Commission discusses business, refugee resettlement, mayor's goals

Commissioners Present: Jeffrey Brantley, Danny Cooke, Bill Cox, Earl Cox, Gary England, Dawn Flatford, Kenny Hill, Janet Holloway, Sidney Jessee, Jr., R. L. Jones, Larry Lay, and Becky Munsey
Commissioners Absent: Jeff Chesney, Debra Keck, Joyce Meltabarger and Jody Smith
- Notaries approved: Shannon Brooks, Elbra Davis, Jennifer Helms, Travis Patterson, Sheila Ann Rice, Carrie Elizabeth Rule, Teresa Lynn Satterfield, Barbara J. Williams
- County Sheriff's Report by Sheriff Breeding: 826 total calls for service, 9 vehicle accidents with injury, 29 vehicle accidents without injury, total inmates booked 123, released 122, current jail population 100. Breeding shared that regarding the robbery on January 26th at Tollivers Market, suspects are in custody: William Gary Morgan and son Benjamin Gary Morgan, both of Knox County.
- David Cox, Union County Highway Superintendent: Tennessee Road Report for the Year 2020; Motion to approve by England, second by Jessee, approved.
- Ann Dyer, Finance Director:
a. Monthly Finance Report: All departments within the parameters of normal spending, no questions.
b. Budget Amendments & Transfers: General Fund 101 primarily contributions from United Way for the Luttrell and Maynardville libraries, entering from restricted funds into the jail budget, and insurance recovery into the sheriff's budget. Motion to approve by Flatford, second by England, approved.
c. Surplus Fund 118: Ambulance service, and insurance recovery and anticipated increase in patient care charges. Motion to approve by Jones, second by Bill Cox, approved.
d. Annual Debt Report: Fund 122 Drug Fund receiving assets forfeitures from seizures; Motion to approve by Jessee, second by Lay, approved.
e. Fund 131 Highway Fund: Entering insurance recovery funds and transferring funds within the appropriated budget. Motion to approve Holloway, second by Flatford, approved.
f. Fund 141 General Purpose School Fund: Entering insurance recovery funds and miscellaneous refunds from workers’ comp, Walters State dual enrollment funds, and moving money into Pre-K and Gear Up grants to maximize those grants. Motion to approve by Bill Cox, second by Earl Cox, approved.
g. Fund 142 Federal Programs Fund: Moving sums of money around, re-budgeting to cover Title II expenditures, a carryover from FY19 budget, and sub-fund 901 transferring to increase speech pathologist hours. Motion to approve by Holloway, second by Hill, approved.
h. Surplus Equipment: Election registrar's non-operable printer, Luttrell library 1 printer and 5 computer desks, and jail 5 office chairs. Motion to approve by Lay, second by Jessee, approved.
i. 2020 Annual Debt Report: Net debt 5.5 million, 292 per capita. 2020 is the last year of high school and ambulance service debts. UC sales tax rate is higher than Knox County's, receipts are approximately 10% of Knox.
- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program Resolution: The essence of this resolution is that Union County will take advantage of 3-star status and apply for up to $420,000 in federal funding with local matching 11% for a total project total not to exceed $471,910. This grant request is for fire service improvements. Mayor Bailey shared that although we did not receive the last CDBG grant we applied for, we did learn how close we came. Grant funding is done on a scoring basis, and the top ten scores receive funding. Union County's score placed UC at 11. The fire chiefs voted to determine which department would get the new fire truck and decided on Northeast Union, with the remaining funds being divided among all fire departments. Motion to approve by Holloway, second by Jessee, approved.
- Resolution Concerning Refugee Resettlement – Sponsored by Commissioner Brantley: Per Brantley, this is based on the framework of a similar resolution proposed and passed by Loudon County. The essence of this letter to the governor is that Union County is unable to meet the needs of the refugees due to our citizens already struggling financially. The premise is that accepting unskilled, non-English speaking refugees will cost the county in many ways: SNAP (food stamps), Cash benefits, increased need for jails, and second language teachers. There is also the concern that incoming refugees would carry TB. Citing Germany's experience, Brantley asserts that these refugees could be more successfully resettled in neighboring Middle Eastern countries. Brantley proposes that the county commissioners request that the governor either:
1. Retract his consent for resettlement in Tennessee, or
2. Declare Union County exempt from the resettlement area.
Brantley stated that under Governor Lee in 2019, refugees have increased by 46%, despite President Trump's emergency executive order to stop refugee resettlement in January 2017. Brantley also cited issues in Venezuela due to refugees and shared that these refugees have already been vetted and rejected by Australia.
Public Comments: Jim Johnson agrees with resolution and urges commissioners to vote in favor of resolution due to the vetting being done by the United Nations instead of by Americans. Johnson supports Governor Lee in many ways and looks forward to great things from him, but disagrees with the governor on this issue. Johnson states that this is not a question of Christianity or sharing our wealth, it's about keeping us safe and our community moving forward. Johnson moved to Union County from Ohio and appreciates his kind welcome here. He cautions that Columbus, Ohio, now has between 45,000 to 60,000 refugees from Somalia and they depend on handouts from the community that cost the community greatly. If the governor wants to help these refugees, he needs to contact the larger counties with greater incomes. Johnson urges commissioners not to think of this as a litmus test for the goodness of your heart, but what is best for our county.
Per an email read by Danny Cooke, Union County is already exempt, the resettlement only applies to the four largest counties in Tennessee. Per David Myers' knowledge, Union County has not received any refugees. Motion to reject by commissioner Lay, seconded by Jessee, approved. Brantley was the only dissenting vote, having cited concerns about being within 50 miles of the resettlement area.
- Resolution Concerning Salary Increase for County Highway Commissioners: which is already within the budget to "…increase the monthly compensation paid to each county highway commissioner by the sum of $250.00…" Motion to approve by England, second by Hill, approved.
- Andrew Reed, Union County EMS Director, shared that the resolutions he is proposing have been reviewed by attorney David Myers. Reed's department tried to do the billing in-house, but it proved to be more than could be done by one person in the EMS office. When his office was previously contracted with EMS Consultants, Union County saw an increase in revenues.
a. Billing Service Agreement between Union County EMS and EMS Consultants, Ltd. Motion to approve by Jones, second by Jessee, approved.
b. Resolution Encouraging the Support of Legislation Which Directs TennCare to Reimburse Ground Ambulance Providers at a Rate Not Less than the Current Medicare Fee Schedule and Adding Funding to the 2020-2021 State Budget: Meaning approximately $200,000 increase in revenue for Union County. Motion to approve by Flatford, second by England, approved.
- Addendums:
a. Resolution for Delinquent Property Tax Sale/Epperson "…239 Hogskin Road, Washburn, Tennessee 37888, at the price of $10,100.00, with closing and payment in full to Union County on or before February 29, 2020…" Of approximately 10 properties identified for sale due to delinquent taxes, the county only received 2 bids on this one piece of property, and the amount listed represents the winning bid. Motion to approve by Cox, second by Hill, approved.
b. Sheriff Breeding sought permission to apply for the Cops Grant, a community-oriented policing grant for two new officers’ salaries and their benefits. This would be a 75/25 split requiring the county to provide 25% of the funding. Currently, Union County has 15 deputies. Motion to approve by Jessee, second by Holloway, approved.
- County Mayor's Report – Mayor Jason Bailey presented three requests to the budget committee:
1. Repairs to the 47-year-old jail, identified by the new jail administrator Steve Rouse. The mayor recommends that the work be bid out, and then maintained by the county maintenance department. The total estimated cost is $80,000.
2. Need to hire two part-time officers (with no benefits, <28 hours per week) to provide security for the courthouse. Union County has three courts but only two courtrooms, sometimes requiring the use of the jury room for the third court. Last month, after court, needles were found in the bathroom. Motion to approve by Holloway, second by Bill Cox, approved.
3. Funding for the Union County Farmers Market to construct a permanent location. The farmers market is currently located at Wilson Park, which is technically on school property. Mayor Bailey suggested applying for a grant for a permanent open-air building on county-owned property. Fund 172 for Industrial and Community Development had existing funds but Union County has this week sold part of the Luttrell Industrial Park to the one business there, for an additional $67,790 for a total in this fund of $142,300.59. In addition to the farmers market, the structure could also be used for open shows, etc. Union County is the only county in our area that doesn't have a permanent location for their farmers market. David Myers advised that we need to do a current survey on this approximately 3-acre lot, and also need to get title insurance on the property, both of which are easy to do. Motion to approve by Jessee, second by Earl Cox, approved. Dawn Flatford and Larry Lay voted against.
- Mayor Bailey added a jail committee meeting on February 25th to the calendar.
- The mayor explained the grant received for a dog park states that if the money is not utilized for its stated purpose by 2021, it will go to the animal shelter. Funds allocated are insufficient to adequately develop the dog park, so at the end of the grant cycle $25,000 grant money will be given to the animal shelter.
- Tennessee Department of Health has a grant UC can apply for recreational fields.
- Capital upgrades for the roof of the finance/library/senior center will begin soon.
- Courthouse interior painting will begin soon.
- Courthouse parking lot and signage to be installed in the spring.
- The community center and park renovations to continue through this summer.
- Union County has recently brought in quite a bit of money through delinquent tax property sales.
- Clearing property on Durham Drive for future use such as the farmers market. The remainder of the property to be developed for sports fields, etc.
- Reminded the county that as mayor, Bailey has the prerogative to declare how the community buildings will be used. He has talked to several people and established rules for the use of community centers. $50/event rental fee, although departments can use the facilities at no charge (for example, neighborhood watch meetings, etc). Bailey presented two special provisions effective February 1, 2020:
a. Use of Cedar Grove Community center for the food pantry will be allowed to continue for $80/month through the end of the fiscal year. Union County will consider allowing the Union County Food Pantry to apply for an in-kind contribution after the food pantry obtains its 501c3 without attachment to a religious organization.
b. Use of Sharps Chapel Senior Center for the Lutheran church will be allowed to continue for $40/week for 2 half days per week, through the end of this fiscal year.
- In the news: Keep Union County Beautiful featured on Channel 10, and Sheriff Billy Breeding on WVLT for work he's done with security in local churches.
- Finance Departments audit with no findings
- Mayor Bailey's top three goals for Union County:
1. Workforce Development: We've been trying for years to get big companies to come here; but first, we need to train our current workforce and the jobs will come. Our citizens need access to secondary education such as TCAT, which currently has a 2-year waiting list. Community colleges would come here if we had a place for them. CTE (Career and Technical Education) Partnership, received a $50,000 grant to help with nursing and automotive classes after school.
2. Community Development: New middle school, and re-purpose old middle school into a community center. Develop Park Road Park in Luttrell to add ball fields and considered as a possible location of the farmers market.
3. Tourism: Need to increase visibility as a tourist destination. Thomas Skibinski, current president of the Chamber of Commerce, has done a great job, and is an out of the box thinker. Ohio is a huge source of visitors to our area. We need to work harder to promote both the lake and our heritage. The Union County Opry is doing a great job. Signage coming from the state for Roy Acuff, Chet Atkins, and Lois Johnson; all on the Tennessee Musical Pathways, driving tourists to our area. Baily also wants to use part of our hotel/motel funds for new welcome signs at the four main entrances to the county. Thunder in the Park is a huge success, as is the Heritage Festival; need to add something different for spring and summer. Have a committee of both commissioners and representatives from the school system working together. Also shared Union County vision for the repurposing of the middle school, which could be moved to be utilized by several departments.
The mayor encourages us to be informed, be involved, to be open-minded, and to work together and get things done.
Commissioner Larry Lay requested that we draw up a letter of resolution about Hwy 33, for David Myers to review. Union County is #1 on the list, just waiting for funding.
All reports can be reviewed on the Historic Union County website; they are attached under the live streaming of this meeting.



Union County Success Stories: From UCHS to LSU

Union County, a small part of Tennessee and an even smaller part of the United States. With a population of approximately 20,000 in 2019, we often wonder what is produced by the endeavors of our families, teachers, and leaders.
One story that I would like to begin to tell over the next few months, is the story of successes that have come from our small part of the world.

Walk the Market Returns

UT Extension Union County and the Union County Farmers Market are at it once again; partnering to create healthier, more active lifestyles. When you join us at the market each Saturday, just sign-in and pick-up your pedometer for the day, then walk the market and surrounding areas. When finished, exchange the pedometer for the market bucks you have earned! Thank Reliant Family Health for sponsoring this program and providing the market bucks and incentives.


One of my favorite songs as a child was, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” I don’t know many times I have peered into the night sky and thought of that song. At times, I even sang it. So to me, the word “Twinkling,” meant something shiny and sparkly. That changed for me a few years ago in a dramatic way.


Once upon a time a weary Ronnie Mincey prepared himself for bed. His lovely bride had retired some time earlier. He turned on the television to assist his delve into the realms of rest. As he crawled under the covers beside his oblivious wife and wrapped himself “just so” in the sheets, he heard something fall to the floor.

Why We Love the Mountains

Mountains seem to be a universal attraction to people no matter where they come from. To those who were born and raised in them, they are especially endearing because they were the constant backdrop of our lives: their beauty, their challenges, and their molding of the culture of our ancestors that was passed on to us. Mountains are special, but what is it about them that everybody falls in love with? This will sound over-simplistic, but the answer is their three-dimensional terrain. Let me explain.


Plant and Seed Share Return to Farmers Market

Need a plant to beautify your home? Maybe you really wanted to try 3 different varieties of summer squash so you ordered 3 seed packets, and now you have way too many seeds. Perhaps you even started them indoors, afraid they would not all germinate and now you have way too many plants. Plant and Seed Share to the rescue!

Headed My Way

When I heard the announcement at church, I was so excited. It was a chance to play on a real softball team again.
You see, I played softball for years when I was kid. My position was second base. I played that position in the Knox County and state championship games. I also played it in invitational tournaments. So, when the church organized a lady’s softball team as part of the outreach ministry, I immediately signed up. I couldn’t wait to smell the infield dirt.


I begin with some questions for thought—Do you ever give advice? Do you like to give advice? If so, what does that say about your opinion of yourself? Do you ever receive advice from others, either solicited or unsolicited? How well do you receive advice from others? Are you better at giving or receiving advice? Are you one of those who could care less about either giving or receiving advice?


I have several recipes similar to this one. Each is a little different. Most call for corn meal. This recipe uses biscuit mix instead. It goes together quickly.

Paulownia: The Purple Roadside Tree

Paulownia is most often noticed when it blooms in the Spring, right now in fact. Its large tubular purple blooms are quite showy along roadsides.

Paulownia (Paulownia tomentosa) is also called royal princess tree, empress tree, and lilac tree. It is not native to the U.S. but was introduced as an ornamental landscape tree around 100 years ago. It’s a very prolific seed producer and has since spread until it can now be found everywhere, especially along roadsides and other disturbed areas.


Mother’s Day blooms at Union County nurseries

For all of your Mother’s Day needs visit one of Union County nurseries. Today I had the pleasure of visiting with Allen Beeler at the Little Valley Nursery. He took me on a tour of his greenhouse, showing his hanging baskets and potted plants getting ready for Mother’s Day. This is one of his busiest times of the year. His best seller is the Black Mamba petunia, and the Mother’s Day favorite is the classic petunia, with red being the favorite.

UCBPA hosts 25th annual prayer breakfast

Gathering of people at a meal

Members and guests gather to celebrate at the 25th Annual UCBPA Prayer Breakfast.

President Martin Shafer introduced his good friend Russell Biven to some 70 people who attended the 25th Annual Union County Business & Professional Prayer Breakfast on April 15.
Biven had already shared his heartwarming smile as he greeted nearly every attendee. The former moderator for Channel 10 Live at Five, Russell is currently the marketing director for the H. T. Hackney Brand.

Union County 4-H Camp coming in June

4-H campers in Greeneville, Tennessee

Union County 4-H is going to Clyde Austin 4-H camp June 6-10 in Greeneville, Tennessee. Junior 4-H camp is for 4th-6th grade students in Union County.
Junior 4-H Camp is an engaging program aimed at creating lifelong memories through exciting, constructive activities and fun-filled days. Campers have tons of things to do. The camp features an Olympic-sized pool with a 130-foot long waterslide, a wildlife center, a large recreation hall, ball fields, a basketball court, and shooting and archery ranges.

Two colleges coming to Union County

Two men making a speech

Representative Dennis Powers and Mayor Jason Bailey announce that TCAT and WSCC will be built by the state near the high school.

In a surprise announcement near the end of the groundbreaking ceremony for SR 33, Representative Dennis Powers stated that Union County would be receiving $9M to build a Tennessee College of Applied Technology and a community college adjacent to Union County High School. According to Powers, the construction would become a model for higher education across Tennessee.
County Mayor Jason Bailey added that seniors would be graduating with work ready certifications, additional dual enrollment courses, and possibly a high school diploma and an associate degree at the same time.

Egg factory letter-writing campaign raises awareness, no action

By Mary Nicholas Johnson
Thirteen hundred stamped letters. One hundred forty-two unique signatures. Hundreds of volunteer man hours.
No response.
Are we starting to see a pattern here from our elected officials? I hope you are waking up to the reality that other forces are shaping the future of our community—and it is not you, the citizens.

TVA presented $30k grant at commission meeting

Two ladies talking at a meeting

Aurora Pulliam and Tina Guinn presented a $30,000 grant check to the Union county Commission for shoreline stabilization at Beech Island.

Aurora Pulliam and Tina Guinn from the Tennessee Valley Authority presented Union County with a grant check for $30,000 at the Union County Commission meeting on April 25, 2022. The grant will address the erosion at the campground on Beech Island that could negatively impact the environment.
Pulliam, who manages the recreational agreement between TVA and Union County explained that Union County Mayor Justin Bailey had initiated a request for a review by TVA after the marina discovered a concerning erosion problem in the campground area in 2020.

Hwy. 33 construction begins, slated for 2025 completion

group of people shoveling dirt to symbolically begin construction on a highway

Officials turn some dirt during the groundbreaking ceremony for the last section to complete the widening of SR 33 from Knoxville to Maynardville.

April 8, 2022, was a landmark day in Union County. On that date officials from all levels of government along with representatives of the Tennessee Department of Transportation “turned some dirt” to begin the last leg of the widening of SR 33 known as Maynardville Highway from the Knox County line to SR 144 West for a distance of 5.2 miles.

Plainview amends subdivision regulation, installs officers

Mayor installs a police qfficer

Plainview Mayor Gary Chandler administers the oath to Deputy Jonathan Brogan.

At the close of the public hearing on Resolution R-2022-01 to amend the subdivision regulations, the City of Plainview Municipal Planning Commission voted to reduce the asphalt binder from 2.5 inches to 2 inches and leave the topcoat at 1.5 inches at its regular meeting on April 12.


Chiropractic care and stress

Managing the stress in your life — and most of us experience stress to one degree or another — is essential to keeping a healthy lifestyle. Stress comes from many directions and makes itself known in a variety of ways--it might show up as a headache, tight muscles, nausea or back pain. It’s generally caused by outside factors, some obvious, like fretting over financial problems, and others not so much, such as planning for a joyous occasion like an impending wedding.

4-H at the forefront

4-H is at the forefront of an incredibly necessary movement to help our kids build the skills and give them the tools to not only be productive and successful members of society, but to give back to their communities.
With this vital current goal of 4-H comes an equally important part of 4-H that teaches our kids skills that have been lost along the way with the ever-present emergence of technology and getting things done fast.

Union County Farmers Market opening soon

It’s that time again!
Farmers Markets are opening throughout the south, and that includes your Union County Farmers Market. The season kickoff will be Saturday, May 7, and we look forward to seeing you there.
We love to be ‘Where our Community Meets’ and share ideas, thoughts and information with adults and children alike. Perhaps you have wondered if the Union County Farmers Market is the place for you—we definitely think that it is!

BOE reviews FY 23 budget and calendar amendments

Director of Schools Dr. Jimmy Carter and Finance Director Missy Brown shared estimates in revenues and expenditures for the FY23 School Budget at the Union County Board of Education Meeting on April 12.
Projected increases in revenue include local sales tax, the virtual school payment, and BEP growth funds. Salaries as well as equipment and supply costs account for most of the expenditure increases.

Meet me at the Lemonade and Sunshine Festival

Little Valley Mercantile founders Tim and Kayla Cook.

The beautiful East Tennessee sunshine is ready to be soaked up. The weather is on point and sets the mood for some outdoor entertainment with the family and friends. Luckily, Meet Me at the Market is bringing the Lemonade and Sunshine Festival to Maynardville, kicking off the season right.
Stop in and enjoy local vendors, crafters, food trucks, music and more at the Union County High School parking area between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on May 14.

Canning Questions? Call Extension!

Hopefully we are past the final frost and all the rain and warmth will lead to an abundance in the garden this year. So how can we maximize our gardens? By preserving our harvests in the form of freezing, canning, and drying.
This is article two of four, where we will discuss canning. Freezing is a cheap, easy way to preserve foods where bacteria growth is stopped and items last longer. However, preserving foods by freezing is limited by freezer space. So how else can we stop bacteria growth without a freezer? Canning!

UC 4-H Clover Bowl results

5th grade first place winners are Kenny Greene, McKenzie Muncey, Grayson Schreieck, and Annabella Malicoat.

On April 11, 4th and 5th graders from Maynardville, Paulette, Big Ridge, Sharps Chapel and Luttrell elementary schools gathered at Horace Maynard Middle School to compete in the Union County 4-H Clover Bowl. Each team previously won their in-school contest to qualify to represent their school in the county contest.

Adoption in our house

I have three adopted children: Rick, Tom and Anne. This story is not about them. It is about my husband’s Aunt Orpha, his Uncle Bill’s wife. She was from northern Ohio and has been dead since the early eighties. I met her soon after I married.
Aunt Orpha was a sweetheart. She put up with Uncle Bill. I don’t remember if she had been married before, but I think she had. She was a favorite of mine. Uncle Bill and Aunt Orpha would come from Hillsdale, Michigan, to our house to watch TV.

Sara's Waggy Tails cares for furry friends

Interviews are a lot of fun for me since I enjoy meeting and getting to know other people. But this one is very special to me. You see, I had the honor of interviewing Sara Cox; the sole proprietor of “Sara’s Waggy Tails.”
Did you notice her last name is the same as mine? That is because she is my daughter.
While she was growing up, we couldn’t help but notice her love of animals. Actually, it went way past that. She seemed to also have a way with them as well. I used to joke that dogs would bite me, but they loved her. She could get them to behave and do things whereas I would receive a menacing growl. No exaggeration there.

Honey Chicken Leg Quarters

We know that honey mustard chicken wings are good. The same can be said for chicken leg quarters. They often come in ten-pound bags at the meat counter at a reduced price. Try this recipe and watch your family dig in.

“Tinkling” at Church

Last week I attended the monthly senior citizen luncheon at the Baptist church where I am a member. The pastor announced that next month that we would be doing something different—playing BINGO.
I leaned over and told one of the gentlemen sitting at the table with me, “We’re turning Catholic! Next thing you know we’ll be using real wine at the Lord’s Supper.”

Longmire family teamwork creates grocery legacy

Sitting on my front porch on this beautiful late April day with the shadows growing long, the temperature is at 80 degrees with a bluebird sky and white azaleas and dogwoods in bloom—life’s treasures given by the Creator.
My thoughts wander over to two very nice and gentle brothers that have deep roots from Union County to Knox County’s Corryton and Gibbs areas.

The 23rd Psalm in short order

I just want to take a moment to write down some random thoughts that come into my mind as I meditate upon Psalm 23. I have pasted the text below and will comment after each verse.
Psalm 23:1-6 KJV; A Psalm of David. David knew a lot about sheep and shepherding. In 2 Samuel 7, as David sits in his palace admiring its splendor, Nathan the prophet reminded David where God has brought him from. “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:”


Spring Violets

Violets are very abundant this time of year and are probably the most common and the easiest to identify family of spring wildflowers in our area. You can find them about anywhere, especially even in your yard right now unless you’re a grass purist who uses herbicides.


AREC Welcomes Undergraduate Researchers

The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics is pleased to welcome eight undergraduate researchers for the 2022 spring semester. Front row (left to right): Heather Mannis, Hannah Williams, and Savannah Jones. Back row: Eilish Bennett, Gray Erwin, Samuel Neary, and Adam Fuller. Not pictured is Lauren Pate.

The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics has hired eight undergraduate researchers during the 2022 spring semester. The students and their mentors are, as follows:

Heather Mannis and Gray Erwin are working with Drs. Jada Thompson and Carlos Trejo-Pech by reviewing financial documents and creating a dataset for an event study on agribusiness firms relating to large animal health outbreaks, which provides an opportunity for these students to learn more about agricultural financial and food markets.

Ever Lasting Arms

Isn’t it funny how you can look back on things and see them differently after you are grown?
Back in the ancient times of the 1970s, there were no SUVS. When we went on family trips, we rode in one of Papaw’s station wagons. At least once a year, we all piled in one and headed south and east to Cades Coves in the Smokey Mountains. We always packed a picnic. Sometimes Papaw would stop at the KFC in Maryville and pick up a bucket of chicken to have with it.
But one trip was totally different.


The word “addiction” almost always has a negative connotation. I have a theory that everyone is addicted to something. While I believe that not all addictions are bad, I believe that any addiction can be both good and bad.
Take me, for example. I love to collect books. I also love to read them, but I find as much or more joy in the collecting. I learned on Jeopardy! there is a Japanese term for this—“tsundoku”.

Spanish rice

Years ago when i worked as a telephone operator in Angola, Indiana, i learned how to cook rice the South American way. A fellow operator had been married to a man from Venezuela. The main difference is how the rice is prepared. Her Spanish Rice had no meat. She just browned raw rice in a little oil and sauteed it a few minutes. Then she added canned tomatoes, onion and green pepper, cooking until the rice was tender. I understood this was the mainstay of poor folks' diet down there. Do i have you confused as to what is really Spanish Rice? It is whatever you want it to be. Try mine.

Pink Lady’s-slipper: A Wildflower with a Dark Side

It’s time to be on the lookout for Pink Lady’s-slippers, which normally bloom from late April to mid-May. They are one of the most striking flowers of the woods, but for all its beauty, has a bit of a sinister side, especially if you’re a Bumblebee.
Pink Lady’s-slipper, also called Moccasin Flower, does indeed look like a roundish shoe with its large, pink, bowl shaped flower, making it hard to miss on a hike in the woods. The flower has a slit opening in the front for pollinators to access, and always has two large, twin-like leaves with deep, parallel veins growing at the base of the plant. It prefers to grow in dry woods under a mix of oak and pine trees. Pink Lady’s-slipper is in the orchid family and is one of two shoe-like wildflowers, the other being Yellow Lady’s-Slipper, which prefers moist sites found in hollows and near streams.


Union County Farm Bureau talks issues with Congressman Tim Burchett

Union County Farm Bureau and agriculture representatives with Congressman Burchett

Union County Farm Bureau leaders recently joined with other county Farm Bureau members from all corners of the 2nd Congressional District to show appreciation to Congressman Tim Burchett for his dedicated service to the 2nd district of Tennessee and to the agriculture community, listen to an update from Washington and share concerns and issues with him from an agricultural perspective.

Grass Tetany Prevention and Treatment

Lew Strickland, DVM, DACT
Extension Veterinarian and Assistant Professor
Department of Animal Science and
Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences

Spring with its green pastures is the time of year that cattle long for at the end of a long winter. These grasses will be lush and your cows will tear a fence down to get on these pastures, but these grasses also will be full of moisture and potentially diluted of minerals. This can lead to a condition known as grass tetany.

Frozen shoulder

‘Frozen shoulder’ is a term sometimes used loosely in connection with any type of persistent shoulder pain. But specifically it is the loss of arm movement at the shoulder joint. The shoulder is the part of the body that is the third most common subject for chiropractic treatment, the lower back and the neck being the two most common. Frozen shoulder can be brought on by the trauma of a fall or car accident, or it may come on gradually as a result of muscle imbalance, overuse and irritation.


Growing up, I loved to watch super heroes. There were the old “Batman” reruns, “The Justic League” cartoon on Saturday mornings, and “Wonder Woman” starring Lynda Carter. But out of all of these, the only superhero I considered to be totally indestructible was Superman. Why am I telling you this? Because of our dog, Roxy.


At the time I am writing this article, it is the Tuesday afternoon of Easter Week. For Christians worldwide, Easter is the epitome of the Gospel story, as the resurrection of Christ from the dead makes it possible to inherit eternal life in Heaven.

What is a Creek?

By Steve Roark
Volunteer, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

I like looking over topographic maps, and I got to pondering all the different forms of water flow that show on a map. We have rivers, creeks, streams (also called brooks), and springs. I found myself asking what makes a creek a creek and a river a river? I assumed there was some size classification set up so that if a body of flowing water was so many feet wide it was a river. Research revealed that a creek is a vague concept.


4-H Gives Back in a Big Way!

On March 14, 2022 Union County Smoky Mountain home school 4-H group, lead by Bill and Debbie Morgan. Gathered at the Tindell's house to have a community service workday. Our goal was to serve Ronald McDonald House in Knoxville, elderly shut ins and the Union County children's services department. There were 34 of us present including 4-H'ers , parents and extension agent Alyshia Victoria.

Tai Chi is Here

Family & Consumer Sciences/4-H Extension Agent Alyshia Victoria Takes the first Tai Chi class through the beginning moves.

Tai chi is a Chinese martial art practiced worldwide for health benefits, defense training, and meditation. It has been observed for centuries and is one of the oldest and best-known techniques that characterizes contrasting and complimentary movements.

If you’ve ever wondered if this form of exercise is a good fit for you, you can still explore that option. Thanks to UT Extension and Family and Consumer Sciences/4-H Extension Agent Alyshia Victoria, the method of Tai chi is being taught in Union County.


Sarah Kate Morgan, Busier Than Ever

Friday, June 3, 2022 - 10:30

Union County’s own Sarah Kate Morgan has a full season in 2022 and beyond with travel, concerts, performances, and teaching. If you haven’t had a chance to hear this talented lady in person, you will have many opportunities this year. This girl can make a stringed instrument sing as her soulful voice transports the audience to another, more peaceful time.

Appalachian Family Folk Gathering
June 3rd-5th
Hindman Settlement School in Hindman, KY


Friday, June 3, 2022 - 12:30

The Summer Reading Program "Oceans of Possibilities" for the libraries of Union County will begin Friday, June 10th at the Maynardville Public Library at 12:30 pm with a story and a painting class for kids of all ages to follow. Then CW Farms Petting Zoo will be at the Luttrell Public Library on Monday, June 6th. See calendar for all program dates at each library.

Primitive Quartet

Saturday, July 23, 2022 - 18:00

Primitive Quartet, Journey Home, County Line, Saturday, July 23, 2022, 6 pm, Union County High School, 135 Main Street, Maynardville, TN. $10.
This concert is rescheduled from March 23, 2022 which was cancelled due to snow. All tickets purchased for the March date will be honored for July 23, 2022. Sponsored by Union County Lions Club. Additional information--865-278-6430,


Brenda Collins Relford

Brenda Carol (Collins) Relford-age 72 of Knoxville passed away suddenly Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at North Knoxville Medical Center. She was a member of Ailordale Baptist Church. Preceded in death by parents, Wren and Adell (Ford) Collins; sisters, Evelyn and James Sands, Lorene Collins, Wanda and Danny Whitson; brothers, Clay and Brenda Collins, Jimmy Collins.

Josie Chesney

Josie Chesney-age 94 of Luttrell passed away peacefully Monday, May 16, 2022 at home with her family. She was a member of Chestnut Grove Baptist Church. Preceded in death by parents, Elbert and Easter Hammock; husband, Richard “Dick” Chesney; daughter-in-law, Vivian Chesney; sisters, Christine Wallace and Esteen Hammock.

Dorothy Sanders

Dorothy Sanders – age 79 of Maynardville, passed away peacefully Saturday, May 14, 2022 surrounded by her family.

She is preceded by husband, Harold Sanders; parents, Edward and Elizabeth (Rogers) Cooper; brothers, Andrew, Jack and Dennis Cooper: and grandson, Randall Sands. Dorothy is survived by former husband, Fred McHaffie; daughters, Debra McHaffie, Faye Sands, Fredda McHaffie and Donna Beason; son, Fred McHaffie, Jr.; five grandchildren; and eight great grandchildren.

Dulcie Gunter

Dulcie Renee Gunter-age 52 of Sharps Chapel passed away suddenly Tuesday, May 10, 2022 in North Carolina.

Survivors: son, Marty Rogers of Maryville; daughter, Kenzie Lou Rogers of Maryville. Parents, Ed and Delores Warren of Sharps Chapel; siblings, Billy and Lorrie Lacy; Sheila Warren Honer; Wendy Warren; Tony Warren; Mark and Linda Warren; Troy Warren; Eddie Warren; April and Rob Miracle. Several nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Louise N. Phipps

Louise Needham Phipps-age 90 of Powder Springs passed away peacefully Monday morning, May 9, 2022 at the home of her son. She was a member of Johnson’s Chapel Baptist Church. Preceded in death by parents, Earl and Martha Needham; husband, Charles Phipps; son, Larry Phipps.

Randy Blankenship

Randy Edward Blankenship-age 64 of Washburn, born March 27, 1958 passed away suddenly Thursday, May 5, 2022. He was a Christian and was of the Baptist faith. Retired employee of Carmeuse Lime and Stone (Luttrell Operation). He was a loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Preceded in death by father, Coy Blankenship; nephew, Dennis Dalton; grandparents, Ernest and Ida Blankenship; Vaughn and Ida Mae Wolfenbarger.

Warren Seymour, Jr.

Elmer Warren Seymour, Jr.-age 61 of Corryton passed away Tuesday morning, May 3, 2022 at U. T. Medical Center. He was born May 7, 1960 in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. He was a member of Comforter in Christ Church. He loved everyone unconditionally and everyone loved him. He was preceded in death by wife, Annette Seymour; parents, Elmer Warren, Sr. and Martha Seymour; brother, Timothy Seymour.

Karen D. (Loop) Booker

Karen Darlene Booker-age 66 of Luttrell passed away Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at her home after a hard and courageous battle with cancer. She was surrounded by all her family. Karen was of the Baptist faith and a member of Willow Springs Baptist Church. Preceded in death by her parents, Earl and Lucille Loop; nephew, Shane Smith.

Tony Ray Odom

Tony Ray Odom – age 57 of Maynardville, passed away unexpectedly into the arms of the Lord May 2, 2022. He died as he lived, everyone’s friend. He lived life large and rarely in moderation. Tony had an amazing sense of humor, his wit was razor sharp. He wanted to keep everyone laughing. His bigger than life personality made everyone feel welcome. Tony loved fiercely and deeply. We take comfort in knowing that Tony is at peace and surrounded by Jesus’s love.

Richard Livesay

Richard Livesay, 63 of Maynardville, laid down his working tools to be with the Lord on April 27, 2022. He was a member of Circle Assembly of God and an ordained minister of the Gospel. Richard was a member of J. C. Baker Lodge #720 and a Shriner at Kerbela Temple and in the Go Kart Unit. He was the owner of Livesay Electric, Inc. and in 2011 stepped up to the position of Chief Electrical Inspector of Hamilton County, TN. Richard enjoyed classic rock, guitars and old cars. He was a loving father, grandfather, devoted husband and a patient and kindhearted man.

Barry D. Evans

Barry D. Evans (“Poppy”) 69 years old of Knoxville, passed away at his home on April 26, 2022, after a hard fought battle against a rare brain disease. Barry was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, son and friend. He had been an active member of Cokesbury United Methodist Church for 33 years. Barry graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering. He was employed at Tennessee Valley Authority for 10 years before starting his own business which he owned for 32 years.

Edward Graves, Jr.

Edward Graves, Jr.-age 78 of Rutledge passed away Friday, April 22, 2022 at his home. He was the son of the late Edward Graves, Sr. and Melba Christine (Harmon) Graves. Preceded in death by brother Vernon Leroy Graves, Sr.

Survivors: children. Kenton Graves and wife, Alicia; Brenda Graves Chesney and husband, Tony; Tim Graves and wife, Jennifer; the mother of his children, Barbara Jean Graves; sister-in-law, Shirley Graves. Numerous grandchildren and special cousins.

Norton Devillo "Junior" Tarr, Jr.

Junior Tarr-age 70 of Maynardville passed away Saturday afternoon, April 23, 2022 at his home. He was of the Baptist faith. Junior was the grounds keeper at Pittman Field Estates where he lived. He was preceded in death by mother, Velma Clark; father, Norton Devillo Tarr.

Survived by wife of 19 years, Mary Tarr of Maynardville. He also leaves behind other family member and a host of friends.

Ed Arnwine

Edward Clyde Arnwine-age 78 of Harrogate, formerly of Luttrell passed away suddenly Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at Claiborne Medical Center. He was a member of Luttrell Baptist Church. He served on the City Council of Luttrell and was a past Chief and former Board member of Luttrell Volunteer Fire Department. Preceded in death by parents, Edd and Edna (Helton) Arnwine; wife, Margaret Buckner Arnwine; brothers, Bobby Arnwine, Claude Arnwine.