Park Ranger Derek Wilson

Uniquely Union host Dr. Ronnie Mincey interviews Big Ridge State Park Ranger Derek Wilson.



Beautiful Commercial and Residential Outdoor Spaces, Your Personal Oasis

Gabbi and Zach Letner

In October, I noticed a new business, Letner & Company, advertising its services on the Union County Speaks Out Facebook page. As someone with a strong background in sales and marketing, I appreciate the effort in making one’s available services known, so I wanted to learn more about this new company. Over the years I have heard several people comment on the difficulty in finding people to fill service positions in this area, and thought I would use this forum to introduce them to the community.

Frequently asked questions about chiropractic Part IV

Q: What type of education and training do chiropractors have?
A: Doctors of chiropractic are educated as primary-contact health care providers, with an emphasis on diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to the musculoskeletal system (the muscles, ligaments and joints of the spine and extremities) and the nerves that supply them. Educational requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions.

Cottontail Rabbit

It’s a tradition in my family for the men to go rabbit hunting on Thanksgiving morning. Our native cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) is the fourth most popular game animal in the United States, behind deer, turkey, and squirrel. They provide food and sport for humans and are an important food source for other animals higher on the food chain.


Hairy Forehead

This should come as no surprise, but I have the strangest things happen to me. Such as the time I blew cherry pie filling out of my nose. I first realized I was prone to things like this when I was around 12 years old. Whenever I had one of my strange experiences, I would ask my friends, “Does that happen to you?” They always answered. “Uh…no.”
I kinda got used to it. Or so I thought.


A Momma's Happiness

Growing up, we are taught to listen to our momma’s. The love. The wisdom. The knowledge. They taught us life lessons as we made mistakes along the way. They helped us learn to pick ourselves back up as we fell so many times. They instilled in us our morals and made us feel like we are the most special people on the Earth. That’s because, to them we are.

Turkey Biscuit Stew

Most of us have a can of biscuits lounging in our refrigerators. You have the turkey leftovers in there, too. This turkey stew will be a good use for them. I don't keep whole baby carrots on hand, but it's not much work to peel a carrot, dice and cook a few minutes in the microwave before adding to the casserole. It's an easy dish to make. I hope you try it.

Turkey with Cornmeal Dumplings

Who doesn't like dumplings? I do. This another different way to use turkey leftovers. I hope you will try it.

3 chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in 2 1/2 cups boiling water
1/3 cup flour blended in 1/2 cup cold water
3 cups cooked cubed turkey
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/3 cup flour
1 egg
1/3 cup milk

Lighting Up Union County with Christmas Cheer

Lights of Pearl & Amy Coffey of Maynardville in the Light Up Union County Event. Photo submitted

In a year of new normals, this Christmas season poses an even greater feeling of excitement. We have stayed in and are accustomed to socially distancing and finding creative ways to share time with our families. It seems, in all of the things that 2020 has challenged us with, that the magic of the Christmas season feels even more joyful and exciting this year. Maybe there is a necessity to fulfill our hearts' needs; maybe we have a stronger, deeper appreciation for the small things; or maybe it is just exciting to say goodbye to this year and hope for a fresh new start for 2021.

4-H Club Beautifies Big Ridge Park

Smoky Mountain 4-H club of Union County brings extra beauty to Big Ridge State Park by planting daffodils bulbs.
Caption for picture: Back row: Samuel Helton-Photographer, Elijah Helton-Community Service, Gracie Tindell-Hostess, Jeremiah Tindell-Sgt. Of Arms, Travis Hanna-Vice President, Kaleb Hanna-President, Jessica Garcia-Secretary. Front Row: Jonathan Tindell-Sgt. Of Arms, Silas Whitley-Scrapbook Chairperson, Meradeth Whitley-Reporter, Zeeva Boucher-Sgt. Of Arms, Natalie Graves-Recreation Leader

The Smoky Mountain Home School 4-H Club met at Big Ridge State Park on Tuesday, October 27. The club brought along many newly-built bluebird boxes. They walked through the whole park and cleaned out all of the existing boxes. Some were occupied with wildlife, but for the most part, they were full with previously used nests. The club replaced some of the old boxes and put up some additional new blue-bird boxes.

Honoring and Uplifting our Elders

Charles ”Chuck” A. Gildrie, LCSW

Charles “Chuck” Gildrie, a Tennessee Licensed Clinical Social Worker, recently shared with me a glimpse into his early life experiences, family life in Tennessee, getting an education, and the joys of working in a fulfilling career helping others.

Frequently asked questions about chiropractic—part III

Q: Do insurance plans cover chiropractic?

A: Yes. Chiropractic care is included in most health insurance plans, including major medical plans, workers’ compensation, Medicare, some Medicaid plans, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans for federal employees, among others. Chiropractic care is also available to active-duty members of the armed forces at more than 60 military bases and is available to veterans, at more than 60 major veterans medical facilities, but also in offices such as ours that participate directly with the VA to administer care with proper VA authorization..

Trash to Treasure

When I married my wife, she was an avid “rummager”. For those of you who might not be familiar with the term, she was a person who lived to go to rummage sales. Nothing thrilled her more than the hunt for bargains.

There is a book entitled The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I read the book in my younger days of idealism, and admittedly don’t remember a great deal about it. I would recommend it to you, Faithful Reader, as a Google search. The only thing I remember is that one of the ways a person shows their love for another is to give gifts.

Under the Tree

It broke my heart. I couldn’t imagine the old tree was dead.

This wasn’t just any old tree. It was a large Maple that stood about 40 feet across from my grandparent’s carport. Except for the last ten years, I had seen that tree almost every day of my life.

Tree Leaves are Important Even in Death

Tree leaves are most recognized and appreciated when they go through their fall color blitz that we enjoy every year. But they should also be recognized for all they do throughout the year, including creating food and fiber through the miracle of photosynthesis, and when dead on the ground they supply the raw materials needed for next year’s growth of new leaves. Going from dead leaves to nutrients that can be taken up by the tree requires a recycling system of decomposition.

Grits Casserole

I like grits. I like anything made with corn. Grits are just gritty cornmeal, wouldn't you say? You don't have to eat grits just for breakfast. A grit casserole would go well with ham or any pork dish, so serve them for supper tonight. Do you suppose a "Grit" looks like my drawing?


Have you ever made bagels? If you are feeling adventurous, try it. I did a few years back. They turned out just fine. However, and this is a big however, I prefer to pick up a package of bagels at Food City. They are a lot of work. If you stir up a batch, you will understand all that is required to do them. If you are bored, it's raining outside and there's nothing on TV, give it a try. They are good, just a lot of work. By the way, potato water is the water you boiled the potatoes in.

Padgett elected to serve as acting Maynardville City Manager

When Jack Rhyne, current Maynardville City Manager decided to retire, Maynardville had not completed its search for a replacement. In the October called meeting, the Board of Commissioners accepted Rhyne's retirement and sought the advice of their attorney regarding the next step. According to state law, Maynardville would need to declare the position vacant and then proceed to fill the vacancy. If the vacancy was filled by a current employee other than the recorder then the person would be an acting city manager, not an interim city manager.

Friendly, with an eye on the future.

Mayor Ty Blakely with son Bo and wife Jessica

Mayor Ty Blakely can be described as the city’s website describes the town: friendly, with an eye on the future. He had an unusual habit for a small boy, he enjoyed reading the daily newspaper! As a child, he looked up to his grandfather who was a math teacher and coach at Powell High School. He wanted to be like his grandfather and expected to follow in his footsteps in the teaching profession, but life presented other opportunities.

Frequently asked questions about chiropractic—part II

Q: Does chiropractic treatment require a referral from an MD?
A: A referral is usually not needed to see a doctor of chiropractic (DC); however, your health plan may have specific referral requirements. you may want to contact your employer’s human resources department—or the insurance plan directly—to find out if there are any referral requirements. Most plans allow you to just call and schedule an appointment with a DC.

Have seeds will travel

Plant life is very lush in our area. If the landscape is not paved or has a building on it, it has plants growing on it if it sits long enough. Which begs the question: How do plants spread if they are literally rooted to the ground? The answer is in seed design, and several ingenious mechanisms are used to allow plant embryos (seeds) to move away from the shadows of the mother plant.

It’s Not Christmas without Charley!

When I was a “tiny twig”, before I became a “bent branch” (or a “twisted trunk”), I owned a handful of records. Only a few of those were Christmas records, but one of the records advertised a Charley Pride album “Christmas in My Home Town”. I had one Charley gospel album, and I for years wanted his Christmas album. In my adult life, I was able to get my copy of “Christmas in My Home Town”. As irony often dictates, when we want something and don’t have it, there is a void. When we get what we want, it sometimes comes to us multiple times.

Crying at the Fair

When I was a kid, I absolutely loved going to the fair. In my mind, it was a night of fun adventure. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

A few years back, we were visiting friends in another state. One evening, they took us to their local fair. I was so excited and we were having fun until we walked by the Ferris wheel.

Salmon Rice Loaf

I first made this salmon loaf about 14 years ago. This was an especially difficult time for me. My husband had passed several months before. I had run up a credit card bill helping my oldest son build a house. Money was tight. This recipe fit my budget. Try it. It's good, if you like salmon, that is.

Reserving time to laugh more, paint often

Deborah Stroud – Passionate Living

Deborah Stroud’s Union County roots run deep, as both parents, J.T. Russell and Frances Heiskell Russell, are natives of this area.
As the daughter of a preacher and owner of a construction company, Stroud learned all about working hard, a lesson which has served her well.

Curbside drop-off site to open for Operation Christmas Child

More than 4,000 locations will now offer a curbside drop-off option for the Samaritan’s Purse project, Operation Christmas Child. Volunteers are preparing to collect shoebox gifts during National Collection Week, November 16 – 23.
Operation Christmas Child has been collecting and delivering shoebox gifts — filled with school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys — to children worldwide for more than two decades. This is a project that everyone can still be a part of, even with COVID-19 restrictions.

County Commission resolves farmers market grant oversight

With energy, enthusiasm, and vision, the Union County Farmers Market, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, applied for a Tennessee CARES Act Grant with a very limited window of opportunity.
The vision was for Union County farmers to be able to sell their end-of-season produce as a food product that was produced in a commercial kitchen.

Special Called BOE discusses funding new school

The Union County Board of Education met in a called meeting to discuss adding capital projects into the Five Year Plan.
Dr. Jimmy Carter, director of schools, distributed a list of the capital projects and their costs that had been completed over the last five years.
Finance Director Ann Dyer and Maintenance Supervisor Mike Johnson were present to answer questions. Carter informed the board that the current capital project of providing a heating and air conditioning system for the hallways of Luttrell Elementary had been placed on hold until after the meeting.

School Board approves incentive pay rubric for teachers

Dr. Jimmy Carter presented the incentive pay rubric for teachers who have participated in developing the videos for distance learning. at the regular October meeting of the Union County Board of Education The maximum stipend per teacher would be $1500 with the maximum cost to be $300,000. The funds would come from the Reopening Grant, the CARES Act Grant, and the Professional Development line at $100,000 from each source.

Commission views plan for farmers market building

During the mayor's report, Union County Commission received the first visual of the farmers market at the regular October meeting. Mayor Jason Bailey commented that from Highway 33, the building would look like “a big barn with barn doors and the name, Union County Farmers Market.”

UCBPA turns 30

Union County Business & Professional Association will reach a milestone of 30 years of service this year, but the birthday celebration is postponed to 2021. When members voiced concerns about the size of the venue and whether or not the conditions would be safe under a pandemic, the UCBPA Board of Directors decided that COVID-19 protocols could not be ensured and voted to postpone the banquet.


The Straight Truth

Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.


Two chiropractors head integrated multidisciplinary Medical licensing boards.

The chiropractic profession has been working for some time toward increased integration in health care by seeking ways to become more involved within communities and on the national level, laying a foundation for doctors of chiropractic to collaborate more meaningfully with different types of providers for the benefit of patients.

Christmas from Everlasting to Everlasting

Those who were raised in church have probably heard more than one sermon how that Christmas is a special day set aside to commemorate the birth of the Lord Jesus.
Although this a special day of remembrance, the spirit of the season should live in our hearts all year long. I’m not so sure the “spirit” of Christmas prevails throughout the year (in fact, I’m certain that it is gone for many before the clock strikes midnight to ring in the new year), but one thing is for sure — the commercialism of Christmas is evident all 365 and one-fourth days!

Don't care to

My new friend was so upset with me and I had no idea why.
I had joined a new local group of writers. At one of our meetings, we were discussing getting reviews on our books. Reviews are very important in that they help our books get noticed by more people, and that will help our book sales.
One of the ladies in the group had just published a book and she asked, “Does anybody want to read it and give me a review?”
Wanting to be neighborly, I volunteered, “I don’t care to read it.” I expected a “Thank you,” or “I appreciate it.” Instead, she became quite upset.

The creation of Big Ridge State Park

In the previous articles about the Big Ridge area, we discussed the history of the early settlers and their relationship with the land.
The area around Big Ridge was once a happening little community with a town center called Loyston. This area was a farming community with schools, churches and farms scattered along the banks of the Clinch River.
Many people who visit Big Ridge or Norris Lake don’t picture or know that the area was farms. Now the area is mostly wooded and undeveloped.

Butter Bean Soup

What goes good with butter beans? Pork sausage, of course. I like tomato soup, too. It's good alone or with something like butter beans. It's a cold weather soup that's easy to prepare.

Chief Representative of the People

Plainview Mayor Gary D Chandler

Career Trend, an online resource that discusses duties of elected and appointed city officials (for anyone entertaining the notion of serving), describes small town mayors as the Chief Representative of the People. That description is quite fitting of the Mayor of Plainview, Gary D. Chandler. Having an interest in making his community better, Chandler began serving as Plainview City Alderman in 2003. He was elected Plainview City Mayor 10 years ago and is currently serving his third term. Chandler is the third Mayor to serve the City of Plainview in its 28-year history.

Frequently asked questions about chiropractic—part I

Q: What conditions do chiropractors treat?
A: Doctors of chiropractic (DCs) care for patients of all ages, with a variety of health conditions. DCs are especially well known for their expertise in caring for patients with back pain, neck pain and headaches, particularly with their highly skilled manipulations or chiropractic adjustments. They also care for patients with a wide range of injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, involving the muscles, ligaments and joints.

Bridge of Terror

No, I’m not talking about a horror movie. I don’t like those things. And no, I don’t have a fear of bridges, or gephyrophobia. Well, not all bridges. Just one, and to be honest, my terror took me by surprise.

The "Magic" Tent

How did you spend your fall break? Well, I took my wife to several doctors most days of that week. I did manage to finish reading at least one book, portions of a few others, shop at KARM, eat out with a friend, mow my and my neighbor’s yard, and put up a storm door at my home library.

Once in a Blue Moon

Everyone has heard the old term “once in a blue Moon”, which is used to reference a rare event. The origin of the term comes from the fact that when a month has two full moons in it, the second one is called blue. This will occur this month appropriately on October 31, Halloween, so be sure and watch for it. This second full moon blue thing is not old folklore. A March 1999 issue of Sky and Telescope describes the term as recent occurrence.

Baked Onions

Yes, I like onions. I remember from my childhood during the Great Depression that Mother flavored our monotonous menu with onions whenever possible. She only had that old 1936 Detroit Times cookbook for guidance. I don't know what she did before that. Introduce this recipe to your family. They will learn that onions can be used for more than just flavor. Onions can play a starring roll. It is simple but delicious.

Corny Ham Chowder

This really is a Spam chowder. I didn't call it by it's true name because I figured you wouldn't look at it if I had the word "Spam" in the title. It is easy to fix and a bit different from your typical ham chowder - no potatoes.

1 tablespoon margarine
2 cups cubed ham or a can of Spam, cubed
1 cup sliced celery
16 ounce can cream style corn
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional

Feeding Union County Families Since 1997

Volunteer Pat Blackburn presents donation to Kitty Lewis - Union County Food Pantry Director

Union County Food Pantry started in 1997 when the current Director, Kitty Lewis, had a close friend from church who shared with her the struggles that people in our area were having with getting enough food to last the entire month. One lady was rumored to stretch her budget by eating cat food. These unfortunate circumstances spurred these two ladies to take action. Lewis and friends turned to local churches and have been supported by congregations and individuals ever since.

Chiropractic leads in patient satisfaction/clinical Effectiveness

Three in four people who saw a chiropractor in the last year (77%) described chiropractic care as “very effective.”

In a consumer survey, chiropractic outperformed all other back pain treatments, including prescription medication, deep-tissue massage, yoga, pilates, and over-the counter medication therapies.

Autumn Coloration: the Tree Paint Palette

Seeing the hills and valleys ablaze with color is a special Autumn event. Many variables influence how bright the colors will be, such as sunlight, temperature, rainfall, and soil conditions. These will cause color variations in a given tree from one year to the next or even differences in various portions of the same tree.


Free Line Dance classes Tuesday 10am

Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 10:00

Until the Union County Senior Center opens, line dance classes are being held at “Painting with Expression” 842 Main Street, Maynardville, across from the court house. Thanks to Tina Dyer for letting us use her space. Once the weather warms up, we will meet at the pavilion in Wilson Park. We have a great group who won’t give this fun activity up. New people are joining all the time. Don’t let Covid stop you from getting out. We have lots of room to social distance.
Starting class at 9:30am now for beginners. 10am regular class.

Babies and Bubbles Story Time

Tuesday, December 15, 2020 - 11:00

Early childhood curriculum with music, movement, rhyme and books for babies and toddlers 1 day old to 5 years old. Older siblings are always welcome. Finishing with a healthy snack and refreshing water to drink. This is a great time for moms, dads, grandparents, and all other guardians and family & friends involved in raising a child to connect with other parents, guardians and parenting figures. Hope to see you here!


H. D. Beason

Hamilton Devine “H. D.” Beason-age 81 of Maynardville, born December 16, 1938 passed away suddenly Monday, November 23, 2020 at his home surrounded by his family. He was of the Baptist faith and was a retired automobile mechanic. He was an employee of Lay’s Body Shop for over 20 years. Preceded in death by parents, John and Abbie Beason; sister, Jerlene Beason; brother, Joe Neal Beason.

Lois Mae Pugh

Lois M. Pugh-age 91 of Maynardville passed away Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at her home while surrounded by her family. She was of the Baptist faith and a retired employee of General Dynamics as a machinist with 16 years of service. She loved to travel and family get-togethers.

Carl B. "Carlie" Kitts

Carl B. (Carlie) Kitts-age 65 of Maynardville went to be with the Lord Thursday, November 19, 2020 at his home. He as a member of Hubbs Grove Baptist Church and a retired Union County Deputy Sheriff. Preceded in death by parents, Carl and Tilda Bell Kitts; brother, Richard Kitts.

Uriel W. Edde, Jr.

Uriel William Edde, Jr., 90, owner of Edde Chevrolet in Rutledge, Tn died on Tuesday November 17, 2020 at Tennova North Hospital in Powell, Tn. after a short illness. He was born in December 1929 to Uriel William and Laura Edde in Monroe County, Tn. He came from a farming family of 14 with only two siblings surviving his death, Jean Lee and Pete Edde. He married Lovenia Terry on December 30, 1950 and together they had three children: Cynthia Edde Humphries (David), Uriel William Edde III (Tammy), and Martha Edde.

Infant Bailey Nicole Hickman

Bailey Nichole Hickman of Maynardville born and passed away Sunday, November 15, 2020 at U. T. Medical Center. Preceded in death by grandfather, Audrey Runyon; great-grandfather, Roy Bailey.
Survivors: parents, Brandon and Jennifer Hickman; sisters and brothers, Kannessa, Lakeisha and Preston Hickman; grandparents, Larry and Shirley Hickman; Lori Cassidy; great-grandmother, Goldie Bailey. Several aunts, uncles and cousins.

Jimmy Joe Darnell

Jimmy J. Darnell-age 77 of New Tazewell, a native of Lewisburg, Tennessee passed away Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at his home. He was preceded in death by girlfriend, Mary Jo Clark; sister, Dorothy Frank; brother, William Darnell.

Survivors: daughter and son-in-law, Kimberly and Gary Anderson; granddaughter and her husband, LaRae and Brock Molnar; grandson, Jeremy Baker; great-granddaughter, Grace Taylor; great-grandson, Issac Molnar; sister, Edna (Liz) Hendericks; brother, Bobby Darnell. Several nieces and nephews.

Lucinda Ann Chapman

Lucinda Ann Chapman-age 63 of Sevierville passed away peacefully on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 around 8 a.m. after battling stage 4 cancer. Cindy was a beloved mother, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin and friend.

Cindy is survived by her son, Tim Chapman, her daughter, Danielle Adkins, her sisters; Cathy Mayes and Sherrie Coffman, her brothers, Dave, Donald, Terry, and Danny Hunter and her mother, Credith Hunter.

Melanie Caprice Davis

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a help that is readily found in times of distress.

Melanie Caprice Davis - Melanie was born in Miami, Florida on August 29, 1972. She died suddenly Sunday, November 15, 2020 at the age of 48.

Anna Ruth McClintock

Anna Ruth (Chamberlain) McClintock-age 74 of Corryton went to be with Jesus and her loved ones Monday, November 16, 2020 at her home. She was of the Pentecostal faith. Preceded in death by son, Ricky Cameron; daughter, Robin Moore; parents, Swan and Trula Chamberlain; brothers, Jimmy, Paul, Sammy and Swan Chamberlain, Jr.; sisters, Barbara Brown and Joann Beeler.

Dennis Akers

Dennis Wayne Akers-age 53 of Tazewell, born December 2, 1966 in Pineville, Kentucky passed away suddenly Thursday, November 12, 2020 at his home. He is preceded in death by his wife, Ruby Akers; parents, Sue and Dennis Akers; mother-in-law, Ellen Daniels.

He is survived by sons, Josh Akers and girlfriend, Gracie Mcleod; Daniel Akers and girlfriend, Kaitlyn Bailey; sisters, Shirley (Steve) Brock, Tammy (Dewey) Reeder as well as several nieces, nephews and a host of other family and friends.