Last year on March 1st I was so happy to share the exciting news of the Union County Opry with our readers! I concluded the article with the news that I had a copy of their schedule on my refrigerator and was looking forward to catching some of their shows, inviting you to join me. Then the Coronavirus hit. Our world seemed to stop spinning as the pandemic raged on. I confess that it was an unreasonably long time before I could bear to remove that show lineup, well into the Fall, long after any hope was gone.
Commission Rejects UCSD Retroactive Sick Leave
County Commission rejected a request regarding sick leave accrued during a previous administration for employees who continued to work under the current sheriff. Sheriff Billy Breeding stated that the employees were requesting over 7900 hours of sick leave to be used for retirement credit only.
Deputy Jackie Nicely said that the bookkeeper who kept the time sheets was not present. Mr. Nicely also explained that in the past administration deputies who were out sick had to work extra and make up their time. According to Finance Director Dyer, the Sheriff Department did not submit an employee list itemizing sick leave for employees prior to 2016 as the other elected officials had done. In a prior meeting, Sheriff Breeding explained that he had sick leave records for all employees beginning with September 2014 when he first became sheriff. Since there were no documents regarding sick leave for retirement when he took office, his list only dates from 2014 while other county officials listed sick leave back to 1999. After a lengthy discussion, Attorney David Myers helped Commissioner Jeff Chesney (1st) word a motion to approve the requested amount of sick leave hours to be credited toward the TCRS account to be used for retirement purposes only and on the condition that each individual employee swear to the validity of the amount, sign a release to absolve the county from any future financial responsibility, and waive the right to pursue any court action to obtain any compensation. Commissioner Debra Keck seconded the motion. Voting to approve the request were Chesney (1st), England (1st), Jessee (2nd), Keck (6th), Munsey (7th), and Smith (2nd). Voting to reject the request were Brantley (5th), Cooke (4th), B. Cox (3rd), Hill (5th), Holloway (1st), Jones (6th), Lay (6th), and Meltabarger (7th). Commissioner E. Cox (3rd) passed. Commissioner Dawn Flatford (4th) was absent. The motion failed.
Another issue that stirred strong opinions was the gifting of the Canon IPF 710 Printer/Plotter to the Union County Historical Society. Mayor Bailey had consulted County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS) and also talked with the auditors regarding the gift which occurred in March. CTAS and the auditor gave conflicting opinions with CTAS stating the printer could not be gifted to Union County Historical Society, and the auditor offering that the gift was allowed. So, Mayor Bailey sent the conflicting opinions to both, and CTAS responded with the law that required the surplus declaration, but the auditor still said the gift was okay to do. Ms. Wanda Cox Byerley, Union County Historical Society President, noted that the society appreciated the Mayor and County Commission for trying to help and donate the printer, but the society was fine with not having the gift. President Byerley also thanked Commission for the nonprofit funding and said “we are just trying to take care of building and property and preserve history for present citizens”. Ms. Byerley asked that the commissioners come and visit the museum “to see what we do”.
So, Commissioner Smith moved to rescind the prior motion to gift the printer. Commissioner Lay provided a second. Voting to rescind were Chesney, B.Cox, England, Hill, Jones, Lay, Meltabarger, Munsey, and Smith. Voting against rescinding were Brantley, Cooke, E Cox, Jessee, and Keck. The motion was approved.
To complete the business regarding the printer/plotter, Commissioner Lay moved to surplus it. B. Cox seconded the motion. Voting for the motion were Chesney, B. Cox, England, Hill, Jones, Lay, Meltabarger, Munsey, Smith. Voting against were Brantley, Cooke, E. Cox, Jessee, and Keck. The motion carried.
EMS Director Andrew Reed offered a contract with a third party to handle billing for 90 days due to the resignation of the current billing clerk as of July 5. The billing contractor will bring accounts up to date as well as allow time to train the new clerk. Attorney Myers said to change the wording to laws of Tennessee instead of Georgia and the rest of the contract was fine. Commission approved the contract with 13 voting in favor and Jeff Brantley and Earl Cox voting to pass.
Commission approved the appointment of Ed Guyanese to replace Lori Wolfenbarger and Santa Lopez to serve a regular term on the Library Board.
Mayor Bailey reported the status of grants and improvements to county buildings. Union County will receive a Home Grant in the amount of $500,000 with no county match. More information will be available in July about the requirements for residents to qualify to receive the funds to make home repairs. Also awarded to the county is the Access to Health Grant for $20,000 to provide playground equipment in Sharps Chapel Park. The Tourism Grant was not approved. Signatures are in progress to obtain the Optimist Building.
Luttrell Business Park has two businesses interested in purchasing land. The Business and Industrial Committee is reviewing the requests. Mayor Bailey has met with one client and is scheduled to meet with the other. New Voice over IP phones and computer connections have been installed in the courthouse, sheriff’s office, county clerk’s office, and other county offices. New maintenance trucks have arrived with the Union County website on the back near the bumper of the truck.
Other improvements in the courthouse include the automatic back door opener. Future repairs include window caulking, pressure washing the outside of the courthouse, replacing the ceiling tiles, and lining the parking spaces in back. However, the wall at the back door is too costly to remove.
Commission approved minutes for May on a motion and seconded by Commissioner Meltabarger and Commissioner Holloway as well as minutes for the June Special Called Meeting on a motion by Commissioner Jones and seconded by Commissioner Smith.
Commission approved as notaries: Laura Bailey, Ashley Buckner, and Billie McClure.
Sheriff Breeding reported 813 calls, 9 wrecks with injury, 31 wrecks without injury, 148 booked in to jail, 142 released, and 101 as the current population as of May 31.
Finance Director Ann Dyer reported that revenue and expenditures for May were within budget guidelines. Budget amendments are to clean up the respective departments to do the yearend report. One financial note of interest was that the school system had accumulated a fund balance in account 141 that exceeded the required two months of operating funds so three million dollars was moved to capital outlay in anticipation of future building needs. The final projections for the school system will not be available until July from the state. Therefore, an additional one million dollars was added to TNVA revenues based on the January estimate of funds to come in July.
Mayor Bailey introduced a new employee in the finance department to handle accounts payable, Terry Cook.
Road Superintendent David Cox received approval of a grant from TDOT for $250,000 to be used for gravel, signs, and road repairs in the Big Ridge and Paulette areas.
Kelvin Nease addressed the Commission regarding the Nuisance/Litter Ordinance and sought help with an unsanitary condition in his community. An elderly resident has so much garbage on her property that rats roam the yard. Mr. Nease related that he had shot three on his property and another neighbor killed 18 on his property. However, Mr. Nease lives in the City of Luttrell, so Luttrell will need to address the situation. The sheriff is prohibited by state law from enforcing a city ordinance. Luttrell has no city police to enforce its ordinance. Commissioner Smith said the problem is more widespread than Luttrell. A revised county litter regulation is being written and will be considered at a future meeting.
Marty Smith, Chairperson of the Census Committee, and Kimberly Smith encouraged support for completing the ten-minute census survey. They asked for everyone who receives a long survey (American Community Survey) to complete it in addition to the short survey. The census can be done online, on the phone or by mail. Also, the census needs to hire 165 employees in Union County and only 69 have applied. The pay is $13.50 per hour and 58 cents per mile. Jobs include census takers, recruiting assistants, office staff, and supervisory staff. To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old, have a valid Social Security number, and be a U.S. citizen. Information on how to make an application is available online at https://2020census.gov/en/jobs/how-to-apply.html.
The last year has been challenging, to say the least, as we have collectively coped with COVID-19 and the fear, dread and the significant losses associated with it—loss of family members and friends, loss of visitation and time with loved ones, loss of the routine of attending school or reporting to a workplace, loss of the ability to gather for worship or play or leisure, and for some the loss of livelihoods. Imagine if on top of these grievous losses you also suffered as the victim of a crime!
The following Luttrell Elementary School students achieved the honor roll.
A Honor Roll
1st Grade: Blake Hall, Jaxon Hall, Colton Surrett, Liam Bussell, McKynna Huling, Adrianna Leonard, and Keaton Mathis
2nd Grade: Ava Chamberlain, Ava Hoskins, Meyah Meza, Kinsley Ownes, Davey Reed, Marlee Weaver, Bree Williams, Presley Wyrick, Landon Whiteaker, Briley Cantrell, Jake Beeler, Olivia Harris, Cheyenne Heath, Jace Naglitch, and Emmie Jo Nirmaier
The Red Devils hosted Clinton and blasted four home runs against them. Ty Edds found his swing and led the way with two home runs. Tucker Flannigan and Brandon Reed also joined the festivities, both going deep. Flannigan, Harlen Hunley, Edds and Reed all had multiple hits. Reed and Flannigan led the Devils with 3 hits out of 3 at bats each. Ty Edds started on the rubber for the Red Devils throwing four innings and gave up zero hits and zero earned runs. The Red Devils' win over Clinton secured 1st place in the conference with a record of 8-0 in the conference and 9-2 overall. The Red Devils play Rutledge Friday, 16th at 5:00 for their 8th grade night.
With so many people still working from home these days to maintain social distancing from their colleagues, many are developing musculoskeletal pain. Improving posture and ergonomics is a proactive way to take care of your body while working remotely.
To reduce stress on the body, follow these work-at-home suggestions:
I grew up as a valley girl. An East Tennessee valley girl, which is the best kind.
By now, most of you probably know I was raised on my maternal Papaw’s farm. It’s located in a valley with ridgelines that run along the southern and western sides with Bull Run Creek flowing through it. On the other sides, the ridgelines are a little further away. It makes for quite the view. And it made for quite the excitement at times, especially with the weather.
Let me begin this article with a bit of trivia—This man was the original host of Jeopardy before Alex Trebek. (Answer: Who was Art Fleming?) Correct.
One of my earliest memories of watching television was watching Art Fleming host the original Jeopardy. If you search Google, you can find more information on Art Fleming, and you can watch clips of the original Jeopardy game show on YouTube. I just finished watching one. It is interesting to see how the show functioned so well in the 1960s and 1970s without a lot of the modern effects that the show presently has.
The impact of COVID-19 on learning, especially in elementary reading and math, continues to be a concern for Union County as well as our state and nation. To mitigate some of the pandemic's impact on learning, Dr. Jimmy Carter announced at the March Union County Board of Education meeting that summer school will be from June 1 through June 25 with a maximum class size of eighth students per teacher.
Beginning Thursday, April 8, the Union County Health Department is moving its vaccine clinic to Alder Springs Church at 708 Hickory Star Road across from the Union County Humane Society.
Vaccines will still be administered by appointment only, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Extended appointments are available only on Tuesday. To make an appointment, call 866-442-5301 or 865-549-5343 or to book an appointment online, go to vaccinate.tn.gov.
Local agriculture partners collaborated and hosted the annual National Ag Day Farmer Appreciation Breakfast on March 23. Farmers and producers from across Union County were invited to celebrate their hard work and dedication in honor of the nationally recognized day.
The farmers received a complimentary breakfast and a bag full of promotional items in recognition of their efforts throughout the year to preserve our county's farmlands and rich agricultural history.
The Master Beef Producer program is an extensive educational program developed to provide information to assist you and other Tennessee cow-calf producers in improving the profitability of your cow-calf operations. The classes provide opportunities to gain knowledge in current beef cattle management practices that are important to the profitability and sustainability of the industry.
The 2021 Union County Business and Professional Association Golf Classic will be played at the beautiful Three Ridges Golf Course, 6101 Wise Springs Road, in Knoxville on June 19. Tee time is 1 p.m. with a barbeque lunch by Li'l Jo's included in the entry fee. Golfers will receive goody bags, door prizes, as well as compete for Closest to the Pin and Longest Drive.
As we look forward to having our routines return to near-normal, a good attitude is still essential for tackling the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and the changes it has created in our day-to-day lives. Taking care of your health by addressing pain and then finding time for physical activity, rest, time in nature, and safe socializing can help lessen stress and anxiety.
Country Connections by James and Ellen Perry
“Time Changes Everything” was recorded in 1940 by Bob Wills and Tommy Duncan: “Heavenly shades of night are falling, It’s twilight time, Out of the mist your voice is calling, ’Tis twilight time.”
These beautiful lyrics were sung by Tony Williams and The Platters in the late spring of 1958. It was an international hit with lyrics written by Buck Ram in the ’40s. He later became the manager of The Platters.
Dr. Lauren Effler, Pre-K director for Union County Public Schools, announces that registration is now open for Pre-K students enrolling for in-person learning next fall.
The Pre-K curriculum, designed to get kids ready for kindergarten, teaches important things such as letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. Children are also taught social skills like interacting with other kids, cooperating and working with others, and how to problem-solve.
By Harlen Hunley and Ty Edds
On March 8, the Lady Red Devils got the season off to a good start with a solid win over Claiborne County with a score of 3-0. They got hits and runners on at the right time to push across the runs needed and solid pitching from Aleyia Satterfield to shut out the Lady Bulldogs.
Lady Devils win over Clinton
By Harlen Hunley and Ty Edds
HMMS vs. Seymour
The Horace Maynard Baseball team has been rolling since an opening day loss on Tuesday March 2, as they traveled to Seymour in a 2-1 loss.
The Red Devils played solid defense with solid pitching as eighth grader Ty Edds toed the rubber and was relieved by Garret Graves trying to prevent the go-ahead run from scoring. As a bloop hit to left scored the winning run from third base in the last inning. Edds, Maddix Wyrick, and Aiden Bowman all had hits in the game for the Red Devils.
Big Ridge State Park has a large diversity of trees. The park is around 3,600 acres in size with only a couple hundred acres at most that is mowed and not wooded.
Of course, one of the purposes of our Tennessee state parks is to preserve and protect our natural resources.
This was not always the case. Before the park was set aside for preservation it was farmland with little of it wooded.
Volunteer Interpreter, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
One of the more popular trees in the spring is the eastern redbud (Cercis Canadensis), which blesses us with a beautiful bloom of purple pea-like flowers that pop out on the trunk and large branches as well as on twigs. Another common name for redbud is Judas tree, which comes from the belief that Judas hung himself from a Middle Eastern redbud after betraying Christ.
Philippians 4:6 is one of those verses which many Christians have hidden in their hearts. It is Paul the Apostles version of 1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.”
We find Paul once again in prison for preaching the Gospel. He has written this letter to the Philippians so that they will not lose hope in Christ, because of the situation in which Paul finds himself.
Let’s think about what is going on by imagining ourselves as part of a possible conversation between two first century new believers in the city of Philippi:
Most fishy tales are probably tall tales about the one that got away. Mine are just the opposite in that I have never had any luck with fish in any capacity.
For instance, the last time I went fishing, I fell into Bull Creek. That wonderful experience is in my story, “In the Creek.”
My woeful fish tales started at a very young age. You see, my mother always had a fish tank.
Union County High School girls’ basketball coach Roger Murphy is stepping away; but he isn’t going too far.
Murphy has coached the girls team for the past fourteen years and says the timing is right. Murphy’s tenure was highlighted by winning the district tournament championship in 2015-16, the first for the program in over thirty years.
We have a TV star in our midst, Union County! Kara Cooke was modeling when she graduated from Union County High School in 2018. She then enrolled in classes at Gage talent agency in West Knoxville, going once a week for a couple of months where she learned skills such as working the runway, how to pose for the camera, and how to apply make-up. She also took acting classes. One of her instructors started The STAIR Agency for models and actors and she followed him. Her career took off after auditioning and being selected for a spot in Knoxville Fashion Week.
Nothing has ever been simple for me, not even riding the school bus home when I was a child.
When I was in the first grade, my mom would always pick me up after school. From her car, I would watch my friends board their school buses. Of course, I wanted to do that too. I thought they were having a fun party with no teachers around.
If you’re like most people, most of the time you definitely want to be in the “in” crowd. There you’re accepted, adored, idolized, and never alone.
That is, you’re never alone until your thinking starts to depart from the “status quo” of your “in” crowd. Then you risk becoming an outcast, as most groups struggle with a free thinker within their “in” crowd.
I am fond of cats nowadays. That was not always the case. I remember back in my childhood when I thought my dad was perfect and knew everything about anything. He hated cats! So I did, too. I would express my dislike at every opportunity. Then we moved to Summers Road in Union County. We had mice galore. They were everywhere and didn’t care if we saw them or not. All food had to be stored covered and sealed.
I dropped by Maynardville Public Library to see what is going on and man is there a lot! In addition to their amazing way of seeing us through the pandemic with their interactive website, which offers online reading and something for everyone, library staff members have been busy refreshing and revitalizing the building inside and out, as we all look forward to getting out and once again enjoying public spaces together.
On Friday, March 12, Luttrell Elementary School students from each homeroom class who logged the highest amount of reading on their own time were invited to attend Donuts with the Principal.
"We are very proud of these hard-working students and look forward to seeing who will win next month's prize,” said Instructional Facilitator Steva Bates.
Every year, the Smoky Mountain Home School 4-H Club takes an active approach with getting involved in our community. This past year has presented its own unique problems with COVID and the restrictions to club events and activities that have come along with those restrictions. But, in spite of this, we want Union County to know that we are still here.
Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic services are used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.
This story is about a memory from my early childhood that I don’t remember. At all. But I have been told about it several times over the years.
First, I need to give you a little bit of background information. I’m sure most of you all are aware of how much I love chocolate. As much as I love it; my Mamaw Jo loved eggs. And she was very proud of that fact.
You may have noticed that the farmers market is accepting applications for a manager, an assistant manager and a demonstration chef but, it is also the time of year to turn in your vendor applications. Perhaps you have wondered if the Union County Farmers Market is the place for you – we think you’ll agree that it is!
More than 250 people logged onto The Quarantine Happy Hour on Facebook Sunday, March 7 to hear Union County native Sarah Morgan weave her beautiful music.
Morgan started with the dulcimer then moved to guitar. Her angelic voice made for a splendid ending to a beautiful day here in East Tennessee.
One of the most common and well known therapeutic procedures performed by doctors of chiropractic is spinal manipulation (sometimes referred to as a “chiropractic adjustment”). The purpose of spinal manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile—or restricted in their movement—as a result of a tissue injury.
If you are as old as I, you will recognize the quoted title above from many episodes of the 1970s television situation comedy Sanford and Son. Junkman Fred Sanford, portrayed by Redd Foxx, called his son Lamont a “big dummy” in practically episode of the series. If you are not as old as I, thanks to the wonders of cable television and retro channels such as METV and Antenna TV, these old shows can become favorites of a new generation.
We weren’t sure how she did it. If I hadn’t seen it myself, I don’t know if I would’ve believed it. Who am I talking about? Our dog Pobby. She was the one that gnawed on my bible in my story: “Eating the Word.”
She was a tiny stray puppy that we took into our home and our hearts. Before she was housebroken, we didn’t want her to go into our living room while Tim and I were at work. At that time, the living room had bifold doors, so we just closed them. The doors were difficult for us to open, so we assumed Pobby wouldn’t be able to open them either.
Multi-published local author Brooke Cox will hold a book launch and signing Sunday, April 25 from 2-4 p.m. at Beaver Dam Baptist Church.
Cox will launch her latest novel Dinosaur Eggs, Two Guys, a Girl, and a T-Rex. The book has 5 star reviews with one reviewer calling the book a “Wonderful middle-grade allegory.”
Cox is also re-launching her first mystery novel with a new title and cover. Until the Moon Rises, A Conniving Cousins Mystery. Cox plans to create a mystery series from the book.
Cox will also have her Saucy Southern Stories books available.
Homeschooling Mothers are invited to an evening of encouragement on Monday, April 26, 2021 in the Hardees Meeting Room in Maynardville at six p.m. Speaking will be Christine Brackney, a veteran homeschooling Mom who will focus on keeping your vision and choosing the educational choice that best meets the needs of your child. Info: 865-992-3629-Connie Dickey
In loving memory of Emil Ratliff-age 98 of Defiance, Ohio, formerly of Maynardville who was brought into this life September 17, 1922, passed away Friday, April 9, 2021 in Defiance, Ohio. Emil married Curtis Ratliff July 14, 1945. She was preceded in death by husband of 60 years, Curtis Ratliff; three sons, Danny Ratliff, Donnie Ratliff and Arnold Curtis Ratliff.
Maggie Dykes – age 93 of Sharps Chapel, passed away peacefully at home with her family by her side on Thursday, April 8, 2021. She was a member of Oak Grove Baptist Church.
Voyd C. Keck, age 90 of Halls, formerly of Union Co., passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Sunday, April 4, 2021. He was a member of Christ United Methodist Church of Halls. Graduated class of 1950, Horace Maynard High School. Retired from University of Tennessee Physical Plant as General Supt. of structural maintenance. He was a 49-year member of Masters Lodge #244 F. & A.M. K.C.C.H. Scottish Rite of Knoxville, Areme Chapter #466 O.E.S.
Mitchell Steven Beason-age 68 of Luttrell passed away Friday morning, April 2, 2021 at his home. He was a Christian and had a great love of dogs, cats and all animals. Preceded in death by parents, Mitchell Lee and Martha (Woods) Beason; siblings, Lucille Ford, Gene Beason, Agnes Dyer, Bernice Vaught, Mary Beeler along with several nieces, nephews and other family members.
Arlene “Leigh” McFarren-age 63 of Corryton passed away Thursday, April 1, 2021 at her home. She was a member of Mountain View Church of God of the Union Assembly, Luttrell. She was an employee of Knox County Sheriff’s Office for the past six years, formerly with T.V.A.
She was a loving wife, mother and nana. Preceded in death by granddaughter, Sophie Holly and Grandma Betty who raised her.
Rev. Clarence E. Bull-age 92 of Maynardville passed away peacefully Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at his home. Preceded in death by parents, Silas A. and Murlie Burke Bull; brothers, Lloyd Bull, Junior Bull; sisters, Billie Bruner, Edith Pratt and infant sister, Sue Ann Bull; great-grandson, Brayden William Frye; father and mother-in-law, Rev. Fate and Etta Oaks; brother-in-law, L. G. Oaks.