The Tennessee North Rural Planning Organization (RPO) meets on Thursday the 13th of December to prioritize TDOT funded road projects in the RPOs seven county region. Union County does not have any TDOT projects under construction, although the SR-33 project from the Knox County Line to South of SR-144 was recently moved to the Construction Phase.
What a wonderful time of the year! Celebrating Christmas and the New Year with family and friends, good food, memories of Christmas’ past and creating new memories. The New Year is a time for making resolutions and planning for changes we would like to experience in our lives in the coming year. With only four weeks remaining in 2018, we are running out of opportunities to take advantage of tax planning.
Most of us probably do not even recognize the name of Arthur Ernest Morgan; yet for those of us living in the the rural communities of the Tennessee Valley, Morgan should be remembered every time we switch on our lights or plug in our computers. Arthur Morgan was the first Director of the Tennessee Valley Authority, but he was much more than just a political appointee or bureaucratic figurehead. Morgan, a civil engineer, was an expert in water flow and water control. He was a hands on director who busied himself with the most intimate parts of the TVA: the inner workings of the dams and the communities they served. As an engineer, he designed the dams, made the earth move, mined the rock, and poured the concrete. As a visionary, he designed communities with energy efficient housing and environmental consideration. As an educator, Morgan saw the need to teach the people to use better farming practices and to train people to use electricity to make their daily chores easier.
Almost everyone recognizes the late Thomas Kinkade (1958 - 2012) as the "Painter of Light". His paintings feature glowing highlights in pastel colors of gardens, streams, stone cottages, light houses, and mainstreets most likely inspired by his hometown of Placerville, CA. It is said that 1 of every 20 Americans own a copy of one of his beautiful light filled paintings. Kinkade protected the phrase "Painter of Light" through Trademark. Though the phrase was originally used to describe English painter J. M. W. Turner (1775 - 1851), a child prodigy described as an artistic genius.
My aunt, Bonnie Heiskell Peters, is the family genealogist. In fact, she has published three books celebrating the history and people of Union County, Tennessee. When I first became interested in exploring family history, she warned me that misspellings could be roadblocks to research.
Here’s one story:
Timmy throws his legs over the back of the couch as he gazes at the Christmas tree upside down. Sigh. He just isn’t into Christmas this year.
It all started a couple of weeks ago during lunch at school. All of his friends talked about not believing in Santa Claus anymore. That was for little kids. Timmy agreed with them. Third graders were too big for silly stuff like that.
It seems the greatest and happiest moments of our lives are tinged with a bit of sadness at the realization that they can’t last forever.
Every year on Christmas Eve, all of my sister Anna Mae’s family would gather at her house to eat, but mainly to exchange gifts. Mother and I were always invited, and Anna Mae always gave me most enjoyable gifts. I remember so many of them.
One was a candle lamp with a hurricane globe. I still have that lamp, though I broke the hurricane globe long ago and had to find a slightly differently shaped globe for replacement. Anna Mae also once gave me a wind-up carousel with many mirrors to reflect light. I still have it on a library shelf, though one of the three horses has broken off and been lost.
“There he is Momma!” My hearted pounded. Could it be? I pressed my nose against the back car window and pointed toward the night sky. “I see Rudolph’s red blinking nose!”
My mother gazed out of her side window. “Sorry honey. That’s a blinking light from an airplane.”
“You sure momma?”
She paused for a second. “Yes, I am.”
Anticonvulsant drugs are increasingly being used to treat low back pain, but a new study in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) finds they are ineffective and can have adverse effects.
Clinically, the prescription of anticonvulsants for back and neck pain, including radicular
pain in primary care, has increased by 535% in the last 10 years.
We often come up with mind games to pass time with our grandkids on extended road trips, and being the Christmas season, we recently did a guessing game that involved plants and animals associated with Christmas. It was interesting enough that I decided to share the list and researched how certain plants and animals became synonymous with Christmas.
There are handsome gingerbread men. This is not that recipe. This is an, oh, so soft, ginger flavored work of art. The aroma lingers in the air long after you bake a batch. Your kids coming in the door from school will head straight for the cookie jar. This is a cookie to make when a cold west wind is swirling snow around the yard and you hope the kids get the mail from the mailbox when they get off the bus so you won't have to go out in it. It is that kind of cookie.
Since 1985, there has been a grassroots effort to make sure that every child in Union County has gifts from Santa on Christmas morning. That effort started out under the name Union County Toys for Tots and operated under the Union County Business and Professional Association. Now, it's called Union County Children's Charities Under the Tree, and this year it will serve 427 children right here at home.
Teacher of the month is quite the honor to win. Who wouldn’t want the special recognition, especially out of the many wonderful teachers here? Our very own Mrs. Hayley Sexton accomplished just this. She started teaching biology at Union County High School about two years ago. During her interview, Mrs. Sexton explained how one wins teacher of the month, as well as what brought her to become a teacher. What really caught my eye about her interview was how humble she was about the accomplishment. Anyone can tell she genuinely cares about the children she teaches.
A $3.5M grant to bring next generation fiber optic broadband to the Sharps Chapel Community of Union County was submitted by Sunset Digital Communications to the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Grant Program. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) will announce the grant recipients in March 2019. A public comment period on all grants submitted begins on 28 November and ends on 20 December. YOU can help!
For the sixth year, Milan Baptist Church has partnered with the Samaritan’s Purse project, Operation Christmas Child, to make a difference in the lives of children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine. The annual project takes empty shoeboxes and turns them into gifts—filled with fun toys, school supplies, and hygiene items—that will be delivered to children in need this Christmas.
The true spirit of the season is giving and doing for others with no expectation of return. The simple act of kindness can work magic on a person’s heart. Gifts are not always in the form of an item but more so in the love that it takes to make or volunteer to do something. Being oriented in service learning, this season UT Extension Union County groups are in a giving spirit.
A community shows its strength when it works together to do good things. That's what Union Countians are doing. When the new bridge opened over Clinch River/Norris Lake on State Highway 33 between Maynardville and Tazewell and the old continuous truss bridge was being taken down, Preservation Union County worked with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to salvage pieces of the old structure. On May 24, 2016, we met with TDOT District 18 Specialist and the contractor that was removing the steel and acquired several pieces of wind bracing beams and bridge railing.