Gratitude and appreciation draped the last Union County Commission Meeting of the commission elected in 2014. The new Commission will have eight new members. Many commissioners expressed their gratitude for the honor of serving the citizens of Union County. Others mentioned their appreciation for the chance to work with people from all over the county to do some positive things. The citizens erupted in applause for the return of Commissioner J. M. Bailey who has been struggling with a serious illness.
Election 2018 – The Winners Are?
The results are in and the winners are the citizens of Union County. Why? This election was decided on the issues; the important issues facing all of Union County.
The number one issue for the District 35 and 36 Representatives was highway infrastructure; the four lane of SR 33 from the Knox County Line to SR 144 in Maynardville and the straightening of SR 61 from Maynardville to south of Jim Town Road. The Union County Commission unanimously passed a resolution earlier this year, prepared by 1st District Commissioner Stan Dail, calling for a re-evaluation of the priority of these projects by Nashville and a number of individuals addressed the issue personally with TDOT at the Regional Transportation Workshop in June. As of this writing, TDOT is currently re-evaluating the priorities on both SR 33 and SR 61, with a proposal being discussed to publish the contract bid on SR 33 later this year and the contract bid on SR 61 in 2020. As neither project is included in the TDOT 2019-21 Comprehensive Multimodal Program, construction will ultimately depend on a budget amendment by the 111 General Assembly. It will be important for our local elected officials and citizens to travel to Nashville in January to meet with the legislature and stress the immediate need for these projects, for both the public safety and economic prosperity of all of Union County.
The number one issue in the race for Mayor and County Commission was the need for a Tennessee School of Applied Technology in Union County; a Trade School. The statewide need for vocational training was recognized by the General Assembly in 2013 with the establishment of the Labor Education Alignment Program (LEAP). This program created a statewide, comprehensive structure enabling students in Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) and community colleges to participate in technical training developed with input from area employers. Now in its second iteration, the LEAP program continues this effort by encouraging and facilitating the alignment of local workforce and education partners through a $10 million competitive grant process available to local collaboratives. For purposes of this grant, a local collaborative is defined as a partnership that serves at least three counties. Grants of up to $1 million are available to local collaboratives to facilitate the development and implementation of employer-driven career pathways that include both K-12 school districts and higher education institutions. Union, Claiborne and Grainger counties and their associated industries form the ideal collaborative for a successful grant submission. The Union County Commission unanimously passed a resolution earlier this year asking the Joint Economic Community Development Board to explore opportunities for establishing a Tennessee School of Applied Technology in Union County. With new mayors being elected in each county, the timing could not be better for the right executive leader to step up and form a collaborative partnership and bring a TCAT to our three county region.
Having access to high speed broadband service is quickly becoming the most important differentiating infrastructure of our time and it was a topic of conversation by all candidates for Mayor and County Commission. Following approval of a resolution prepared by 1st District Commissioner Stan Dail to have Union County placed on the Tennessee list of Broadband Ready Communities, work is underway to establish a collaborative partnership with Sunset Digital Communications. Founded in 2003 by the father and son team of Paul and Ryan Elswick, Sunset has been at the forefront of remote, rural fiber to the premises deployment. Sunset is a tier-two next generation fiber-optics services company based in Duffield, Virginia with branch offices in Kingsport, Tennessee and Tazewell, Tennessee. Sunset is currently bringing new broadband access to communities in Hancock and Claiborne counties after the State of Tennessee awarded a $1.3 million grant to the company. Sunset is also investing $1.1 million to bring the total investment to $2.4 million. The grant was made through the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act which is designed to offset the capital expenses in the deployment of broadband in unserved areas. According to Sunset Digital Communications co-founder Paul Elswick, “Bringing broadband access to rural communities is the mission of our company and we are happy to make an investment in the future of Hancock and Claiborne counties.” A number of individuals are working with Sunset in the hope that they will also make an investment in the future of Union County with the help of a Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act grant.
Additional issues discussed by the candidates included the need for continued transparent county finances, a balanced county budget and the need for citizen involvement through referendum in major county expenditures such as a new justice center or a new school.
Election 2018 was decided on issues important to all of Union County and all of Union County will be closely watching the progress made on these issues by our newly elected county executives.
The staff members of Willow Ridge Care and Rehab would like to thank all those who have so generously donated to provide a 19" wall mounted flat screen television for each of our resident's during their stay. The total cost of the television and mounting hardware comes to just under $100 each. For each $100 donation, we are placing a small sign on each television indicating who provided it. This is a daily reminder to our residents that they are cared for by the wider community. Over the course of a year, many people are touched by this gift.
Allyson Hanna has done her hometown proud by bringing home a state-level win from the Tennessee 4-H Round-Up and All-Star Conference. The 16-year-old homeschooler is a junior this year, and she won her division with a Senior Level 1 consumer education project on the Consumer Bill of Rights.
Hanna has been active in 4-H since she was in the fifth grade, and she credits the program with helping her grow as a leader and a team player.
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.
Year One, Week Thirty-One
Hello, everyone. My name is Oak Grove. I am a two room school building in the Sharps Chapel area of Union County.
For the past two weeks my “scribe” Ronnie Mincey has written articles about me, detailing pertinent points of my history for school terms 1932-1933 and 1934-1935. His main source for information has been the old registers on file at the Union County Board of Education’s Central Office, my “diaries”.
I have always been just a little different. For instance, my idea of a fun place was not the same as most other kids’ back in the 70s. They wanted to go to the pinball arcade or the skating rink, whereas I wanted to go to the laundromat.
The only time we washed clothes there was when the electric pump on our well messed up. No pump. No water. No washing clothes at home.
Seems like everyone has a Twitter, Facebook or some kind of social media account, well everyone except me. Thus far, I have avoided social media platforms, unless of course, you count the occasional religious article like this. But, I do read and listen to a lot of news, much of it digital. So even though I have no social media accounts, I still have exposure to everyone else’s social media rants via the news. I liken social media to the 1970s phenomenon of “Streaking”. Sooner or later you are going to get flashed! “Look out Ethel” If you don’t get the reference look up Ray Stevens song, “The Streak”.
The next regular workshop and meeting of the Union County Board of Education will be held on Thursday, August 23, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at Union County High School. The workshop will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the meeting immediately to follow.
REGULAR WORKSHOP UNION COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION THURSDAY, AUGUST 23, 2018 6:00 p.m. Union County High School
"We invite all area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders to come together on the last Thursday of each month at Hardee's at 7:30 am. This is to be a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion about how we as a community of Faith can work together to have a positive impact on our county. All are welcome!" Margaret Chesney
Ava Kathryn Easterday, age 8, passed away August 18, 2018. She was a dancer at Prima Dance Studio. Ava attended after school care and summer care at Wallace Memorial and was a student at Powell Elementary School. Ava’s passion in life was to dance. She loved being at the studio and she loved competing. She loved anything pink, teal, sparkly, shiny and glittery. She was a true girly girl and full of sass. She loved to make people laugh and could light up an entire room with her beautiful smile. She was a free spirit and full of adventure.
Phyllis Keny, 90, passed away Thursday, August 16, 2018. Born in Aberdeen, S.D. to Mae and Alphonse Zemlicka, she was very bright and talented in art and music, singing in the choir at Sacred Heart Church where her mother was the choir director/organist for many years. She attended Mt. Marty Catholic High School graduating in 3 years, then Northern State U. with a major in art. During that time, she performed as a singer at various campus venues. She tried out for a spot on the Laurence Welk traveling show in the Dakotas, before the age of TV.
Clay Edward Smith, age 57, passed away on Tuesday, August 14, 2018. He is preceded in death by father, William Smith; mother, Thelma Smith; and brother, Billy Joe Smith. Clay is survived by sisters brothers, Helen Williams, Linda Collins, Joyce Sheffield, David Smith, William Smith, Fred Smith and Michael Smith as well as several nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends at Mynatt Funeral Home Fountain City Chapel on Sunday, August 19th from 5-7pm. Family and friends will gather at Water Cemetery on Monday, August 20th at 10:45am for an 11am graveside service.
Frances Kilgore Norman, age 83, of Lakeland Florida, formerly of Knoxville, Tennessee passed away on August 12, 2018 at her home in Lakeland Florida. She was of Methodist faith. She was a member of Eastern Star, Mascot Tennessee Order. Frances was a certified nursing assistant. She worked at Lakeland Regional Medical Center and in Home Health Care. She was a loving mother, grandmother, and friend to many.
Dorothy Dean Hatmaker Weaver, 83, is now with her creator and keeper, Jesus Christ. She died August 13, 2018.
She is survived by her son, Daniel Weaver; sister, Aileen Hatmaker Ruland; nieces, Kim, Tracy, and Renee; a great-nephew and a great-niece.
She is preceded in death by daughter, Candace Weaver Ayers; sister, Barbara Hatmaker Sizemore, and parents.
Thomas Edward Lawless, July 27,1940-August 11, 2018, Thomas (Tommy) Edward Lawless of Maynardville, Tennessee passed away peacefully, Saturday afternoon, surrounded by his loving family at his home on August 11, 2018. Tommy was a graduate of Clinton High School class of 1958. He continued his education at East Tennessee State College and then served in the United States Navy (Vietnam) on a Mine Sweeper as Second Lieutenant for four years. He taught high school math and retired from Frontier High school in Ohio.
Bessie Mae Delozier-age 87 of Luttrell passed away Wednesday morning, August 8, 2018 at North Knoxville Medical Center. The Lord has called. I must go home. I take this time to say goodbye to my family and friends. I was born May 10, 1931 to a pretty little part Indian girl, age 16, Grace Dotson, who married Bill Line. I married at age 16. God gave me 5 wonderful children, 14 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren. I am so blessed with two wonderful step-daughters, three step-grandsons and one step-granddaughter. I leave lots of good friends.
Taniciah Montana Little-age 60 of Speedwell was born March 31, 1958 in Middletown, Ohio. She went home to be with the Lord Monday, August 6, 2018. Taniciah was preceded in death by her husband, Larry Little; mother, Lucetta Jane Hodson, father, Pierce Hays; sister Gloria Prater; brother, Perry Hays; nephew, Joey Prater.