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Girl Talk

The Monroe County Schools’ Coordinated School Health, along with partnering agencies UT Extension of Monroe County and the Monroe County Health Department, would like to offer Girl Talk classes in the upcoming months.

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.

If you might be interested, please email Lacey Mason at Include your daughter’s name and a phone number, so you can be kept up-to-date with the class schedule and be provided additional information. Spots are limited.

Sweetwater’s Cops for Kids

The Sweetwater Police Department is now taking applications for its 2021 Cops for Kids program. Applications can be picked up at 101 North Oak Street in the mailbox at the side door of the Police Department (next to the bench). Applications need to be returned to the same mailbox no later than Friday, Dec. 10. Children ages birth to 12 years old qualify for the program.

If you received assistance for the past two years, your application will have to be reviewed to see if you may possibly qualify for assistance again this year.

Children residing in the city limits of Sweetwater will be given first consideration, then the department will assist others as it can.

The following information must be provided to be considered for the program: parent or legal guardian names; physical address where the child lives full time (must bring proof of residency, such as a utility or cable bill); working contact phone number (no text-only phones or phone without voicemail); name, age and gender of all children living in the household, along with a copy of their birth certificates or social security cards.

Tentative dates to pick up toys are Thursday, Dec. 16, or Friday, Dec. 17. Dates are subject to change.

Toys 4 Tellico

The Tellico Plains Police Department is taking donations of toys and/or monetary donations for its Toys 4 Tellico program. Donations can be dropped off at the Police Department between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Applications for the program are also available at City Hall for families who are in need this Christmas.

Christmas Light Recycling Drive

Tellico Girl Scout Troop #40005 is hosting its ninth annual Christmas Light Recycling Drive this season. Christmas lights will be accepted until Jan. 15, 2022. Last year, the troop diverted more than 500 pounds of unwanted lights from landfills to recycling centers. You can drop off any unwanted lights at the Monroe County Convenience Centers (look for the blue barrels), Tellico Mountain Realty or the Coker Creek Welcome Center.

For more information, please contact Melissa Wiseman at 423-261-4891.

Gifts for Vets

Monroe County Mayor Mitch Ingram’s office has partnered with the Blue Star Mothers to bring Christmas to local veterans. Donations are being accepted until Dec. 10. Collection boxes are located at the Monroe County Courthouse, JPK Building, Veterans Center, and the Monroe County Justice Center. Some gift ideas: lotions, deodorant, cologne, body wash, puzzle books (large print), lap blankets, socks (non-skid or diabetic socks), sweat suits, toboggan, hats, jig saw puzzles, and pens.

A Home for the Holidays Benefit Auction

Homeless Management of Monroe County will hold its fundraiser, A Home for the Holidays Benefit Auction, on Friday, Dec. 10, at 6 p.m. at Grayson’s Auction & Sales. Come shop for hundreds of gifts including: attraction tickets, spa services, gift cards, boutique items, custom handmade gifts and more. Food will also be available for purchase. Tickets for entry are $20 and may be purchased in advance at the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce or online on the Facebook event page.

Mobile Food Pantry at CCES

Compassion Ministries is bringing its Mobile Food Pantry to Coker Creek Elementary School on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 10 a.m. This will be a free drive-thru pantry. Food will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Please have your car trunk empty so that volunteers can put food in the car for you. Please do not exit your vehicle until asked to do so to open the trunk. You will be asked for your name, address, phone number, and the number of people in the household between ages 18-59, 60 plus, and 0 to 17. Please have this information ready so the line will move smoothly.

For more information, contact Robin Rolland at 865-755-9512 or Steve McCullar at 865-456-1263. Coker Creek Elementary School is located at 130 Ruritan Road in Tellico Plains.

Fort Loudoun tour

Join Ranger Savannah Couser at Fort Loudoun State Historic Area in Vonore on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 10 a.m. for a tour of Fort Loudoun. This tour is not merely a study of architecture, but also the role and importance of the fort and how it shaped the lives of those living in and around it. Discussions of the past will be revisited as participants uncover the fort’s history, how the Little Tennessee River impacted all who lived within its valley, and how constant the challenge was to supply such a remote location. Step back in time to experience Fort Loudoun on a more personal level, examining the lives of those who both thrived and struggled within the walls of this wilderness outpost.

The cost is $5 per person. Participants should meet at the Visitors Center.

Pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, contact the park office at 423-420-2331.

Christmas Festival on the Square

Madisonville’s Christmas Festival on the Square, organized by the Downtown Madisonville Alliance, continues on Saturday, Dec. 11. There will be Christmas lights galore, activities for the whole family, pictures with Santa, carriage rides, holiday eats and treats and shopping opportunities.

For more information and to view the festival schedule, visit the Madisonville Christmas Festival on the Square event page on Facebook.

Cookie Caper at First Baptist Madisonville

As part of Madisonville’s Christmas Festival on the Square, First Baptist Church in Madisonville will hold a Cookie Caper in the Tribe building from noon until 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11. This will be a fundraiser for the youth of the church. Homemade baked goods and candies will be for sale.

An Old-Fashion Christmas

Sweetwater Valley Citizens for the Arts and the Willow Creek Social Committee will present An Old-Fashion Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 11, from 4-8 p.m. in the Willow Creek Community of Sweetwater.

There will be lots of free activities for the whole family to enjoy, including visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Mountain Music String Band playing sounds of the season, Sweetwater Junior High School singing Christmas carols, movies in Franklin Park (“Scrooge” and “It’s a Wonderful Life”), and Sweetwater’s antique firetruck. Vendors and refreshments will also be on hand with a variety of items for purchase.

First, second and third-place awards for the best decorated houses in Willow Creek will be presented (judged by Sweetwater Mayor Doyle Lowe).

18th century Christmas cooking

Join Park Ranger Savannah Couser at Fort Loudoun State Historic Area in Vonore on Sunday, Dec. 12, from 11 a.m. to noon to celebrate an 18th century Christmas by learning how to make some classic holiday treats. In addition to learning how to make these treats, there will also be a taste test at the end.

The cost to participate is $10 for adults. Children ages 5 and under will be admitted for $5., Pre-registration is required. Call 423-420-2331 to register. Participants should meet at the fort, located 150 yards behind the Visitors Center.

Holiday pomanders at Fort Loudoun

Fort Loudoun State Historic Area in Vonore will hold a holiday pomanders class on Thursday, Dec. 16, from 6-7 p.m. Pomanders haven’t always been associated with Christmas. Join Ranger Lauren Baghetti and learn how the pomander has evolved over the centuries to become a holiday decoration. You will make one to take home with you and soon after, your home will smell of oranges and cloves. The cost to participate is $10, and pre-registration is required. Call 423-420-2331 to register. Participants should meet at the Visitors Center.

Tellico Plains Christmas Parade

The Town of Tellico Plains will hold its Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Tellico Plains Kiwanis Club, on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 5:30 p.m. Tellico Plains is honoring veterans by asking them to serve as the parade grand marshals. All veterans are invited to participate and are asked to meet at the gazebo in downtown by 4:30 p.m.

The parade route will start on Veterans Memorial Drive (near the gazebo) and travel through town square, taking a right on Babcock Street then a left on Cherohala Skyway, before taking a right onto Bank Street and ending at the community center.

Prizes for float entries will be as follows: first place $300, second place $200 and third place $100. The Charles Hall Award for best decorated horse also comes with a $100 prize.

An entry form must be filled out to compete in judging, which will begin at 4:45 p.m. prior to the parade. Entry forms are available at Tellico Plains City Hall and on the Tellico Plains Kiwanis Facebook page. Completed forms can be dropped off at City Hall, emailed to, or mailed to Tellico Plains Kiwanis at P.O. Box 104, Tellico Plains, TN 37385. Forms need to be received by Dec. 10 at 5 p.m.

The parade lineup will begin at 3:30 p.m. at the following locations: Floats will line up on Veterans Memorial (Highway 360 side); horses will line up on Main Street in the grass area (enter off Cherohala Skyway); antique cars should line up on Willowbrook (enter on the Highway 360 side); non-floats, such as tractors, wreckers, walkers, etc., should line up on Main Street, entering off Cherohala Skyway; and fire engines, EMS, rescue vehicles, etc. should line up on Cherohala Skyway — see Jamie Sisson.

Festivities will kick off prior to the parade with Cookies ’n Claus at 4:30 p.m. Parade attendees can enjoy free cookies from Tellicafe, along with coffee or hot chocolate, at five hospitality stations: the parking lot of Volunteer Federal Savings Bank, the first parking entrance to the Cherohala Skyway Visitor’s Center, the Charles Hall Museum Gift Shop, Cherohala Skyway at Bank Street (near Skyway Realty), and town square.

Volunteers from area churches and organizations will be running the hospitality stations.

During Cookies ’n Claus, Santa Claus will be at the Cherohala Skyway Visitor’s Center for a holiday photo opportunity. Feel free to bring your phones and cameras. Sponsorships for this project are also available.

The parade may be cancelled if there is a spike in local COVID-19 cases, or by Monroe County or town decree. If the parade is cancelled or postponed for any reason, a notice will be placed in area newspapers and on the Tellico Plains Kiwanis Facebook page.

For more information about this year’s festivities, contact Joyce McDaniel by phone at 423-253-6530 or 615-347-0086 or by e-mail at

Foster education and information course

On behalf of the Monroe County Animal Shetler, Complete K9 and Terry Gill will hold a free foster education course on Saturday, Dec. 18, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at The Complete K9, located at 800 N. Main Street in Sweetwater.

Every dog and cat deserves a warm, safe home this holiday, but many people find fostering daunting because they do not know what to expect. This short course will teach you everything you need to know so you can help be the change these animals so desperately need. Topics covered will include: slow and safe introductions (to your family and pack at home), decompression and trigger stacking, foster nutrition 101, potty and home manners training, vaccinations and immune system memory, basic pet first aid and CPR, and more.

Did you know that along with the feel-good soul food you get from fostering an animal in need there can also be tax benefits? While the Monroe County Animal Shelter does offer supplies and vet care for pets in foster care, things you provide in excess, like premium food, a crate, a dog bed, toys and even some mileage, are all tax deductible.

This event is free to the public, but space is limited. Register by emailing to attend.


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