Cottontail Rabbit

It’s a tradition in my family for the men to go rabbit hunting on Thanksgiving morning. Our native cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) is the fourth most popular game animal in the United States, behind deer, turkey, and squirrel. They provide food and sport for humans and are an important food source for other animals higher on the food chain.

A healthy rabbit population requires adequate food and cover. The annual range of cottontails seldom exceeding 20 acres, and their daily range is only around three acres, so food and cover must be available in small areas. A farm with a good mixture of grassland, cropland, woodland, and brushy areas along wooded edges and fencerows should provide a good rabbit population for hunting. Here are some general guidelines for good rabbit habitat:

Food: In most areas food is not a problem, and it’s easier to list what rabbits won’t eat rather than what they will. Grass, berries, seeds of all kind, bark, buds, twigs of trees and shrubs, weeds, farm grains, and vegetables are all rabbit food. Cottontails get most of their water from lapping dew off vegetation.

Cover: Protected nesting and winter cover can be the limiting factors in a healthy rabbit population. In our area the mixture of open land, woodland, and brushy area is probably adequate for providing cover. Brush piles, rock piles, small clumps of pine or cedar trees, and shrub thickets provide good winter and escape cover.

Nesting: The nest of a cottontail female is a cup-shaped cavity on top of the ground, lined with grass and fur she pulls from her coat. Some of the preferred cover types for nesting are broom-sedge, orchard grass, fescue, lespedeza, and clover. Most nests are found within 150 feet of the edge of a field.

The gestation period of the cottontail is about one month, and a female may have as many as three to five litters per season. They average four to five young (called kittens or kits) per litter which are usually birthed between February and September. The young are blind at birth, opening their eyes about the ninth day, and remain in the nest for about two weeks.

Less than 15-25% of rabbits live longer than one year, and rabbit populations reach their peak in mid-summer. The population has declined over the last decade due to habitat loss, especially overgrown fields with brambles and brush. A virus that causes blood hemorrhaging is also becoming a problem.

By: Steve Roark
Volunteer Interpreter, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park




Honorable Jared R Effler - District Attorney General

Effler family: Mary, Mia, Jared, and Katy Beth

The Honorable Jared R. Effler, District Attorney General is proud of his Union County, TN roots. He is happy to say that he is a product of Union County Schools and that he’s living proof that with the building blocks of a solid education, a person can accomplish anything they set their mind to. Effler graduated from Horace Maynard High School in 1991 and went on to Lincoln Memorial University to obtain a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Management in 1995. Although his earliest ambition was to become a veterinarian based on his love for animals, during college his career goals changed.

Communion Challenge

Leave it to me to make anything into a challenge; even something as scared as Communion.

It started when I very, very young. My momma told me Communion was a commandment of Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:17-34) and I needed to be still and not to make any noise during it. In other words, I had to sit perfectly still. Boy, was that a struggle. I still remember resisting the temptation of moving because I didn’t want to disappoint Jesus.


Dental Dilemma

One of the best favors parents can do for their children is to take them to the dentist very early in life. This prevents so many problems in the adult years.

We are told that teeth are meant to last for a lifetime. That doesn’t mean that periodic maintenance is not necessary. Just like houses, teeth have to occasionally be cleaned and taken care of to prolong usage.

Winter, A Time for Reflection

By: Steve Roark
Volunteer Interpreter, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

There are two mind-sets when it comes to winter: those who love it and those who do not, and I’m one of the former. When it is cold you can always dress up and be comfortable, but in summer you can go buck naked and still be uncomfortably hot. Really cold weather gives you a survival feeling, you against the elements, something lacking in these soft modern times. “If you can see your breath, you know you’re alive” is a quote that reflects that feeling about cold weather.

Making Do

We had a heavy snow storm this last end of December 2020. The power would go out for a few seconds, then suddenly return with a “Bang!” I feared for our TV's and computer, but they survived the ordeal. Our electric coffee pot? Not so much. That was the end of Mr. Coffee.

Easy Bean Dip

Forget calorie counting when you dip your taco chip into this tasty mixture. But who's counting calories anyway. Make a bowl full to munch on while you are watching that movie on TV tonight. Stir it up and keep it in the fridge until the movie starts.

Packing Love into Shoeboxes

Back row: Meradeth Whitley, Jessica Garcia, Kaleb Hanna, Travis Hanna. Front row: Samuel Helton, Silas Whitley, Zeeva Boucher, Natalie Graves, Elijah Helton

On November 10, 2020, at 1:00 pm, the Smoky Mountain Home School 4-H Club met at Revival Vision Church. Each member had prepared and packed a shoebox for Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child. Elijah Helton, the community service organizer, prepared the boxes for shipping and delivered them to Milan Baptist Church, the drop-off location for Union County.

Department Of Homeland Security Identifies Chiropractors As Essential Service Providers

Doctors of chiropractic are part of the essential critical infrastructure workforce, according to an advisory memorandum released by the u.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The memo aims to give state, local, tribal and territorial governments guidance as they consider what actions to take in their communities to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) while still maintaining critical industries and the workers who support them.

Hound Cake

Have you ever heard the excuse, “The dog ate my homework?” Or instead, maybe I should ask if you’ve had the chance to actually use it?
Let me tell you, my Mamaw Jo was quite the baker. She even took a course in cake decorating. Naturally, she did very well. I enjoyed watching her craft roses out of icing since I had always wondered how that was done. If I ever tried to make one, it would have resembled a melted beehive.

Can You Hear Me Now?

It seems both my wife and I are losing our hearing. Our kitchen is separated from the living room by a dining room. I would estimate the distance from the kitchen sink to our recliners to be approximately thirty feet. One of us is always calling to the other from the kitchen to the living room or vice versa. It seems neither of us hears the other on first call. When repeated more loudly the second time, and even louder with clearer enunciation the third time, the imminent response of either, “You don’t have to scream!” or “You don’t have to be so hateful!” occurs without fail.

Thy Rod and Thy Staff

If you trail hike much, perhaps you used a walking stick to lean on for balance or help support a sore knee joint. This simple tool goes back a long way and was used for more than just walking. The Bible refers to them as a rod or staff, and both have strong symbolic meanings.


Taco Whirl Casserole

I like Taco Salad. This recipe is a little different. It is made with pasta. I like taco-style seasoning whatever way you fix it. This is a new experience for me. Growing up during the Great Depression, it wasn't part of our diet. With no refrigerator or freezer, we only had ground beef the day Mother brought it home from town. Green onions, lettuce and tomatoes were only savored in the summertime from our garden. Mother never bought such fresh vegetables at any time. Corn chips? Never heard of them. Grated cheddar cheese?

Remembering Michael Bailey

“I get phone calls from people all the time calling in scores, story ideas or just wanting to talk ball. This is one of my regulars. I’ve always known him as ‘Michael from Union County’ but had not met in person until tonight (10-11-2019). Had to get the selfie.“ Marshall Hughes - former WATE Sports Director

I can’t say for sure when I first met “Mayor” Michael Bailey, but I believe it might have been at one of WMRD’s Saturday night singings.
Michael was a unique person, with an unquenchable desire to sing, praise God, and socialize within our community. He always had a smile on his face, a joke to tell, and a song on his heart.

Health department: Schools are not spreaders of COVID-19

School Board Meeting December 10, 2020

“Union County Schools are not spreading COVID-19” was the message Dr. Jimmy Carter, Director of Union County Public Schools, stated as he updated the Board of Education at the December 10 board meeting on the status of COVID-19 in the schools.

Development board to be busy in 2021

Commissioner Debra Keck

County Commissioner Debra Keck enlightens us regarding the Joint Economic Community Development Board (JECDB) and their current and upcoming plans and projects. I have known Debra Keck for years as Mayor Mike Williams’ assistant, and we interacted often, especially when working together on functions of the Chamber of Commerce and as members of the JECDB. Recently, Keck and I discussed the progress being made in Union County.

UCBPA re-energizes during 2020

President Martin Shafer stands at the podium

UCB&PA President Martin Shafer welcomes members to the August meeting and showcases the new podium and redesigned logo crafted by the Sign Guys..

While the pandemic ravaged the nation last spring, the Union County Business and Professional Association Board and Past Presidents worked through small groups and online to revamp and energize its service to its membership.
When COVID-19 quieted near the end of summer, in-person meetings resumed in August at a new venue, Pete's Place in Maynardville.

New city manager brings business experience

City Manager Mike Chesney

Mike Chesney, incoming Maynardville City Manager, aspired as a child to become a person who would help others and make a positive difference in their lives. The very young see heroes in firefighters and policemen, then as they grow up realize there are a lot of other people helping communities run and flourish.

Be Careful Shoveling Snow

Before you dig into that blanket of newly fallen snow, take a few minutes to warm up. Take a brief walk around the house or march in place to get your body ready for the physical strain. Add arm movements and stretch your back to warm up the upper body. Here are a few more tips to help you stay healthy during shoveling season:

Changes: Good or bad?

James Perry

Country Connections by James & Ellen Perry
Time marches on. Memories, like old pictures, fade. Family members and old friends die.
The homesteads and farms remembered from youth are torn down or divided and sold by their heirs. Subdivisions are encroaching on our beloved mountains and valleys and now encompass the beautiful lakes we once enjoyed. “Keep off” signs are popping up as developers buy up property and build houses on top of our scenic hills ruining our vistas and changing the mountain silhouettes forever.

The old CCC stone building at Big Ridge

The Old Stone CCC Building in its early days

When entering Big Ridge State Park, one of first structures you will see is a stone building right on the side of the road. Most people who visit the park probably know very little about the structure or know nothing at all about the unique little building. Some folks that have grown up visiting the park may know a lot more about the building than visitors not from around these parts.

Mac and Ham Bake

I like recipes that are easy to make. Usually the fewer ingredients the better. This recipe is an example. It is amazing what all you can do with a box of mac and cheese. It's easy, but the directions sound a little strange. Try it anyway. It is delicious. Add a green salad for a quick supper.

Reflect, refocus and reset

2 Timothy 2:15 KJV: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
It’s a new year! Go ahead and call me Captain Obvious, but sometimes stating what is obvious is simply necessary. While I try not to make flippant New Year’s resolutions, regarding spiritual matters I do like to take the occasion as another opportunity to reflect upon my relationship with God. When I see my shortcomings through reflecting upon God’s Word, it benefits me to sharpen my focus and reset my path in accordance with Biblical principles.


The Great Sambo

The Great Sambo sounds like a magician's name doesn’t it? By the way, I prefer the term illusionist. Actually, The Great Sambo was my dad’s dog.
Sambo was a Great Pyrenees. In case you are unfamiliar with that breed, they are very large dogs, but they have gentle demeanors. Sambo definitely had that, thank goodness.
Knowing my daughter Sara liked dogs, Dad had us bring her to his home to see Sambo when he got him. At this time Sara was three years old. It was a very cold winter’s day so, we had her bundled up so much that she resembled a caterpillar in a cocoon.

Covered with a blanket

If you have friends who love to email great thoughts and turns of phrase, or if you are a Facebook junkie, you have undoubtedly come across some pretty interesting opinions about the year just about to end approximately 77 hours from the time I type this sentence.
The one that sticks with me the most at present is this: If you had to choose a drink to represent the year 2020, what would it be? Answer: Colonoscopy prep

Snowflake watching

Many enjoy watching it snow, as the slow-motion quiet of falling flakes provides a peaceful, serene setting. A single snowfall offers a myriad of exquisite ice sculptures that are short-lived, often unnoticed, and worth a closer look. In his book, Snowflake, Kenneth Libbrecht discusses how to observe snow up close.


Jack Rhyne– recently retired Maynardville City Manager

Jack and Marie Rhyne

I recently spoke to Jack Rhyne to learn his story and it is a fascinating one! Like most little boys growing up in a Roy Rogers world, Rhyne hoped to grow up to be a cowboy. That didn’t quite work out, but he has lived an adventurous life. Rhyne grew up in Anderson County, enlisted in the Army as a young man, and married Marie Merritt from Grainger County, who served as Rutledge’s City Recorder.

Fun Facts About Happenings in Union County Schools

As we continue in this time of uncertainty and fear, life must go on in some ways. A part of that is that children need an education. There are many aspects of a child’s education that go beyond a classroom or basic learning. These things include but are not limited to sports, band, music lessons, dance lessons, fundraisers, and community support. All of these and more contribute to a child’s education in ways many cannot see.

Spinal Manipulation Is As Helpful As Other Common Treatments For Chronic Lower Back Pain.

If you’re suffering from chronic lower back pain, a new review of existing research finds that spinal manipulation—the kind of hands-on regimen that a chiropractor might perform on you—is just as helpful as other frequently employed treatments, like pain killers. Spinal manipulation is also safe, researchers found.

Reindeer Games

Reindeer are always of interest at Christmas, famously known as the mode of transportation for the Big Fellow on his annual trip around the world. But they are interesting enough animals to talk about for other reasons, so let me provide some interesting facts that you can impress your friends with at Christmas parties.

Snow Date

The Christmas Dance was my favorite high school dance. I saw it as a special evening full of beautiful decorations, friends, and fun. And, to be honest, a little innocent romance was nice too. Fortunately for me, the Christmas dance of 1982 had a little unexpected surprise.

I was especially excited about that dance. Tim agreed to take me even though he had graduated in June of that year. While there, we had the best time with our friends. The slow dances were nice too.


One of the benefits, sometimes the best benefit, and for some the only benefit, of marriage is the occasional free humor it can provide.

This particular tale goes back to the blissful premarital years when I was dating my wife. My wife throughout our entire relationship has seemed to have an uncanny knack of being the living example of “if it can happen to anybody it can happen to her”. In this particular case she contracted cellulitis. Cellulitis, without referencing Google, is an affliction that can turn to gangrene and cause loss of limbs and even death in some cases.

Spicy Ricey Oatmeal Cookies

I like cookies with walnuts or pecans. Peanuts, not so much. But most everybody likes Rice Krispies. I thought, “Why not substitute Rice Krispies for nuts in a recipe.” When making my Christmas cookies one year, I came up with this recipe. There is another surprise tucked in that cookie, too. Cayenne pepper. It gives a little zing to the cinnamon spice. You will wonder why the cinnamon tastes so good: cayenne pepper. When you try this recipe, I hope it will become a favorite. Don't tell anyone about the cayenne. Let's keep it our secret.

Arts, Culture, and Humanities - Union County Arts Council

Union County Art Council Members: Randy Turner, Gloria Holcomb, Susan Boone, Carol Pratt not pictured Eric Holcomb and Betty Bullen.

The Union County Arts Council (UCAC) was originally birthed within the Chamber of Commerce, started by Julie Graham and Cindy Taylor with the first Art in the Park event held at Paulette Elementary School soon after its construction. Today’s board consists of President Carol Pratt, local artist Betty Bullen, Randy Turner, Eric and Gloria Holcomb, and Susan Boone. The council operates as a 501c3 organization and has successfully applied for and received grants for Arts, Culture, and Humanities.

The Christmas Star

One part of the Christmas story that has intrigued scientists for centuries is the mysterious star in the east that the wise men or "Magi" followed, seeking a newborn king to worship. Matthew does not go into detail concerning the star but describes it as a miraculous occurrence.

Squishy Gift

If you read my article, “Squishy Toes,” then you have an idea where I am going with this. If not, you will soon find out.

I miss the family Christmas get-togethers we used to have when I was a girl. They were so much fun and everybody seemed to be so happy. During this time, my Mamaw Jo and a male cousin started a tradition of exchanging gag gifts. Each year, one tried to out-best the other.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember all of the gag gifts, but there was one that I’ll never forget. It was funny and disgusting at the same time.


Clear the Room, Boys!

I met with Lisa Carter, the fine principal of Maynardville Elementary School, last week. She was on the phone when I arrived, so I had a few moments of leisure to look around her office. On the wall directly across from me was a saying—“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Preserving our natural and historic sites: Preservation Union County

Oak Grove School now renovated and providing educational support as the Sharps Chapel Book Station

I recently spoke to Preservation Union County board member Betty Bullen to learn more about the nonprofit organization and what it does for Union County.
Preservation Union County currently operates under the Knox Heritage umbrella, Knox Heritage having received a grant from National Historic Preservation to do outreach work with the 16 surrounding counties and creating the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance.

Our Knitting and Crochet program

The Maynardville Public Library & UT Extension Union County Presents Our Knitting and Crochet program! Below are links to the video classes we have on youtube. We have a limited number of learning supplies at Maynardville Public Library and will be handing them out on a first come first served basis. The materials are available for children 10-18 years old.
Here is our Beginner Crochet video!
Here is our Beginner Knitting Video!

Chiropractic treatment is safe Part II

Some reports have associated high-velocity upper neck manipulation with a certain rare kind of stroke, or vertebral artery dissection. However, evidence suggests that this type of arterial injury often takes place spontaneously in patients who have pre-existing arterial disease. These dissections have been associated with everyday activities such as turning one’s head while driving, swimming, or getting your hair shampooed in a hair salon.



Janice Kitts Wyrick

Janice Fay Wyrick-age 68 of Luttrell passed away Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. She was of the Baptist faith and was a retired employee of Levi Strauss & Company. Preceded in death by parents, Estel and Jaunita Kitts; grandson, Tyler Julian; son-in-law, Danny C. Clapp; brother-in-law, Larry Hensley; parents-in-law, Calday and Mildred Wyrick.

Willda Rella Hobby

Willda R. Hobby-age 82 of Mascot passed away Sunday, January 17, 2021 at North Knoxville Medical Center. She was the oldest member and the pianist for Highland Springs Baptist Church and she loved to go to church and worship the Lord. Preceded in death by Husband, James B. Hobby; son, Mark Kevin Hobby.

LaVerne Douglas Helton

LaVerne Douglas Helton, age 59 of Maynardville passed away Sunday, January 17, 2021. A member of Shepard of the Hills Baptist Church. She loved her church and teaching the children and being a positive influence in their life. LaVerne enjoyed fishing and camping and loving on her animals and spent much of her time crocheting “gifts” for many ministries and nursing home residents. She is survived by her husband of 39 years Marvin Glenn Helton Sr.; parents William and Yvonne Douglas; children Marvin Glenn Helton Jr.

John Marvin Paul

John Marvin Paul-age 78 of LaFollette passed away Saturday morning, January 16, 2021 at Turkey Creek Medical Center. He was a member of Fundamental Missionary Baptist Church, LaFollette and was a retired automobile mechanic. He loved to work on classic cars and was an avid fisherman. He was a great husband, father and grandfather. John was one of 15 children of which nine have preceded him in death along with his parents, Lawrence and Edith (Collins) Paul; wife, Laura (Rutherford) Paul; granddaughter, Laura Ellen.

Wade Nicely

Wade Nicely-age 84 of Washburn, born May 15, 1936 went to be with the Lord Saturday, January 16, 2021 at his home. He was a lifetime member and a deacon for 51 years of Pennington Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. Preceded in death by wife, Jean Nicely; grandson, Casey Buckner; parents, Tim and Ava Nicely; brothers, Denver and Cleo Nicely, Leland (Lett) and Ruby Nicely, Lon Nicely, Curt and June Nicely, Cecil Nicely; sisters, Naomi Nicely, Katie Lee and Ralph Hundley.

Phyllis Turner

Phyllis Leonard Turner- age 85 of Knoxville passed away Sunday, January 17, 2021 at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville. She was born June 13, 1935 to the late Garland and Gladys Leonard.
Graveside service will be Monday, January 18, 2021 at 1 p.m. at the Narrow Ridge Cemetery.
Arrangements by Cooke-Campbell Mortuary.

Kern Elkins

Kern Elkins, age 68, of Andersonville, TN, passed away on January 13th, 2021. Kern and his twin sister Fern were born in Knoxville, TN on February 8, 1952 to Luther Burl and Rena Elkins. After graduating from Halls High School, Kern met and later married the love of his life, Charlotte. Kern and Charlotte were best friends and were proudly married for more than 46 years. Kern was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He would light up when any of his of grandchildren were around or mentioned.

Velma Jean Lynch

Velma Jean (Ellison) Lynch-age 90 of Sharps Chapel passed away Thursday, January 14, 2021 at Claiborne Medical Center. She was a longtime member of Blue Springs Baptist Church. Preceded in death by husband, Herbert Lynch; daughter, Sharon Dyke; granddaughter, Marnie Graham; sister, Eileen Rockstead.

Survivors: daughter, Cassandra Kay Tolliver and husband, A. C.; son-in-law, Warren Dyke; three grandchildren, Todd Dyke and wife, Rena; Trevor Dyke; McKinley Tolliver; nephew, Ronald Greer.

Jessie Fern Lovitt

Jessie F. Lovitt-age 85 of Clinton passed away Wednesday morning, January 13, 2021 at her home. She was born June 1, 1935 in Pineville, Kentucky. She was a member of The Order of the Eastern Star, Farmington Hills, Michigan. Preceded in death by husband, James Lovitt.
Survivors: daughter, Leslie Lovitt of Clinton; sons, Mathew Lovitt and wife, Hazel of Sevierville; Rickie Lovitt and wife, Kimberly of Greenville, Michigan. Four granddaughters, Maggie Temple, Jessica Ottinger, Sara Lovitt, Serina Struth. Several nieces, nephews and a host of friends.

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