Friends of Rocky Fork State Park group selects board members, elects officers

By Brad Hicks

The Friends of Rocky Fork State Park on Saturday, Dec. 10, met for the first time since achieving its nonprofit status and, during the annual membership gathering, selected its board members and elected officers for 2017.

Current Unicoi County Commission Chairwoman Marie Rice was nominated to serve as the group’s president, retired attorney Wayne Harding was nominated to serve as the organization’s vice president, and Flag Pond resident Ricky Waldrop was nominated to serve as treasurer.

Harding, who Rice referred to as the group’s “legal guru” completed the filings necessary for Friends of Rocky Fork State Park to receive its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, was named the Friends of Rocky Fork State Park Volunteer of the Year during Saturday’s meeting.

Rice said the Friends of Rocky Fork State Park board will be made up of around a dozen members.

The nominations of the officers and board members are set to be confirmed when the Friends of Rocky Fork State Park meets again on Jan. 10.

The majority of state and national parks throughout the state of Tennessee have similar “friends” groups that act as independent nonprofits. The Friends of Rocky Fork State Park has completed filings to be registered as a friends group affiliated with Tennessee State Parks.

In conjunction with the fall announcement that it had received its 501(c)(3) status, the Friends of Rocky Fork State Park also announced the kickoff of its membership drive. That drive began in early October. Membership fees for those wishing to join the Friends of Rocky Fork State Park are $10 for students, $25 for individuals and $40 for families.

There are also levels for those providing greater contributions. Corporate sponsors that contribute $100 to $499 will be on the Saw-Whet Owl level, those contributing $500 to $999 will be at the Peregrine Falcon level, and those contributing $1,000 and up will be at the Bald Eagle level.

Because the group has achieved 501(c)(3) status, financial contributions to the Friends of Rocky Fork State Park are tax free.

For more information on the upcoming meeting or the Friends of Rocky Fork State Park, contact the organization via email at rockyforkfriends@gmail.com, or visit the organization’s Facebook page or website at www.rockyforkfriends.org.

Valley Funeral Home encourages citizens to download Vital ICE app

From Staff Reports

Valley Funeral Home has invested back into the community in order to promote the saving of lives, according to a recent press release. Owner Mike Peterson recognized a very unique opportunity to assist local first responders through a marketing initiative that could help save lives.

Peterson and his staff ask that you download the Vital ICE (In Case of Emergency) app, from either the Apple App Store or Google Play, for your smart phone and enter in their code: #9187.   

Valley Funeral Home is making this potentially life-saving app available for free to download in the community as a way of showing their gratitude for allowing them to serve you. They ask that you please take just a few minutes to download the Vital ICE app and fill in the information so that you are prepared in case of an emergency. This app is available to the entire community, regardless of age, so do not pass up this great life-saving opportunity.

In the event of an emergency, first responders can use the Vital ICE app to retrieve the user’s vital information, according to the press release. This information can then be easily taken on the ambulance to the hospital, or sent directly to the hospital from the Vital ICE app, where ER staff can further access this critical information.

Tennessee Highway Safety Office promotes older driver safety week

From Staff Reports

The Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) and the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability (TCAD) join the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) to promote Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, Dec. 5 – 9, by informing the public about the importance of supporting senior adult mobility. Collectively, the THSO, the TCAD, and the AOTA want to inform aging drivers and their families that strategies exist to help address concerns related to safe mobility and transportation.

In 2016, there have been 209 fatalities reported involving a senior driver in Tennessee. This time last year, that number was 192. The THSO encourages Tennesseans to seek the necessary assistance, resources, and educational materials offered by the THSO, the TCAD, the AOTA, and other senior safety advocates to help reduce senior driver crashes, injuries, and fatalities. The THSO offers senior driver safety resources at www.tntrafficsafety.org/seniors.

According to the TCAD, more than 1.5 million Tennesseans are now age 60 or older. By 2030, Tennessee’s senior population is projected to increase to 2.1 million. Therefore, it is imperative to educate Tennesseans on safe mobility and alternative modes of transportation. The TCAD offers information about transportation services for senior adults. Learn more by contacting a local Area Agency on Aging and Disability (AAAD) at 1-866-836-6678 or http://www.tn.gov/aging/article/aaad-map1.

To promote Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, the AOTA is using hashtag #ODSAW16 on social media. The AOTA offers resources and educational materials like daily podcasts and the following tip sheets: Keeping Older Drivers Safe and Driving Safely As You Age. For more information about the AOTA and Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, visitwww.aota.org/Conference-Events/Older-Driver-Safety-Awareness-Week.aspx.

 

Tanasi Gallery open house set for Dec. 4

From Staff Reports

Come celebrate the holiday season with the Tanasi Arts and Heritage Center in Unicoi.

On Sunday, Dec. 4, from 2 to 5 p.m., Tanasi’s artists will join the board of directors in welcoming visitors to the Holiday Open House. Please stop by and enjoy music and light refreshments with us, and meet the artists and volunteers who make Tanasi a special place.

Admission is free, so mark your calendar and come on by. For more information, call the gallery at 735-0217, or contact Christy Smith at smithchristy34@yahoo.com or by phone at 737-6522.

You can visit Tanasi Gallery on the web at http://tanasiarts.org/ or follow the gallery on Facebook at Tanasi Arts and Heritage Center.

Barter Theatre to hold auditions for local talent

From Staff Reports

Barter Theatre invites actors to audition for the 2017 season on Dec. 4 and 5 at Barter Stage II. To sign up for a time slot, actors, singers and dancers should review complete requirements at bartertheatre.com.

To be considered, prepare one or two monologues of no more than 90 seconds each. Singers perform one verse and one chorus or 16 bars of a song. Please be prepared to sing an additional, contrasting song if requested. Additionally, participants are encouraged to attend movement and dance auditions during the two-day period. For extended information, please visit bartertheatre.com.

Currently, casting professionals are seeking males and females ages 18 and up to fill a variety of roles, such as:

  • One male dancer who sings to appear in “Footloose: The Musical” and “Mamma Mia!”
  • Two females aged 40-60 to appear in “Footloose: The Musical”
  • One female to appear as Jinx in “The Savannah Sipping Society”
  • Three females to appear as Armelia, Charlaine and Nell in “Ain’t Misbehavin’: The Fats Waller Musical Show”
  • Two males to appear as Ken and Andre in “Ain’t Misbehavin’: The Fats Waller Musical Show”

For an up-to-date list of roles and additional information, please visit bartertheatre.com. Productions and dates listed are subject to change due to the availability of rights and licensing.

Barter Theatre respectfully requests collegians from the Tri-Cities wait until the college auditions scheduled for February. Additional information about the college auditions will be posted on bartertheatre.com in December.

Also, Barter Theatre is not auditioning any actors under 18 on Dec. 4 or 5. For updates and appropriate audition opportunities for young actors, please email barterplayers@bartertheatre.com and ask to be put on the youth audition list.

Barter Theatre encourages and supports non-traditional and minority casting; it highly encourages actors of color and diverse races to audition.

For more details about local auditions, including sign up instructions and a schedule for December 4 and 5, please visit bit.ly/BarterAuditions.

Erwin swearing-in ceremony set for Dec. 1

From Staff Reports

The Town of Erwin will be holding a swearing-in ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 10 a.m. in the meeting room at Erwin City Hall.

The swearing-in ceremony will include Mayor Doris D. Hensley and Alderman Gary W. Edwards, Sr.

The public is welcome and encouraged to attend. Refreshments will be served.

ETSU brass students, faculty to present two performances

From Staff Reports

The brass students and faculty of East Tennessee State University will present two performances this month in the Mathes Hall auditorium.

On Monday, Nov. 21, the students and faculty will give a combined recital at 7:30 p.m.

Various student brass chamber ensembles from the ETSU Department of Music will include brass quintets, a trombone trio, a horn quartet and euphonium/tuba quartets.  These students have been coached by Dr. Stephanie Frye, Sean Donovan and Arthur Haecker.

These instructors will also perform as the ETSU Faculty Brass Ensemble, with Frye on tuba, Donovan on horn and Haecker on trombone.

Then, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, a “Brass Festival Seating!” concert featuring the ETSU Brass Ensembles will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Performances will be given by the Trumpet Ensemble, led by adjunct faculty member Kelly Scollin and student Dylan Renner; the Trombone Choir, directed by Haecker; and the Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, directed by Frye.

Both concerts are free and open to the public.  For more information, call the ETSU Department of Music at 423-439-4276.   For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346.

ETSU to host faculty panel on presidential election, what’s next

From Staff Reports

East Tennessee State University will host a faculty panel discussion titled, “2016 Presidential Election In Review… and Looking Ahead,” on Monday, Nov. 21, from 6-7 p.m. in the D.P. Culp University Center’s Martha Street Culp Auditorium.

In the free public event, faculty panelists will dissect the 2016 presidential election and its significance in the nation’s history as well as look ahead in terms of what a Trump presidency could look like and how future presidential elections could be impacted by the 2016 election.

The panel will be moderated by Dr. Andrew Battista, associate professor and chair of ETSU’s Department of Political Science, International Affairs and Public Administration. In addition to Battista, other panelists include Dr. Colin Glennon, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, International Affairs and Public Administration; Dr. Michele Crumley, associate professor in the Department of Political Science, International Affairs and Public Administration; and Dr. Daryl Carter, associate professor in the Department of History.

For more information, call 423-439-4317. For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346.

Passport Fair to be held Saturday at ETSU

From Staff Reports

East Tennessee State University’s Passport Services is hosting its first weekend Passport Fair on Saturday, Nov. 12, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This fair, which coincides with ETSU’s Homecoming celebration, will provide a rare opportunity for citizens to apply for United States passports on a Saturday.

According to Don McCarty, director of Postal and Passport Services at ETSU, the Saturday hours will be more convenient for individuals who cannot visit Passport Services during weekday working hours, and parking will be readily available.

U.S. citizens must present a valid passport book when entering or re-entering the country by air.  Citizens entering the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and The Caribbean at land borders and sea ports of entry must present a passport book, passport card or other travel documents approved by the U.S. government.

Information on the cost and how to apply for a U.S. passport is available www.etsu.edu/passports and at www.travel.state.gov.  Included on the websites are the application forms, details on required documentation of citizenship and identity, photo information and more.  It is recommended that applications be completed prior to arrival.

Appointments may be made online at www.etsu.edu/passports in advance. Walk-in applicants are welcome and will be processed on a first come, first served basis.

Passport Services is located on the first level of the D.P. Culp University Center in the ETSU Post Office, which is officially designated as a Passport Acceptance Facility by the U.S. Department of State.

For more information, visit the website above or contact ETSU Passport Services at 423-439-7277 (PASS) or passport@etsu.edu.  For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346.

‘Women on Wednesdays’ talk to address how to help a sexual assault victim

From Staff Reports

“Someone you know has been sexually assaulted … How can you help?” is the focus of a presentation in East Tennessee State University’s “Women on Wednesdays” lecture series on Nov. 2.

This free public talk, sponsored by the ETSU Women’s Studies Program, will take place from noon-1 p.m. in the presentation room of the Multicultural Center, located on the second level of the D.P. Culp University Center.  A light lunch will be provided.

In her presentation, Dr. Judy McCook, a professor in the ETSU College of Nursing, will discuss sexual assault prevention and what to do and say if someone reports a sexual assault.  She will also talk about the role of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program nurse, advocates, counselors, and ETSU Sexual Assault Response Team members who partner to provide care and support.

McCook has been a faculty member at ETSU for 19 years, teaching graduate, undergraduate and professional students.  In the College of Nursing, she is the faculty advisor for TNeCampus family nurse practitioner students and serves on the Interprofessional Education and Research Steering Committee.

McCook came to ETSU from the University of Michigan, where her research focused on women’s health.  She investigated menstrual cycle neuroendocrinology and examined the interaction among hormones, behavior and environment that impacted reproductive outcomes, specifically female infertility and polycystic ovary syndrome.

The “Women on Wednesdays” series is designed to raise awareness about the research, scholarship and community engagement that women at ETSU are doing; to provide a venue where women on campus and in the community can discuss and support each other’s work; and to give students an opportunity to meet faculty who could become mentors for their studies.

Upcoming ETSU speakers in this series include Dr. Dorothy Greene of the Department of Social Work on Feb. 1; Donna Lockaby Morrow of Student Support Services on March 1; and Lindsey Devine, women’s volleyball coach, on April 5.

For more information, call Dr. Phyllis Thompson, director of ETSU Women’s Studies, at 423-439-4125. For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346.

Watauga Association of Genealogists announce meeting

From Staff Reports

The Watauga Association of Genealogists will meet on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 6:30 p.m.

The November meeting will be a field trip to the museum at Mountain Home Veterans Affairs, 4th Street, Building #34, VA Med Center Campus, in Johnson City.  The speaker will be Martha Garland Whaley who will give a presentation on the history of the Veterans Administration Medical Center at Mountain Home and the development of health care in South Central Appalachia.

For additional information, please contact Betty Jane Hylton, at  bjhylton@comcast.net, or visit the organization’s web site at www.wagsnetn.org.

ETSU to host conference, community forum addressing teen suicide prevention

From Staff Reports

East Tennessee State University’s Department of Pediatrics in the Quillen College of Medicine will host a special conference and community forum later this month addressing teen suicide prevention.

The events will take place in Votaw Auditorium, located in the ETSU Quillen Physicians building at 325 N. State of Franklin Road, on Monday, Oct. 31.

From noon to 1 p.m., a pediatric conference for health care professionals called “Youth Suicide and Its Prevention” will take place. It will be followed by a community forum from 1-2 p.m. in which key stakeholders will discuss what can be done to reduce teen suicide attempts in Northeast Tennessee.

Dr. Hatim Omar, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Kentucky, will be the keynote speaker at the conference and among the panelists at the forum.

Omar is an adolescent specialist and has built a large clinical program in adolescent health in Kentucky. He is an expert in teen suicide prevention and has published numerous articles and edited a book on the topic. His advocacy resulted in the Kentucky legislature passing mandatory suicide prevention education in all middle schools and high schools in the state. He started the STOP Youth Suicide Campaign in rural Kentucky in 2000 and the program has resulted in a 40-percent decrease in hospitalizations for suicide attempts in Lincoln County, Kentucky.

The noon conference is open to physicians, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, psychologists and other health care professionals and students. Physician education credits are being offered for attending.

The community forum is open to the public.

For more information, call 439-6222.

School system to register students for holiday assistance

From Staff Reports

If you would like to be considered for assistance this Christmas, please make plans to register your Unicoi County school-aged child or children on Saturday, Oct. 22, in the commons area of Unicoi County High School from 9 a.m. until noon.

All students in Unicoi County grades Pre-K through 12 are eligible for consideration, according to a press release issued by the school system. Registration does not guarantee participation, but every effort will be made to secure sponsorship.

For questions, please contact the office of Coordinated School Health by calling Regina Harrell at 423-743-7820.

No makeup date has been scheduled for the event.

CHIPS plans candlelight vigil

From Staff Reports

A local family violence shelter will “shine a light” on domestic violence this weekend.

On Saturday, Oct. 22, the Change is Possible (CHIPS) Family Violence Shelter will hold a candlelight vigil in The Gathering Place Park in downtown Erwin. The event, which will also include vendors, live music and more, will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The evening will conclude with the candlelight vigil in honor of victims and survivors of domestic violence.

According to event coordinators, the guest speaker will be Sabrina Graham and music will be provided by Brandon Luttrell.

Those interested in setting up a vendor booth should call CHIPS at 743-0022 to reserve a space. For more information, call 743-0022.

UCHS Band Boosters fruit sale underway

From Staff Reports

The Unicoi County High School Band Boosters’ fruit sale will continue until Oct. 24. The group is selling navel oranges, grapefruit, juice oranges, tangelos and mandarins. The fruit will be delivered the week before Thanksgiving.

Funds from the sale will help the band purchase new uniforms.

To order, call Lee Hughes at 306-7154 or Patience Erwin at 426-6479.

City Youth Ballet presents ‘Dracula’ on Oct. 15

From Staff Reports

The captivating spectacle of “Dracula” promises to transfix audiences as the City Youth Ballet puts this gothic tale on stage just in time for the Halloween season.

The ballet is set for Saturday, Oct. 15, at The McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School, 103 Franklin Street in Jonesborough. Two performances will be held at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

From the entrance of the first vampire to the last bite of Dracula, the ballet is a thrilling adventure. It tells Bram Stokes’ story of a quaint village entangled in the eerie and deadly presence of vampires.

“We love to perform this ballet because it’s so dramatic and we use a medium that people often think of as only tutus and all daintiness,” said Susan Pace-White. “Dracula stretches our dancers to become not only proficient in ballet but also storytellers via their movement.”

Darien Chancellor, owner with his wife, Tiffany, of Johnson City Ballroom, portrays Dracula. Choreography was created by Darien, Pace-White, and her daughter, Kassi White.

General admission tickets are $10 at the door with payment of cash or checks appreciated.  For more information, call the City Youth Ballet at 434-2195, find us on Facebook, or visit us at www.cityyouthballet.org. A public performance is also set for Nov. 4 at Founders Park during downtown Johnson City’s First Friday festivities.

‘Persistent Prayer’ sermon theme at Bethlehem Lutheran on Oct. 16

From Staff Reports

The the theme of the sermon at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 201 E. Watauga Ave., Johnson City, will be “Persistent Prayer” and the sermon text will be Luke 18:1-8.

Worship services will take place at 8 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Sunday School and Bible Study will be held at 9:15 a.m.

Interpreting for the deaf if available on the second and fourth Sundays at the 10:45 a.m. service.