As Cadie Chapell approached the front of the room, she was unsure of how her speech would go. Little did she know it would be her first of many.
Chapell, at the time a small, petit, 4th grader talked to her class about a family sky trip never imagining that those small steps would one day lead to her speaking in front of her graduating class and guests at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
Agriculture Literacy, Generation to Generation
Union County Farm Bureau volunteer Ashley Mike reads to Kindergartners at Big Ridge Elementary during Tennessee Ag Literacy Week 2021
Each year Tennessee celebrates Agriculture Literacy Week as an opportunity for teachers and volunteers to share valuable information in TN schools about growing and harvesting food and by-products. Food, fiber, and fuel for our country are invaluable materials that many youths never really understand where they come from or their significant importance.
According to Julie Giles, TN Ag Lit Week event co-chair, less than two percent of the population is involved in production agriculture, leaving youths with little to no knowledge of how food is raised and produced. That is a scary raw fact for this country’s future if you ask me; if not for agriculture, what is left?
What is Ag Lit Week and how does this event sprout farming knowledge in our youths? Tennessee Ag Lit Week is celebrated each year. Locally, Union County Farm Bureau has a small library of approved ag books for volunteers to check out and read to classrooms. All of the Union County elementary schools are very welcoming for folks to read in the classrooms and help teach their students the importance of farming and ag products. At some schools this year, it was very appropriately timed in between their pig and dairy lessons.
It is easy to get involved. Reach out to your local farm bureau or extension office and voice that you would like to read to a group, it is that simple. When it is time to reach next year, you may get a call to pick up books and a lesson to take with you and educate a class. Not only is it a fun volunteer project that takes little time and could instill lifelong knowledge in a child, but also I found it quite rewarding seeing the intrigue in the eyes of the kindergarten students as I read to the Big Ridge Elementary classes of Mrs. Whitney Copeland and Mrs. Natalie Gideon, Pigs: an A-Z Book by Anderson and Buggey. They were quite perplexed to learn that pigs are actually very clean animals in contradiction to the stereotypical grimy, muddy pig that everyone thinks of.
Each Ag Literacy session takes about 30 minutes per classroom. Agriculture volunteers work with their county coordinators to set up visits to their local schools. Volunteers read to students in the classrooms. Following the reading, volunteers may conduct an activity with students and share their experiences about agriculture.
Local ag partners work together to support the effort and get as many students involved as possible. It is typical for FFA, 4-H, Farm Bureau, UT Extension, as well as local farmers to all work together to share their agriculture knowledge in our schools. This year at least seven volunteers read to four of the elementary schools and a headstart class in UC. There is word that Farm Bureau may be adding some new books to the collection before next year’s celebratory week, so email Farm Bureau board member Ashley Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to get involved in enhancing the program! Glance thru resources at TennesseeAg.org .
As Cadie Chapell approached the front of the room, she was unsure of how her speech would go. Little did she know it would be her first of many.
Join us this Saturday, May 28, as the Union County Farmers Market kicks off our Nourish Kids program. This will be the third season that the market has partnered with Nourish Knoxville to present this program. Through a grant, Nourish Knoxville has been able to assist markets like ours throughout East Tennessee, providing materials and Produce Bucks making this program possible.
Improper planting depth is one of the most common challenges impacting the growth and health of urban trees. Trees planted incorrectly are not only subjected to the physical stresses of improper placement, they’re also more susceptible to insect pests and fungal pathogens. These issues, combined with the already stressful urban environment, may lead to the untimely decline of trees that would otherwise prosper if planted correctly.
Interim Director Gets Nod to Continue Role Permanently
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture has appointed Gary Bates, professor and interim head of the Department of Plant Sciences, as the department’s permanent leader.
Bates has served in the interim position since 2020.
Occasionally in life the stars align themselves, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I can see the alignment, sometimes I cannot.
I remember several years meteor showers were predicted. I got out of bed around 2:00 a.m., the reported best time to see them at my location, to witness this wonder of nature. For whatever reason, I did not see the expected phenomenon.
As i have said before, bar cookies are the easiest and quickest cookie to make. Who doesn't like peanut butter and jelly? These bar cookies are great
PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY BARS
3 cups plain flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup grape jelly
Biodiversity remains a big deal in ecology circles these days. The dictionary defines it simply as the variety of living things in a particular area or region. Opinions on the importance of biodiversity vary, but to me the loss of any plant or animal species means something’s wrong, and rightfully raises some concerns.
Union County, a small part of Tennessee and an even smaller part of the United States. With a population of approximately 20,000 in 2019, we often wonder what is produced by the endeavors of our families, teachers, and leaders.
One story that I would like to begin to tell over the next few months, is the story of successes that have come from our small part of the world.
UT Extension Union County and the Union County Farmers Market are at it once again; partnering to create healthier, more active lifestyles. When you join us at the market each Saturday, just sign-in and pick-up your pedometer for the day, then walk the market and surrounding areas. When finished, exchange the pedometer for the market bucks you have earned! Thank Reliant Family Health for sponsoring this program and providing the market bucks and incentives.
One of my favorite songs as a child was, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” I don’t know many times I have peered into the night sky and thought of that song. At times, I even sang it. So to me, the word “Twinkling,” meant something shiny and sparkly. That changed for me a few years ago in a dramatic way.
Once upon a time a weary Ronnie Mincey prepared himself for bed. His lovely bride had retired some time earlier. He turned on the television to assist his delve into the realms of rest. As he crawled under the covers beside his oblivious wife and wrapped himself “just so” in the sheets, he heard something fall to the floor.
Mountains seem to be a universal attraction to people no matter where they come from. To those who were born and raised in them, they are especially endearing because they were the constant backdrop of our lives: their beauty, their challenges, and their molding of the culture of our ancestors that was passed on to us. Mountains are special, but what is it about them that everybody falls in love with? This will sound over-simplistic, but the answer is their three-dimensional terrain. Let me explain.
Need a plant to beautify your home? Maybe you really wanted to try 3 different varieties of summer squash so you ordered 3 seed packets, and now you have way too many seeds. Perhaps you even started them indoors, afraid they would not all germinate and now you have way too many plants. Plant and Seed Share to the rescue!
When I heard the announcement at church, I was so excited. It was a chance to play on a real softball team again.
You see, I played softball for years when I was kid. My position was second base. I played that position in the Knox County and state championship games. I also played it in invitational tournaments. So, when the church organized a lady’s softball team as part of the outreach ministry, I immediately signed up. I couldn’t wait to smell the infield dirt.
I begin with some questions for thought—Do you ever give advice? Do you like to give advice? If so, what does that say about your opinion of yourself? Do you ever receive advice from others, either solicited or unsolicited? How well do you receive advice from others? Are you better at giving or receiving advice? Are you one of those who could care less about either giving or receiving advice?
Paulownia is most often noticed when it blooms in the Spring, right now in fact. Its large tubular purple blooms are quite showy along roadsides.
Paulownia (Paulownia tomentosa) is also called royal princess tree, empress tree, and lilac tree. It is not native to the U.S. but was introduced as an ornamental landscape tree around 100 years ago. It’s a very prolific seed producer and has since spread until it can now be found everywhere, especially along roadsides and other disturbed areas.
For all of your Mother’s Day needs visit one of Union County nurseries. Today I had the pleasure of visiting with Allen Beeler at the Little Valley Nursery. He took me on a tour of his greenhouse, showing his hanging baskets and potted plants getting ready for Mother’s Day. This is one of his busiest times of the year. His best seller is the Black Mamba petunia, and the Mother’s Day favorite is the classic petunia, with red being the favorite.
President Martin Shafer introduced his good friend Russell Biven to some 70 people who attended the 25th Annual Union County Business & Professional Prayer Breakfast on April 15.
Biven had already shared his heartwarming smile as he greeted nearly every attendee. The former moderator for Channel 10 Live at Five, Russell is currently the marketing director for the H. T. Hackney Brand.
Union County 4-H is going to Clyde Austin 4-H camp June 6-10 in Greeneville, Tennessee. Junior 4-H camp is for 4th-6th grade students in Union County.
Junior 4-H Camp is an engaging program aimed at creating lifelong memories through exciting, constructive activities and fun-filled days. Campers have tons of things to do. The camp features an Olympic-sized pool with a 130-foot long waterslide, a wildlife center, a large recreation hall, ball fields, a basketball court, and shooting and archery ranges.
In a surprise announcement near the end of the groundbreaking ceremony for SR 33, Representative Dennis Powers stated that Union County would be receiving $9M to build a Tennessee College of Applied Technology and a community college adjacent to Union County High School. According to Powers, the construction would become a model for higher education across Tennessee.
County Mayor Jason Bailey added that seniors would be graduating with work ready certifications, additional dual enrollment courses, and possibly a high school diploma and an associate degree at the same time.
By Mary Nicholas Johnson
Thirteen hundred stamped letters. One hundred forty-two unique signatures. Hundreds of volunteer man hours.
Are we starting to see a pattern here from our elected officials? I hope you are waking up to the reality that other forces are shaping the future of our community—and it is not you, the citizens.
Aurora Pulliam and Tina Guinn from the Tennessee Valley Authority presented Union County with a grant check for $30,000 at the Union County Commission meeting on April 25, 2022. The grant will address the erosion at the campground on Beech Island that could negatively impact the environment.
Pulliam, who manages the recreational agreement between TVA and Union County explained that Union County Mayor Justin Bailey had initiated a request for a review by TVA after the marina discovered a concerning erosion problem in the campground area in 2020.
April 8, 2022, was a landmark day in Union County. On that date officials from all levels of government along with representatives of the Tennessee Department of Transportation “turned some dirt” to begin the last leg of the widening of SR 33 known as Maynardville Highway from the Knox County line to SR 144 West for a distance of 5.2 miles.
At the close of the public hearing on Resolution R-2022-01 to amend the subdivision regulations, the City of Plainview Municipal Planning Commission voted to reduce the asphalt binder from 2.5 inches to 2 inches and leave the topcoat at 1.5 inches at its regular meeting on April 12.
Managing the stress in your life — and most of us experience stress to one degree or another — is essential to keeping a healthy lifestyle. Stress comes from many directions and makes itself known in a variety of ways--it might show up as a headache, tight muscles, nausea or back pain. It’s generally caused by outside factors, some obvious, like fretting over financial problems, and others not so much, such as planning for a joyous occasion like an impending wedding.
4-H is at the forefront of an incredibly necessary movement to help our kids build the skills and give them the tools to not only be productive and successful members of society, but to give back to their communities.
With this vital current goal of 4-H comes an equally important part of 4-H that teaches our kids skills that have been lost along the way with the ever-present emergence of technology and getting things done fast.
It’s that time again!
Farmers Markets are opening throughout the south, and that includes your Union County Farmers Market. The season kickoff will be Saturday, May 7, and we look forward to seeing you there.
We love to be ‘Where our Community Meets’ and share ideas, thoughts and information with adults and children alike. Perhaps you have wondered if the Union County Farmers Market is the place for you—we definitely think that it is!
Director of Schools Dr. Jimmy Carter and Finance Director Missy Brown shared estimates in revenues and expenditures for the FY23 School Budget at the Union County Board of Education Meeting on April 12.
Projected increases in revenue include local sales tax, the virtual school payment, and BEP growth funds. Salaries as well as equipment and supply costs account for most of the expenditure increases.
The beautiful East Tennessee sunshine is ready to be soaked up. The weather is on point and sets the mood for some outdoor entertainment with the family and friends. Luckily, Meet Me at the Market is bringing the Lemonade and Sunshine Festival to Maynardville, kicking off the season right.
Stop in and enjoy local vendors, crafters, food trucks, music and more at the Union County High School parking area between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on May 14.
Hopefully we are past the final frost and all the rain and warmth will lead to an abundance in the garden this year. So how can we maximize our gardens? By preserving our harvests in the form of freezing, canning, and drying.
This is article two of four, where we will discuss canning. Freezing is a cheap, easy way to preserve foods where bacteria growth is stopped and items last longer. However, preserving foods by freezing is limited by freezer space. So how else can we stop bacteria growth without a freezer? Canning!
On April 11, 4th and 5th graders from Maynardville, Paulette, Big Ridge, Sharps Chapel and Luttrell elementary schools gathered at Horace Maynard Middle School to compete in the Union County 4-H Clover Bowl. Each team previously won their in-school contest to qualify to represent their school in the county contest.
I have three adopted children: Rick, Tom and Anne. This story is not about them. It is about my husband’s Aunt Orpha, his Uncle Bill’s wife. She was from northern Ohio and has been dead since the early eighties. I met her soon after I married.
Aunt Orpha was a sweetheart. She put up with Uncle Bill. I don’t remember if she had been married before, but I think she had. She was a favorite of mine. Uncle Bill and Aunt Orpha would come from Hillsdale, Michigan, to our house to watch TV.
Interviews are a lot of fun for me since I enjoy meeting and getting to know other people. But this one is very special to me. You see, I had the honor of interviewing Sara Cox; the sole proprietor of “Sara’s Waggy Tails.”
Did you notice her last name is the same as mine? That is because she is my daughter.
While she was growing up, we couldn’t help but notice her love of animals. Actually, it went way past that. She seemed to also have a way with them as well. I used to joke that dogs would bite me, but they loved her. She could get them to behave and do things whereas I would receive a menacing growl. No exaggeration there.
Last week I attended the monthly senior citizen luncheon at the Baptist church where I am a member. The pastor announced that next month that we would be doing something different—playing BINGO.
I leaned over and told one of the gentlemen sitting at the table with me, “We’re turning Catholic! Next thing you know we’ll be using real wine at the Lord’s Supper.”
Sitting on my front porch on this beautiful late April day with the shadows growing long, the temperature is at 80 degrees with a bluebird sky and white azaleas and dogwoods in bloom—life’s treasures given by the Creator.
My thoughts wander over to two very nice and gentle brothers that have deep roots from Union County to Knox County’s Corryton and Gibbs areas.
I just want to take a moment to write down some random thoughts that come into my mind as I meditate upon Psalm 23. I have pasted the text below and will comment after each verse.
Psalm 23:1-6 KJV; A Psalm of David. David knew a lot about sheep and shepherding. In 2 Samuel 7, as David sits in his palace admiring its splendor, Nathan the prophet reminded David where God has brought him from. “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:”
The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics is pleased to welcome eight undergraduate researchers for the 2022 spring semester. Front row (left to right): Heather Mannis, Hannah Williams, and Savannah Jones. Back row: Eilish Bennett, Gray Erwin, Samuel Neary, and Adam Fuller. Not pictured is Lauren Pate.
The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics has hired eight undergraduate researchers during the 2022 spring semester. The students and their mentors are, as follows:
Heather Mannis and Gray Erwin are working with Drs. Jada Thompson and Carlos Trejo-Pech by reviewing financial documents and creating a dataset for an event study on agribusiness firms relating to large animal health outbreaks, which provides an opportunity for these students to learn more about agricultural financial and food markets.
Isn’t it funny how you can look back on things and see them differently after you are grown?
Back in the ancient times of the 1970s, there were no SUVS. When we went on family trips, we rode in one of Papaw’s station wagons. At least once a year, we all piled in one and headed south and east to Cades Coves in the Smokey Mountains. We always packed a picnic. Sometimes Papaw would stop at the KFC in Maryville and pick up a bucket of chicken to have with it.
But one trip was totally different.
The word “addiction” almost always has a negative connotation. I have a theory that everyone is addicted to something. While I believe that not all addictions are bad, I believe that any addiction can be both good and bad.
Take me, for example. I love to collect books. I also love to read them, but I find as much or more joy in the collecting. I learned on Jeopardy! there is a Japanese term for this—“tsundoku”.
Years ago when i worked as a telephone operator in Angola, Indiana, i learned how to cook rice the South American way. A fellow operator had been married to a man from Venezuela. The main difference is how the rice is prepared. Her Spanish Rice had no meat. She just browned raw rice in a little oil and sauteed it a few minutes. Then she added canned tomatoes, onion and green pepper, cooking until the rice was tender. I understood this was the mainstay of poor folks' diet down there. Do i have you confused as to what is really Spanish Rice? It is whatever you want it to be. Try mine.
The Authors Guild of Tennessee (AGT) will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, June 2, 2022 at 11:00 am at the Faith Lutheran Church in Farragut. Social time and book exchange begins at 10:30. Published authors are invited to attend. AGT is now accepting applications for associate membership from authors who have written a book but are not yet published. Serious authors only. In the event of inclement weather, check the AGT Website for updates and information: authorsguildoftn.org.
Union County’s own Sarah Kate Morgan has a full season in 2022 and beyond with travel, concerts, performances, and teaching. If you haven’t had a chance to hear this talented lady in person, you will have many opportunities this year. This girl can make a stringed instrument sing as her soulful voice transports the audience to another, more peaceful time.
Appalachian Family Folk Gathering
Hindman Settlement School in Hindman, KY
The Summer Reading Program "Oceans of Possibilities" for the libraries of Union County will begin Friday, June 3rd at the Maynardville Public Library at 12:30 pm with a story and then to follow: a painting class for kids of all ages. Then CW Farms Petting Zoo will be at the Luttrell Public Library on Monday, June 6th. See calendar for all program dates at each library.
Primitive Quartet, Journey Home, County Line, Saturday, July 23, 2022, 6 pm, Union County High School, 135 Main Street, Maynardville, TN. $10.
This concert is rescheduled from March 23, 2022 which was cancelled due to snow. All tickets purchased for the March date will be honored for July 23, 2022. Sponsored by Union County Lions Club. Additional information--865-278-6430, email@example.com.
Janie Dominguez Gonzales-age 71 of Luttrell passed away Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at North Knoxville Medical Center.
No services are planned.
Arrangements by Cooke-Campbell Mortuary, Maynardville.
Lois Marie Williams-age 92 of New Tazewell (Union County), born March 24, 1930 passed away suddenly Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at her home. She was saved at an early age and was a longtime member of Leatherwood Baptist Church. She was a loving wife, mother and sister. Preceded in death by husband, John Franklin Williams; parents, Matt and Ollie (Russell) Evans; brothers, Carl Alfred and Clay Evans; sisters, Cecil Keck, Julie McGeorge and Resette Walls; infant sister, Faye; grandson, Brandon Williams and son-in-law, Larry Weaver.
Ben Hugh Williford - age 89 of Maynardville, passed away peacefully May 24, 2022. No services are planned at this time. Trinity Funeral Home, LLC, Maynardville, has the honor to serve the family of Ben Williford. 865-992-5002 trinityfuneralhome.net
Mark Anthony Heath, Jr. - age 40 of Maynardville, passed away peacefully May 25, 2022 at home. No services are planned at this time. Trinity Funeral Home, LLC, Maynardville, has the honor to serve the family of Mark Heath, Jr. 865-992-5002 trinityfuneralhome.net
Amy Marie Coffey Smith, age 47, of Maynardville, Tennessee, passed away at home on Saturday, May 21, 2022. Amy was born April 28, 1975. She attended Big Ridge Elementary School, J. Frank White Academy, and Lincoln Memorial University where she earned a Bachelor Degree in Visual Art in 1996. In later years, she returned to teach at Big Ridge Elementary and to serve in multiple positions at Lincoln Memorial University including the role as Director of Alumni Services. She also worked in the Joyner Library at East Carolina University.
Hearts are heavy by the loss of Logan Daniel Black-age 26 of Newport passed away Monday, May 2, 2022 in Knoxville. A young man so full of light and love that befriended everyone he ever met. He was a son, brother, father, and dear friend to many. He will forever be missed.
Survivors: son, Sammy; daughters, Hynlie and Vanessa; mother, Rheannon Childress; brother, Dylan Childress; sister, Tiffany Black; nephew, Alyzae Robertson; nieces, Kilayla Black and Delilah Black. Grandmother, Sheila Rouse; uncle, Jack Childress. Several other aunts, uncles, great-aunts and great-uncles.
Brenda Carol (Collins) Relford-age 72 of Knoxville passed away suddenly Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at North Knoxville Medical Center. She was a member of Ailordale Baptist Church. Preceded in death by parents, Wren and Adell (Ford) Collins; sisters, Evelyn and James Sands, Lorene Collins, Wanda and Danny Whitson; brothers, Clay and Brenda Collins, Jimmy Collins.
Josie Chesney-age 94 of Luttrell passed away peacefully Monday, May 16, 2022 at home with her family. She was a member of Chestnut Grove Baptist Church. Preceded in death by parents, Elbert and Easter Hammock; husband, Richard “Dick” Chesney; daughter-in-law, Vivian Chesney; sisters, Christine Wallace and Esteen Hammock.
Dorothy Sanders – age 79 of Maynardville, passed away peacefully Saturday, May 14, 2022 surrounded by her family.
She is preceded by husband, Harold Sanders; parents, Edward and Elizabeth (Rogers) Cooper; brothers, Andrew, Jack and Dennis Cooper: and grandson, Randall Sands. Dorothy is survived by former husband, Fred McHaffie; daughters, Debra McHaffie, Faye Sands, Fredda McHaffie and Donna Beason; son, Fred McHaffie, Jr.; five grandchildren; and eight great grandchildren.
Dulcie Renee Gunter-age 52 of Sharps Chapel passed away suddenly Tuesday, May 10, 2022 in North Carolina.
Survivors: son, Marty Rogers of Maryville; daughter, Kenzie Lou Rogers of Maryville. Parents, Ed and Delores Warren of Sharps Chapel; siblings, Billy and Lorrie Lacy; Sheila Warren Honer; Wendy Warren; Tony Warren; Mark and Linda Warren; Troy Warren; Eddie Warren; April and Rob Miracle. Several nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Randy Edward Blankenship-age 64 of Washburn, born March 27, 1958 passed away suddenly Thursday, May 5, 2022. He was a Christian and was of the Baptist faith. Retired employee of Carmeuse Lime and Stone (Luttrell Operation). He was a loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Preceded in death by father, Coy Blankenship; nephew, Dennis Dalton; grandparents, Ernest and Ida Blankenship; Vaughn and Ida Mae Wolfenbarger.
Elmer Warren Seymour, Jr.-age 61 of Corryton passed away Tuesday morning, May 3, 2022 at U. T. Medical Center. He was born May 7, 1960 in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. He was a member of Comforter in Christ Church. He loved everyone unconditionally and everyone loved him. He was preceded in death by wife, Annette Seymour; parents, Elmer Warren, Sr. and Martha Seymour; brother, Timothy Seymour.
Karen Darlene Booker-age 66 of Luttrell passed away Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at her home after a hard and courageous battle with cancer. She was surrounded by all her family. Karen was of the Baptist faith and a member of Willow Springs Baptist Church. Preceded in death by her parents, Earl and Lucille Loop; nephew, Shane Smith.
Tony Ray Odom – age 57 of Maynardville, passed away unexpectedly into the arms of the Lord May 2, 2022. He died as he lived, everyone’s friend. He lived life large and rarely in moderation. Tony had an amazing sense of humor, his wit was razor sharp. He wanted to keep everyone laughing. His bigger than life personality made everyone feel welcome. Tony loved fiercely and deeply. We take comfort in knowing that Tony is at peace and surrounded by Jesus’s love.
Richard Livesay, 63 of Maynardville, laid down his working tools to be with the Lord on April 27, 2022. He was a member of Circle Assembly of God and an ordained minister of the Gospel. Richard was a member of J. C. Baker Lodge #720 and a Shriner at Kerbela Temple and in the Go Kart Unit. He was the owner of Livesay Electric, Inc. and in 2011 stepped up to the position of Chief Electrical Inspector of Hamilton County, TN. Richard enjoyed classic rock, guitars and old cars. He was a loving father, grandfather, devoted husband and a patient and kindhearted man.
Barry D. Evans (“Poppy”) 69 years old of Knoxville, passed away at his home on April 26, 2022, after a hard fought battle against a rare brain disease. Barry was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, son and friend. He had been an active member of Cokesbury United Methodist Church for 33 years. Barry graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering. He was employed at Tennessee Valley Authority for 10 years before starting his own business which he owned for 32 years.