Saluting a local hero

Airman Ethan M. Carroll

Airman Ethan M. Carroll

Airman E-2 Ethan M. Carroll of Mountain City, Tennessee graduated from the United Air Force Basic Military Training at Lockland Air Force Base, San Antonio on February 1, 2018.
Carroll completed his technical training in Aircraft Structural maintenance on June 5, 2018 in Pensacola, Florida. He is now stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana. Ethan is the son of Randy and Lisa Carroll of Mountain City.



Upper East Tennessee 2018 Cattleman’s Tour

Cattleman's Tour

The 2018 Upper East Tennessee Cattleman’s tour group including Former American Angus Association President Phil Trowbridge (second from left) poses at the Trowbridge Angus Farm in Ghent, NY. Photo submitted by Rick Thomason.

Submitted by Rick Thomason
UT/TSU Johnson County Ext. Director

The 2018 Upper East Tennessee Cattleman’s Tour was held during the week of July 9-14. A total of 37 participants from Northeast Tennessee, Southwest VA and Western NC took part in the tour where they traveled to upstate New York and visited several beef cattle operations in Pennsylvania and New York.

The tour began with a visit to an Amish farm in Lancaster, PA where the group enjoyed a nice meal prepared by the Amish family. On Tuesday, the group visited the Lisnageer Farm in Coatesville, PA which was a part of the King Ranch when they developed the Santa Gertrudis breed of cattle. This farm has a collection station that is USDA inspected to load and ship beef cattle to the Eastern European countries.

On Wednesday, the group visited Trowbridge Angus in Ghent, NY. Phil Trowbridge served as president of the American Angus Association in 2012-13 and was very instrumental in helping to identify some of the top producers in New York for the group to visit.

The cattleman’s tour also had stops at Rally Farm (Millbrook, NY), New Penn Farm (Truxton, NY), SK Herefords (Medina, NY), Provitello Farms (Elba, NY), Lamb Farms (Oakfield, NY), Baskin Livestock (Batavia, NY), WBB Farm (Alden, NY) and McKean Brothers Angus (Mercer, PA).

In addition to visiting the beef cattle operations, the participants were given the opportunity to travel through the Fingerlakes region of upstate New York where they got to see some beautiful country that was lined with numerous vineyards and fruit tree orchards. Along the way, participants were also able to tour the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, 911 Memorial, New York City and Niagara Falls.

A great time was enjoyed by all and the producers were able to bring home several new ideas to help make their beef cattle operation more profitable. The cattleman’s tour was organized through the UT/TSU-Johnson County Extension office.

Carter County lawyer censured

Staff reports

On July 13, 2018, Dennis Dwayne Brooks, an attorney licensed to practice law in Tennessee, received a Public Censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court. Mr. Brooks entered into an agreement to publish a book about the convictions of three people for murder, after he was successful in getting murder convictions as the lead prosecutor in the matters. Mr. Brooks’ book was published prior to the conclusions of the appeals of two of the convictions. After Mr. Brooks’ book was published, one of the defendants filed a motion for a new trial and a writ of error coram nobis alleging that the book contained evidence which had not been provided to the defense. The appeals of two of the convictions were stayed for 18 months pending a hearing on these matters. By these acts, Mr. Brooks is in violation of Rule 1.8 (conflict of interest) and 8.4(d) (prejudice to the administration of justice) and is hereby Publicly Censured for these violations.

A Public Censure is a rebuke and warning to the attorney, but it does not affect the attorney’s ability to practice law. Brooks 44880-1 rel.doc

Annual Old Butler Days combines heritage, history

Old Butler Days 2018

By Jill Penley
Freelance Writer

Clouds and sporadic rain showers failed to dampen Saturday’s celebration of “the town that wouldn’t drown” as visitors enjoyed music, games, vendors, food, auctions and plenty of history during the 29th Annual Old Butler Days festival, held last week at Babe Curtis Park. The event sponsored annually by the Butler Ruritan appropriately centers around Old Butler, the town that currently lies at the bottom of Watauga Lake.

“We have looked forward to this year’s festival for months,” said Nioka Markland, who has been a member of the Butler Ruritan for the past eight years. “The 2018 Old Butler Days event marks the 70th anniversary of the closing of the floodgates that created Watauga Lake and it is the 29th anniversary of Old Butler Days.”

In 1948, the original town of Butler was flooded by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to build the 318 feet high Watauga Dam, which extends 900 feet across the Watauga River. The Watauga Dam is a hydroelectric facility with two generating units with a net dependable capacity of 66 megawatts. Net dependable capacity is the amount of power a dam can produce on an average day, minus the electricity used by the dam itself.

Butler became the largest and only incorporated town ever to be flooded in the building of a reservoir, or lake. At more than 1,900 feet above sea level, Watauga Lake holds the distinction of being the highest reservoir in the Tennessee River system. It continues to reduce possible flood damage and generate electricity in addition to providing a plethora of aquatic recreational opportunities. Before the flooding, Butler’s businesses and homes had to be moved to higher ground to make up the town of Butler we know today.

“It’s hard to fathom there are grocery stores, churches and sidewalks buried deep beneath the lake,” said Markland. “It is great to celebrate Butler – the old and the new.”

The festival, held on the grounds of the Old Butler Museum, contains many artifacts including recreations of the Blue Bird Tea Room, T.R. Burgie’s General Store, the post office, the barber shop and the church. Old Butler Days began decades ago as a reunion of families and individuals who formerly lived in and around the town of Butler. Butler has gone down in history as the only town TVA flooded out. The dam they built is also the only earthen dam created by TVA.

Old Butler Days 2018

Visitors enjoyed music, games, vendors, food, auctions and plenty of history during this weekend’s Old Butler Days festival, sponsored annually by the Butler Ruritan and held at the Babe Curtis Park. Photo by Jill Penley

Non-insured Assistance Program (NAP)

The Johnson County Farm Service Agency will be accepting applications for the Noninsured Assistance Program (NAP) for Strawberries, Wheat, Barley, Oats and Rye thru September 1, 2018. Application closing date for value loss crops such as Christmas trees, and Turfgrass sod is September 1. Coverage will be for the 2019 crop.

NAP crops are commercially grown crops that can be insured for $250 per crop with the maximum cost being $750 per county. New, limited resource and targeted underserved farmers are eligible for free catastrophic coverage. NAP provides coverage based on the amount of loss that exceeds 50% of expected production at 55% of the average market price for the crop. The deadline to report planted acreage for Christmas trees covered by NAP is September 30. The deadline to report planted acreage for small grains is December 15. Reporting dates for other NAP crops is available at the FSA office. FSA uses acreage reports to verify the existence of the crop and to record the number of acres covered.

When a crop or planting is affected by a natural disaster the producer must notify the FSA office where their farm records are maintained and complete part B, (the Notice of Loss portion) of form CCC-576. The CCC-576 is used to report failed acreage and prevented planting and may be completed by any producer with an interest in the crop. Timely filing a Notice of Loss is required for all crops, including grasses. For losses on crops covered by NAP and crop insurance, you must file a Notice of Loss in the FSA office within 15 days of the occurrence of the disaster or when losses become apparent. If filing for prevented planting, an acreage report and CCC-576 must be filed within 15 calendar days of the final planting date for the crop.

Further information on the NAP program is available at the Johnson County Farm Service Agency at 119 S Murphey Street, Mountain City, TN or by telephone at (423) 727-9744. Information is also available on FSA’s website at

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).

“Special accommodations will be made, upon request, for individuals with disabilities, vision impairment, or hearing impairment. If accommodations are required, please call Jo Ann Reece, (423) 727-9744.

Tennessee educator survey highlights teacher empowerment, understanding of standards

Staff report

Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen today released the results from the 2018 Tennessee Educator Survey, which was completed by nearly 40,000 Tennessee educators, representing 58 percent of the state’s teachers – an all-time high response rate. Survey results point to progress made and maintained in a number of areas, alongside several areas where our state’s educators continue to see a need for improvement. This is the eighth year that the department, in partnership with Vanderbilt University, has surveyed all educators in the state to gather feedback and include teachers’ voices in department strategy, policy decisions, and goal setting. The Tennessee Educator Survey, designed in conjunction with the Tennessee Education Research Alliance at Vanderbilt University (TERA), aims to measure and evaluate teacher perceptions, monitor school climates and culture across the state.

“To understand what is working and where we need to improve as a state, we need teachers’ collective feedback,” Commissioner McQueen said. “The survey results this year show us that more teachers have a clearer understanding of expectations, and they feel better supported and able to tailor instruction to meet their students’ needs. This is exactly the direction we want to move, and we will continue to reinforce the need for stability and support for educators as they continue to align their teaching to Tennessee’s academic standards.”

Some of the main takeaways from the 2018 survey are:
Compared to 2017, 22 percent fewer teachers report feeling pulled in too many directions in terms of what to teach and how to teach it. This suggests that teachers are adjusting to the expectations set by new grade-level standards and are feeling more confident and better supported as they teach those. Since 2012, there has been a steady increase in the percentage of teachers reporting that the evaluation process has led to improvements in their teaching—going from one-third of teachers to about three-fourths over the last six years. This year, 72 percent of educators say evaluation has led to improvements in their teaching. Educators also noted they desire higher quality feedback from observations, along with the time and space to work on areas of improvement. The department is using the feedback to identify areas to continue to improve, such as ensuring observation provides useful and timely feedback and reducing the time and resources burden that some educators report.

Overall, 9 in 10 teachers report that they understand what the state academic standards expect of them as a teacher, but fewer, only 6 in 10, report feeling the materials currently available to them are well-suited for teaching the standards. The survey finds that more teachers would benefit from improved access to strong instructional materials, along with receiving the training and support necessary to properly implement curriculum in their classroom. Earlier this year, the department started a new initiative – Ready with Resources – as an outgrowth of the Read to be Ready work. This will provide more teachers with access to optional high-quality instructional materials and support districts in planning for adoption of new resources. Three out of four teachers reported that they feel more empowered, versus constrained, to teach in ways that they feel are best for their students. Many teachers attributed their empowerment to having the autonomy to implement their curriculum to best meet their students’ needs, among other reasons.

These findings continue to show that state, district, and school leaders must work together to support educators, which will align resources, create stability and consistency, and maximize teachers’ effectiveness in the classroom. The department shares school and district survey results directly with local leaders to inform their decision-making, and the department also uses the state-level information to guide the department’s work. Additionally, the department’s regional offices use the survey results to provide districts with the support to create regional collaborative relationships, differentiated professional development, and evidence-based best practice sharing.

These insights and more can be seen on the 2018 survey website. The online portal allows users to view aggregate statewide teacher and administrator responses, as well as district- and school-specific information, provided they meet or exceed a minimum participation threshold of 45 percent. This year, 1,167 schools and 133 districts met the 45 percent threshold to receive school- and district-level data. To view the 2018 Tennessee Educator Survey results and read the report, Reflections over Time: Tennessee Educator Survey 2018 Results in Context, visit the department’s website here.

For more information about the Tennessee Educator Survey, please contact Laura Booker, executive director of research, at For media inquiries, please contact Sara Gast at (615) 532-6260 or

Tennessee fares badly in motorcycle fatalities data

Tennessee is one of the most dangerous states for motorcycle crash-related fatalities in the nation. Photo submitted

By Tamas Mondovics

Motorists are at risk every time they take the wheel, but how much does that risk increase when getting behind the handlebars? Based on data by the National Highway Traffic Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), America’s roads witnessed more than 34,000 fatal accidents in 2016, the latest full year of data available. More than 15 percent of those deadly crashes involved a bike in some manner.Most often, motorcyclists themselves met a tragic fate; in more than 95 percent of fatal crashes involving a motorcycle, a rider died.

To better explore American motorcycle fatalities Nina Krstovic with Auto Insurance Center an agency that is responsible for the research and all the infographics and her team analyzed FARS, which collects data on all vehicle crashes in the United States that occur on a public roadway and involve a fatality to see how many motorcycle crash-related fatalities happen across the country.

Krstovic reported that unfortunately Tennessee stands out by being in the top 10of the list. “According to the data, Tennessee ranks eighth for the highest motorcyclist mortality rates in the U.S. relative to all registered vehicles, per 100K,” she said. “As a state with U.S. helmet laws, TN sees nine percent of motorcyclists who did not wear a helmet in fatal accidents.”

The report continued stating that of the 5,286 motorcyclists killed in traffic accidents 94 percent were riders and 6 percent of them passengers. “As the data shows, Tennessee is one of the most dangerous states for motorcycle crash-related fatalities in the nation,” Krstoic said. It is noteworthy too that for every 100,000 motorcycles registered nationwide, 60 operator or passenger deaths occurred – a rate that is more than six times that of standard passenger cars.

Trucks had an even better record, with a fatality rate nearly eight times lower than that of motorcycles. Relative to cars and trucks, many risky aspects of riding seem irresolvable: Bikes will never match their bulkier counterparts in protection or stability. Some safety advocates say that much can still be done to improve the safety of
motorcyclists, including the addition of anti-lock braking systems, a standard feature of cars and trucks since the 1990s. ABS tech is available in only a tiny portion of motorcycles on the market and could save hundreds of lives annually if widely implemented.

For a full report please go to Motorcycle Hazards

A full study from Auto Insurance Center can be found by visiting State of Fatal Motorcycle Accidents In America at

New website boasts of progress, plans for tourism

Tourism Development Council launches new website.

By Tamas Mondovics

Since its launch earlier this year, members of the Tourism Development Council (TDC) of Johnson County, Tennessee have been busy working on accomplishing the organization’s short and long-term goals. The official launch of the new Tourism Development Council held on Thursday, April 19, 2018, in the form of two informational seminars, was well attended, demonstrating the community’s interest in the group’s goals and future plans. According to TDC president and owner of Harbin Hill Farms Richard Calkins, Tourism at its first meeting for members and prospective members, the non-profit, and newly-established group presented its accomplishments over the past six months, and plans for the next six years.Calkins was pleased with the launch of TDC’s online presence, which he said was a top priority.

“One of the Council’s first major accomplishments has been the development of a fully operational website for the organization,” Calkins said.

TDC’s online features include a listing of the members of the Council, by business category, an “about” section, an events section, a photo gallery, and information about how to become a registered member. Considered as one of the most important sections of the new website is the “events section,” that includes a calendar of all events across Johnson County and (selectively) events in surrounding counties. Those interested in knowing what dates may already have events scheduled can check the events section by date to find out. Once an event sponsor has selected a date for their event, they can list it on the TDC calendar, which can be found at – 3/.

Going forward, the Council described its plans to develop a strategy and business plan for advertising and promotion.

“In view of current trends, much of the strategy is expected to rely on social media marketing, including through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and similar applications,” Calkins said.

Tourism development has reportedly been receiving unprecedented attention and support at the State level, sporting record-breaking year for Tennessee tourism: in 2016, tourism expenditures were up by 4.7 percent, state and local sales tax revenues by 6.7 percent, and tourism- related employment by 3.3 percent. Tennessee places within the top ten tourist destinations in the U.S. and is widely considered a top retirement destination.

In recognition of the need for many of its members – and the Johnson County business community in general, to become more familiar with what marketing through social media is all about, the Council was pleased to announce plans to organize a series of workshops on this topic to meet this need. The workshops will be open to the public, but direct support from the Council will be limited to those businesses who are registered members, and thus eligible to participate in the overall marketing efforts of the TDC.
For more information about the Tourism Development Council (TDC) of Johnson County, Tennessee area residents are urged to visit the new website, as well as share the news with friends, family and out of town guests.

Farm Storage Facility Loans

FSA’s Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program provides low-interest financing to producers to build or upgrade storage facilities and to purchase portable (new or used) structures, equipment and storage and handling trucks.

The low-interest funds can be used to build or upgrade permanent facilities to store commodities. Eligible commodities include corn, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, oats, peanuts, wheat, barley, minor oilseeds harvested as whole grain, pulse crops (lentils, chickpeas and dry peas), hay, honey, renewable biomass, fruits, nuts and vegetables for cold storage facilities, floriculture, hops, maple sap, rye, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, meat and poultry (unprocessed), eggs, and aquaculture (excluding systems that maintain live animals through uptake and discharge of water). Qualified facilities include grain bins, hay barns and cold storage facilities for eligible commodities.

Loans up to $50,000 can be secured by a promissory note/security agreement and loans between $50,000 and $100,000 may require additional security. Loans exceeding $100,000 require additional security.

Producers do not need to demonstrate the lack of commercial credit availability to apply. The loans are designed to assist a diverse range of farming operations, including small and mid-sized businesses, new farmers, operations supplying local food and farmers markets, non-traditional farm products, and underserved producers.

To learn more about the FSA Farm Storage Facility Loan, visit  , contact the Johnson County FSA County Office at 119 S Murphey Street, Mountain City, TN or by telephone at (423) 727-9744.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

Farmers market receives grant for GoJoCo Kids Club

By Jana Jones
Farmers Market Manager

According to the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) Tennessee ranks highest of the 50 states in obesity rates of children and teens ages 10 to 17 at 37.7%. Obesity is known to lead to many health risks including heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes, to name a few. Healthier Tennessee Communities (HTC) is a Governor Haslam grassroots initiative designed to start state-wide health/wellness programs created specifically to tackle the state’s battle with health issues. Johnson County Healthier TN Communities Wellness Committee (GoJoCo) was formed to partner with the Governor’s Healthier Tennessee Initiative.

The GoJoCo Kids Club was a brain child of the GoJoCo Committee to help educate the younger generation of our community about healthier choices. With the support of this committee, the Diabetes Coalition, and the Johnson County UT/TSU Extension Office, the Johnson County Farmers Market (JCFM) started the GoJoCo Kids Club where children can create healthy snacks and learn about fun exercise activities.
Thanks to new funding by the Johnson County Community Fund through the East Tennessee Foundation, the GoJoCo Kids Club will add another dimension to the Saturday morning fun. Children who participate in the activities at the Kids Club tent will now receive free tokens to spend at the Farmers Market! This will give the children additional motivation to participate and allow them to practice making healthy choices at the market.

Each Saturday morning from 9 until 11:30 volunteers help the kids with a variety of activities. First they will show the children how to make a healthy snack themselves using fresh fruits and vegetables, many of which will be available at the market. Examples are celery filled with cream cheese topped with cherry tomatoes to look like a caterpillar, vegetables arranged on a cracker to look like a bunny, or fruit on a stick made to look like a flower.

Each week will be a different fun snack. Time will be spent talking with the child/children about why they want to choose to eat foods that make them strong and fuel their body instead of sugary foods. A recipe will be provided as a take home reminder for the parent. These are simple snacks that, although are familiar to most of us, many children in our area have never even tasted. By making the snack themselves and being taught the benefits of eating fresh produce, children will taste things that they may otherwise not try at home.

Other activities include teaching the children how to play Chinese jump rope, or race through an obstacle course, or develop eye – foot coordination by playing with a hacky sack. The volunteer will have a chart for each child to keep track of each participant’s progress each week he/she comes to the Kids Tent. With a stopwatch, they will document the time it took the child to race through the obstacle course (similar to a kid’s version of Ninja warrior) so the child will be able to see their improvement over the course of the summer.

The goal of this program is to help young people realize they do have choices. Regardless of their surroundings, if they know why a diet of high sugar foods does not fuel their body in a way that nourishing foods do, they can choose to say “no” to foods and drinks that cause them harm and instead choose a healthier option.

They also have a choice of what to do with their spare time. Children naturally want to play, move, and be creative. By learning some new games to play we hope they will incorporate these activities into their weekly playtime instead of choosing to sit in front of a screen. With the addition of the free tokens that the children can spend like money at the market, this will give them an opportunity to be in control of their choices. There are many healthy choices at the JCFM the children can make.

The Johnson County Farmers Market is located at Ralph Stout Park every Saturday from 9 until noon. We welcome you to visit us each Saturday and enjoy the live music while you shop for farm fresh local produce, dairy, eggs, meat, as well as homemade baked goods, canned goods and handmaid local crafts. Follow us on Facebook to see weekly updates.

Johnson County Schools to conduct active shooter drill

By Tamas Mondovics

On Friday, August 3, 2018, Johnson County Schools will kick-off the 2018-2019 school year. In conjunction with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, (JCSO) the Mountain City Police Department (MCPD) and the Johnson County Emergency Management Agency (JCEMA) with an active shooter drill involving all faculty and staff members at the Johnson County High and Middle Schools complex.

Due to the exercise, no students or visitors will be permitted to enter the school complex until 12 p.m. The drill will assign teachers to their individual classrooms and will practice a response to an active shooter situation by following the appropriate safety procedure. School officials emphasized that school safety is the number one priority of the Johnson County Schools System.

“We want to let the community know that we are doing everything possible to ensure the safety and security of the students and staff,” said Angie Wills, Ed.S. Supervisor of Elementary Education, Johnson County TN Schools. Wills added that the JCS we welcome suggestions that would help to make area schools safer.

Wreck in front of Dollar General, Laurel Bloomery

Car crash

                           Photo by David Holloway.

At approximately 2:30pm on Saturday, July 28 two cars collided in front of the new Dollar General store in Laurel Bloomery. According to Laurel VFD Chief Kevin Colson the injuries did not require air lift and the patients were being transported by ground to the hospital for further evaluations.

Tri-State Beef Conference scheduled for August 9

By Rick Thomason
University of Tennessee
Johnson County Ext. Director

The University of Tennessee along with Virginia Tech and North Carolina State University will be conducting the Tri-State Beef Conference on August 9, 2018 at the Ron Ramsey Regional Agriculture Center located at 140 Spurgeon Lane, Blountville, TN 37617.  The conference will focus on areas of interest to both cow/calf producers and stocker operators.

This year’s conference will be a one-day event and will include educational sessions covering such topics as Beef Cattle Outlook, Ag. Policy Impacting the Beef Industry, Breeding Soundness Exam, Management Intensive Grazing, Stocker vs. Feedlot Health, Aerial Chemical Applications for Pastures and Rough Terrain and Virtual Tours of 3 Beef Cattle Operations (1 from each state).

A trade show will be open during the conference, with many of the animal health, feed, and marketing organizations involved in the region’s beef industry there for you to meet and learn more about their products and services.

Brochures along with registration information can be obtained at the Extension office, Tri-State Growers Coop or the Garden Barn in Mountain City.  You can also access the brochure from the following website:
The registration fee is only $20 per person if received prior to July 27th and $25 after this date.  This fee covers all of the educational sessions, trade show, refreshments and a steak lunch.  Please contact Rick Thomason at (423) 727-8161 or if you have any questions about the conference or need additional information.

Deadline to enroll in ARC and PLC August 1

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Tennessee Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds farmers and ranchers that they have until August 1, 2018 to enroll in Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and/or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2018 crop year. These programs trigger financial protections for participating agricultural producers when market forces cause substantial drops in crop prices or revenues.

Producers have already elected ARC or PLC, but to receive program benefits they must enroll for the 2018 crop year by signing a contract before the August 1 deadline. If you have not yet enrolled contact your local FSA office to schedule an appointment.
Covered commodities under the programs include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain and sweet rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat.

For more program information, visit the Johnson County FSA office at 119 S Murphey Street, Mountain City, TN, by telephone at 423-727-9744 or visit

And the Berry Baking Contest winners are…

By Jana Jones
Farmers Market Manager

The Johnson County Farmers Market (JCFM) and the UT/TSU Extension Office held its Third Annual Berry Baking Contest last week sponsored by Farmers State Bank.As judges, Adrian Holman, Dennis Shekinah, and Billy Ward had their work cut out by sampling all of the beautiful and tasty berry delights. The winners were announced Saturday morning and WMCT was at the market reporting live with their remote broadcast.

Lorraine Darocha took first place with her blackberry cake bars. Second place winner in the cake category was Christina Combs with her blueberry lemon cake. Coming in third place in the Adult contest with the cake/cobbler category was Sierra Wiggins-Aldridge with her blackberry upside down cake.

The event also hosted a pie/pastry category. Coming in first place with her blueberry yum yum was Lisa Perkins, followed in second place with her no bake cheesy blueberry cream pie was Lorraine Darocha, and the Grand Prize in the adult category goes to Lorraine Darocha, who received a $50 gift certificate to the Farmers Market.The first place win in the children’s 7 to 12-year-old group category goes to Cheyenne Combs. The first place in the 13 to 17 group goes to Ikia Combs. Each student received a variety of baking supplies.

Congratulations to all the winners, and to every participant in the Third Annual Berry Baking Contest.

School year to begin August 7, with student registration

Johnson County Schools 2018-2019 Calendar

By Tamas Mondovics

There was a time when students enjoyed three full months as their summer break. Many remember the start of the month of August as the peak of their summer fun, with yet another month to go before heading back to the classroom. But that was then; things have changed and the 2018- 2019, school year for grades 1-12 will once again begin early with student registration on Tuesday, August 7, from 8:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

According to school officials, lunch and breakfast will not be served that day. Wednesday, Augustn 8, will be the first full day for students. All teachers and administrators will attend the opening in-service at Johnson County High School on Friday, August 3 beginning at 7:00 a.m. Teachers will have a workday at their schools on Monday, August 6, 2018. Kindergarten children will begin school with a staggered schedule on Wednesday, August 8 and Thursday, August 9, and all kindergarten students attending on Friday, August 10.

Head Start, and Pre-K will begin school on Monday, August 13 and 14, half days and full day on Wednesday, August 15.

“The appropriate program staff will contact parents of children in these programs who have completed registration,”said Johnson County Director of Schools MischelleSimcox.

Simcox added that the staff will explain when the programs start, what the program will include, and will answer any questions the parents have about school. Parents of these children who have not completed registration should do so immediately at the school office. If you have any questions please call 727-2640.

Imagination Library works to ensure a life-long love for reading


Jessica Jones and son

Jessica Jones and her son Caleb enjoy a quiet moment of
reading one of the books received from the Imagination
Library. The Jones family is one of many families in Johnson County to benefi t from the program since its inception in 2005. Photos courtesy of Jessica Jones.

By Marlana Ward
Freelance Writer

Reading has always been among the most important skills a person can develop. The ability to read opens up doors personally, professionally, and creatively. In Tennessee, the Imagination Library created by Dolly Parton has been ensuring that youth state-wide are given the tools to develop reading skills early and carry a love of reading throughout their lives.

The Imagination Library was officially launched in Sevier County, Tennessee in 1995. The program was received very positively, and its effects on children and families garnered national attention. The program was expanded statewide beginning in 2004 and came to Johnson County in 2005. The program is free to enroll in and is open to any Tennessee child from birth to five years of age. Penguin Random House mails the books out to families monthly and special editions are printed specifically for the program. The high-quality books received are suited for many years of bedtime stories and family time, which can lead to better literacy skills.

“Reading aloud to a child is highly recognized as the single most important activity leading to literacy acquisition,” said Johnson County Imagination Library Board Co-Chair Betty Brown. “Providing books to the home is a unique opportunity for family engagement, vocabulary and reading skills development.”

Currently, there are 739 Johnson County children enrolled in the Imagination Library program.Families that are enrolled in the program are working to equip their children for learning when they begin school as Brown shared, “Teachers have shared with me how children that have been a part of this program are much more prepared to begin the process of learning to read because of their parents reading the Imagination Library books to them.”

The Imagination Library is well supported by the Johnson County community as residents seek to help the youth of the county succeed. “The community has been great in their support of the program through their donations, allowing us to be a part of community events like the Sunflower Festival and volunteering in our annual carnival,” stated Brown. “We appreciate the community’s support of our children and literacy.”

The Imagination Library Carnival has grown to be a much-anticipated yearly event and the plans for this year’s event promise great fun for
the youth of the community. “The carnival will be held at the First Methodist Church due to construction at the library on Tuesday, August 28 from 4p.m.-7 p.m.,” Brown said. “This event is held to promote family involvement in promoting literacy and interaction for all stakeholders with a children’s author or illustrator as well as have fun participating in events such as the ‘Bouncy House’ and face painting.”

This year’s featured author is Jessica Young, and many opportunities to meet Young and hear her perform will be available over the course of the week. “Children’s author, Jessica Young will be doing presentations for Pre-K through six grades at Heritage Hall August 27, 28 and 29 through a partnership with the Johnson County School System and the Johnson County Community Foundation,” said Brown. “Mrs. Young will also do a presentation for teachers on Monday afternoon, August 27, on the ‘Read to be Ready’ initiative in Tennessee at the School Board Office.”

The Imagination Library program is free to all Tennessee families with preschool age children. To enroll in the program, parents can visit www. or visit the Johnson County Library.

Johnson County High School polling place update


By Tamas Mondovics

Due to the ongoing Furnace Creek bridge constriction, the Johnson County Election Commission is asking voters to be mindful of the traffic flow at the Johnson County High School (7- City), Polling Place located 290 Fairground Hill, Mountain City. According to election officials, to assist those assigned to cast their vote at the high school; additional signs will be placed for directions.

As seen on the map, the entrance to the high school during bridge construction at Fairview Avenue (at the track) and continuing up the hill from there. Traffic will exit by the vocational school and continues down East Hillcrest Drive. Johnson County Election officials are urging residents to be familiar with this update ahead of the upcoming Election Day on Thursday, August 2, 2018.

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: