Election 2018 – The Winners Are?

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.

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Help Needed for Under the Tree

Krista Cooke and Marvin Jeffries with the toys collected at American Business Services

Since 1985, there has been a grassroots effort to make sure that every child in Union County has gifts from Santa on Christmas morning. That effort started out under the name Union County Toys for Tots and operated under the Union County Business and Professional Association. Now, it's called Union County Children's Charities Under the Tree, and this year it will serve 427 children right here at home.

Teacher of the Month Mrs Hayley Sexton

Hayley Sexton

Teacher of the month is quite the honor to win. Who wouldn’t want the special recognition, especially out of the many wonderful teachers here? Our very own Mrs. Hayley Sexton accomplished just this. She started teaching biology at Union County High School about two years ago. During her interview, Mrs. Sexton explained how one wins teacher of the month, as well as what brought her to become a teacher. What really caught my eye about her interview was how humble she was about the accomplishment. Anyone can tell she genuinely cares about the children she teaches.

Next Generation Fiber Optic Broadband – Now, It’s All Up to YOU

Next Generation Fiber Optic Broadband – Now, It’s All Up to YOU

A $3.5M grant to bring next generation fiber optic broadband to the Sharps Chapel Community of Union County was submitted by Sunset Digital Communications to the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Grant Program. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) will announce the grant recipients in March 2019. A public comment period on all grants submitted begins on 28 November and ends on 20 December. YOU can help!

Extension Gives Back

Extension Gives Back

The true spirit of the season is giving and doing for others with no expectation of return. The simple act of kindness can work magic on a person’s heart. Gifts are not always in the form of an item but more so in the love that it takes to make or volunteer to do something. Being oriented in service learning, this season UT Extension Union County groups are in a giving spirit.

Preserving Union County's History and Honoring Our Veterans

Preserving Union County's History and Honoring Our Veterans

A community shows its strength when it works together to do good things. That's what Union Countians are doing. When the new bridge opened over Clinch River/Norris Lake on State Highway 33 between Maynardville and Tazewell and the old continuous truss bridge was being taken down, Preservation Union County worked with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to salvage pieces of the old structure. On May 24, 2016, we met with TDOT District 18 Specialist and the contractor that was removing the steel and acquired several pieces of wind bracing beams and bridge railing.

Local Author Jim Hartsell Book Signing

Jim Hartsell

Knoxville TN: Local author Jim Hartsell will hold a book sale and signing at the Ijams Holiday Market Sunday December 9 for his Boone series of novels, Pushing Back, Matching Scars and Keeping Secrets. The books will be rereleased with new covers through a new distributor December 1. The genre is coming of age Appalachian Fiction.

Events

Union County Election Commission Meeting

Thursday, December 13, 2018 - 14:30
Union County Election Commission

Union County Election Commission meets on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 2:30pm in room 101 of the Union County Courthouse to conduct election business which comes before the commission pursuant to its duties listed in, but not limited to TCA $2-12-116, and to conduct any other business that may come before the election commission at that time. Union County Election Commission, 901 Main Street, Suite 108, Maynardville, TN 37807, (865) 992-3471 http://www.electionsunioncountytn.com

Obituary

William Ralph Mink

William Ralph Mink went home to be with the Lord on December 8, 2018. He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his loving wife Peggy of 58 years and his children after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Ralph was born on October 23, 1938 to Buford and Addie Mink from New Tazewell, Tennessee. He attended Hiwassee College where he met Peggy and later attended the University of Tennessee where he received a degree in Pharmacy. His 46-year career as a pharmacist included 36 years at Appalachian Regional Hospital in Middlesboro, Kentucky.

oy L. Southers, Sr. (R.L)

Roy L. Southers, Sr. (R.L), age 86, passed peacefully on Tuesday, December 4, 2018. He was preceded by parents, Worley and Gracie Southers; brothers, Gene, John and Frank Southers; and sister, Anna Ruth Chapman. He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Christa Sparre’ Southers; children, Daniela Pinkerton, Roy Jr. and wife Kathy, Rickie and wife Rhonda Southers and Randy Southers; grandchildren, Jesse Pinkerton, Justin and Austin Southers, Morgan Southers and Remington Brown; and many family and friends. Roy was a loving, humble and honest husband, father and friend.

Leona J. Lankford

Leona J. Lankford, age 88, of Corryton, passed away on December 6, 2018. She was a member of Friendly Chapel Baptist Church. She was a loving and devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Her family and her faith were the most important things in her life.

Leona was preceded in death by husband Grant Lankford; and son Stanley Lankford.

She is survived by children Diane Baxter, Tracey Rucker, Mark Lankford, and Terry Lankford; sisters Betty Hancock and Connie Beja; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Joseph Lance Morton

Joseph Lance Morton, age 48, of Knoxville passed away Monday, December 3, 2018. He enjoyed being a chef and was previously employed for many years by the Chop House. He was a loving husband, father, son, brother, nephew, cousin, and friend. He will be remembered as a kind and caring man with a big heart. He will be sorely missed.

Mary Belle Wilkerson

Mary Belle Wilkerson – of Halls, passed away peacefully Tuesday, December 4, 2018. A lifelong resident of the Halls Community, “Mimi”, as she was lovingly known, was a member of The United Methodist Church of Halls, and beforehand, for many years, was an active member of The Church of the Good Shepard. She was involved in many organizations which included the DAR, Halls Women’s Club, and was a Worthy Matron in the Fountain City Eastern Star. For the past three years she was a happy, active resident of Elm Croft Assisted Living in Halls.

Wanda Lee Key Wright

Wanda Lee Key Wright. She was 75 years old of Knoxville, Tennessee entered the Heavenly gates to be with her lord and Saviour on Dec. 4th 2018 of natural causes. Proceeding in death by Parents Frank and Nena Key of Harriman, Tennessee and brothers Rodger, Earl, Blaine, James, Donald, Ferrell, Steve Key. Also proceeding in death Daughter Pamela. Survived by sister Shelia Alcorn and husband Darrell Self. Survived by Harry Phillips of a 12 year relationship. Children: Melissa Evans, Crystal Hughes, Robert Wright (Bobby) and Gary Wright.

Thelma Ramaglia

Thelma Elizabeth Ramaglia – age 90 of Washburn, passed away on December 4, 2018. Thelma was a member of Saint Teresa of Kolkata Catholic Church.

She is preceded in death by husband, John Ramaglia. Thelma is survived by daughters, Susan Ramaglia and Judy Ramaglia; sons, John (Denise) Ramaglia and Richard Ramaglia; five grandchildren and nine great grandchildren with one expected in July.

Edward Leo Oliver

Edward Leo Oliver, age 82, of Corryton, went to be with The Lord on December 1, 2018. He was a member of Emory Valley Baptist Church. He was a 50 year member of Corryton Masonic Lodge #321, P.M. twice and held many positions during his time there. Leo proudly served our country in the U.S. Army during a two year tour of duty overseas and was honorably discharged in 1958. Leo fully retired in 2002 from Plasti-Line, Inc. after 14 years and more than 23 years at Tucker Steel Company. He enjoyed gardening, college and professional football and Nascar racing.

Wendy Turner

On Saturday, December 1, 2018, Wendy Turner, wife, mother, daughter and sister passed away at the age of 51. Wendy will be forever remembered by her loving husband and best friend of 28 years Johnny Turner; their wonderful son, Brandon Turner (Sage); father, David Cooper (Brenda); siblings, John Cooper (Elizabeth), Darrell Cooper (Jennifer), Nina Goode (Roger) and Amanda Shaffer; she will forever be remembered by her numerous nieces (4), nephews (5), and extended family and dear friends.

Marie (Rutherford) Kidwell

Marie (Rutherford) Kidwell, age 91, passed away on December 2, 2018. She was a member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
Preceded in death by husband Swan Kidwell; parents Tom & Rova Rutherford; sister Edith Flatford and infant brother Arthur Rutherford.
Survived by sister Bernice Flatford; special friends Lawrence & Ethel Weaver and Karen Hawks; many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
Family will receive friends 6-8pm Thursday at Mynatt Funeral Home Halls Chapel, with funeral service to follow at 8pm, Rev. Mike Keck officiating.

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