Square Dance Club welcomes new members

Square dancing

People of all ages enjoy the Young-at-Heart Square Dance Club’s weekly dances. Classes are offered for those wishing to learn and more advanced calls are practiced when the veteran dancers take the floor in the later part of the evening. The group meets every Monday at the First United Methodist Church in Mountain City. Photo by Marlana Ward

By Marlana Ward
Freelance Writer

Johnson County boasts a community full of diverse interests and clubs that celebrate the fellowship had by members who seek to share their passion with others. One such group is The Young-at-Heart Square Dancing Club of Mountain City. This group has been bringing joy and foot-stomping fun to the Johnson County area for over 12 years. The style of dance enjoyed by the 32 members of Young-at-Heart is Western Style Square Dancing.

“Western square dancing is danced to a specific series of calls,” explained Paul Stephan, group representative. “Music used incorporates a wide variety of genres, ranging from pop to country to rock. Music is usually recorded, but a live caller provides the instructions, or calls, to the dancers to guide them through the moves at a pace in time with the music.”

While music may vary from club to club, it is the instructions made by the caller that makes it possible for people to visit different clubs around the world and still join in the fun.

“Calls are standardized, so there is no need to learn new ones when moving about to different venues,” Stephan said. “Dances are held at different times through the year that each level, so there are many opportunities to go beyond the local club for those desiring to do so.”

As with many sports, there are different degrees of difficulty available in square dancing.

“Calls vary in difficulty, with mainstream as well as plus levels being the most commonly used and what is practiced at Young-At-Heart,” he said. “More advanced levels are practiced at times at some clubs.”

Young-at-Heart is one of four western square dancing clubs in the area with other clubs located in Johnson City, Kingsport, and Linville, NC. During the recent Long Journey Home festivities at the Johnson County Senior Center, the Young-at-Heart Club could be found dancing “traditional style” dances to the music of the area.

“Another style of square dancing is traditional, also known as Appalachian square dancing in this area,” Stephan shared. “The calls and music are more traditional and may be more limited in variety from Western style.”

The Young-at-Heart Club is always seeking to share their love of square dancing with others and want to help anyone who might be interested in learning.

“No experience is needed to start classes, and club members assist new dancers working through execution of different calls,” said Stephan. “At the same time, new dancers do need to start near the beginning of the classes and learn the calls to graduate and join the group.”

“Western square dancing calls are easy to learn,” further expressed Stephan. “Still, with many calls to learn, practice is needed to be able to execute them smoothly, and classes typically run for several months. Additional time is needed to master more advanced calls.”

The club opens it’s doors to those wishing to participate every Monday night at First United Methodist Church on Church Street.

“Start time for 2-hour sessions is usually 6:30 pm but adjusted occasionally to meet members’ needs,” said Stephan. “A class for new dancers begins Monday, September 17 and will start at 6:30 pm, running for about 45 minutes at the outset. Regular dancing will follow, running until 9 pm. Anyone may attend the classes to learn the calls for Western square dancing and join the club.”

“Experienced dancers are also welcome to join in both the classes and the regular dances,” Stephan encouraged. “Normal dress for Young-at-Heart is casual, although some members frequently dress in the western apparel that is usually associated with Western square dancing. Regular dances cost $5 for age 18 and above and $3 for those under 18.”

Additional information about the Young-at-Heart Club or the dances may be obtained by calling Paul Stephan at 727-9759 or Dr. Joe Ray at 727-1433.

4H poultry show chick chain contest

4-H Chick Chain Group

Chick Chain Group (pictured L-R): first row – Katie Timbs, Gracie Hammet, Paola Vargas, Hailey McCoy, Izzy Thompson, Isabell Katsaitis, Hailey Adams, Kloi Hopkins; second row – Cheyenne Pugh, Joshia Arnold, Landon Greene, Isaac Lewis, Kendon Keith, Jasmine KAtsaitis, Jayden Kinble, Sean Trivett; last row- Brady Fritts, Eli Dickens, Braydon Cannon, Logan Gilley, Lanie Mink, and Corbin Presnell; not pictured – Lilly Powell, Rayne Williams, Ansley Clifton and Jackson Clifton. Submitted photo.

The annual 4-H poultry show and sale was held on Saturday, September 1st at the Longhorn Auction Company. This event marks the culmination of another successful 4-H Chick Chain project. The Chick Chain is a traditional 4-H project that allows students to raise chickens from chicks to pullets and eventually laying hens.

Along the way, 4-H’ers learn responsibility, ethical decision making and many other life skills. The project wraps up with 4-H’ers entering their best pullets in the show and competing for the title of the Bill Brookshire Poultry Champion, named after longtime supporter Bill Brookshire of Johnson County Bank. All the pullets entered in the show are auctioned with proceeds going to 4-H to support the continuation of the Chick Chain for many years to come. With 34 participants showing pullets, this year’s competition was tough. Congrats to Kloi Hopkins being named this year’s Bill Brookshire Poultry Champion! Lanie Mink took home reserve champion followed by Izzy Thompson with the 3rd place pullets. Ashton Dollar, Brady Fritts, Isaac Lewis, and Marley Townsend received honorable mention. Thanks to all the 4-H’ers, parents, buyers and volunteers as well as Johnson County Bank, Longhorn Auction Company, Elizabethton Federal and Tri-State Growers Co-Op for supporting the 4-H chick chain project.

Chick Chain Winners

Chick Chain Winners (pictured L-R): Izzy Thompson, Bonnie Reece, Kloi Hopkins, and Lanie Mink. Submitted photo.

Sullivan county man arrested, charged in ongoing homicide investigation

James Fagans


JOHNSON CITY – An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in the arrest of a Sullivan County man in connection to a Bluff City homicide.  On August 10th, at the request of 2nd District Attorney General Barry Staubus, TBI Agents began investigating the death of Herman Rumley (DOB 12/3/46), shortly after his body was discovered inside his home on Woods Road in Bluff City. During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information leading to James Lee Fagans (DOB 5/19/59) as an individual responsible for Rumley’s death. This evening, authorities arrested Fagans and charged him with one count of Second Degree Murder. He was subsequently booked into the Sullivan County Jail. His bond has not yet been set.

Tennessee man sentenced to fourteen years for distribution of child pornography

US Attorneys’ Office Press Release

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – On August 20, 2018, Donnie Taylor, 44, of Bean Station, Tennessee, was sentenced by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, U.S. District Judge, to serve 168 months in federal prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for distribution of child pornography in east Tennessee.

According to his plea agreement on file with U.S. District Court, Taylor admitted to sending multiple images of child pornography via social media.  A special agent with the Department of Homeland Security logged into a social media account to interact and identify potential possessors and distributors of child pornography. The agent encountered Taylor and began a private message conversation. Taylor sent multiple private messages containing child pornography to the agent. In addition, agents determined that Taylor distributed child pornography to other persons on social media.

This investigation was the product of a partnership between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Knoxville Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force and Tennessee Highway Patrol.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan Gomez represented the United States in court proceedings.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about PSC, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Georgia man charged following officer-involved shooting incident in Kingsport

Shannon Carter


JOHNSON CITY – An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation into an officer-involved shooting in Kingsport has resulted in the arrest of a Georgia man.
At the request of 2nd District Attorney General Barry Staubus, TBI Special Agents began investigating an officer-involved shooting incident that occurred Monday morning in Kingsport. The investigation revealed that officers with the Kingsport Police Department received information that a stolen vehicle was in the Lynn Garden area. Officers located the vehicle in the 700 block of Truxton Drive and initiated a traffic stop.

The driver, identified as Shannon Michael Carter (DOB 4/24/93), placed the vehicle in reverse, striking one of the officers and pinning him against his patrol car. He then accelerated forward, nearly striking two other officers. As Carter attempted to flee, one of the officers fired a shot at the vehicle. No one was struck. Carter was later apprehended in Hawkins County after crashing the stolen vehicle. The Kingsport officer who was hit by the vehicle was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

This evening, TBI Special Agents charged Carter with one count of Attempted Criminal Homicide and two counts of Aggravated Assault. At the time of this release, Carter was being held in the Kingsport City Jail without bond. The investigation remains active and ongoing.
As is our policy, the TBI does not identify the officers involved in these types of incidents and instead refers questions of that nature to their respective department.

Safety takes center stage during National Preparedness Month


LifeStraw Go is a refillable bottle that incorporates a two-stage filter removing bacteria, chemicals, microplastics and bad taste from drinking water.

September is National Preparedness Month, and with wildfires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes occurring around the world, having access to safe drinking water in the event of an emergency should be top of mind no matter where you live. Natural disasters can contaminate and disrupt water supplies, making it difficult to access safe drinking water at home. Emergencies also force families out of their homes, making it necessary to hydrate from natural water resources where harmful contaminants like bacteria, chemicals, microplastics and heavy metals may be present.

“The everyday public health concern of water contamination is elevated during emergencies, when water can be unreliable for drinking,” says Alison Hill, managing director of LifeStraw, a manufacturer of water filtration systems that is often involved in disaster relief both in the U.S, and around the globe.

“If an emergency has your family on the move, being able to hydrate safely from any fresh water source — fountains, streams, rivers and ponds is key,” points out Hill.

When building your emergency supply kit, be sure to include a portable filter to help eliminate harmful contaminants from your drinking source.LifeStraw makes it easy to hydrate safely at home and outdoors. LifeStraw Go is a refillable bottle that incorporates a two-stage filter removing bacteria, chemicals, microplastics and bad taste from drinking water. Another good option for personal use is LifeStraw Flex, a multi-use filter that removes heavy metals including lead as well as bacteria and parasites. Finally, those traveling in groups may find it more efficient to use a filter specifically designed for a crowd, such as the brand’s Mission model, a high-volume gravity-powered purifier that also filters viruses, available in a 12-liter compact roll bag.

Being prepared for any situation will help keep your family safe and healthy, for whatever comes your way. This National Preparedness Month, gain the confidence of knowing that you will have access to safe water for days, weeks and even months should your water supply be compromised by a natural disaster or other emergency.

Record setting economic impact in Tennessee

Staff report

Visitors spent a total of $10.09 million in Johnson County in 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Kevin Triplett announced today Tennessee tourism’s direct domestic and international travel expenditures reached a new all-time record high of $20.7 billion in 2017, up 6.3 percent over the previous year, as reported by the U.S. Travel Association. The announcement was made at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.
For the 12th consecutive year, tourism topped $1 billion in state and local sales tax revenue, reaching $1.8 billion. That marks a 7.6 percent increase over 2016, higher than the national growth of travel related state tax revenues of 4.6 percent. Tourism also generated 184,300 jobs for Tennesseans, a 3.1 percent growth year over year.
Guests spent a total of $10.09 million in Johnson County in 2017, an increase of 1.3% compared to 2016, generating a total of $0.59 million in state and $0.78 million in local tax revenues, increases of 0.1% and -0.5%, respectively. A total of 66 Johnson Countians are employed in tourism-related fields.
“Counties, cities and rural communities work hard to make our state a premier destination, welcoming visitors from around the world,” Haslam said.  “Our state’s second biggest industry continues to see outstanding growth, break visitation records, boost Tennessee’s economy and create new jobs. The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Tennessee Tourism Committee continue to produce record results that fuel our state’s economy.”
All 95 counties enjoyed an increase in tourism expenditures. Each county saw more than $1 million in direct travel expenditures in the economic impact of tourism. Five counties exceeded one billion in travel expenditures, including Davidson ($6.505 billion), Shelby ($3.503 billion), Sevier ($2.276 billion), Hamilton ($1.112 billion), and Knox ($1.097 billion).
“The growth of the tourism industry and its economic impact comes from guests discovering the world-class food, history and culture, scenic beauty and outdoors and experiences that make Tennessee ‘The Soundtrack of America.’” Commissioner Kevin Triplett said. “The authenticity and Southern hospitality from our communities and partners gives visitors an unbeatable experience and inspires them to return. The numbers show Tennessee is a destination of choice for visitors around the world. However, we would not have these numbers if not for the capital investments, renovations and dedication made by tourism partners across the state to deliver great experiences that create wonderful memories.”
A record 113.6 million person stays also were recorded in 2017, according to U.S. Travel. Those numbers place Tennessee among the Top 10 travel destinations in the nation for the fourth consecutive year. Tennessee is also considered a top retirement destination.
The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development works with local convention and visitors’ bureaus, chambers of commerce and city and county leaders in all 95 counties to draw and welcome people to the state. The Tennessee Tourism Committee, chaired by Colin Reed of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. formed in 2011. Gov. Haslam appointed the Tennessee tourism committee, made up of tourism leaders in both the public and private sectors to help bring travelers to Tennessee.
To view the full report, click here. County-by-county snapshots will be shared at the Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association’s Governor’s Conference September 19-21. For more information, contact Jill Kilgore, public relations media manager for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, at 615-927-1320 or by email at Jill.Kilgore@tn.gov.
Tennessee is the home of the blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly, and rock ‘n’ roll- delivering an unparalleled experience of beauty, history, and family adventure, infused with music, that creates a vacation that is the “Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.”
Explore more at tnvacation.com and join other Tennessee travelers by following “TNVacation” on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, and “Tennessee” on Snapchat.

TDH epidemiologist leads groundbreaking research on impact of NAS

Mary-Margaret Fill, M.D.

Mary-Margaret Fill, M.D.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Health is leading the nation in surveillance and reporting of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, a condition in which a baby has withdrawal symptoms after being exposed in utero to substances such as medications or illicit drugs. Now, a TDH epidemiologist is leading groundbreaking research on the potential long-term impact of NAS on children.

TDH Medical Epidemiologist Mary-Margaret Fill, MD has authored a study to be published in the September issue of Pediatrics. Her study titled “Educational Disabilities among Children Born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome” reports findings of the first research of its kind in the United States on whether NAS is associated with educational disabilities.

“In Tennessee, the rate of NAS has increased more than 1,700 percent since 1999. Although some studies have indicated that infants with intrauterine exposure to opioids might be at increased risk for impaired brain development, the measurable impact on these children, their families and society is less well understood,” said Fill.

Fill analyzed data for more than 7,000 Tennessee children between the ages of three and eight, both those born with NAS and those who were not, to learn if those children with a history of NAS required more educational assistance than other children.

Researchers found that children born with NAS were more likely to be referred for evaluation of an educational disability, to meet criteria for an educational disability and to receive special education therapies or services than children without NAS. Developmental delay and speech/language impairment were the most common educational disabilities identified among children with a history of NAS.

“Our findings underscore the importance of continued work to reduce non-essential prenatal drug use and to closely monitor children with a history of NAS in order to diagnose any developmental or educational delays early and promptly begin interventions to help them overcome these disabilities,” Fill said.

TDH Deputy Commissioner for Population Health Michael Warren, MD, MPH, FAAP; Assistant Commissioner of Communicable and Environmental Disease and Emergency Preparedness Tim Jones, MD; Deputy State Epidemiologist John Dunn, DVM, PhD and Epidemiologist Angela Miller, PhD, MSPH served as co-authors of the study. The Tennessee Department of Education and TennCare were integral collaborators on the project, which was funded under a grant to the March of Dimes Foundation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and the Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support. The article is available online at https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2018-0562.

Tennessee created an NAS Subcabinet working group in 2012 and made Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome a reportable condition in 2013, the first U.S. state to do so. Learn more about NAS at www.tn.gov/health/nas.html.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee.

TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.

MADD seeks support

Organization needs help to keep state license plate in circulation.

By Tamas Mondovics

“The statistics are horrifying. The danger is real – and it can wreak life-changing devastation anytime, anywhere, in the blink of an eye. The destruction ripples out, impacting two out of three people in their life time,” the much respected website ‘Mothers Against Drunk Driving’ or MADD states on its home page.

And, it is for a good reason, as drunk driving continues to be the No.1 cause of death on America’s roadways.
In 1980, it was a small, unassuming kitchen table where one mom started a movement that would significantly change the course of history in the United States.

Since then, the table has grown, but MADD remains just as grassroots as at its humble beginning. The difference is that today the movement continues to be powered by hundreds of thousands of passionate advocates and supporters, while it remains focused on one number – zero. Zero deaths. Zero injuries. Zero families impacted by impaired driving.

To promote its transparency, MADD is seeking support to keep its specialty license plate in circulation. As reported, in 2016, MADD Tennessee lost its plates after drivers failed to purchase the required minimum number to keep the plates in circulation Senator Paul Bailey has granted MADD Tennessee another chance. If MADD can pre-sell 1,000 plates before June 30, 2019, the design will be back in circulation. Officials agree that the initiative is a daunting challenge, but said that more is at stake than just a decorative license plate.

“Our plates serve as rolling billboards to bring awareness to the issue drunk and/or drugged driving–and what better place to have a message regarding highway safety?” said Norris Skelley, MADD Tennessee State Board member.

Skelley emphasized that not only do these license plates raise awareness, but the proceeds MADD receives from each plate helps fund its Victim Services Program, which provides help to those that have been affected by impaired driving at no cost to the victims and their families.

“It is a critical source of funding that was lost when the plates were discontinued,” she said. “Our plates are used to raised awareness about drunk/drugged driving, raise necessary funding for victim services and to honor victims of impaired driving crashes.”

Specialty plates cost an extra $35.00 each year in Tennessee.  Anyone interested in pre-ordering a MADD plate should visit tnmaddplates.com and sign up. When the minimum of 1,000 pre-orders has been reached, then the $35.00 per plate will be due.

For more information regarding MADD Tennessee specialty license plates, contact Norris Skelley at norrisskelley@gmail.com or 931-261-4168

ETSU welcomes new pharmacy residents

JOHNSON CITY — East Tennessee State University’s Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy welcomes several new residents and a fellow who will be furthering their postgraduate pharmacy training in various practice settings over the next few years.  Wade Tugman, of Mountain City, has been accepted into the Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Residency for second-year postgraduates. He earned his bachelor’s in Allied Health Sciences from Milligan College in 2013 and his PharmD from ETSU in 2017. He completed his PGY1 pharmacy residency at the Veterans Affairs Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Nashville.

“I wanted to return to Gatton as a pharmacy resident because of how progressive ambulatory care pharmacy practice is in this area and also because I wanted to come back to East Tennessee and serve the community in which I grew up,” said Tugman, who plans to work as an ambulatory care pharmacist serving patients in the Appalachian region.

Learn more about Gatton at www.etsu.edu/pharmacy.

Doe Elementary Leaders of the Week

Doe Elementary Leaders of the Week

A group of Doe Elementary School students smile big for a photo after a chance to be in the spotlight as leaders of the week. This year at Doe has implemented “Leader in Me”! that selects leaders from each homeroom and recognizing them throughout the week. Top row (left to right) – Gavin Curd, Joey Isaacs, Skylar Terrill, Katie Lipford, Cheyenne Hilliard, Katie Buehrer, Kyle Roberts. Bottom row (right to left) – Grayson Hensley, Kenneth Lipford, Isabella Bunting, Brynna Phillippi, Layla Burgess, Joey Curran, Isabella Moses Not pictured: Sarenitie Cannet. Photo Submitted.

Brandon Guinn named Goldstein Scholarship recipient

JOHNSON CITY – Brandon Guinn of Mountain City has been named a recipient of the Buford J. and Mary  Jane Goldstein Scholarship at East Tennessee State University. The $500 scholarship is awarded to full-time students pursuing a bachelor’s degree with a minimum high school or cumulative grade point average of 2.5. Guinn is a junior double-majoring in criminal justice and criminology and  sociology and plans to graduate in December 2019.  He is the son of Hearley and Nancy Guinn, Mountain City.

ETSU awards Boyd S. Ray Memorial Scholarships

JOHNSON CITY – East Tennessee State University has awarded the Boyd S. Ray Memorial Scholarship to students from Johnson County. This $1,000 scholarship is awarded to undergraduate or graduate ETSU students who are graduates of Johnson County High School (JCHS) and hold a minimum grade point average of 3.0.  Recipients include Jonathan Arnold and Haley B. Greene.

Arnold played baseball for four years at JCHS, where he was involved in the National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Educational Talent Search, Skills USA and Lifetime Sports.  His interests include ethics and leadership, and he is a member of Southside Baptist Church.  The ETSU freshman plans to major in business and pursue a career in accounting.  He is the grandson of Ernest and Judy Roark, Laurel Bloomery. Greene, a freshman at ETSU, was a Presidential Academic Excellence Award winner and member of National Honor Society and HOSA during her time at JCHS.  She is the daughter of Cristie and Thomas Brown, Mountain City, and the late Frederick Z. Greene.

Beware the attack of the ticks: some can give you Lyme disease, says AMA

By Tamas Mondovics

Mountain City resident Robert Rackley, 80, is no stranger to his mountainous surroundings. While his outdoor activities are a bit more centered around working on keeping his nearly 10-acre property of Doug Hill Road, looking pristine and inviting Rackley is also aware of the uninvited critters and insects that have a way to find their way into any home and causing some trouble before leaving; if they get a chance to leave at all.

Rackley, experienced the truthfulness of this recently as he recalls waking up in the middle of the night to something biting his back, at a spot that he could not reach. Looking in the mirror revealed that something is indeed working hard to cause some damage. Calling on his wife for some help the two quickly realized that the intruder was none other than a tick.

In a recent press release Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control [CDC], emphasized that while the height of summer, a time of year when people are most vulnerable to insect-borne diseases is coming to an end, a threat will still be with there well into the Fall.

Redfield warned: “A growing list of diseases caused by the bite of an infected mosquito, tick, or flea have confronted the U.S. in recent years, making a lot of people sick.”

Tick attacks can be particularly nasty for seniors.

“They can cause several different illnesses, most notably Lyme disease,” said Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC). All of these sicknesses can have harsh symptoms, but they rarely result in death, although the elderly have weaker immune systems and are therefore more susceptible,”

According to the CDC the symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, rash, facial paralysis and arthritis and can last up to six months.  Symptoms can be harsh but slow to set in adding that a person could be infected with Lyme disease for a full month with nothing but a small rash at the bite location before more serious symptoms set in.

Later stage Lyme can include increased rashes, partial facial paralysis, arthritis and joint pain, irregular heartbeat, brain and spinal cord swelling, nerve pain and short-term memory loss.”

The good thing is that not all ticks carry Lyme disease. Weber said that it is the blacklegged tick and the western-blacklegged tick that are the culprits.

They are not common in all 50 states. In fact, up until about 20 years, they were common only in the Northeastern United States. But two decades later they can be found in 1,531 counties spread across 43 states. R

According to research biologist at the CDC, Rebecca Eisen, the blacklegged ticks inhabit the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central regions of the United States, and the western-blacklegged tick are found along the Pacific Coast.

The blacklegged tick is much smaller than the dog tick, and the dog tick has white markings on its back. Webber suggests not to panic if found that a tick has attached itself to one’s body.

“You’ve got up to 24 hours before infection can set in,” he said. “So you have time to get help in removing it at an ER, for example.”

That is good news for Rackley, who thanks to some help from his wife was able to remove the nasty insect, in its entirety, before going back to bed sometime after 3 a.m.

Residents are urged not try to squeeze the tick out or use a lit cigarette to coax it out. If one can’t get medical help, use tweezers to grip it as close as possible to its mouth to remove.

To prevent tick bites, the CDC suggests that you:

  • Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings. And that you,
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. EPA’s helpful search tool can help you find the product that best suits your needs. Always follow product instructions.

The Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [https://www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today. Live long and make a difference by joining us today at https://amac.us/join-amac.

The Taste of Appalachia Harvest Celebration Dinner

Harvest dinner

By Jana Jones
Farmers Market Manager

The new Christian Life Center in downtown Mountain City made a perfect venue for the 2nd annual Johnson County Farmers Market (JCFM) Harvest Celebration Dinner which was held Saturday evening, August 18th. The evening opened with a silent auction where guests could bid on items ranging from a basket of produce to gift certificates for quiche and meats, original prints, ceramics, quilts, and baskets of preserves, soaps, crafts, and jewelry.

Richard Calkins, JCFM board president, opened up the evening. “2018 marks our 10th year serving Johnson County. We want to recognize all of the previous JCFM board members in the past 10 years that laid the foundation for the successful market we have today.”

Calkins welcomed over 100 guests and thanked Craig Cox and his Culinary Arts class from the Johnson County High School for preparing and serving the farm to table meal. Each dish was prepared from produce and meat bought from local farmers.

The corn bread was made from fresh ground organic dried corn. The gravy was made from bone broth made with grass fed beef bones from Chestnut Grove Farms. Even the coffee was home roasted locally. The delicious traditional Appalachian menu of pasture raised pork, chicken, organic stuffed squash, coleslaw, mashed potatoes and gravy, greasy beans, shelly beans, deviled eggs, apple stack cake and blueberry crisp was served family style. No one went home hungry!

After the meal, Jana Jones, the JCFM Market Manager, expressed gratitude for the 2018 volunteers that help make the market run smoothly. Gifts of custom made pottery were handed out in appreciation of their dedication. All of the corporate sponsors and Friends of the Market supporters were also recognized. Jones spoke about the new JCFM programs that were initiated this year.

“We are one of the few markets in our area that now offer year round local fresh products.”

The JCFM Winter Market will begin inside the Welcome Center basement as soon as the outdoor market ends the last Saturday of October. The new Tuesday Market started in July as a trial. Jones stated that the success of offering a mid-week afternoon market for the convenience of the working public in the county will depend on the demand. For this season the plan is for the Tuesday Market, which runs from 3:30 to 6:30 at Ralph Stout Park, to operate through September.

Other programs that began in 2018 include Breakfast at the Market, the first Saturday “How To” Classes, and the GoJoCo Kids Club. Dwayne Dixon, pastor of the First Christian Church and member of the GoJoCo Committee, spoke of the state wide Healthier Tennessee Initiative and the goal of the GoJoCo movement: Encouraging one another to live healthier lifestyles by focusing on moving more, eating smarter and enjoying a life free of tobacco products.

The GoJoCo Kids Club was a brainchild of this committee which began in May at the JCFM. Children can come to the GoJoCo Kids tent any Saturday morning at Ralph Stout Park and participate in making fun, healthy snacks, run an obstacle course, and receive free tokens to practice making healthy choices at the Farmers Market. The new program has been a great success with attendance each market day averaging 14 children. The GoJoCo Kids Club is being recognized at the East Regional Healthier Tennessee Conference to be held in September as one of the exceptional initiatives from all of the regional HTC Communities.
The evening ended with Calkins thanking Jones for a stellar job for the past 3 years as manager of the JCFM with a gift of appreciation. Jones will be leaving as Market Manager at the end of October. Next year’s Harvest Celebration Dinner is planned for the third Saturday in August. So, mark your calendars now!

Harvest dinner

Urging Tennesseans to join fight against horse slaughter


Every year, tens of thousands of American horses are forced into crowded trucks and transported hundreds of miles to Mexico and Canada, where they are slaughtered and turned into horsemeat.

By Holly Viers

Every year, tens of thousands of American horses are forced into crowded trucks and transported hundreds of miles to Mexico and Canada, where they are slaughtered and turned into horsemeat.,Now, Greene County resident Andrea Kovacs is saying, “Enough is enough.”To put an end to this practice, Kovacs is urging Tennesseans to voice their support for two bills, which would prohibit the knowing sale or transport of horses for human consumption.

“(Horses) are highly individualized, each with unique, complex life histories,” Kovacs said. “I believe if any man has the ability to reduce those qualities to only meat, he obliterates what is good, beautiful and worthy in this world. … He impoverishes all of us by annihilating them.”

The history
Horse slaughter began in the U.S. in the early 1970s, according to Equine Advocates, a nonprofit organization. Around the same time, horses not used for research purposes were removed from the Animal Welfare Act, which had protected them from unsafe or inhumane transportation, sale and handling. By 2006, most U.S. slaughter plants had closed their doors, but three still remained — two in Texas and one in Illinois. A 2007 court ruling upheld a Texas law banning horse slaughter, according to the Animal Welfare Institute, and when similar legislation was passed in Illinois, horse slaughter on U.S soil came to an end.

The practice continues
The 2007 legislation wasn’t the end of the story. Now, instead of being slaughtered in the U.S., horses of all ages and breeds are sent to Mexico and Canada, where the practice still occurs.As explained by Equine Advocates, the horses are killed in often brutal ways — sometimes when they are still conscious — and their meat is shipped to Europe and Japan, where horsemeat is considered a delicacy.

“After 2007, very few people realized it was still going on,” Kovacs said. “I didn’t, and I’ve rescued horses now since I was in my 30s, so most of my adult life.”

Close to home
Kovacs emphasized that this isn’t just a national issue, but rather one that occurs only minutes away. Just before Easter, Kovacs learned of a horse slaughter dealer in Northeast Tennessee, who she said buys horses at regional auctions and takes them to a slaughter plant in Mexico.

“He ships them 34 hours into Mexico, and when those truck doors open again, they’re at the hell on earth of the slaughter plant; that’s it for them,” Kovacs said. “These horse slaughter dealers outbid rescues and good buyers that want to give a decent home, and they don’t disclose their intent. So it’s really just horrific.”

The urgent need
Based on data collected from 2012 to 2016, an average of 137,000 American horses were trucked over U.S. borders each year to slaughter facilities in Mexico and Canada, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).Kovacs believes horse populations could dwindle to a dangerously low level if the practice continues, making the situation more urgent than ever.

“It’s not a vague threat,” Kovacs said. “It’s a very, very fierce reality.”

What you can do
Two bills — one in a House of Representatives subcommittee and the other in a Senate committee chaired by Sen. Lamar Alexander — have the power to end horse slaughter transport, if passed. The first is H.R.113, also known as the Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2017, and the second is S.1706, also called the SAFE Act. Both bills would amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to deem horse parts unsafe for human consumption, since many horses are given drugs that are considered dangerous for humans.

Kovacs encourages Tennesseans to contact Congressman Phil Roe’s office to voice their support for H.R.113, while Alexander would be the most direct contact for S.1706.

“I have been a horse rescuer. I feel I’ve been a horse protector and now I think I have to be a horse warrior,” Kovacs said, “because I won’t give up this fight against horse slaughter until the last day I breathe.”

Holly Viers

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