‘Movies on Main’ to return to Main Street Jonesborough


Movies on Main will kick off Summer Sunset Saturdays in Tennessee’s Oldest Town once again as folks enjoy downtown on Saturday evenings during the summer.

The event’s return was approved at Monday night’s Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting.

On select Saturdays, Movies on Main will take place in front of the Lollipop Shop beginning with the popular Candy Bingo at 8 p.m. followed by a family-friendly movie at 8:30 p.m.

“The overall intent is to offer a free, family activity for local people, but to also encourage people who might be visiting Jonesborough to make a weekend out of it and stay in town,” Jeff Gurley, owner of The Lollipop Shop, said. “The event is a cooperative effort between the Town of Jonesborough, JAMSA and The Lollipop Shop.”

This family tradition is being brought back to iconic Main Street Jonesborough creating a unique atmosphere for a fun night out with the family.

“Anywhere between 200 to 400 people have been known to show up for a screening. There could also be a few special guests during the season so be sure to bring your autograph book and camera to meet some very famous characters,” Gurley said.

While Candy Bingo and the movies are free, those attending are encouraged to bring canned food items to donate to the local food bank. It is also encouraged to bring a blanket or chair to sit on while enjoying the movie. For more information about Movies on Main, call the Lollipop Shop at (412) 913-2663.

At the market: Look for tomatoes, berries on Saturday

Rogue Harbor Farm will be featured.


The Jonesborough Farmers Market is open this Saturday, July 13, in Courthouse Square in downtown Jonesborough from 8 a.m. to noon.

The market this week will have a variety of seasonal produce, including an abundance of tomatoes, berries, spring greens, mushrooms, root vegetables, onions and herbs.

Market shoppers will also find flowers, locally produced meat, cheese, baked goods, roasted coffee beans, plants and a unique selection of art and craft specialties. To find out more about the vendors and products at the market, explore the market map at jonesboroughlocallygrown.org/jonesborough-farmers-market/.

Music at the Market this week is Bill and the Belles, playing old-time music and more.

Bill and the Belles have captured the freewheeling, lighthearted approach to music that has endeared them to listeners of every generation. With a spirited sound that falls somewhere between old-time country and vaudeville, the group puts its own spin on a golden era of music, specifically the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

Music starts at 9 a.m. and a cafe space next to the music tent makes a great spot to relax and enjoy the music and the market activity.

Unfortunately, funding for the popular walking program, Farmacy Fit, has ended. Vendors can no longer accept the orange tokens as payment.

Featured farmer of the week is Rogue Harbor Farm. Based in Madison County, North Carolina, Linda and Aubrey Raper grow organic, tasty produce at Rogue Harbor Farm nestled in Appalachia. This idyllic farm focuses on using organic inputs approved by the National Organic Program. With a focus on high quality and taste, Rogue Harbor farm travels to Jonesborough Farmers’ Market every season, bringing fresh greens, root vegetables, sweet blueberries, as well as squash, tomatoes and other tasty treats. You can find Rogue Harbor at the farmers’ market consistently, as well as their products at Boone Street Market. Come say hello to Linda and Aubrey and ask about their farm this Saturday at Courthouse Square from 8 a.m. to noon

Jonesborough Farmers Market, is a 100 percent, producer-only market where everything sold is grown or made by the vendor within 100 miles of Jonesborough.

Town prepares for 49th annual July 4th festival

The Town of Jonesborough is preparing for the 49th annual Jonesborough Days Festival.


Staff Writer


Now that the calendar has switched over to July, the days are getting longer, the temperature is rising — and the expected crowd at Jonesborough Days is only getting bigger.

The Town of Jonesborough will celebrate its 49th annual festival starting Thursday, July 4, through Saturday, July 6. And though Town Event Coordinator Melinda Copp said the festival historically brings in thousands of visitors, this year is projected to bring even more.

“We typically see crowds of about 25,000 to 30,000 over the three-day weekend,” Copp said. “Honestly we’re expecting that many and maybe even more. A lot of it depends on the weather too so you just never know, but even years when we have had bad weather or rain, we still typically have a really good crowd, especially for the fireworks and the parade and the music.”

This year’s festival will feature a slew of activities such as the Fourth of July parade, a watermelon social, a Dog Days of Summer Costume Contest, kids activities, a Moon Pie eating contest and fireworks to top it all off.

As for the music, Copp said the festival will host The Breakfast Club, an ‘80s tribute band, and The Beach Nite Band, well known for their Carolina Beach Music.

“We found about three or four years ago that the tribute bands were good during Jonesborough Days because everyone knows the music and it’s just really fun to have those classic tunes,” Copp said. “So in the past few years we’ve had a Tom Petty tribute band, a Rolling Stones tribute band, the Johnny Cash tribute, so we thought it’d be kind of fun to do a sort of ‘80s theme this year.”

To stick with the ‘80s theme, the festival’s music will also include music videos on the big stage and a deejay to keep the party going.

“One of the kind of exciting things we’re doing that’s a little different is Saturday night, the last night, we’re having an ‘80s party on the main stage,” Copp said. “We’re going to be doing a really fun ‘80s DJ mix party and we’re actually going to have a digital background on the stage so we’ll be able to play a lot of music videos on the stage.

“We have DJ Robbie Britton who’s really interactive and gets the audience involved. We’re going to have a really fun evening kind of getting it set up for The Breakfast Club to go on later that night.”

With new traditions and throwback music, Jonesborough Days is about the community, Copp said. And nothing supports the feeling of community more than reconnecting with loved ones and looking back at the last 49 years of the festival.

“It’s kind of just the community’s festival and everyone just remembers Jonesborough Days from when they were little, people who are 40, 50 years old now,” Copp said. “They remember coming to Jonesborough for Jonesborough Days when they were a kid.

“In a way, Jonesborough Days is really kind of a family reunion because we have so many people that are from out of town that used to live here and they all talk about how they try to come back for Jonesborough Days. I think it’s a good time to come back, visit the area, visit family and reconnect with the community they grew up in.”

Tall tale teller Anne Rutherford to perform at ISC

Anne Rutherford is coming to Jonesborough.


Jonesborough’s storyteller in residence for the week of the Fourth of July will be Anne Rutherford, a performer known for wildly entertaining tall tales, thoughtful family pieces, and unique historical stories.

Rutherford’s path to the profession was unexpected. Formerly a budget manager for the state, she made the jump to storytelling almost on a whim. The same open mindset led her to pick up the mandolin after she watched a documentary with a great soundtrack featuring the instrument.

She only realized later that she’d spent a lifetime in training to be an entertainer. “My grandpa was Irish, and when my mom’s side of the family got together, no tale was too tall to be told,” she says. “Even if it was a trip to the grocery store, somehow it became a huge adventure by the time one of my uncles or aunts would tell it.”

The larger-than-life personalities in Rutherford’s family make some of her personal tales stranger than fiction. Her hometown in rural Pennsylvania had a curious population (“half Norman Rockwell, half Stephen King”), with a small-town landscape that reminds her a little bit of Jonesborough. “I write a lot of my own stories and I think all of those oddball characters, my family included, really flavor those stories,” she says. “I just really appreciate them.”

Rutherford’s storytelling residency is part of Storytelling Live!, a seasonal program curated by the International Storytelling Center (ISC). She’ll perform at ISC’s downtown Jonesborough location from July 2 – 6, Tuesday through Saturday, with daily shows beginning at 2 p.m.

In addition to her matinee performances, on Saturday, July 6, the final day of her residency, Rutherford will offer a children’s concert at 10:30 a.m. The family show is especially designed for kids ages six through ten, but all ages are welcome. Tickets are just $5 each, and ticket holders will receive coupons for 15 percent off at The Lollipop Shop, a popular Main Street store that sells old-fashioned sweets and toys.

Reservations for all Storytelling Live! performances are highly recommended. Tickets for matinees are $12 for adults, and $11 for seniors, students, and anyone under 18. Heavily discounted season passes are still available for a limited time.

Exclusive discounts are still available to all ticketholders. Ticket stubs will earn a 10 percent discount on same-day dining at Main Street Café (lunch only), Olde Towne Pancake House, Texas Burritos & More, Krazy Krepes, Jonesborough Barrel House, the Icing on the Cake (lunch only), and the Corner Cup. Additionally, Boone Street Market is offering 10 percent off prepared meals and 5 percent off any other purchase.

The premier sponsor of Storytelling Live! is Ballad Health. Additional program funding comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Niswonger Foundation, Eastman Credit Union, the Mooneyhan Family Foundation, and Food City. Media sponsors include News 5-WCYB, FOX Tri-Cities, Tri-Cities CW, Johnson City Press, Kingsport Times-News, Herald & Tribune, and Cumulus Media.

Storytelling Live! is a seasonal program that runs from April to October.

The International Storytelling Center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information about Storytelling Live!, including the full 2019 line-up, or to purchase tickets and season passes, visit www.storytellingcenter.net or call (800) 952-8392. 

Get ready for the ‘Trip of a Life Time!’

The Green Rumours will be the special musical guests for this month’s Yarn Exchange.


This month, the Yarn Exchange Radio Show will present an episode filled with hilarious and harrowing tales, where East Tennessee intersects with the world.

From Katy’s desire to get a close-up selfie with an alligator in the Everglades, to Vietnam Naval Aviator Dave’s last harrowing flight, to a disastrous school bus break down that leads to a roadside call from the Governor, these true tales will be brought to life on stage at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 24, at the International Storytelling Center.

Tickets are $5 and available by calling (423) 753-1010 or online at jonesborough.com/tickets.

Joining the cast this month as musical guests are local acoustic favorites “The Green Rumours” who are just back from recording their latest album in Nashville.

Now in its eighth season, “Yarn Exchange Radio Show” is a monthly, scripted production, based on local stories and regional music, and performed by an inter-generational, multi-cultural cast of local actors, storytellers, and musicians, to create an audio patchwork quilt of what it means to be home in the mountains. The Yarn Exchange is open to anyone who would like to participate. If you have a story to tell or for more information, contact Jules Corriere (423) 794-6320.

Innkeeper Katelyn Yarbrough enjoys ‘Pinnacle’ of success

Blake and Katelyn Yarbrough celebrate Katelyn’s award.




For the past five years, Jonesborough’s Eureka Inn has had a secret weapon. But it’s definitely not a secret anymore.

Recently, thanks to a nomination submitted by local playwright and McKinney Center outreach director Jules Corriere, Eureka Inn owner and innkeeper Katelyn Yarbrough has been honored as the region’s latest “Rising Star,” a part of the 22nd Annual Pinnacle Awards.

“It was important for me, personally, to let Katelyn know that I see her, and what she brings to her community, and to acknowledge her,” said Corriere of the award, administered by the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association as a way to recognize local excellence. “It is important for the young women professionals in this area to know that there is an older generation of women rooting them on, and ready to support and encourage them on their journeys.”

For Katelyn, the award was both an honor and a surprise.

When she first found out Corriere was submitting her    name,  Katelyn said, “it brought me to tears. That doesn’t happen every day.”

At the awards luncheon, she remained oblivious to the recognition headed her way.

“I shot up out of my seat and was told that I levitated across the stage very fast,” said Katelyn laughing, as she recalled the moment when her name was called. “I thought everyone went to the awards luncheon. I had no idea I had won.”

Katelyn had long been front and center for many of the historic town’s activities well before Corriere decided to submit her name.

Arriving at the scene in 2014 with husband, Blake, the pair took over the running of the downtown historic inn, purchasing the property about a year ago.

Katelyn’s contributions have been many and varied, said Corriere,  from establishing the Historic Eureka as an internet presence to be reckoned with to her Eureka Bites Breakfasts and her Murder Mystery Dinners.

One of her greatest attributes, according to husband and business partner Blake, is “I can’t do” is never a part of Katelyn’s vocabulary.

“She believes that, number one, she can help anybody,” he said. “If she gives you her word that she is going to do something, she will do it.”

Their collaboration in running the inn began long before Katelyn even set foot on the property, according to Blake. He was working as innkeeper at the Eureka at that time and would come home and talk with Katelyn about the potential.

“We started a notebook,” she said. “If we were ever (running an Inn) what we would do.”

Her ideas to promote the inn and this historic town she and her husband both love are numerous. They bounce ideas off of each other and occasionally, Katelyn admits, he helps rein her in a bit. “I will run wild,” she said with a smile. “He makes me think in a different way.”

Still, she has no plans on slowing down.

“I’m always prepared for anything… I don’t shy away from the ball,” she said. “I always feel like I can be doing more.”

For now, that means finding continuing ways to make the inn an important part of the town and the region. With Blake providing his expertise in the kitchen and Katelyn promoting each new idea, they believe the sky is truly the limit.

“The juggle is real,” Katelyn said. “I try to kind of highlight specific things while the season is relevant. I don’t cast out a wide net because it oversaturates people’s mind.”

But most of all, she said. “I love our town.”

West View School honors local Vietnam veteran


Staff Writer


If you were to ask Carroll ReMine what he believes in, he’d be quick to tell you he believes in honoring our nation’s flag and protecting our freedoms. But he also believes in sharing some of his memories from the Vietnam War, as he did with his granddaughter’s class at West View Elementary School.

ReMine was recently in Washington D.C. with the Honor Flight, which is an organization that takes veterans to visit war memorials in our nation’s capital. On that trip, he was surprised to receive numerous letters from across the county — and many from his granddaughter, Emma Moore, and some of her classmates.

“We were coming back on the bus and the coordinator said, ‘We’re going to have mail call.’ She stood up in front of the bus and they handed every veteran a bag. Mine had 64 letters in it including these from Emma’s class. I started reading them and they just touched me. My friend sitting across the isle said, ‘You want me to get a Kleenex?’,” ReMine said with a laugh. “Those letters, they get to you.”

The letters, filled with drawings of helicopters, American flags and wishes of a happy homecoming from the trip, prompted ReMine to visit his granddaughter’s class where he shared some of his war experiences.

He also shared his Honor Flight experience with the class. For the Washington County native, the Vietnam War Memorial’s black marble offered bittersweet emotions along with the names of a few old friends etched in the stone.

“This was my first time at the Vietnam Memorial,” ReMine said. “I looked up some friends that had lost their life there and traced it over with a pencil. That meant a lot for me. Two were from Limestone and one was from Erwin.

“I sum it up like this: there was a lot of tears and a lot of cheers (on the trip). In one sense it’s real reverent like a funeral and it gives some closure.”

ReMine was drafted in 1967 and, after basic training in Fort Benning and helicopter school in Alabama, he was part of the fourth division of the U.S. Army’s aviation unit.

Dalton Maupin and Emma Moore show off the sign they made to welcome veteran Carroll ReMine.

Though it had been decades since ReMine returned from war, he recently had a homecoming crowd waiting on him at Central Church of Christ following the Honor Flight trip — which was more of a welcome than most Vietnam vets received among the political controversy that sparked demonstrators and a sometimes unkind homecoming in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.

“I had to fly through O’Hare (International Airport in Chicago) and the protestors there demonstrating, spitting. I know this one guy on our flight, he had some civilian clothes tucked away somewhere. He got into the restroom and took his Army outfit off and put his civilian clothes on.”

After finally arriving at the Tri-Cities airport and getting a ride from a friend, ReMine got home and surprised his folks, who thought it’d be a few more days before he would be back in Tennessee. But the homecoming from the Honor Flight made up for no one waiting for him at the airport, ReMine said.

“I wanted to surprise them, so there wasn’t nobody at the airport (when he arrived from war). My dad was at the neighbor’s house sitting there. I walked up the walk, the lady came to the door and she just couldn’t believe it. Dad came down through there and said, ‘My boy’s home.’ That was a good welcome home, but this thing getting back from the Honor Flight made a big difference. This the other day at the homecoming at the church, that covered that over.”

Among his wartime experiences, ReMine recalls when Bob Hope and Racquel Welch performed for the troops at the base of Dragon Mountain and when he met a soldier who had a “dope”, (also known as a Pepsi) and a Moonpie on his mind, which reminded the young Washington County soldier of home.

Carroll ReMine talks to the West View class about his experiences.

But talking about other experiences from the war isn’t quite as easy. ReMine said he didn’t talk about some of his memories from Vietnam for years, but has spoken more about it recently.

“I did not speak about my experiences in Vietnam until recent years when I went for counseling at the (veteran) center in Johnson City and enrolled in some programs at the VA, which I’m still active and involved in. It’s a great program. It helped me a bunch. Our group, we just talk it out among ourselves. What goes on there stays there.”

ReMine has spoken at West View and was asked to share his Honor Flight experience with other school groups as well. But he also makes a point to share his belief in remembering that freedom is a privilege that is often under appreciated.

“Always remember that freedom is not free,” ReMine said. “You see all those soldiers that lost their life and at the other cemeteries. Why? Because of our freedom so we can go to McDonald’s, we get in the truck and go where we want to and go to school.

“I encouraged (the West View class) to tell their folks to get out and vote. We may not like things and the way they turn out, but that’s your freedom. That’s one of the freedoms.”

Emmy Award-Winning Storyteller Jim May to Perform in Jonesborough

Storyteller Jim May will perform in Jonesborough June 11 – 15.


With vivid stories of the Illinois prairie and the sweet pleasures of small-town life, veteran performer Jim May will soon begin his weeklong residency at the International Storytelling Center.

Daily matinees will run June 11 – 15, with tickets priced at just $12 for adults. Reservations are recommended, but not required. Shows begin at 2 p.m. each day, and will feature May’s signature blend of personal stories, fictional pieces, and folk tales.

May sees these genres as all part of a much larger story. “Traditional stories are not just simple folk tales about everyday life,” he says. “They were these great myths that told about the arch of human civilization.”

His tales about his childhood home, a tiny farming community called Nippersink Creek, provide a window into a lifestyle that barely exists anymore, even in the American heartland. “Visiting and telling stories were an important part of daily life,” the storyteller says. “They were a means of weaving the social fabric of the community.”

May didn’t understand the value in what he had until he tried to leave. “I tried all my life to get out of here,” he says. “I went from a dairy farm with a population of 7 to a town with a population of 200. When I was 16, I longed for a town that had a movie theater. I longed for a town that had a place for teenagers to dance. I tried to get away, but I found myself always coming back. It’s a hard place to leave when it kind of gets in your blood, I think.”

To craft his stories for the stage, May blends memory and myth. Getting the details right is not unlike writing a tonal poem; these stories have a palpable mood. “I try to capture the kind of spell and pace of the stories I heard growing up,” he says. It’s a breath of fresh air in today’s world, which moves much faster.

Discounted $11 tickets are available for seniors, students, and anyone under 18, and heavily discounted season passes are still available.

Additionally, exclusive discounts are available to all ticketholders. Ticket stubs will earn a 10 percent discount on same-day dining at Main Street Café (lunch only), Olde Towne Pancake House, Texas Burritos & More, Krazy Krepes, Jonesborough Barrel House, the Icing on the Cake (lunch only), and the Corner Cup. Additionally, Boone Street Market is offering 10 percent off prepared meals and 5 percent off any other purchase.

The premier sponsor of Storytelling Live! is Ballad Health. Additional program funding comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Niswonger Foundation, Eastman Credit Union, the Mooneyhan Family Foundation, and Food City. Media sponsors include News 5-WCYB, FOX Tri-Cities, Tri-Cities CW, Johnson City Press, Kingsport Times-News, Herald & Tribune, and Cumulus Media.

Storytelling Live! is a seasonal program that runs from May to October. 

The International Storytelling Center is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information about Storytelling Live!, including the full 2019 line-up, or to purchase tickets and season passes, visit www.storytellingcenter.net or call (800) 952-8392. 

It’s Gala time: Jonesborough prepares for 23rd annual garden tour

The Garden Gala event is back in Jonesborough. Guests can oogle at the scenery in Tennessee’s oldest town on Saturday, June 1.


Flower lovers from across the region will venture to Jonesborough for the 23rd Annual Garden Gala on Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The self-guided walking tour will delight visitors with popular private gardens from past years, an afternoon tea enhanced by live music as well as gardening presentations.

“Jonesborough is so special as far as a community goes because everybody is proud of what they have here,” said Dona Lewis, chairman of the tour. “They are  proud of their gardens, they are proud of their homes and they are proud of their  heritage.”

And they are looking forward to sharing them with this weekend’s upcoming visitors.

In fact, the gala is considered the official welcoming of spring in Tennessee’s Oldest Town and has been recognized nationally as an award-winning event. This day-long charity event is hosted by the Tuesday Garden Club and the Schubert Club, and supported by the Northeast Tennessee Master Gardeners and the Southern Appalachian Plant Society.

This year, the Garden Gala will celebrate all things bee related with their theme, “Bee Happy”. This will create a platform for education on pollinators and how we can help these endangered species thrive. Visitors will also discover interesting and humorous facts about bees hidden throughout gardens.

“We have some homes that we have not had on it for several years, three houses that we have not had on for a long time,” Lewis said. “And the gardens themselves change every year. The flowers are different year to year.”

Visitors will get the chance to soak in the ambiance of true Southern charm at the afternoon tea taking place from 1 until 2:30 p.m. Enjoy sweet and savory finger foods beneath gorgeous shade trees all topped off with live music.

There will be Marketplace Vendors setup downtown on the International Storytelling Center Plaza and in front of the Washington County Courthouse from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be everything from yard art, stained glass, plants, garden items, tools, garden-style jewelry, and other handcrafted items.

To create a full experience, guests can visit Ardinna Woods Arboretum, which features 70-plus tree species located at Britt Drive and the Garden at the Library, a children’s garden for exploration of plants and nature located at 200 East Sabine Drive.

Tickets for the Garden Gala are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. For a group of 10 or more tickets are just $13 and may be purchased online at Jonesborough.com/tickets or by calling the Jonesborough Visitors Center at (423) 753-1010.

Shuttle transportation and water stations will be available throughout the self-guided tour as needed.

County honors top teachers at annual banquet

The system level teachers of the year, Jackie Mumpower, Brooke Price and Cathy Reynolds, smile with Director of Schools Bill Flanary at the banquet.


Staff Writer


It’s one thing to be chosen for an award, but it’s a different honor entirely to be chosen for that award by your peers.

That’s exactly what 22 of the Washington County School System’s educators gathered to celebrate at the Teacher of the Year Banquet on Thursday, May 16.

“Washington County can’t be the school system it is without the teachers we’ve got,” Washington County Board of Education Chairman Keith Ervin said at the event. “On behalf of the Washington County School Board, I would like to thank the teachers for their handwork and their decision to teach the students of Washington County.”

Teachers from 14 of the county’s schools were chosen in either the Pre K through fourth grade category, the fifth through eighth grade category or the ninth through twelfth grade category.

Among those chosen, three teachers of the year were selected from each category as the system level teacher of the year.

Jackie Mumpower, an interventionist at Boones Creek Elementary School, was chosen for the Pre K through fourth grade category, Brooke Price, a school counselor who was selected for her work at Jonesborough Middle School, was chosen for the fifth through eighth grade category, and Cathy Reynolds, a family and consumer science teacher at Daniel Boone High School, was chosen for the ninth through twelfth grade category.

Director of Schools Bill Flanary offers a “thank you” to the county’s top teachers.

“Washington County employs just over 600 professional educators and each year we choose three to be the system level teachers of the year,” Washington County Director of Schools Bill Flanary said. “The decision is made by valid educators who judge upon resumes and they have no idea the person’s name who they’re judging.”

Other than numerous “thank you”s, school officials had little else to say to this year’s award recipients other than a closing request from the director of schools.

Flanary said he had met with the state’s teacher of the year, Melissa Miller, earlier that day during her visit in the county. When asked what she would say to the educators who earned a teacher of the year award, her reply was simple: keep going.

“She said, ‘Tell them to keep doing what they’re doing,’” Flanary said. “‘Whatever it is that got them there, what ever it is that brought them to this point, keep doing it.’ I think that’s powerful and I can’t think of a better way to end this evening. Thank you for all you do for the children of Washington County. And whatever it is you’re doing, keep doing it.”

Yarn Exchange plans Memorial Day show

Tatum Spears will perform at next week’s Yarn Exchange.


This month, the Yarn Exchange is honoring Memorial Day with a special performance in the style of a radio play. Set in the 1940s and drawn from local and regional stories, the play focuses on several real-life heroes and heroines, both overseas and on the home-front, facing difficult experiences, life-changing choices, and tough love born of hard times. What shines through is an indomitable, independent spirit unique to this part of the country.

Follow Katie and Jack, high school sweethearts torn apart as Jack leaves school to join the Army Air Corps after Pearl Harbor. As Jack leaves his hometown, another character, Frances, comes to Jonesborough in search of her long-lost family, and unravels a mystery held inside of the stitching of her mother’s quilt. Meanwhile, the men’s antics at the hardware store helps remind their neighbors that even in difficult times, it is important to find a way to laugh.

Brittany Kyte Whitson joins the cast this month, playing Katie, and singing an original torch song written by music director and composer Brett McCluskey with lyrics by Heather McCluskey. 

Adding to the musical powerhouse of this uplifting production, opera sensation Tatum Spears, who electrified audiences last year with her emotional rendition of pieces such as “Mio Bambino,” joins the show with another set of beautiful music.

The Yarn Exchange Radio Show will perform on Memorial Day, May 27, at 7 p.m. at the International Storytelling Center. Tickets for this performance are $5 and can be purchased online at Jonesborough.com/tickets or by calling the Visitors Center at (423) 753-1010. Seating is limited, and advance tickets are recommended. The production is sponsored in part by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission, and is part of the Storytown Initiative through the McKinney Center.

20th Annual Veterans Memorial Concert set for Sunday

The Veterans Memorial Concert will be held once again in Jonesborough.


Jonesborough’s Board of Mayor & Aldermen and Veterans Affairs Committee will host the 2019 Veterans Memorial Concert on Sunday, May 26, at 2:30 p.m. at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center.

In honor of Memorial Day, the event will feature the Tennessee Highway Patrol Honor Guard presenting and retiring colors, along with the Daniel Boone Marine Junior ROTC. Presenters will include Mayor Chuck Vest, Jonesborough Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Marion Light, and Town of Jonesborough, Operations Manager Craig Ford. Musical entertainment will be provided by the popular Johnson City Community Concert Band. Taps will be provided by Jim Culp. 

The event will be followed by a reception that is open to the public.

For additional information, call (423) 753-1010 or visit jonesboroughtn.org.

K-9 unit looks to grow

Loki, pictured above, is part of the K-9 force.


Staff Writer


Over the past year, Jonesborough’s K-9 unit has grown significantly, and is on track to gain another member within the next month.

And for Ruth Verhegge, president of the Jonesborough Paws in Blue charity, it couldn’t happen quickly enough. And with good reason, too.

“Several of us are convinced the shooting up here on 11-E would have been prevented had we had an appropriately trained K-9,” Verhegge said recently.

At this time last year, and at the time of the incident, there was only one K-9 available, and he was not trained for apprehension.

Paws in Blue was started in 2018 after that incident when Verhegge organized the charity to raise funds for more K-9s in order to prevent similar future incidents.

The K-9 unit has since gained a member, while another is currently undergoing training and certification at F.M. K-9, a canine training facility in Michigan where the Jonesborough pups were purchased and also trained.

According to the Paws in Blue press release, the goal of the organization is “to support the Jonesborough Department of Public Safety’s K-9 program through fundraising and conducting educational programs related to police K-9’s.”

Verhegge states that their goals are to have four fully trained, active K-9’s on the force. At that number, when one is retired, is unavailable or is not trained in the appropriate field, another will be available on short notice.

Fundraising also will assist with caring for the police dogs, as such highly trained canines are very expensive to purchase as well as to care for and equip properly.

In 2018, Paws in Blue held a Skills Competition for local K-9 teams at Persimmon Ridge Park that was very successful and helped to beef up the Jonesborough K-9 unit.

Verhegge believes that this year’s competition will have more K-9’s from more departments and she hopes to make the prizes for winners more enticing, provided the funds are available.

Major events from the competition last year included an article search, the hardest bite and the fastest dog.

As a result of Verhegge, the Paws in Blue committee and its members, Jonesborough Department of Public Safety now has three K-9’s.

Loki, an eight-year-old chocolate lab, is the veteran of the group and specializes in tracking, article search, obedience and narcotics detection.

Cygan, a two-year-old Belgian Malinois Shepherd mix is trained in apprehension, explosives detection, building clearing, area searches and tracking.

And Nero, a Dutch Shepherd, is currently training with his handler Tammy Ray in Michigan. A tentative completion date is at the end of May.

Paws in Blue, a 501(C)3 organization, was founded as a means to help raise funds in order to add more K-9 dogs to the Jonesborough Police and to help keep the officers out of harm’s way as much as possible.

“It’s almost unlimited the benefit that these dogs have had. It’s amazing what these dogs can do,” Verhegge added.

Town to celebrate classic cars

Jonesborough will celebrate the classic cars of yesteryear.


Step back to simpler times during Jonesborough’s Classic Car Cruise-In at the Chuckey Depot Museum at Jonesborough. Have the chance to view rare vintage cars, tour the Chuckey Depot Museum and listen to live 50s and 60s music from the Bristol State Street String Band. This brand-new series is set to kick-off on Saturday May 18 from 5 to 8 p.m. and will continue each third Saturday through October.

If you are a classic car owner and would like to bring your car please arrive at 4:30 p.m. for check-in. It is encouraged to bring a chair or blanket. This is a family-friendly event that is open-to-the-public but donations are accepted to support the Chuckey Depot Museum at Jonesborough.

The Chuckey Depot Museum at Jonesborough is located at 110 Second Avenue, Jonesborough. For more information, please call the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center at (423)753-1010.

Dulcimer Days offers week of music, learning

The dulcimer exhibit at the Jonesborough/Washington County Museum located in the town’s visitors center, is just one part of the week’s offerings.


Associate Editor


“The dulcimer is an Appalachian instrument,” explained Jacob Simpson from the Heritage Alliance recently. Simpson wants residents and visitors to know more about the instrument  thought to have been created by the Scots-Irish immigrants who immigrated to the area in the 18th century.

Simpson, the exhibits coordinator at the Heritage Alliance, is uniquely qualified to talk about the traveling exhibit the Jonesborough/Washington County History Museum is hosting about Dulcimers through early June. The exhibit coincides with the 4th Annual Jonesborough’s Dulcimer Days from Monday, May 13, through Sunday, May 19.

The exhibit looks at the history of the instrument while focusing on the craft of dulcimer making. It features luthier Ernest Combs from the Vilas community of Watauga County, North Carolina  and also includes a hands-on dulcimer where visitors can try to play the instrument. A dulcimer is a fretted member of the zither family. A zither is an instrument with strings attached over a sound box but no discernible neck like those found in the guitar, fiddle, and banjo.

Simpson was reared near Mount Airy, North Carolina, which, like Jonesborough, is a tourist destination. Visitors from around the country arrive each year to look at the community which was the inspiration for the long-running Andy Griffith television series. The show aired on CBS in the 1960s and can currently be viewed on reruns. The site of the series was the fictional town of Mayberry. Today Mayberry Days is held each year in Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy. Simpson worked summers and after graduation from North Carolina State University at the Mount Airy Museum, which produced this dulcimer exhibit now on display at the Visitors Center. The exhibit is part of a larger traveling display titled “The Luthier’s Craft: Instrument Making Traditions of the Blue Ridge.”

The multi-panel presentation explores and documents the traditional arts of fiddle, guitar banjo, and dulcimer making in Southern Appalachia and the Blue Ridge Mountains. A luthier is an instrument maker.

Simpson said he expects “Jam sessions throughout town” during Dulcimer Days.  He said the Alliance staff  “will be working with local craftspeople and musicians to bring the exhibit space to life and to provide community activities with music and talks.”

Panels in the exhibit at the History Museum explain the dulcimer’s history, detail how a dulcimer is constructed, feature a section about the hammered dulcimer and talk about the craftsmen who build the instruments.

A schedule of activities for Jonesborough’s Dulcimer Days, hosted by the Town of Jonesborough,  includes the following:  on Monday, May 13, there will be an Opening Concert in the Mockingbird Music Room at 210 Spring Street from 6:30 until 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, activities from 1 to 4 p.m. will include Fox Street Dulcimer Appearances. At 6:30 p.m., there will be a Parlor Recital. These are small audience concerts in historic homes.  People interested in attending the concerts are asked to call (828)553-7543 for more information.

The Wednesday, May 15, programming will feature Main Street Dulcimer Gatherings and the 6:30 p.m. Parlor Recital. On Thursday, May 16, from 1 to 4 p.m., the Boone Street Dulcimer Troubadours will perform.

Friday, May 17,  features a full day of activities including Jonesborough Dulcimer Friends at the Christopher Taylor Cabin, 124 W. Main Street, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. The dulcimer performances will continue at Music on the Square with Joe Collins beginning at 7 p.m.

Another complete day of events begins on Saturday, May 18, at 9:30 a.m. with Dulcimer Workshops at the Mockingbird Music Room.  The workshops continue until 3 p.m.. At 3:30 p.m., a Root Beer Garden at the Eureka Inn Courtyard, 127 W. Main Street takes place. Another Parlor Recital will be held at 6:30 p.m. Old Hymns and Sacred Music will be sung at the Embree House Historic Farm, 142 Matthews Mill Road, in Telford from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 19th.

On Thursday, May 23, at 6 p.m.,  Jim and Cheri Miller will be featured at an evening of dulcimer history and music. The event will be held at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center. The program will begin with a look at the early evolution of the dulcimer from its European roots to the instruments played at the present time. Then Jim and Cheri will entertain  the audience with a selection of traditional Appalachian songs and tunes.

The Jonesborough/Washington County History Museum is located in the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center and Old Town Emporium and is operated by the Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. The Heritage Alliance is dedicated to the preservation of the architectural, historical, and cultural heritage of the region and to providing educational experiences related to history and heritage for a wide range of audiences. For more information, please call their office at (423)753-9580 or contact the organization via email at info@heritageall.org.

Tennessee Hills wins business Excellence awards


Staff Writer


Local downtown business Tennessee Hills Distillery recently claimed a first and a second place Regional Business Excellence Award from a pool of local businesses including heavyweights such as Ballad Health, Nuclear Fuel Services, Tennessee Valley Authority and others.

The awards, in their inaugural year, were coordinated by the Chamber of Commerce serving Johnson City/Jonesborough/Washington County. The chamber website stated, “The First Annual Regional Business Excellence Awards (will) annually honor businesses for their significant role in our community and (its) economic growth.”

According to a press release from the Chamber, “Recipients were evaluated based on their commitment to excellence in community and culture, environmental support, marketing and innovation and customer experience.”

Tennessee Hills Distillery and owners Stephen and Jessica Callahan nabbed first place in the “Excellence in Customer Service” category and second place in the “Excellence in Marketing and Innovation” category.

The “Regional Business Excellence Awards” were presented at a luncheon held March 28 at the Millennium Center in Johnson City.

The process of choosing the winners, according to the chamber’s website, began with a panel of experts that reviewed the applications for each category and narrowed the field to three businesses.

Those that remained then met with a group of business leaders for a mandatory, in-person interview which decided the winners.

The “Excellence in Customer Experience” category, Tennessee Hills Distillery’s first place award, “Demonstrated you consistently deliver an innovative, upper quartile customer experience.”

Their second place award, in the “Excellence in Marketing and Innovation” category, “Demonstrated you recognize the importance of improving your performance and operational effectiveness.”

The Callahans’ business will celebrate their third anniversary in May, and their list of awards is growing. In the June 2018 edition of Blue Ridge Country magazine, readers chose Tennessee Hills Distillery as the second best “Mountain-made Spirit”, tied with a popular Gatlinburg-based distillery.

As their awards pile up, so does their product list. In the time period since their opening, the Tennessee Hills menu has expanded to include 13 products.

While their products are available in stores around the region, they are in the process of expanding into restaurants. Recently, the downtown Jonesborough eatery Texas Burritos & More has begun to carry their product as well having a featured cocktail at the Blackthorn Country Club.

For those who visit the Distillery, barkeep Bob Dunn does the utmost to provide “Excellence in Customer Experience,” as Callahan explained.

“The stars have aligned for us to be a successful business and (he’s) one of (the reasons).  Bob is an E-9 Master Chief in the Navy.”

Formerly a tour guide in Jonesborough, Dunn now gives the tours at Tennessee Hills.

“As soon as someone steps foot in this door we’re engaging them, whether there’s a full bar or not,” Callahan said. “We’ll walk them through each of our products and we’ll tell them how to taste it, what you should be tasting, what makes it unique, how it’s made and we’ll educate them about our business.”

Strolling On Main to offer wine, art, music

Downtown Jonesborough will be the perfect site for this springtime Strolling event, to be held May 11. (Photo by Whitney Williams)


Jonesborough Area Merchants and Services Association is proud to announce their annual Strolling on Main event in Jonesborough, Tennessee’s oldest town.

Guests are invited to stroll through Jonesborough’s iconic Main Street on Saturday, May 11, from 6 to 9  p.m. Talented local musicians and demonstrating artists will be scattered throughout downtown, setting the mood for a delightfully satisfying evening. Historic Jonesborough is the perfect setting to meander in and out of the local businesses; all of which will have a different tasty bite for you to try.

While enjoying the different small bites, there will also be local artists’ work displayed at many participating business.

You can admire different selections of local artwork, as well as try a delicious small bite and weave your way downtown.

Various wine and beer stops will be located along the way, and for all ticket purchasers, crafted non-alcoholic beverages will be available in varying locations.

Each stop will have a bite paired specifically to complement your beverage and amuse the taste buds; altogether stops will have enough tastings to equal dinner.

This event is perfect for a girls night out, Mother’s Day gift, or date night with your love.

Tickets are as follows:

• $20 for Tapas Tastings Only

• $30 for Tapas, Wine, and Beer Tastings

A limited number of tickets are available; please visit www.strollingonmain.com to purchase your tickets now. Tickets are also available for purchase by calling the Jonesborough Visitor’s Center at (423) 753-1010.

Ridgeview Elementary Students Celebrate Jackie Robinson

Ridgeview Students were ready to play ball and celebrate baseball legend Jackie Robinson after studying the American icon in class.


Emily Cicirello’s second grade class at Ridgeview Elementary participated in a celebration of iconic American baseball legend, Jackie Robinson on Monday, April 15. Robinson was an American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base on April 15, 1947.

Emily Cicirello’s second grade class wore their best baseball gear while also donning Robinson’s jersey number.

The day represented the culmination of a unit of study on Robinson. Students used math skills to calculate innings to determine the winning team and various research methods to find the most interesting facts about Jackie. They ended the day with a “home-run” by enjoying some tasty baseball themed snacks.

Boones Creek School announces open enrollment for 2019

After breaking ground on the new Boones Creek School in 2017, the school will now offer open enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year.


Staff Writer


Just a few months out from its official opening, the new Boones Creek School has opened student enrollment.

The Washington County Board of Education unanimously voted to open student enrollment at its Thursday, April 11 meeting. In January, the board voted to close enrollment once a school reaches 90 percent of the building’s capacity and added the Boones Creek School to that list in order to get an idea of how many students would be zoned for the school following the rezoning in the northern half of the county in November of 2018.

At the Thursday, April 11 meeting, Washington County Director of Schools Bill Flanary said the school currently expects 700 students. Ninety percent capacity at the new Boones Creek School would be 1,100 students, Flanary said.

“We have a pretty good idea of what the enrollment is going to be at the new school,” Flanary told the board. “It will be about what we expected it to be. Kindergarten is still a moving target, but if it comes in like it has, we look for the enrollment to be about 700. That doesn’t include pre-K.”

In the meantime, the district is now looking to add students from the Boones Creek School waiting list to the school’s enrollment.

“I know we do have a waiting list inside the county and inside of Johnson City also,” Flanary said. “It’s time to start letting those families know their children are going to go to school there.”

Any student outside of the district wanting to attend the new school will have to complete a contract agreeing to provide transportation and arrive to school in a timely manner. That contract is required for any student applying to enroll at a Washington County school outside his or her school zone.

“If anyone is coming from Johnson City, they’ll be providing their own transportation,” Board member Philip McLain explained. “They will have to go through the contract process. But to lift this off of the Boones Creek School simply means they can come from outside the district to that school by signing a contract and providing transportation. It’s just opening up the door.”

Flanary said a ribbon cutting for the school will be set for either May or June. In the meantime, the district is waiting on its completion to set an involvement night for the school’s families.

“We’re kind of waiting on BurWil Construction to say, ‘Here’s your building’ to nail that down,” Flanary said.

Meanwhile, the director of schools also announced the appraisal figure for the Boones Creek Middle School building located on North Roan Street.

Flanary said the appraisal came in at $1,770,000 million. That school, along with the Boones Creek Elementary School, will no longer be in use by the school system with the opening of the new Boones Creek School.

Market kicks off new season of ‘locally grown’

Movers and shakers who were instrumental in bringing Boone Street Market to fruition attended Saturday’s event, including Dana York, center, who is credited with finding initial funding and who was given the honor of cutting the ribbon, and Karen Childress, far left, who oversaw much of its implementation.

Boone Street Market celebrated its recent renovation with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Saturday, April 13, in downtown Jonesborough. While the market re-opened in March, the renovations were recently finalized and the café is already in operation, offering local meals to-go and for dine-in customers. “We’ve been waiting for our store to be back in full swing before planning a grand re-opening,” said Jonesborough Locally Grown Executive Director, Shelley Crowe. “We’ve hired a new chef, rearranged the store to feature new and more products from local producers and created a friendly space for guests to enjoy our kitchen’s offerings. We are excited to show it off to all who have supported these big changes at Boone Street Market”.

Attendees to the ribbon-cutting were treated to the chance to try a special brunch menu available for dine-in customers, along with other fresh to-go options that utilize local ingredients provided by our vendors. Dana York,

Boone Street Market, located at 101 Boone Street, is a 100 percent producer-only market, carrying food produced within 100 miles of Jonesborough, Tennessee and Central Appalachia. The market café offers dine-in and to-go meals made in-house with local ingredients. Boone Street Market is operated by Jonesborough Locally Grown, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that works to expand markets and educational opportunities for local producers and consumers.