The Digital Divide

The “digital divide” is the gap that exists between individuals advantaged by the internet and those individuals disadvantaged by lack of access to the internet. The divide has widened as technology has advanced with the advent of next generation fiber optic broadband that can make 1 GB broadband speeds available. The growing gap disproportionately affects rural areas as rural residents have few choices of internet service providers – or none at all. They pay higher prices for lower quality service.

For small towns, having high-speed Internet can be a critical factor in growth and prosperity (https://broadbandnow.com/report/10-small-towns-with-blazing-fast-internet/). Studies have shown that increased Internet access has a positive effect on employment and economic growth in rural townships. Tullahoma, Tennessee was the focus of a study by Allan Holmes of the Center for Public Integrity in 2015, which drew attention to the huge benefits that next generation fiber optic broadband access brings to small towns.

The positive results on job growth speak for themselves: Employment in Tullahoma lagged statewide job growth before next generation fiber optic broadband was turned on. Since the recession ended in 2009, two years after the city began offering broadband, the city has outpaced job growth in Tennessee. The city added 3,598 jobs from April 2009 to April 2014, a 1.63 percent annual growth rate, about double the statewide rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to Holmes, Tullahoma is one of the battlefronts in a nationwide war that telecommunications giants are fighting to undermine the spread of next generation fiber optic broadband networks. For more than a decade, AT&T, Comcast, and CenturyLink Inc. have spent millions to lobby state legislatures, influence state elections and buy research to try and stop the spread of Internet services that often offer faster speeds at cheaper rates (https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2014/sep/02/tullahoma-fr...). The companies have succeeded in getting laws passed in 20 states that ban or restrict municipalities from offering Internet to residents.

Holmes found that by far, AT&T is the company with the most political influence. In Tennessee, AT&T spent between $250,000 and $300,000 in 2014 hiring 15 lobbyists, ranking it among the largest spenders, according to the Tennessee Ethics Commission. AT&T's political action committee (PAC) is also the biggest donor among telecommunications companies to state campaigns nationwide. Since 2000, its donations more than tripled to $13.6 million in the 2012 election cycle, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, which tracks campaign contributions in the states. Comcast, the second-largest campaign contributor among telecommunications companies in Tennessee, has upped its PAC giving from about $3,200 in the 2004 election cycle to a record of more than $270,450 in the 2012 cycle, according to the money in state politics institute.

Their influence doesn’t stop in Nashville. Franchise agreements, such as the 20 year agreement Union County entered into with Comcast in 2005, resulted in higher fees for subscribers, no requirement for access for areas of less than twenty (20) dwelling units per mile, burdensome requirements for developers, and specific exclusion of “that portion of Union County north of Norris Lake.” The “cherry picking” of high density areas and favorable permitting requirements for cable deployment discourages other providers from entering the market. Although the 5% of gross receipts in franchise fees may have seemed attractive to elected officials at the time, the little over $30,000.00 annual payment to the county pales in comparison to the estimated $1M in additional annual property tax revenues that would have come from full development, encouraged by the availability of high speed broadband service, of just two communities in Sharps Chapel, Norris Shores and Sunset Bay.

While the telecom giants are battling to restrict competition, rural communities are being economically crippled by the lack of broadband access. In Tennessee’s rural regions, 34 percent of residents lack access to basic internet, according to a report released in July 2016 by the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development (ECD). That disparity weighs on the state’s overall connectivity ranking, now at 29th in the nation, and its ability to improve rural economies. Among the 34 percent are many who simply cannot afford the costly monthly bill for service. The collective deficit in opportunity, education and prospects–everything implied in “being connected”–further separates urban and rural Tennessee into haves and have-nots. According to former ECD Commissioner Randy Boyd, “If we ever want our rural communities to be able to compete and have a chance for success in the future, we have to eliminate that divide. That’s why rural broadband is so critical to our state’s future and the future of our rural communities.”

Participating businesses in this 2016 study reported that broadband enabled 43 percent of all net new jobs and 66 percent of revenues. Additionally, 34 percent of businesses indicated broadband was “essential to selecting their location,” and 56 percent claimed a high-speed connection was essential to remain in their location. Sixteen percent of economic development agencies reported that businesses frequently chose not to locate in an area due to insufficient broadband and realtors say it’s much more difficult to sell homes that aren’t connected. In Tullahoma, if you have fiber optic at a house, your house increases in value anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000 (https://www.tullahomanews.com/news/local/grant-funds-could-expand-broadb...).

The lack of broadband and the advantages it brings to a community is forcing many young people to move away. According to the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, Union County is experiencing population decline that began in 2011, and without intervention the population decline is expected to extend beyond 2040. Union County is also experiencing out-migration, mainly among 20 – 29 year olds. Union County’s negative population growth and out-migration brings with it severe negative economic consequences including fewer workers available to businesses, fewer customers to buy their goods and services, and a shrinking tax base all resulting in a severe impact on the finances of government. A lack of internet access hurts businesses, hinders education, prevents people from getting jobs, and can even be life-threatening, as emergency services increasingly rely on internet-connected communications and documentation.

Educators have been talking about the “digital divide” for two decades, and while some progress has been made in closing the gap, inequities persist in communities across the country (http://neatoday.org/2016/04/20/the-homework-gap/). Keith Krueger, CEO of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) points to the so-called “homework gap,” or the barriers students face when working on homework assignments without a reliable Internet source at home. This gap has widened as an increasing number of schools incorporate Internet-based learning into daily curriculum. In 2009, the Federal Communication Commission’s Broadband Task Force reported that approximately 70% of teachers assign homework requiring access to broadband. In addition, about 65% of students used the Internet at home to complete their homework, which could include submitting assignments, connecting with teachers and other students through group discussion boards, working on shared documents as part of a group project and doing online research for a school paper. The homework gap forces students to head over to a neighbor’s house, the library or a commercial parking lot with free Wi-Fi access to complete their homework. Many students are simply unable to finish the work. According to a recent study from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Family Online Safety Institute and My College Options, nearly 50% of students say they have been unable to complete a homework assignment because they didn’t have access to the Internet or a computer. Furthermore, 42% of students say they received a lower grade on an assignment due to lack of Internet access. Lack of Internet in Union County has most definitely impacted school performance with SchoolDigger.Com ranking the Union County School District 116th of the 124 Tennessee school districts.

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Articles

Patriots Celebrate First Playoffs in 14 Years

Larry Kerr

The Union County High School football Patriots may have lost against Anderson County in state playoffs on Nov. 2, but the season was stacked with wins for the team. And while the loss to Anderson County may have stung, it also marked the first time the Patriots made it to state playoffs in 14 years.

Coach Larry Kerr counts this as a cause to celebrate.

"It's like I told the kids, once you get past the pain of that loss, you'll be able to look at what you all have accomplished this year that's never been done before," he said.

Union County Childrens Charity Under The Tree

Chief Elf Brooke Simpson and Gina Buckner putting a tree up at Food City.  Brooke is the brains amongst the paper work to keep things organized.

The Union County Children’s Charity (Under The Tree) has been working since August for the 2018 Toy Drive Campaign. Applications went out and ornaments have been made with the children’s wishes. Trees went up at local businesses: Janet’s Hair and Tan, Food City, Tolliver's Market, Commercial Bank, Pete’s Place, Rhonda’s in Sharps Chapel, First Century Bank, New South Credit Union, Union County Trustees Office, Union County High School Beta and Okies Pharmacy. Also, American Business & Equipment along with CSI are collecting new unwrapped toys.

Union County FCE Flannel Blanket Workshop

Left to right: Carrie Cook, Janet Wolfenbarger, Judi Gerew, Annie Grau, Mary Johnson, Sue Ross, Carolyn Shields, Terry Reinitz

On November 5, 2018, eight Union County Family & Community Education (FCE) members and 1 guest (Joyce DeRoy, not pictured) met at the UT Extension Office in Maynardville, TN to make flannel baby blankets to donate to the NICU in Knoxville. The group made 15 baby blankets before running out of material.

Club Sandwiches

Club Sandwiches

We have gotten away from the club sandwich. McDonald's and Burger King have spoiled us with their tasty hamburgers and fries. I remember seeing my first Mickey D's. There was no going back to just plain sandwiches, or even club sandwiches. Back in the day, every lunch counter had their specialty club sandwich. They were made fresh as you watched the counter girl pile on the goodies. Most homes didn't have fresh tomatoes or lettuce out of season. What a treat!

The Nostalgia of KARM

Ronnie Mincey

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week Forty-Four

My wife has taken on a new interest—she is taking art classes from Betty Bullen, a fellow graduate in the Horace Maynard High School Class of 1968, I believe.

Of course, the interests of a spouse often have effects on the other marriage partner. On more than one Sunday after church and between Baptist meals, I have driven my wife to Jerry’s Art-O-Rama just off Kingston Pike to purchase supplies. On the first visit, I went inside the art store with her, but found practically nothing to interest me.

Your Hair Didn't Get Wet

Clark family early 1981

Not all my accidents were entirely my fault. I had help with some of them.

I came of age in the 80s; also known as the Big Hair decade. If you were a teenage girl at that time, you had at least 3 things in your hair arsenal: hot rollers, curling iron, and hair spray that could also be used as liquid cement. And if you had straight hair like me, you also kept a curly perm. It’s a wonder I have any hair left on my head.

In the World, Not of the World? Part 6 and Conclusion

Archie Wilson

Do you remember the events surrounding the three Hebrew children in Daniel Chapter 3? Being in the world, not of the world is exactly like that! Let’s look at some obvious parallels between what is going on with Jesus Disciples and the Hebrew Children.

CREAMED EGGS

CREAMED EGGS

This is a good dish to make at Easter time when you have an abundance of decorated hard boiled eggs. Don't use any that have been out of the fridge over a few hours. This is a good dish to serve on toast or hot biscuits for lunch. Sometimes we forget how versatile eggs can be. Don't let hard boiled eggs go uneaten. Fancy them up either as Deviled Eggs or Creamed Eggs.

Indian Summer

Indian Summer

Indian summer is a name that brings thoughts of balmy, hazy fall days and cool nights. It is a description of weather conditions rather than an actual season, for no dates exist for it. The closest time frame I could find was from Henry David Thoreau, who noted in his diary that Indian summer occurs from September 27 to December 13.

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Falling for Fall in Tennessee

Falling for Fall in Tennessee

October may be gone but with the colors of fall hanging around a bit longer this year why not head out for a day trip to one of Tennessee’s well-loved local areas or a beautiful state or national park. While the Great Smoky Mountains are a forever favorite, locals can bypass many of the crowds for other beauty within a day’s drive.

Events

Facebook 101 for Direct Farmers

Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 08:00

Taught by UT Extension Marketing Specialist, Megan Bruch Leffew, and Area Information Technology Specialist, David Yates, the workshops will be held:

• November 14 in Kingsport
• November 15 in Knoxville
• November 28 in Jackson
• November 29 in Nashville
• December 5 in McMinnville

Exact location information will be emailed to registered participants the week prior to workshops. Participants can bring their own laptop or tablet or use a tablet provided by the instructors. Because of the hands-on nature of the workshop, space is limited.

Family "Treasure Hunt" - November 17 @ 1-4 p.m.

Saturday, November 17, 2018 - 13:00

NEWS RELEASE

REVIVAL VISION CHURCH INVITES FAMILIES TO GO ON A TREASURE HUNT!

Maynardville, TN Revival Vision Church of God will host Treasure Hunt Fall Fest on November 17, 2018. Adventure awaits families at Treasure Hunt. During this three-hour interactive program, kids and grown-ups alike will uncover mystery messages, witness volcanic eruptions, and collect treasures along the way. But that’s not all! At each station, they’ll dig deep into a valuable experience that helps them get to know Jesus in a fresh, new way.

Need A Ride To Church

Sunday, November 18, 2018 - 10:00
Need A Ride To Church

Fellowship Christian Church located at 746 Tazewell Pike Luttrell TN 37779 will pickup anyone in the local area needing a ride to church. Call Sam at 865-607-3741 to schedule a ride.

Worship Services

Sunday School 10:00 AM
Sunday Worship Service 11:00 A.M
Sunday Evening Service 6:30 P.M
Wednesday Service 7:00 P.M

Obituary

Helen Marie Hulsey

Helen Marie Hulsey, 95, of Knoxville, passed away peacefully on November 12, 2018. Born on October 30, 1923 to Giuseppe and Mary Vazzana. Preceded in death by husband of 34 years, John W. Hulsey; daughters, Judy Petree and Brenda Underwood.
Survived by children Deborah Hulsey of Knoxville, James Hulsey, Mary James, and John Hulsey, all of Indianapolis. 16 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren, 1 great great grandson, and her brother and 2 sisters. She will be deeply missed by her family, friends, and all who knew her.

Ruth Jean Campbell

Ruth Jean Campbell-age 79 of Sharps Chapel passed away Monday morning, November 12, 2018 at North Knoxville Medical Center. She was preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Wayne T. (Kayo) Campbell; parents, Toby and Edith (Wright) Sharp; sisters, Viola and Mona Grace Sharp; brothers, Clio and Sam Sharp.

Survivors: daughter, Donna Campbell of Sharps Chapel; sister, Dot and J. C. Cox of Maynardville; brothers, Larry and Helen Sharp; Jack and Brenda Sharp, all of Sharp Chapel. Several nieces and nephews.

Richard Lewis 'Bud' Richardson

Richard Lewis “Bud” Richardson-age 57 of Maynardville, born October 16, 1961 passed away suddenly Saturday morning, November 10, 2018 at North Knoxville Medical Center. Preceded in death by parents, E. R. and Mary (Anderson) Richardson; brother, Eddie Richardson.

Survivors: children, Jason, David and April; four grandchildren. Sisters, Patsy (Billy) Humphrey, Vickie Shope; brothers, Jeff and Jessie (Jessica) Richardson. Several other family members and a host of friends.

Wanda Lee Eldridge

Wanda Lee Eldridge-age 77 of Luttrell passed away Friday evening, November 9, 2018 at her home. She along with her late husband were the owners of the former Mark’s Market in Luttrell. Preceded in death by husband, Alvin A. “Mountain Man” Eldridge; daughter, Robbin Fortenberry; granddaughter, Misty Leann Childress, parents, Samuel and Nana Lane Seivers; brothers, Robert and Bobby Seivers

Curtis Nathan Case

It is with great sadness that the family of Curtis Nathan Case announces he was received into the arms of the Lord after a brief illness Friday, November 9, 2018 at the age of 53 years. Curtis was preceded in death by his father, James Edward Case, mother, Dorothy Ann Case, brother, Michael Case, father-in-law, Ross Miller Sr., brother-in-law, Ross Miller Jr.

Lucy M. Grigsby

Lucy M. Grigsby – age 93 of Luttrell, went home to be with Jesus on Monday, November 12, 2018. She was a lifelong member of Cedar Ford Baptist Church. Lucy made an impact on the community through her service to Luttrell Elementary School and her church.

Rev. William Darrell Brewer

Rev. William Darrell Brewer-age 77 of Maynardville went to be with the Lord Friday, November 9, 2018 at his home. Preceded in death by parents, William O. Brewer and Imogene Sherritze Brewer; sister, Janice Robins.

Survivors: wife, Jean M. Brewer; daughters, Charlotte (Robert) Jones, Elaine (Tim) Smith, Sandra (Rich) Griffith; step-children, Boyd (Mindy) Peters, Eric (Connie) Peters, Kelly (Donnie) Wiggins, 15 Grandchildren, 20 Great-Grandchildren. Brother, Mike; sisters, Kay, Sue and Kathy. Special friend and caregiver, Rebecca Collins.

Linda Sue Wilkerson

Linda Sue Wilkerson-age 71 of Corryton passed away Thursday morning, November 8, 2018. She was a member of Hoitt Avenue Baptist Church. Preceded in death by husband, Harold G. Wilkerson; daughter, Deborah Atkins.

Survivors: children, Mark, Denise, Lonnie and Gabriel; ten grandchildren, Josh Atkins; Suzanne, Amber, Dexter and Steven Bolden; Jake, Riley, Maddy, Jackson and Delilah Wilkerson; six great-grandchildren, Hayden, Hayley, Haylynn, Hadley, Jasper and Emilee. Special aunt, Hettie Paul; special cousin, Ricky Vance.

Evelyn Grace Helton

Evelyn Grace Helton of Knoxville went to be with Jesus on November 6, 2018. She was the newborn daughter of Cynthia Helton and granddaughter of Jo Ellen Helton and Fred Anderson Helton; niece of Kristen Boisbert. Service will be private. Mynatt Funeral Home of Fountain City is honored to serve the Helton Family. Online condolences may be left at www.mynattfh.com.

DeAnna Alexi

DeAnna Alexi, age 47, of Knoxville TN, daughter of Tony and Margo Alexi, of Knoxville, went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, under the care of the amazing staff at UT Medical Center, with her family holding her hands at her bedside. DeAnna had been under the care of UT Hospice at home prior to hospitalization. She was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, Gertrude and Herman Cruze of Knoxville TN and her paternal grandparents Anthony and Betty Oleksy of New York. She was born in Silver Springs, MD on January 30, 1971. Survivors are her husband Christopher L.

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