The Norris Lake Protection Alliance “NLPA” organized a lake cleanup project on September 10th and 11th. Working in conjunction with Norris Lake Project “NLP”, the NLPA continues to make a positive difference for all who enjoy Norris Lake. The Team of 26 volunteers donated their time, boats, fuel, and trucks to remove trash from Norris Lake. The effort was focused in four locations: Dollar Island, Gull Island, the shore area of Chuck Swan across from Sunset Bay and Island 23.
Nandina Domestica is a killer
The beautiful but deadly nandina berries
Granny Gertrude's Garden
by Gertrude Weatherall
Nandinas have been planted for decades. They are chosen for their beautiful bright red berries or their equally attractive foliage. Often referred to as heavenly bamboo, sacred bamboo, or sacred shrub, these beautifully cloaked shrubs have been used extensively in landscape design. And why not? They are colorful, easy to grow, tough as nails, readily available and very inexpensive.
Beautiful red berries are produced within a couple seasons. The berries make beautiful additions to holiday arrangement or wreaths. Left on the shrubs, the berries are eaten by hungry birds. Could this shrub be any more appealing? Unfortunately, they are deadly.
Nandina is another plant that has been planted widely simply because it looks good. It is a non-native that thrives most everywhere in the Southeast. Easily escaping the confines of area yards, it now appears throughout forests. It gladly grows in wooded areas where birds have spread the berries.
Many birds die after ingesting the berries. These berries can be rich in cyanide. Entire flocks of cedar waxwing birds have been found with the berries in their stomachs.
How are the berries being carried to the wild? As the berries age and hang on the shrub they become less toxic. Thus, many are carried to the wild and successfully germinate. Our indigenous birds cannot tell which berries are toxic and which have aged enough to be safely eaten. For birds, it is much like a game of Russian roulette. As birds return year after year to the same feeding grounds, their chances of ingesting toxic berries increases. Perhaps this is one of the many reasons bird populations are being decimated?
Many nandina do not produce berries. The small cultivars, including Firepower, are grown exclusively for their foliage. They are beautiful red shrubs that reach about three feet high. This foliage stays red all winter. Chances are you have these in your landscape. I consider this one of most over-planted shrubs on the market today. Virtually every subdivision is filled with them. They are also very toxic, but an animal must ingest the foliage to become ill. They are still dangerous to pets, children or any other foliage-eating animal.
In addition to being toxic there are other reasons to avoid planting nandina. Lots of trimming is required to establish a decent shape. They spread rapidly, often out-competing natives. The beautiful red foliage drops when the new foliage appears in the spring. Who wants to clean up falling leaves when the spring flowers are blooming?
If you have these plants in your landscape, my advice is to kill them. Cut them down and burn them. Dig them out if possible, because they do not die without a fight. I am not found of using chemical herbicides, but for these demons I make an exception.
There are many nice alternatives to planting nandina. One of my favorites is Ilex Verticilata or deciduous holly. First, it is a native. A bounty of bird-friendly red or gold berries are produced, but a male cultivar may be necessary.
Cultivars exist that are short in stature, but the species is large, upwards to ten feet or more. These plants lose their leaves in the winter, exposing stems covered in beautiful red berries. I often use them in holiday arrangements, but the shrubs stand out in my garden. Many neighbors have stopped and inquired about the identity of my deciduous hollies. I have also known it to be referred to as winter berry holly. For several years I had no berries, only large imposing plants. The addition of a male cultivar provided me with thousands of berries the first year. A good man can make all the difference.
Another choice is beautyberry or Callicarpa Americana. These shrubs are shorter, also lose their leaves in the winter and produce attractive purple berries. They are nontoxic to wildlife and can be eaten in small quantities by humans. Birds love them. Those purple berries usually are at peak around Halloween which makes them perfect for fall arrangements.
Other berry-producing plants include roses, evergreen hollies, dogwood trees, magnolia, serviceberry and even blueberry. Blueberries are an untapped ornamental. They have beautiful fall foliage and edible fruit, but you will need to be faster than the birds.
Let’s start the new year out right. Ditch the invasives, focus on natives, and plant for the wildlife. I promise your garden will be a much happier place for both you and our wild friends.
One of my memories of elementary school was thinking I was just not very smart. In 1st 2nd and 3rd grades, I was having trouble understanding things that the other students seemed to grasp. Most of the class instruction in the mid-1950’s was done on a blackboard. We used worksheets to show our comprehension of what was being taught. I was not doing well. I was struggling to see the world around me. At some point in the 3rd grade our school had a vision screening. My parents were advised that I needed an eye exam. Mom took me to the ophthalmologist for a vision test.
We are living longer and, if you play your cards right and have taken care of yourself, this is a wonderful thing. Good genes certainly help, but healthy lifestyle practices are just as important in continuing to live a productive life. Here are some tips the American Chiropractic Association recommends for aging with grace and health:
It’s hard to spot Katydids because they are so well camouflaged. But anyone who sits on their porch on a late summer’s night has enjoyed hearing their “katy did….katy didn’t” song, along with their chirping cousin, the cricket.
Each state in the United States (except Hawaii) holds an annual educational learning camp called Boys State. Boys State is among the most respected and selective government service educational programs. This is an annual forum, conceived 1935 by the American Legion to teach civic training. It has been going strong ever since and has been held at Tennessee Tech since 1965.
Samantha Brantley stood in front of 30 attendees from the community at Miller’s Chapel UMC, with purple lights and beautiful stained-glass windows positioned behind her, and a memorial board in the foyer in front of her. The memorial board displayed some of the many faces and names of people in our community who have been lost to substance use and addiction.
I am rather proud of myself. Recently, I dealt with one of my biggest fears. Wait a minute, make that two of them.
It started with the renovating of our back deck. As you may know, we have been working on it for quite some time. If we want to get technical about it, Tim and I actually rebuilt the uncovered section. After we replaced the floor joists and the skirt boards, it was time to lay down the new floor. At first this made me a little antsy since the deck is about 10 feet high. As you probably know, I have a fear of falling.
During the Great Depression, kids had few resources outside of their imagination and old-timey games from a long ago era. My two brothers and myself had no outside resources until I began school. Then the world opened up. We played games in the school yard during recess time and inside when it rained.
While spring is the traditional season to plant trees and shrubs, fall may be better. The soil is still fairly warm on into December, and it gives the tree a chance to rest and get well settled into the soil before the spring growth spurt. The following are a few guidelines on choosing and planting trees.
The Union County Board of Education shared tentative timelines for school building projects at its August board meeting and workshop.
According to Chairman Marty Gibbs, the new middle school is on track to be bid in the spring of 2024, to begin construction in the summer of 2024, to be completed in the spring of 2026, and to open to students in August of 2026. Chairman Gibbs noted that the wings had been rotated 90 degrees to allow for expansion and the sports fields had been relocated on the site.
Have you ever wanted to meet a shoebox recipient? To experience first-hand the life-changing power of a simple shoebox gift when sent in Jesus' name?
Well, here's your chance.
Join us at Milan Baptist Church in Maynardville on September 9, 4 to 6 p.m., for our Project Leader Weekend OCC Area-Wide Kickoff Event. You have an amazing opportunity to hear from and meet in-person shoebox recipient Evangeline from the Philippines.
From Connecticut to the hills of Union County, Tennessee, Olivia Hill and her husband have settled into a slice of serenity.
While this serenity has come with challenges and is an ongoing work in progress, the Hills are ecstatic to share their slice with the community.
I usually don’t brag on my own work, but this article surely must be a good one. At least it was that good. How do I know? My computer “ate” it just as I was copying it to a jump drive. Let’s see if I can re-create it and make it even better.
I was going into the men’s bathroom at work a few weeks ago when a sign to the left caught my eye: Meals And Memories Are Made Here
“The Gathering of the Generations” is planned for September 16, with a welcome and general information to begin at the Union County Museum and Genealogical Library at 3824 Maynardville Hwy, in historic Maynardville at 11:30 a.m.
For those those folks who may be traveling from other parts of the country, Maynardville is the home of Roy Acuff, Chet Atkins, Kenny Chesney, Lois Johnson, and Carl Smith ...
Here is a good salad to make for a holiday meal. Of course, it is delicious anytime. You should have everything in your pantry. It's cheap to make, easy and tasty. Put first six ingredients in large bowl. Mix remaining ingredients, except salad greens, and add to first mixture. Toss well. Chill overnight before using. Drain and serve plain as a relish or on greens for a salad. Makes about 1 quart. Mixture will keep several days in the fridge. Drain only amount required for each meal.
Do you remember the first prize you ever won? I do.
When I was very small, I played a game at a birthday party. Somehow, I won the prize, which was a kaleidoscope. I couldn’t believe it. In fact, I tried to give it back to them. When they finally convinced me it was mine to keep, I was absolutely thrilled. Let me tell you, I liked the feeling of winning that prize.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 KJV
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Here it is September again. Again, the nights are cooler with warm afternoons. It’s now dark at 6:30 a.m. as the days get shorter with nights getting longer. Time is marching toward fall and then winter.
The kids are back in school, terrorizing the teachers and waiting for fall break. The school buses are loaded to the brim as there’s a shortage of school bus drivers. Knox County started school in August with a shortage of 31 drivers. Less drivers/more kids means problems for bus contractors. Many contractors have to combine different loads to be able to get the kids home. So parents, allow a little leeway for the bus drivers.
Many consider forestry to only mean growing trees to cut for lumber, and in the old days that was true. But the forest is much more than a place to produce wood fiber and it has multiple uses it can be managed for. Many of these uses can be managed simultaneously with proper planning.
Here is a list of the major uses.
Leaving for my trip on September 4, I took the long drive to Atlanta’s famous Hartsfield International Airport. (A local wit said that on the way to hell one now has to pass thru Hartsfield International Airport.) After 8 hours and 40 minutes in the air, this non-stop flight finally landed at Honolulu International Airport!
Right here in Union County is a family deeply involved in Mustang rescue. Loretta Morris and her teenagers Ariana and Ayden have prevented these horses from being shipped to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. The Morrises care for these animals on a daily basis. Today, there is a total of 52 Mustangs, donkeys, mules, and mulestangs (part mule and part Mustang). Some arrive at the Cherokee Spirit Mustang Rescue in Washburn fairly healthy, while others are in need of extra care, nutrients and feed.
‘Frozen shoulder’ is a term sometimes used loosely in connection with any type of persistent shoulder pain. But specifically it is the loss of arm movement at the shoulder joint.
The shoulder is the part of the body that is the third most common subject for chiropractic treatment, the lower back and the neck being the two most common. Frozen shoulder can be brought on by the trauma of a fall or car accident, or it may come on gradually as a result of muscle imbalance, overuse and irritation.
Have you ever chug-a-lugged a drink? That’s when you turn the drink container up and guzzle it down as fast and as noisily as you can.
Unless I was playing ball on a hot summer day, I wasn’t allowed to chug -a-lug a drink. Why? If you have ever read any of my articles, you know that my family was and still is very steeped in southern etiquette. Part of that was how you ate and drink. For one, you didn’t make any unnecessary noises such as smacking your lips or slurping. When somebody (usually me) slipped up and did that at the table, they were met with scowls and an uncomfortable silence. That experience stayed with me for years. That is until I was carrying my daughter Sara.
This bread snack goes well with pizza and just about anything else. Spaghetti, for instance. Add more garlic, if you like. Prepare pizza crust according to package directions. Pat onto a 12 inch round pizza pan. In small bowl combine melted margarine, garlic, Italian seasoning and seasoned salt. Brush onto prepared crust. Sprinkle generously with cheese.
Let me warn you that this story is not for the squeamish. Way back in 1908 the millionaire John D Rockefeller wanted to make still more money, but most of his markets were saturated, so he began looking at the southern United States as an untapped marketplace. But there was a problem…the South’s economy was lousy. The people were illiterate, dirt poor, and were perceived as lazy. Farms weren’t fully operational, and the economic engine seemed to be turned off.
Calling all motorcyclists to “Ride like an Animal” in the Annual Union County Humane Society Motorcycle Ride.
This year marks the 16th annual motorcycle ride to raise funds for the humane society.
The Union County Humane Society is a no fee animal shelter for unwanted or abandoned pets. The shelter also provides a low cost spay, neuter and vaccine clinic. Alongside these services, they work closely with local law enforcement to assist in animal-related issues across the county.
Tim Shelton Syndicate played and sang with passion and emotion at the Union County Opry on August 5, 2023. The band opened with a fast paced song from their debut album titled Ain't got No Woman with Shelton carrying the melody. They followed with Middle Age Crazy by Jerry Lee Lewis. Then covered songs by Ralph Stanley and the Stanley Brothers. Joe Booher nailed Killin in Griffin and proceeded to wow the audience with his mandolin picking throughout the performance. Jr. Williams, who played guitar and banjo, owned Roving Gambler.
Union County Business & Professional Association has enjoyed a variety of speakers at its meetings this spring and summer.
In August, Sharon Hudson, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of East Tennessee, shared the mission and services of the nonprofit. Hudson stated that besides disaster relief, the Red Cross operates an international blood bank that specializes in the storage of rare blood. She noted that the bank has been used in not only recent tornadoes and storms but also in Ukraine.
This fall would be a great time to take another look at lettuce and experiment with some new options in your fall garden. Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is the vegetable cousin in one of the largest ornamental plant families, Asteraceae. As the third most consumed fresh vegetable in the United States, it hardly flies under the radar for gardeners. However, lettuce often doesn’t get the love it deserves because many gardeners may feel limited to leaf types if they have struggled with the more challenging iceberg or romaine lettuces. If that is you, this is the year to check out beautiful oakleaf lettuces that can be a tasty, productive and unique crop.
New Publication Now Available Online
KNOXVILLE- Tenn. –- Although National Farmers Market Week is coming to a close, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture reminds all those managing farmers markets and vendors who participate in direct sales that resources are available all year long through UT Extension.
Honor comes from the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP)
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Ask just about any person in the University of Tennessee Extension family what they like about their job, and they might mention the impact they have in their communities and the people they help. Long thought of as a career where you can realize a calling for service, an international organization now confirms what many employees have believed for some time – that UT Extension is a great place to work.
In my pre-internet youth, we only had 3 TV stations that we could watch. And many of the daytime and early evening movies and TV had cowboy themes. Films like Hombre (1967) with Paul Newman offered a view of the wild horse as a symbol of the West. Books, advertising, music and children’s toys as well as comic books like Tomahawk and Red Ryder featured wild horses. And then there was TV – Bonanza, Have Gun-Will Travel, and (one of my favorites) Gunsmoke. Over and over in popular culture, we have seen images of mustangs running free.
Unexpected things can happen anytime and anywhere. That being said, we don’t expect them to happen near a church.
My mamaw was known as an awesome cook. Whether it was at a Homecoming or a church social, everyone would flock to her table first. Also, when somebody in the church or community passed away, she always contributed food.
A few days ago I was having lunch with a wonderful lady that I have known since she was a child. At one time in my youth and her childhood I served as her Vacation Bible School teacher.
There was nothing out of the ordinary about our lunch. The two of us have been friends practically all our lives. We had dined there before with other people, always without fanfare. On this particular day, all proceeded as would be expected. The waiter took our orders.
A long time ago, well, just before Christmas in 1977, we decided to spend the holiday in Florida with our friends from the Assembly of God Church Camp in the area, Rex and Fran Irwin plus their daughter, Rhoda. It would be a different kind of holiday for us and our children,Tom, Anne and Elizabeth. After all, we had a new car. Why not take a trip? I-75 was a new superhighway, two lanes each way with a median between them. We expected to make it in record time. Yes, we did., but only because Rex Irwin drove like the wind and we had to keep up with him.
The heartbreaking scenes of the fire in Hawaii have brought back a flood of memories to me of the Gatlinburg wildfire in 2016, which I witnessed firsthand as a wildland firefighter for the TN Forestry Division. I have researched the conditions and timelines of the fire that destroyed Lahaina and there are many similarities between the two fires worth comparing.
During the summer meetings of the City of Plainview, Mayor Gary Chandler and the Plainview Board of Alderman honored the Union County High School Patriots baseball team and two members of the track team for their state titles.
In June, Mayor Chandler presented a proclamation to recognize the historic performance of the baseball team for winning the Division 1 Class 2A Tennessee State Championship. Team members William Peck, Hunter Holloway, Ty Edds, Tanner Jones, Brandon Reed, and Max Richardson proudly accepted the proclamation for the whole team.
The Authors Guild of Tennessee (AGT) will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, October 5, 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.
The next school board policy workshop will be held on Tuesday, August 22, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. at Union County High School.
The next regular workshop and meeting of the Union County Board of Education is scheduled for Thursday, September 14, 2023 at Union County High School. The workshop will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the meeting immediately to follow.
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.
Come join with us in fellowship at our outdoor fall festival on October 14, 2023, at Fellowship Christian Church in Luttrell.
Chairs may be limited so feel free to bring your own to enjoy the gospel singing from 3 until 6 p.m., and the free food will be served from 4 until 6 p.m. or while supplies last.
We’ll also have games and fun activities for the children and antique cars for the adults.
There is nothing quite like a fall October evening spent outdoors enjoys natures beauty while enjoying the good sound of music in the background, the smell of food in the air and meandering through the fine displays of craft and artisan booths.
The 15th Annual Pickin’ in the Park event will be held this year on Friday, October 6th from 5:30-9:30 at Shelter # 2 located on the East Side of Norris Dam State Park.
This year’s line-up will include Sleepy-Eyed John’s, The Real McCoy’s, and Ethan Ferguson.
The Office of District Attorney General Jared Effler, in partnership with the Children's Centers of Campbell, Claiborne, Fentress, Scott and Union Counties, will be hosting the 8th Annual Clays for Children Sporting Clays Tournament on Friday, October 6 and Saturday, October 7, 2023 at Iron Mountain Sporting Clays in Kodak, TN. The purpose of this event is to raise funds to support the Children’s Centers as they serve abused and neglected children.
Sonny Hensley-age 65 of Corryton passed away Sunday, September 17, 2023, at U.T. Medical Center. He was a member of Heavenly View Missionary Baptist Church, Knoxville where he was a faithful member. Preceded in death by his parents, Verline and Ruth Hensley; son, Douglas Hensley; great grandson, Tyler Nuchols; brothers, Wayne Hensley, Kenneth Hensley; nephews, Chad Sayne, Jimmy Beason; niece, Brenda Sharp.
Paul Anthony “Tony” Harrell-age 67 of Corryton passed away peacefully at his home while surrounded by his family, Friday, September 15, 2023. He was a member of Little Flat Creek Baptist Church. He was a retired employee of the City of Knoxville. Preceded in death by his father, Samuel Carson Harrell, Sr.; mother, Barbara Sue (Lee) Harrell; brother, Samuel Carson Harrell, Jr.
Vicky Lynn Westbrook-age 63 of Tazewell passed away Thursday, September 14, 2023 at her home. She was born in Tacoma, Washington and resided in Michigan for most of her life and recently moved to Claiborne County, to be with her son and daughter-in-law. She attended Midway Baptist Church, New Tazewell. She spent most of her life working as a C.N.A. and caring for other people. Preceded in death by her parents, Gerald and Leona Vogelsong; daughter, Candy Koob; nephew, Jason Vogelsong; grandson, Bretten Allen; brother, Roger Vogelsong; sister, Susan Martinez.
Barbara Jane (Blackburn) Witt – age 81 of Andersonville, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family September 13, 2023. She was of the Baptist faith.
Suzanne Hartsook Stephens, age 76 of Corryton, passed away September 10, 2023. A graveside service will be held at a later date. Trinity Funeral Home, Maynardville, has the honor to serve the family of Suzanne Stephens. 865-992-5002 www.trinityfuneralhome.net
Larry Kenneth Pursiful-age 82 of Knox County, TN passed away Friday, September 8, 2023 at Claiborne Medical Center. He was born March 23, 1941 in Harlan, Kentucky. He was of the Baptist faith. Preceded in death by parents, Oscar and Georgie Violet (Peace) Pursiful; son, Kenny Ray Pursiful; brothers, Roger, Jimmy and Sonny Pursiful; sisters, Wanda Leforce, Donna Pursiful.
Rhonda Lynn Hayes – 53 of Maynardville, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, September 5, 2023 at her home. Although she struggled with addiction for most of her life, Rhonda had the biggest heart and loved to laugh. She professed faith in Jesus Christ at an early age, and the family is taking comfort in knowing she will not be fighting this battle anymore.
Dyllen Ray Fagg – age 27, passed away suddenly and will be forever missed by so many, especially his family. He was the funniest, most loving man you could ever meet. His quick wit and kind heart made him loved by everyone. Dyllen was a very loyal, compassionate, thoughtful and loving father, son, grandson, brother, fiancé, uncle, nephew and cousin.
Willis Douglas (Dud) Warwick-age 87 of Andersonville went to be with the Lord Thursday evening, August 31, 2023 at his home while surrounded by his family. He was a life long resident of the Big Ridge (Blue Mud) community. He worked as a plumber for over 40 years. He loved farming and spending time with his family, especially his grandson and great-grandchildren. He loved his church and church family at Hines Creek Baptist Church where he had been a member for many years and had a perfect attendance in Sunday School for 35 consecutive years.
Drake Logan Washam – age 30 of Luttrell, passed away suddenly August 29, 2023. He loved to fish and enjoyed woodworking and gardening.
He is preceded in death by brother, Colby Washam. Drake is survived by parents, Gary and Janice Washam; grandparents, Norman and Rose Wallace; brothers, Jordan (Paige) Washam; Frankie (Crystal) Wallace, Lucas Wallace and Markus Wallace; and nephew, Alexander Washam.
Linda Darlene Bays-age 77 of Maynardville passed away peacefully Thursday, August 31, 2023 at Willow Ridge Center, Maynardville. She was of the Church of God faith. She was born October 13, 1945 in Lilbourn, Missouri and a graduate of Lilbourn High School, class of 1964. She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother. Preceded in death by parents, Virgil and Beulah Earnheart; sisters, Rebecca Sisk, Virgie Bailey; brother, Will Earnheart; step-children, Angela Pollard, Dave Childress, Jerry Childress.
Ella Claire McCurry – age 20 months, passed away suddenly August 29, 2023. She always was happy and could make anyone smile no matter what, with a personality that could light up a whole room. Ella loved music and loved to dance. She loved to run and play with her big sisters. Ella was perfect in every way.
She is survived by parents, Robert “Bob” and Rebecca McCurry; sisters, Shiloh, Olivia, and Loretta; Grandparents, Reverend Robert McCurry, Sr. and Sandra; and Martin and Barbara Green; uncle and aunt, Dustin and Melissa Welch; and cousins, Eli, Lucas, Seth and Levi Welch.
Francis A. Vallone, II (Frankie)-age 49 of Luttrell passed away Wednesday, August 30, 2023. Frankie was saved a few months ago and was of the Christian faith, his words were “I’m me, I’m real and I’ve turned my life around 380 degrees, I work and am now getting the things I gave up back.” He was a graduate of West High School, Class 1992. Frankie worked in the music industry for major musical artists and was an avid Ford Mustang lover. Preceded in death by grandparents, Luigi and Ruth Vallone; mother, Wilma Vallone; sister, Wendy Vallone