Their story is a classic one. Two people in the midst of summer heat. It is often said that summer loves don’t last; however, for this duo, the summer was the foundation of a relationship that was sure to blossom and grow just as quick as summer passes. Molly was a twenty three year old student, studying to become a teacher. She had recently moved back from school and had obtained a summer job at Mayfield’s Visitor Center. People described her as passionate, driven, and carefree. Josh, a scruffy young man, was known around town as being laid back, charming, and kind. The two had grown up in the same town, attending the same events, but it wasn’t until the summer of 2014 that their paths would officially cross.Molly was not looking for a relationship, in fact, she was die hard against it. She had fallen in love once before, and it had ended poorly. She was not prepared to experience that again, at least not yet. So, when her manager at Mayfield’s introduced her to her nephew, Molly saw it as just another new friend that she enjoyed talking with time from time. Blueberry cream pie with caramel was his ice cream of choice. When Josh met Molly, his visits to Mayfield’s became more frequent. His usual Friday afternoon snack became a daily visit. He enjoyed their talks and marveled at her wittiness. She intrigued him, and he wanted to know more about her. Two months after they met, Josh finally mustered up the courage to ask Molly on a date. They have been inseparable since.And now, on October 8th, the two would officially be inseparable for life. The wedding was complete with memorabilia from their past. They opted out of many traditions because they wanted their wedding to be light, carefree, and faith based. It was a true representation of their relationship and what they wanted for their marriage. They were wed at Molly’s childhood church, Central Baptist, by her grandfather. They were completely engulfed by family and friends. The reception took place at Molly’s grandparents house under a beautifully lit white tent. The dessert, instead of cake, was homemade pies with freshly dipped Mayfield’s ice cream, blueberry cream pie to be exact. Stemming from the core of the dance floor, stood a beautiful green tree, draped in golden bistro lights. Guests filled their bellies with Mexican cuisine including tacos, salsa, guacamole and delicious white chicken chili made from an old family recipe. The couple’s three year old golden doodle, Clark, even made an appearance, sporting a bright blue bow tie.Now, Josh and Molly reside in Athens, TN. Molly currently works as an eighth grade math teacher while pursuing her Masters in Education. Josh is excited to be working for the local hospital while completing his degree in Accounting. Both enjoy traveling to new places and seeing new sights and look forward to where their future takes them. The couple is ecstatic for their future as one and are excited to see where the journey takes them.
The Distinguished Young Women Program (formerly known as Junior Miss) is the nation’s oldest and largest program of its kind for junior and senior level high school girls. In McMinn County, it is sponsored by the Optimist Club. The representative that wins the local event goes on to compete in the state event and then on to the national competition.
Jackie Newman, Optimist member, has been chairperson of the event for eight years, having assisted for many years prior to that with long-time chair, Larry Rhodes. It is an intensely time-consuming endeavor. The girls practice from the end of February two days a week for 14 weeks and then every day the last week prior to the event, which is June 3rd this year. According to Jackie, it is well worth all the time she spends. “It is such a self-confidence builder. It is so rewarding to see even the most shy girls evolve into outgoing young ladies.” The girls learn life skills such as interviewing, public speaking and self-confidence building.
McMinn County has not had a state or national winner yet. Jackie Newman is convinced that this will be the year. “The participants this year are so outstanding that all 30 will compete. The girls are judged on a point system that includes scholastics, interview, talent, fitness and self-expression. The points are usually fairly widespread, making selection of participants an easy process. This year, the point spreads were so small that we couldn’t get down to just 20 and decided to have all of them participate.”
It takes an army of volunteers to successfully coordinate an event as large as the Distinguished Young Women competition. One of the volunteers, Lacey Starkey, has volunteered countless hours helping with both dance and talent routines during practice for the past 16 years. The 2001 winner of the prestigious award says, “It is my desire to motivate (the girls) and reassure them that they all have worth. I hope that one day, if one of my three girls decides to do the program, someone makes the sacrifice that I have and takes the time to enrich their lives.” Lacey has also performed with her father’s “Jr. Miss Band” for 15 years at the event, and they both love every minute of it!
The Distinguished Young Women event is scheduled for June 3rd at 6:00 p.m. at the Athens Middle School auditorium. The representative selected will receive a scholarship from the Optimist Club and the chance to compete at the state and national levels. All participants will receive a $1000 scholarship from Tennessee Wesleyan University. Tickets are available at the Middle School the week prior to the event or from any of the participants or Optimist Club members.
If you have ever walked through an apple orchard when trees are blooming, you know what the sweet smell of spring is. Petals appear before leaves so that they are a flowing cloud of perfume in pink and white. These flowers can last from three to five weeks. I guess anybody who read the story of Johnny Appleseed dreams of having fresh, crisp apples available from your yard or garden. John Chapman (aka Johnny Appleseed) traveled widely, particularly in Pennsylvania and Ohio, pursuing his profession. While the legend of Johnny Appleseed suggests that his planting was random, there was actually a firm economic basis for Chapman’s behavior. He established nurseries and returned, after several years, to sell off the orchard and the surrounding land. The trees that Chapman planted had multiple purposes, although they did not yield edible fruit. The small, tart apples his orchards produced were useful primarily to make hard cider and applejack, but orchards also served the critical legal purpose of establishing land claims along the frontier. As a consequence, Chapman owned around 1,200 acres of valuable land at the time of his death.
If you have room for an apple tree start your search now. Look for disease-resistant trees that give you the ability to grow organic fruit and use fewer chemicals. Then you need to choose a rootstock. All apple trees sold have two parts: a “rootstock,” or foundation, and a “scion,” or top portion, which determines the fruit variety. A rootstock can be a seeding (which produces a full-size tree) or it can be “dwarfing” or “size-controlling” (which produces a smaller tree for easier care and harvest). If you are short of room, you can chose a dwarf tree; make sure that the rootstock is specified. Buy dormant, bare-root, 1-year-old nursery trees with a good root system. Dwarfs and semi-dwarfs will bear in 3 to 4 years, yielding 1 to 2 bushels per year. Standard-size trees will bear in 5 to 8 years, yielding 4 to 5 bushels of apples per year. Most apple varieties do not pollinate themselves, so you should plant at least two different varieties close to one another so that the bees can cross pollinate.
For best pollination results, include a Grimes Golden, Golden Delicious, or Red Delicious, in your planting. These varieties are cross-pollinators in our area. Sadly, not every apple grows everywhere. Each variety has a specific number of days needed for fruit maturity. If the tree is termed long-season (Zones 5 to 8, that’s us), apple quality will be best. Each variety has a number of chill hours needed to set fruit (i.e., the amount of time temperatures are between 32 and 45 degrees F). The farther north you go, the more chill hours an apple variety needs to avoid late spring freeze problems.
Apple trees need well-drained soil, not too wet. Choose a sunny site. For best fruiting, an apple tree needs “full sunlight,” which means six or more hours of direct summer sun daily. The best exposure for apples is a north- or east-facing slope. Tree spacing is influenced by the rootstock, soil fertility and pruning. Make sure the tree will not be planted in a “frost pocket” where cold air settles in a low-lying area.
After you purchase the tree, protect it from injury, drying out, freezing or overheating. If the roots have dried out, soak them in water about 24 hours before planting. Dig a hole approximately twice the diameter of the root system and 2 feet deep. Spread the tree roots on the loose soil, making sure they are not twisted or crowded. Continue to replace soil around the roots. Do not add fertilizer at planting time, as the roots can be “burned.” The graft union (where the scion is attached to the rootstock) must be at least 2 inches above the soil line so that roots do not emerge from the scion. Do not order your tree based simply on price. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and a 5-foot tree for $1.59 could mean that roots are extra. When given a choice, I always order from a local nursery. Plants that are grown in our area have a better chance of surviving.
While going through a mail order catalogue last winter, I was amazed reading about six different apples growing from one tree (I guess this tree should not be pruned since it will be a mass of grafts). The company didn’t show a real picture but an artist rendition. That was a big red flag. I finally decided not to order an artistic rendition of an apple tree the thought of six different apples from the same tree does sound wonderful, but this year, I will stick with real trees.
John Gentry is a sixth generation McMinn County citizen endowed with family values that have served our county well for the 14 years he has been our County Mayor. He is from the Englewood area and comes from a family that believes that deep roots are worth pride in community and instill better citizenship and a desire to give back to community. His grandmother taught school for 40 years, and his grandfather was a member of the McMinn County School Board and bought the first school bus in the county with his own money.The County has prospered under John’s leadership and remains debt free as it was during the tenure of his predecessor. Money has been set aside so future needs can be addressed with cash, saving many tax-payer dollars. McMinn County has the third lowest property tax in Tennessee and is the only debt free county in Tennessee. Considering Tennessee has the lowest debt per capita in the United States and McMinn County is Tennessee’s only debt-free county, McMinn County citizens have the lowest public debt burden per capita in the United States. Not many people realize this fact.John is a true leader and goes way beyond what his job requires. I wondered (hoped) in the future he might aspire to becoming a senator or governor to serve the people of Tennessee. He kind of chuckled, and when he told me what he’s thinking, I couldn’t have been more wrong.“I always wanted to be a history teacher. My favorite teachers were the ones who had real life stories to tell and were able to teach the philosophical with the practical. Right now I am just getting classroom material. You can’t teach history without knowing government and religion. I see the hand of God in history.”John has seen the hand of God in many of his major life decisions. He planned to follow in his brother’s footsteps and go to Carson Newman College, but when he visited Lee University in Cleveland, he knew absolutely that was where he was supposed to be. While at Lee, Gentry had the opportunity to attend European Bible Seminary in Germany to study religion and politics. He was there right after the Berlin Wall came down.“I had the benefit of driving from West Germany, which was a thriving capitalist country, through East Germany, which was under communist rule. Germany, was being unified, but not rebuilt yet. Driving through East Germany you could feel the oppression and see first-hand what happens when you remove God from society. There was no progression, no character. I felt what happens when government controls every aspect of people’s lives and eliminates the value of individual potential. I FELT LIKE GOD WANTED ME TO SEE THIS.”Also while attending Lee University, John was selected to spend a semester in Washington, D.C., at the Christian College Coalition. At that time, the coalition consisted of 88 Christian colleges of many different denominations. Only 40 students were accepted to attend each year. Because of his interest in history, John was given an internship at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in the Armed Forces Division, where he spent 20 hours per week, and the rest of the time “in class.” Classes were often taught in the respective department responsible for whatever public policy area they were studying, such as the State Department, an embassy or even the White House by leaders in the field being studied. For John, this was an awesome learning experience.“I lived and studied with students of all different beliefs. I saw truth in all denominations – some were better in their style of worship, and some were better with social positioning – a bunch of parts that work together. God uses every one of us, and I learned to appreciate everyone and their differences.”After graduating from Lee, it was unclear to John what his career path should be. It seemed that going to law school might be the right thing to do, so he took the LSAT and was accepted into the University of Tennessee School of Law in Knoxville. The fit did not seem right. One day while in the library, John happened to see a Regent University catalog. The Christian college’s foundation is based in the philosophy that servant leadership and study of government go hand in hand. It occurred to him right then and there that he had found what he was looking for. The rest is history.John Gentry is not a “9 to 5” leader. He is hands-on, and when things happen, whether they be community events or community tragedies, John is one of the first to lend support. During the recent tornado, he spent countless hours helping with rescue efforts and countless days cleaning up debris. His children, 16-year-old Emily and sons, Will, 13, and Justin, 10, often help him on Saturdays.“Actually, volunteering to help others is kind of a selfish thing for me. I feel good when I help people, and I enjoy that feeling. Like the Gentrys before me, I have deep roots and a lot of pride in this community.”