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Commissioners to vote on changes to residential building code

Washington County commissioners will vote on a resolution today to adopt “certain changes” to the 2018 International Residential Code.

Commissioners are scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. at the George P. Jaynes Justice Center in Jonesborough.

The county board took the first step in adopting portions of the 2018 building code in November. In a 12-0 vote, with three members absent, commissioners decided to post the amended building regulations with the county clerk’s office for 90 days, after which time the board can officially adopt the residential code.

Washington County officials hope the move will bring uniformity to residential construction regulations throughout the region. Sullivan County, Kingsport and Johnson City have already adopted the building regulations.

The county’s revisions to the 2018 International Residential Building Code mirror the amendments adopted by the state of Tennessee.

The local changes include:

• Amend Section R303.4 Mechanical Ventilation to add the word “optional” after the word “ventilation” in the section title. Before the first sentence insert: “Where required by the Building Official.”

• Amend R313 Automatic Fire Sprinkler System to read: Pursuant to TCA 68-120-101(a)(8), Automatic Fire Sprinkler Systems are not mandatory for one- and two-family dwellings, however, if a sprinkler is installed it shall meet the requirements of this section.

• Amend R314.6 Power Source relating to smoke alarms to create exception No. 3 that shall read: “Interconnection and hardwiring of smoke alarms in existing areas shall not be required where the alterations or repairs do not result in the removal of interior walls or ceilings finishes exposing the structure.”

Washington County commissioners have received letters from Lisa Luster, executive director of the Johnson City Area Home Builders Association, and from state Rep. Tim Hicks, who is a former area vice president of the Home Builders Association of Tennessee, both endorsing the state’s changes to the residential building code.

Science Hill Clothes Closet still stepping up for students in need

When the Science Hill Clothes Closet started three years ago, Topper Summit teacher Debbie Mottern wasn’t quite sure how long it would last.

A great deal of work goes into collecting, organizing and maintaining a service that helps students in need. But to her delight, and some Science Hill students’ benefit, Mottern’s Topper Summit class continues to provide a space that addresses the material needs of Science Hill students.

The Science Hill Clothes Closet provides students with a safe space to browse through gently worn clothing items. More formal items, like ties, help students prepare for a job interview. Students can also find a selection of prom dresses, which can help ease the financial burden during prom season.

“When we started this project three years ago, I wasn’t quite sure how long it would last,” Mottern said. “I knew there was a need, and so did my students, but we weren’t sure if future classes would be as invested. We are pleased to report that we continue to be a resource for students in need of clothing. We have also been able to expand our offerings to include non-perishable food items, common hygiene products and even school supplies.”

Science Hill senior Emily Horvath said that she was excited when presented the opportunity to help with the clothes closet.

“It’s just really important to help people in our school community who may need something,” Horvath said. “It’s cool to be able to help the people in our school that we might interact with often.”

Science Hill senior Shaylin Gonzalez agreed with her classmate.

“I think it is nice to know that I am helping to make sure that people have clothes and food,” Gonzalez said. “You don’t know what someone is going through or what they need. So it’s nice to know that we have this available to help anyone who needs it.”

The fall semester was difficult with varying schedules and other issues that the pandemic presented. But this semester, students have worked hard to clear out old donations and replace them with new donations.

“I’m extremely proud of my students because they are truly doing this work to give back to Science Hill and help their fellow students,” Mottern said. “We do not do the closet for recognition or to get money. We just do it because we want to help others.”

Science Hill senior Camryn Jones said that is exactly why she wanted to use her time in the Topper Summit class to help with the clothes closet.

“I chose to help here because it is good to know that students in our school can come in here to get things they need,” Jones said. “We just want to let them know that we care for them.”

Contributed to the Press

Signs of spring found at Bayou Boys Fresh Gulf Shrimp

About a year ago, the dine-around bunch and I dined for the first time at Bayou Boys Fresh Gulf Shrimp, at their old location in the Burlington complex on Johnson City’s West Walnut Street.

The brainchild of one Walter Holmes, Bayou Boys’ fish-monger, boil-master and principal investor, and daughter Julie Holmes Pecou, the restaurant’s proprietor, Bayou Boys enhanced its seafood market by adding a restaurant, allowing their customers to first select their catch and then have it cooked their way.

Given that all seafood, finned or otherwise, is the most time- and distance-sensitive of commodities, it is a tribute to father and daughter’s focus and hard work that a successful market and restaurant featuring fresh seafood exists five hours from the Atlantic Ocean, and ten hours from the Gulf of Mexico.

First impressions

Bayou Boys’ new location is the commercial space formerly occupied by Jack’s City Grill on North Roan Street. Holmes was very proud of what Bayou Boys accomplished previously, and is looking forward to further success at their new location.

The comprehensive seafood market’s display case, pricing blackboard and processing table is found just past the hostess lectern that is inside the double doors. Up a short flight of steps on the right you’ll find a dining area seating about 80 patrons at tables and booths. There are additional booths on the rear lower level next to the hallway accessing both the kitchen and restrooms. Décor is minimally nautical, with several flat screen televisions evident.

Shrimp scampi with side salad

With Bayou Boys being both a fish market as well as a restaurant, fishmonger Holmes says this gives each customer the opportunity to browse Bayou Boys’ market, make their fresh selection, and then have it prepared by the restaurant.

Additionally, Bayou Boys prides itself on accommodating customers who have special dietary restrictions.

Fortunately, my dining partner had no such restrictions in her order of shrimp scampi ($13.99) together with a house salad to our friendly server, Michelle. A good quantity of 25-count shrimp were sautéed in a reduction of white wine, garlic, lemon juice and chopped parsley, then tossed with angel hair pasta and served with thick slices of good Italian bread.

My dining partner was enjoying the mechanics of twirling her fork in angel hair pasta, then spearing a succulent shrimp on the same fork. After a quick glance for any errant strands of pasta, it was down the hatch for the forkful of shrimp scampi, a grin of pure delight crossing my dining partner’s face.

Crawfish Etoufee, Jambalaya and soft shell crab

I wanted to see how Bayou Boys kitchen would handle an off-the-menu order. With Michelle’s guidance I constructed my own supper from the side orders listed in Bayou Boys’ menu.

I ordered an 8 oz. cup of the crawfish Etoufee ($6.99), added an 8 oz. cup of their Jambalaya ($5.99) and (on Michelle’s suggestion) finished with a single soft shell crab ($4).

Bayou Boys cram a lot into their Jambalaya, the chicken rubbing shoulders with some succulent shrimp, several good-sized slices of andouille sausage, the saffron-tinted Low Country rice and all the other yummies in that 8 oz. cup.

The crawfish Etoufee made a good counterpoint to the Jambalaya, this crimson-colored tomato and garlic-flavored Cajun favorite being pleasantly populated with some superbly succulent shelled crawfish tails.

Traditionally, it is the bloom of the crocus or song of the first robin that marks the return of warmer weather.

I found my first sign of spring nestled there on my plate: Callinectes sapidus, an Atlantic blue crab in soft-shell phase, delicately deep-fried and giving off a truly remarkable mélange of aromas and flavors. For me, the flavor and texture to be found in a properly prepared soft shell crab is unsurpassed. Using a few drops of some hot sauce for extra zing is a fine way to welcome spring.

The bundling of soft shell crab together with the crawfish Etoufee and Jambalaya brought all of my a la carte supper together as a single savory whole.

The bottom line

The increased traffic and access from North Roan Street in Johnson City can only help Walter Holmes and Julie Holmes Pecou realize continued success for Bayou Boys Fresh Gulf Shrimp. The seafood market is well-maintained, the restaurant spacious and comfortable, the varied menu items uniformly excellent in preparation and taste, and the service friendly and professional.

Why not find your own sign of spring’s arrival with a trip to Bayou Boys Fresh Gulf Shrimp?

Just remember to leave some soft shell crabs for me, OK?

Tennessee guard Rae Burrell, top, looks to pass during the first half of a college basketball game against Middle Tennessee State in the first round of the women’s NCAA basketball tournament at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, on Sunday.

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UPDATE: Student charged with false reporting after social media threats toward Science Hill High School deemed not dangerous by police

The Science Hill High School student identified by police as the person who made threats of harming others at the school was charged with false reporting on Monday, according to a Johnson City police press release.

The teen's name and gender were not released. Police said the teen would have a court hearing in Johnson City Juvenile Court at a later date. The release also did not indicate if the student was in police custody or not.

Reported earlier:

Johnson City police have identified a student who posted several threatening comments on a social media app Sunday that indicated there would be some type of revengeful act at Science Hill High School on Monday.

“We found out about the social media threats earlier today,” Johnson City Police Department Maj. Brian Rice said Sunday night. “We’ve been working on this all day and worked with the Johnson City Schools to identify that person.”

Rice said investigators have talked to the student and said there was “no danger associated with that individual.”

JCPD made this post around 8:45 p.m. Sunday on the department’s Facebook account:

“Johnson City Police Department was made aware of a threat concerning Science Hill High School circulating on social media tonight. In coordination with Johnson City Schools, a student has been identified.

“There is no danger associated with those threats to SHHS students, faculty, or staff.

“In an abundance of caution additional police presence and patrol will be available and visible tomorrow on the SHHS campus.”

No other details were available Sunday night. Follow www.JohnsonCityPress.com as this story develops.