Grand Valentines Gala

Monroe County Habitat for Humanity will present the “Home is Where the Heart Is” Grand Valentines Gala on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m. at the Cora Veal Senior Center in Madisonville. There will be food, photos, silent and live auctions, a champagne toast and lots of dancing. The event is semi-formal attire. Sponsorship packages are available. Tickets to attend are $75 each. Please call 423-442-8886 for information and reservations as limited seating is available.

Girl Talk

Girl Talk is a program that has been developed for girls ages 8-12 and their moms to bring them together in a non-threatening, friendly class to learn about puberty, family values, decision-making and responsibility. The class uses fun games, group activities and short talks to teach about these topic. Girl Talk is unique to many other programs because it brings together mothers/caregivers and daughters in the same class, in order increase trust and communication skills that will hopefully last a lifetime.

Girl Talk classes are sponsored by the University of Tennessee Extension, the Monroe County Health Department and both Monroe County and Sweetwater Coordinated School Health. Facilitating these sessions will be program instructors Rebecca Layman and Jackie Harris. The classes will be held on from 6-8 p.m. at the Sweetwater Board of Education Office, located at 220 S. Clark St. The first session on Tuesday, Feb. 4 was for mothers/caregivers only. The remaining classes for both mothers/caregivers and daughters will be Tuesdays, Feb. 11, 18 and 25. Both mothers/caregivers and daughters are required to attend these three sessions.

Please pre-register by Jan. 31. To pre-register or for more information about Girl Talk, contact one of the following: Rebecca Layman at the UT Extension Office at 423-442-2433, or Jackie Harris at the Monroe County Health Department at 423-442-2433, ext. 1010. You may also register through the Sweetwater Coordinated School Health or Monroe County Coordinated School Health Facebook pages.

Evening tour of Fort Loudoun

Join Ranger Justin Rexrhode for an evening tour of Fort Loudoun at Fort Loudoun State Historic Area in Vonore on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 5 p.m. While touring the fort, Ranger Rexrhode will explain the roles of the fort and its many parts. Please wear sturdy shoes and warm clothes, and bring water. The cost to participate is $5. Participants should meet at the Visitor Center. For more information or to register, contact the park office at 423-420-2331. All programs require pre-registration.

DAR meetings

The Rhea-Craig Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution would like to invite any ladies to come to their meetings on the second Thursday of each month at Sweetwater Public Library at 3 p.m. There will be information presented about the club. This month’s meeting is on Feb. 13.

English country dancing

Join Fort Loudoun State Historic Area on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 4:30-6 p.m. for English country dancing. This interactive program touches on the history of the Virginia Reel, but focuses primarily on teaching the steps. Be prepared to move and have a good time. Partners are not required. Dancing will be in the Grand Barracks, but in the case of inclement weather, the dance will be moved to the Visitor Center. The cost to participate is $5 per person. All programs require pre-registration. For more information or to register, contact the park office at 423-420-2331.

McGhee-Carson tour

The McGee-Carson home was an antebellum home in Monroe County. Today, the foundation is all that is left, but with some imagination, you can picture the house as it once stood. Surrounding the site are native grass plots filled with deer and birds. Join Fort Loudoun’s Ranger Lauren Baghetti on Sunday, Feb. 16, at 10 a.m. for a tour of the site. This hike is rated easy for its short distance and relatively flat land. Please wear appropriate shoes and bring water and a jacket. Participants should meet at the parking area, located at the far end of McGee-Carson Road. The cost to participate is $5 per person. All programs require pre-registration. For more information or to register, contact the park office at 423-420-2331.

Friends of TPL meeting

Friends of the Tellico Plains Public Library will hold their annual business meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Tellico Plains Public Library. The meeting will be to elect officers and discuss new business, including fundraising for the new library addition. All members are urged to attend.

The Board of Trustees is looking for active and interested members to join. They are looking for people of all ages who will commit to attending a meeting every other month and working between meetings for the benefit of the Tellico Plains Public Library. Please stop by the library or visit the website at www.tellicoplainspubliclibrary.org/ for applications.

Walk Across Tennessee

Once again, it is time to enter the Walk Across Tennessee competition. By being a part of a team, Walk Across Tennessee motivates you to exercise. Teams start walking on Sunday, March 1 and will end on April 25. Get a team of six people together, choose a team captain and team name, and you are ready to walk for the next eight weeks!

There will be prizes for each member of the team that walks the farthest. The individual who walks the farthest will also receive a prize.

You may walk anywhere, even on your treadmill. Conversions for other physical activities are available.

Walk Across Tennessee results will be available at the Extension Office and on the website at walkacrosstennessee.com or extension.tennessee.edu/Monroe.

Team captains can pick up registration packets at the Extension Office starting Feb. 20. Registration packets are also online at walkacrosstennessee.com. Registration forms should be returned to the Extension Office no later than March 6.

For more information, contact Rebecca Layman at 423-442-2433.

UT Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.

Evolution of Colonial Firearms

Meet Ranger Will Kinton at Fort Loudoun State Historic Area in Vonore on Friday, Feb. 21, at 2 p.m. for a presentation on Evolution of Colonial Firearms. During this presentation, Ranger Kinton will discuss and demonstrate the earliest black powder weapons.

The cost to participate is $5 for ages 13 and older. Ages 12 and under can participate for free.

Participants should meet at the fort sidewalk. For more information or to register, contact the park office at 423-420-2331. All programs require pre-registration.

Basket weaving class

There will be a basket weaving class at Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore on Saturday, Feb. 22. The cost to participate is $50 per person. Materials are included. Space is limited; register by calling 423-884-6246.

Mary Welch Thompson will be teaching the class. She and her daughter weave traditional Cherokee baskets using river cane and natural dyes in their single and double-woven baskets and cane mats. They also weave white oak and honeysuckle baskets, and they use reed splits in some of the baskets as well. Their prize-winning basketry has been juried, exhibited and published in “All Things Considered VI,” which is sponsored by the National Basketry Organization and hosted by the Fuller Craft Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.

Winter bird hike

Guest speaker Janet McKnight will lead a free hike highlighting winter birds found in East Tennessee on Sunday, Feb. 23, from 3-5 p.m. at Fort Loudoun State Historic Area in Vonore. This hike will follow the old park road and is half a mile in length and rated easy. Be prepared for cooler weather and bring binoculars if you have them. For more information or to register, contact the park office at 423-420-2331. All programs require pre-registration.

Volunteer Work Day

Do you need volunteer hours? Join a Fort Loudoun State Historic Area park ranger and help them tackle invasive and trees that have overstayed their welcome at the Tellico Blockhouse on Saturday, Feb. 29, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Volunteers must be at least 12 years old. Please bring work gloves and dress appropriately. All tools will be provided. Volunteers should meet at the Tellico Blockhouse parking lot, 149 Blockhouse Road in Vonore. In the event of bad weather, the volunteer work day will be postponed until April. For more information or to register as a volunteer, contact the park office at 423-420-2331.

Nashville Legacy show

There will be a Nashville Legacy show on Saturday, Feb. 29, at 7:30 p.m. in Sweetwater Elementary School’s auditorium as part of the Monroe Area Council for the Arts’ annual Performance Series.

Floyd Cramer and Chet Atkins have both been inducted into the Rock and Roll and Country Music Halls of Fame and their names are synonymous with the Nashville sound they pioneered. Their influence can be heard on the hits of artists like Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, the Everly Brothers, Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, Don Gibson, Jim Reeves and countless others.

Although they both lost their lives to cancer — Cramer in 1997 and Atkins in 2001 — their “Nashville Legacy” lives on through Cramer’s grandson, pianist Jason Coleman, and Atkins’ niece, guitarist Meagan Taylor. Together, Coleman and Taylor will present a performance in remembrance and honor of the two legends.

Nashville Legacy is co-sponsored by Peoples Bank of East Tennessee and Mountain Trust Mortgage Company.

Individual tickets to the show are $25. For more information, call 423-442-3210.

Missoula Children’s Theatre auditions, shows

An audition will be held on Monday, March 2, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Sweetwater Elementary School for the Missoula Children’s Theatre production of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Those auditioning should arrive by 3:45 p.m. to pre-register and plan to stay for the full two hours. Some of the cast members will be asked to stay for a rehearsal immediately following the audition.

Approximately 50-60 roles are available for local students. All students in kindergarten through 12th grades are encouraged to audition. No advance preparation is necessary.

Most students rehearse approximately four hours and 15 minutes each day, Monday through Friday, during performance week. Performances are scheduled for March 6 at 6 p.m. and March 7 at 3 p.m. in Sweetwater Elementary School’s auditorium. Tickets to the shows are $10 for adults or $5 for students. Children ages 5 and under will be admitted for free.

For more information or to purchase tickets in advance, call 423-442-3210.

Bead work class

Sequoyah Birthplace Museum will host a Cherokee bead work class on Saturday, March 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. featuring Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian enrolled member Betty Maney. The project will be a bracelet.

While her passion is “preserving culture, tradition and technique through art and education,” Maney loves demonstrating, teaching and presenting her craftwork. One of her newest projects is designing a line of beaded accessories for men, including bolos and cufflinks.

To register or for more information, stop by or call the museum at 423-884-6246. The cost to participate is a $15 class fee, plus a kit fee of $45. The kit will include a loom, beads, thread, and needle that students will be able to take home after the class. The class size is limited to eight participants. Participants should bring a bag lunch.

This class is sponsored in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission ABC Grant.

Check out the website at www.sequoyahmuseum.org for information about upcoming events.

Chamber Business Awards Banquet & Auction

The annual Monroe County Chamber of Commerce Business Awards Banquet & Auction will be held on Thursday, March 19, at 6 p.m. at the Cora Veal Senior Center in Madisonville. Tickets for the event are $50 for Chamber members or $75 for future members. Tables of eight are also available. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Chamber office at 423-442-4588.

Sequoyah Prom

Sequoyah High School will hold its prom on April 18 from 6-9 p.m. at Airport Hilton in Alcoa. This year’s theme is the “Roarin’ 20s.” Tickets will be sold during lunch only (no sales during ACT or EOC). If tickets are purchased March 2-6, they are $40 each. The cost will increase to $50 from March 9-20. March 30-April 3, tickets are $60 each. Tickets will be $70 each from April 6-9. Students wishing to bring another who does not attend Sequoyah currently must completely fill out an “outside date” form, turn it in and have it approved before they can purchase a ticket. Any changes to tickets after purchase, such as name changes, will result in a $10 fee. No attendees may be over 21 years of age or in the middle school. Forms are due by March 13.

Free Community Health Fair

Chota Community Health Services is partnering with East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine to provide a free Community Health Fair on Thursday, April 23, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Madisonville Chota location at 4798 New Highway 68. Free services will include health screenings, physical exams, vision screenings, diabetic eye exams, pap smears, basic fasting labs (water or black coffee only for 12 hours prior to lab test). More information to be announced.

Clothing closet for domestic violence victims

It is the goal of Monroe STOPe to empower and equip survivors of domestic violence with everything they need. Monroe STOPe offers a free clothing closet just for female victims. If you are in need of clothing assistance for yourself, please call 423-519-1232 or 423-836-2906 to schedule a time to meet with an advocate.

SPL accepting donations

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to clean out closets and clutter? Do you have books, audiobooks, and DVDs that you no longer want? Sweetwater Public Library is accepting any new or gently used books, audiobooks, and DVDS with a copyright/published date of 2018 or newer.

Sweetwater has six Little Free Libraries around town. They are located at the following: in front of City Hall, at the ball field between Sweetwater Junior High and Sweetwater High School, at Engleman Park (where the new splash pad was built), at Sweetwater City Recreational Park (by the walking track/trail), at the ball field by Brown Intermediate School, and at the Duck Park. Those places also can always use any of your unwanted books, audiobooks, and DVDs.

TPL expansion

Tellico Plains Public Library will be adding a new learning center with designated children and adult learning areas. For more information, visit www.tellicoplainspubliclibrary.org/new-addition.html or call 423-253-7388. If you would like to share in the library’s dream, it welcomes and appreciates your support. All donations are tax-deductible. Make check’s payable to: Friends of the Tellico Plains Public Library (memo: building project). Donations can be mailed to: Tellico Plains Public Library Learning Center Building Fund, Attn: Sherri Raby, at P.O. Box 658, Tellico Plains, TN 37385.

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