Board Orders Guardrail Removal, Passes Budget

[Writer's Note: The Union County School Board meets the second Thursday of each month at UCHS. The Board uses a workshop prior to the meeting to discuss agenda items. After the workshop, the Board approves, rejects, or takes no action on individual items during the meeting.]

The Board discussed these agenda items during the workshop.

John Fugate requested approval for fifteen UCHS students to attend FFA Chapter Development Training from July 26-28 at Big Ridge State Park.

Finance Director Ann Dyer offered Budget Amendments to add the Safety Grant, move money to proper line items, and generally cleanup the budget for the yearend report. In SB 177 (Capital Outlay) Ms. Dyer noted that the cost of two new buses be added to meet the required 120 days needed to have the buses before the start of the school year in August 2019. Andrew Reed (6th District) asked how many buses had already been bought. Transportation Supervisor Lenny Holt explained that with this purchase, the system would now own five buses that are two years old or less.

Ms. Dyer reported that all parts of the school budget were functioning as planned. She further stated that Food Services Supervisor, Ms. Mary Effler, through careful money management had brought that budget from a negative balance when Ms. Effler assumed the job to the currently mandated three months of operating expenses in the fund balance.

Ms. Dyer recommended that the Food Service Contract with HDS be extended for one year and that the Grace Rehabilitation Contract be renewed.

Dr. Ronnie Mincey announced that the required TSBA Workshop for Planning would be June 7-8 at the Hyatt Regency. Dr. Jimmy Carter noted that the Central Office Administrators would be giving their views on the Strategic Plan on Friday. Dr. Mincey said that no definite start time was available at the moment but Saturday would be a half day.

Dr. Mincey advised the board that he was not ready to report the results of the Director's Evaluation since he needed time to calculate the ones submitted just before the meeting.

Dr. Mincey stated that there were virtually no changes from the First Reading to the Second Reading on the TSBA recommended Board Policy Changes to 4.701-Test Security, 1.803 - Tobacco Free Schools, 4.209 - Alternate Credit Opportunities, and 4.603 - Promotion and Retention.
Ms. Roxanne Patterson, Attendance Supervisor, requested that Board Policy 6.204-Attendance be amended by deleting the required notice and allow nonresident and out of zone students to make applications during the school year.

Dr. Mincey explained the Consolidated Application for Federal Funds. Title I at $1,112,534 decreased by over $29,000 and caused the cutting of one paraprofessional position. But due to a cost sharing arrangement between the Federal and the General Fund, no employee will be cut. Title II at $139,236 decreased nearly $17,000. This fund is used mostly for professional development training and supplies for teachers and a portion funds only one salary, the Professional Development Coordinator. Title III is used to supplement teaching supplies and instruction for English Language Learners. The funds decreased by nearly half to $807.07 because so many tested out of the ELDA, a test for students whose primary language is not English. Dr. Mincey stated that this decrease was “really a good thing”. Title IV saw an increase by nearly $3000 to $82,467. Title IV funds portions of salaries for a music teacher, a social worker, and the purchase of STEM materials and supplies. Title V will have $75,482.08 to support Title I and II and provide a paraprofessional position at SCES and a county wide Family Interventionist. Dr. Mincey also remarked that from FY 2016 to FY 2020 the overall Title Funds had decreased by $182,876.81 meaning “there would most likely be an overall decrease in funding each year”.

Dr. Mincey continued to explain that Federal funding also includes IDEA Part B at $1,103,455 and IDEA Preschool at $24,010. IDEA Part B increased by $127,182 while IDEA Preschool realized a $240 increase. The total amount of Federal funding for FY 2020 is $2,538,051.15.

Dr. Carter and Ms. Dyer noted that the Board would need to bid the security project funded by the Governor's Safety Grant, since the amount exceeds the purchase limit of $25,000 and the vendor that was originally contacted is not under an approved state wide contract. Dr. Carter further applauded Sheriff Breeding and the 911 Office including Ms. Marty Smith for “spotting an intruder in one of the schools about 4:00 A.M.”

Ms. Dyer and Dr. Carter offered a balanced school budget to the Board. Some $80,000 in Chrome Books as well as $50,000 in transportation were cut from the SB141 in order to achieve this result. Ms. Dyer stated that this budget is based on the current BEP Proposal sent in April. Both believe that BEP Funds will increase by June when the final BEP funding projection arrives. In any event, Ms. Dyer said that there was an alternate plan to fund the chrome books if the increase does not occur. She stated that funds could be moved from SB177 if necessary. Dr. Carter expressed gratitude to Ms. Dyer and her staff for doing all of the budgets, not just the School Board. Dr. Carter also individually thanked Missy Brown for her efforts to oversee the day to day school finances and commended her on her knowledge of the budget operations. Gerald Smith (7th District) said that he thought Ms. Dyer and this kind of handling of finances was the “best thing that we have ever done”. Ms. Dyer and Dr. Carter also explained that the actual amount of projects for SB177 was $791,000 but some two million was budgeted due to some FY 19 projects not being completed until FY2020.

Brad Griffey (2nd District) recommended that the UCHS Softball Field be named in honor of Lance Lay. Mr. Griffey cited Mr. Lay's record of excellence not just in win/loss but also in district, regional, and state tournaments. He stated that Mr. Lay works concessions alongside players and parents at UT Football Games to raise money for the team. He also noted that Mr. Lay attends social functions, even baptisms, to show support for his girls on the team.

Marty Gibbs (1st district) was unable to attend the meeting, so Dr. Carter related his concern regarding the transporting of athletic teams by school bus. Dr. Carter said that he hoped the Board could begin a conversation and discussion regarding how to fund bus transportation to away games as well as how to determine which sports to transport and from which schools. As an example, the transportation cost for football is $8,000 to $12,000 per year. Title IX requires that sports be treated equitably without discrimination. Dr. Carter noted that the boy’s basketball team cannot be transported and not provide a bus for the girls basketball team. Mr. Holt also mentioned that bus drivers were needed. Dr. Carter said that coaches need to look at getting CDL's (Commercial Driver's License) and wished more teachers would also. “I would love to have every teacher have a CDL. Then I would never have to want for a bus driver again”, he exclaimed.

The Ground Lease with the Union County Historical Society was discussed. Andrew Reed (6th), who missed the April Board Meeting called Dr. Carter and inquired if the Board had taken action or changed its position on a guard rail at the Union County Museum. When Dr. Carter told him the guardrail was not on the agenda nor discussed, Mr. Reed informed Dr. Carter that a guardrail had been erected. Dr. Carter related that he traveled to the museum and took pictures of the guardrail and sent them to Ms. Mary Ann Stackhouse, the Board's attorney. According to Andrew Reed, the Board met a year ago and agreed not to put up a guardrail. “We agreed to do nothing, said Mr. Reed. There were two conflicting surveys and they were supposed to work together until this was settled.” According to Mr. Reed, the Historical Society was to make no modification without the Board's approval and he stated that he felt the Board had been disrespected by going around and there should be some legalities, too.

Dr. Carter explained that the Board had not seen two different surveys. Mr. Dyer, the business owner, said that he had a survey that was different from the survey which the Union County Historical Society purchased and paid for with its own funds.

Mr. Reed continued by asserting that the guardrail was blocking access to the residences by emergency vehicles and the residents themselves. Ms. Stackhouse stated that according to the ground lease, the Historical Society had no right to put up a guardrail saying, “I don't know if it was a unilateral executive decision or one made by the Board.”

Danny Wayne Collins (5th District) inquired if Ms. Stackhouse could send a letter. Ms. Stackhouse responded that she could. But she also stated that she told Dr. Carter that the lease was made until 2066 at which time both Dr. Carter and she would be deceased. Ms. Stackhouse further explained that she was also concerned that the Board may not be a named insured which would allow the Board to declare the lease in material default. Then the Board could renegotiate a four (4) year lease as is the current law for contracts. She then requested to send two letters: one on the guardrail and the other on the insurance and suggested 10 days to remove the guardrail or the Board would remove it and send the Society a bill. Some Board members commented that it did not take long to put it up, so could it not be removed sooner. Mr. Reed and Mr. Collins asked who would fix the holes and Ms. Stackhouse answered that since the Historical Society had damaged the property, they would have to fix it back. Mr. Collins said that he had talked to Greg Dyer and Mr. Dyer has no ill feeling toward the Board, that Mr. Dyer just thought “we had an agreement”, and that the Society had come over and asked him to sign so they could use his property to park cars during an event cause they don't have enough parking.

In response to Mr. Collins and an agreement, Ms. Stackhouse stated that the minutes indicated, “Frankly, the Board would do nothing”. Discussion then ensued on the width of the drive between the building and the guardrail as well as the wording of the letter.

Dr. Carter turned to another matter about vacation days and when they could be used. A new policy is causing confusion in that some employees accrue one vacation day a month but the policy states that they must accrue 6 days before any can be taken. Dr. Carter suggested that the wording be deleted and employees take days as they are accrued until a statement regarding a probationary period can be inserted.

The Workshop was completed and the Board meeting began.

The agenda was approved. No one from UCEA addressed the Board. No special recognition and the TSBA Planning Workshop was the only announcement. The consent agenda was approved. Budget amendments passed on a roll call vote. Contracts with HDS and Grace Rehab were approved. Permission to bid out the camera project was approved.

The UCHS Softball Field was named in honor of Lance Lay on a voice vote of a motion and seconded by Mr. Griffey and Mr. Moore. The second reading of Board Policies passed. The first reading of the Attendance Policy 6.204 changes passed. The 2020 Consolidated Application for Federal Funding was approved on a motion and seconded by Mr. Collins and Mr. Reed.

Ms. Stackhouse requested clarification that two letters would be sent to the Union County Historical Society. The letter on the guardrail would state that the guardrail should be removed forthwith, the property fixed, and if this is not done then the Board would remove the guardrail and invoice the Society. The other letter would be for the insurance. Dr. Carter asked if both letters could be done in one motion. Ms. Stackhouse agreed. Andrew Reed moved and Danny Wayne Collins seconded the motion to send both letters. Approval was by voice vote.

Two items were in the Addendum. Vacation Days will be taken as accrued. The 2020 Budget passed on a motion and second by Mr. Collins and Mr. Griffey with a roll call vote.

The next School Board Meeting will be Thursday, June 13, at UCHS.

Board of Education sends workers to remove guardrail.

Union County Public School maintenance worker repairs holes left by recently removed guardrail.

Union County Public School maintenance worker repairs holes as guardrail is removed by order of the Board of Education.



Small Business Saturday

A glance at some of the Christmas décor available in Perry’s Décor & Boutique on Small Business Saturday. Photo Credit: Helina Bailey

We all know about Black Friday, but did you know that the following day is dedicated to small businesses? Established in 2011 by American Express, and later sponsored by the SBA (Small Business Association), the Saturday after Thanksgiving was designated as a small business shopping day so that small businesses could get in on some of the holiday shopping action, which is the busiest time of the year for retail stores. Here in Union County, we do not have an abundance of retail shops, but we still have plenty of family run mom and pop shops offering giftable items/services.

Frequently asked questions about chiropractic: part III

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.

Q: Is chiropractic treatment ongoing?

Beautiful Storm

When I saw the dark, menacing clouds in the distance, my heart filled with dread. That is exactly how I felt as a child when I realized a storm was heading our way.

Marinated vegetable salad

This salad makes a big batch. It keeps well in the fridge. I make it and much on it for several days. Very good..

In small saucepan, combine the sugar, vinegar, oil and salt.. Bring to a boil over medium low heat, stirring occasionally. Let cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add dressing. Toss to coat. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours. Serve with slotted spoon. Makes 25 servings.

By golly, sally!

We all have heard adults fussing over a baby, called he/she silly names like “Snookums”, “Itsy-bitsy Sweety-pie”. Well, maybe not those exact words, but you get the idea.

My Dad had such a name for me, “Sally.” My given name is Shirley. My middle name is Delora, his mother’s name. Mother would explode whenever she heard him call me Sally. “We named her Shirley! Don’t call her Sally!”

A Handsome Pine in Trouble

Shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) is my favorite of the pines. It is a beautiful tree to behold with its long straight trunk of map-patterned bark. It and Virginia pine are the most common pines found in our area, and can be found in almost any woodland hike. They are easy to tell apart just by looking at the trunk. Shortleaf usually has few limbs, whereas Virginia is very limby and often has dead stubs sticking out. Also, Virginia tends to hang on to its old pine cones, so they will appear numerous in the tree. Another commonly used name for shortleaf is yellow pine.

Coffee and Writing

Emily Falardeau and Addison Harrison serve up a hot coffee at Ridge and Valley Coffeehouse. Photo Credit: Helina Bailey

By Helina Bailey
I am a coffee lover. My morning routine includes a large cup of iced coffee. If I am being honest, it’s more like two or three cups, with a few more in the afternoon. I’m not fancy with my cup o’ Joe. I’ll drink it black in a pinch, but I prefer it iced with a bit of milk. Every once in a while, I will give in to a craving for a decadent frappuccino, when I’m missing the Northwest.

Fall Sniffles and School Closures

Did cold season glide in on an Autumn breeze this year? It feels as though sickness is in the air, with coughs, sneezes, and the stomach flu finding their way into all of our homes. Many counties in East Tennesse have recently closed due to the high number of students and faculty falling ill. Union County opted to have virtual education this month, but many are still sick, with neighboring counties closing their doors before the holiday.

Sonja Saylor graduates with ETRLA 2022 Class

Sonja Saylor displays her ETRLA Class of 2022 diploma.

November 8, 2022, was Election Day, but for Sonja Saylor it was her Graduation Day for East Tennessee Regional Leadership Association. Graduation was held at Hunter Valley Farm in Knoxville, and Ms. Saylor was one of the key planners of the event. She worked with representatives from Knox County and Cocke County to acquire the speaker, design and send the invitations, set the program, and organize a silent auction.

Union County FCE Members Attend TAFCE Conference

FCE members from across TN learn a new way to be active playing chair volleyball.

Union County FCE members attended the 40th Annual Tennessee Association for Family and Community Education (TAFCE) Conference held November 13-16, 2022, at the Franklin Cool Springs Marriott. Their theme ‘Saddle Up with FCE’ was played to the hilt with decorations, hospitality room spreads, games, line dancing, and seated line dancing!

FCE members are recognized state wide for the certified volunteer hours they donate, their participation in the cultural arts contest, fashion revue, and creative writing.

Frequently asked questions about chiropractic: Part II

Q: Are chiropractors allowed to practice in hospitals or use medical outpatient facilities?

A: Chiropractors are being recognized to admit and treat patients in hospitals and to use outpatient clinical facilities (such as labs, x-rays, etc.) for their non hospitalized patients. Hospital privileges were first granted in 1983.

Q: Do insurance plans cover chiropractic?

Ah Man!

When I first saw the two rocks, I thought “Ah man. This is not going to be good for me.” Did you think I was climbing? Nope. I was playing miniature golf in Ormond Beach.
It’s a tradition. Every time we visit our relatives in Florida, we play putt putt at Pirate’s Cove. Believe it or not, I am not that secure in my ability to play miniature golf. It’s not like playing softball. When I walk out onto a ballfield, I am confident on how I will play the game, but when it comes to putt putt or bowling, I just ever know.


Was your Thanksgiving dinner when you were a youngster different than what you celebrate now? Mine was. Mother and Dad are gone as are my two brothers. Back in the day that was it, just the five of us. We seldom had company during the dark days of the Great Depression. It was just the five of us and Banjo, our supposed Beagle.

Impossible turkey pie

Do you remember when Bisquick came out with several "impossible pie" recipes? They are super easy to do. However, I had forgotten about them until I was going through my recipe file a while back. I found this one. It's easy . I hope you'll try it.

Talking Wild Turkey

Turkeys have been in the Americas for a very long time. Fossil records show they were around 11 million years ago and were likely distributed continuously from middle latitudes of North America to northern South America during the Pleistocene Era. The Aztec Indians were the first to domesticate the bird, and it became an important staple to their diet. The Navajo gave up on keeping them away from their scanty desert corn crops, and instead began feeding the turkeys and fence them in. The invading turkeys unwittingly provided a dependable source of protein and ornamental feathers.

Veteran’s Day at Union County High School

Union County High School Veterans Day Celebration draws a crowd. Photo Credit: Helina Bailey

If you attended the Veteran’s Day Celebration at Union County High School this month, you know that the auditorium was full. The walls were lined with faculty and visitors, as the student body filled up most of the seating. Everyone present was eagerly looking towards the stage, giving their full attention to the string of speakers paying homage to our nation’s heroes.

High School Students Raise Trout

Service learners and Mr. Edwards show off their trout tank and the beginning stages of their aquaponic system. Photo Credits: Helina Bailey

Union County High School is buzzing with excitement as students work on various projects throughout the campus. I visited the school this week to introduce myself to the staff and was given a little tour, to see the various departments. While I was there, I stopped by the agriculture department and met with Mr. Edwards, who has recently taken over one of the agriculture classes.

Under the tree 2022

Chief Elf Brooke Simpson and Gina Buckner putting a tree up at Food City. Photo from 2018.

The non-pro t 501 C 3, Children’s Charity of Union County is underway again with our annual “Under The Tree” Toy Drive. This charity provides toys to Union County children only, ages 0-12 years and low income. Applications were sent to Union County Public Schools and returned with the children’s wishes.


It’s so much fun having relatives in Ormond, Florida. Not only do we get to spend time with them, but we also try to take in the various local adventures as well.
On our last trip, we arrived in Florida on a Monday evening. As we were in the lobby waiting to check in, we saw an announcement on the TV about a launch at Cape Canaveral on Wednesday. I saw the look of dread cross Tim’s face. I chuckled and said, “Don’t worry. I have no intentions of us going to the launch.” Believe it or not, I even forget about it.

Knob and tube electrical wiring

It you are much younger that my almost 95 years, you probably have never heard of knob and tube wiring. It was the early form of house wiring. Everything electrical back then was new. The easiest way to wire a house was surface wiring. There probably was only a ceiling fixture in a room.

Baked chili and crackers

Need to fix supper in a hurry? Try this recipe. Supper in half an hour.
Butter a 10 by 7 inch baking pan. Spoon a third of canned chili into bottom of dish. Arrange half of round crackers over chili. Sprinkle half of shredded cheese and seasonings over chili. Repeat layers. Top with remaining chili. Bake in preheated 400 F. oen for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Acorns: Food on the Wild Side

Those under the age of 50 probably don’t remember Euell Gibbons, a promoter of eating food gathered from the wild. He wrote a book that still sells well called Stalking the Wild Asparagus, and made commercials for Grape Nuts cereal with the famous line: “Ever eat a pine tree?” Anyway, I took down his book again and enjoyed rereading his passion for wild things. I’ve tried several of Euell’s recipes, including acorn bread.

Calling All Home Chefs and Bakers

Chef Leanah Nau tests out the grill for breakfast burritos.
Photo Credit: Helina Bailey

Fall is here and its finally time for the hearty autumn dishes we all love. We’ve waited all year long, unable to use our ovens for fear of heating up our homes during the blazing summer. As it cools down, even with the surprise hot days here and there, many of us are geared up to cook our hearts out. With Thanksgiving around the corner, I’ve certainly got pumpkin pie and roasted turkey on my mind.

No Tricks, Just Treats on Halloween

Trick or Treaters line up at Maynardville’s Trunk or Treat. Photo Credit: Helina Bailey

Trunk or Treat this Halloween was a hit! If you missed it, you might catch it next year. The unprecedented turnout has the Chamber of Commerce wanting to make this event an annual treat for Union County, but the feasibility of this depends on volunteers and donations. All the candy handed out was donated and the “trunks” were set up by local businesses.

Researchers find new clues in the brain linking pain and food

It has long been known that there is an association between food and pain, as people with chronic pain often struggle with their weight. Researchers at the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience may have found an explanation in a new study that suggests that circuitry in the brain responsible for motivation and pleasure is impacted when someone experiences pain. “These findings may reveal new physiological mechanisms linking chronic pain to a change in someone’s eating behavior,” said Paul Geha, M.D., lead author on the study published in PLOS ONE.

No Fun

When I was a girl, I absolutely loved to rough-house with my uncle, who was a few years older than me. We had so much fun until Mamaw Jo fussed at us to stop because we were “getting on her last nerves.” To be honest, I felt bad for my Mamaw Jo. She had no idea the fun she was missing out on. Ironically, years later, I was the one trying to stop the fun.


Back a long time ago when I was much younger, I participated in a United Way phone survey. We had high hopes that the survey would yield good results. It helps to know where the emphasis should be for the most effective use of donated funds. A phone survey would be a good tool.
I was an active participant in the local United Way, working on the Speakers Bureau, for instance. When someone suggested a Phone Survey. I volunteered to head the project. That meant finding people to do the survey as well as formulate questions to be asked.

Hawaiian carrots

Carrots and pineapple go good together. What would we do without pineapple? It certainly gets along well with carrots. Try this recipe when you are looking for a change. It is good.

Deer Survival Tactics

I’ve written several articles about our native white tail deer, and every time I do my research I get inundated with information. White tail deer is the most popular game animal in eastern U.S., and there’s been a lot written about it.

BOE gets an overview of new middle school, maintenance ongoing

The Union County Board of Education heard about the preliminary plan for the new middle school. Board member David Coppock was absent.

At the October meeting, the Union County Board of Education got a glimpse of the preliminary development of the new middle school. The Lewis Group, architects for the project, shared a preliminary plan for the property plat and a block drawing for the building. The school will be on John Deere Drive on property located behind the present Goodwill business.

Highlights of September and October commission meetings

County Mayor Jason Bailey reports on the ARPA grant allocation to commission.

Historic Union County went to press before the Union County commission meeting in September. Since the August meeting had no quorum, the business covered two agendas.
County Mayor Jason Bailey was elected chairman and Sidney Jessee Jr. from Luttrell District 2 was elected vice chairman. The mayor appointed new committees and reported that several grants were ready to have contracts signed.

Catching up with Buttercup Bake House

Emily Cooke poses outside of her shop, Buttercup Bakehouse. Photo by Buttercup Bakehouse

Have you stopped in for a sweet treat at Buttercup Bakehouse since their grand opening this summer? If you have not had the opportunity to satisfy your sweet tooth yet, there is no time like the present! Run by the young entrepreneur, Emily Cooke, a local gal and baker from humble beginnings, Buttercup Bakehouse is one of those businesses that you just want to support.

Faye Hardin's 'Thunder Road' receives Best Heritage in festival art show

Best Heritage Award in the 2022 Union county Heritage Festival Art Show is Faye Hardin's Thunder Road.

Not only is Union County known for its country music legends, but also for having a stretch of the famous Thunder Road. Thunder Road was definitely on Faye Hardin's mind when she created the painting that won Best Heritage in the 2022 Union County Heritage Festival Art Show. This was Faye's second year to receive the Best Heritage Award.

Plainview growing, Satterfield honored

David Williams, Plainview Planner, and Stewart Skeen, Zoning Officer, review the requests for property changes.

After the Plainview Planning Commission and the Plainview Board of Aldermen adjourned their respective meetings, attendees celebrated Betty Satterfield's birthday. Betty was the city recorder for many years from the founding of Plainview until her retirement. Betty is 89 years young.

Farm Day leaves an imprint on Luttrell students

Some of the volunteers for 2022-23 Union County Farm Day & Ag in the Classroom activities and Luttrell Elementary School.

As harvest season wraps up among most farmers in East Tennessee, locally we had some generous volunteers to host some hands-on educational exhibits at one of our local elementary schools on October 20.
Luttrell Elementary welcomed the 42 volunteers to teach the students about a variety of agricultural practices.

Museum becomes a tapestry of quilts for Heritage Festival

Patricia Walker's Best Heritage Quilt for 2022

Thirty-five quilts from hand stitched to machine designed adorned the Union County Museum upper floor for the 2022 Union County Heritage Festival Quilt Show on October 1. Coordinating the event were Ellen Perry, Patricia Campbell, and Cleta Nelson Garner. The judges awarded hand stitched, quilted ribbons for a variety of categories.
Mitzi Talley took Best of Show and Best Patriotic Quilt awards. Patricia Walker received an award for the Best Heritage Quilt, Best Small Holiday Quilt, and the Best Small Quilted Item.

Music warmed hearts at festival, contest winners listed

Stoney Point Bluegrass Band headlined the 2022 Union County Heritage Festival.

It was a cold, windy October day, but nearly 1,000 warm-hearted folks came to visit the 18th Annual Union County Heritage Festival last month. The festival was packed with experienced musicians who performed live music throughout the event. On the Gazebo Stage sponsored by Jaxx, Southern Spirit performed Back to Tennessee, Old Stuff, and sneaked in a preview of a tune from their new album that debuts in January.

Doctors of chiropractic provide alternative to opioids for pain management

Chiropractic services are an important first line of defense against pain and, in some cases, chiropractic can lessen a patient’s reliance on addictive painkillers or prevent their use altogether. It makes sense to exhaust conservative forms of treatment such as chiropractic care before moving on to riskier, potentially addictive pain medications. Statistics show that as many as one in four patients who receive prescription opioids long-term for non-cancer pain in primary care settings struggle with addiction.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

When a cold west wind is swirling snow around the yard, I think of "Chicken Soup". You may think of skiing at Gatlinburg; I think of soup. There is no way I am leaving the house unless it’s going to church or I need groceries. If it can wait, I’ll get my groceries after church. I'll open the door only to feed the birds. Anne will drive down to the mailbox to get the mail rather than walk. That is more than I will do on a cold snowy day; but I will make soup. I have lots of soup recipes. Some take a while to make. Some are quick.

Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup

I remember my Grandma’s chicken noodle soup. It was delicious. I have made noodles all my married life. I think I’m pretty good at it, but Grandma had me beat by a country mile. Let me tell you about her noodles.
As a child, I would watch in awe as she performed her magic with the rolling pin and dough. I never saw her stir a batch together, just the rolling out and cutting process.


“Squash it, Mamaw! Squash it!”
Right outside of Mamaw Girdle/Myrtle’s bedroom window was the biggest spider I had seen in the five years of my life. It had a colorful, bulbous body with long black hinged legs. In my child’s mind, it was a hideous monster.
“I’m not going to squash it. It’s a writing spider,” she answered. I was amazed because the only other creature that I knew who could write was Snoopy. I wondered if this was a skill some creatures really had.

Tobacco farming sustained our families

Tobacco sticks leaning on an old tobacco barn

I love to drive our roads here in Union County and check out the old barns visible to the road. When I get a chance to investigate an old barn I dive on the opportunity. What I have noticed is that most old barns still standing in East Tennessee were built and used mostly to dry and store tobacco. If the barn was built for something else like livestock, it was usually converted later on to dry tobacco. It is very easy to tell that a barn was used for tobacco.

Wanna ride that Burgman?

Sittin’ on my front porch with a strong hangry (new woke terminology) to roll out my Suzuki Burgman and head north to Harrogate, turn south on highway 63. Then ride slowly south through the beautiful (hasn’t been spoiled by so-called development) Powell Valley to I-75 south to exit 122, turn north onto highway 61 and back to my front porch. This fall has been one of the prettiest color displays since the 1960s.

How to Kill Your Pastor

Some time ago a longtime pastor friend from another church was confiding in me about both the highs and lows of leading a congregation. Because of his genuine sadness over the lows, I joked with him that I was going to do a Bible study entitled How to Kill Your Pastor.
My friend, seeing the veiled humor in the concept, shared that thought with another fellow pastor, who quickly responded; “When can he come teach this at my church?”

Rabbit tobacco

Rabbit tobacco in bloom

A popular pastime when my mom was growing up on a Tennessee hillside farm was to go out and find some rabbit tobacco, crush it and roll it up in some brown paper from a poke (that’s a bag to you young folk), and smoke it. I don’t know how the tobacco tasted, but that paper must have been strong!

Wilderness at the Smokies

A lifeguard patrols a nearly deserted playground in the indoor waterpark. Photo Credit: Helina Bailey

Have you ever driven to Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg and stared in awe at the big orange funnel attached to the Wilderness in The Smokies? I sure have! Every time we see that monstrosity of a waterslide, my children ask when we will visit the resort. I kindly remind them that a place like that is not in our budget, but one day we might go.

Meet Locals

Future owner of Convery Automotive Detailing hard at work. Photo Credit: Jesse Convery

As the holiday season approaches, bringing with it delicious fall flavors and promises of snowcapped mountain views, many of us are drawing up our gift lists or wish lists. Some of us with little ones have already received our Christmas catalogues from Amazon and Target in the mail, whether we wanted them or not. My children eagerly flipped through the pages of cheaply made toys, circling their favorites and chatting amongst themselves. As I ease dropped on their conversation, I imagined all the money these catalogues bring in for the big box stores.


Union County Board of Education

Thursday, December 15, 2022 - 18:00

SPECIAL CALLED MEETING--The Union County Board of Education will meet in special session on Monday, December 5, 2022 at the Union County High School Library to Review and Take Action on the Tennessee School Boards Association Recommended TSBA Recommended Finalists for Director of Schools.

The next Regular Meeting of the Union County Board of Education was scheduled for Thursday, December 15, 2022 at Big Ridge Elementary School. The workshop will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the meeting immediately to follow.


Alan Gray Sherman

Alan Gray Sherman-age 77 of Maynardville, TN born December 18, 1944 passed away Saturday morning, November 26, 2022 at his home. He was a member of St. Albert the Great Catholic Church, Knoxville. He was a retired Veteran of the Viet Nam War with the United States Navy at the rank of Master Chief with 24 years of service and was awarded several medals and accommodations including a Purple Heart.

A. J. Williams

A. J. Williams-age 92 of Luttrell went home to be with the Lord, Wednesday, November 23, 2022 surrounded by his pride and joy, his children. He was a member of Mountain View Church of God of the Union Assembly. He had a great love for his church family, music and fox hunting. Preceded in death by his loving wife, Betty Williams; parents, Jim and Pearl Williams; brother, Doffise Williams; sisters, Oleda Hutson, Lela Williams; grandson, J. R. Creech.

Pearl Chao Sharp

Pearl Chao Sharp

Pearl Chao Sharp
October 14, 2022 6:08 am·
Pearl Chao Sharp, 72, of Lawrenceville, wife of Roving Photographer Frank Sharp, passed away October 1 at Northside Hospital in Lawrenceville from pancreatic cancer. She was born on February 7, 1949, in China, but escaped to Taiwan during the war with China.

Pearl C. Sharp

Brenda Burkhart

Brenda J. Burkhart-age 78 of Knoxville, born April 25, 1944 in Harlan County, Kentucky entered the gates of Heaven Thursday, November 17, 2022 with her family by her side. Friends and family will miss Brenda’s bossy demeanor and her hands-on hips sassy self; but more importantly, we will miss her contagious smile, her caring nature and her genuine love for everyone she met. Brenda was preceded in death by parents, Denvir, Sr.

Cynthia "Cindy" Buckner

Cynthia E. “Cindy” (Hensley) Buckner-age 56 of Corryton passed away Wednesday, November 16, 2022 at North Knoxville Medical Center. She was of the Baptist faith. Preceded in death by husband, Johnny Christopher “Chris” Buckner; granddaughter, Chloe Young; parents, Everett and Ollie Mae (Green) Hensley; sisters, Carolyn Muncey, Linda
Carroll, Barbara Ann Hensley, Thelma Jean Carroll, Katherine Hunter, Virginia Sweet; brother, Earl (Pap) Hensley.

Katelyn Ashton Garrett

Katelyn Ashton Garrett – age 18 of Corryton, passed away Friday, November 11, 2022 at U T Medical Center. Our beautiful precious Kate lost her battle to AML. She fought long and hard and was so brave. Not only for all of us, but for her perfect baby girl, Madison Grace. We know that Katelyn is no longer in pain. She went through those Pearly Gates. Katlyn gets to walk with our Father, hug her mother and hold her baby girl.

George O. Sweet

George Odra Sweet-age 62 of Maynardville went to be with the Lord suddenly Thursday afternoon, November 10, 2022 at his home. He was a member of Locust Grove Baptist Church. He loved wood working in his own wood working shop and also loved hunting, especially archery. Preceded in death by his parents, George and Alice Sweet; brothers, Lawrence, Jeff and Rome Sweet.

Sue Sharp Bailey

Sue (Sharp) Bailey-age 79 of Union County/Knoxville went Home to be with the Lord Wednesday evening, November 9, 2022. She was saved and of the Baptist faith. Sue’s quote was that her Lord never disappointed her. She was a retired employee of the former Standard Knitting Mill and The Palm Beach Company. Preceded in death by parents, John and Rosie (Shoffner) Sharp; brothers, Dave Sharp, Lee Bob Sharp; sisters, Polly Sheckels, Lela Mae Weaver, Linda Harrell, Faye Hicks; father and mother-in-law, Jay and Alberta Bailey.

J R Masingo

J R Masingo-age 64 of Sharps Chapel went home to be with the Lord Tuesday, November 8, 2022 at Claiborne Medical Center. He was a member and deacon of Mt. Olive Baptist Church. Former employee of England-Corsair in Tazewell. Preceded in death by parents, Sillus and Mattie (Ray) Masingo; sister, Mossie Masingo; brother, Charles (Chub) Masingo.

Christa Ursula Alford

Christa Ursula (Mueller) Alford - age 79 of Maynardville went to be with the Lord Thursday, November 3, 2022 in her home surrounded by loved ones. Christa was born on January 15, 1943 in Stuttgart, Germany. From an early age she proved to be brave, adventurous and free spirited: climbing trees, going dancing, sneaking out, and marrying an American soldier. She and Paul Alford were married in Germany and eventually settled down in Maynardville, Tennessee. She raised 5 children while working in tobacco fields and later a meat shop.