New city manager brings business experience

City Manager Mike Chesney

Mike Chesney, incoming Maynardville City Manager, aspired as a child to become a person who would help others and make a positive difference in their lives. The very young see heroes in firefighters and policemen, then as they grow up realize there are a lot of other people helping communities run and flourish.
Chesney has fond memories of visiting the farm in Union County (now Plainview) where his father grew up. Growing up in North Knoxville, the son of a Gulf Oil dealer, the realities of essential services served to shape Chesney’s thinking and the education he pursued. Ultimately, he obtained a degree from the University of Tennessee, majoring in both Business and Education.
Chesney’s career pursuits took him from his childhood home in North Knoxville to Chicago, Illinois, for several years of service in Corporate Development and Operations. In 1996, he returned to Tennessee, settling in Maryville, where his daughters have since graduated from high school. Upon retirement, Chesney and his wife of 42 years, Karen, moved to her hometown of Bearden to be near their parents.
Chesney enjoyed a long and satisfying career in the rural telephone industry, retiring in 2003 from Telephone & Data Systems Services after 32 years in the industry.
After retirement, Chesney stayed active consulting other rural and telephone companies, including serving Millington, Tennessee, until they hired him as their city manager. Chesney enjoyed two years of service there, but admits he does not miss the commute to West Tennessee each week.
Seeking opportunities close to home, he accepted a position with First Baptist of Morristown as the Operations Administrator for 3-plus years, finding his experience with infrastructure very relevant to managing a church business.
He advises other professionals to keep learning and growing because the skills you build can be applied to various positions and situations.
Currently, Chesney is embarking on a very satisfying role as City Manager for Maynardville. When asked what exactly a city manager does, Chesney explained that the city mayor and board set policies, and the city manager and other employees carry out those policies.
He is impressed by the quality and dedication of Maynardville’s City Council and their passion and vision for working on the city’s mission and policies. Chesney believes they have a good staff to get goals and projects implemented and feels that success in this role with the city government will be best achieved by growth while giving service.
Chesney believes city manager is first and foremost a customer service role. The citizens are the customers and they must be acknowledged and served as individuals, just as they are in any good business model. He states running a city is much like managing utilities, with similar processes and procedures. One needs to take a look at the geography, growth, size, physicality and what the citizens need and want.
Chesney specified that the expectations of each citizen (customer) will vary by generation regarding the services they are looking for, especially in the current climate of flight from the cities to rural communities.
He feels the role requires a servant’s heart — one who sees each citizen as an individual. Chesney enjoys working with people and businesses. He sees an influx of residents and businesses coming in from other states, attracted by this beautiful place, the mountains, the lake, Knoxville being close by for a night on the town, and the expectation that Knoxville is now pushing north.
Chesney also indicated it is important to consider what goods and services people are going to want and need to create an appropriate business model for 25-50 years from now.
He stated that Maynardville is poised to help businesses develop and prosper as it is a very business-friendly community, with a very good water system that is always improving, good infrastructure, and a servant spirit. He expects to see the city of Maynardville progress in the right way, for city hall to serve each customer, and to get things done on time and on budget.
He gives 100% and expects to get 100% from the staff. His business planning motto is “Always start with the end in mind.
First, you must look to the result that you want to achieve, then figure out how to accomplish that goal, then break it down into a step-by-step plan. Lastly, be intentional about enjoying your personal growth and accomplishing the tasks along the way.”
Finishing the Splash Pad project that began under the previous administration is a good example of satisfying the goal of giving families another way to play together in our community.
Chesney was quoted on the Union News Leader Facebook page as saying he wanted to deliver a message to our community, “The City of Maynardville is ready to serve” and that he wanted to spread the message of “My Maynardville, My Home” across the city.
Please join me in welcoming Mr. Mike Chesney to his new role in our community as we look forward to seeing Maynardville thrive.
The Maynardville City Manager Office is located at 125 Johnson Road in Maynardville. You can contact the office via email at or by phone at (865) 992-3821.



Introducing Staff Sergeant Donald “DJ” Taylor, our new Veterans Services Officer

Staff Sergeant Donald “DJ” Taylor

You may already know him as the School Resource Officer at Horace Maynard Middle School, now DJ Taylor has added to that role by accepting Mayor Bailey’s invitation to serve as Union County’s Veteran Services Officer (VSO). Taylor took on this role on June 1, 2021, and is eager to help connect our veterans with the various federal and state veterans’ benefits they have earned through their military service. Taylor has a list of all veterans residing in Union County and is seeking ways to inform them about the benefits available to service personnel and their spouses and caregivers.

Head, Heart, Hands, and Health

Union County 4-H representative on the bottom right photo'd with other All Star members from across the state

Hello! My name is Kaleb Hanna. I am Union County 4-H's Healthy Living Ambassador, Honor Club President, and All-Star Eagle Scout. This year I once again attended the Tennessee 4-H Eastern Region All-Star Conference! Woah, what a mouthful!

Graves Serves up Some 4-H

My name is Natalie Graves and I am a 5th grade student in Union County 4-H. I titled my 4-H Project this year “Home Cooking”. The goal of my project was to cook a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner for my family. I also hoped to learn new cooking skills and recipes during the course of my project. I cooked many meals for my family by myself and occasionally with my grandparents.

Tastes Like Chicken

I was so sheltered when I was growing up. Food sheltered that is. Our meals consisted of many things that were grown on my grandparents’ farm, including the beef from Papaw’s cows. But, the chicken, turkey, and pork came from the grocery store.

What's in Your Pocket?

There is a commercial for a credit card company that asks, “What’s in your wallet?” I could take some time to tell you, but I’ll let you in on a clue—it’s not money. Instead, I will tell you what is, or at least what used to be, in my pocket.
Which pocket, you ask. Let’s start with the right pants pocket. In one of my doctoral classes at Lincoln Memorial University we were assigned to share the contents of our pockets, but not our identities. From those contents, we were then supposed to try to determine what we could about the owner.

"Far over the waves"

"Far over the waves. I hear his sweet voice calling me." I first heard this old hymn when I took Hawaiian guitar lessons back in 1940. As I have said before, we were not church-going people. The words were so peaceful with a simple melody. Yeah right. But not when I tried to play it on my student guitar. The "waves" were generally choppy then.

ICARE Job Opening

This is a Program Coordinator Position. It is a Federal Grant filtered through the Board of Education. The person we hire will be contracted by the BOE, therefore, will not receive any benefits but will be paid as a 1099. I have not received the full budget or contract from the State Dept.

Union County 4-H Dairy Contest Winner

Poster entry from Union County 4-Her Emily Graves moves to the State Contest

Have you heard? June is National Dairy Month! This month is dedicated to raising awareness of the nutritional benefits of dairy and the vital role that the dairy industry plays in our food systems and economy. UT Extension Union County does not miss this chance to get 4-H students involved. We are kicking off the month by announcing our Union County 4-H Dairy Poster Contest Winner: Emily Graves!

Produce of the Week: Fennel

The Union County Farmers Market is in full swing with more produce coming in each week. We would like to introduce you to some of our more unusual, interesting offerings. Let’s get started with fennel as it has just arrived at the market.

When push comes to injury: what pushing a wheelchair does to your back

When you push someone in a wheelchair, you may be hurting your back without knowing it. Researchers measured the forces on the spine caused by pushing a wheelchair, and discovered that people aren’t good at judging when they’re exerting forces strong enough to hurt their back. The study appears in the journal Ergonomics.

Watermelon Miracle

It was kind of embarrassing now that I think about it. Birds have more luck planting seeds than I do.
Our first house had a fairly large flower bed in the front of it. Tim was usually the one who tended to the pretty flowers and little bushes. Sometimes, I tried to help him by pulling the weeds, but that didn’t always go so well. To be honest, there would be times I couldn’t tell the difference between a weed and a flower.

Just Say That to My Face!

I looked at Facebook today in a way I never have before. I looked at only the first ten posts that popped up from the “friends” in my current algorithm. I safely (hopefully) assume that what a person takes time to post is important to them. Personally, I rarely if ever post anything. I am content to occasionally comment on what my Facebook comrades choose to post.

The Complex Cicada Song

No doubt you have heard plenty of news stories about the 17-year cicada emerging this year. I have yet to see or hear them in my area yet, but I look forward to hearing the male cicadas’ persistent and often loud chorus. The combined drone of thousands of cicadas singing at once hides the fact that there are three species of cicadas out there, each singing a different song, which chances depending on the proximity to a possible female mate.



My father, Owen Stimer, grew up in a rural farm community in the early twentieth century. Dad's beloved mother was of the Wesleyan Methodist faith. She was in church every time the doors opened, so to speak. In Dad's early years, he was, too. Dad came to resent sitting on the hard wooden pews during the long boring church services. He decided church was not for him. His father's attitude probably confirmed his decision, but went too far.

Federal funds may jump start middle school building

The Tennessee Department of Education Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund 3.0 (ESSER) money (which comes from federal emergency funds to combat the negative effects from the pandemic) may help Union County jump start its new middle school planning

A taste of Maynardville for UCBPA

Mike Chesney, Maynardville City Manager, addresses UCBPA about the new water park.

Mike Chesney, Maynardville City Manager, treated UCBPA to more than a taste of the upcoming Maynardville projects at the May meeting of the Union County Business and Professional Association.
Chesney began with a splash from the new water park, which the pandemic has delayed to 2022 with maybe a quick bite at the end of this summer. The new guardrail on SR 33 will help provide a safer experience when the park opens.

Maynardville Public Library Summer Reading Programs

SLOTH reading buddy

You may recall the story we published in March 2020 introducing the SLOTH reading program, encouraging children to Slow down, Learn, Overcome obstacles, Think, and be Happy. No doubt you also recall the rapid closings that year due to the Coronavirus. Although the SLOTH launch didn’t go exactly as planned, the program has moved forward. Kids are picking up their SLOTH reading buddies at the library and turning in their participation reports to earn prizes.

Preventing back pain

One of the best things you can do to prevent and/or eliminate back pain is to exercise. Both an inactive lifestyle and being overweight contribute to back pain. Exercise benefits you in so many ways, such as lowering blood pressure, helping you maintain a healthy weight, lowering your risk for diabetes, and the list goes on!

Orthotics can help you maintain a healthy spine by stabilizing the lower extremities and pelvis. Devices that you wear in your shoes, orthotics align all three arches of your foot to provide a balanced foundation for your spine and body.

Jason Lawson Jr. joins UT Extension as summer intern

Jason Brian Lawson Jr., UT Extension Union County summer intern

Jason Lawson Jr., born and raised in the Thorn Hill community of Hancock County, is excited to join the staff at UT Extension Union County for the 2021 summer internship.
He graduated Hancock High School in 2017 then went on to Walters State Community College, graduating with an Associate of Applied Science in Agriculture in December 2019.

4-H Students Represent Union County at East Region Wildlife Competition

2021 4-H Wildlife Judging Team for Union County left to right: Jonathan Tindell, Silas Whitley, Jeremiah Tindell, Meradeth Whitley, and Gracie Tindell

Many things have changed over the past year, but one thing we have had the pleasure to see remain constant is the hard work and dedication of our Union County 4-H youth. Regardless of the challenges sent their way, students in Union County 4-H and across the state have learned, served and developed. This hard work has produced incredible impact in the county as 4-H has not slowed down.

Team fishing with friends

Spencer Cox and Patrick Middleton with the prize catch that placed them 4th in the region.

Spencer Cox and Patrick Middleton were friends who loved to fish before they became partners to compete professionally four years ago.

Plainview Awards Scholarship

Picture of three males with the one in the middle receiving a certificate for a scholarship for high school achievement

Mason Weaver receives the City of Plainview Academic Scholarship for 2021. Pictured are Vice Mayor Richard Phillips, Mason Weaver, and Mayor Gary Chandler.

The City of Plainview awarded its 2021 Academic Achievement Scholarship to Mason Weaver. The annual scholarship for $500 is given to the graduating senior with the highest grade point average who resides in Plainview. Mayor Chandler congratulated Mason for his outstanding academic achievement and and thanked his parents for all of their support for him.

2021 Big Ridge Park Seasonal Interpretive Ranger is Hannah Sheley

Seasonal Interpretive Ranger Hannah Sheley

Every year in the spring, the park hires a Seasonal Interpretive Ranger. This person’s job for the summer is to interact with the park visitors. One of the most important jobs at the park is the Seasonal Interpretive Ranger (just called SIR for short).

Ode to a Mule

Late one afternoon while sitting on the porch, shadows getting long, a song came on the computer. It was a pretty song by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood and released in 1966.
The first line lyrics were, “Strawberries, cherries and an angel kiss in spring.” The name of the song was “Summer Wine.”
While listening to the song I drifted back to 1956 and the summer when I turned eleven years old.

Is there a fireman in the house?

Just as surely as a purple finch is crimson, the stories I share with you in this article are true to the best of my ever-aging memory.
I was probably about 12 years old. I was visiting with my sister Ruby’s family at her house in East Knoxville. Ruby was actually my half-sister, the oldest daughter and second child from my father’s first marriage.
Ruby’s husband was Alfred John “Buddy” Foulks, Sr., a captain with the Knoxville City Fire Department. They had four children, though the first three were older than me, grown and living on their own.

Poisonous snakes in our area

Humans seem hardwired to fear snakes, and it is useful to help us be cautious around poisonous species.
But most snake species found in our area are harmless and perform a useful service of keeping rodent populations in check.
There are two well-known poisonous ones in our woods where caution is advised, though.


Welcome friends to Tennessee with a hillbilly lei

I bet you’ll never guess what my favorite jewelry was when I was a girl. Here’s a hint: it could be rather itchy at times.
When I was kid, we mainly played outside. No smart phones or computer games. Just us and the great outdoors. This was especially true at school where the schoolyard was blessed with little wildflowers. At the time, we didn’t know their names. All that mattered was the fact that we could make jewelry out of their blooms.

Scratch my ears, please

2 Timothy 4:3 KJV
[3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
Have you ever scratched a hound dog behind its ears? Dogs just can’t seem to get enough ear scratching. I can recall countless times when my boyhood hound dog Sam would cozy up to me, nudge my hand and encourage me to scratch behind his ears. Seems like Sam especially enjoyed this if I told him he was a “good dog.”


Teen calls for churches to stabilize foster care system

Imagine you are seven years old and you have just been awakened in the middle of the night, maybe by police officers or apologetic social workers, and ripped from your parents’ arms.
If you’re lucky, you’re handed a trash bag to toss your entire life into. If not, then you may find yourself arriving empty-handed to a state office where a frazzled, full-time employee will try to wash the lice out of your hair in the bathroom sink, then stick you under a waiting room chair to sleep for the two days you’ll most likely be there.

Crypto Currency Creates Local Job Opportunities

Chad Hansel, Director of Operations for GRIID, shared his thoughts on the company’s presence and future here in Union County.

Visiting the company website, you will learn that they are an American infrastructure company that procures low-cost, renewable energy to build, manage, and operate their growing portfolio of vertically integrated bitcoin mining facilities. Hansel further explains that they are a blockchain data center, blockchains being the crypto part of cryptocurrency that verifies the transaction and keeps it secure when transferring from one entity to another. Those shipping container-looking units are full of computers crunching numbers for encryption such as crypto coin.

UCHS Lady Patriots Rule Division!

UCHS Lady Patriots: Front, L -R: Savvy Paul, Blakley Hall, Makenna Satterfield, Caitlin Mays, Morgan Dyer, Asst. Coach Bryan Mays
Back, L-R: Asst. Coach Kelly Cooper, Morgan Johnson, Jordyn Brantley, Emma Sexton, Makayla Cooper, Marah Johnson, Tessa Ray, Macey Hutchison, Tori Mullins, Makenzie Foust, Coach Lance Lay

The UCHS Lady Patriots are only one of 8 teams left in AA softball in the state of TN to advance to the state tournament.
Coming out the Division I AA District softball tournament as runners-up behind Gibbs High School, the Lady Patriots traveled to Alcoa High School on Monday, May 17th and beat Alcoa 4-2 to advance to the Regional Championships where they would face Gibbs High School again. This time the Lady Patriots beat the eagles 7-6 to become the Division I Regional Champions.

New report finds majority of U.S. adults likely to visit a Chiropractic physician Part II

A new Gallup-Palmer survey that tested public assumptions about chiropractic care discovered that a lack of knowledge about health insurance coverage for chiropractic care and sensitivity toward costs may be preventing some adults in the United States from using chiropractic services. Nearly half of U.S. adults reported not knowing whether their insurance plans covered chiropractic care. In addition to uncertainty about insurance coverage, the survey found that perceptions about the cost of chiropractic care could also be a factor preventing some individuals from seeking it.

Mind Your Manners

If I were to meet a king or any other member of royalty, I’d certainly want to know the social rules for appropriate behavior. One thing’s for certain—I would want to know how to address King George VI, especially since his actual first name was Albert. I doubt in any case it would have been appropriate for even his natural mother to have addressed him as “Al”.

No, I didn't

It had been a long, tiring day at work and I had stopped by the Ingles in Halls on my way home. I didn’t really want to stop, but we needed a few things. You know how it is.
After racing through the store, I threw my bags into the car and slid into the driver’s seat. I turned the key. Nothing. No dash lights. My car didn’t even make any noise. So, I called Tim and told him my car wouldn’t do anything. He asked what I meant by that. I replied, “It isn’t doing anything. No lights. No noises. Nothing!”


Buttercup: Unwelcome Fields of Yellow

By: Steve Roark
Volunteer Interpreter, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

You have no doubt noted the large swaths of yellow flowers in pasture and hayfields this Spring. Those are buttercups, and while picturesque, are not welcome to farmers because they can poison cattle and take up growing space that should be growing grass.


28/93 - 93//28

That is a strange title. I will explain. Skin cancer is the basis for this story. Last August, I noticed a small lump on my face. I didn’t think much about it. After all, I have had my share of lumps over my 93 years. I would just keep an eye on it. It didn’t go away. It didn’t get any bigger, either, as the season changed to cooler weather. That was unusual. By Christmas, it was crusty but no bigger. My yearly appointment with the dermatologist would be coming up in March. I would have it checked then.

Healing Lives, Restoring Hope, and Mending Families

May is National Foster Care Month. It is a time to acknowledge the more than 8,000 children and youth of Tennessee who live in or are in desperate need of a foster care home and the family members and foster parents who care for them. I recently interviewed Rebecca Horton, Recruitment Specialist Team Leader for The Omni Family of Services (Omni Visions), to learn more about foster care and the needs of foster families.

Hard Work Pays off for Calfee

Gibson Calfee says he has lived his life by one motto. Hard work pays off.
It certainly has for Calfee. The 2017 Union County High School graduate will be graduating with honors from LMU this year with a bachelor’s degree in Biology, and a minor in chemistry and pre-med. He will begin the Physician Assistant program at Lincoln Memorial University in less than a month,

New report finds majority of U.S. Adults likely to visit a chiropractic physician Part I

According to a new Gallup-Palmer report that tested public assumptions about chiropractic care, 57 percent of U.S. adults are likely to visit a doctor of chiropractic (DC) if they experience back or neck pain. This first-ever nationally representative survey, commissioned by Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, found that 33.6million Americans sought chiropractic care in 2014, compared to a previously reported estimate of 20.6 million in 2012.

Arrgh! Me Maties

I wasn’t the only one who suffered from my eye problem. My parents did as well.
It all started when my parents noticed my left eye wasn’t moving the same as my right one. At time, I was around 3 years old. They took me to an eye doctor who told them I would outgrow it. Unfortunately, I didn’t. So, they took me to another eye doctor when I was 6.

Do You See What I See?

I don’t know a lot about the Canary Islands, other than that they were named not for birds, but for dogs. You guessed it, I had to do a Google search. Per that search, I found that “the name for the islands actually came from the Latin term for the island, Insula Canaria, meaning ‘island of the dogs’.”
I think a trip to the Canary Islands might make a lovely vacation. I am sure there would be many tourists that would indeed be sights to see. But one does not have to go to the Canary Islands to find interesting, entertaining people to observe.


Robert Sterling "Bob" Kitts

Robert Sterling “Bob” Kitts-age 62 of Knoxville, born September 1, 1958 spread his wings and headed for home Wednesday, June 16, 2021 to join his Heavenly family. Bob was of the Christian faith and knew were he was going. A devout family man always lending a helping hand and a true devoted rock to many. Wonderful father, exceptional brother and personal caregiver to both his parents when they needed him most. Bob loved and played music, enjoyed NASCAR, sports and working on cars. Bob made his living working on cars as an auto body technician his entire life and worked on the side.

Edwin Young

Edwin Charles Young passed away at his home on June 15, 2021 surrounded by his wife of 65 years Julia Lee Collier Young, his son Steven Craig Young from Corryton, Tn and his daughter Robbi Sue Young from Amelia, Oh. He was born in Memphis, TN to Nell and Al Young of Paducah, Ky on January 18, 1933. He attended George Rogers Clark Elementary, Brazelton Junior High and Augusta Tilghman High in Paducah. He transferred to the University of Kentucky in 1952. He attended UK for a year and ½ before being drafted.

Robert Lee "Bobby" Cox

Robert ¨Bobby” Lee Cox - age 61 of Maynardville, was born on November 21st, 1959 and passed away suddenly and peacefully at his home in Maynardville on Monday, June 14th, 2021. A man of faith, Bobby gave his life to God at age 19, and was an ordained minister and member of Bethel Baptist Church. He has now found everlasting peace and is rejoicing with the Lord.

Bradley Eugene Warwick

Bradley Eugene Warwick, age 42, of Blaine passed away suddenly at his home to be with the Lord on Thursday, June the 10th. He was a member of Little Valley Baptist Church. Preceded in death grandfather/grandmother Daniel and Loretta Warwick, grandfather/grandmother Eugene and Eula Faye Ramsey, brother Jason Warwick, Uncle/aunt Grady and Polly Warwick, and cousin Kimberly Danielle Warwick.

Brandon Todd Johnson

Brandon Todd Johnson – 34 of Maynardville, went to be with the Lord and his father, Wayne Johnson on Friday, June 11, 2021. He was a member of Hickory Valley Baptist Church.

He is preceded in death by his father, Wayne Johnson; and grandparents, Louis and Winnie Hall. Brandon is survived by his sons, Thomas, Christopher and Jonathan Johnson; mother and stepfather, Shelia and Joey Yadon; sister, Cassie Yadon; grandparents, Steve and Marie Johnson; and a host of family and friends to mourn his loss.

Larry W. "Black" Sharp

Larry W. “Black” Sharp – age 74 of Sharps Chapel, went to be with the Lord on June 10, 2021. He was a lifelong farmer, always working on the farm, and loved to hunt and fish. Black retired from Union County Highway Department after 8 years and the TN Division of Forestry after 20 years.

Jimmy R. Houston

Jim Houston-age 80 of Sharps Chapel passed away peacefully Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at his home.
Proceeded in death by parents: Ottis and Grace (Walker) Houston, sister Ada Mae Houston, and brother Samuel Houston.
Survivors: Wife Meryl Linkous Houston, daughter Jamie Rhodes (Stacy), son Jason, and daughter Julie, stepdaughter Ashley McCann (Bryan), grandchildren Chase Rhodes (Ally), Caleb Rhodes, Kaylee Houston, Brooklyn and Rachel Sharp, Augustus and Eleanor McCann. Great grandchildren Kinsley and Rhett.
Sister Linda Ruth Houston Ousley, and several nieces and nephews.

Amber Nichole Warwick Beason

Amber Nichole Warwick Beason-age 21 of Knoxville passed away Sunday evening, June 6, 2021 at North Knoxville Medical Center. Amber was preceded in death by her adopted mother, Betty Beason; sister, Debra Smith; biological father, Rick Warwick; grandparents, Harvey and Carol Warwick.

Survivors: mother, Kim Rogers of Maynardville; brother, Christopher Lowery; sisters, Amy Lowery and Katie Keisler. Several other relatives and friends.

The body will be cremated and no services are planned at this time. Arrangements by Cooke-Campbell Mortuary, Maynardville.

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