The Scoop on Sweetgum

The Scoop on Sweetgum

Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) is a common tree in our area, normally found growing in low areas where the soil is moist, such as near streams or drains. The name comes from the taste of its hardened sap that bleeds from wounds on the trunk.

The tree is easy to identify, with leaves distinctly star-shaped and with a small-toothed edge. The bark is gray and furrowed with flat ridges that form a diamond pattern. The twigs are showy in the winter with corky wing-like protrusions. The fruit is a spiny ping pong sized ball that hangs on well into winter.

While not favored as a timber tree here, in the south it is much more prevalent, and millions of board feet are harvested for use in furniture and cabinetry. With proper staining it can be made to look like walnut, mahogany, or rosewood. Early pioneers used the sap to treat sores and skin problems, as well as for a chewing gum. During the war, Confederate army doctors used it to treat dysentery. The gum is available from pharmacies and is considered to have expectorant, antiseptic, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory qualities.

Sweetgum is not used by wildlife to any great extent, but goldfinch and purple finch eat the winged seeds, as do squirrels and chipmunk.

Historically, sweetgum goes back a long way. It is mentioned in a journal kept by one of Hernando Cortez’s soldiers in 1519 which describes Aztec ceremonies that included drinking a liquid amber extracted from sweetgum trees. 

Sweetgum makes for an interesting landscape plant. In the fall, the leaves often go through shades of yellow and orange before culminating in hues of red, crimson, burgundy, and purple. During the winter, you can see the pyramidal form and distinct corky twigs. The fruit, while interesting to look at hanging in the tree, are a nuisance on the ground, where they take several seasons to break down. If you wish to plant sweetgum, it prefers moist to occasionally wet, slightly acidic, deep soils. It can adapt readily to poor soils that are dry in summer and can grow in full to partial sun.

By: Steve Roark

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Preserving a Union County Heart

Frank Sharp

Life savers are important people–be it a doctor, nurse or someone who pulled you out of harms way. Frank “Tommy” Sharp is one of us even though he left Union County for the Atlanta area many years ago. A few years ago Frank had some serious heart problems, and he credits his cardiologist with saving his life. Dr. Michael Lesitt first did a bypass when Frank had a heart attack and then a quadruple bypass to bring him back to good health. Dr. Lesitt, who Frank says is a man of many talents, plays the mountain dulcimer and has been president of the Georgia Dulcimer Society.

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Leslie Ann Beeler

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (May 15, 2018) ― Leslie Ann Beeler, of Maynardville, TN, graduated from Milligan College on Saturday, May 5, during spring commencement, in which Milligan awarded over 180 degrees. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Psychology. Milligan is a Christian liberal arts college in Johnson City, Tennessee, whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership.

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In adult years, it was only yesterday. In child years, it would probably seem like forever. Whatever measure you live by, the days when my children took the path between our former house and their Mamaw and Papaw’s are long gone. As I drove past the path, I brought my vehicle to a sudden stop, visualizing my children running through the grass. I have an aged and worn photograph I had taken of the two siblings as they covered the distance that lay from our house to the grandparents; but I don’t really need it to spur the memory. I realized today that it is forever etched in my mind’s eye.

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State Mandated Barriers to Positive Educational Outcomes

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Events

GALA DAY!

Please join us as we celebrate "Older Americans Month" at Union County Senior Center. Live music, lunch & door prizes will be provided. We will recognize ALL of our Union County Senior Center volunteers and elect a new Senior King & Queen! This is for ALL senior citizens!....... 10:00-1:00 .........Call Melanie at 992-3292 for more info!

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4H Outdoor Club

4H Outdoor Club

Join our NEW 4-H Outdoor Club! 6th – 12th graders join forces to experience hands on learning in ecology, environmental education, wildlife, forestry, resource management, and so much more!

Meetings are held twice a month: 1st Wednesday at the 4-H office & 2nd Monday at Paulette Elementary. For more information and to get involved email bbergero@utk.edu

Come to tomorrow’s meeting afterschool to get started. February 7 - 3:30-5pm

Obituary

Norma Jean (Joe) Hutchison

Norma Jean (Joe) Hutchison of Knoxville passed away peacefully in her home on May 21, 2018. She was 81 years old. She was a member of Glenwood Baptist Church and the Band of Sisters Sunday School Class. She was preceded in death by her husband, James (Jim) Hutchison; mother, Charlcie Sears; sister, Nancy Klaasse; nephew, Barry Cleveland. She is survived by her nephews, Brian Cleveland and Jeff Ammons; nieces, Robin Ammons Hipsky and Trina Ammons.

Kathy Elaine Buck Williams

Kathy Elaine Buck Williams-age 64 of Maynardville went to be with the Lord Sunday morning, May 20, 2018 at North Knoxville Medical Center. She was a member of Little Valley Baptist Church. Kathy was a loving mother, grandmother and sister who was loved by all who knew her. Preceded in death by parents, Don and Jenna Lou Tharpe; former husband, Mitchell Buck; special aunts and uncles, Joanne and J. D. Wallace, Mary and John Tharpe.

Ellen Beth Lynch

Ellen Beth Lynch, age 58, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, May 20, 2018, after a courageous battle with cancer. Beth was born and raised in Knoxville. She was of the Christian faith and walked daily in His presence. Beth was the self-employed owner of Salon Twenty-One. She was preceded in death by her father Joseph Donald Holt; brother-in-law Ron Reagan; special boy and furry friend "Woody".

Edna Lee Weaver Smith

Edna Lee Weaver Smith, age 101. Passed away May 18, 2018. She was preceded in death by husband Clyde E. Smith, parents M.U. and Lena Weaver. Son-in-law Homer Smith and Granddaughter Melinda Sue Smith. She is survived by children Don Smith, Betty Rae Smith, Shirley Smith, Polly Land (Ted) and Vaughn Smith. Grandchildren Scott Smith, Kris Land and Piper Montana Smith. The family will receive friends from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. May 21, 2018 at Mynatt Funeral Home Halls Chapel. Family and friends will meet at Mynatt Funeral Home Halls Chapel May 22, 2018 at 10:15 a.m.

Swan Chamberlain, Jr.

Swan Chamberlain, Jr.-age 74 of Luttrell went home to be with Jesus Saturday, May 19, 2018. Member of Willow Springs Baptist Church. U. S. Army Veteran. Preceded in death by son, Robert Chamberlain; parents, Swan and Trula Perkey Chamberlain; brothers, Paul, Jimmy and Sammy Chamberlain; sisters, Joann Beeler, Barbara Brown.

Robert Wilson Johnson

Robert Wilson Johnson – was born on August 12, 1930 and passed away on May 16, 2018. He was a member of Church Street United Methodist Church of Knoxville and a graduate of Central High School. Robert was a veteran of the United States Air Force. He received a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Agriculture Economics from the University of Tennessee and was retired from the United States Department of Agriculture after 29 years of service.

Edna Kidwell Keen

Edna Kidwell Keen-age 81 of Maynardville passed away Thursday, May 17, 2018 at her home. She was a member of Milan Baptist Church and was a very active member of the Union County Senior Citizens. Preceded in death by husband, Dewey Keen; parents, Ervon and Opal Kidwell; brothers, Tom and John Kidwell; sisters, Marie, Mae, Lillia and Twila Kidwell.

Survivors: brother and sister-in-law, Jim and Rosemary Kidwell of Knoxville; sisters, Ineal Kidwell of Knoxville, Doris Abbott of Sevierville. Several nieces, nephews and a host of friends.

John J. Ridenour

John J. Ridenour, Sr.-age 73 of Knoxville went to be with the Lord Wednesday, May 16, 2018. Preceded in death by wife, Charlotte Alana Ridenour; son, Randy; parents, Elzie and Tishie Ridenour.

Elizabeth Ann Vitatoe

Elizabeth Ann Vitatoe-age 76 of Maynardville passed away Thursday evening, May 10, 2018 at North Knoxville Medical Center.
Graveside service and interment were held 6 P.M. Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at the Narrow Ridge Cemetery, Washburn. Arrangements by Cooke-Campbell Mortuary, Maynardville.

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