Senior News

Kenny Price performs at the senior center.

Meg Dickens,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Meg Dickens

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jo. Co. seniors celebrate the small things in life

Charlie Meadows and Edwin Price take home prizes from the popcorn kernel guessing game. Meadows was first place, and Price was second place.

By Meg Dickens

Seniors at the Johnson County Senior Center continue to prove that age is only a number with their active schedules. They always find something to celebrate. This past week, the seniors celebrated both National Hat Day and National Popcorn Day. They plan to host a “Snow Ball Party” on Friday, January 25.

National Hat Day
Hats were a sign of status back in the Middle Ages. National Hat Day is a fitting time to appreciate the versatility of headwear. Almost everyone at the Johnson County Senior Center sported a wacky hat on January 15. Styles ranged from southern belle-like hats to baseball caps. Ted Trivett won the hat contest with a satellite hat.

National Popcorn Day
National Popcorn day has been around since 1958. Reportedly, Americans eat more popcorn than those in any other country. Americans consume approximately 17 billion quarts of popcorn yearly, which is enough to fill the Empire State Building 18 times.

The Johnson County Senior Center celebrated national Popcorn Day with free popcorn, a popcorn toss, and a guessing game on how many popcorn kernels were in a container. The final number came in at 2,857 kernels.

Sanford Humphrey, Cloyce Eller, and Dennis Henson placed respectfully at first, second, and third in the popcorn toss. Charlie Meadows and Edwin Price came out at the top of the kernel guessing game. Food Lion in Mountain City donated baked goods as prizes.

“Snow Ball Party”
The seniors will celebrate the cold with a Snow Ball party. Lunch will be a warming entree of gumbo with French bread or polish sausage with green peppers and onions. Corn casserole and potatoes are available as sides. Dessert will be “snow cream” AKA ice cream and hot chocolate. Lunch will be 6 dollars and is eat-in only.

Senior News in Johnson County

By Meg Dickens

Volunteers are the heart and soul of MyRide TN Johnson County. The program provides door-through-door transportation for seniors age 60 and up. Seniors enjoy rides to places such as doctor offices, grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, salons, and more. According to Volunteer Coordinator Danae Marshall, MyRide Johnson County currently has 25 volunteer drivers that have traveled a combined 1,064 miles since the program’s start near the end of 2018.

“Working with volunteers has really touched my life,” said Volunteer Coordinator Danae Marshall. “I had no idea that we had so many caring people that give their time freely in this county. I feel truly blessed to work with this great group.”

MyRide TN Johnson County is performing even better than expected. Ride tallies at the end of January fall around 99. This means the program nearly met its yearly goal in only 3 months. MyRide TN Johnson County must have 300 rides in 3 years to retain its grant.

“We are doing great. I’m so pleased with Danae and her dedication to the program,” said Senior Center Director Kathy Motsinger. “She’s definitely been an asset to the Senior Center.”

MyRide TN Johnson County currently has 21 clients and is accepting new clients. Rider and driver applications are available at the Johnson County Senior Center. Call 423-460-6012 for mailing information. All driver applicants must be over 21, pass screening, have a valid TN driver’s license, have a clean driving record and proof of insurance to qualify.

All rider applicants must be mobile either independently or with a cane/walker. Membership costs 25 dollars per year, and individual rides cost an additional 6 dollars for the entire in-county trip. Call the Johnson County Senior Center at 423-727-8883 for more information.

Johnson County senior transport going great

MyRide Johnson County Coordinator Danae Marshall, AAAD MyRide TN Coordinator Lee Gay and Johnson County Senior Center Director Kathy Motsinger pose with the MyRide Steering Committee and volunteer drivers. Photo submitted by Danae Marshall.

Senior News in Johnson County

TN SHIP Volunteer Coordinator Harley Jeter poses with Howard Hicks and Barbara Wilson during the Medicare event. Pictured (L-R) Howard Hicks, Harley Jeter and Barbara Wilson.

By Meg Dickens

The Johnson County Senior Center is as lively as ever. This past week the seniors engaged in their weekly senior jam session “Join the Jam.” Seniors gather every Wednesday at 11 AM to make a joyful noise in every genre from gospel to rock and roll. The participants vary from veteran musicians to beginners. Skill level does not matter. The seniors purely enjoy learning to play, hanging around with friends, and even occasionally singing along.

On Friday, January 11, Volunteer Coordinator Harley Jeter from the Tennessee State Health Insurance Assistance Program (TN SHIP) came by to share information about Medicare. Jeter acted as the caller for Medicare Bingo, which was sponsored by TN SHIP and Food Lion in Mountain City, and spread information between calls.

Medicare is a service based on monthly income and marital status for individuals that are 65+, have been on disability for 24 months, or have End-Stage Renal Failure. Medicare has recently come out with a new card design that excludes the patients’ sex and Social Security Number. These replacement cards will be free of charge and mailed to the address listed. Your coverage will not change.

Shred the old card after receiving the new one. Improper disposal can lead to the participant being a victim of one of the many scams currently rotating. If you have any questions, contact TN SHIP at 877-801-0044 or Jeter directly at 423-722-5107.

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.

Eating on the move: healthy pack-n-go lunches


By Sarah Ransom

Eating healthy is often associated with the false mindset that it’s harder than the other options, and often more expensive. Change For Life, an initiative by the Department of Health in the UK, states that one of the myths people believe is that healthy foods are more expensive. The researchers say that “Loads of people think this is true, but it’s actually more likely you will find a lot of cheap healthy meal ideas that help save you money” (Mythbuster, n.d.). Below are just a few ways to pack great, well-rounded lunches for youth to take with them.

Fruits and Veggies please
Having half the lunch including a variety of fruits and vegetables is a great way to get fiber, minerals and vitamins needed to function well. There are all sorts of ways to try fruits and vegetables – fresh, dried, in yogurts, smoothies, granola and many more. Try homemade chips made from kale, eggplant, potatoes or squashes for a healthier alternative to store-bought brands. Making these at home is a great way to save some money also.

Do Extra – when washing, cutting and preparing healthy foods, make just a little extra so you can save time later. Everyone eats healthier when it’s easy to access, make fruits and veggies or healthy grains easy to snack on and eat for meals. This will also save you time in the kitchen (Prepare Healthy meals, n.d.)

Whole grains are easy
it’s simple to add whole grains in lunchboxes! Throw in some whole grain crackers (*Tip…there are lots of flavor varieties), add homemade granola or trail mix, whole grain crust for pizzas and use whole grain breads for sandwiches. These are some really simple ways to make meals healthier without varying the cost of groceries.

Healthy Dessert
While sugary foods aren’t good to consume in mass, they can be enjoyed as a special treat. One easy way to have something special but keep it healthy is making a fruit and yogurt parfait, homemade fruit leather, fresh berries and oatmeal raisin (or cranberry) cookies! According to the Whole Kids Foundation, t’s all about making gradual transitions for the kids (Eat A Rainbow, 2013). To still have something sweet with their fruits, making bite-sized caramel apples or putting fresh fruits in jello are great ways to include fruits with sugary foods they already love!

On the road?
Keeping a bag of trail-mix, carrot sticks, apples to munch or pretzels in the car is a great way to fuel your body while having something healthy to curb hunger.

There are many resources with ideas for simplistic lunches that not only taste good, are good for the budget and easy to transport, but they provide the nutrients that are needing to have energy throughout the day, good memory and building bones and muscles.

Eat A Rainbow. (2013, January 1). Retrieved December 2, 2014, from

Mythbuster – the facts about healthy eating and exercise. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2014,

Prepare Healthy Meals. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2014,

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.

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 ( “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.”

Types of blood donations

Donating blood is a selfless decision. Blood donors may not know it, but they save lives every day.According to the American Red Cross, someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds. Cancer patients, organ transplant recipients and accident victims are just some of the types of people who benefit from blood donations every day.

There are different types of blood donations, and making the right type of donation can ensure a contribution is as valuable as it can be. The following is a rundown of the various types of blood donations, courtesy of the Red Cross.

Whole blood donation
“Whole blood” is the term used to describe the blood that flows through your veins. This blood contains red cells, white cells and platelets, suspended in plasma. A whole blood donation is the most flexible type of donation because it can be transfused in its original form or used to help multiple people after being separated into its specific components (i.e., red cells, plasma and platelets). The donation itself does not take much time, though donors should expect to spend about an hour at the donation center, which includes their post-donation recovery time. All blood types make ideal whole blood donations.

Power red donation
A power red donation allows donors to donate two units of red blood cells during a single donation. But unlike a whole blood donation, donors who make a power red donation have their plasma and platelets returned to them during the donation process. A power red donation typically takes around 30 minutes longer than a whole blood donation, but the Red Cross notes that power red donors may feel more hydrated after donating than whole blood donors because they don’t lose the liquid portion of their blood during the donation process. Power red donations are typically given to trauma patients and newborns and may be administered during emergency transfusions during births. Blood types that are ideal for power red donations include O positive, O negative, A negative, and B negative.

Platelet donation
Platelets are tiny cells in the blood that form clots and stop bleeding. Platelet donations take between 2.5 to three hours, and platelets are typically given to people fighting cancer, chronic disease and traumatic injuries. Platelet donations last just five days, so platelet donors are in high demand. During a platelet donation, platelets and some plasma are collected by an aspheresis machine, and red cells and most of the plasma is then returned to donors. Platelets are not collected at blood drives, and prospective platelet donors must visit Red Cross donation centers. People with A positive, A negative, B positive, O positive, AB positive, and AB negative blood types are ideal platelet donors.

AB elite plasma donation
AB plasma can be given to anyone regardless of their blood type. During an AB elite donation, plasma is collected and separated from other components in the blood. Red blood cells and platelets are then returned to donors. Donors with AB blood are ideal for AB elite plasma donations, which only take a few minutes more than a standard blood donation. Type AB plasma is the only universal type and can be given to patients of any blood type, making these donations especially valuable.

More information about blood donations can be found at

Senior News

Local seniors from the Johnson County Senior Center pose with donations for Rescue DOG End of Life Sanctuary. Submitted photo.

By Meg Dickens

The Johnson County Senior Center will be collecting donations for the Rescue DOG End of Life Sanctuary. The sanctuary welcomes all donations such as food, warm clothing and treats for the animals. The center will also collect Christmas gifts for the sanctuary.

Senior Center Spokesperson Valerie Edes learned of Melissa Gentry’s work from friend and fellow center member Pat Grindstaff. Seniors were quick to jump on board to help.

“All is greatly appreciated by us, especially those life-long friends you can bring into your life,” says Edes.
Edes encourages the public to adopt a “life-long friend” at the shelter. She is passionate about the cause. Edes feels that many animals are suffering and deserve help. This time of year is a crucial point for this help. Low temperatures can be deadly to animals left out in the cold

Before adopting a pet, remember that they are a big responsibility. Pet owners overwhelmingly say that it is well worth the effort.
Donations can be sent to End of Life Sanctuary, Care of Melissa Gentry at 254 South Shady Street in Mountain City. Gentry can be reached at 423-956-2564.

Bring in the new year with a good deed or new best friend. The seniors at the Johnson County Senior Center wish blessings on you.

Find out more at the Johnson County Senior Center at 128 College Street in Mountain City, TN.

TDH updates health advisory on e-cigarettes

By Meg Dickens

Vaping has continuously grown in popularity since its introduction in 2007. Mountain City’s population falls at approximately 2,500 and has been the home of at least two vape shops: 421 Vapor and Crossroads Vapor. Now the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) is updating its health advisory on these electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) due to recent federal actions and new evidence of potential harm.

New risks cited in the new TDH Public Health Advisory include the following:
• Nicotine is highly dangerous to developing brains. Despite this, nearly 90 percent of adult smokers started before adulthood.

• Substantial evidence supports that youth ENDS use increases the risk of smoking cigarettes, etc.

• In Tennessee, nearly half of high school students have used these products, and 11.5 percent report current use.

• Those who use ENDS to quit smoking conventional tobacco products usually continue to smoke cigarettes and could be less likely to quit than nonusers.

“Growing evidence has raised the level of concern about the serious risks posed by these products to the health of everyone involved, especially children and teens,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Both current and potential users of all electronic nicotine delivery systems should be aware e-cigarettes may create a variety of dangers for the user and bystanders exposed to the products.”

One such danger is bronchial obliterans (BO), which is colloquially known as Popcorn Lungs. This condition causes shortness of breath and coughing by damaging the lungs’ smallest airways. Inhaling a chemical present in microwave popcorn can also cause this condition.

Public opinion is split. Locals who wish to be kept anonymous spoke about their experiences with these devices. Two locals spoke of ENDS’ bad quality causing leaks and its chemical taste. Two others spoke about how these devices have been helpful in weaning themselves off nicotine. The latter group consists of a male and female. The female no longer smokes cigarettes and is down to a low nicotine concentration vape juice. The TDH is not convinced that ENDS are as safe as others tend to believe.

“While electronic nicotine delivery systems are promoted as smoking cessation devices, their safety and effectiveness have not been demonstrated,” said TDH Chief Medical Officer David Reagan, MD, Ph.D. “ENDS have been shown to expose users and bystanders to chemicals and metals that may harm health. Their use as smoking cessation devices does not provide a clear benefit over the numerous Food and Drug Administration-approved products available to smokers who want to overcome nicotine addiction.”

New designs and flavors continue to entice the younger generations according to TDH Assistant Commissioner for Family Health and Wellness Morgan McDonald, MD. The most recent National Youth Tobacco Survey shows a large increase in ENDS uses in school-age users. High school students’ use increased by 78 percent and middle school students’ use increased by 48 percent.

For free assistance and support in ending a nicotine addiction, call the Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine, 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at