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News
ETSU offering pharmacy technician course in February

Are you considering a career in pharmacy? East Tennessee State University could get you started on your first steps.

ETSU’s Office of Professional Development will offer a three-month Pharmacy Technician Certification Training Course, starting Feb. 2.

The course will train students to help pharmacists in handling medications and serving patients, according to a recent ETSU announcement. The course prepares students to take the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Board exam.

Darla Dye, director of professional development, said most students are able to become certified through the course.

Dye said it’s one of the university’s workforce development courses that have been offered for over 20 years. The courses are non-credit courses, meaning anyone can sign up.

“Participants don’t have to be official students of ETSU,” Dye said. “They learn about different types of medications, how to prepare prescriptions and fill prescriptions and how to assist a pharmacist.”

The course instructor is Cheryl Ollry, a pharmacy technician at the James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center who has over 15 years of experience in retail and hospital pharmacy.

Dye said courses such as these open students up to new career options.

“Many times, we have pre-pharmacy students take the class, and they work in the field in a pharmacy so they can get some experience on the ground floor,” she said. “Then they go on to pharmacy school and become pharmacists.

“It’s also an option for people to find a career or change careers,” she continued. “Perhaps they want to do something other than retail or restaurants. This is another option for them, and that’s why we like to offer these workforce development courses.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Dye said pharmacies will play a critical role with health departments in distributing vaccines such as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“I think pharmacies need an extra hand,” she said. “They have to have somebody to step up to do it.”

Registration for the class is $400 and includes the textbook, provided by the office. The exam requires an additional fee of $129.

Sessions will be held from 6-9 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday until April 29 on the ETSU main campus or online. In-person classes will be limited to 13 students, according to Dye.

For more information or to enroll, call 800-222-3878 or visit www.etsu.edu.


Living
Telford Diner adds new look, keeps quality food

One of my gentle readers informed me just last week that there had been some changes at the Telford Diner, an East Tennessee classic eatery.

Having waved goodbye to our friend the Retiree who, predictably, was off once again on another of her traveling adventures, my dining partner and I decided to visit Telford and see what renovations our friends Warren and Vickie Browder had made to their restaurant.

The Telford Diner is the “pictured-in-the-dictionary” example of a classic family-run Tennessee restaurant. It is located in the town of Telford, just a stone’s throw from Old State Route 34, (now Tenn. Highway 353). After a quick turn onto Telford Road, you make a quick left turn just over the Little Limestone Creek Bridge onto Mill Street. A minute or two more and you’ll see a yellow building with a sign identifying the place. Restaurant parking is ample on both sides of Mill Street.

The Browders have made some changes to the Telford Diner’s interior since my dining partner and I last enjoyed their company. Though the restaurant’s down-home wall décor is still in evidence, the buffet line has disappeared; a victim of the pandemic. Arranged per social distancing requirements, the restaurant’s seating now accommodates 40 or so hungry patrons in a dining area that appears even roomier than before. The very active kitchen’s new layout gives the Browders and their kitchen team a bit more room to swing a spatula than was previously possible.

Chicken Club sandwich

For her supper, my dining partner chose a Telford Diner signature dish, their chicken club sandwich ($5.29) done “all the way” by adding to the fried breast of chicken and crispy bacon strips some lettuce, a tomato slice, dill pickle and mayonnaise. For her side dish, my partner ordered a baked potato with sour cream. The chicken was freshly batter-dipped and fried until golden brown. The crispy bacon was center-cut and delightfully smoky in flavor, and adding the lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise made my dining partner’s chicken club sandwich very good eating indeed.

Hamburger Steak Plate Meal

Wanting something more substantial than a sandwich for my supper, I asked our server Crystal which of the Telford Diner’s plate meals she’d recommend. Crystal thought for a moment, then told me the hamburger steak platter ($10) was her choice, being a half-pound of chopped hamburger steak grilled my way (medium), matched with a crisp garden salad and a baked potato with ranch dressing on both side orders, together with a big slice of Texas Toast. Well, I took Crystal’s recommendation and found it to be a good one. Whoever was running the grill at the Telford Diner knew their stuff, because my hamburger steak was done to a turn. The salad was a cold, crisp mix of torn iceberg and leaf lettuce leaves, chopped cucumbers, together with slices of ripe tomatoes and red onion rings, all of it covered with shredded, mild cheddar cheese. Even my baked potato, a nutty-flavored russet, was baked to my liking, even more so with a dollop of ranch dressing instead of the usual butter and sour cream.

The bottom line

Despite the changes that have been made, the Telford Diner’s menu thankfully hasn’t been one of them. There is good old American cooking offered here Tuesday through Saturday. Friday still has the popular all-you-can-eat fish night, with fried Alaskan whitefish and popcorn shrimp available in plentiful supply. Regarding the Telford Diner’s accepted methods of payment, owners Warren and Vickie Browder accept cash or checks, but not credit cards, so be sure to bring along your checkbook and/or wallet to make your departure a smooth one.

Unlike other restaurants that are weathering the pandemic’s “Interesting Times” as best they can, Warren and Vickie Browder’s Telford Diner still provides a quiet cove where those who find the “weathering” difficult can stop in to catch their breath, enjoy quiet moment, hear a kind word or two, and enjoy a meal that has comfort in every bite.

Between the Browders’ cooking and server Crystal’s friendly and unobtrusive service, your visit to the Telford Diner is elevated from eating to dining.


Local-news
Northeast Tennessee ends week with highest COVID-19 death toll

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) killed 75 people in the region this week and infected 2,939 as it continued to spread through the community.

The seven new deaths attributed to the virus Sunday by the Tennessee Department of Health ended a week with the highest death toll in the eight-county region since the start of the pandemic. This week’s 75 deaths topped the previous deadliest week, Dec. 14 to 20, by 17.

Since March, 732 deaths in the region have been attributed to the virus.

Statewide, Tennessee also reported its deadliest week yet, with 760 people dead.

Ballad reports second-highest number of new admissions as COVID-19 inpatients fall

Ballad Health reported 114 COVID-19 deaths in its coverage area in the last seven days.

The 337 virus-positive patients in its facilities is an increase of one from Saturday.

The 62 COVID patients in intensive care on Sunday remained level from the day before, and the 38 patients on ventilators was one lower.

Active cases on the rise

Northeast Tennessee’s active cases continued an upward trend Sunday, increasing by 103.

There were 5,260 identified active cases, the highest since Dec. 23. Washington County (1,390) and Sullivan (1,343) reported the highest number of active cases in the region.

Hawkins County reported the most new cases (99) and new active cases (66) on Sunday.

Two counties’ active case counts decreased, Carter, which fell by three, and Sullivan, which lost 15.


News
Elizabethton City Council to hold another remote meeting on Thursday

Watauga River boat ramp agreement to be considered at Thursday meeting

ELIZABETHTON — The Elizabethton City Council will hold its first meeting of the new year on Thursday at 6 p.m. The first meeting of 2021 will be held the same way as the last several meetings held in 2020, by by an electronic meeting using the Zoom software in order to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The electronic meeting is allowed by Gov. Bill Lee’s Executive Order Number 65. Members of the public can observe and participate in the meeting by using a computer or phone. The meeting can be accessed by going to: https://us02web.zoom.us/s/81015025511 or by calling 1-646-558-8656 and entering meeting ID 810 1502 5511#.

The Zoom software allows members of the public to address the council by voice on either the computer or telephone link.

The meetings are recorded and may be viewed later on Youtube.

The agenda tor Thursday’s meeting is a light one, with only two items to be considered on second and final reading and only seven items of new business. None are expected to be controversial.

One item that should be popular is a resolution to approve a license agreement with the Tennessee Department of Transportation for the construction and maintenance of a Watauga River boat ramp located adjacent to Tenn. Highway 400.

Another item which should be easily approved by the City Council is the third and final change order for a water line improvement project involving a 2018 Community Development Block Grant. The change is required because the project ended up with more old water lines replaced and under budget.

The first two change orders had increased the total cost of the project from $391,618 to $447,400. The original bid had been for replacement of 5,550 feet of pipe, but the project actually replaced 6,415 feet of pipe, which is an additional 15.6 percent. In addition, the contractor, Hayes Construction, found and disconnected 120 feet of previously unknown old and leaky parallel pipe on North Sycamore Street. The water customers on that old line were connected to the new line.

In addition to these improvements, the change reduced the total payment to Hayes Construction to $421,067, instead of the old amount of $447,400. That represented a savings of $26,333.

The boat ramp proposal would provide citizens with improved access to a very popular section of the Watauga River, as well as a takeout point for rafters floating down the river from Wilbur Dam.

The 10-year renewable license agreement with TDOT will not require any payment from the city and it will grant the city permission to construct and operate the boat ramp. It will also allow parking on the Tenn. 400 right of way between Tenn. 400 and Lovers Lane. The Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department would be responsible for light maintenance and cleanup of the property.


Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) scrambles away from Tennessee Titans cornerback Desmond King, left, in the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn.


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