or longer. This is the third shutdown under the Trump administration, but the previous ones lasted only one day and three days, respectively.

When the government shuts down, certain federal employees work without pay or receive a furlough. This includes over 41,000 law enforcement officers, 52,000 IRS workers and 96 percent of NASA employees. “Non-essential” government services also remain inactive and certain benefits are liable to run out of funding. One of the main issues keeping the government in a partial shutdown at the moment is President Trump’s call for increased border security and funding for a border wall, to which Democrats in Congress remain opposed.

Some states are hit harder by a government shutdown than others. To determine the places most affected by the 2019 partial shutdown, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across five key metrics. They range from each state’s share of federal jobs to federal contract dollars per capita to the share of families receiving food stamps.


States Most Affected by the Gov. Shutdown   States Least Affected by the Gov. Shutdown
1 District of Columbia   42 Ohio
2 New Mexico   43 North Dakota
3 Maryland   44 New Jersey
4 Hawaii   45 Kansas
5 Alaska   46 Wisconsin
6 Virginia   47 Indiana
7 West Virginia   48 Iowa
8 Mississippi   49 Nebraska
9 Alabama   50 New Hampshire
10 Arizona   51 Minnesota

Key Stats

  • Red states are less affected by the government shutdown than Blue states, ranking 26.83 and 24.81, respectively, on average. (Lower rank = greater impact).
  • The District of Columbia has the highest share of families receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, 20.95 percent. That’s 3.5 times higher than in Wyoming, the state with the lowest at 6.00 percent.
  • Wisconsin has the lowest share of federal jobs, at 1.02 percent. The average state has 2.6 times more federal jobs, at 2.61 percent.

To view the full report, please visit:

School bus safety laws remain an issue with Tennessee drivers

By Jill Penley

Winter weather, increases in commuter speed and the ongoing transportation of students to and from school via the school bus can be dangerous, and sometimes deadly, combination. Following the 2016 deadly school bus crash in Chattanooga, questions continue to be raised on both the state and federal levels about whether safety policies and regulations are effective enough or if they need an overhaul.
Even closer to home, in late November, a car while boarding a school bus in Washington County, TN, when a driver allegedly failed to yield to a stopped school bus hit a 10-year-old boy. Authorities said the bus was stopped with its lights flashing and arm extended. The boy was crossing the road when a passing car traveling in the opposite direction struck him. Crystal Buchanan, 41, was charged with felony reckless endangerment and failure to yield to a stopped school bus following the crash.
“In light of all the tragic school bus accidents that have happened across our nation some of which have resulted in serious injury and death,” said Johnson County Schools Transportation Supervisor, Barry Bishop. “It is sobering to realize most could have been prevented if drivers would obey the laws and stop when the stop arm and red lights on our school buses are activated.”
Tonya Townsend, who drives a school bus for Johnson County Schools, indicates she witnesses drivers who blatantly disregard traffic laws quite often. “My stop arm has been run several times and, it is so dangerous,” said Townsend. “People are
not paying attention, and it is putting our children at risk.”
Distracted driving remains another safety issue. State law made it illegal to talk on cellphone while driving through an active school zone last January; however, Greg Tramel, public information officer for the Tennessee Highway Patrol, describes an “active school zone” as “any marked school zone in this state, when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation.” The active times for school zones vary but can range between the times of 7:15-8: 15 am and 3:15-4: 15 pm. The law pertains to all motor vehicles including drivers of passenger vehicles and commercial drivers. Texting while driving became illegal in Tennessee in 2009.
The Tennessee Department of Education (TDE) student transportation appropriately put bus safety the department’s number one priority. According to TDE data, 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.
By exercising extra care and caution, drivers and pedestrians can co-exist safely in school zones. Each school in Johnson County has site-specific drop-off and pick-up procedures.
All motorists must stop when red lights on the bus are flashing, and the stop arm is extended. They should remain at a complete stop until the red flashing lights are turned off, the stop arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before resuming.
Some confusion exists as to multi-lane roads such as along Tennessee Highway 421, which has four lanes of traffic-two in each direction with a shared median. State law requires drivers from all directions to stop when a school bus is stopped at an intersection to load and unload students. 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.
In an effort to further enforce school transportation safety, the Johnson County Board of Education continues to utilize Buster, the School Bus, an educational robot on loan from Tennessee Risk Management, the school system’s insurance provider. Introduced during the recent Mountain City Christmas Parade, Buster will be visiting the county’s elementary schools during January to discuss bus safety with the students. Buster has yellow caution lights; red stoplights with a stop arm and even speak to help students learn how to stay safe when loading and unloading on our school buses.

New requirements for captive deer herds following CWD detection

NASHVILLE —After the confirmed detection of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in ten wild deer, Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) Commissioner Jai Templeton is implementing emergency rules to prevent further spread of the disease.
Hunters harvested the deer in Fayette and Hardeman counties. Targeted sampling by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) indicated the presence of CWD.
CWD has no known risk to the health of humans or livestock. However, testing is recommended prior to consuming deer or elk meat harvested within the CWD Management Zone, which includes Fayette, Hardeman, and McNairy Counties. CWD is a contagious and deadly neurological disorder that affects cervids, which are animals in the deer family including deer, elk, moose, caribou, and reindeer.
“We have been working hard to prepare for this potential threat,” Commissioner Templeton said. “In collaboration with TWRA, the United States Department of Agriculture, hunters, and captive herd owners, we have developed a response plan. That plan is critical in protecting the wild and captive deer and elk in our state.”
With the new emergency rules in place, owners of captive deer and elk will be required to report their herd inventory, location, and any sick animals to the State Veterinarian. They will also be required to report deaths among their fenced captive cervids within 24 hours and make the carcass available to TDA for further testing.
Additionally, the importation of captive cervids into the state and the movement of captive deer or elk within the state require prior approval and a permit from the State Veterinarian, as well as USDA-approved identification. The requirements from the new emergency rule do not apply to white-tailed deer and wild elk, which are prohibited from being retained in captive facilities.
“Just a few weeks before this detection, we joined TWRA, USDA, and other partners for a tabletop exercise to discuss and finalize a response plan,” State Veterinarian Dr. Charlie Hatcher said. “Now, we’re following through. We encourage captive herd owners to keep a close eye on the animals in their care and report any signs of illness immediately.”
A voluntary program administered by TDA, the Tennessee CWD Herd Certification Program was put in place in 2013 to provide uniform herd certification standards and to support the domestic and international marketability of cervid herds. Facilities can be certified as disease-free after five years of program enrollment with no evidence of disease, and the program is required for the interstate movement of CWD-susceptible cervids. For more information about CWD, visit CWDinTennessee.com.

7 ways newspapers benefit students

Classrooms have come a long way since the days when pioneering settlers would send their children to single-room schoolhouses. Modern classrooms might be technical marvels, but one less flashy learning tool remains as valuable as ever.

Newspapers might not be as glamorous as tablets or other gadgets, but they are still an invaluable resource to educators and students. The following are seven ways in which newspapers in the classroom can benefit students.

Newspapers build
Numerous studies have found that reading can improve youngsters’ vocabulary. Each day, newspapers are filled with fresh stories that can introduce kids to new words, helping them to strengthen their vocabularies and make them more effective communicators.

Newspapers improve reading skills
Like the old adage says, “Practice makes perfect.” Reading newspapers each day can help kids develop their reading and comprehension skills.

Newspapers promote critical thinking
Newspaper reporters are trained to objectively report the news, sharing facts without allowing their own opinions to influence their stories. Educators can choose stories from the newspaper to serve as catalysts for discussions that focus not just on the facts listed in the story, but what might be behind them. Such discussions can help youngsters develop their critical thinking skills.

Newspapers bring ideas and current events to life
Many children are aware of major world events, even if they don’t know or understand the details. Newspaper articles about world events can be used as avenues to discussions about what’s going on in the world.

Newspapers build
global awareness
Customized newsfeeds funneled through social media outlets can make it hard for young people to recognize and understand the world beyond their own communities and interests. Each days, newspapers include local, national and international stories that can illustrate to kids that there’s a world beyond their own.

Newspapers promote social consciousness
Without newspapers, young people may never be exposed to the social issues facing their own communities or those issues that are affecting people across the country and the world. Newspapers provide unbiased exposure to such issues, potentially leading youngsters to further explore topics that are shaping their world and even encouraging them to form their own opinions.

Newspapers make
learning fun
According to a 2017 report from Common Sense Media, kids younger than eight spend an average of two hours and 19 minutes per day looking at screens. Newspapers provide a welcome break from tablets, smartphones and computers, and kids may have fun flipping pages and getting a little ink on their hands.

Newspapers remain invaluable resources that can benefit students in myriad ways.

Senior News: Reindeer for sale

Minnie Miller, Santa and his reindeer sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer at the Johnson County Senior Center. Submitted photo.

By Meg Dickens

There was a jolly guest on December 21 at the Johnson County Senior Center. Santa arrived to speak to MRS, Minnie Reindeer Salesman, Miller about acquiring a team to pull his sleigh.

Miller called out each reindeer one by one to join the team as Santa specified what he needed. Santa needs a fast reindeer, and Dasher comes dashing out. Dancer and Prancer show up when Santa asks for reindeer with killer dance moves. Vixen flirts with the men in the crowd when Santa asks for an attractive reindeer. The “hot and ablaze” reindeer is Comet. Cupid brings love and joy to the team. Donner is the reindeer with an attitude. Blitzen is the strongman of the reindeer team.

Santa approves each reindeer one by one. After each reindeer comes to the front, MRS Miller points out her sign. Buy eight reindeer get 1one free. Out trotted a famous reindeer with a particularly ostentatious nose.
“What’s wrong with his nose,” Santa exclaimed.

“He can’t help that. He was born that way,” explained Miller.

This exchange prompted the group to burst into Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer. Perhaps Santa had a more leisurely trip this Christmas with his new team. Either way, seniors at the Johnson County Senior Center had a blast. Maybe Mr. Claus will show up again next year.

The Johnson County Senior Center is a multi purpose center providing services for people 60 and older.

USDA NRCS in Tennessee now accepting FY 2019 EQIP applications

NASHVILLE, December 18, 2018– Producers in Tennessee who are interested in implementing conservation practices to improve natural resources on their farmland have until Friday, January 18, 2019 to submit their application for financial assistance through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

“We accept applications for this program on a continuous basis, however, only the applications received by January 18th will be considered for funding this fiscal year,” said Sheldon Hightower, NRCS Tennessee State Conservationist. “EQIP places a priority on water quality, water conservation, and promotes soil health practices by offering financial and technical assistance to address these resource concerns on eligible agricultural land.”

EQIP will be offering funding for High Tunnel and On-Farm Energy initiatives for this signup in addition to traditional funding opportunities. EQIP is an incentives-based program that provides technical and financial assistance for conservation systems such as animal waste management facilities, irrigation system efficiency improvements, fencing, and water supply development for improved grazing management, riparian protection, wildlife habitat enhancement, and cover crops for soil resource protection.

Applications can be taken at all Tennessee NRCS county offices and USDA Service Centers. To locate an office near you, please click on this link: USDA Service Center. Applications MUST be received in your local Service Center by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, January 18, 2019.

NRCS continually strives to put conservation planning at the forefront of its programs and initiatives. Conservation plans provide landowners with a comprehensive inventory and assessment of their resources and an appropriate start to improving the quality of soil, water, air, plants, and wildlife on their land.

Conservation planning services can also be obtained through a Technical Service Provider (TSP) who will develop a Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) to identify conservation practices needed to address a specific natural resource need. Typically, these plans are specific to certain kinds of land use, such as transitioning to organic operations, grazing land, or forest land. CAPs can also address a specific resource need, such as a plan for management of nutrients. Although not required, producers who first develop a CAP for their land use, may use this information in applying for future implementation contracts.

To find out more about EQIP, fill out the eligibility forms, or obtain an application, visit the Tennessee NRCS website.

Workshop series to teach farmers how to develop a business plan

JACKSON, Tenn. – Many farmers may want to start their new year by attending a workshop series designed to teach them how to develop a business plan. “Building a Sustainable Business Workshop Series” will be held in Jackson with satellite locations via web conferencing in Columbia, Knoxville and Memphis. The workshop is being conducted by the University of Tennessee Center for Profitable Agriculture in cooperation with UT-Martin, UT Extension, AgLaunch and the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation.

Having a written business plan improves communication between producers and their business partners, stakeholders, lenders and other funding sources, says Hal Pepper, financial analysis specialist with the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture. “Business planning is an on-going, problem-solving process that can identify business challenges and opportunities and develop strategic objectives to move toward an operator’s vision. And some funding sources require a written business plan,” Pepper says.

Pepper, along with instructors from UT-Martin and UT Extension, will present a two-hour workshop each Tuesday evening beginning January 8, for eight weeks to help producers of direct marketing, food processing and agritourism enterprises develop a business plan. Different topics and speakers will be featured each night. Specialists will be available at each workshop location to answer questions and provide one-on-one technical assistance in the development of business plans over the eight weeks of the workshop series. The course will meet on these dates: January 8, 15, 22 and 29 and February 5, 12, 19 and 26.

Pre-registration is required, and the workshop will begin with check-in at 5:30 p.m. Central Time/6:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The workshop will begin at 6 pm Central Time/7 pm Eastern Time. Class locations are provided upon registration.

The registration fee is $25 for the total workshop series for one person or $20 per person for two or more people from the same farm. Space is limited and pre-registration is required no later than December 31. Information about the workshop series is available on the CPA’s website: ag.tennessee.edu/cpa and registration is now open online at tiny.utk.edu/bizplan.

This workshop series fulfills a Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) requirement in the Agritourism, Fruit and Vegetable and Value-Added Producer Diversification Sectors. Producers must attend a minimum of four sessions to receive one TAEP credit. Value-Added producers are eligible to receive two credits if all eight sessions are attended. For TAEP credit, missed sessions cannot be made up.

The “Building a Sustainable Business Workshop Series” was developed by the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture through funding provided by Southern Risk Management Education and is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2015-49200-24228.

Learn more about the Center for Profitable Agriculture online at ag.tennesseee.edu/cpa. Contact Pepper with questions about the workshop at hal.pepper@utk.edu or 931-486-2777.

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture celebrates 50 years of excellence in providing Real. Life. Solutions. through teaching, discovery and service. ag.tennessee.edu.

Good will to all

Johnson County Senior Center bus drivers (L-R) Terry Hodge, Robert Wilson and Dennis Henson enjoy themselves at the Christmas celebration. Submitted photo.


Beyond brushing and flossing:5 ways to stay out of the dental chair

For good dental health, regular checkups are a necessity. But let’s face it. Regardless of whether your teeth are in good shape or bad, going to the dentist, even just for a cleaning, doesn’t make everyone’s list of top things they like to do.
And when there’s extra work to be done – such as filling cavities – it can be even more troubling. Most people know they should brush and floss. But beyond that, what are some of the things you should do to stay out of the dental chair?

“Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet is a great place to start,” says Dr. Anita Myers, a dentist and author of the bookStunning Smiles: A Dental Guide To Improve the Way You Eat, Smile & Live (www.dranitamyers.com). “Many people when they get up in the morning get a croissant, muffin or doughnut, and a coffee with sugar. To protect their teeth, it would be much better to substitute whole grain cereal and then sweeten it with fruit.”

While Dr. Myers says most people worry about the impact of sugar on their weight, the damage done to teeth is just as bad if not worse. “If you change your lifestyle you can lose extra weight. But if you lose your teeth because of too much sugar, you can’t get them back.”

Dr. Myers offers the following advice for those who want to do a better job of caring for their teeth and gums:

Make good diet choices. Stay away from processed foods, which often contain sugar even when you don’t realize it. Sugar, of course, leads to tooth decay that causes cavities. Here’s how: The mouth has both good and bad bacteria in it. The harmful bacteria feed off the sugar, and as they do so they produce acid that breaks down your teeth layer by layer. Some processed foods that people may not realize have significant amounts of sugar include low-fat yogurt, condiments such as ketchup and barbeque sauce, pasta sauce and salad dressings.

Don’t abuse over-the-counter medications.

Prescription drugs can create dental issues. For example, a side effect of many medications is dry mouth, which leads to a variety of oral-health problems. And watch out for the sugar in most cough drops and antacids, as some people tend to rely on these on a regular basis.

Stop smoking and using tobacco
In addition to being bad for teeth and gums, they increase the odds of oral cancer. Chewing tobacco bathes the teeth and gums in toxins.

Drink plenty of water
Water cleanses the mouth of toxins.

Stop illegal drug use
Cocaine and methamphetamine cause a reduction in saliva flow that results in decay and affects the entire mouth.

“Too many people think brushing and flossing are the only aspects of good dental care,” says Dr. Myers. “While those activities are important, there are many other things patients can do to maintain a great smile.”

2019 Workshops set for new food manufacturing businesses

Staff Report

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. Farmers and gardeners are often interested in turning their surplus products and favorite recipes into a food manufacturing business. Vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, honey or other farm products can be processed jams and jellies, salsas and chow chows, juices and wines, breads, pies or any number of other value-added products.

“Turning products into profit, however, takes planning and patience,” says Megan Bruch Leffew, marketing specialist with University of Tennessee Extension Center for Profitable Agriculture. “There is a lot more to consider than most people initially think.”

“Whether canning, pickling, drying, baking, fermenting or freezing, starting a food processing business is challenging,” according to Nathan Miller, Extension assistant for food safety in the UT Department of Food Science. “Understanding food manufacturing regulations and learning how to produce foods safely are vital pieces of the food processing puzzle.”

To help producers interested in starting their own food processing enterprises, UT Extension is once again offering Pennsylvania State Extension’s popular food processing education program to Tennessee. Food for Profit workshops take participants step by step through the information necessary to start and run a small food product business. The workshop provides information that participants will be able to use immediately to ensure that their business starts out and grows in a way that matches their vision and goals. Topics covered include the realities of a food business by a local food manufacturer, regulatory requirements, packaging, safe food handling, marketing, financing, and developing a game plan.

The workshop will be offered in two locations this winter. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required five business days prior to the workshops.

Food for Profit will be held January 31 in Lebanon at the Wilson County Ag Center. Register by January 23 for this event at https://tiny.utk.edu/FFP. Registration fee of $30 per person. Contact Megan Bruch Leffew with questions at mleffew@utk.edu or call 931-486-2777.

Food for Profit will also be held February 12, in Unicoi at the Town of Unicoi Tourist Information Center and will include a tour of the new Mountain Harvest Kitchen. Register online by February 7 at https://mountainharvestkitchen-foodforprofit.eventbrite.com. Registration for this event is only $15 per person. Contact Lee Manning at the Mountain Harvest Kitchen with questions at mountainharvestkitchen@gmail.com or call 423-330-9650.

The number of participants at each location is limited. Workshops not having an adequate number of registrations by the early registration deadline may be canceled. Sessions will begin at
9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. local time.

Lunch will be provided. Learn more on the Center for Profitable Agriculture at www.ag.tennessee.edu/cpa.
This workshop qualifies as one course toward the educational requirements to receive 50 percent Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program cost share for ONLY: Fruits and Vegetables and Value-Added producer diversification sectors.

The Center for Profitable Agriculture is a cooperative effort between UT Extension and the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation to help farmers develop value-added enterprises.

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture celebrates 50 years of excellence in providing Real. Life. Solutions. through teaching, discovery and service. ag.tennessee.edu.

FFA speaking contest Winners

Three Johnson County FFA members competed in the Watauga District FFA Leadership Development Events in Blountville earlier this month.Leeann Crosswhite competed in the FFA Creed Contest and placed first. White will proceed to the regional contest at UT next month. Brett Ward placed second in the Prepared Speaking Contest and will move to the regional level. Shannon Ferguson competed in the Extemporaneous Speaking Contest. Photo submitted

Choral Teacher Shares Love of Music with Students


By Jill Penley

A variety of opportunities exist for Johnson County students to develop their musical talents including a comprehensive choral music
program. At the helm is Nathan Jones, a 2017 King College, who knew from a very early age, he was destined to teach and direct choral music.

“I am honored to teach general and choral music at JCHS and JCMS,” said Jones, who grew up in Norton, Virginia. “I think it is wonderful that JCHS has a band and achoral program and I hope Mrs. Cole (the band director) and I can collaborate together more frequently.”

Around 45 students take part in Jones’ two chorus classes, one at the high school called the Johnson County High School Longhorn Chorus, and one at the middle school called the Johnson County Middle School Singers. Jones also leads an additional after-school group, dubbed “Vocal Intensity,” comprised of middle and high school students who did not get the opportunity to sign up for chorus classes.

“I think my students are very lucky to have a vocal music program at the secondary school level,” said Jones, “and I’m honored to get to teach it.”

Many small rural schools eliminate vocal music class after the elementary level.

“The school I went to did not have chorus past 7th grade,” remarked Jones, who also teaches general music classes at the middle school and a guitar class at the high school.

“These classes keep me motivated to learn more about music history and music theory,” said Jones, “and it is very amazing having a class of beginning guitarists who after a few short months, are already playing real songs together in an ensemble and on their own.”

While in college, Jones performed with an a cappella group “All The King’s Men” directed by Professor Shea A. Clay.

“I majored in voice and also studied piano along with my education classes,” explained Jones. “King is the only school in Northeast Tennessee that has a 100 percent placement rate for music education graduates since the program was introduced in the early 2000s.”

Jones has already led two concerts this school year. “I try to have a theme picked out for each of my shows,” he said.

For the October concert, since it was performed near Halloween, Jones chose Broadway and film music and encouraged students to dress as their favorite characters. For the recent Christmas concert, the performance highlighted familiar holiday classics. Jones has already scheduled two additional concerts for next semester.

“In March, I am planning a Celtic celebration or maybe a concert on world music in general,” said Jones, “and for May, we will see what happens.”

For about Johnson County High School visit www.jocoed.net.

Johnson County deputies investigating aggravated robbery on Cold Springs Road residence

By Tamas Mondovics

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office is involved with an ongoing investigating of an aggravated robbery that happened earlier this morning. (12/28/2018)

Based on a press release by JCSO investigators are working to gather more facts surrounding the incident.

Preliminary information indicates that two unknown persons went to the victims’ residence on Cold Springs Road just north of Mountain City and after a brief conversation with the victim the suspects forced their way into the home.

The victim was locked inside another room of the home. The victim was eventually able to escape and flee to a residence close by to call for assistance, deputies said. The victim was treated at an area hospital for minor injuries.

Based on some information by the victim, law enforcement officials are now looking for a Silver Chrysler Sebring with damage to the front.

The suspect is considered armed and dangerous.

The case is very active and ongoing. Please look for updates in this developing story.

Williams is Good Neighbor Award recipient

Jessie Mae Williams was recently notified that she has been named the Good Neighbor for November, 2018. Sponsored by the local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, this award recognizes students in the Middle School who have a generous spirit, who put others before self. Jessie is described as a young woman with a strong work ethic, who does her best to succeed in her classes as well as a person who can be counted on to give a helping hand to fellow students. Mrs. Kelly Shepherd joined Sheila Cruse, representing Gamma Mu, in presenting Jessie with letters of congratulations. Photo Submitted

Student of the week

Zachary Owens a kindergarten student in Mrs. Vincent’s class at Laurel Elementary School, the son of Nathan and Alexa Owens. Zach’s favorite subject is math and he hopes to become a teacher so he can help others. He is good role model and follows directions of his teachers well. Photo Submitted

Doe Elementary Leaders of the week

Doe Elementary School students, Audrey Decker, Micah Lunceford, Landon Searls, Emiliano Ramirez, Addison Leonard, Dylan Canter, Daniel Palmer, Asher Milsap are enjoying the spotlight as leaders of the week. Photo Submitted


Simcox pleased after release of TDE Report Card


By Tamas Mondovics
The Tennessee Department of Education has released the State Report Card last month, specifically designed for non-educators to read and understand.
According to TDE officials, the focus of the new report card is on parents and
community members.
“This is version one, and hopefully it will continue to evolve and become more user-friendly,” according to JC Bowman, Professional Educators of Tennessee.
Officials said that for the first time, the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) indicators are listed within the report card.
“A school’s report card is much like a GPA,” Bowman said. “It’s more than a single score, so there are multiple things that go into that GPA.” He added, “The school report card is a snapshot of time; much like a school picture for a student, it is what you look like at that moment in time.”
Johnson County Schools Director, Mischelle Simcox spoke highly of the county schools’ accomplishments based on the new report card.
“The Johnson County School System is very proud of our students and the accomplishments of our school system,” she said. “We are committed to providing a rigorous and relevant education for all students in a safe, positive environment that encourages students to develop and successfully pursue lifelong learning and career goals.”
Simcox highlighted, the State Report Card shows that 36 percent of Johnson County Students in grades 3-12 scored “on-track or mastered” on the 2017-18 TNReady assessments, compared to 39.1percent across the state.
The report also indicated that nearly nine percent of students were chronically out of school, which means they missed 18 or more unexcused and excused days, compared to 13.3 percent in the state.
“One highlight that we are extremely proud of is our graduation rate,” Simcox said. “The 2017 graduating class had a 96.5 percent graduation rate, compared to 89.1percent in the state. We are very proud of all of our students and staff. We
continue to work hard PreK-12th grade to ensure that we are preparing them for life after high school.”
As for the future of the Johnson County School
System, Simcox concluded on a positive note when she said, “Our vision is that all students will meet or exceed national standards and will be college or career ready upon high school graduation. Education based on a strong partnership with school, home and community can empower students to achieve.”
For a more detailed information about the recent report card, please visit