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.



Get Your Morning Mojo at Liquid Lightning

Liquid Lightning

It is a great time to be a coffee drinker in Maynardville. Whether you are waking up early headed to work, finishing up the morning school drop offs, or just plain love to guzzle coffee all day, with one sip you will be sure to add a new stop to your daily route. Liquid Lightning, a local veteran owned and operated coffee shop, has opened their doors and put the go-juice on to brew with a goal of bringing delicious coffee, lots of laughs, and a sense of joy and comfort to the community.

Win for Author Kaye George

Kaye George

Knoxville TN: Local author Kaye George took home a second place win from BOULD (Bizarre, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless, Daring) for her short story Dream Girl. The story is published in BOULD Awards Short Story Anthology and is now available on Amazon.

Shirleys Bread

Shirley's Bread

I got a call from Aaron Russell the other day. He was checking to see how I was doing. He hadn't talked with me in a while. During the conversation, he mentions that he likes to bake bread. Not just any bread, but salt-rising bread. He described the process as well as how good the bread tastes. That got me thinking.

Ambulance Selfie

Ambulance Selfie

“Well, you always want an adventure!” Lynda locked the car doors.

It’s an interesting story how we had gotten to that point. Lynda is my best friend and cousin. We played ball together, ran around together, and went to the same middle and high school.

George Washington Cherry Treat

George Washington Cherry Treat

Fresh pie cherries aren't available in February. That's okay. Food City does my canning for me these days. They have one pound cans of red tart cherries on the shelf every day. I call them sour cherries.

Do you really think George cut down a cherry tree? Do you really think he fested up to the deed? Naw. George was known as a ladies man. I wouldn't be surprised if he did tell a lie now and then.

Science versus Faith

Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal once said, “The heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing… We know truth, not only by reason, but also by the heart.”

Pascal was a genius and a genuine polymath who lived in the 17th century. To cover his accomplishments and body of work would require volumes, which have already been written. I want to focus on the concept he so poetically illustrated above – the ever-present battle between the head and the heart. Specifically,

Cherry Creme Fudge

Cherry Creme Fudge

Here is a fudge recipe I made a long time ago, that is, if you call 1981 a long time ago. Fudge recipes have evolved over the years. They are easier to make now. Just cook up some sugar and evaporated milk. Add chocolate and marshmallow cream and you have fudge. But it is not the same as the old fashioned variety. Oldsters will agree with me. (I will share one of those recipes at a later date.).

Failed Back Surgery Is Relatively Common

Failed Back Surgery Is Relatively Common

Failed back surgery (continued low back and leg pain after surgery) is relatively common according to a new report from the Boston University School of Medicine. With each reoperation, success, as defined by pain reduction, becomes less likely and most patients do not improve. However, preliminary studies using a simple procedure to remove scar tissue or adhesions suggests a new treatment could help those with post-surgical, chronic low back pain.

The German Beer Stein

German Beer Stein

I have had a beautiful beer stein since World War II. My brother, Rodney, sent it back from Germany. He was part of a Navy goodwill tour that started at England then went on to Germany. He sent back two beer steins and a Black Forest coo coo clock from there.

When he returned home, Rod took back the coo coo clock and one beer stein. That left me with one beer stein. I have placed that beautiful beer stein in a prominent place in my home as I moved around the country. It is time to give it a permanent home while I am still here to do so.


Interested in Homeschooling?

Monday, February 25, 2019 - 18:00

Join us for our annual Mom's night out. Monday, February 25, at six pm when April Shepherd, from the Smoky Mountain Home Education Association will be speaking at Hardees. April, a proponent of country living and a successful homeschooling Mother, will be speaking on using everyday living to teach fundamentals and life skills. She has titled her talk, "Little House on the Prairie Schooling". Sponsored by the local support group of homeschooling families, more information can be obtained by contacting Connie Dickey @ 865-992-3629

Mens Conference

Friday, March 1, 2019 - 19:00
Alder Springs Missionary Baptist Church

Alder Springs Missionary Baptist Church will be hosting a Men’s Conference on Friday, March 1st at 7:00 P.M. and Saturday, March 2nd at 9:30 A.M.
Evangelists will be Rev. Jerry Vittatoe and Rev. Mike Viles. Pastor, Rev. Jimmy Davidson extends a hearty welcome to all men.

4-H County Baking Contest

Monday, March 18, 2019 - 17:00

After youth have participated in school during February, they will be awarded a blue ribbon to move forward to the county contest. The entries at the county will be due for judging on March 18 then displayed with awards at the Extension Month Open House on March 19 for sampling.

MPL Small Business Expo

Saturday, March 23, 2019 - 09:00

Small Business Expo
Hosted by Maynardville Public Library
296 Main St, Maynardville, Tennessee 37807
Saturday, March 23, 2019 at 9 AM – 1 PM
Our 3rd Annual Expo to showcase the many small businesses in Union County. Drop by to see what our county has to offer and support these local businesses.
If you are a business owner looking to attend fill out the following google form by March 15th


Franklin Delano Capps

Frank Capps-age 85 of Knoxville passed away Thursday morning, February 21, 2019 at U. T. Medical Center. Member of Warwick’s Chapel Baptist Church. He was a U. S. Army Veteran. Frank was a long-standing owner/operator of auto service garages in the Luttrell area. Preceded in death by wife, Ithel McHone Capps; daughter, Brenda Smyth.

Obituary for Mary Carolyn Childress

Mary Carolyn Childress, age 84 of East Knoxville, passed away Thursday, February 21, 2019 at her home. She attended Buffat Heights Baptist Church. She was a long- time employee of Supreme Contracting. She was the daughter of the late Carl and Frances Whitt, Proceeded in death by Jack Childress. Survived by brothers; Ronnie (Phyllis) Whitt, Tom (Jo) Whitt, and Steve Whitt. Several nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews. Longtime friends, Mack and Lily Thomas and Bryan and Sherry Linander.

Janice Ann Beeler Fields

Janice Ann Beeler Fields-age 66 of Corbin, Kentucky passed away suddenly Monday morning, February 18, 2019 at her home. She was a loving mother, nana, sister and friend. She will be sadly missed by all. Janice was a member of Nave Hill Baptist Church and was a former co-owner of Fields Apparel in Monticello, Kentucky. She was recently employed at SEKRI, Corbin, Kentucky for 22 years. Preceded in death by parents, James Aubrey and Lillie Beeler, two brothers, Gary and Terry Beeler; nephew, Adam Beeler.

Robert Bradley Douglas

Robert Bradley Douglas, known as Brad Douglas, was born October 12th, 1978. Brad spent his life in the Knoxville area embracing the Tennessee Volunteers, fishing and hiking. Brad's favorite thing to do was to take him and his family exploring. It is with great sadness that the family of Brad Douglas announces his passing at the age of 40. His spirit, enthusiasm and willingness to put other's needs above his own will be missed but not forgotten.

Robert Bruce Kezer

R. Bruce Kezer-age 84 of Knoxville departed this world for heaven on February 15 from his home. His family was at his side. Born in Jersey City, NJ, on September 30, 1934 to Edwin and Ruth (Adams) Kezer, Bruce graduated from the University of Vermont in 1957. He then entered the US Army and served, in peacetime, for three years until being honorably discharged at the rank of Lieutenant. Bruce loved Jesus with all his heart, and worked to live instead of the other way around.

Thomas Michael McLaughlin

Thomas M. McLaughlin age 57 currently of Maynardville TN, formerly of Edison NJ, passed away on February 8th 2019 at UT Hospital following an exhausting battle with cancer. Preceded in death by father, Thomas W, and brother Michael W McLaughlin.

Survived by wife Kathie, daughter and son-in-law Jennifer McLaughlin and Josh Lamb, son TJ, mother Elaine, sister and brother-in-law Lori and Gary Yurchak, grandchildren Chris and Michael, as well as a host of other relatives and friends.

Judson "Juddy" Bailey

Judson “Juddy“ Bailey - age 79 of Washburn, was born on February 27, 1939 and passed away peacefully on Sunday, February 10, 2019. We all called him Pap. He was a member of Nave Hill Baptist Church. He loved his family, hunting, playing cards, dogs and driving around. He spent his last few months putting on his shoes and saying “I believe I will go home”. He is finally “home“, peacefully in the arms of Jesus.

Frances Jane Nichols

Frances Jane Nichols “Janey”, age 61, of Rockford, went to be with the Lord on February 8, 2019, surrounded by her loved ones. She was a beloved mom, sister, and granny. Preceded in death by parents Jack Huggins and Bernice Van Dyke, brother Jackie Huggins, sisters Sarah Munsey, Sandy Huggins, and Darlene Dunaway.

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