Water Bears Just Don't Care

Adult Tardigrade

An Adult Water Bear

In 1773, German zoologist Johann August Ephraim Goeze peered through his compound microscope and gazed upon a tiny, eight-legged creature he dubbed a “little water bear”. Cute, huh? The scientific name for these itty-bitty varmints is “tardigrade”, but there’s another nickname for them I like better – moss piglet. Can you believe it? I mean, look at that thing. Moss piglet! That’s perfect. I can almost hear it oinking.

Golden Banana Cake

Do you like bananas? I do and so does my daughter Anne. Since she does our grocery shopping nowadays, she has a method of choosing which bananas to buy. We have a friend from the Philippines who taught us how to select the best banana. She looks for bananas with thick fat ends, not pointy ones. She is right. There is more banana hiding behind the peel. She says they have a better flavor, too.

Mia's Market Plants Success

Katy Beth and Mia Effler greet customers with a smile at Union County Farmers Market

Mia Effler is eleven years old and can be recognized by her hard work, dedication, and success in her own business. A sixth grader at Horace Maynard Middle School, she enjoys soccer and fishing on Norris Lake, but with the help and support of family, Mia invests much of her time planting, picking, and selling produce for her business, Mia’s Market.

Union County's Inaugural Race of 2019

Union County's Inaugural Race of 2019

As the runners took their places on Saturday May 4, 2019, Union County Chamber President Thomas Sibinski's vision of Union County’s first 10k run became a reality. Thomas was looking to bring something different to town. With support from the Chamber board, a 10k, 5k and Fun Run was scheduled to start from Union County High School.

When Gardening, Pull Your Weeds ... Not Your Back

Now that spring is here, and the weather is warming up and leaves are turning green, many people will spend more time outside planting bulbs, mowing the lawn and pulling weeds. Gardening can provide a great workout, but with all the bending, twisting, reaching and pulling, your body may not be ready for exercise of the garden variety.


I knew something was wrong as soon as I saw the expression on my mamaw’s face. Let’s just say it didn’t exactly relate joy.

We had just pulled into the driveway after our week long trip to Florida. Our daughter Sara, who was 9 years old at this time, was showing Papaw all the treasures she had amassed at Sea World. That was when Mamaw whispered to Tim and myself, “I need you all to come down to the carport to look at something.”

Yep, this was not good.

Almost - Shoney Cabbage Soup

My mother could put together a soup even when there didn't seem to be enough food in the house to make a meal. I grew up on soup, especially in the winter time. With a little meat to season it and the vegetables we had on hand, she could make a hearty soup for not much money. Cornbread goes well with most soups and goes well with this one.

Black and White - Holes of a Different Color

This week, my column is going to be diving into stuff I really don’t know much about. I’m not feeling too inferior though. No one knows much about this topic, even people who are deemed experts are really just scratching the surface. So, you can roll your eyes and shake your head at some of the things I’m going to say, but it won’t rattle me in the slightest – and not just because I can’t see you on the other side of your computer or phone screen.

Being an Extra in an East Tennessee Film

Me in period costume.

There really is a film industry in Tennessee. One day, while we were living in Niota, my husband was driving home and was stopped by a gentleman wanting directions. Imagine his surprise when he recognized the man as Claude Akins. Mr. Akins was in Tennessee filming scenes for the forgettable movie, King Kong Lives.

Lyre-Leaf Sage: Blue in the Grass

If you drive down the road right now and see patches of blue in the green hayfields and pastures, it’s liable to be Lyre-leaf Sage. I have a lot of it in my fields for the first time that I can remember, as does my neighbors. It’s always been around, but I normally only see it along roadsides and field edges. It is in the same family of plants as the herbal sage used in cooking and such.


Hunker Down

I read a recent article that celebrated the health benefits of squatting and said that we should be doing this regularly (as opposed to spending all our time sitting or standing, I guess). I was offended by this outlandish disregard for the heritage and history of a good portion of the population, not to mention the language.

Where I come from, people don’t squat. They hunker down. Allow me to illustrate the distinction:

Harrell Lewis' Legacy of Love

Harrell Lewis during the Korean War.

Born in 1932 to Jesse Lewis and Anna Smith Lewis, Harrell was a man who loved the Lord above all else. He was a proud lifetime citizen of Maynardville where he was well known and loved. He married wife, Ima Ruth Cooke, on November 24, 1951 to begin their nearly sixty-three years together before her death in 2014.

Commissioners Choose Union County Seal

Commissioners Choose Union County Seal

Union County has never had a county seal. Other counties have a seal that reflects their work, products, resources, or heritage. Believing that Union County should have a seal, Mayor Jason Bailey met with Ms. Lana Booker, who teaches graphic design at Union County High School. The Mayor challenged the students to develop several seals. He offered to personally fund the project with a $50 gift card to the student who developed the winning design. The students submitted their designs anonymously and a committee of county leaders narrowed the choices to the top three.

Mayor Bailey declares May Preservation Union County Month

Veterans Bridge Memorial and new sign at Wilson Part.  A project spearheaded by Preservation Union County.

Veterans Bridge Memorial and new sign at Wilson Part. A project spearheaded by Preservation Union County.

In 1966, The National Preservation Act was enacted, establishing a federal policy for preserving our nation's heritage and creating the National Register of Historic Places and the National Landmark Program.

In order to spotlight grassroots preservation efforts in America, The National Trust for Historic Preservation created preservation week in 1971. Because of overwhelming popularity, the Trust decided to extend the celebrations to last the entire month of May.

More on Opioids and Slow Return to Work After Work-Related Low-Back Injuries

Opioid use is common among workers injured at work. A new study focuses on low-back injuries, which are common claims in workers’ compensation and exhibit a higher use of opioids—including the longer-term prescriptions on which we focus—than most other injuries. In addition, evidence-based treatment guidelines recommend against long-term use of opioids for most of these cases, suggesting that some prescriptions may be excessive.

BPA Dawns a New Day

BPA President Martin Shafer, Sterling Benton, Chantay Collins celebrate with a group hug.

BPA President Martin Shafer, Sterling Benton, Chantay Collins celebrate with a group hug.

Declaring it's a new day in UT Athletics, Sterling Henton electrified the Union County Business & Professional Prayer Breakfast with his energy, his optimism, and his voice. After BPA President Martin Shafer introduced Sterl the Pearl as he was known in his New Jersey high school and into his college career at the University of Tennessee, Sterling explained that he really never intended to go to college in the South. In 1987, he was focused on leading his high school to a state championship in three different sports. Alabama called, he refused. Florida called, he refused.

Project Planning Meeting Discusses Youth Sports Needs

Mayor Bailey explains county revenue.

Mayor Bailey explains county revenue.

Mayor Jason Bailey opened the second Project Planning Meeting on Thursday, April 26th and summarized the County Union idea. This suggestion would consolidate much of the county services into the current Horace Maynard Middle School Building. Most of the properties that are currently rented for various county departments and some state or federal programs would also move to the middle school. The plan would save the county the cost of the rent.

Baked Chicken Breast in Sauce

I have noticed that boneless, skinless chicken breasts have been on sale lately. I won't buy them with the skin still attached and bones on the underside. That is all waste as I see it. Yes, they are cheaper per pound that way, but when you subtract the skin and bones they are not.