Local residents earn medals at 38th Annual Tennessee Senior Olympics

Participants in a golf tournament held at Catails Golf Course in Kingsport, Steve Arnold, Rudy Lucas, Hank Bontrager
and Robert Glenn of Mountain City pause for a photo during this year’s senior Olympics. The four
competed in different age groups. Submitted photo

By Paula Walter

This year marked the 38th annual Tennessee Senior Olympics and Tennesseans from 10 district areas from all across the state recently competed in the 2018 state finals held
last month in Franklin, Tennessee.
Several Johnson County residents were medal recipients and lots of participation.
The mission of the Senior Olympics, of course is to promote healthy life styles through fitness, sports and being physically active in all aspects of life.
The competitions are held for those 50 and above and include a wide range of activities, from ping pong to golf to tennis, swimming, archery, bowling, pickle ball and beyond. There are different age groups that are set in five-year increments. This attempts to put all competitors on the same level.
According to Dr. Robert Glenn, of Mountain City, competitions for the various activities are held at both the local level followed by winners reaching the state level event in Franklin.
“They are qualified to go onto state as long as they have won a medal,” Glenn said, stressing the motto, participation.
Glenn emphasized that Johnson County Senior Center’s Kathy Motsinger wanted to help make seniors aware of the importance of being physically active.
“It’s fun, but also good exercise,” he said. “You just have to get active and let people know you don’t quit after high school.”
The oldest competitor at the recent the Senior Olympics was 96 years old. Motsinger has already started encouraging people to begin practicing their favorite activities in preparation of entering next year’s completions.
Joan Payne and Janet Rhea Payne were competitors in this year’s event on the local level. Both came in first in shuffleboard in their age category in the singles and doubles competition.
Steve Arnold, Rudy Lucas, Hank Bontrager and Robert Glenn were the participants in a golf tournament held at Catails Golf Course in Kingsport, all of them in different age groups.
This event fell into the local category. Glenn came in first place, followed by Lucas, Bontrager and Arnold.
“We play golf all year to be the best we can be,” Glenn stated.
Both Bontrager and Glenn came in second in doubles in table tennis, also known as ping-pong, in the district category.
The two moved onto state and earning Glenn second place in mixed doubles and third in doubles. Bontrager placed in third.
Glenn stressed the importance of practicing your
sports on a regular basis.
He and Dr. Joe Ray can be found at several local ping-pong tables, having a lot of fun and working on perfecting their games.
Exercise for seniors has been shown to offer many benefits, including extending lives.
Statistics show only one in four people between the ages of 65 to 74, exercise on a daily basis. The Johnson County Senior Center offers opportunities for seniors to exercise on a regular basis.
The center has several pieces of exercise equipment. Silver Sneakers is offered three
times a week, and the exercise class for those with arthritis are held twice a week. Additionally, there are other exercise opportunities within the county.

Time is running out! County Committee nominations due August 1.

Nominations for candidates to run for the Johnson County Farm Service Agency committee election representing producers in Local Administrative Area 2 which includes the communities of Trade, Shouns, Neva and Dry Run will be accepted through August 1, 2018. Producers who are eligible to vote in LAA –2, who participate or cooperate in an FSA program, are of legal voting age and who reside in LAA-2 may be nominated to serve on the county committee. Individuals may nominate themselves or others as candidates. Also, organizations representing socially disadvantaged minorities and women farmers may also nominate candidates.

The county committee system, effective since 1936, affords producers the opportunity to elect representatives who, in turn, administer federal farm programs at the local level; thereby providing producers with a voice in farm program implementation.All farmers are strongly encouraged to participate in the County Committee nomination and election process.

Please visit the Johnson County Farm Service Agency at 119 S Murphey Street or call the office at (423) 727-9744 Information and nomination forms are also available online at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/elections.

Tennessee Department of Education secures grant to improve student academic achievement and health

Tennessee is the only state in the nation to receive funding for partnership to advance student health, academics.

NASHVILLE— Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced today that Tennessee was awarded over $4.3 million in grant funding to support the implementation and evaluation of evidence-based strategies and activities to prevent childhood obesity, reduce the risk of children and adolescents developing chronic disease in adulthood, and help manage chronic health conditions prevalent in Tennessee students. In addition to this work, Tennessee was the only state to receive an additional grant to fund the National Professional Development and Partnership for School Health (NPDPSH) project. The funds, awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will also support professional development and training to help educators improve student health and academic achievement.

“We know that a student’s health and academic performance are closely linked, so we are excited to provide more of our students the opportunity to continue to grow and learn while benefitting their physical health,” said McQueen. “These grants will allow us to provide resources to our districts and schools to further the well-being of all Tennessee children.”

Research shows that children who eat more nutritious meals and are more physically active perform better in the classroom. However, Tennessee students are struggling in the battle to modify behaviors, such as poor eating habits and lack of exercise, which contribute to development of chronic diseases later in life. In Tennessee, more than 39 percent of school-aged children are overweight or obese and overall Tennessee currently has the highest childhood obesity rate in the nation.

Through efforts supported by this new grant, the department will be able to help provide students education on proper nutrition, physical activity, and management of chronic health conditions, so students can establish healthy behaviors that could reduce the rate of overweight and obesity, reduce the risk for future chronic diseases, and improve academic performance in schools. The efforts supported by the grants will focus on the three strategies:

1. Development:
the department will develop strategies and best practices to increase awareness and promote evidence-based policies on school-based health education, physical education/physical activity, healthy eating, and management of chronic health conditions.

2.Professional development and training:
the department will design professional development and training opportunities on establishing systems for the management and support of students with chronic health conditions.

3.Technical assistance:
through a partnership with the department of health, the department will provide statewide and district technical assistance through professional development and training, on-site visits, online learning, and additional methods as needed.

Tennessee is one of 17 states that secured grants to implement these strategies using a comprehensive, statewide approach over the next five years. While some activities will be implemented statewide, the department has selected 10 districts with which to prioritize the work.

The 10 priority districts are: Crockett County Schools, Lauderdale County Schools, Weakley County Schools, Maury County Schools, Wayne County Schools, Rutherford County Schools, Trousdale County Schools, Monroe County Schools, Grainger County schools, and Hawkins County Schools. These districts were selected for particular focus based on their high percentage of overweight or obese students, economically disadvantaged status, percentage of student’s with chronic health conditions, and access to physical activity programs.

In addition to this work, Tennessee was the only state to receive an additional grant to fund the National Professional Development and Partnership for School Health (NPDPSH) project. Through a coordinated effort, the NPDPSH will provide national professional development for Tennessee to improve the implementation of school health policies and practices and increase the percentage of individuals or teams who have been able to transfer school health skills into practice.

These new efforts will build on the work already started by the Tennessee Departments of Education and Health through the Active Students, Active Learners initiative, which began in August 2017. Together the departments are working to help bring tools and evidence to education decision makers that illustrate the significant impacts of physical activity on the whole student, particularly academic performance.

New state required attendance law goes into effect for the 2018-2019 school year

By Tamas Mondovics

Tennessee House Bill No. 2376, which is relative to education, was introduced on February 1, 2018, passed the House on March 29, 2018, and the Senate on April 24, 2018. According to Johnson County schools officials Governor Bill Haslam singed the Bill into law on May 15, 2018, which provides revisions and updates regarding school attendance, truancy, and discipline.

Johnson County School System Attendance Supervisor Edna Miller, Ed.S., explained that all school systems are required by law to notify parents and guardians when their child has accumulated three unexcused absences and again at five unexcused absences and that new notices are to be sent after each successive accumulation of five unexcused absences.

Miller added that Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-3007 states that any child attending public school who has five unexcused absences during a school year is considered truant and in violation of the said law.

“An unexcused absence occurs when the absence does not fall into one of the excused categories as described in the Johnson County Board of Education Attendance Policy,” Miller said. “Each absence will be considered unexcused until a professional excuse is turned in. Therefore, it is extremely important that all excuses be turned in within 10 days, as stated in the attendance policy.”

The policy will be located in each child’s handbook that will be distributed on the first day of school, which will be August 7, 2018 (1/2 day). It can also be found online at www.jocoed.net officials said.

Miller emphasized that the new law states that the local board of education shall adopt a progressive truancy intervention plan for students and parents/guardians who violate attendance requirements prior to the filing of a truancy petition or a criminal prosecution for educational neglect.

“The intervention plan is to begin once a student accumulates five unexcused absences at any time during the school year,” she said.

The following intervention plan has been approved by the Johnson County Board of Education, and follows all of the requirements outlined in the law:

Tier 1 – (School Level)

•Violation – 5 unexcused absences

•10 days to turn in excuses from the day of the last unexcused absence – Tier 1 must be triggered if excuses are not turned within the ten-day period

• Required conference with parent and student

•Plan/Contract created

• Child will remain in Tier 1 for the rest of the school year if all guidelines found in plan/contract are met.

• Child will be advanced to Tier 2 if guidelines found in plan/contract are not met

Tier 2 – (School Level)

• Violation – further unexcused absences

• This tier will be triggered at the 7th unexcused absence

• Required conference with parent and student

• New plan/contract formed with additional steps put in place

• Child will remain in Tier 2 for the rest of the school year if all guidelines found in plan/contract are met.

• Child will be advanced to Tier 3 if guidelines found in plan/contract are not met

Tier 3 – (Attendance Supervisor)

•Violation – further unexcused absences

• This tier will be triggered at the 9th unexcused absence

•Required to appear before Attendance Review Committee. The committee members will include the Johnson County School System Attendance Supervisor, Johnson County Youth Services Officer/Probation Officer, Department of Children Service Representative, and various school administrators.

• Community resources offered to family

• Child will remain in Tier 3 for the rest of the school year if all guidelines found in plan/contract are met.

• Additional unexcused absences or no adherence to the plan will result in a petition to the juvenile court. A petition will be filed with the juvenile court on the 10th unexcused absence.

To sum up the up the new state required attendance laws, Miller said that it is the belief of the Johnson County Board of Education, as well as the Tennessee Department of Education that all children can learn and do learn.

“Children cannot learn if they are not in school,” she said. “Therefore, the new laws have been put in place to ensure that students are in school on a regular basis. While in school, they are learning the curriculum and standards set forth to increase their knowledge and skill level needed to compete in a local and global economy. They are being taught the necessary skills needed for a successful future. Any absence represents lost opportunities to learn in the classroom. Teachers are using numerous teaching strategies and activities in the classroom to engage students and enhance student learning. When a child misses school, he/she is missing out on these opportunities.”

For more information about Johnson County schools please visit at www.jocoed.net.

Tennessee Bankers Association elects new leadership


John Muse accepts the gavel

John Muse, CEO of Farmers State Bank in Mountain City, accepts the Tennessee Bankers Association (TBA) chairman’s gavel from Lee M. Moss, president of Franklin Synergy Bank in Murfreesboro/Franklin, Tenn., who served as TBA chairman for 2017-2018. Submitted photo.

By Tamas Mondovics

Officials at the Farmers State Bank (FSB) in Mountain City were pleased to announce that FSB chairman, president, and CEO, John Muse, was installed as chairman of the Tennessee Bankers Association (TBA) during ceremonies at the organization’s recent 128th Annual Meeting. The ceremony held on June 19, 2018, at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado saw more than at 640 members of the financial services industry and related businesses who attended the annual convention.According to Bank officials, Muse has served as a member of the board of directors of Farmers State Bank since 1979, was elected chairman in 1997, and named president/CEO in 2006.

Before his full-time banking career, Muse worked for 25 years as a State Farm insurance agent in Mountain City. He attended East Tennessee State University, is a graduate of the TBA’s Southeastern School of Banking and the Graduate School of Banking at LSU.Muse accepted the chairman’s gavel from Lee M. Moss, president of Franklin Synergy Bank in Murfreesboro/Franklin, Tenn., who served as TBA chairman for 2017-2018. Moss will remain a member of the Association’s board of directors for the next three years to help ensure continuity of leadership. Moss is the grandson of J.C. Muse, Sr., founder of Muse Hardware in Mountain City, Tenn.

“In recent years, changes in bank regulations have made it increasingly difficult for community banks to serve their customers as they have in the past,” said Farmers State Bank Assistant Vice President, Elizabeth Adams McElyea. “While serving as chairman of the state banking association, John will have the opportunity to support and encourage regulatory relief, especially modifications tailored to help banks serve the needs of their customers in small rural communities such as ours.”

Delegates from TBA-member institutions elect new executive officers and new board members each year during the annual convention, with members receiving one vote per charter.

Executive officers elected for 2018–2019 are:

Chairman – John Muse, chairman, president and CEO, Farmers State Bank, Mountain City; Chairman-elect – R. Molitor Ford, Jr., vice chairman and CEO, Commercial Bank & Trust Co., Memphis, and Vice Chairman – Chris Holmes, president, and CEO, FirstBank, Nashville. In addition to the executive officers, TBA members elected one new director from each of the three grand divisions of the state.

Directors serve three-year terms on the TBA board. New directors are:
East Tennessee – David Reynolds, CEO, president and director, Peoples Bank of the South, LaFollette; Middle Tennessee – Ted H. Williams, president, and CEO, TriStar Bank, Dickson; West Tennessee – Gene Henson, president, Memphis/North Mississippi Region, Trustmark National Bank, Memphis.

The bankers join existing board members to guide the Association for the next year.The Tennessee Bankers Association is a not-for-profit organization representing Tennessee’s commercial banks and thrifts. The Association provides continuing education, develops and monitors state and federal legislative agendas, disseminates information on all facets of the financial services industry, and promotes the public image of financial institutions. Visit us at our website, www.TNBankers.org.

Tennessee native returns to help river clean up

By Tamas Mondovics

Freestyle kayaker and Tennessee native, Dane Jackson returned home last month to help clean up the rivers that made him one of the world’s best in his sport. According the recent data Jackson has amassed more than 80 first-place finishes including the Whitewater Grand Prix, IFC Freestyle World Championships and Green Race River Narrows Race in North Carolina.

To show his appreciation and love for the local waterways, Jackson joined SA Raft, Dirt Bag Paddlers, and the Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts (APEs) as well as local paddlers and volunteers on a two-day trip to clean up a stretch of the Nolichucky River in his home state of Tennessee.During the weekend effort, Jackson and the crew of volunteers removed countless tires as well as loose metal, glass, and bottles that have been sitting in the river dating back to decades.
Internationally published outdoor photographer Michael Clark, was on hand to capture the cleanup effort, setting an example for others and raising awareness for the need to keep Tennessee area waterways clean for future generations to enjoy.

A few photos capturing the event put things in perspective while giving the work and all volunteers some much-deserved publicity.

Holmes selected next Deputy Commanding General, First U.S. Army

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee National Guard, has been tapped as the next Deputy Commanding General, First U.S. Army headquartered in Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois. He is currently assigned as the Deputy Adjutant General, Tennessee National Guard.

The First Army is the oldest and longest established field army of the United States Army activated in France in 1918. In World War II First Army’s troops were the first to land on Omaha and Utah beaches in Normandy. In 1973, First Army’s mission transitioned to improving the readiness of the Reserve Components and now includes the training, readiness oversight, and mobilization for all U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard units within the continental United States and two U.S. territories.

Holmes will be responsible to assist the Commanding General with the training and readiness of all Army National Guard and Army Reserve units. An official assumption of responsibility ceremony will occur in mid-July.

“The Tennessee National Guard is proud to see one of our own selected for such a prestigious assignment”, said Maj. Gen. Max Haston, Tennessee’s Adjutant General. “Jeff is without a doubt one of the most balanced leaders in our Army today. His command leadership experience at multiple levels in combat while forging a private career as an accomplished architect and ultimately founding his own company, establishes him as the epitome of the Citizen Soldier.”

Maj. Gen. Holmes has deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, first as the Commander of the 3rd Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment and second as the Regimental Commander. He holds a Bachelor
of Architecture from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and a Master of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Penn. He is a registered architect, founder of J Holmes Architecture and resident, with his wife Rhonda, of Lascassas.

More information about the Tennessee Military Department and the Tennessee National Guard can be found at https://www.tn.gov/military.html.

Combining art and science

Robotics Camp was the first installment of STEAM Chasers Summer Camps at Johnson County Center for the Arts. Students grades 5-7 built and programmed claw robots with Ms. Susan Quave and Dr. Brenda Eggers. Drama and Filmmaking Camps are scheduled for July.

Robotics Camp was the first installment of STEAM Chasers Summer Camps at Johnson County Center for the Arts. Students grades 5-7 built and programmed claw robots with Ms. Susan Quave and Dr. Brenda Eggers. Drama and Filmmaking Camps are scheduled for July.

Mountain City man faces rape, sexual assault charges


Adam David Roush


A Mountain City, Tennessee man is now facing a grand jury on sex charges involving a juvenile. According to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, (JCSO) Adam David Roush had charges amended during his preliminary hearing last month to one count of statutory rape and two counts of sexual battery by an authority figure. The incident reportedly took place earlier in June, involving inappropriate text messages and followed by asexual assault of the victim at a home. JCSO officials said that the incident was family related and that Roush began sending the victim inappropriate messages then once together he began asking her inappropriate questions and showing her inappropriate pictures online. Roush then allegedly began to force her to participate in sexual acts and she was too afraid not to.  When she had the chance to leave, she called 911. Roush is scheduled to appear in Johnson County Criminal Court on Sept. 17.

Love or hate them

Political yard signs began appearing in Johnson County as early as February of this year and with the state primary and county general election now just weeks away, the local landscape is now inundated with signs soliciting votes, but Tennessee law makes it illegal to deface or remove them. Photo by Jill Penley

By Jill Penley

Freelance Writer

‘State law prohibits stealing election signs.’

Political yard signs began appearing in Johnson County as early as February of this year and with the state primary and county general now just weeks away, the local landscape is now inundated with signs soliciting votes.
While their effectiveness continues to be debated, political candidates who choose to purchase and erect campaign signs can attest, as with any campaign materials, there is a steep out-of-pocket cost involved so when campaign signs are defaced or stolen, it leaves the candidate and his or her supporters seething.
What people may not realize is that stealing a campaign sign, or tampering with a sign, is a crime. The offender may be charged with theft, damage to property and trespassing.
Johnson County Administrator of Elections Cheri Lipford and Deputy Administrator Molly Bunting provide an information packet to each candidate as they pick up paperwork to run for office, which includes election requirements and laws such as campaign finance reports, the Hatch Act, and the disclaimer law. “The candidates then sign a form confirming their receipt of the candidate information packet,” said Lipford.
Rumors and misconceptions are rampant regarding state laws governing elections. Some of the most prevalent ones involve, not only defacing or stealing political signs but where the political advertisement can be placed, when and who is responsible for removal after the conclusion of the election and the requirement of a “disclaimer” on political advertising.
Per state law, Tennessee Code Annotated Section 2-19-144, “it is unlawful for any person to place or attach any type of show-card, poster, or advertising material or device, including election campaign literature, on any kind of poles, towers, or fixtures of any public utility company, whether privately or publicly owned or as defined in § 65-4-101, unless legally authorized to do so.”
State law also dictates the proper removal of campaign advertising by stating “after the conclusion of a primary, general, or special election, candidates in such election shall be responsible for the removal
of any signs, posters, or placards advocating their candidacy, which have been placed on highway rights-of-way or other publicly owned property. The removal of such materials shall be accomplished within a reasonable period of time following the election, not to exceed three (3) weeks.”
Perhaps the most misunderstood election law involves the requirement of a visible disclaimer on political advertising advising who paid for that particular advertisement. State law in Tennessee Code Annotated states that “whenever any person makes an expenditure for the purpose of financing a communication that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, as defined by (state law) or that solicits any contribution, through any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, outdoor advertising facility, poster, yard sign, direct mailing or any other form of general public political advertising, a disclaimer meeting the requirements of (state law) shall appear and be presented in a clear and conspicuous manner to give the reader, observer or listener adequate notice of the identity of persons who paid for and, where required, who authorized the communication.”
State law, however, provides an exemption for items such as bumper stickers, pins, buttons, pens, novelties, and similar small items on which the disclaimer cannot be conveniently printed.
If a sign or other communication is paid for by someone other than the candidate or their official political committee but is authorized by the candidate, the disclaimer must list the name of the individual or the candidate authorized group that paid for the ad as well as the fact it. Subsequently, if an individual or group purchases a sign or other campaign materials that are made on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate and is not authorized by the candidate, the disclaimer on that material must include the identity of who purchased it as well as state that it has not been approved by the candidate.

Local Election Commission gearing up for early voting


By Jill Penley

Freelance Writer

Early voting for the upcoming state primary and county general election kicks off on July 13, and local officials are expecting to see a high turnout at the polls.
“We expect a large turnout for early voting,” Johnson County Administrator of Elections Cheri Lipford said. “There has been a lot of interest in this election.”
During the last state primary and county general election in August 2014, Lipford said a total of 5,498 residents cast ballots, with 3,606 voters choosing to take part in absentee and early voting instead of waiting until Election Day. The overall voter turnout for that election was just shy of 50 percent, according to Lipford.
With several local races up for grabs, many residents plan to cast ballots during early voting to avoid the lines at the polls on Election Day. Early voting will begin on Friday, July 13 and continue through Saturday, July 28. Hours for the early voting period are Monday 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and then from 8 a.m. until noon on Saturdays.
Early voting will be held at the Johnson County Election Commission Office, which is located at 158 Election Avenue in Mountain City directly behind the Johnson County Rescue Squad.
While early voting is ongoing, the Election Commission Office is a legal polling place, which means the 100-foot boundary on campaign materials is in effect for the office building as well as the parking area. Campaign materials such as signs, hats, t-shirts, buttons, or campaign literature are not allowed within 100 feet of a polling place under state law.

Annual Appalachian Miles for Smiles a huge success

A mobile dental office parked last month at the First United
Methodist Church in Mountain City provided free dental services to nearly 100 people. The service named Appalachian Miles for Smiles visits the area annually and provides a
variety of dental health services during a two-day event. Photo by David Holloway

By David Holloway

Staff Writer

Close to 100 were treated last month during a two-day, cost-free dental service appropriately named Appalachian Miles for Smiles in Mountain City.
According to organizers, the event, which was scheduled for June 21 and 22, and held at the First United Methodist Church parking lot that provided a temporary, mobile dental hub, was a great success.
“There would have been more people treated, but a few couldn’t receive treatment because of their blood pressure or blood sugar levels,” said event organizer Ellen Watkins. “We are planning to expand the services offered to include vision care as well in the future.”
During the two days, volunteers administered Tetanus shots, flu shots, sugar level checks, and blood pressure checks.
“The Johnson County Health Department gave out 50 Tetanus shots and 50 Whooping Cough shots,” Watkins said.
As it has been the case in the past, extractions are the most commonly performed procedure. This year there were 84 patient encounters, 210 extractions, 39 fillings and 28 cleanings, with all of the services adding up to a total value of $58,769 commercial dental services provided.
“Appalachian Miles for Smiles was happy to return to Johnson County again this year,” said Devin Cradic, Appalachian Miles for Smiles Program Manager. “When we were here last summer we saw first hand the immense need for dental services in this area and the lack of access to quality and affordable care that face many Johnson County residents.
Cradic specifically expressed appreciation for all the volunteers and their efforts when he said, “Our volunteers have once again stepped up and made this event a huge success, and the support and hospitality we have all received from the people of Mountain City has just been fantastic. We look forward to returning again next year.”

JCB donates $2,500 to help Johnson County Cancer Support Group

Johnson County Bank employees present a check donation of $2,500 to Johnson County Cancer Support Group founder Flo Bellamy. Photo courtesy of Johnson County Bank

By Tamas Mondovics


In a continued effort to show continued support of and commitment to the community members of the Johnson County Bank board and employees were pleased to donate $2,500 Johnson County Cancer Support Group, (JCCG).
According to Temple Reece with Johnson County Bank each year JCB chooses a need that the company decides to want to.
“This year we chose the Johnson County Cancer Support Group formed by Flo Bellamy,” Reece said. “It is such an important program and helps so many people. We will continue doing some things to help the Cancer Support Group throughout 2018.”
Reece emphasized that JCB also has a fall event planned, but that the support for local organizations is substantial.
“All of our employees help with projects, and feel very strongly about the impact this has on our community,” she said. “So many people have cancer, and when they go to the Cancer Support group, all they need is a confirmed diagnosis by their doctor and Flo begins helping them. They help with basic daily needs, gas money for treatments and so many other things.
While Reece was unable to say for sure how much money has been donated in support of the community, she was confident of a significant amount.
Some other ways to help the group includes pillows made by employees that are made to go under seat belts for cancer patients.
“We also continue to help with wigs for cancer patients and much more,” Reece said. “Many of our employees donate on a regular basis to the Cancer Support Group.
Reece added that she has assisted with organizing the Copperhead Road Runs for the past three years.
“Chris and Bonnie Reece, our CEO and Vice President came to these runs and participated and raised around $3,000 for all these runs combined,” she said. “JCB organized art projects as well as held silent auctions for the Group.
JCB estimates that amount of monies raised so far by the Bank in support of the Cancer Support Group is roughly around $10,000.
In appreciation for the support, Bellamy said, “All the support and generosity is a blessing. Every cent of it goes to local cancer patients. It is much appreciated and is indeed a community effort.
Anyone needing more information about breast cancer can find valuable resources at nationalbreastcancer.org, cdc.gov/cancer/breast, as well as cancer.gov. For local community members looking for guidance and support, the Johnson County Cancer Support Group can be reached by calling Flo Bellamy 423-727-2942 or 423-727-9558.

County past-due fines reach $2.3 Million


By Marlana Ward

Freelance Writer

Since February 2017, the Circuit Court Clerk’s office has been increasing its effort in collecting fines and fees owed to the county by those who are sentenced through the local court system. The office’s renewed dedication to making sure offenders pay what is owed to the county has been streamlined this year thanks to improved software and the utilization of an outside collections agency.
At the June meeting of the Johnson County Commission, Melissa Hollaway, Johnson County Circuit Court Clerk, shared reports highlighting amounts owed to the county and monies collected by the clerk’s office this past year. According to Hollaway, the report produced showed the total owed to the county and turned over to collections from 1999 to present day. The total owed to the county in past due fines was $2,397,534.06.
Hollaway described the difficulties in obtaining the exact amount of past-due monies owed to the county, “It is very hard to get accurate numbers from past years because for one, this office did not have updated computer software capable to calculate. However, new computers are now in place and the best way to describe revenue is that it works like a bank account with revolving monies in and out. This means that for every debt paid off, dozens more take its place so the numbers fluctuate daily. Collections are about past due amounts only and does not reflect the daily, on-time payments that go to the county.”
Hollaway shared that in the past a combination of few penalties enforced and the lack of a well-defined payment plan led to the accumulated amount of charges turned over to collections this year. “There have never been collection efforts in place until now, so it has been very challenging to collect old fines and costs,” she stated. “Only within the past few years have the payment plans been introduced and utilized. Even then, people still did not want to pay. With the collection agency partnering with us it has created a sort of security blanket for people to adhere to these payment agreements.”
Since the collection agency has been utilized by the county clerk’s office, the office has seen positive steps towards the collection of past due accounts. “We have collected over $13,000 dollars in a year’s time in past due costs,” Hollaway stated. “That to me is pretty amazing considering this has never been done before.”
Hollaway explained how the Circuit Court Clerk Office is continually evolving and adapting new methods for collecting funds owed to the county. “As a team, the clerk’s offices is doing all that we can to collect these monies for the county,” she said. “I am always looking for ways to streamline and improve and as new technology advances, so does our efforts.”
She went on to explain how the clerk’s office took advantage of an opportunity given by the state of Tennessee to increase their collection efforts as well. “In 2011, a law was passed that required the clerk’s office to report any defendant that is not on a payment plan to be turned over to the department of safety for suspension of driver’s license,” she explained.
“This is something I put into full force and effect when I took office in 2014. This has been instrumental in collecting because having a driver’s license is a necessity and when an individual is notified from the department of safety their driving privileges are suspended, most times they immediately contact my office for guidance. They can then apply for a payment plan and go back before the judges.
If granted, then they can get their license reinstated per payment plan but if they miss payments, their license will be suspended again and the department of safety will only then reinstate if the case is paid in full.”
In addition to the lack of penalties and payment options, Hollaway expressed an understanding of how the court process could be intimidating for offenders and how the clerk’s office attempts to help individuals work towards paying fines on time. “We realize that collecting money is no easy task,” said Hollaway. “Given the lack of jobs here in the county, as well as our area being one of the lower income counties as Tennessee as a whole, we are striving to offer payment plans through our office and the courts that would be on a case by case basis that would allow the debtor to pay their court costs and fees based on their income that they feel
comfortable paying yet being able to maintain financial stability.”
Hollaway also explained how the judges who preside over local cases are doing their part in ensuring offenders know they have fines to be paid along with their sentences. “The debtors actually sign an agreement saying they acknowledge they have monies due to the courts and that they agree to pay that amount monthly,” she said.
Penalties for those who do not fulfill their obligations to the county are enforced as pursuant to Tennessee law. “If someone does not make a payment toward their fines and fees within a six month period, they risk being in default and being turned over to the collection agency as stated in T.C.A 40-24-105 ©,” Hollaway explained. “Additionally, if their court costs and fines are traffic related, they risk having their driver’s license suspended as allowed by T.C.A 55-50-502 (H) (I).”
The Court Clerk’s Office is available to answer any questions a citizen may have about court fees, fines, and the payment thereof. “The main thing to remember is to try to pay something every single month,” expressed Hollaway. “This will prevent being turned over to collections and getting your license suspended. I understand that having to go to court is scary and confusing. My team and I are here and glad to help you understand the process, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 423-727-9012. Methods of payment: online at www.courtfeepay.com, mail to Melissa Hollaway, Circuit Court Clerk, P.O Box 73 Mountain City, TN 37683, No personal checks, Money Orders, Cashier’s Check or may pay cash in person.

Tenn Bureau of Investigation new director



By Tamas Mondovics

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced last week the appointment of David B. Rausch as new director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).Rausch, 55, officially became TBI director on Monday, June 25, 2018, following the retirement of Mark Gwyn.
Since 2011, Rausch has served as chief of police for the Knoxville Police Department (KPD) overseeing an agency of more than 500 employees, including some 400 sworn police officers.

Rausch joined the KPD in 1993 and rose through the ranks, serving in several different roles, including as deputy chief and a member of the special operations squad. Throughout his 25 years with the KPD, Rausch has focused on community policing and building relationships with local, state and federal agencies.

“David brings a wealth of experience to the TBI and the proven leadership to continue the great progress the agency has made in making Tennessee safer,” Haslam said. “As police chief in Knoxville, he took on both urban and rural public safety issues and collaborated with local, state and federal partners to help address some of the region’s most pressing crimes, such as gang activity and human trafficking,”

Rausch has served in multiple leadership roles in professional law enforcement organizations, including the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police named Rousch the 2017 Chief of the Year. He is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy and several federal law enforcement programs. He also has extensive community service involvement.

“I am honored and humbled the governor has selected me for this position,” Rausch said. “The TBI is an excellent organization with amazing employees dedicated to serving the great state of Tennessee. I look forward to working alongside them to lead the agency into the next chapter and am excited to bring my vision and energy to serve in this capacity.”

Rausch is a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving in the Military Police Corps from 1986-1990. He earned a master of science degree in justice administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Louisville.

Johnson County Chamber of Commerce Independence Day Celebration Wednesday, July 4

A parade in downtown Mountain City will kick off the festivities at 4:30 p.m. Children may decorate their bikes, wagons or buggies and participate in the parade. To participate in the parade, lineup will be 4:00 p.m. at the Mountain City Elementary.
After the parade the celebration will move to Ralph Stout Park for more fun, food, music and fireworks.
The Johnson County Children’s Community Singers will perform patriotic songs. At 7:15 p.m. The Flower Pearl Groove Band will play a medley of 60’s and 70’s classic rock.

The Famous Unknowns featuring Randy Dandurrand will perform 8:00 p.m. Fireworks will start at 9:30 p.m.

Pontomac Horse Fever case confirmed in Tennessee



The bacteria that causes Pontomac Horse Fever can be traced back to freshwater snails.

Staff reports

NASHVILLE – The State Veterinarian is advising all horse owners to be alert as Potomac horse fever has been confirmed in a horse in Davidson County, Tenn. Freshwater snails are the source of the bacteria that causes Potomac horse fever. Horses may be exposed when drinking from creeks or rivers, and can then suffer from colic, fever, and diarrhea. Potomac horse fever has not been found to directly transmit from horse to horse.

Another potentially deadly disease, strangles, was confirmed in four horses at a private facility in Shelby County last month. This disease is a contagious upper respiratory tract infection that causes lymph nodes to swell around the head and neck, possibly leading to coughing, difficulty swallowing, airway obstruction, or death. Other symptoms can include nasal discharge, fever, and depression. According to the veterinarian treating the Shelby County horses, all are improving and are under voluntary quarantine until they fully recover.

Neither strangles nor Potomac horse fever are a threat to human health.

“Potomac horse fever and strangles are serious infections, and if you notice any signs of illness in your horses, you should contact your veterinarian immediately,” State Veterinarian Dr. Charles Hatcher said. “With these confirmed cases in Tennessee, we urge horse owners to be sure their horses are protected by using best management practices, which includes consulting with your local veterinarian for appropriate vaccination needs and schedules.”

Dr. Hatcher also suggests the following recommendations for horse owners to prevent disease:

•Regularly disinfect stalls, water buckets, feed troughs, and other equipment

•Eliminate standing water sources where disease-carrying insects may gather and breed

•Avoid co-mingling your horses with other, unfamiliar horses

The State Veterinarian and the staff at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s C. E. Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory are strongly committed to supporting horse health. The laboratory offers veterinarians advanced testing to confirm several equine diseases, including influenza, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, clostridiosis, herpesvirus, West Nile virus, and equine protozoal myeloencephalitis. For more information, contact your local veterinarian or the State Veterinarian’s office at 615-837-5120.

UT to teach farmers record keeping for value-added enterprises

UT Workshop

UT Ext. will present a workshop designed to help farmers learn to keep better financial records. Producers who sell fresh and processed farm products at direct marketing outlets such as farmers markets, on-farm stands, pick-your-own and agritourism operations could benefit most from the training, which is scheduled for July 17 in Blountville. Photo courtesy UTIA. 

Article Source: UT Center for Profitable Agriculture

The University of Tennessee Center for Profitable Agriculture, in cooperation with UT Extension and the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, is offering one additional workshop for farmers to learn better record keeping for value-added enterprises. Previously offered in December 2017 and March of this year, “Record Keeping for Successful Value-Added Enterprises” will also be held on July 17, in Blountville.

Keeping good business records is critical for any value-added farm business, says Hal Pepper, financial analysis specialist with the Center for Profitable Agriculture. “Direct marketers, food processors and agritourism operators who keep good records are better able to analyze their costs and returns and evaluate market opportunities.”

Pepper along with Les Humpal, Dallas Manning and Danny Morris from UT Extension will present a seven-hour workshop designed to help farmers learn to keep better financial records. Participants will be introduced to QuickBooks accounting software and learn about setting up a chart of accounts, items, customers and vendors, entering sales and recording deposits, paying bills and writing checks and creating reports. The workshop is designed for producers who sell fresh and processed farm products at direct marketing outlets such as farmers markets, on-farm stands, pick-your-own and agritourism operations.

Preregistration is required, and the workshop will begin with check-in at 8:30 a.m. local time. The workshop will end at 4 p.m. The registration fee is $20 per person and lunch is provided. Space is limited and preregistration is required no later than July 10. Information about the workshop is available on the Center’s website: ag.tennessee.edu/cpa and registration is now open online at tiny.utk.edu/farmrecords.

This workshop fulfills a Tennessee Ag Enhancement Program (TAEP) educational requirement in only the following Producer Diversification sectors: Agritourism, Fruits & Vegetables and Value-Added. For additional information regarding educational programs for TAEP requirements, please contact Clay Dunivan at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, 615-837-5348.
The “Record Keeping for Successful Value-Added Enterprises” workshop 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 at ag.tenneseee.edu/cpa. Contact Pepper with questions about the workshop at hal.pepper@utk.edu or 931-486-2777.

Education Department announces new changes to the TNReady Assessment

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced several new steps today to improve the state’s TNReady student assessment, including recompeting the state’s current testing vendor contract. These improvements are being made after ongoing conversations with teachers, parents, education leaders, and policy-makers over the past several weeks and are aimed at addressing a number of areas of concern.

The multi-faceted changes announced today will immediately improve the state assessment—TNReady—and establish a longer-term framework for success. The steps being taken to improve TNReady include:

•Releasing a new Request for Proposals (RFP) to identify the assessment vendor or vendors that can successfully administer the state test in 2019-20 and beyond.

•Amending the state’s current contract and relationship with Questar to improve the assessment experience in 2018-19

•Adjusting the pace of the state’s transition to online testing

These steps complement additional actions already in the works, including eliminating two TNReady end-of-course exams, eliminating the March stand-alone field test for the next two years, simplifying and streamlining test administration, bringing in a third party to perform an independent review of Questar’s technological capabilities, improving customer service, and engaging dozens of additional Tennessee teachers, content experts, and testing coordinators to look at every part of our state testing program.

“Teachers, students and families deserve a testing process they can have confidence in, and we are doing everything possible to meet that responsibility,” Commissioner McQueen said. “We are always committed to listening and improving, and we’ll continue to do just that.”

TNReady is a high-quality assessment that is aligned to Tennessee’s rigorous academic expectations. In May, a national study recognized Tennessee as the No. 1 state in the country for improvement in the quality of its academic standards, going from an “F” rating in 2007 to an “A” in 2017. TNReady is designed to measure those standards, and it has a variety of different types of questions to look for the depth of students’ knowledge. All of those aspects of the test will not change, but the RFP process will better ensure that students can take TNReady seamlessly and without disruption.

Three Star Dinner sees large crowd

Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini addresses a large crowd during the TDP’s Three Star Dinner held last week in Lebanon TN. The event also saw an increase in fundraising, which attendees credit to the party’s momentum ahead of the 2018 midterms. Submitted photo.

By Tamas Mondovics

More than 1,000 Tennessee Democrats from across the state attended the 2018 Three Star Dinner and Celebration last week in Lebanon TN. Aside from a huge turnout, the event entitled ‘Honor the Past, Celebrate the Present, and Fight for the Future reportedly saw a surge in fundraising as attendees heard from elected leaders and candidates, paid tribute to Democratic accomplishments and hoped to gain momentum leading up to November 6

According to Tennessee Democratic Party spokesperson Amanda Yanchury, the event welcomed Keynote speaker U.S. Senator Doug Jones of Alabama who spoke about to the opportunity to restore the party’s values to all levels of government.

“Thanks to each of you, we are once again loudly proclaiming the values we have held for generations,” Sen. Jones said. “Decency, honesty, dignity, and respect. Giving hate no safe harbor and leaving no one in our society behind.”

Jones has reportedly emphasized that his victory and the coming election is proof that Republicans don’t have a permanent hold on the South. U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen focused on joining Senator Jones on what he reportedly called “the ‘kitchen-table issues’ in the Senate so that others can experience Tennessee as a land of incredible opportunity, as it was for him.”

As mentioned by Yanchury, Bredesen stated his goal of opening “doors and pave the way for this next generation,” adding, “I need your help — but I’m not going to pay it back. I’m going to pay it forward, and be the best damn senator you’ve ever laid your eyes on.”

Also in attendance were Democratic candidates for governor Karl Dean and Craig Fitzhugh, who while addressing the crowd, focused on capitalizing on the energy of the moment and “remembering what we’re fighting for.” Dean, reportedly stressed the importance of expanding Medicaid, while Fitzhugh spoke to the energy of Democrats around the state stepping up to run for office and

“People are fighting back against what once were overwhelming odds,” Fitzhugh said. “At the end of the day, this election is about people. People matter.”

The As reported, the TDP raised more than $450,000 and combined with investments from the DNC totaling more than $125,000, Jones was quoted saying, “It is clear that Tennessee is a “state of opportunity.”

Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini summed up the event when she acknowledged that more than 100 candidates are running for legislative seats, all fantastic candidates in all nine congressional races, and top-tier candidates for the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races.

“It’s a good year to be a Tennessee Democrat,” she said.