Memorial Day MIA POW wreath

As part of this year’s Memorial Day observance scheduled for Monday, May 27, 2019, Sgt. John Wayne Jeffries USMC of Mountain City TN, places a wreath this week at the MIA or POW memorial in Mountain City. Jeffries has been placing a wreath at the memorial for the past six years reflecting on the sacrifices made by many in serving this country. Photo By Tamas Mondovics


Lily Savery is Laurel Student of the week

Lily Savery is Laurel Elementary’s student of the week. She is the daughter of Clay and Patricia Savery. She is 6 years old and in kindergarten. Her favorite thing about school is learning.
She says her favorite subject is math because it is so easy for her and she loves it! Lily would like to be a Youtuber with her friend Kaylee when she grows up. Lily says she is a Laurel leader because she likes to take care of people.
Photo Submitted

Lily Savery is Laurel Student of the week

Johnson County Schools officials are proud of their students including Haxlee Kline and Serena Leonard who are just two of the members of the ACT 30+ club. Several students were unable to attend the JCS board meeting due to other obligations but all have earned respect and recognition for their hard work and accomplishments. Online Photos

Comptroller’s Office Studies Teacher Salaries In Tennessee

Press Release

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has released a report examining how money intended to boost teacher salaries has been used by local school districts. More than $300 million in new, recurring state dollars was appropriated by the General Assembly though the state’s Basic Education Program (BEP) between fiscal years 2016 and 2018. The legislative intent for the increased state funding was to increase teacher salaries across Tennessee.
The Comptroller’s Office of Research and Education Accountability (OREA) surveyed Tennessee’s school districts, and the majority of respondents reported awarding salary increases to teachers for three consecutive years (fiscal years 2016, 2017, and 2018). Those pay raises resulted in an increase of Tennessee’s average classroom teacher salary of 6.2 percent (just under $3,000), making it the third fastest-growing state in the Southeast for teacher salaries during fiscal years 2015 through 2018.
In addition to providing raises, districts also used increased state BEP instructional salaries funds to hire more instructional staff.
OREA found that while total local revenue budgeted for school districts increased at about the same rate as BEP state revenue, salary expenditures (whether for new hires or raises) could not be linked back to their revenue source, either state or local. District budgets do not identify what portion of expenditures are paid with state funds versus local funds.
The state’s main lever for increasing state funding for salaries – the BEP formula’s salary unit cost figure – is not directly linked to pay raises for every teacher. The increased funding generated through the salary unit cost is applied only to BEP-calculated positions; most districts fund additional positions. Because districts employ more staff than are covered by BEP funding, the available state and local dollars earmarked for salaries must stretch over more teachers than the staff positions generated by the BEP.
OREA examined district expenditures and found that, statewide, districts increased spending for instructional salaries and health insurance by about 9 percent while spending on retirement increased about 8 percent. At the individual district level, the growth in salary expenditures varied, from a decrease of 10 percent to an increase of over 26 percent.
The Comptroller’s report includes policy considerations addressing how the state may wish to
implement an in-depth salary survey of selected districts to periodically obtain a more complete picture of district salary trends, as well as
develop a process to determine which districts are eligible for a separate state allocation of salary equity funding,
intended to raise teacher salaries in select districts with lower-than-average salaries.
To read the Comptroller’s report, please visit

Farmers Market Fresh program is coming back!

Submitted by
Sarah Ransom

We all know the farmers’ market is an excellent place for picking up fresh fruits and vegetables. This summer, in addition to picking up some home grown tomatoes, you can pick up some research-based knowledge as well. The University of Tennessee/Tennessee State University Extension in Johnson County will be at the market offering food samples, as well as selection and storage suggestions for the flavorful fruit and vegetables available at the market. This program is called Farmer’s Market Fresh. The market consumers have enjoyed the delicious treats, free information and prize giveaways in the past years. We are excited to be offering this program in the next few weeks.
According to Dr. Christopher Sneed with UT Extension, the primary objective of the Farmers’ Market Fresh program is to encourage purchasing of fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ markets. “We are particularly interested in helping limited-resource families, especially those receiving EBT/ SNAP have access to fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market. We hope our presence at the market along with the food demonstrations, tastings, and activities will encourage people to check out all the market has to offer,” states Sneed.
Throughout the summer, members of the local Extension office will have a booth at the market where they will be offering food demonstrations, recipes, and research-based advice on the best ways to select and store some of our favorite summertime items. The best part of the program – each person who stops by the booth will receive a recipe card for the food being demonstrated that day. At the end of the season, consumers could have an entire collection of recipes all featuring items fresh from the farmers’ market. Recipes to be featured include: summer squash salad, corn salad, fruit and nut slaw, tomato and cucumber sandwiches, peanut butter yogurt dip, quick picked beats and a berry spinach salad that will make you want seconds! “We intentionally picked recipes that would be easy to prepare,” states Dr. Janie Burney of UT Extension. “Summer in Tennessee can be hot. So, we selected recipes that did not involve using the stove or oven. We wanted foods that were cool, refreshing, and delicious.” And, it just so happens they are all really good for you as well.
Grown-ups are not the only ones who will enjoy a stop by the Farmers’ Market Fresh booth. The young ones are sure to enjoy a sample of the food prepared. In addition, they will be able to participate in a weekly children’s challenge. Through the challenge, they are able to earn prizes for the fruits and vegetables their families purchase, prepare, and taste at home. There is even some buzz that a special visitor – Rudy the Raccoon – may make an appearance at the market. To participate, all you need to do is stop by the Farmers’ Market Fresh booth for all the details.
“We are very happy and excited to be part of this program,” states FCS Agent, Sarah Ransom of UT Extension Johnson County, “Partnering with the farmers’ market is just a natural fit for our office given our focus on food preservation, cooking skills, and healthy eating. We can’t wait to get started! We can’t wait to see you there!”
For more information about the Farmers’ Market Fresh program including the exact dates and times the Extension office will be at the market, call the local UT/TSU Extension Johnson County office at 727-8161.
This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more, contact your local Department of Human Services Office or call 1-866-311-4287 (toll-free). In cooperation with Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension. The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Programs in agriculture and natural resources, 4-H youth development, family and consumer sciences, and resource development. University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture and county governments cooperating. UT Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.

Johnson County Young Artists presents The Aristocats Kids at Heritage Hall

Members of the Johnson County Young Artists cast pause during rehearsal for their upcoming performance of Disney’s The Aristocats Kids scheduled for this week at Heritage Hall Theater in Mountain City. The JC Young Artists is a theatre group based out of Johnson County Tennessee. The presentation is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, May 24, 25 at 7 p.m. The show will feature nearly two-dozen eager and enthusiastic children from area schools ages 5-18. Tickets for this week’s presentation general seating is available for $5 at door.
For more information, check Submitted photo

State to support vol. firefighters

By Tamas Mondovics

First responders, including members of the two Johnson County law enforcement, JC Emergency Management Agency, JC Rescue Squad as well as the nine volunteer fire department enjoyed the spotlight and a much-deserved recognition earlier this month.
The timing to assist such heroes, couldn’t have been better considering an announcement by Tennessee State Representative Timothy Hill’s (R-Blountville) office last week confirming the results of an effort to secure funding to help local fire departments equip and train volunteer firefighters across the state.
According to State officials, House Bill 518 creates a program, known as the volunteer firefighter equipment and training grant program, to annually provide grants to select volunteer fire departments to be used for the purchase of firefighting equipment or to meet local match requirements of federal grants for the purchase of firefighting equipment and training.
“Many of our rural communities rely on volunteer firefighters to protect them from all
forms of harm,” Hill said. “House Bill 518 will establish a state-funded grant program to ensure our local heroes have the proper equipment and necessary training to protect their neighbors.
This is the first program
of its kind and will finally
find a way to help our heroes.”
Local volunteer fire departments include Butler, Doe, Dry Run, Laurel (First District), Mountain City, Neva, Second District, Shady Valley, and Trade.
Timothy Hill is Chairman of the House Commerce Committee. He is also a member of the House Calendar & Rules Committee, as well as the Business, Utilities, Banking & Investments, and Life & Health Insurance Subcommittees.
Hill represents Tennessee House District 3, which
includes Johnson, and part
of Carter and Sullivan
Counties. Hill can be
reached by email at or by calling (615) 741-

Four generations of support

Zack Winters, left, with his father Nathan, his grandmother Sharon, and his great grandmother Della. Submitted photos

Zach Eller, right with his mother Melissa, sister Chloe, grandmother Judy, and his great grandmother Verelene.


By Meg Dickens
Stuart Shoun contributed to the story

The public supports Johnson County athletes, but no one supports them more than their families. Take these players for example. Zack Winters and Zach Eller share a few odd coincidences. Both athletes are seniors at Johnson County High School, play as shooting guard on the varsity basketball team, and have four generations of support at nearly every game.
Zach Eller is supported by his sister Chloe, his mother Melissa, his grandmother Judy, and his great grandmother Verelene. Zack Winters has his sister Natalie, his father Nathan, his grandmother Sharon, and his great grandmother Della. Anyone would appreciate the support. Some researchers believe that this type of encouragement and support actually improves athletic performance.
“Ongoing support of friends and family may be one of the most important factors influencing sports performance,” claims the Great British Medalists Project author Tim Reese. “The encouragement and support of friends and family is a key factor in building confidence in an athlete, and it’s this confidence that can lead to success in a high-pressure sporting event.”
Confidence may be a major factor in athletic success. Self-efficacy, or positive self- talk, plays a part in increasing confidence. Rising confidence fuels drive. Experts believe that this may be almost as important as support.
Whether these methods make a direct improvement or not, they are always a great way to show support. Follow these athletes’ families’ example. Support Johnson County athletes and family members. It can only help.
Good luck Zack Winters and Zach Eller! We wish you success in the future.

Summer Food Service Program

Staff Report

During this school year 2018/2019, Students in Johnson County enjoyed breakfast and lunch meals at no cost through the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).
Schools officials, want to continue feeding the children this summer.
“Hunger is one of the most severe obstacles to the learning process,” said School Nutrition Director Kathy McCulloch. “Lack of nutrition during the summer months may set up a cycle for poor performance once school begins again in the fall and may cause children to be more prone to illnesses and other health issues.”
Summer Food Service Program is designed to fill that nutrition gap and make sure children can get the nutritious meals they need.
McCulloch emphasized that while feeding children is the number one priority of the Summer Food Service Program, it takes many volunteers to keep the children fed.
USDA requires that all children remain at the site while consuming their meals. Children are not allowed to take a meal and leave.
“We ask that parents, please cooperate and follow these regulations,” she said.
Summer meals are offered to any child ages 1 – 18. Meals are also available to purchase for adults.
Please contact Johnson County School Foodservice at 727-2657 if any questions or would like to apply to host a site for the meals.

Doe Elementary Leaders of the Week

Doe Elementary School celebrated the weekly recognition of its leaders. The students
were in the spotlight this week included Gianni Guizzotti, Alyssa Gironda, Caidance Lunceford, Sophie McCloud, Garrett Ford, Karlie Lipford, Evangelina Furches, Daniel Palmer, Draven Walker Submitted photo

National Honor Society Recognizes Johnson County High School Students


Johnson County High School students enjoy the spotlight after being recognized by the National Honor Society last month. The 32 students stood out for their exemplary character, service, leadership, and scholarship.
Photo submitted



On April 10, 2019, the families of thirty-two juniors and seniors from Johnson County High School gathered to witness the induction ceremony for the JCHS chapter of the National Honor Society. The National Honor Society is one of the most prestigious organizations at Johnson County High School. The Society stands for Character, Service, Leadership, and Scholarship.
The names of the 2019 inductees are Chloe Arnold, Joseph Bilodeau, Ryan Bilodeau, Hannah Brooks, Colleen Conder, Kobe Cox, Brannon Dominguez, Emily Garr, Timothy Grindstaff, Kaitlin Holman, Samara Humphrey, Emily Irizarry, Hazlee Kleine, Michael Lane, Colton Long, Adam Manuel, Nathan Mink, Angel Mullis, Taylor Parsons, Peter Pavusek, Tiffany Price, Emma Robinson, Kimberly Rodriguez, Olivia Scheirer, Sarah Shaw, Dalton Sluder, Sydney Souder, Jaden Tolliver, Sadie Ward, Jisaiah Webster, Zachary Whitehead and Natalie Winters.
Out of these students, five were elected officers for the 2018-2019 school-year:
President: Adam Manuel; Vice President: Sydney Souder; Secretary: Hazlee Kleine; Treasurer: Peter Pavusek, Blood Drive Chairman: Taylor Parsons.

What’s more fun than a Turtle Derby?


The sixteenth annual TURTLE DERBY for the families of Johnson County is set for Friday, May 24th, 2019, at the bandstand at Ralph Stout Park beginning at 6 PM. This event is fun for the entire family and the proceeds go to support the work of the Johnson County Lions Club.
There is no admission charge to the Turtle Derby. Upon arrival, each person will receive a number which corresponds to a number on the track and if the turtle in your track wins a race, you will receive a prize. There will be several “heats”, so everyone will have lots of opportunities to win. In addition there will be great door prizes including two brand new bikes for a lucky boy and girl. The grand champion racer will be determined by a final run-off
The local Lions Club, chartered in 1953 with 22 founding members, is part of one of the largest and oldest service organizations in the world, dedicated to helping those less fortunate in their communities with special emphasis on eye care and the blind. Today there are approximately 45,000 clubs in 202 countries world-wide and well over 1 million members.
The Johnson County Lions Club has been instrumental in the development of the municipal swimming pool and the first ball field at Ralph Stout Park, which so many of our children enjoy in the summertime. In addition, fifty-three Johnson Countians have been fitted for eyeglasses in the last few years. The Lions Club also supports ongoing local, national and international vision-related projects such as leader dog training and blindness prevention programs. As well $700 was donated last year to the Johnson City Children’s Hospital.
The turtles are busy in training for their races but they will need lots of encouragement, so come prepared to have a lot of fun cheering your turtles on to the finish line.

Call for respect

National Nurses
Week draws attention in the wake of Senator’s comments

By Tamas Mondovics

Celebrated each year in May, National Nurses Week may have been one of the most significant this year, thanks to the derogatory comments of state senator, Maureen Walsh, a Republican, made on the Senate floor on April 16 while denouncing a bill that would allow nurses to get mandatory, uninterrupted meal and rest breaks.
Walsh’s suggestion that nurses “probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day” resulted in outrage on both sides of the aisle and met with backlash by nurses around the country.
A nurse in Chicago, Juliana Bindas, 27, reportedly started a petition on asking Ms. Walsh to spend a day shadowing a nurse so she could gain a deeper understanding of a nurse’s basic shift. Walsh has since made some corrections to her comments indicating that she will accept the invitation.
Not missing a beat to express his dismay Tennessee State Representative Timothy Hill’s (R-Blountville) led the charge on the disapproval and outrage over Walsh’s comments, in a letter, including a deck of playing cards, signed by his colleagues to the Washington Senator.
To put things in perspective National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.
These permanent dates enhance planning and position National Nurses Week as an established recognition event.
As of 1998, May 8 was designated as National Student Nurses Day, to be celebrated annually. And as of 2003, National School Nurse Day is celebrated on the Wednesday within National Nurses Week (May 6-12) each year.
The nursing profession has been supported and promoted by the American Nurses Association (ANA) since 1896. Each of ANA’s state and territorial nurses associations promotes the nursing profession at the state and regional levels, and each conducts celebrations on these dates to recognize the contributions that nurses and nursing make to the community.
It is noteworthy that in 1954 National Nurse Week was observed from October 11 – 16. The year of the observance marked the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea. Representative Frances P. Bolton sponsored the bill for a nurse week. A bill for a National Nurse Week was introduced in the 1955 Congress, but no action was taken. Congress discontinued its practice of joint resolutions for national weeks of various kinds.
1981 ANA, along with various nursing organizations, rallied to support a resolution initiated by nurses in New Mexico, through their Congressman, Manuel Lujan, to have May 6, 1982, established as “National Recognition Day for Nurses.”
1982 In February, the ANA Board of Directors formally acknowledged May 6, 1982 as “National Nurses Day.” The action affirmed a joint resolution of the United States Congress designating May 6 as “National Recognition Day for Nurses.”
Another important event interestingly follows the special week of appreciation for nurses across the nation; National Women’s Health Week, scheduled this year for May 12- 18.
The Tennessee Department of Health has joined the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Women’s Health in celebrating National Women’s Health Week. The nationwide initiative brings awareness to the importance of women’s health and empowers women to take small, manageable steps for longer, healthier and happier lives.
“So often as women we put the health and wellness of our loved ones first, but it’s never too early or late for women to make time for their own health,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “During National Women’s Health Week, we urge women to talk with their health care providers about which screenings and tests are right for them when they should have them and how often.”
Simple steps to take charge of one’s own health include engaging in healthy behaviors such as avoiding smoking; wearing a seatbelt and not texting while driving; paying attention to mental health, including managing stress and getting enough sleep and visiting a health care professional for regular checkups and preventive screenings, said the TDH.
The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. Learn more about TDH services and programs at


Staff Report

Despite the wet start to spring, sweet and juicy strawberries are prime for picking in most areas of Tennessee. If you are looking for the freshest berries, you need to go straight to the farm.
“We are seeing more ripe strawberries by the day.” Mitchell Hyde of Hyde Farms in Loudon County said. “The more sunshine, the more berries we will have ready to pick!”
One West Tennessee farmer has already started a reservation list for people who want to pick their own. “We are picking heavily this week—lots of strawberries are ripe and ready,” Timothy Brady of Dixie Chile Ranch in Obion County said. “All you have to do is let us know how many 5 quart buckets you intend to pick and we’ll let you know what times are available.”
In Middle Tennessee, berries are selling fast. “We sold 65 gallons of strawberries within the first hour of opening,” Jon Kelley of Kelley’s berries in Trousdale County said. “The first week in May is generally the best time to visit the strawberry patch. However, we will have ripe strawberries well into June.”
Never picked fresh strawberries before? To learn more about the picking process for the farm you are going to visit, all you have to do is call and ask. Farmers also suggest calling ahead of time to ensure that berries are available. If you want fresh strawberries without the work, many farms provide the option for customers to purchase already-picked strawberries.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the number of Tennessee strawberry farms has increased by almost 4% during the last five years.
The traditional season lasts about four to six weeks, depending on weather—so the best tasting strawberries you’ve ever had won’t last long.
Support your local economy and buy fresh strawberries from your local farmer today. Go to or use the free Pick Tennessee mobile app to find a farm near you.
To learn more about seasonal recipes, products, and activities.


Press Release

NASHVILLE – Are you a landowner looking to establish or enhance your woodland or a logger looking to improve your harvesting capacity? The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry (TDF) is offering cost share programs to assist forest landowners and industry with improving forest health and sustainability.
“More than half of Tennessee is covered in trees,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “We are working to promote and support agriculture in Tennessee, and our forest resources are a significant part of that. These cost share programs for forest establishment, improvement, and forest industry play a main role in our work to encourage landowners to implement forestry practices.”
Forestry programs under the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) and Southern Pine Beetle Initiative (SPBI) were developed to promote long-term investments in Tennessee’s forests by providing cost share incentives to qualifying landowners.
The programs promote sustainable forest management practices on family forestland, which provide multiple resource benefits such as timber, wildlife habitat, clean water, and soil protection.
Forest landowners are eligible to receive a 50% – 75% cost share reimbursement for funds spent with a combined maximum reimbursement of $15,000 per year. The landowner cost share sign-up period begins May 1 and ends May 31.
TDF also offers TAEP and SPBI financial assistance for forest industry to help protect stream habitats and overall water quality by utilizing forestry Best Management Practices. Forest industry practitioners, such as loggers and sawmill owners, are eligible to receive a 50% cost share reimbursement for funds spent. The TAEP and SPBI programs each have a maximum reimbursement of $15,000 per year, allowing eligible recipients to receive up to $30,000. TAEP cost share for forest industry is available for sign-up year-round, while SPBI sign-up period is between May 1 to May 31.
Those interested in TDF forestry practices cost share programs should contact their local Area Forester to determine eligibility, implement a plan, and sign-up.
For Area Forester contacts and more information about cost share programs, visit

Seasonal Gardening – Management Structures

By Sarah Ransom

Gardeners can maintain their gardening environment to enable crops to grow for extended periods of time. With careful planning, crops can be extended a few days or weeks.

There are two main ways of doing this: management practices and structures or materials to alter temperatures. This week, we are going to focus on structures and materials.

Several methods for seasonal gardening may focus on absorbing or trapping the radiation from the sun to warm up the environment for your crops.

Dark mulches absorb light and conduct heat that warms the soil below; clear plastic covers transmit and trap light which increases the air temperature.

Agricultural plastics have made a lot of progress to improve seasonal planting. The biggest question is how much money to invest in materials and how much time goes into each structure and material used.

Passive systems, rely only on natural air movement and natural sunlight. These are the most flexible, most cost efficient and applicable for home gardeners.

Mulch can be used to influence soil temperature by absorbing the light and heat and then reflecting the light. Solid black and woven plastics also help warm the crops environment.

Mulch and plastics can also help reduce heat loss that comes from evaporated water or changing nightly temperatures.

Another structure that can be used is a floating row cover, also known as direct covers. These are plastic films, agricultural fabrics or buckets that can be laid or placed over a crop to hold heat. This type of structure is often secured by the soil, wooden posts or other materials.

These covers often need less irrigation, it depends on the type used, and how long they are placed, one benefit is they can reduce the speed of rainfall, which decreases erosion and crusting and can help protect against insects. Row covers are typically only used for temporary measures in the spring and fall.
Low tunnels are very similar to row covers and can be used to help extend the growing season. Low
tunnels give the appearance of a miniature greenhouse.
These need to be made sure they are appropriately vented to allow enough airflow, so crops do not get overheated.

Shade structures can help reduce the amount of heat in the crops environment, and this can allow for cool-season crops, such as leafy greens, to be grown longer in the spring.

If you are looking for a permanent fix on structures, you can build cold frames, high tunnels, and greenhouses.

All of these structures provide more control over your crop’s environment and can significantly alter the ability to extend your harvest season.

Regardless of how you choose to garden, there are many options for extending your fresh vegetable intake!

To check out additional information on seasonal gardening, read

Skylar is Laurel Student of the week

Skylar Mason is Laurel Elementary student of the week. She is a first grader in Mrs. Knights class. She is the daughter of Tiffani Dunn and Jimmy Mason. She works hard and loves math class. She likes to play with her dog, Maple. When Skylar grows up she wants to be a nurse. Congratulations Skylar. Photo submitted