Mayor Bailey Looks Ahead

Mayor Jason Bailey

On Saturday, August 25, 2018, Dr. Jason Bailey was sworn into office as Mayor of Union County. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Bailey to discuss his ideas and plans for the county. After our discussion, it became obvious that Dr. Bailey and have one goal in common: to promote all the positive attributes of Union County.

During our chat, I learned that Mayor Jason Bailey developed an interest in politics and county government when he was in college. “I worked at the Court House for Chancery Court and it just really fascinated me on how all the different departments worked together and how the government worked,” said Bailey.

As Bailey grew older, his interest in government increased. He had been watching local politics and knew Mayor Williams would not run for re-election. “I thought, you know what? This is my shot,” said Bailey. After praying about it and giving it much thought, Bailey made the decision to run for Mayor of Union County and prepared himself to leave his rewarding job with the school system if elected. “That was a tough decision, leaving a great job that I had down there, if I was elected. I prayed about it and got my answer that this is what I needed to do,” said Bailey.

Now that the election is over, Bailey is ready to get started. He advocates communication and getting along with others as one of his strengths. “I think I’m really good at getting along with people and helping others to get along. I’ve learned that along the way. In all the different areas I’ve been involved in, you have to be able to communicate, talk to people and listen. Obviously, as principal of the school you have to communicate with your staff, your students, your parents and your community,” replied Bailey.

And he is going to do just that. Soon after the dust settles, he is wanting to have town hall meetings in every district to find out what the biggest needs are. His desire is to meet in a common area like a school or community center with the commissioners and citizens. Bailey said that the idea is just to sit down and have a brain storming session to find out the needs and what they can do for each district.

In addition, Mayor Bailey has recently been meeting with Ann Dyer to discuss county finances and learn the inner workings of the finance department. Bailey said, “Ann runs a very tight ship.” He agrees with most that centralized financing has been wonderful for Union County. “I think centralized finance is probably one of the best things we have ever done in this county. I know Mayor Williams put that together and I applaud him for that. And I think placing Ann there is a really awesome thing. I think she does fantastic. I don’t see any changes,” said Bailey.

Mayor Bailey is also on board to get new and updated parks in Union County. “Parks and recreation are a huge part of the county,” said Bailey. Currently, Union County is working with the Parks and Recreation board in developing a strategic plan for our parks. The previous administration completed the parks recreation survey and Mayor Bailey is ready to take the next step. Bailey thinks the new and updated parks will provided more opportunities for recreation for kids and adults. The parks and recreation board gathered input from the community in a series of meetings and now Mayor Bailey is ready to do what he can to get new parks in our county.

Another project that has been in the works for some time and one that Mayor Bailey feels is of high importance is bringing high speed broadband internet access to Union County. And according to Bailey, it is part of our economic growth as well as industrial development and is needed to bring in jobs. County officials have been meeting with Sunset Digital and looking into a plan to provide high speed broadband internet access to areas of the county where it is currently unavailable. “It needs to happen; has to happen in order for us to grow,” said Bailey. Sunset Digital is looking to install a fiber backbone in the Sharps Chapel area as well as Maynardville and around the Hickory Valley area. Mayor Bailey says, “We are on the right path to getting that done.”

In addition to having high speed broadband internet access, we also need the infrastructure to support industrial manufacturers. “I want to get that going as soon as possible,” said Bailey. Having a direct four lane highway to the interstate will be a huge selling point for the county. In addition to improving Highway 33, TDOT is wanting to straighten out some of the curves on Highway 61. Improvements to both of these highways will expand the opportunity for job growth in Union County.

While talking with Mayor Bailey, one thing was clear: Bailey wants to bring jobs to Union County. Improving broadband, fixing our roads and providing the utilities that big businesses are looking for all tie together to attract new businesses. “Your bigger companies look at your trained work force,” said Bailey. TCAT (Tennessee College of Applied Technology), a post-secondary vocational training school, can provide the skilled workers businesses are looking for.

Currently, the county and the school system are working together to bring TCATs to Union County. A lot of kids are interested in vocational training and they can get it for free with Tennessee Promise. “I want it here as quick as possible. I think the faster we can get it here, the more it’s going to open up for industry to come in, the more we are going to get our kids trained. And our kids are going to be able to stay in this county to work,” said Bailey. He also indicated TCATs is not just for students but anyone wanting to build the skill set employers are looking for. And after TCATs is in place, then why not check into a Walters State or a Pellissippi State Community College.

With all of this new growth, some issues are going to intensify and parking around the court house will be one of those. Bailey thinks the Ailor Property is ideal, but it may not be the most financially smart move for the county due to the condition of the building and the asbestos that it contains. According to Mayor Bailey, there may be additional options. Other properties around the court house may be acquired such as a strip in front of the court house, the property next to the EMS building and the street just behind the court house that could be repurposed.

Another issue that will intensify with population growth is the overcrowded jail. Bailey agrees that we need a new jail and must get creative in our efforts to fund its construction. “When your county grows so does your inmate population,” said Bailey. He also believes that when you build a new building it is important to repurpose the old one.

His goal is to see Union County become proactive instead of reactive. It is inevitable; we will need funding. By being proactive, Mayor Bailey believes we can save for the day when we need a building. By setting aside small amounts of funds over a long period of time, we help prevent the need to raise taxes or implement wheel taxes.

An immediate concern for many Union County citizens is the Court House’s lack of ADA compliances. Mayor Bailey agrees we have to be ADA compliant. Whatever we have to do to make the building ADA compliant just has to be done. We are a public building that receives state funds and federal funds; we have to be ADA compliant said Bailey. This is something Mayor Bailey wants to work closely with commissioners on.

Originally, making the court house ADA compliant and flipping the Court House entrance was two separate projects that got lumped together. His goal is to separate the projects and bring the courthouse into compliance first.

“Say you have a citizen coming in to pay their taxes, and they have a hard time getting in that back door and up the elevator to Gina’s office. That’s unacceptable. It’s a public building. It’s for our citizens. It has to be accessible to all,” said Mayor Bailey.

Mayor Bailey says he’s not in it for the political gain or the title of Mayor. He’s in it because he wants the best for Union County and he wants to see the county grow.



A Universe of Stories

Maynardville Public Library Director Chantay Collins and Assistant Mandi Suddath

Maynardville Public Library has kicked off their Annual Summer Reading Program, A Universe of Stories. Reading is made fun with creative ways to earn prizes, rewards, and many perks of online programs. All ages are invited to join in on the program, youth and adult.

Tripping and Rolling

For most people, it would be a traumatic and possibly dangerous experience. To me, it was another one of my unexpected trips. Pun intended.

It happened at the end of gym class my sophomore year of high school. We didn’t dress out that day, instead we played a game of no rules basketball. When the first dismissal bell rung, I ran back up to the very top of the bleachers to get my folders. My friends and I had been sitting up there before we joined into the basketball game.

Salty Baked Potato

Whenever we are grilling out, I hate to take space for baked potatoes. Yes, they taste great cooked on the grill, but there is an easier way to do them. Just dip them in egg whites, sprinkle with coarse salt and pop them in the oven. The egg white holds the salt crystals in place and seasons the potato. You might think that is too much salt, but it isn't. Don't eat the skin if you have a problem with salt, but I do because I don't. They look pretty on the plate as well.

Childhood Memories (Not Made in Tennessee)

Hi Oh Silver, Away!!!

I was looking at an old picture not too long ago and it was like having a time machine. The picture was of me in cowboy get-up. At the sake of dating myself, I loved the old westerns on TV: Rifleman, Wagon Train, Maverick, Death Valley Days, Zorro, the ones in black and white, during what some call the Golden Age of Television. There I am in the picture, my best sheriff pose, gazing into the camera on Christmas morning. This was in Alaska; Ft. Richardson, to be exact.

The Ultimate Head Fake


I’m not talking about basketball. I’m talking about a concept known as “deepfakes”. The term comes from combining the concept of “deep learning” with the word “fakes”. It’s one of the latest emerging technologies to burst onto the scene, and you should be worried about it.

Bean and Pasta Salad

There are a jillion bean and pasta salads out there. They are all a little different and good, too. This one is a bit different from the rest. The celery is partially cooked. The onion is marinated in white vinegar. All of that does make a difference. Try it and see what you think. You can use any combination of canned beans, even add green beans, if you like. Mix it up.

David McCollough Celebrates 30 Years

David McCollough, State Farm Agent

In June 2019, David McCollough celebrated thirty years in the insurance industry. David is a State Farm Agent in Maynardville, Tennessee. He grew up in South Alabama with hardworking parents who taught him the importance of working to achieve your goals. David graduated from Troy University with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree. He has three children who live close by in beautiful East Tennessee; Jake, Abby, and John David.

George Jones Tribute Concert

This Saturday, June 15, clear your calendar and take a beautiful drive into Sharps Chapel for an evening of music and festivities at the George Jones Tribute Concert. The fun filled, family event will be held at the Sharps Chapel Community Park from 6:00 – 9:00pm with festival seating, so don’t forget to bring your lawn chair!

One of My Stunts

It seemed like any other Sunday afternoon. That was until Sara and I hopped out of the car.

Down the back driveway, my stepfather Dick came barreling toward us in his truck. He and my mom lived behind us on top of the hill. I realized he had been watching and waiting for us to arrive back home from chirper choir. That told me something had happened.

The first thing I noticed was that my mom wasn’t with him. Fear and uncertainty slowly crept up my spine. Had something happened her? And if so, why wasn’t Dick with her?


Wine and Wreaths

Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 18:00

Thursdays just got so much better!
Join us at The Winery every Thursday for
amazing drink specials and exciting activities.

In June, join us for a fun Wine and Wreaths event.
During this class, get ready for 4th of July by crafting a wreath while enjoying a glass of wine. Various ribbons are available so you can make the wreath your own. The class is only
$25 and includes all the materials needed as well as the glass of wine. Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling The Winery at (865)745-2902.

Union County Board Of Education

Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 18:00

The next regular workshop and meeting of the Union County Board of Education will be held on Thursday, June 20, 2019 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.



Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 07:30
Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

"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!" For more information please contact Kathy Chesney at 865-566-3289.

CEASE inc., Paint and Pour

Friday, June 28, 2019 - 18:30

CEASE, inc. will be hosting a Paint and Pour event at Seven Springs Winery at 6:00 PM on June 28th. Participants will take a painting class while sipping on wine. The cost of the ticket includes the painting class, all supplies needed for the class, and the first glass of wine. Tickets are on sale for $45.00. Tickets are limited, so get yours today! We're going to have a great time and this event benefits a great cause, providing assistance to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault! Call 865-745-3002, connect with CEASE inc.


Jenny Lou Holt Byrd

Jenny Lou Holt Byrd, age 88, of Maynardville, TN passed away on Monday, June 17, 2019. She was a longtime member of Clear Springs Baptist Church. Jenny enjoyed scrapbooking, crocheting, and gardening. She is retired from K-Mart after 27 years. She is preceded in death by husband of 68 years, Charles Byrd; mother Grace Fortner Holt Chamberlain and father Clifford Holt.

Charles Edward Green

Charles Green – He often said, “Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.” And on June 15, 2019, Charles Edward Green, loving husband and father of two children, went to Heaven at the age of 70 in Maynardville. Charlie was born on January 15, 1949 in Kingsport, Tennessee to Roy and Willnette Green. In 1970 his son, Johnathon Edward was born. He married Kimberly (Kim) Jones 31 years ago and raised one son together, Samuel Roy. Charlie had many passions including motorcycles, 60’s & 70’s R&B music and hamburgers.

Donna Jo (Chesney) Rogers

Donna Jo (Chesney) Rogers-age 74 of Sharps Chapel passed away Saturday, June 15, 2019 at Claiborne Medical Center. She was preceded in death by husband, Marsillus Isaac (Skeeter) Rogers.

Survivors: son, Joe Rogers, daughter, Angela Buege; granddaughter, Kelly Buege; instant granddaughter, Jennifer Housewright.

Arrangements for a memorial service are pending at this time. Cooke-Campbell Mortuary, Maynardville in charge.

David Wayne Tolliver

David Wayne Tolliver-age 72 of Sharps Chapel went to be with the Lord, Friday afternoon, June 14, 2019 at his home with his wife and family at his side. He was a member and Deacon of Leatherwood Baptist Church. Retired employee of Union County Highway Department and also had a love of farming, hunting and fishing. Preceded in death by parents, Andrew and Lillie Tolliver; parents-in-law, Bob and Ethel Buchanan; sister-in-law, Shirley Tolliver.

Tyler Wayne Atkins

Tyler Wayne Atkins-age 24 of Luttrell passed away Friday, June 14, 2019. He was preceded in death by mother, Misty Dawn (Nankervis) Atkins; brother, Matthew Atkins; grandfather, Jerry Nankervis; special grandmother, Bonnie DeVault.

Survivors: father, Chris Atkins; sister, Gracie Nankervis; grandparents, Gary and Phyllis Atkins; grandmother, Connie Condry; papaw, Jimmy DeVault; uncles, Jimmy (Julie) DeVault, Jr., Shawn and Shea Condry, Jerry and Cory Nankervis. Several cousins and other family members.

Audy B. Keck

Audy B. Keck-age 72 of Sharps Chapel went home to be with the Lord after a long battle with cancer Thursday evening, June 13, 2019 at his home. Audy had a testimony of faith in the Lord, Jesus and was of the Baptist belief. He was a member of the Union County Rescue Squad. Preceded in death by parents, Warmer and Linda Keck; brothers, W. T., Joe, Jimmy and Harley Keck; sister-in-law, Nancy Keck; brothers-in-law, J. B. Stansberry and Jim Hayes.

Dorothy "Dot" Knott

Dorothy “Dot” Knott began her new journey June 13, 2019 with family at her side; Leaving behind daughters, Virginia Smothers (Mark), Deborah Hill, Lisa Gerard (Jeremy), step-daughter Donna Fisher, treasured grandkids and great-grandkids, as well as, her beloved Rocky Hill Baptist Church family and many other special friends. Family will receive friends 5:00-7:00pm Monday, June 17, 2019, at Rocky Hill Baptist Church with service to follow at 7:00pm, Dr. Scott Whaley officiating. Family and friends will meet 10:45am Tuesday, June 18, 2019, at Rocky Hill Cemetery for an 11:00am interment.

Erwin Lynn Berry

Erwin Lynn Berry – age 64 of Sharps Chapel, went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, June 9, 2019. He was a member and deacon of Oak Grove Primitive Baptist Church. Erwin was an employee of Pilot Corporation for 38 years.

Eva Jean Lawson

Eva Jean Lawson – 59, born August 18, 1959 to Cecil and Thelma “Judy” Branham in Welch, West Virginia, passed away June 11, 2019 after a courageous battle with cancer. She married the love of her life, Roy E. Lawson in Monroe, Michigan on June 22, 1984. She was a nuclear security officer at Fermi II plant for 23 years and also a security officer at Monroe High School for 8 years.

Paul L. Llewellyn Obituary

Paul L. Llewellyn, age 74, of Knoxville, passed away on June 9, 2019.
Paul will be remembered as a loving and devoted husband. He was a Harley Davidson enthusiast and member of the Blue Hawks. He also loved animals, especially his dog Lucy.
Preceded in death by mother and father Addie and Tate Llewellyn; 3 sisters and 4 brothers.

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