Local NewsSports issues take top billing at city council

By Lacy Hilliard

The City Council met in regular session on Tuesday, April 7 at City Hall in Mountain City. All council members were present at the April meeting.

First to address the City Council was Johnson County Little League organizer Alisha Shankel. Shankel was in attendace to gain approval of the use of both Cunningham and Ralph Stout parks for the upcoming Little League season. Mayor Keeble stated, “I don’t have a problem with that but I need the Little League to please police the lights.” Mayor Keeble went on to say that there have been occasions during the baseball season where the field lights have been left on and complaints have been made. He also went on to urge those responsible for the lights to be energy conscious and to only use the lights when necessary. Shankel agreed and the request was approved. Shankel went on to ask the council to consider allowing the Little League to reinforce the dugouts at Cunningham Park with concrete block. “Right now there’s no good shelter for the kids during a rain delay,” said Shankel. She went on to state that Little League would garner donations from the community in order to complete the dugout project. However, Shankel requested that the City Council consider funding new dirt for Cunningham Park field as well as a screen that would shield the outfield from the sun, which was previously blocked by two pine trees that were recently removed from the park. “Two years ago we (the Little League) spent about $5,000 on Cunningham Park alone,” said Shankel. Shankel was given permission to get an estimate on the cost of the dirt and the screen.  More...

Prescribed burn of 2,800 acres planned soon in Shady Valley

Officials from the USDA Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) are joining forces to conduct a prescribed (or controlled) burn on approximately 2,800 acres of national forest and TNC land in Johnson County. The area to be burned is located within the Cherokee National Forest, Watauga Ranger District and The Nature Conservancy’s John R. Dickey Birch Branch Sanctuary near Shady Valley in upper east Tennessee.

TNC and the Forest Service will be conducting the burn in cooperation with the Shady Valley Volunteer Fire Department and the Tennessee Division of Forestry. The date of the burn is dependent on the right weather conditions. Fire officials say the burn could take place within the next 10-14 days if conditions are right.

The burn at the TNC property is part of a long-term plan for this nature preserve. The Nature Conservancy is restoring native warm-season grasses to the Birch Branch Sanctuary’s old farm fields. These native warm-season grasses provide superior nutrition and excellent habitat for songbirds, game birds, and butterflies. The prescribed burn will help remove invasive vegetation and promote the growth of native grasses instead. More...

West Jefferson wins ‘Great Main Street’ award; celebrating centennial this year

By Bonnie Davis Guy

Mountain City’s next door neighbor, West Jefferson, NC, is celebrating its 100th year anniversary. Coinciding with a year of scheduled events and celebrations comes a big award naming Jefferson Avenue a “Great Main Street.” North Carolina chapter of the American Planning Association’s (APA) Great Places Initiative announced its main street winners on March 3, 2015 and West Jefferson’s own Jefferson Avenue was on the list. According to the Great Places in NC press release West Jefferson’s nomination highlighted the transitioning role that Jefferson Avenue plays as the backbone of a railroad community to a destination with improved streetscapes, public art, public spaces, and local festivals. This embodied the local work ethic and community spirit. It was the combination of existing vitality and proactive dedication of the town and community to the success of Jefferson Ave that led the expert panel to select it as a 2015 Great Main Street in the Professionals’ Category. These awards are designed to help celebrate the great communities throughout the state. John Morck, President of APA-NC, said, “All of these ‘Great Main Streets’ represent excellent examples of community-based planning at its best.”

West Jefferson is celebrating both its award and its centennial with a year caulked full of events. February was the official kickoff of the yearlong celebration but spring and summer are when events kick into high gear. May includes Lego and photo contests, car shows, picnics, and concerts. The main summer events include a community picnic, West Jefferson Elementary School reunion, music, kids’ activities at the local library, a scavenger hunt, storytelling, a town birthday party, and various community workshops. For a complete list of all events and details visit the centennial web site at www.westjefferson100.com. More...

Play Ball! Little League Section Coming April 29th

Little League Baseball & Softball season is approaching and we are highlighting our Johnson

County teams, players, coaches and sponsors. We will also have opportunities for the families

and friends of the players, team coaches, sponsors and businesses to participate in this exciting More...

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Local News
• Sports issues take top billing at city council
• Prescribed burn of 2,800 acres planned soon in Shady Valley
• West Jefferson wins ‘Great Main Street’ award; celebrating centennial this year
• Play Ball! Little League Section Coming April 29th

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