I'm Still Here

I once went to visit an elderly friend who was near death. She occasionally lapsed into sleep. As she came closer to the end, she woke from one of these small naps, looked at those of us surrounding her, and said, “I’m still here.”
Somehow, even at that inappropriate moment, I found that statement hilarious. (Thank goodness I didn’t laugh out loud!) Ernest T. Bass came to my mind. In the episode of The Andy Griffith Show in which Ernest T. is trying to “court” Charlene Darling prior to her marriage to Dud Walsh, he’s outside the house, throwing rocks through the window. They try talking to him through the broken window, then talk among themselves. I think it’s Andy who next hollers out the window, “Ernest T.?” Bass replies, “I’m still here!”
Dear Reader, I’m still here, also, though I check almost every morning to be sure.
One of the things I think about when I remember my aunt Fleetie Thomas is obituaries. She was born and raised in the Thomas Holler (now renamed “Black Fox Hollow”), right on the Union/Grainger County line. She and her husband moved to Knoxville early in their marriage. I never knew her husband, Lester B. “Jack” Thomas. He died when I was about three years old.
That left Fleetie a middle-aged widow, but she considered herself married until the day she died. She was so loyal to her deceased husband that she tried her best never to even shake a man’s hand in church.
My brother J. C. said he once told her something to the effect, “Fleetie, Jack is as dead as ----, and you’re a good-looking woman. There ain’t no reason for you to be by yourself for the rest of your life. It ain’t helping him or you one bit.”
Jack had worked for the railroad, and Fleetie struggled financially somewhat after his death. She supplemented whatever pension she might have received by babysitting. Usually every Friday night, during the time my half-brothers and sisters were young parents, Fleetie had a houseful of my cousins at her house while their parents had “date nights”. The cousins undoubtedly had great times with each other, but I have heard some of them say in later years that they hated going to Fleetie’s because there was nothing to do.
I was born late in my parents’ lives, and a lot of my relatives on both sides were well into middle or later age when I was growing up. I say I was born twenty years old because of that. I did love my father’s three sisters, and spent quite a lot of time talking with them on the phone and in person whenever I had the chance.
At this time of year I think of Fleetie. For several years, at least from the second grade, when school was out I would go spend a week with Fleetie. I loved being around her. She always made me her center of attention when I was at her house, at least when she wasn’t babysitting (she babysat one girl, probably her favorite, named Abby, and I was always jealous of the attention she showered on that girl). Fleetie always had grape Kool-Aid and hot dogs. Sometimes she made excellent soup. Fleetie would feed me on a tray in front of the TV, and would offer me everything in her house to eat.
In later years I would still go to Fleetie’s house, even when I was in college, for the occasional visit. I loved to stay the night with her on the night before Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day we would go to Aunt Duskie’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. I remember my sophomore year of college reading The Scarlet Letter for my American Literature class at Lincoln Memorial University while I visited Fleetie. She was amazed that that big literature book didn’t have one single picture in it!
When I wasn’t at Fleetie’s house, I talked to her on the phone at least once a week. She read the newspaper daily, particularly the obituaries. Every time someone died and was served by either Ailor or Cooke Mortuary she would ask me if I knew them. Many times I did, sometimes I didn’t, and it did not matter either way. She would proceed to read me the entire obituary.
I must admit, the older I got the more tedious this got. I hope Fleetie never caught on to my teenage impatience, for I would not have wanted to hurt her feelings.
Sometimes when growing up, a child becomes his/her parents, and sometimes
his/her aunt. My ritual during a normal work day is to show up, sign in on my computerized time sheet, then check the obituaries online. Since printing obituaries is so expensive, many people don’t have them published in the newspaper, so I go to Cooke-Campbell and Trinity Funeral Home online and check their listings. As the gospel song would say, “Sometimes a Light Surprises”, and I recognize and am shocked at the passing of a friend or acquaintance.
I suppose some would think me eccentric (if they are kind) or crazy (if they are not as kind). That’s all right—I used to think my aunt Fleetie was a little extreme when it came to obituaries. How wonderful it would be for the phone to ring and for Fleetie to read me just one more obituary. (That is to say, if time could be turned back. If the phone rang right now and it was Fleetie, I’d most likely be joining her in the glory land!)
When I was young, practically everyone who died was older than me. Now, many are older, but more are my age or younger. That’s just a sobering reminder that time is passing and makes me question if I am using the time left to best advantage.
A former student posted on Facebook the other day an apology to everyone she thought was old at forty when she was a kid. I replied, “I forgive you.” How true it is—as we age we become our elders.
As obsessed with obituaries as she was, Fleetie was persnickety when it came to her own death. She spent the last few years of her life in a nursing home. After a period of initial dissatisfaction, she settled in her mind that she was in her apartment. Still, she often told my sister that she wanted to die. She would say, “Why don’t God just take me home?” My sister told her one day something to the effect, “Fleetie, I can push you off this balcony if you want me to and send you on your way.” Fleetie replied, “No, I don’t want to go that way!”
Fleetie’s request was that her obituary not be published until she was buried. She basically just wanted the family to be at the viewing, and she only wanted us to get a very brief glimpse of her in the casket. I told some of our relatives, “If she had known how pretty she was going to look she’d have wanted everybody to see her.”
But Fleetie was not vain. She was a modest Christian woman. In Preacher Oliver Wolfenbarger’s eulogy, the one statement that I remember is, “Wolfenbarger was loved by Fleetie.”
So was Ronnie. And so was Jack. Though Jack Thomas had been dead thirty-six years, Fleetie had matching casket sprays made so that when she was buried their graves were both covered with flowers. Even through the valley of the shadow of death Fleetie remembered the love she had for her long-departed husband.
My wish for us all, Dear Readers, is that we can find just a small measure of that kind of love in our lives. The best way to find love is to give it—love is one of those things that when given, it returns, multiplied many times over.
And it’s the love that remains. The only tangible thing I of my aunt Fleetie’s is a ceramic clock she bought at a rummage sale not long before she had her first stroke. That clock can be destroyed. Illness may even take away the memories. But the love will remain forever.

I leave you with a few email thoughts:

There's always a lot to be thankful for if you take time to look for it.
For example, I am sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don't hurt.

Aging: Eventually you will reach a point
when you stop lying about your age
and start bragging about it.



Presley Lay Named Union County 4-H National Dairy Month Chairman

Nashville, TN– Presley Lay has been named the 2023 National Dairy Month Chairman for Union County.

Lay will be honored June 8 at the Tennessee June Dairy Month Kickoff Event at Ellington Agricultural Center in Nashville. The event includes recognition from Brian Flowers, president of the American Dairy Association of Tennessee. The official kickoff celebration recognizes Tennessee 4-H members’ efforts to promote National Dairy Month in Tennessee.

2023 Green Industry Field Day Scheduled for June 27

The Green Industry Field Day returns in 2023 as an in-person event. The last time the event was held completely in person was in 2019 (pictured above). Photo by B. Sims, courtesy UTIA.

In-Person Event Returns to UTIA Campus

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Green Industry Field Day will be hosted in person this year by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. The event takes place on June 27, 2023, and participants will enjoy a variety of sessions that will take place beginning at the UT Gardens Plaza and ending in the Brehm Animal Science Building Lecture Hall.

A look at the Lumbar Spine

The spine is made up of distinct areas: the cervical spine, which is essentially the neck; the thoracic spine, in the mid-back; the lumbar spine, the lower back; and the sacral spine, in the pelvis. The lumbar vertebrae—the individual bones that make up the lumbar section of the spinal column—are described as L1 through L5. If one or more of those vertebrae are out of line—what chiropractors call a ‘subluxation’—here are some problems that may ensue:

Where's the Lunch?

What’s your favorite thing about visiting another town? Mine is eating at local restaurants that we don’t have back home. It’s usually a great experience. Usually.
Recently I was in a small town when lunch time rolled around. I was excited because I was going to eat at a local Barbeque restaurant. A couple of different people had recommended it to me, so I was giddy with excitement when I pulled into the parking lot. I did notice there wasn’t a lot of cars there. As I walked into the dinning area, I was going over in my head I was going to order. Soon, I realized I was the only ...

Sweet Serenity

I related in my last article about my aunt Fleetie and her daily review of obituaries. This has rubbed off on me, and I know I’m not alone. I have at least one friend who is younger than me who also does a daily obituary check.
Occasionally both my friend and I notice an obituary that “stands out”. It might be due to the picture of the deceased, or the length of the obituary (the longer, the more impressive, when the cost of printing an obituary is considered).

Fiesta Corn Salad

Corn salads are so pretty. They are easy to make, as well. I often use a drained can of diced tomatoes when I don't have fresh ones on hand. This is a cold weather salad, but you can make it any time you like. Combine all veggies in large bowl. Add Italian salad dressing. Toss gently. Chill 2 or 3 hours before serving.

Union County American Legion New Liberty Post 212 Part II

Dinners for First Responders, police, sheriff deputies, firefighters and EMTs have been held at the American Legion New Liberty Post Hall to thank them for all that they do for this county. The training that first responders go through and the commitment they must have are remarkable. Disaster relief is also a calling of New Liberty Post 212. Annually, they take clothing to homeless veterans. Initially, they traveled to the VA Mountain Home Hospital in Johnson City. But now they are taking clothing to the Ben Atchley VA Nursing Home in Knoxville.

Fruits of the Backyard Field Day Scheduled for June 13

Blackberry care is among the topics at 16th annual event. Photo by K. Thompson, courtesy UTIA.

Blackberry and Blueberry Care Among the Topics at 16th Annual Event

SPRING HILL, Tenn. – Homegrown blackberries and blueberries pair perfectly for summertime in Tennessee, and the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture would like to help bring them to your backyard. This year marks the 16th annual Fruits of the Backyard Field Day where attendees can receive valuable information, products and techniques that will help backyard fruits and other plants flourish.

Don’t Wait ‘til It Hurts

Most people’s approach to health care is a preventive one. They visit their medical doctor regularly to check for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other issues. They see the dentist regularly to prevent development of cavities, gum disease and other problems with the mouth. The idea is to not wait until a problem becomes evident.

Papaw and Old Spice

Have you ever felt like you have been hit in the chest? I am not talking literally. That being said, I think I have been hit over the years by any kind of ball you can think of: softball, football, basketball, volleyball and or any other plastic ball. In this article, I am talking about something touching your heart and memories.

Creamy Grape Salad

Grape Salad recipes are few and far between. Try this one, You'll like it. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir until bubbly, but not browned. Add milk and heat until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low. Add marshmallows and continue heating, and stirring until marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat. Cool 5 minutes. Stir in grapes, pineapple and pecans. Chill several hours before serving. Grapes may be cut in half if you prefer.

Privet: A Pretty Bush You Don’t Want to See or Smell

Right now if you’re outside much you are liable to catch a whiff of an almost overpowering flower smell, and if you investigate, you will likely find a bush loaded with small white flowers. This is Privet, a foreign shrub brought in as a landscape plant as early as the late 1700s. It has unfortunately gone Frankenstein and naturalized into the wild, where it is now very common to see along roadsides, woodland edges, and fencerows. It is bad news and a serious threat to our mountain farms and forests.

Union County American Legion New Liberty Post 212 Part I

Sure, I knew that the American Legion New Liberty Post 212 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8682 shared a building up at the end of Veterans St. And I knew that it had something to do with military veterans. But I am not a veteran, nor do I come from a military family. So they really had nothing to do with me, did they? Well, I was wrong. As a community, we need to support these folks who train, work and fight to protect us. What they did was not easy and often left physical, mental and emotional scars. And we need to recognize their dedication to us and our community.

UCBPA awards scholarships

L to R. Three of UCBPA Scholarship Recipients, Rileigh Collins (Jeffreys Memorial Scholarship), Lauren Bentley (Founders Scholarship for Service), Emili Strand (Career & Technical Scholarship)

Union County Business & Professional Association presented scholarship awards to eight graduating seniors at the Union County High School Senior Awards and College Signing Day on Tuesday, May 9, 2023. Receiving the Jeffreys Memorial Academic Scholarship was Rileigh Collins. Rileigh will attend East Tennessee State University to pursue a dual major in physical therapy and business.

Sweet Rewards for Helping Others

Members of Mrs. Keck's second period class enjoy ice cream treats at Maynardville Elementary School

Union County elementary schools’ 4-H Clubs just wrapped up their annual pop top tab collection drive to benefit Ronald McDonald House, and students at Maynardville Elementary enjoyed an ice cream party to celebrate collecting more tabs than any other school. They combined their favorite choice of ice cream flavor and topping and enjoyed the sweet rewards of their success during the last in-school 4-H meeting of the year. What a great way to finish an exciting year of learning about community service and volunteerism.

Nourish Kids Kick-off

Join us this Saturday, May 20, as the Union County Farmers Market kicks off our 2023 Nourish Kids program. This program has been designed to get children excited about local food and healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables. Once again, our market has partnered with Nourish Knoxville to present this program. Through a grant, Nourish Knoxville has been able to assist markets like ours throughout East Tennessee, providing materials and Produce Bucks making this program possible.

UT Hopyard Grand Opening – Tennessee Hops Week Event Scheduled for June 15 in Knoxville

This spring a new UT Hopyard has been constructed and planted at the East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center Plant Science Unit. Photo by B. Stocek, courtesy Unsplash.

Farmers, Industry Professionals and Public Invited to Attend

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Researchers and Extension specialists with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture are teaming up to support the state’s growing ...

Chiropractic and Arthritis

It used to be thought that the pain, stiffness and diminished function of joints due to arthritis were just an unavoidable part of the aging process. Advice on the topic was for some time limited to, “slow down.” We know now, though, that exercise is essential to managing the disease. Though chiropractors may be best known for working on the spine, particularly keeping its vertebrae, or individual bones, in line, they are trained in the operation of all the body’s joints and in the various therapies available to keep those joints working smoothly.

A Tap in the Dark

Have you ever had something happen that you thought you couldn’t explain? It happened to me as a child while I was being a “Smarty Pants.”
The women at our old church used to have a circle meeting once a month. In these meetings, each lady brought a covered dish so they could spend the evening in fellowship and discussing church matters. They would take turns hosting it in their homes. Then came the month when it was Mamaw Jo’s turn to host. At this time, I think I was around 9 years-old. I helped her clean house and set extra chairs out in the living room.

Watch Those Toes!

My nephew and I took a Saturday trip this past weekend to visit the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. The distillery is on the National Register of Historic Places. I had been there once, probably more than ten years ago, with my brother J. C. I had forgotten a lot of what I learned from my first visit.

Chicken Loaf

Here is an easy lunch or supper entree. Use canned chicken breasts, with a bouillon cube and water instead of chicken broth. You should have all the other ingredients in your pantry. i do. Use a can of cream of mushroom soup heated with 1/2 cup milk or light cream for the sauce. Beat eggs until thickened. Add 1 cup milk, chicken broth, onion, seasonings, chicken and bread crumbs. Mix well. Pour mixture into greased 9 inch loaf pan. Set in pan of hot water. Bake at 350 F. for 45 to 60 minutes or until set. Invert loaf onto hot platter. Serve with mushroom sauce made with 1/2 cup milk and can of mushroom soup heated almost to a boil. Makes 6 servings.

Lazy But Easy Composting

With living green becoming a worthy cause these days, you’ve probably heard the benefits of composting yard and kitchen waste. It’s good fertilizer, adds organic matter, improves soil moisture, and the environmental upshot is you’re sending less stuff to landfills and septic systems. Despite the positives, few people compost for various perceived negatives: no room, maintenance hassles, too complicated, bad smell, etc. As a composter, I would be considered a passive one, bordering on lazy.

Mystery Hike Revealed

On Saturday, May 13 there will be no Union County Farmers Market due to UCHS graduation. As usual, our walking program, Nourish Moves, has partnered with Preservation Union County and promised to keep everyone moving by offering a walk on that day. To celebrate National Preservation Month, we will be exploring “Farming: Past, Present and Future” with a hike at Seven Springs Farm.

UCHS tennis competes in district tournament

The UCHS Tennis Team competed in the TSSAA District Tournament. The young team garnered two All District Athletes, Dalton Schreieck and Jace Walker. Schreieck, a junior, competed in boys individuals and took his opponent to a tie breaker in the first match before losing the second match. Janae Chapell challenged in the first round of Girls Individuals. Hannah Groot and Scarlett Gwaltney and also Ava Tiller and Saria Chapell competed in Girls Doubles.

Union County 4-H Achievement Day

1st place Animal Science Horse – Scarlett Hughes
1st place Veterinary Science- Bree Williams
1st place Communication/Public Speaking Ava Cumberland
1st place Engineering/Safety Science – Landon Jessee
1st place Animal Science Sheep- Carson Hayes

Union County 4-H held its annual 4-H Acheivement Day on April 27th, 2023. 4-H members from all Union County Schools were invited to present a demonstration of "how to."

4-H Achievement Day Winners are pictured left to right in order. Each will move on to our sub-region contest in May in Jefferson County. 4-H Members who were not able to attend the county event should contact us to determine eligibility to advance in available project areas at subregion.

Ribbon Cutting at UT AgResearch Facility Ushers in New Era of Dairy Research

Members of the University of Tennessee dairy research herd at the East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center helped usher in a new era of Precision Farming Livestock (PFL) research during a demonstration of UT's new robotic milking technology on May 2. The robotic milking system will help measure production efficiency and food supply chain robustness, as well as cow response to the technology, through automatic data collection. Photo courtesy UTIA.

Robotic Milkers and Precision Livestock Farming on Display

WALLAND, Tenn. — Some very special dignitaries ushered in a new era of dairy research at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture on May 2 at a ribbon cutting and demonstration of UT AgResearch’s new robotic milking technology. Installed at the East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center’s Little River Unit, the new system allows cows to be automatically milked at their own will under a stress-free environment.


Fibromyalgia is a condition in which, essentially, a person “hurts all over.” Difficult to diagnose, fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread pain in muscles, ligaments and tendons and creates tender spots all over the body. In some cases, symptoms have begun to appear after a physically traumatic event, like a fall or car accident; after surgery or an infection; or in the aftermath of severe psychological stress. In other cases, though, symptoms may just build gradually. For some reason, women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men.

Eerily Quiet

Unlike most people, I don’t like quiet. To me, it’s deafening. It’s like a silent roar in my ears. When I was young, there was this one time where the quiet wasn’t just uncomfortable, it was rather eerie.

Color Blind?

I have been a church attender all my life. Over the years, I have served as Sunday School teacher, occasional usher, trustee and treasurer. One of the greatest honors of my life was to have once been anonymously recommended as a deacon. I did not pursue that opportunity, but I found it humbling for someone to even have considered me worthy.

Creamy Lemon Bars

Cake mix can make cookie baking easier. This one calls for a lemon cake mix. If you don't have that one, substitute any flavor that well with cream cheese and sour cream. These stir up quickly and do not require chilling..

Moss, Worth a Closer Look

By Steve Roark
Volunteer, Cumberland Gap National Park

Anyone who has walked in the woods has seen areas of rock or soil covered with a thick, green carpet. Moss often just blends into the forest background and goes unnoticed, but it is an old and venerable life form unique to most plants you find.

Union County's legendary Wanda celebrates 90th

Wanda Cox Byerley

Her family, friends, former students and colleagues flocked to the Union County Museum to wish Wanda Woods Cox Byerley a happy 90th birthday.
All in all over a hundred visitors came on Sunday, April 16, 2023. Her birthday was April 13 and County Mayor Jason Bailey, who was also a former student, proclaimed that date “to be forever known as Wanda Cox-Byerley Day in Union County.”

Union County Farmers Market opening soon

It’s time! Farmers Markets are opening throughout the south, and that includes your Union County Farmers Market. The season will kick off on Saturday, May 6, and we are looking forward to seeing you there.
Come and welcome our new market manager, Deerenda Cooke, and her daughter, Delana Hutchison, assistant market manager. Both the Union County Farmers Market and UT Extension Union County understand the importance of supporting and promoting not just local small businesses and farms, but our families that make up our community.

Tuesday night jams at the museum

Wayne Goforth on the fiddle and Mark Walker on the mandolin back up Donna Kerr on the flute.

The Union County Historical Society has opened the doors of the museum every Tuesday for an acoustic music jam. Everyone who plays an instrument, sings from the heart or just loves tapping their toes and clapping their hands to good ole country, bluegrass and gospel tunes is welcome.
The music begins at 6 p.m. and winds down about 8:45.
Recently, Norris Freeway came to play. Musicians come from all parts of the county.
Noted fiddle player Wayne Goforth coordinated the fun and makes sure everyone gets involved.

Commissioners to meet on budget

At the April 24 County Commission meeting, County Mayor Jason Bailey announced that Union County Commission would be taking action on the FY24 Budget at the May 22 meeting. He also noted that the Budget Committee will have two meetings, May 2 at 6 p.m. and May 16 at 7 p.m. to discuss budget concerns.
The May 2 meeting will discuss property for the justice center, voting machine storage, and the possible purchasing of property around the courthouse.

Plainview remembers Dave Williams, proclaims Crime Victims Week

Vice Mayor of Plainview Richard Phillips reads the
resolution passed by the Board of Aldermen to proclaim
April 23-29, 2023, as Crime Victims Week. Eighth District
Attorney Jared Effler sponsored the walk in cooperation
with the Maynardville Police Department on April 25 to
draw attention to the need for fair treatment of victims of
crime especially those that are victims of violent crimes
and the families of the victims.

Plainview Planning Commission and City of Plainview paid tribute to David Williams, the city planner, who died about a week before the meeting. Stewart Skeen, Plainview City Codes Zoning Officer, praised Williams for his depth of knowledge, his professionalism, but most of all for his ability to adapt complex issues to simple rules and explanations that a small city like Plainview could enforce.
Williams remarked many times how thoroughly he enjoyed working with his “friends in Plainview.” Jordan Rockwell will be the new planner.

Allie Tharp wins Keeping Norris Blue contest

Lynda McKay, NLPA member, Anna Jones, Allie Tharp, Avery Branscomb and Sabrina Cason, Paulette Elementary contest participants, and Janet Stout, NLPA member.

The Norris Lake Protection Alliance (NLPA) sponsored a drawing contest for children in all five counties surrounding Norris Lake. The theme was to draw a picture representing Norris Lake and things that we do on the lake. We had many talented entries.
Allie Tharp, a 4th grader at Paulette Elementary School was selected as the winner.
She was presented with tickets to MagiQuest and Soaky Mountain Waterpark.
Allie’s drawing has vivid color, excellent detail and a great theme of cleaning up the trash on Norris Lake.

Back Pain Won’t Go Away On Its Own

Experts estimate that as many as 80 percent of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives. The back is a complicated weave of nerves, muscles, joints and ligaments. There are plenty of opportunities for something to go wrong. A twinge or minor pain in the back may come and go. But what the average person would call “pain” in the back is not likely to go away on its own. Low back pain, some experts say, is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Back pain often is the result of mechanical problems with the back.

'StoryThyme' at the farmers market

Everyone enjoys a good story, so we couldn’t imagine a better way to start each market than with StoryThyme.
Stories not only develop language and listening skills, they stimulate our imaginations, promote lifelong learning and can expand our understanding of the world we live in.
While the Union County Farmers Market and UT Extension are all about promoting good health and nutrition for our children, story content will vary. Obviously, many will be food and farm related.

Healthy lifestyles and the farmers market

UT Extension Union County and the Union County Farmers Market are at it once again, partnering to create healthier, more active lifestyles.
This year, when “Union Gets Movin” and we “Walk the Market,” Nourish Knoxville will be sponsoring our new program, Nourish Moves! The program is designed to promote a more active lifestyle increasing overall health, as well as building community.
After all, the market is “where the community meets” and we’d like to encourage families and people of all ages—our community—to meet up and walk.

Halls High Class of 1983 reunion announced

Does anyone know what time it is? Here’s a little hint.
If you graduated from Halls High School in 1983, it’s time for the 40th reunion. Are you thinking: “Where has the time gone?” I totally understand. It seems like yesterday we were listening to Prince and Journey; whereas, today we’re listening to our bodies “pop” and “crack” every time we move. That’s okay because we’re staying alive. So, let’s celebrate together and party like it’s 2023.

Baking tips and tricks from Buttercup Bakehouse

As we all know, baking has its ups and downs—even the most experienced baker will run into a problem in the kitchen from time to time.
Here are some baking tips and tricks to help ensure a more consistent outcome when making cakes, cupcakes, breads, and any other sweets and treats. A big thing to remember when baking is that measurements matter. The phrase “cooking is an art and baking is a science” holds a lot of truth.

Jaydon Battles named Champion Speller

Union County Spelling Bee participants pose with their Bee Awards: Ayla Etheir (5th grade MES) placed 4th, Tanner Spangler (4th grade PES) placed 2nd, Jaydon Battles (3rd grade SCES) 1st place Champion, Deacon Collins (5th grade LES) placed 6th, Clay Korth (5th grade BRES) placed 5th and Heaven Jones (8th grade HMMS) placed 3rd.

The Union County Spelling Bee was held in early April in the Union County High School Library.
Winners from all of the elementary schools spelling bees and the winner of the middle school spelling bee listened intently as Stephanie Walker, the District ELA Coach for Grades 3-8, pronounced each word.
Before spelling the word, some asked for a definition or for the word to be used in a sentence.

Patriots tennis matches Carter

Hannah Groot and Scarlett Gwaltney

The Union County Tennis Team experienced several match wins as the Patriots competed against Carter High School in late April.
Sophomores Hannah Groot and Scarlett Gwaltney earned their first career singles match victory and junior Dalton Schreieck and sophomore Jace Walker beat Carter in singles (8-3, 8-0) and doubles (8-2). Sophomore Ava Tiller won her singles match vs. Carter 8-6.
The team is young, but full of energy and the desire to play a highly skilled game. Championships are most likely a part of the future for the Patriots.

The most misunderstood book in The New Testament

The last book in the Bible, which is commonly called “Revelations,” is arguably the most misunderstood book in the New Testament.
One major contributing factor to this misunderstanding is that the colloquialism “Revelations” is not the actual name of the book. The title as given by the KJV translators is The Revelation or more fully The Revelation of Saint John the Devine.
The book is not “Revelations” as in many, but rather one single Revelation. We simply need to look no further than the first verse to know this is true:
Revelation 1:1 KJV

World War ll women's fashions

The Korean Conflict, Vietnam and Iraqi Wars did not trouble the civilian population of our country as much as the First and Second World Wars. There were rationing and shortages during the first conflict, but nothing like during World War ll. It started immediately. I remember when sugar rationing was announced. Those who could afford it hoarded quantities of sugar. That couldn’t be done with women’s fashions, however.

Jam-Filled Oatmeal Bars

If I have a box of cake mix that has been there a bit too long, I will make this cookie recipe. You would never know that the cake mix was a little stale. Jam-Filled Oatmeal Bars. If the dry cake mix is lumpy, sift before using. In large mixing bowl, combine dry cake mix and oatmeal. Add butter and mix until crumbly. Press 3 cups of the crumb mixture into greased 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Reserve remainder for topping. Use bottom of a glass to flatten evenly. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack ...

In the beautiful city of the sweet forever

Is there, or was there ever, a person in your life whose presence thrilled your very being? In my life, to now, there have only been a handful. Near or at the top of my list was my great-aunt Lidia (pronounced “Liddy”) Mincey.
When I was a pre-teen Aunt Lidia would come to our house for visits. Her visits were always surprises, for she never announced her coming. She just appeared. There were times when I would come home from school and there she’d be. No matter what might have happened during the day that was disappointing, all was erased by Aunt Lidia’s presence.

The Tin Lizzie built America

It’s 1893 in the mountains of East Tennessee. There are no TVA nor are there lakes in East Tennessee nor northern Alabama. In the mountains of East Tennessee and north Alabama, work is done by manpower and draft animals. A few oxen are still being used mostly for snaking logs from the mountains to local sawmills or to railroad loading sites scattered through the regions with heavy timber concentrations.


Authors Guild of Tennessee

The Authors Guild of Tennessee (AGT) will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, June 1, 2023 at 11:00 am at the Faith Lutheran Church in Farragut. Social time and book exchange begins at 10:30. Published authors are invited to attend. AGT is now accepting applications for associate membership from authors who have written a book but are not yet published. Serious authors only. In the event of inclement weather, check the AGT Website for updates and information: authorsguildoftn.org.

Union County Board of Education

The Union County Board of Education will have a workshop on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. at the Union County High School library to discuss the Union County Board of Education Policy Manual and for a presentation from Johnson Controls, Inc.

The next regular workshop and meeting of the Union County Board of Education will be on Thursday, June 8, 2023 at Union County High School. The workshop will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the meeting immediately to follow.

Girls Volleyball Tryouts

Horace Maynard Middle School will host Girls Volleyball Tryouts Monday, May 22 from 3:15-5pm.
All current 5th, 6th, and 7th grade girls are invited to try out. Tryouts will be held in the gym.
If you plan to attend this event, please make sure you have a ride from Horace Maynard Middle School promptly by 5pm.

Reverse Raffle Deadline Approaches !

Have you purchased your Reverse Raffle ticket yet?? You better hurry! The drawing is scheduled for Saturday June 17th. Third prize is $500, second prize is $1000. And the Grand Prize winner will receive $2000! The proceeds from the ticket sales support the Lions Club excellent humanitarian projects. And you can help by purchasing a ticket. Tickets for this Reverse Raffle are only $10 each and are available from Ronnie Mincey at 865-278-6430 or Shirlee Grabko at 865-310-6874.


Carl Burnette

Carl Burnette-age 85 of Luttrell passed away Saturday, June 3, 2023, at Willow Ridge Center. Carl was a member of Hubbs Grove Baptist Church, Maynardville. He was a loving husband, father and papaw. He was a kind and generous man who never met a stranger. He loved his family, and his grandchildren were his pride and joy. Papaw was his favorite role in life. He loved his community and was always willing to help his neighbors. He enjoyed friends dropping by and sitting out under the shade tree visiting.

Paul Scott Bradley

Paul Scott Bradley-age 64 of Sharps Chapel, formerly of Fort Meyers, Florida passed away Saturday afternoon, June 3, 2023, at UT Medical Center. He was a member of Fellowship Church in Knoxville. Preceded in death by parents, Paul Ronald and Esther Bradley; son, Robert John Brodeur.

Survivors: wife of 22 years, Deborah Bradley; children, Roger Brodeur, Robyn Bean, Scott Brodeur; Matthew Duncan; nine grandchildren; sisters, Jana Simons and husband, Hans, Terri Bradley along with several nieces and nephews and a host of friends.

Woodrow "Woody" Burkhart

Woodrow Allen “Woody” Burkhart-age 59 of Maynardville passed away Saturday morning, June 3, 2023 at home. He was born February 3, 1964 in Harlan, Kentucky. He was a member of Ailordale Baptist Church. He was a retired over the road truck driver. Preceded in death by mother, Nancy Blevins Burkhart; grandparents, Denvir and Bertha Burkhart, Baxter and Betty Blevins.

Patriccia Gail Capps

Patricia (Patty) Capps-age 54 of Washburn passed away Friday, June 2, 2023 at U. T. Medical Center with her family by her side. She was an employee of East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Knoxville. Preceded in death by mother, Connie Wallace; sister, Faye Martinez; mother-in-law, Patsy Capps.

She is survived by husband, Tim Capps; father, Paul Wallace; sister, Donna Brown; children, A.J. (Valerie) Bales; Chelsey (Cameron) McGinnis; granddaughters, Leah and Emery Bales. Father-in-law, Dale Capps. Several nieces and nephews along with a host of friends.

Roberta Bruner

Roberta Christine Bruner – age 94 of Maynardville, went to be with her Heavenly Father, June 2, 2023. She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend. Roberta retired from Standard Knitting Mill after 44 years. She will be greatly missed.

Larry Steve Shoffner

Larry Steve Shoffner-age 70 of Sharps Chapel passed away Wednesday morning, May 31, 2023 at Claiborne Medical Center. He was a retired employee of Union County Highway Department. Preceded in death by daughter, Gabrielle Shoffner; parents, Charlie and Edna (Beeler) Shoffner; brother, Tom Shoffner; sister, Wanda Brown.

Jeffery Allen Farris

Jeffery Allen Farris – age 60 of Andersonville, passed away suddenly at his home on May 29, 2023. He was a member of Hines Creek Missionary Church.

He is preceded in death by parents, Herman Farris and Geneva McNish. Jeffery is survived by wife, Martha Farris; brother, Steven Odel Farris of Knoxville; sister, Carolyn Irene White of Knoxville.

Raymond Lynn Sexton

Sexton, Raymond “Lynn” Sr. “Jamup” – age 80 of Maynardville, TN, passed away Saturday, May 27, 2023. He was a Member of Alder Springs Missionary Baptist Church.

He is proceeded in death by father and mother, Troy and Lucille (Hunley) Sexton. He is survived by wife Patricia Acuff Sexton; sons and daughters-in-law Ray (Tricia), Casey (Sara), Anthony (Melanie) grandchildren Bradey, Brice, Daniel and Sydney; sister Norma Sharp; and several nieces, nephews, and friends. Special thanks to Michelle Helton (Amedisys Hospice) and Alder Springs Baptist Church.

Danny Ray Flatford

Danny Ray Flatford-age 67 of Maynardville, born March 24, 1956 passed away Sunday, May 28, 2023 at his home. He was of the Baptist Faith. Preceded in death by daughter, Kami Flatford, parents, Wilma and Clarence Flatford; sister, Patricia Flatford along with several aunts and uncles.

Dorena Clay Nicley

Dorena Clay Nicley-age 86 of Washburn passed away peacefully Saturday, May 27, 2023 at her home. She was a member of Mt. Eager Baptist Church. Preceded in death by parents, Bill and Annie Clay; husband, Hubert Nicley; daughters, Kaye Nicley and Janice Nicley. Several brothers and sisters.

Everett Miller

Everett Miller-age 86 of Monroe, Michigan made his final journey home peacefully the morning of Friday, May 26, 2023 with the window open, the sun shining, and birds singing. He was born in Sharps Chapel Tennessee in a one room, dirt floor home. In his mid-teens he relocated to Monroe, Michigan where he graduated from Monroe High School and then went on to complete a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University in 1961, and then his master’s degree from Eastern University in 1972.

Jeffery Lynn Hoskins

Jeffery Lynn Hoskins-age 57 of Maynardville passed away Thursday, May 18, 2023 at North Knoxville Medical Center. Jeff was a painter and loved his work; also, he enjoyed shooting pool. He was an outside guy and loved his two dogs, oby and Sissy. Preceded in death by his parents, Gene and June Hoskins.

Survivors: Girlfriend of 20 years, Rhonda Hulett; brothers, Robert Hoskins, Gary Hoskins, Mark Hoskins and Joe Maples. Several aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews along with a host of other relatives and friends.

Dalton James Burton

Dalton James Burton-age 17 of Mooresburg passed away Friday, April 14, 2023, at his home. He was a baptized and a member of New Hope Baptist Church, Corryton, Tennessee. Preceded in death by grandmother, Sandra McCroskey and husband, Darrell Banks; grandfather, David McCroskey; great-grandmother, Wilma Carolyn Murrell; grandfather, Charles Burton; grandmother, Tilda Burton; aunt, Sasha McCroskey.

Kenneth Doyle Brown

Kenneth Doyle Brown, age 73, went to join his Heavenly Father on May 21, 2023. He was born and raised in Luttrell, TN. He served his country as a Sergeant E5 in the Army during the Vietnam War. After an honorable discharge, he worked at Ready Mix Concrete. He later owned and operated Ken Brown Excavating. He retired in 2018, and his son took over the business. He is preceded in death by his mother, Thelma Dyer; sister, Mary Dyer; best friends, Kenneth Williams and Jay Atkins.

Swan Junior Evans

Swan Junior Evans-age 86 of Maynardville went home to be with the Lord Monday, May 22, 2023 at his home. Swan faithfully attended Alder Springs Baptist Church for many years. He retired from Roddy Manufacturing Company in 1996 and then went to work with Cooke Mortuary until 2016. Swan loved his cows and riding around in his tractor and his dog “Little Girl”. Preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Louella Loy Evans; parents, Woodrow and Vennie Evans; brother, Willie Evans.

Mabel Lois Guignard

Mabel Lois Guignard, age 94 of Maynardville, passed away peacefully to be with the Lord, Saturday, May 20, 2023. She was member of Halls Christian Church. Mabel is preceded in death by her parents Charles and Elise Schaumburg, husband Carl Guignard, siblings; Phillip Schaumburg, Charlotte Guignard, and Herburt Schaumburg. She is survived by her daughters Lois Bruner and Joan Proffitt, stepchildren; Norma Allen, Don Guignard, Charles Guignard, and Carol Simmons, grandchildren; Timothy Bruner, Robert Bruner, Jessica Proffitt, and many great grandchildren and close family and friends.

Wanda Sue Shoffner

Wanda Sue Shoffner-age 76 of Sharps Chapel went to be with her Lord and Savior Sunday, May 21, 2023, at her home. She professed faith in Christ at an early age. Preceded in death by parents, Sammie Dan and Mary Edna (Russell) Shoffner; brother, Harvey Otis Shoffner.

Sharon Booker Voigt

Sharon Marlene Voigt (née Booker) of Fort Mill, SC, passed away on April 23, 2023 in Charlotte, NC after a long battle with ALS. Sharon was born on June 17, 1948 in Knoxville, TN. Sharon was remembered for her kind heart, infectious laughter, and unwavering love. She loved spending time with her grandchildren Alexander and Andrew, who were the light of her life.

Willie Eugene Lawson

Willie Eugene Lawson-age 77 of Maynardville passed away Friday, May 19, 2023 at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. He was a U. S. Army Veteran and served in Germany in 1966 during the Viet Nam War. He was of the Baptist faith and professed faith in Christ at an early age. Preceded in death by mother and step-father, Imogene and James Hayes; father, Willie Junior Lawson; grandmother, Ruth (Clyde) Lawson; son, Donald Eugene Lawson; brothers, Jimmy, Charlie and Darrell Hayes.

Georgia Lorena Dyer

Georgia Lorena (Davis) Dyer of Maynardville, our beloved mom, mamaw, mam departed this life on Sunday, May 14, 2023 at the age of 93. She was a member of Warwick’s Chapel Baptist Church. Preceded in death by husband, Conley Dyer; parents, Sam and Sarah “Sally” Davis and 10 siblings.

Survivors: son, Virgil Dyer (Pat Tharpe); daughter, Pat Dyer; grandsons, Mike (Linda) Dyer, Tim (Crystal) Dyer; great-grandchildren, Ethan, Koby, Katy, Krissy, Lane, Jace; special friends, Jerry and Candy Halford.

Proverbs 31:28, Her children arise up, and call her blessed.

Billy W. Russell

Billy Wayne Russell-age 55 of Sharps Chapel, born April 17, 1968 passed away suddenly and peacefully Thursday, May 11, 2023 at his home. He professed faith in Christ and was baptized at an early age. Preceded in death by his grandparents, Charlie and Jennie Russell, Rev. Charlie and Hattie Leach, father, James Edward Russell.

Jeannie Cox

Angela (Jeannie) Cox, age 55 of Maynardville, went home to be with Lord on Wednesday, May 10, 2023. Jeannie was a small business owner in Maynardville for several years before retiring. Rustic-re-Do was a business she started from her garage and grew into its very own store front in Maynardville. Jeannie would transform old worn-out furniture into beautiful household show pieces. Her gift of working with furniture and ability to make relations with so many people allowed her to be an extremely successful business owner and staple in our community.

Larry Allen Sheckles

Larry Allen Sheckles-age 70 of Harrogate passed away suddenly Monday evening, May 8, 2023, at Claiborne Medical Center. He was of the Baptist faith. He was a former employee of Morgan’s Furniture Store, Middlesboro.
Preceded in death by wife, Rosemary Sheckles; parents, William and Beulah (Partin) Sheckles; three brothers; one sister.

Karin M. Wilburn

Karin M. Wilburn-age 63 of Maynardville, Tennessee passed away Monday, May 5, 2023, after a long battle with cancer at her home. She was born in Salzburg, Austria and resided in the United States for the past 24 years. She was an avid follower and participant in Tai Chi. Preceded in death by parents, Arthur and Josefine Hinteregger.

Reaford Mills

Reaford Henry Mills – age 79 of Knoxville formerly of Maynardville, passed away going to his eternal home. He was a Deacon for 48 years at Community Baptist Church in Maynardville.

He is preceded in death by mother and father, Thomas and Etha Mills; sisters, Margaret Boles, Carolyn Jones and Alma Hutchison; brothers, Alvin and Benny Mills. Reaford leaves behind his wife, Eula Mills; sons, Marty Mills and Kevin (Jennifer) Mills; and grandchildren, Jay, Jeffrey, Gabriel, River and Zoey.

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