National School Board Recognition Week

This week is National School Board Recognition Week in Monroe County. Monroe County Director of Schools Dr. DeAnna McClendon released the following statement, “Monroe County Schools would like to thank our School Board members for their commitment to public education and the continuing success of our students and schools. Please take the time to thank them for being champions for our kids!”

4-H Poultry Chain

A great way to participate in the Monroe County 4-H poultry project is to grow a group of 12 baby chicks in the 4-H Poultry Chain. Youth will receive 12 baby chicks and have the responsibility for growing and returning three grown pullets to the poultry show and sale. The 4-H member will receive the chicks in March or April and the sale will take place in September.

To participate in this activity, interested youth in fourth through 12th grades will need to fill out an application and pay a $35 deposit. Applications are available at the UT/TSU Monroe County Extension Office in Madisonville. The deadline to sign up has been extended to Jan. 31.

For more information, contact Greg Austin at 423-442-2433.

UT Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.

Medical Care in the 18th Century

Fort Loudoun State Historic Area will hold a presentation on Medical Care in the 18th Century on Friday, Jan. 31, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Dr. Maurice Anderson, Surgeon’s Mate James Steel, and a host of revolving nurses were the faces of Fort Loudoun’s medical care in the 18th century. Their different roles and challenges will be discussed, along with the prevailing medical wisdom of that age.

Join Park Ranger Will Kinton to see surgical tools like those once used for tooth extractions, amputations, and even trepanning (relieving pressure from the brain). You will learn the medical theories behind bloodletting and the frequent uses of mercury, as well as other medicinals now known to be poisonous. You will discover why the body’s reactions to such poisons were believed to be in the best interests of improving one’s health. Participants will lay eyes upon early examples of vaporizers, inhalers and even some of the plant-based medicinals used with them.

Space is limited to 25 so be sure to sign up early and reserve your spot. The cost for the presentation is $5 for ages 13 and older. Ages 12 and under can participate for free. For more information or to register, call 423-420-2331.

The Anglo-Cherokee Trader

Join a British trader in the commandant’s quarters of Fort Loudoun at Fort Loudoun State Historic Area in Vonore on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 1 p.m. and learn his role in the Euro-Native American trade relationships that influenced treaties and negotiations between the two people. In the event of bad weather, the program will be moved inside to the Visitor Center. Space is limited to 20 participants. The cost to participate is $5. For more information or to register, contact the park office at 423-420-2331. All programs require pre-registration.

Quarterly Chamber Social

The Monroe County Chamber of Commerce will hold a quarterly networking social on Wednesday, Feb. 5, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Charles Hall Museum in Tellico Plains. Enjoy a light lunch while networking with other business professionals. For more information, call 423-442-4588.

Free spay/neuter vouchers

Spay/Neuter Assistance for Pets, Inc., is merging with Monroe County Friends of Animals (MCFA) in 2020 and will become Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) of MCFA. SNAP is operating as an independent committee reporting to MCFA Board of Directors. This assures that the SNAP spay neuter program will continue as long as necessary to keep the dog and cat population in Monroe County from backsliding.

MCFA Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) will issue free spay/neuter vouchers to low-income Monroe County residents on Saturday, Feb. 8, from 10-11 a.m. at the Cora Veal Senior Center, located at 144 College St. in Madisonville.

Free spay/neuter vouchers can be used for dogs and cats by any Monroe County resident. Pet owners can receive multiple vouchers to “fix” all their pets.

For more information, visit the website at

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, is 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.

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 its 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 for applications.

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.

Missoula Children’s Theatre auditions

An audition will be held on Monday, March 2, from 4-6 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.

For more information, call 423-442-3210.

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 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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