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Johnson County recognized in national magazine

Medium magazine featured Mountain City in the article “Want free Wi-Fi and a better life? You might need to move.” Medium contributor Lauren Lovett explains that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased job flexibility, which makes remote workers more common.   File photo by Tia Thomas

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

Johnson County is one of the few areas recognized in a recent feature spanning the nation thanks to work done by nonprofit Women of Mountain City. The organization’s work towards providing free Wi-Fi in Ralph Stout Park landed Johnson County a spot on Medium’s move-to destination list in the article “Want free Wi-Fi and a better life? You might need to move.” The publication also features photos of Johnson County from local photographer Tia Thomas.

The article focuses on the beauty of small towns and how individuals are making a big difference in their communities through Wi-Fi. Medium contributor Lauren Lovett explains that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased job flexibility, which makes remote workers more common. This type of work gives people more flexibility in where to live as well.

“Now that the threat of higher numbers in illness and death are keeping much of the US workforce at home, what’s left of it since over 40 million people have filed for unemployment since March, the idea to move out of high-priced apartments in crowded areas to look for a kinder, gentler place to live has occurred to many big-city dwellers,” Lovett explained.

Women of Mountain City founder Olivia Stelter grew up in Johnson County. Through her nonprofit work, she has made a name for herself and the organization. Stelter was ecstatic when she found out about the article and contacted The Tomahawk.

“They have half a million followers,” Stelter exclaimed. “I’m excited about California writing that people need to move to Johnson County.”

Johnson County has been gaining new opportunities in recent years. New businesses have popped up, and some locals have expressed hope that the liquor ordinance lures in a nice sit-down restaurant chain. Other ideas, such as creating a village green, are gaining popularity. It seems like the major obstacle is resources.

“There’s a lot of things that Appalachia struggles with, but it’s full of the most amazing people in the country if you ask me,” Stelter said. “We just have a lack of access to the things that could help our community that we truly just don’t know about.”

See the featured article on Medium.com.