A great deal of childhood early learning occurs through the eyes. Healthy vision is important for children’s early development. Lions Club KidSight’s screenings detect vision problems early. The program helps parents get their children treatment before it’s too late to avoid the permanent vision loss that can result from some eye conditions.
Biodiversity, a Lot of Life
By: Steve Roark
Volunteer, Cumberland Gap National Park
Biodiversity is a big deal in ecology science 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 native plant or animal species means something’s wrong, and rightfully raises some concerns.
There are around 1.8 million species of life formerly documented by scientists, and some estimate the actual number could be much higher. The United States is blessed with the most temperate assembly of species in the world, more than 200,000. Of the 14 biomes (ecological regions) identified world wide, the US has representatives of all but two of them. This is no surprise, considering our country encompasses 3.5 million acres of space, outsized only by Canada, Russia, and China. The US is also geologically diverse, with peaks above 20,000 feet to valleys 200 feet below sea level. We have large rivers, small intermittent streams, hot deserts, cold deserts, Great Plains, Great Lakes, temperate (not too hot, not too cold) forests, tropical rain forests, coastal plains, basins and ranges, and alpine tundra. The secret to our lush diversity is a temperate climate that through overlap can support both cold and warm adapted species.
Here is a rough head count of species in the U.S. There are a lot of insects, nearly 100,000 species. Next are mushrooms and their relatives, weighing in at 34,000 species. There are 7,500 mollusks (clams and mussels) and 1400 mosses. There are 1,600 species of jellyfish and coral, 700 liverworts, and 375 sponges. Microscopic life forms are immense in number.
Ten percent of the world’s freshwater fish species are in the US, and half of all crayfish. We have 40% of Earth’s salamanders, 17% of the fresh water snails, 22% of the fresh water turtles, 15% of the coniferous trees (pine, spruce, hemlock), and 9% of the mammals.
The United States has six ecological hot spots that have a high number of rare species. One of them is the Southern Appalachians where we live, so it’s important to take care of what we have. Some threats to biodiversity include loss of habitat through converting wild land to something else. We have a huge problem with invading alien species, which out compete or kill native plants and animals. There are 4500 alien species that have a toehold in the US, and that number is growing fast. Pollution is another problem, impacting aquatic species the hardest. Other problems include overexploitation (we’re harvesting too many of them), and diseases (both foreign and native).
4-H Youth Development Agent Ann Ramsey represented Union County in middle Tennessee earlier this month when she attended the Agent Showcase and Small Farm Expo on the main campus of Tennessee State University (TSU). The two-day event, which was held September 6th-7th in Nashville, Tennessee, was the 19th annual Small Farm Expo and the first time a Union County 4-H Agent participated. Ms.
The Union County Senior Outdoor Meat Cookery Team strutted their stuff at the Eastern Region 4-H Grill Master Challenge held on Tuesday, September 19, in Maryville, Tennessee. Sporting new team shirts and armed with aprons and tongs, they fired up their charcoal grills as the competition kicked off midday at the Blount County 4-H office. Teams from counties all across East Tennessee crowded the grounds with their tents and grills and entourages of coaches and sponsors, vying to earn bragging rights as the best grillers in four categories: beef, pork, chicken, and lamb.
Welcome Home to your Tennessee Garden
Join the Union County Extension Office for our new Fall Garden Series every Monday in October from 4-5:30 pm. These classes will take place at our office location: 2721 Maynardville Hwy, Maynardville in the historic Fred Booker Building between Guided by Grace and Union Nutrition.
The older I become, the more I realize just how much I am like my Papaw E.O. Both of us are awkward, we have the oddest experiences, and we love to tell our stories to others.
There was this one story that made papaw laugh when he told it. It happened to him in the early 1970s. At this time, he and his friend Mr. J were on the board of directors for a local insurance company. They were required to wear suits when they attended the board meetings and they usually rode together.
On most Saturdays I am not obligated to do anything other than mow my yard or “piddle” around the house. One such Saturday I was hauling my trash to throw away. There was a lot of stuff that could only be placed in a “big” dumpster.
It just so happened on that particular day there were two men, each with a truck, also depositing into the “big” dumpsters. It seemed both had already thrown their trash away, but they were in the lot, talking at great length to each other, just exactly in position to block my access to get rid of my own junk.
I like a moist cookie. Crisp ones are good for dunking, but I don't do that. Give me a moist cookie anytime. In mixing bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add to creamed mixture. Stir in oatmeal. Chill in fridge for 1 hour.
I’ve heard of water witching all my life and heard many a story about people doing it successfully. I even played around with it some with interesting results that I’ll share later. It perked my curiosity enough to learn more about the topic.
Water witching, also referred to as dowsing or divining, is the art of locating a good underground source of water that is reasonably close to the surface to make digging a well easier and less expensive.
The Norris Lake Protection Alliance “NLPA” organized a lake cleanup project on September 10th and 11th. Working in conjunction with Norris Lake Project “NLP”, the NLPA continues to make a positive difference for all who enjoy Norris Lake. The Team of 26 volunteers donated their time, boats, fuel, and trucks to remove trash from Norris Lake. The effort was focused in four locations: Dollar Island, Gull Island, the shore area of Chuck Swan across from Sunset Bay and Island 23.
One of my memories of elementary school was thinking I was just not very smart. In 1st 2nd and 3rd grades, I was having trouble understanding things that the other students seemed to grasp. Most of the class instruction in the mid-1950’s was done on a blackboard. We used worksheets to show our comprehension of what was being taught. I was not doing well. I was struggling to see the world around me. At some point in the 3rd grade our school had a vision screening. My parents were advised that I needed an eye exam. Mom took me to the ophthalmologist for a vision test.
We are living longer and, if you play your cards right and have taken care of yourself, this is a wonderful thing. Good genes certainly help, but healthy lifestyle practices are just as important in continuing to live a productive life. Here are some tips the American Chiropractic Association recommends for aging with grace and health:
It’s hard to spot Katydids because they are so well camouflaged. But anyone who sits on their porch on a late summer’s night has enjoyed hearing their “katy did….katy didn’t” song, along with their chirping cousin, the cricket.
Each state in the United States (except Hawaii) holds an annual educational learning camp called Boys State. Boys State is among the most respected and selective government service educational programs. This is an annual forum, conceived 1935 by the American Legion to teach civic training. It has been going strong ever since and has been held at Tennessee Tech since 1965.
Samantha Brantley stood in front of 30 attendees from the community at Miller’s Chapel UMC, with purple lights and beautiful stained-glass windows positioned behind her, and a memorial board in the foyer in front of her. The memorial board displayed some of the many faces and names of people in our community who have been lost to substance use and addiction.
I am rather proud of myself. Recently, I dealt with one of my biggest fears. Wait a minute, make that two of them.
It started with the renovating of our back deck. As you may know, we have been working on it for quite some time. If we want to get technical about it, Tim and I actually rebuilt the uncovered section. After we replaced the floor joists and the skirt boards, it was time to lay down the new floor. At first this made me a little antsy since the deck is about 10 feet high. As you probably know, I have a fear of falling.
During the Great Depression, kids had few resources outside of their imagination and old-timey games from a long ago era. My two brothers and myself had no outside resources until I began school. Then the world opened up. We played games in the school yard during recess time and inside when it rained.
While spring is the traditional season to plant trees and shrubs, fall may be better. The soil is still fairly warm on into December, and it gives the tree a chance to rest and get well settled into the soil before the spring growth spurt. The following are a few guidelines on choosing and planting trees.
The Union County Board of Education shared tentative timelines for school building projects at its August board meeting and workshop.
According to Chairman Marty Gibbs, the new middle school is on track to be bid in the spring of 2024, to begin construction in the summer of 2024, to be completed in the spring of 2026, and to open to students in August of 2026. Chairman Gibbs noted that the wings had been rotated 90 degrees to allow for expansion and the sports fields had been relocated on the site.
Have you ever wanted to meet a shoebox recipient? To experience first-hand the life-changing power of a simple shoebox gift when sent in Jesus' name?
Well, here's your chance.
Join us at Milan Baptist Church in Maynardville on September 9, 4 to 6 p.m., for our Project Leader Weekend OCC Area-Wide Kickoff Event. You have an amazing opportunity to hear from and meet in-person shoebox recipient Evangeline from the Philippines.
From Connecticut to the hills of Union County, Tennessee, Olivia Hill and her husband have settled into a slice of serenity.
While this serenity has come with challenges and is an ongoing work in progress, the Hills are ecstatic to share their slice with the community.
I usually don’t brag on my own work, but this article surely must be a good one. At least it was that good. How do I know? My computer “ate” it just as I was copying it to a jump drive. Let’s see if I can re-create it and make it even better.
I was going into the men’s bathroom at work a few weeks ago when a sign to the left caught my eye: Meals And Memories Are Made Here
“The Gathering of the Generations” is planned for September 16, with a welcome and general information to begin at the Union County Museum and Genealogical Library at 3824 Maynardville Hwy, in historic Maynardville at 11:30 a.m.
For those those folks who may be traveling from other parts of the country, Maynardville is the home of Roy Acuff, Chet Atkins, Kenny Chesney, Lois Johnson, and Carl Smith ...
Here is a good salad to make for a holiday meal. Of course, it is delicious anytime. You should have everything in your pantry. It's cheap to make, easy and tasty. Put first six ingredients in large bowl. Mix remaining ingredients, except salad greens, and add to first mixture. Toss well. Chill overnight before using. Drain and serve plain as a relish or on greens for a salad. Makes about 1 quart. Mixture will keep several days in the fridge. Drain only amount required for each meal.
Do you remember the first prize you ever won? I do.
When I was very small, I played a game at a birthday party. Somehow, I won the prize, which was a kaleidoscope. I couldn’t believe it. In fact, I tried to give it back to them. When they finally convinced me it was mine to keep, I was absolutely thrilled. Let me tell you, I liked the feeling of winning that prize.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 KJV
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Here it is September again. Again, the nights are cooler with warm afternoons. It’s now dark at 6:30 a.m. as the days get shorter with nights getting longer. Time is marching toward fall and then winter.
The kids are back in school, terrorizing the teachers and waiting for fall break. The school buses are loaded to the brim as there’s a shortage of school bus drivers. Knox County started school in August with a shortage of 31 drivers. Less drivers/more kids means problems for bus contractors. Many contractors have to combine different loads to be able to get the kids home. So parents, allow a little leeway for the bus drivers.
Many consider forestry to only mean growing trees to cut for lumber, and in the old days that was true. But the forest is much more than a place to produce wood fiber and it has multiple uses it can be managed for. Many of these uses can be managed simultaneously with proper planning.
Here is a list of the major uses.
Leaving for my trip on September 4, I took the long drive to Atlanta’s famous Hartsfield International Airport. (A local wit said that on the way to hell one now has to pass thru Hartsfield International Airport.) After 8 hours and 40 minutes in the air, this non-stop flight finally landed at Honolulu International Airport!
Right here in Union County is a family deeply involved in Mustang rescue. Loretta Morris and her teenagers Ariana and Ayden have prevented these horses from being shipped to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. The Morrises care for these animals on a daily basis. Today, there is a total of 52 Mustangs, donkeys, mules, and mulestangs (part mule and part Mustang). Some arrive at the Cherokee Spirit Mustang Rescue in Washburn fairly healthy, while others are in need of extra care, nutrients and feed.
‘Frozen shoulder’ is a term sometimes used loosely in connection with any type of persistent shoulder pain. But specifically it is the loss of arm movement at the shoulder joint.
The shoulder is the part of the body that is the third most common subject for chiropractic treatment, the lower back and the neck being the two most common. Frozen shoulder can be brought on by the trauma of a fall or car accident, or it may come on gradually as a result of muscle imbalance, overuse and irritation.
Have you ever chug-a-lugged a drink? That’s when you turn the drink container up and guzzle it down as fast and as noisily as you can.
Unless I was playing ball on a hot summer day, I wasn’t allowed to chug -a-lug a drink. Why? If you have ever read any of my articles, you know that my family was and still is very steeped in southern etiquette. Part of that was how you ate and drink. For one, you didn’t make any unnecessary noises such as smacking your lips or slurping. When somebody (usually me) slipped up and did that at the table, they were met with scowls and an uncomfortable silence. That experience stayed with me for years. That is until I was carrying my daughter Sara.
This bread snack goes well with pizza and just about anything else. Spaghetti, for instance. Add more garlic, if you like. Prepare pizza crust according to package directions. Pat onto a 12 inch round pizza pan. In small bowl combine melted margarine, garlic, Italian seasoning and seasoned salt. Brush onto prepared crust. Sprinkle generously with cheese.
Let me warn you that this story is not for the squeamish. Way back in 1908 the millionaire John D Rockefeller wanted to make still more money, but most of his markets were saturated, so he began looking at the southern United States as an untapped marketplace. But there was a problem…the South’s economy was lousy. The people were illiterate, dirt poor, and were perceived as lazy. Farms weren’t fully operational, and the economic engine seemed to be turned off.
Calling all motorcyclists to “Ride like an Animal” in the Annual Union County Humane Society Motorcycle Ride.
This year marks the 16th annual motorcycle ride to raise funds for the humane society.
The Union County Humane Society is a no fee animal shelter for unwanted or abandoned pets. The shelter also provides a low cost spay, neuter and vaccine clinic. Alongside these services, they work closely with local law enforcement to assist in animal-related issues across the county.
Tim Shelton Syndicate played and sang with passion and emotion at the Union County Opry on August 5, 2023. The band opened with a fast paced song from their debut album titled Ain't got No Woman with Shelton carrying the melody. They followed with Middle Age Crazy by Jerry Lee Lewis. Then covered songs by Ralph Stanley and the Stanley Brothers. Joe Booher nailed Killin in Griffin and proceeded to wow the audience with his mandolin picking throughout the performance. Jr. Williams, who played guitar and banjo, owned Roving Gambler.
Union County Business & Professional Association has enjoyed a variety of speakers at its meetings this spring and summer.
In August, Sharon Hudson, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of East Tennessee, shared the mission and services of the nonprofit. Hudson stated that besides disaster relief, the Red Cross operates an international blood bank that specializes in the storage of rare blood. She noted that the bank has been used in not only recent tornadoes and storms but also in Ukraine.
This fall would be a great time to take another look at lettuce and experiment with some new options in your fall garden. Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is the vegetable cousin in one of the largest ornamental plant families, Asteraceae. As the third most consumed fresh vegetable in the United States, it hardly flies under the radar for gardeners. However, lettuce often doesn’t get the love it deserves because many gardeners may feel limited to leaf types if they have struggled with the more challenging iceberg or romaine lettuces. If that is you, this is the year to check out beautiful oakleaf lettuces that can be a tasty, productive and unique crop.
New Publication Now Available Online
KNOXVILLE- Tenn. –- Although National Farmers Market Week is coming to a close, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture reminds all those managing farmers markets and vendors who participate in direct sales that resources are available all year long through UT Extension.
The Authors Guild of Tennessee (AGT) will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, October 5, 2023 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.
Have you purchased your Reverse Raffle ticket yet?? You better hurry! The drawing is scheduled for Saturday June 17th. Third prize is $500, second prize is $1000. And the Grand Prize winner will receive $2000! The proceeds from the ticket sales support the Lions Club excellent humanitarian projects. And you can help by purchasing a ticket. Tickets for this Reverse Raffle are only $10 each and are available from Ronnie Mincey at 865-278-6430 or Shirlee Grabko at 865-310-6874.
Come join with us in fellowship at our outdoor fall festival on October 14, 2023, at Fellowship Christian Church in Luttrell.
Chairs may be limited so feel free to bring your own to enjoy the gospel singing from 3 until 6 p.m., and the free food will be served from 4 until 6 p.m. or while supplies last.
We’ll also have games and fun activities for the children and antique cars for the adults.
There is nothing quite like a fall October evening spent outdoors enjoys natures beauty while enjoying the good sound of music in the background, the smell of food in the air and meandering through the fine displays of craft and artisan booths.
The 15th Annual Pickin’ in the Park event will be held this year on Friday, October 6th from 5:30-9:30 at Shelter # 2 located on the East Side of Norris Dam State Park.
This year’s line-up will include Sleepy-Eyed John’s, The Real McCoy’s, and Ethan Ferguson.
The Office of District Attorney General Jared Effler, in partnership with the Children's Centers of Campbell, Claiborne, Fentress, Scott and Union Counties, will be hosting the 8th Annual Clays for Children Sporting Clays Tournament on Friday, October 6 and Saturday, October 7, 2023 at Iron Mountain Sporting Clays in Kodak, TN. The purpose of this event is to raise funds to support the Children’s Centers as they serve abused and neglected children.
Glenn Paul Buckner-age 83 of Maynardville passed away Sunday, September 24, 2023, at home. He was a retired employee of Dempster Brothers, Knoxville. As long as his health permitted, he loved hunting and fishing, baseball and football along with U.T. sports. Preceded in death by his parents, Troy E. and Ruby (Cox) Buckner; sister, Susie Cooke; brother, Allen Buckner.
Alvin Glen Brock-age 84 of Washburn born March 29, 1939, passed away peacefully Monday September 25, 2023, at his home. He was a member of Pennington Chapel Baptist Church. Alvin was a retired employee of Kroger’s in Halls. Preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Lois Brock; son, Ray Brock; sister, Ruby Idol; brother, Raymond Brock; grandson, Anthony Brock.
Justin T. Brown-age 34 of Maynardville passed away Saturday, September 23, 2023, at UT Hospital after a lingering illness of pulmonary hypertension. Justin had a big heart and loved animals, especially Blue. Preceded in death by his mother, Tammy Brown; grandparents, Charles and Sheila King, Billy Brown.
He is survived by his father, Michael (Shannon) Brown; brother, Corey (Carol) Brown; grandmother, Donna Brown; best friend, Randy and Jennifer Lambert and many uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins along with all of his fraternity brothers and sisters at LMU.
Jeffrey Jackson Bailey-age 40 of Maynardville passed away Thursday, September 21, 2023, at Fort Sander’s Regional Medical Center. He was a graduate of Union County High School, Class of 2001. Preceded in death by wife, Tabitha (Dunbar) Bailey; grandparents, Lee and Margaret Bailey; Willard Selvey, uncle, Billy Joe Bailey.
Sonny Hensley-age 65 of Corryton passed away Sunday, September 17, 2023, at U.T. Medical Center. He was a member of Heavenly View Missionary Baptist Church, Knoxville where he was a faithful member. Preceded in death by his parents, Verline and Ruth Hensley; son, Douglas Hensley; great grandson, Tyler Nuchols; brothers, Wayne Hensley, Kenneth Hensley; nephews, Chad Sayne, Jimmy Beason; niece, Brenda Sharp.
Paul Anthony “Tony” Harrell-age 67 of Corryton passed away peacefully at his home while surrounded by his family, Friday, September 15, 2023. He was a member of Little Flat Creek Baptist Church. He was a retired employee of the City of Knoxville. Preceded in death by his father, Samuel Carson Harrell, Sr.; mother, Barbara Sue (Lee) Harrell; brother, Samuel Carson Harrell, Jr.
Vicky Lynn Westbrook-age 63 of Tazewell passed away Thursday, September 14, 2023 at her home. She was born in Tacoma, Washington and resided in Michigan for most of her life and recently moved to Claiborne County, to be with her son and daughter-in-law. She attended Midway Baptist Church, New Tazewell. She spent most of her life working as a C.N.A. and caring for other people. Preceded in death by her parents, Gerald and Leona Vogelsong; daughter, Candy Koob; nephew, Jason Vogelsong; grandson, Bretten Allen; brother, Roger Vogelsong; sister, Susan Martinez.
Barbara Jane (Blackburn) Witt – age 81 of Andersonville, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family September 13, 2023. She was of the Baptist faith.
Suzanne Hartsook Stephens, age 76 of Corryton, passed away September 10, 2023. A graveside service will be held at a later date. Trinity Funeral Home, Maynardville, has the honor to serve the family of Suzanne Stephens. 865-992-5002 www.trinityfuneralhome.net
Larry Kenneth Pursiful-age 82 of Knox County, TN passed away Friday, September 8, 2023 at Claiborne Medical Center. He was born March 23, 1941 in Harlan, Kentucky. He was of the Baptist faith. Preceded in death by parents, Oscar and Georgie Violet (Peace) Pursiful; son, Kenny Ray Pursiful; brothers, Roger, Jimmy and Sonny Pursiful; sisters, Wanda Leforce, Donna Pursiful.
Rhonda Lynn Hayes – 53 of Maynardville, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, September 5, 2023 at her home. Although she struggled with addiction for most of her life, Rhonda had the biggest heart and loved to laugh. She professed faith in Jesus Christ at an early age, and the family is taking comfort in knowing she will not be fighting this battle anymore.
Dyllen Ray Fagg – age 27, passed away suddenly and will be forever missed by so many, especially his family. He was the funniest, most loving man you could ever meet. His quick wit and kind heart made him loved by everyone. Dyllen was a very loyal, compassionate, thoughtful and loving father, son, grandson, brother, fiancé, uncle, nephew and cousin.
Willis Douglas (Dud) Warwick-age 87 of Andersonville went to be with the Lord Thursday evening, August 31, 2023 at his home while surrounded by his family. He was a life long resident of the Big Ridge (Blue Mud) community. He worked as a plumber for over 40 years. He loved farming and spending time with his family, especially his grandson and great-grandchildren. He loved his church and church family at Hines Creek Baptist Church where he had been a member for many years and had a perfect attendance in Sunday School for 35 consecutive years.
Drake Logan Washam – age 30 of Luttrell, passed away suddenly August 29, 2023. He loved to fish and enjoyed woodworking and gardening.
He is preceded in death by brother, Colby Washam. Drake is survived by parents, Gary and Janice Washam; grandparents, Norman and Rose Wallace; brothers, Jordan (Paige) Washam; Frankie (Crystal) Wallace, Lucas Wallace and Markus Wallace; and nephew, Alexander Washam.
Linda Darlene Bays-age 77 of Maynardville passed away peacefully Thursday, August 31, 2023 at Willow Ridge Center, Maynardville. She was of the Church of God faith. She was born October 13, 1945 in Lilbourn, Missouri and a graduate of Lilbourn High School, class of 1964. She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother. Preceded in death by parents, Virgil and Beulah Earnheart; sisters, Rebecca Sisk, Virgie Bailey; brother, Will Earnheart; step-children, Angela Pollard, Dave Childress, Jerry Childress.
Ella Claire McCurry – age 20 months, passed away suddenly August 29, 2023. She always was happy and could make anyone smile no matter what, with a personality that could light up a whole room. Ella loved music and loved to dance. She loved to run and play with her big sisters. Ella was perfect in every way.
She is survived by parents, Robert “Bob” and Rebecca McCurry; sisters, Shiloh, Olivia, and Loretta; Grandparents, Reverend Robert McCurry, Sr. and Sandra; and Martin and Barbara Green; uncle and aunt, Dustin and Melissa Welch; and cousins, Eli, Lucas, Seth and Levi Welch.
Francis A. Vallone, II (Frankie)-age 49 of Luttrell passed away Wednesday, August 30, 2023. Frankie was saved a few months ago and was of the Christian faith, his words were “I’m me, I’m real and I’ve turned my life around 380 degrees, I work and am now getting the things I gave up back.” He was a graduate of West High School, Class 1992. Frankie worked in the music industry for major musical artists and was an avid Ford Mustang lover. Preceded in death by grandparents, Luigi and Ruth Vallone; mother, Wilma Vallone; sister, Wendy Vallone