Homecoming: Success! Happiness hits the JCHS football field

Johnson County junior Sadie Stout enjoys the spotlight during the 2019 Johnson County High School Homecoming Parade that started the evening’s festivities ahead of the football game just minutes later against Claiborne County, Mountain City. Photo by Tamas Mondovics

By Beth Cox
Sports Writer

The 2019 Johnson County High School Homecoming is over and embedded in the sweet memories of all who participated.
This year’s homecoming was just about as wonderful as the weather at Friday night’s football game.
The week was filled with crazy outfits reconstructing some favorite characters and paying homage to good ole red, white and blue, and of course, maroon and white.
The annual powder puff football game brought in a big crowd with spectators enjoying Kona ice as they eagerly cheered on their favorite team Friday afternoon on the JCHS football field.
The powder-puff game gave the ladies a chance to show off some football plays of their own and allowed the football players to trade in their jerseys for a whistle for a brief moment.
Jared Kimble, Jy Webster, Lucas Walters, Jamal Scott, Chance Phillips, and Luke Osborne were some of the players who helped with coaching. The game was a contest between classes, the freshmen and sophomore against the juniors and seniors. The juniors and seniors could not let the freshmen and sophomores get the winning edge over the team, so they gained control early and kept the touchdowns going throughout the game and taking the win 33-0.
The annual homecoming parade began at 5:30, starting at the First Baptist Church and ending at the high school. The streets of downtown were lined with excited fans ready to see the lovely homecoming
court, wave to some football players, hear the band and see the cheerleaders. The rowdy young fans also had an agenda of their own; they did not want to leave empty-handed, so they eagerly waited with
hopeful anticipation of receiving the candy tossed their way.
The homecoming court walked on the field at halftime as many waited to see who the 2019 football homecoming queen and princess would be. The nine young ladies were escorted across the area to the Longhorn sideline by members of the football team.
Homecoming princess, Emily Miller, was crowned by senior cheerleader Danielle Robinson. The homecoming queen for 2019 is Natalie Winters. Jada Gentry made a special appearance to relinquish her role as homecoming queen to Winters.
The Longhorns completed the week perfectly by playing a great game against Claiborne County. It was nice to see the boys walk off the field, smiling for gaining a sweet victory over their opponents.

Is Fall a Good Time to Plant Trees and Shrubs?

Submitted by Rick Thomason

Many people assume that the best time to plant trees and shrubs is in the spring because they have the entire growing season to become established.
However, spring weather isn’t always cooperative when it comes to getting plants in the ground. Late snow or excessive rainfall can make the soil too wet and unstable to properly plant. If an extended rainy period is immediately followed by hot, dry summer weather, new trees and shrubs can suffer. This stress manifests as scorched leaves and limited growth. Thus, fall planting becomes an attractive alternative.
Planting in the fall has some of the same benefits as planting in the spring. Temperatures are typically cool, causing plants to lose less water through their leaves due to transpiration than they would in hot weather.
This makes it less likely for plants to experience stress, and more energy can be directed to root production. When the air temperature drops below that of the soil, shoot growth ceases and roots continue to develop until the soil dips below 40℉.
A healthy, well-established root system goes a long way towards ensuring vigorous growth in the spring.
Planting in the fall is not without risks, and the chance of plant failure increases the later in the season you wait. Aim to give plants at least six weeks of mild weather for root growth before freezing temperatures arrive. While the exact timing of this is impossible to know, October is a good deadline.
As a general rule, deciduous plants are more suitable for fall planting than evergreens. Evergreens, like arborvitae or rhododendrons, lose water through their leaves throughout the winter and are especially susceptible to winter injury before their roots are established.
Plants with shallow, fibrous roots are usually the best choices for fall planting because they recover faster than those with large, thick taproots.
Deciduous species that respond well to fall planting include apples, crabapples, lindens, maples, hawthorns, honey locusts and elms. Success is also likely with most deciduous shrubs such as lilacs, witchhazels and forsythia.
Important aspects of planting successfully in the fall are choosing healthy plants. Only purchase plants that have a good structure and are free of diseases, and dead or broken branches. Also make sure there are no signs of girdling roots.
After planting, new trees and shrubs should be watered thoroughly and consistently, applying enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of eight to ten inches at least once a week.
Continue watering until freezing temperatures arrive. Winter weather is unpredictable, and even tough plants may not survive if conditions are severe, particularly in early winter.
However, fall planting can still be a great option for gardeners to consider.
*Source: University of New Hampshire Extension.

Jones named Good Neighbor for October

JCMS student Mattie Jones, center, enjoys the
spotlight, while recognized as this month’s Good Neighbor. Photo submitted

Johnson County Middle School student Mattie Jones has been named the Good Neighbor for October, 2019,

Sponsored by the local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma International, this award recognizes students who demonstrate neighborliness through exemplary kindness and respect, generosity of spirit, and the ability to put others’ needs before themselves.

Mattie’s teachers describe her as a young lady with a wonderful work ethic who is kind and respectful to staff and fellow students.
She is always willing to lend a helping hand to others.

Mrs. Teresa Stansberry, Principal of JCMS, joined Sheila Cruse, representing the Johnson County Chapter of DKG, in presenting Mattie with letters of congratulations.

Laurel student of the week

Nevaeh Heaton is a second grader in Mrs. Freeman’s class at Laurel Elementary School. She is a strong role model of how a student leader should act engaged in the lessons of the day. She is the granddaughter of David and Bobbie Jo Watson. When she grows up,
Nevaeh wants to be a veterinarian. She has a passion for
helping animals. Nevaeh’s favorite subjects are math and recess. In her spare time, she loves to play with her dog, Libby. She loved school. Congratulations Nevaeh.

County schools stand against bullying

Mountain City Elementary wear blue to celebrate the World Day of Bullying Prevention. Director of Schools Mischelle Simcox encouraged all county schools to participate. Photo by Gay Triplett.

By Meg Dickens

World Day of Bullying Prevention was Monday, October 7. Director of Schools Mischelle Simcox encouraged schools countywide to follow Stomp Out Bullying’s advice to “Blue Up” by wearing blue to show support to stop bullying.
Stomp Out Bullying’s motto is to stand against hate, racism, and discrimination to create harmony.
“The staff and students at Mountain City Elementary participated in the World Day of Bullying Prevention. This happens on the first Monday of every October,” explained Mountain City Elementary Principal Gay Triplett. “Students, schools, and communities all over the world go BLUE together on this day to show support against bullying. It kicks off National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.”
Bullying does more damage than some may think. It harms the victims, bullies, and bystanders in the process.
The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has linked bullying to negative consequences, which include mental health problems, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.
Events like these promote awareness and discourage bullying. A push in the right direction may be all it takes to turn a bystander into an “upstander.”
The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) defines the bystander effect as a psychological phenomenon where bystanders feel discouraged to help if others are nearby. The more bystanders, the less likely someone will take action because he or she assumes someone else will. This is called diffusion of responsibility.
According to DHHS, there are many simple ways to curb bullying. Most of these tips depend on shifting the focus off of the victim. Redirecting conversation, diffusing the atmosphere with humor, and walking with targets to avoid leaving them alone are all simple and easy ways to help decrease potential bullying.
Anti-bullying tactics operate best when adults and children work together to cover the full spectrum.
The best way to prevent bullying is to teach children what it involves. Common bullying consists of teasing, threatening to harm someone, spreading rumors, intentionally not including someone, or attacking someone either physically or with words.

Find more information on bullying and how to prevent it at www.stopbullying.gov.

Wildlife rabies vaccination project protects people and pets

Tennessee works with USDA, other southeast states to prevent raccoon rabies

Press Release

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Health is working with the United States Department of Agriculture to help prevent rabies by distributing oral rabies vaccine for wild raccoons along Tennessee’s borders with Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. The annual baiting program administered by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services began earlier this month.
“Controlling the spread of raccoon rabies is vital,” said Deputy State Epidemiologist John Dunn, DVM, PhD. “We are pleased to partner with USDA-WS in this important and effective program to reduce rabies in wildlife, which helps prevent transmission to people, pets and livestock.”
This is the 19th year Tennessee has participated in baiting with rabies vaccine to slow and possibly halt the spread of raccoon rabies. There have been two cases of raccoon variant rabies in Tennessee this year. Since raccoon rabies was first detected in Tennessee in 2003, the disease has not spread as rapidly here as has been documented in other areas of the United States.
Vaccine packets coated with fishmeal will be distributed by helicopter Oct. 3 – 13 and by airplane Oct. 9 – 20 throughout an 18-county area in Tennessee. Distribution of vaccine will target areas where raccoons are likely to live and feed. The oral rabies vaccine is distributed by helicopter in Johnson County until October 13.
“Rabies is most commonly found in wild animals in Tennessee, posing a risk to people and domestic animals that may come into contact with wildlife,” said TDH Medical Epidemiologist Mary-Margaret Fill, MD. “In addition to avoiding contact with wildlife, it’s important for pet owners to make sure rabies vaccinations are current for dogs and cats to ensure their health and safety, and to help provide a barrier between rabies in wild animals and humans.”
Rabies, once disease develops, is almost always fatal. However, it is completely preventable if vaccine is provided prior to or soon after exposure.
Although the vaccine products are safe, the USDA Wildlife Services program has issued these precautions:
•If you or your pet finds a vaccine bait package, confine your pet and look for other baits in the area. Wear gloves or use a towel and toss baits into a wooded or fencerow area. These baits should be removed from where your pet could easily eat them. Eating the baits won’t harm your pet, but consuming several baits might upset your pet’s stomach.
•Do not try to remove an oral rabies vaccine packet from your pet’s mouth, as you could be bitten.
•Wear gloves or use a towel when you pick up bait. While there is no harm in touching undamaged baits, they have a strong fishmeal smell. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water if there is any chance the vaccine packet has been ruptured.
•Instruct children to leave baits alone.
•A warning label on each bait advises people not to touch the bait, and contains the rabies information line telephone number.
For more information on rabies prevention or the oral rabies vaccine program, call the USDA Wildlife Services toll-free rabies line at 1-866-487-3297 or the Tennessee Department of Health at 1-615-741-7247. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a website to help educate children about rabies. Visit the site at www.cdc.gov/rabiesandkids/.

Seven tips to help choose your health plan during open enrollment

By Gregg Kunemund
CEO, UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Retirement in Tennessee

Open enrollment season is here, a time when more than 4 million people in Tennessee and millions of Americans across the country will have the opportunity to select or switch their health insurance plan for 2020.
To help guide you during this important time, here are some tips that may help lead you to better health and cost savings.

Tip 1: Know your open enrollment dates
For the more than 178 million Americans with employer-provided coverage, many employers set aside a two-week period between September and December when employees can select health benefits for the following year.
For the more than 64 million people enrolled in Medicare, Medicare Annual Enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year.
For most people, changes made during this time will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Tip 2: Understand your options. When it comes to selecting a plan, one size does not fit all. Take the time to understand your options so you can find what will work best for you. A good first step is to make sure you understand health insurance lingo, such as premium, deductible, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum. If you need a refresher, check out UnitedHealth Group’s Just Plain Clear Glossary (in English, Spanish and Portuguese) to learn and understand health care terms. And if you’re eligible for Medicare, make sure you’re familiar with the difference between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage as you weigh your options.

Tip 3: Anticipate next year’s health expenses. When reviewing your options, plan ahead. Maybe you are expecting a significant health event next year, such as a surgery or having a baby. If so, then it’s even more important to compare the “total cost” of your plan, not just your monthly premium. Plan designs
vary, so also compare deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.

Tip 4: Check to make sure your medications are covered
Even if you don’t expect to change plans, it’s important to make sure your prescription drugs will still be covered next year. Costs can change from year to year, and how much you pay for generics vs. brands may differ among health plans.

Tip 5: Ask about well-being programs. Many health plans now offer financial incentives that reward you for taking healthier actions, such as completing a health survey, walking, going to the gym
or not using nicotine. Also, many Medicare Advantage plans offer gym memberships and wellness programs for members at no additional costs.

Tip 6: Don’t forget about specialty benefits
Additional benefits, such as dental, vision, hearing, disability or critical illness insurance, are often cost-effective coverage options
that can help protect you
and your family from head to toe. For Medicare beneficiaries, some may be surprised that Original Medicare doesn’t cover prescription drugs and most dental, vision and hearing services, but many Medicare Advantage plans do.

Tip 7: Try the convenience of virtual visits. If you
are busy juggling kids’ schedules or work travel, or simply prefer to connect with a doctor from the comfort
of your own home, consider choosing a plan that includes 24/7 virtual visits. It may
be a convenient, lower-cost way to talk to a doctor
about minor health issues,
and all you need is a smartphone, tablet or computer. Often, telehealth is available to members of employer-sponsored, individual and Medicare Advantage plans.

For more helpful articles and videos about open enrollment and health care, visit UHCOpenEnrollment.com.

Knowing when it’s too hot to ride

By Danielle Pleasant

Warm summer days have many equine enthusiasts ready to saddle up and ride, however with the rising temperatures, we must be cautious of overheating our equine partners. Being aware of our horse’s physiology, as well as, knowing the signs and symptoms of dehydration and heat related illnesses can help us provide the best care for our animals during sweltering summer days.

Horses release excess body heat by sweating. As the sweat evaporates, it causes a cooling effect. High humidity, along with high temperatures, compromise this effect, reducing the horse’s ability to efficiently cool down. A good rule of thumb is if the combined air temperature and humidity are over 150 care should be taken to ensure the horse does not become heat stressed.

As horses sweat, water and electrolytes are lost. The average horse typically consumes 6-10 gallons of water daily. Factors such as diet, exercise and temperature can greatly influence water intake, increasing the maintenance level anywhere from 20-300 percent. Meaning a horse may drink 20 or more gallons of water during hot, humid weather. Providing clean, fresh, cool water along with salt will help avoid dehydration. If electrolytes or flavorings are used, be sure to offer plain water as well (Ivey).

Take advantage of cooler temperatures in the early morning, late evening and even overnight for turn out times. Sunscreen, masks, and flysheets may be beneficial for horses prone to sunburn. It is best to avoid riding or exercising during the hottest part of the day. However, if your horse must be worked (perhaps for a show or competition) help keep them cool between classes and after excising by taking advantage of shady and natural breezes, utilizing fans and misters, and sponging or hosing them off. Be aware that water can be insulating and if not scrapped off, negatively affecting the horse’s ability to cool down (Porr).

When stalling your horse, keep the barn as open as possible and use fans if necessary to keep good ventilation; just be sure to keep electrical cords and plugs out of the horse’s reach. Pasture kept horses also need shade, run-in sheds and trees are sufficient. Be aware that shaded areas may change throughout the day as the sun moves, so have a plan to provide sun relief throughout the day (Johnston).

Body condition and feed management also affect a horse’s ability to stay cool. The additional body fat in an overweight horse acts as insulation, trapping body heat, making cooling down more difficult. Furthermore, the digestion of feed generates body heat, with some grains and forages producing more heat than others. This can be a problem, particularly for thin horses, if a horse goes off feed when too hot. Adding fat to the daily ration(s) will increase calorie intake without increasing the volume of the feed. Fat also produces less heat when digested compared to protein and carbohydrates. Additionally, feeding grass, instead of legume, forages will also decrease metabolic heat (Porr).

Knowing your horse, as well as the dangers of prolonged exposed to high temperatures are vital to maintaining your animal’s health and avoiding costly treatment. Overheating, due to hot weather, excising, standing in a hot stall or trailering can result in dehydration, muscle spasms, colic, heat stress and even heat stroke.

Profuse sweating or lack of sweat, lethargy, dry mucus membranes, prolonged skin tents (4-10 seconds), increased heart rate, incoordination and rectal temperatures above 103° are common signs of heat related illness. If you suspect your horse is suffering from a heat-related illness, move your horse to a cooler environment and contact your veterinarian immediately. Prevention is much easier and less detrimental to your horse and wallet, so before saddling up, think about how you are going to keep your horse cool (UMN Extension).

You’ve got this! Rede asks: Catastrophic illness has hit our family, and we are having trouble coping. What would you suggest?

Dear Rede, I’m very sorry to hear this and hope that what I have to say can help soften this journey for you all.
Catastrophic illness impacts every part of being-human.
Physically is the most obvious. Yet it doesn’t stop with the illness or the treatment of it. It impacts every part of our normal life. What we can do, not do and have to now do changes most every aspect of our daily routine.
Emotions are the next hardest hit areas as we have to learn how to cope with something often unexpected, and typically find ourselves unprepared to deal with the wide range of emotions and how to express them in healthy ways.
Mentally we may be impacted by medicines, being house, hospital bound or under the constant care of others. We aren’t ourselves and we are often left to our own fearful thoughts.
Next is the social implications. We aren’t able to get out and interact the way we normally did. Also, the way are friends and family react to the illness will impact us as some will not be as comfortable with our illness and may stay away leaving us feeling abandoned and lonely.
Spirituality is another area impacted as we may question more deeply. We may or may not find the answers to our questions. With this we may find ourselves either blaming our creator, or the illness may draw you in deeper in to this relationship.
Lastly, financially, we are often hit hard with bills and loss of income. Leaving another burden that is not helpful in the recovery process. Sometimes requiring us to make decisions that have long-term impact.
My suggestion to you and your family, Rede, is to choose one of these areas and start building some strength, or ask for support from outside resources. As that begins to improve focus on another area. I can not promise things will get completely better, but one little improvement at a time will help in the long run.
All the best to you and your family.

Senior News

Barbara Wilson (left) holds a fall wreath presented to her for her many years of service to the seniors of Johnson County. Submitted photo.

By Minnie Miller
The September storytelling at the Senior Center featured Barbara Wilson. She told the history of the Johnson County Senior Center, which was founded in 1980. The center has played a major role in serving citizens 60 or older for the last 39 years.
Wilson was the first director of the center and served in that role for 20 years. Others who were vital in establishing the center include Paul McEwen, Louise Chappell, Bonnie Gentry, Hill May, and R. D. Campbell. They secured the old high school gymnasium as a location for the center and a grant from the Area Agency on Aging to renovate and hire a director. The renovation was completed, and the center opened on September 1, 1980.
The center did not have originally have a van, so the FTHRA provided transportation and a borrowed school bus. With a staff of three and a host of volunteers, many services were provided. These include daily nutritional meals, day trips, long travel trips, ceramic and art classes, pool time, exercising, quilting, grocery shopping, and traveling to doctor appointments.

Special holiday meals were sponsored by Farmers State Bank and Johnson County Bank. Before Wilson retired and was replaced by Joyce Kidd, she made sure that a van was purchased for the center, so it had its own transportation.

Kathy Motsinger is currently the center director. The Johnson County Senior Center is definitely a success story. It has continued to grow over the years, has 1,294 members, owns 3 vans, and has recently added MyRide TN Johnson County. Anyone 60 or older is welcome at the Senior Center, where you will always find friends and interesting activities.

Storytelling is during lunch the last Monday of each month. Senior center volunteer Minnie Miller is in charge of storytelling. She says everyone has a story to tell. Some are historical or factual, some are life stories, and some are just for fun.

Anyone interested in telling a story at the center should contact Miller at 727-6993. October’s story will be “Haunted Places in and Around Johnson County,” told by Miller and followed with an open mic session where others will tell their haunted or ghostly stories.

Laurel Student of the Week

Elliana Owens shows great leadership and a strong desire to learn and is always on top of her work. She sets a good example of what a student’s work ethic should be in Mr. Taylor’s third grade class at Laurel Elementary School. In Ellie’s spare time she enjoys playing on her tablet. She also likes playing with her sister Emma. Her favorite subjects in school are Math and Recess. Ellie would like to become a veterinary when she grows up. Ellie has a great love for reading. Ellie is the daughter of Nathan and Alexa Owens. She has two sisters Fayah and Emma and one brother Zachery. Congratulations to Ellie.

Reviewing Department of Education TNReady results

Staff Report
NASHVILLE— TNReady assessment results released by Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn indicate that students across the state are performing better in almost all math subjects. The TNReady scores also show that more than half the schools in Tennessee – 56 percent – improved their growth scores (TVAAS scores) from the previous year, with 41 percent of all schools earning a level 4 or 5 TVAAS rating which measures year-to-year growth.
”I’m impressed with the improvement we’ve seen in mathematics”, Commissioner Schwinn said, while adding, “the dedication of our educators, commitment to implementing high-quality materials, and unwavering student focus is what sets Tennessee apart and will continue to be the catalyst for moving our state forward.”
In addition to the statewide improvements, there are a number of regional success stories which are broken down by CORE region.
• Five school districts improved 3rd grade ELA scores by ten percent statewide, including Milan, Paris, Weakley, Henry and Dyersburg City Schools, while Bradford Special School District improved 3rd grade ELA scores by 25.4 percent.
• Three districts showed improved math scores for students in grades 3-8, including Crockett Co., Henry Co., and Paris SSD.
• Two districts, Dyer Co. and Gibson Co., improved end of course exam scores in Math and ELA by at least 5-percentage points.
• Five districts are among the top ten in performance statewide in 3rd grade ELA, including Arlington, Germantown, Collierville, Lakeland and Bartlett.
• Seven districts improved math scores for students in grades 3-8, including Chester Co., Fayette Co., Hardin Co., Madison Co., Shelby Co., Bartlett and Tipton Co.
• Decatur Co. is the most improved district in the state on Geometry- a 23.3 percent increase over 2018.
Mid Cumberland
• Five districts improved math scores for students in grades 3-8, including Metro Nashville, Montgomery Co., Robertson Co., Williamson Co. and Franklin SSD.
• Murfreesboro City Schools all students in grades 3-6 improved their math score.
• Wilson Co. improved ELA, English l and English II for all students in grades 5-8.
South Central
• Four counties had the most improvement in ELA in specific grades: Perry Co. had a 20 percent increase in 4th grade ELA; Wayne Co. had a 14 percent increase in 6th grade ELA; and Moore Co. is the most improved district in the state in 8th grade ELA- 12.9 percent increase over 2018.
• Lewis Co. is the most improved district in the state in 7th grade math- 28 percent increase over 2018.
• Fayetteville City is the most improved district in the state in 8th grade math- 34.3 percent increase over 2018.
Upper Cumberland
• Four schools saw students in grades 3-8 improve math scores, including Bledsoe Co., Putnam Co., Trousdale Co. and Van Buren Co.
• Macon Co. is the most improved district in the state in Algebra II- 15.4 percent increase over 2018.
• Clay Co. is the most improved district in the state in English II- 25 percent increase over 2018.
• Four districts saw students in grades 3-8 improve math scores, including Grundy Co., Hamilton Co., McMinnCo., and Polk Co.
• Hamilton Co. improved in math, ELA, and end of course exams by at least 5 percent.
• Etowah City is the most improved district in the state in 3rd grade math, 5th grade ELA, and 6th grade math. That’s a 34.8 percent, 23.4 percent and 28 percent gain respectively in each subject .
• Oneida City improved 3rd grade ELA scores by more than 21 percent.
• Maryville City was the only district in the state to increase ELA scores for all students in grades 3-8.
• Six districts saw math scores increase for students in grades 3-8, including Anderson Co., Oak Ridge, Campbell Co., Roane Co., Scott Co. and Sevier Co.
• Rogersville City improved 3th grade ELA by 17 percent over 2018.
• Three districts saw math scores increase for students in grades 3-8, including Carter Co., Hamblen Co., and Johnson Co.
• Johnson City was among the top 10 performing districts in all end of course exams for Math and English.
To view the TNReady for the 2018-19 school year, go to tn.gov/education.

Johnson County shines during Senior Olympics

The annual Billiard Tournament was held September 5 and 6 at the Johnson County Senior Center.
Pictured are the winners: Men’s Division: First Place Freddy Bays, referee John Payne, and Second Place Stuart Shoun. Women’s division: First Place Carolyn Guinn, referee Lauralee South, and Second Place
Delores Bower. Photos by Beth Cox

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

The Johnson County Senior Center is where all the action has been for some of the county’s older athletes. There is no truth to the comment that getting older means getting slower. There is a big misconception that as one reaches the “golden years,” it is vital to slow down to help prevent injuries.
It is a good thing Kathy Motsinger, the executive director for the senior center, does not believe in this non-factual information.
Several members of the Johnson County Senior
Center participate in a
wide variety of activities
and has competed in not only the Senior Olympics but many competitive
events within the walls of the center.
Billiards is a popular activity for the group of seniors, and many recently participated in the annual billiards tournament. The tournament is in its fourth year and remains a fan
favorite for several members.
The billiards tournament has divisions for both men and women. The competition is single elimination, and all the rules and regulations follow the National Billiard Tournament guidelines. The women’s division had
five participants; the winners were; second place Delores Bower and for the second time since the inception of the billiard tournament first place winner Carolyn Guinn. In the men’s division, the winners, out of nine participants were; Freddy Bays, who like Guinn, is a repeat champion. He has won first place three out of the four years of the billiard tournament. Second place winner was Stuart Shoun. Following the protocol of the National Billiards rules, a referee is required for each game. The referees for the Johnson County Senior tournament were; Lauralee South for the women and Joshua Giddings and John Payne for the

The Johnson County winners in golf for the First Region Senior Olympics The golf event was held at the Cattails in Kingsport. Pictured are: Rudy Lucas, Hank Bontrager,
and Robert Glenn.

Several members of the senior center took home several medals in the First Region Senior Olympics. Hank Bontrager, Steve Arnold, Robert Glenn, and Rudy Lucas came back with medals in golf. These gentlemen golfers have played together for several years, so participating at the Senior Olympics just came naturally.
They started playing together at Red Tail Golf Club, but now they are a part of a senior league in Abingdon Virginia. The competition was held in Kingsport at the Cattails.
Joe Ray, Lee Diggs, Rudy Lucas, and Robert Glenn also went away with top honors in Ping Pong.
The senior Olympics continue throughout September with opportunities to place in table tennis, horseshoes, and shuffleboard. If history is any indication of
winners, many from the Johnson County Senior Center have a high probability of bringing home even more honors.

Johnson County seniors leave their mark on Signature Healthcare Olympics

The annual Senior Olympics were held in Harriman, TN on September 12th. Betty Banner, Edna Allen, Mandeline Morley, and Anna Lowe represented Mtn City Care Center.
The ladies and 4 staff
members went to Sevierville, TN for an overnight trip as well. They enjoyed a great meal from
Old Mill Restaurant and time with the staff at the hotel.
Betty Banner brought home the Bronze for: Wheelchair Race, and all brought home a participation ribbon. It was a wonderful time

Hiking takes center stage in staying young at heart

The Johnson County Hikers have been busy each Friday hiking many different locations in NE Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina. Submitted photo.

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

Much of the discussion in Johnson County as well as across the nation is how to get kids out of the house and active.
The answer may just be with the older generation. Most of the older citizens of Johnson County know and want to stay active as long as possible.
They have worked hard, and now many want to play hard as well. The “seniors” of Johnson County are not exploring new video games or some new apps; they are exploring the mountains of Tennessee while finding more satisfaction getting out to play golf than sitting indoors playing it on a video game.
Local seniors know the importance of health and fitness and are willing to search out the possibilities within their hometown.
Johnson County is surrounded by the beautiful, majestic Appalachian Mountains and home to some of the greatest hiking trails across Northeast Tennessee.
The Johnson County Hikers have found a great way to explore the beautiful area in and around Johnson County. The hiking group is open to everyone. Their first hike of the year was in April.
They meetevery other Saturda at at Food Lion’s parking lot and carpool to their destination.
So far this year they have covered areas from the Creeper Trail to the Cascade Falls along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Many of Johnson County’s older citizens grab those hiking sticks, pack those lunches, and go out and enjoy the beauty of the area and make new friends along the way.
Doe Mountain Recreation Area is another favorite spot for the young at heart.
There are some great hiking trails, but for those more adventurous folks; Doe Mountain offers ATVs and great biking trails. The beautiful Kettlefoot Fire Tower provides a picturesque view of the beautiful mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. Getting to Kettlefoot Fire Tower allows for a delightful adventure either by foot or ATV. Many see Doe Mountain as a place for dirt bikes, but it offers something for everyone and another approach of fitness and family for seniors.
Many of the county’s young at heart also enjoy daily trips to the Johnson County Senior Center. Executive Director Kathy Motsinger keeps the center full of life and happiness for this great generation. Each day the senior center offers an exercise program to its members and those who are a part of the insurance covered silver sneakers group. Motsinger also keeps everyone moving through local dances, games, and music. The senior center offers everything from quilting to billiards.
One of the greatest strengths of Johnson County is the diversity of activities for the seniors of the county. Its members representing all ages will confirm that to stay busy and active is a must nad that being fit is not just about walking three miles a day, but also being socially, mentally, and physically fit.
Fitness is known to allow a person to continue to do what they love to do — of course, having an area that can incorporate fitness and the whole person for the young at heart helps.

For more information please call (423) 727-5947.

Art keeps locals young at heart

Above: Wilma Payne, Debbie Arnold, Sharon Fuentes and Sandra Holman members of the Senior Art Circle show off the charcoal study they did in Cristy Dunn’s Charcoal Class at the Johnson County Center for the Arts.

By Tamas Mondovics

That the number of those “young at heart” artists discovering their artistic talents later in life or in retirement is by no means a secret.
Local artists and Johnson County Center for the Arts director Cristy Dunn agreed when she said, “I love seeing people surprise themselves when they draw or paint or make something they never thought they could.”
The center located at 127 College St, Mountain City, TN, is one of the brightest jewels in the region deservedly maintaining the support of the community both young and old.
Being true to its goal of catering to all ages, the center’s often-read mission statement says, “The Johnson County Center for the Arts is a comprehensive art center serving the residents of Johnson County and surrounding communities and visitors to the area who are seeking authentic Appalachian artwork as well as meaningful events and enrichment experiences. With a primary focus on young artists, the local art community, and Appalachian culture, the objective is to provide a place for artists of varying ages, abilities and interests to flourish by offering a venue to showcase, sell and encourage growth and learning”.
​“For as long as I can remember, making art has been my passion,” Dunn said. “At a very early age, I somehow realized that Art has the power to help us transcend the difficulties of life and connect us to a Creator that is infinitely more powerful than we are.”
Dunn emphasized that art is for everyone, and there is a “growing body of research that shows learning new skills in our golden years protects against dementia, slows the onset of
Parkinson’s for those at risk, counters depression and
promotes positive social bonds.”
While the arts can enrich everyone’s lives, seniors are a group that has, even more, to gain from participation.
“We are fortunate to receive support from Johnson County Community Foundation and Tennessee Arts Commission to make quality classes affordable and accessible for our seniors and other underserved populations, Dunn said.
The Johnson County Center for the Arts is open on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 10-5 p.m. and Saturday 10-2 p.m.

Young at Heart

Local seniors travel the US one trip at a time

In 2019 Johnson County seniors have traveled to Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Niagara Falls, and Toronto. Travel is a great way to stay active and there are many low cost options. Submitted photo.

By Meg Dickens

The Johnson County Senior Center is an active community of local elderly that demonstrates what it means to be young at heart. The center currently has 1,294 members. These ladies and gentleman keep active through trips, exercise, activities, competitions, and classes. The center takes several big trips annually with smaller trips sprinkled throughout the year. In 2019 the seniors have been to Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Niagara Falls, and Toronto. They are currently en route to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and the Hoover Dam for their last major trip of the year.
This travel has more benefits than just enjoyment. According to a 2000 study from the American Psychosomatic Society, frequent vacations reduce mortality rates in the elderly. Similar studies show boosts to mental and emotional health. Retirement is the ideal time to travel. Baby Boomers planned to take 4 to 5 leisure trips during 2019 according to an AARP survey.
“My passion is to do what I can to meet the needs of our senior population,” said Johnson County Senior Center Director Kathy Motsinger. “I truly strive each day to make it fun and enjoyable because we do not know what tomorrow holds. I keep the seniors busy traveling.”
Many companies offer senior discounts. Most of these discounts are available at age 50 or 60. For example, AARP has discounts for car rentals, airline tickets, hotels, travel, attractions, and tours available for members. Motsinger partners with Diamond Tours to organize big center trips. Planning includes lodging, entertainment, meals, transport, etc. 2020 trips include Lancaster, the Dutch Country, Washington DC, Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Motsinger is already planning a 2021 trip to Nova Scotia.
The seniors decide where they would like to go. Motsinger collects information, and a committee of seniors pick 2 to 3 larger trips for the year. This committee consists of approximately 8 members. Bus drivers Dennis Henson, Robert Wilson, and Terry Hodge report more local places that center members have shown interest in to Motsinger.
Trips are first come first serve. The only stipulation is that participants must be center members. Anyone interested in joining the Johnson County Senior Center should drop by the center at 128 College Street in Mountain City or call (423) 727-8883. Membership is free. Speak to Motsinger to sign up or volunteer. The Meals on Wheels program desperately needs volunteers.

43rd Annual Grayson Highlands Fall Festival is here

Staff note: Fall is here. Along with the changing leaves and cooler weather, fall festivals have arrived. Keep an eye out for local festivals beginning this October.

(Mouth of Wilson, VA)—Grayson Highlands State Park’s 43rd Annual Fall Festival will be held Saturday, September 28 and Sunday, September 29, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a $10 per day parking fee. This event is sponsored by the Rugby Volunteer Rescue Squad, Fire Department, and ladies auxiliary.

Live bluegrass and old-time music are featured on Saturday. Music starts at 10:00 am and is played all day. This year’s lineup includes: 10:00am – Recorded music, 11:00a.m. Steve Kilby & the Fox Creek Ramblers 12:00pm – Middle Fork Blue Grass, 1:00pm – Dry Fork Ramblers, 2:00 pm – Whitetop Mt Band, 3:00 pm – Spencer Branch , 4:00 pm – Brian Osborne & the Ashe County Boys.

Gospel music is featured on Sunday. It also starts at 10:00 am and is played all day. This year’s lineup : 10: am – Morning of Glory Singers, 11:00 am – Moretz Family Singers, 12:00pm – Homeward Bound , 1:00pm – Ambassadors of Christ), 2:00 pm – The Blevins Family , 3:00 pm – Nathan Wagner , 4:00 pm – The Farmer Family.

The fire department and rescue squad provide the concessions which include BBQ chicken, hot dogs, and BBQ sandwiches. There are children’s activities and a variety of arts and crafts exhibits. You can watch molasses and apple butter being made.

Ponies from the Wilburn Ridge Pony Association will be auctioned at 2 p.m. Saturday, September 28. The wild ponies graze in the park and adjoining U. S. Forest Service’s Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.

Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the park’s picnic areas, visitor center and hiking and biking trails. Park campgrounds will be full; reservations must be made in advance by calling 1-800-933-PARK (7275) during regular business hours, or online at www.dcr.state.va.us. For information about other accommodations or other information about the area go to www.graysoncountyva.com and click on visitor info.

Proceeds from the festival go to the Rugby Volunteer Rescue Squad and Fire Department, Inc. for emergency equipment and training. The festival goes on rain or shine. So come join us for a day of fun, great music, delicious food, and great handmade crafts.

Laurel Student of the Week

Levi Hartley-Chambers is 6 years old and in Mrs.Vincent’s 1st grade class. He is the son of Antheia Chambers. Levi’s favorite subject in school is math. Levi wants to be a police officer when he grows up so he can save people. He is working hard to learn new things, and he is always helpful to everyone. Levi’s advice to others is to help out whenever you can!

Mountain City Elementary’s Kindergarten LEAPs students say thank you

Mountain City Elementary’s Kindergarten LEAPs students say thank you to their bus drivers for teaching them about bus safety. LEAPS evaluates social and emotional maturity in students to determine an individual student’s strength and weaknesses from a psychosocial standpoint and helps teachers create a plan based on these needs. Photo courtesy of the Johnson County Department of Education.