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.



Speak up or sing the blues for Blue Mud

Map services and data available from U.S. Geological Survey, National Gospatial Program

Map services and data available from U.S. Geological Survey, National Gospatial Program

The image shows a proposed plan and what will happen to the natural woodland area across from the current Big Ridge campground and Blue Mud boat launch if the project is completed.
The Union County Commission approved the grant to complete the study to implement this plan at last month’s meeting. The grant is for $104,000 with a match of $24,000. No source for the match was noted in the Mayor’s Report. The approval was done as part of the Budget Amendments and Transfers under Fund 171-Capital Projects.

Fond memories shared of Plainview School

Sherrell Greene, Ted Greene and Richie Turner prepare to open the school day at the Plainview Elementary School reunion.

About 50 former students, friends and family gathered at Plainview Community Center on November 25 to reminisce about their education and fellowship at Plainview Elementary School, which operated from 1932 to 1970.

Nearly $75M handled perfectly says Mayor Bailey

Missy Brown, Crystal Flatford, Ashley Webb and the entire Union County Finance Department received recognition for a perfect county audit.

Mayor Jason Bailey recognized the Union County Finance Department for “doing such an awesome job with Union County finances and having a perfect audit” with no findings in any department or fee office of Union County government at the regular Union County Commission Meeting on November 27. He recognized finance department employees for their careful handling of nearly $75M. He also commended the expertise of the elected officials who handle funds.

BOE adopts 2024-25 calendar with early release days

The Union County School Board approved the 2024-2025 calendar at its November meeting. Most of the calendar was very similar to past years.
However, the addition of six early release days sparked some discussion. The early release days would close school at 1 p.m. rather than 3:15. Carolyn Murr, a Maynardville teacher and president of UCEA, voiced a concern for parents including teachers who would need to find additional daycare during the work day.

Plainview welcomes new planner

Jordan Rockwell, Plainview's new planner.

Plainview Planning Commission welcomed Jordan Rockwell, East Tennessee Development district Regional Planner, at its November meeting. Stewart Skeen, Codes Enforcement Officer, introduced Rockwell and noted that he is also the planner for Maynardville City.
Skeen reported that he did not write any building permits for October, but fielded numerous phone calls and questions regarding new construction and zoning. He recommended changes to a couple of properties.

'A Christmas Journey' outdoor nativity is Dec. 9

First Baptist Church of Maynardville Journey to Christmas 2022 Angels Scene

First Baptist Church Journey to Christmas 2022 Angels
Scene - Kingston Brown & Ava Zielinski. Julie Roberts
& Sabrina Taylor. Lisa Marie Brown.
Photo by Megan Zielinski, December 1, 2023

This will be the third year for First Baptist Church’s drive-thru nativity: “A Christmas Journey.”. The idea of a drive-thru nativity began in 2020 during the pandemic. In previous years the church had always presented a Christmas play and went caroling in the community.

Unity in Union County: Advent play is Dec. 13

Be our guest on Dec 13 at 6 p.m. for a free community fellowship meal at Revival Vision Church of God and stay to enjoy the Advent play “West of Bethlehem” at 7 p.m. All are welcome! This community Christmas gathering was organized by Father Neil Pezzulo and Brother Joe Steen of St. Teresa’s Catholic Church, Pastor Bryan Wheble of Revival Vision Church of God, and Pastor Kathy Chesney of Miller’s Chapel UMC & Irwin’s Chapel UMC.

I don’t who came up with naming our county “Union,” but I can’t think of a better name to describe these wonderful, welcoming and working-together people! When I say I have moved a lot in my life, I mean I have lived in at least 19 different cities; so I know a thing or two about reading and adapting to a local culture.
I particularly appreciate that there is a place for everyone who wants to be involved in Union County, and the people here welcome and support new efforts even when led by those who are new to the community.

4-H supports Ronald McDonald House in community service

Maynarville Elementary School 5th grade Community Service
Officers: Eli Kanipe, Makenah Chesney and Scarlett Hughes

Once again, 4-H members in each elementary school are collecting pop top tabs for their community service project and the first full jugs have been turned in.
All tabs will be donated to our local Ronald McDonald House for recycling.

Smoky Mountain 4-H Club Sewing Workshop

James Whitley, Gracie Tindell, and Debby Morgan. Mrs. Morgan is showing James Whitley how to topstitch his table runner.

By Abigail Thomas
Volunteer Leader Debby Morgan and Teen Leader Gracie Tindell recently led a sewing workshop for Smoky Mountain 4-H Club members to make holiday-themed table runners. The students learned sewing machines skills and new techniques as they coordinated a variety of remnant fabrics into a table runner.
One new technique was how to use Wonder Under and turn any fabric into a fusible fabric. Participants fused Christmas trees and bows onto their table runners to give it added decoration.

A call to action on lower back pain

A call to action on lower back pain remedies has been issued by prominent international researchers in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. Recommendations include:

• Coordinated international leadership to drive transformational change across health and social services and occupational settings to stop fragmented and outdated models of care

• Development of evidence-based medical responses to low back pain emphasizing the concept of ‘positive health’ — the ability to adapt and self-manage in the face of social, physical and emotional challenges

A Christmas gift for you: a playlist for the best holiday songs

Country Connections By James and Ellen Perry
Good music soothes the soul and makes you happy.
“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” The first lyrics from Nat King Cole’s, “The Christmas Song.”
This article provides a list of Christmas songs. Some are still played during Christmas on the radio. Some aren’t anymore. There’s info on when these songs were played and where they came from. One of the better known artists actually played on the Mid-Day Merry-Go Round in Knoxville.
I hope you all enjoy these songs.
1. White Christmas by Bing Crosby-1952 version

Christmas Present Fiasco

Who doesn’t love a good surprise?
Actually, I get more fun and joy out of surprising others with gifts or doing something special for them. But there was one Christmas where I accidentally ruined a surprise for my daddy.
When I was nine years old, my mom went back to work part time at the Halls Rexall Drug Store. That Christmas she had a little more money to spend on presents, so she wanted to buy something special for Daddy since he worked long hard hours.

The first female equine veterinarian in the United Sates

Have you ever had to take an animal to the veterinarian’s office?
I have, and I have also had to call them out to my house. Veterinarians are a very viable resource when it comes to keeping your animals healthy. I should know, because I worked at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Hospital in the Equine Rehabilitation Center for almost seven years before leaving in 2022.

Turkey or Chicken Casserole

This recipe had a big surprise hidden in it: cooked chopped chicken. If there is not enough turkey for supper, extend it by using this recipe. The flavor will still be there and your family will never suspect you tricked them. Combine all ingredients. Spoon into buttered 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Bake at 400 F. for 30 minutes or until center is set. Serves 4.

Is there no resurrection of the dead?

In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he saves addressing the early Church’s biggest doctrinal problem for last. That problem was that certain people within the Church denied the resurrection of the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:12 KJV: Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

Real versus plastic Christmas trees

By Steve Roark
Volunteer Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Being “green” is becoming a lifestyle these days, so as the holidays approach you may be pondering over which is better for the environment, a real tree or an artificial one. It's a personal choice, but here are some facts to consider.

Human beings being human

Last week, Dear Reader, I promised to tell you about part two of the Mincey/Martin time-share vacation (ad)venture.
I related last week that it was in 1996 that my friend Mark Martin and I each got the same enticing letter in the mail. The only difference was the name on the header. Mine proclaimed in bold letters, “RONNIE MINCEY! PACK YOUR BAGS!”

Christmas/New Year’s Writing Contest

Since our Thanksgiving writing contest was such a success, we have decided to offer another writing contest for Christmas and/or New Year’s resolutions.

As with our Thanksgiving contest, we are asking for your favorite memory, worst memory, strangest happening, or most heartwarming story for printing in our last publication before Christmas.

Tis' the Season

As the Christmas season approaches, there are many events in Maynardville for families to enjoy Light the Night, The Union County Business and Professionals Association and the Mayor’s Office are kicking off the holiday season with a “Light the Night” event. Community members can welcome in the holiday season at Wilson Park on Friday, December 1 at 7pm.

Protecting the legacy of public education

Dr. Derek Black, author of School House Burning,
Public Education and the Assault on American

The Union County Retired Teachers Association invites anyone who supports public education for all to an informative lecture by Dr. Derek Black on December 7, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. at Clinton High School’s Little Theater. The lecture is described as outlining “the vital importance of public education to American democracy and history that public education and democracy share” and is open to the public. Dr. Derek Black is a former student of retired Clinton HS English teacher Dewayne Emert, President-Elect of the Tennessee Retired Teachers Association.who taught English at CHS for 39 years.

Global burden of low back pain — a consequence of negligence and misinformation

A series of ground breaking research reports in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet warn that low back pain is a major health burden globally — across developed and developing nations — and that the current use of X-rays and scans, opioids, injections and surgery to investigate and treat the condition is useless, unnecessary and harmful.

Momma's Christmas Tree

There are a few things I didn’t inherit from my momma. One is height. I am short where as she is slightly taller than average. Another is decorating skills. She is amazing at decorating for the holidays. Me, not so much, but she did teach me how to decorate a Christmas Tree. Let’s just say the process isn’t as easy as it sounds.
If you use a real tree, it starts in picking the right one at the Christmas tree lot. For us,
we didn’t just go in and select one after a few minutes. Never ever did we pick the first tree


It was the summer of 1996. My friend Mark Martin and I each got the same enticing letter in the mail. The only difference was the name on the header. Mine proclaimed in bold letters, “RONNIE MINCEY! PACK YOUR BAGS!”

Turkey - Dressing bake

Here is another way to fix leftover turkey from that Thursday bird. Toss stuffing mix with turkey or chicken broth, beaten eggs and half of mushroom soup. Top with cooked turkey or chicken. Combine remaining undiluted soup with milk, pimiento and parsley. Pour over all. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 F. for 55 to 60 minutes or until set. Makes 8 generous servings.

Tree Trunks, the Dead Supports the Living

Trunks of big trees have a majesty all their own.

Trees are impressive life forms, producing tall, majestic columns that reach to the sky. Besides support, tree trunks perform a number of functions, so here’s a lesson in tree physiology. Growth of the trunk occurs at a thin layer of cells called the cambium. Here and only here does active cell division occur. The cambium is located near the outer portion of the trunk and can be damaged by fire or wounds made by tools or equipment. It grows two kinds of wood cells; one type grows towards the tree center, the other outward.

We Have a Winner!

Author Stephen Lyn Bales

A HUGE thanks to all those who entered our Thanksgiving Writing Contest! Congratulations to our First Place writer, Stephen Lyn Bales!
Stephen has won a $50 Visa gift card!
Stephen grew up in Gatlinburg. He's a local naturalist and nature writer and has written three books "Natural Histories," Ghost Birds," and "Ephemeral by Nature" all published by the University of Tennessee Press.
Read his story below:

First Thanksgiving

Arlene Anderson with French host Sylvie

Thanksgiving is a holiday that conjures up many fond memories for me—and not just the typical ones. Growing up in Wisconsin, I experienced the traditional United States version of Thanksgiving, with a turkey and dinner table surrounded with family.

Pass the turkey, please

Amanda Riggs

When the air feels crisp and a gentle wind lifts the colorful leaves from their branches before they swiftly swirl to the ground, my heart swells with memories of the women in my life who made the holidays special.
Their tender voices and the smell of my favorite dishes they’d prepare resonate through my mind. For a moment, with my eyes closed, those memories feel like the present.

When one door closes

Walker family. Clint, Mandi, Jewel, and Tommy

Reflection is good for the soul. If someone had described this life to me a year earlier, I would never have believed it. Although a friend’s betrayal stung me to the core and my church’s eventual transition ended the season I called “home”, nothing would compare with my next few months.

Auxillary for American Legion New Liberty Post 212

Vets eating with Commander Darrell White at the head of room.

Union County citizens recognize the work and sacrifice of the over 3800 veterans living in this county. These vets have served in World War II, Vietnam, in the Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan wars as well as served stateside and in support positions. Right now, their first and foremost calling is to support any honorable discharged veteran. Christmas is one of their busy times as they shop for food to fill large boxes for about 40 vets. Every year, they put on a Christmas party for kids who may not have much of a Christmas providing food and presents for all.

Falling Skill

Everyone is good at something. As for me, I am very skilled at falling. Seriously, you have to know how to fall so that you won’t be seriously injured. By the way, it doesn’t work as well when you fall backwards.

Turk and noodles

Turkey has one big problem. There is often too much of it, whether it's the turkey breast or the whole bird. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to use leftover turk. I don't think noodles every saw anything they didn't like. They certainly like turkey. This recipe is a bit different.

The Roots of Thanksgiving

Foods served at the first Thanksgiving feast included
pumpkin, squash, and wild wintercress.

Thanksgiving is one of the high holidays of the US, involving traditions of being with family, eating a bountiful meal of traditional foods, and hopefully taking time to give thanks for what we have been given. You know the traditional story of the first Thanksgiving involving Pilgrims, Native Americans, feasting and all that, but history is always good to review occasionally, as you often learn something new.


When I was a child, my dad worked for a while for the school system in maintenance. I remember he bought a cabinet model stereo and a wringer washing machine from Shoffner’s Furniture and Appliance. He had Irby Monroe make a stand for the small stereo to sit on so that I couldn’t reach inside and mess with the mechanics while those 33 1/3 RPM records were played. The joke was on Dad—I stood in a chair and watched the records spin on the turntable. I loved to listen to that stereo.

From a Box

Do I, or don’t I? Have you ever been in a quandary about attempting to do something?
I was walking through the baking section at the grocery store when something caught my eye. It was a box for making homemade yeast rolls. I read the directions on the back. Dare I try to make them? If you read my article: “Chocolate Mess,” then you understand my hesitation. In case you haven’t read it, when I was kid, I tried to bake a chocolate cake all by myself. Let’s just it didn’t go that well. I had as much cake batter slung across the kitchen as I did in the baking pan. It even went on the ceiling.

Fancy ham loaf

Leftover ham doesn't freeze well. So what do you do with it? Make this loaf. In mixing bowl, combine ground ham and pork. In a medium bowl with electric mixer, combine eggs, bread crumbs and milk. Mix well. With into meat with hands. Place a greased 8 by 4 inch loaf pan, forming dome with hands. Top with pineapple slices and maraschino cherries. Bake in preheated 300 F. oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, basting with pineapple juice. Slice and serve with pieces of pineapple and cherries. Serves 6.

Tree Beauty beyond Autumn

A tree's branches offer a quiet beauty even after the leaves are gone if you are observant, and also reveal a beauty of design.

Now that the beauty of Autumn is past and the trees are mostly laid bare, some folks bemoan the starkness of the winter forest. But now that you can see them, the limbs, branches, and twigs of trees offer a silhouette of graceful beauty all their own, especially with the sun shining behind them. Another overlooked aspect is the beauty of their design and function.

State considering RV park at Big Ridge; seeks input

Imagine the effect of 95 RVs and 200 trucks and trailers on the scenery at Big Ridge Park!

Big Ridge State Park needs your opinion on its new Strategic Master Plan. So what is a Strategic master Plan and why should you voice your opinion? The main reason is the plan will drive the changes that occur in the park for the next 10 years and some changes will effect the park for many more years after that. Submit your comments online at

Scott Inklebarger, Tonya Atkins Man and Woman of 2023

The Union County Business & Professional Association named Scott Inklebarger and Tonya Atkins, the Union County Man and Woman of 2023 at its 33rd annual banquet on Friday, November 3. Inklebarger is the manager of Food City and Ms. Atkins is the owner of A&B Bookkeeping. Both were chosen based on their outstanding and continuous community service along with their quality business practices.

Quilts of Valor equal healing

Marvin Jeffreys stands beside his Quilt of Valor that is being held by his wife, Doris, and Beverly Berry to the right of the quilt.

Many of you may have met Beverly Berry, the area coordinator for Quilts of Valor at the UC Heritage Festival. Beverly collected donations to purchase material to sew the Quilts of Valor. The mission of the Quilts of Valor is to cover service members and veterans with healing quilts of valor. Quilts are of a specific size with a label of authenticity and the awarding of the quilt is recorded.

Under the Tree 2023 kicks off

Volunteers with Under the Tree gather for prayer before the Christmas gift distribution in 2017

Volunteers with Under the Tree gather for prayer before the Christmas gift distribution in 2017

It’s that time of year again for the Union County Children’s Charity annual “Under The Tree” toy campaign. This is exclusively for Union County Children ages 0-12 years of low income. Applications were sent to Union County Public Schools and Cherokee Head Starts for children living in Union County.

School Board helps resolve middle school concerns

The Union County Commission met with the Union County School Board during the Board's regular October workshop to have an opportunity to ask questions regarding the new middle school. Specifically, commissioners wanted to know if the middle school sports fields are included in the current plan and if the timeline for completing the sports fields would cause a lapse in availability if the jail is constructed on the current middle school football field. The first concern was put to rest before the architects even arrived.

Commission to pay for veteran plaques, wheel tax increases

At the regular October meeting, Union County Commission voted to set aside $3,000 annually to fund the plaques on the wall at Veteran’s Place. Commissioner Sidney Jessee, Jr. stated that the idea had come from a 2nd district citizen who said that paying for the plaques was the right thing to do for our veterans who have given us so much.
The money will purchase approximately 30 plaques a year on a first come, first served basis.

Study finds “considerable uncertainty” around effectiveness and safety of analgesics for low back pain: part II

There is still a lack of high-certainty evidence on the effectiveness and safety of commonly used painkillers (analgesics) for short bouts of low back pain, finds an analysis of the evidence published by The BMJ.

Autism & Me: Playing by the rules

Isabella Humphrey

I would like to thank everyone for all the kind words and positive comments regarding my first article. I wasn’t sure how my story would be received, and I loved reading all the words of encouragement that you left for me. Several have asked for more of my perspective on Autism and while I only know how it affects my everyday life, I am happy to share more of how I see the world. My parents have told me that there is a saying that if you have met one person on the Autism spectrum then you have met one person on the Autism spectrum. That is most definitely the truth.

Peacocks in the Church

Peacocks are often used as a symbol of pride and vanity. The male peafowl are known for their piercing calls and their extravagant plumage. It can be quite the sight to see a peacock preening in full strut.
The preening peacock’s full tail feather display not only attracts the peahens, but it gets the attention of any creature in his vicinity, including humans.


Sandra Kay (White) Nunley attended the University of Tennessee from 1966 to 1972. She graduated in June 1972 with a B. S. She received her professional certification in September 1972. She returned to UT in the summer of 1974 through 1975 for additional coursework, receiving credit for 45 hours.
From 1974 through 1981 Sandra worked for the Douglas-Cherokee and Mountain Valley EOA Headstart programs in Sevier, Claiborne, Campbell and Union counties.

How to move from fear to faith to knowing

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Fear is a form of worry. We worry about so many different things. Ninety-five percent of the things we worry about never happen.
Then suddenly multiple things happen that we were not worried about, which creates a huge emotional storm in our life. Often when something bad happens almost every aspect of our life is impacted. We feel like we are being bombarded and attacked on every front.


Authors Guild of Tennessee

The Authors Guild of Tennessee (AGT) will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, October 5, 2023 at 11:00 am at the Faith Lutheran Church in Farragut. Social time and book exchange begins at 10:30. Published authors are invited to attend. AGT is now accepting applications for associate membership from authors who have written a book but are not yet published. Serious authors only. In the event of inclement weather, check the AGT Website for updates and information:

Reverse Raffle Deadline Approaches !

Have you purchased your Reverse Raffle ticket yet?? You better hurry! The drawing is scheduled for Saturday June 17th. Third prize is $500, second prize is $1000. And the Grand Prize winner will receive $2000! The proceeds from the ticket sales support the Lions Club excellent humanitarian projects. And you can help by purchasing a ticket. Tickets for this Reverse Raffle are only $10 each and are available from Ronnie Mincey at 865-278-6430 or Shirlee Grabko at 865-310-6874.

Story Thyme

Hey everybody, I will be at the Farmer's Market this Saturday for Story Thyme. It will begin around 10AM. I will be reading out of my book: "Dinosaur Eggs." Hope to see you there.

Fellowship Christain Church Fall Festival is Oct. 14

FCCLTN Church Logo

Come join with us in fellowship at our outdoor fall festival on October 14, 2023, at Fellowship Christian Church in Luttrell.
Chairs may be limited so feel free to bring your own to enjoy the gospel singing from 3 until 6 p.m., and the free food will be served from 4 until 6 p.m. or while supplies last.
We’ll also have games and fun activities for the children and antique cars for the adults.

Pickin' in the Park at Norris Dam State Park Oct. 6

Photo by C.S. HIGHTOWER PHOTOGRAPHY Submited by Norris Dam State Park

There is nothing quite like a fall October evening spent outdoors enjoying nature’s beauty with music in the background, the smell of food in the air, and meandering through the fine displays of craft and artisan booths.
The 15th Annual Pickin’ in the Park event will be held this year on Friday, October 6, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Shelter # 2 on the east side of Norris Dam State Park.
This year’s lineup will include Sleepy-Eyed John’s, The Real McCoys, and Ethan Ferguson.

8th Annual Clays for Children Sporting Clays Tournament Upcoming on October 6 and 7, 2023

The Office of District Attorney General Jared Effler, in partnership with the Children's Centers of Campbell, Claiborne, Fentress, Scott and Union Counties, will be hosting the 8th Annual Clays for Children Sporting Clays Tournament on Friday, October 6 and Saturday, October 7, 2023 at Iron Mountain Sporting Clays in Kodak, TN. The purpose of this event is to raise funds to support the Children’s Centers as they serve abused and neglected children.

Women's back country camping

Photo Submited by Norris Dam State Park Ranger Holly Frerichs

"Join Ranger Holly Frerichs for an overnight experience in the back country! This is a beginner friendly workshop for women where we will learn best practices for overnight camping and some survival tactics. The hike to the campsite is 3.5 miles in and the same route back out. It is a moderate trail but very beginner friendly. This workshop is open to women and girls 15 and older.


Paul Wayne Lewis

Paul Wayne Lewis-age 71 of Knoxville, originally from Jacksonville, Florida went to be with the Lord, Wednesday, December 6, 2023. Wayne loved cars, was a supporter of the Tribute Quartet and a Navy Veteran. Wayne is the past president of the Jacksonville, Florida Independent Automobile Dealers Association. Upon his retirement he was the owner/president of Gateway Auto Sales. Wayne was an ordained deacon of Fellowship Baptist Church, Raiford, Florida. Preceded in death by his father, Earl R. Lewis; uncle, Buddy Allen of Cross City, Florida.

Ralph Shick

Ralph Homer Shick was born on September 30, 1939; and was received in the arms of Jesus on November 28, 2023. Preceded in death by parents Ralph Hilton Shick and Gene Lucille Shick Mammolite. He was a veteran serving in the Army. He leaves behind his beloved wife Susan Shick, his son Marcus (Elizabeth) Shick, and grandchildren: Adam (Megan), and Samuel (Alex); great-grandchildren: Simon, Silas, and Sophie; and his half-brother Mike Mammolite.

Mary Sue (Wolfenbarger) Winters

Mary Sue (Wolfenbarger) Winters, age 85 of Knoxville, passed away Tuesday, December 5, 2023. She was a founding member of New Testament Baptist Church and was a pastor’s wife for over 50 years and a Christian school kindergarten teacher for over 10 years.
Preceded in death by her spouse, Rev. George B. Winters; parents, two sisters, grandson, George Winters III, and three great-grandchildren.

Patricia Ann Wells

Patricia Ann Wells-age 29 of Tazewell, born August 24, 1994, went to be with the Lord November 29, 2023. Patricia loved animals especially dogs. Preceded in death by her father, Jeffrey Taylor.

She is survived by her mother, Penny Wells; fiancé, Robert Gambrel; daughter, Aubree Cole; son, Brody Smith; brothers, Carson and Michael Russell; special cousins, Samantha Upton and Robin Hopkins; great aunt, Judy Wells; special friend, Cecil Goddard and a host of other loving relatives and friends.

Marcus Keyes

Marcus Keyes, age 84, died peacefully on November 28, 2023 with his wife, Glenda, by his side.
Marcus was born on February 25, 1939, in Bantry Bay, Ireland. He was the fourth of five children born to Raphael P. Keyes and Brigid (O’Sullivan) Keyes. Marcus is survived by his wife of 32 years, Glenda Struss-Keyes; sister-in-law Patsy Keyes; sister-in-law, Mary Ann (Struss) Toms; nephew; Ralph (Eileen) Keyes; grandniece, Rachel (Sam); grandnephew, Michael (Andrea).
He was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings: Falkna (died in infancy), Michael, Raphael, and Caít.

Toni Spiva

Toni Gale (Bell) Spiva – age 66 of Knoxville, passed away peacefully Wednesday, November 29, 2023 gaining her angel wings after battling many health issues for many years. She made many friends at the bowling center where she also married her husband, David.

Rosa Lee Aye

Rosa Lee (Loope) Aye-age 92 of Maynardville passed away Sunday, November 26, 2023 at Sacred Ground Hospice. She was a member of Hubbs Grove Baptist Church. She was the owner-operator of her own furniture store in Detroit, Michigan before retirement and returning to Union County. She was very active in the Union County Senior Citizens Center and enjoyed their activities. She has gone home to be with her husband of 64 years, Rev. Walter Aye; sister, Dorothy Kaliski; brothers, Howard Loope, Clyde Loope, Jerry Loope, Randy Shupe.

Alice Mae Popplewell

In loving memory of Alice Mae Popplewell, age 76 of Washburn, born September 9, 1947, passed away November 26, 2023 into the loving arms of her Heavenly Father and all members of her family, both naturally and spiritually do send their love with her.

Doyle Wayne Hensley

Doyle Wayne Hensley – age 79 of Luttrell, passed away Saturday evening, November 25, 2023, surrounded by his family at home. He was a life-long farmer and a member of New Friendship Baptist Church. Preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Bonita (Boles) Hensley; sister, Shelby Beeler and her husband, Hughie.

James Ray Childress

CHILDRESS, James Ray, 72, Maynardville, TN, passed away November 20, 2023, at home of natural causes. Jim was retired after a career in real estate, RV, and auto sales. Survivors: son and daughter-in-law, Martin Todd and Jessica Childress; granddaughter, Selena Rose; sisters and brothers-in-law, Sharon and Gary Henderson and Janet and Richard Bolus, all of Knoxville; and brother, Thomas Childress who resides at the Veterans Hospital in Murfreesboro, TN. He is survived by numerous cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, Kathryn Ruth and Clyde Mitchell Childress.

Shona Vadonee Hunley

Shona Vadonee Hunley, age 59, of Knoxville went to be with the Lord on Saturday, November 25, 2023. She was a member of The Church of God of the Union Assembly. Shona loved church, wrestling, country music, The Special Olympics, bowling, game shows, Blake Shelton, and Rocklan Hughes. She never met a stranger and she loved with her whole heart. She is preceded in death by her parents, Johnny and Virgie Hunley and nephew Christopher Logan Hunley.

Mary Joyce Sampson

Mary Joyce Sampson – age 74 of Powell, passed away on Friday, November 24, 2023 at her home. She was a retired employee of Tipton Builders. She was of the Baptist Faith and was a wonderful mother and grandmother.
Preceded in death by her husband, Claude Sampson; parents, Noah and Gladys Russell; brothers, Buddy Hurst and Robert Hurst.

James Paul Raley

James Paul Raley-age 95 of Maynardville, born March 2, 1928 passed away peacefully Thursday morning, November 23, 20233 at his home. He was saved as a teenager. He worked 16 years for Kratt and retired from Roddy Manufacturing (Coca-Cola of Knoxville) with 26 years of service. Preceded in death by parents, Dewey Raley, Sr. and Gladys (West) Raley; wife, Helen Tharp Raley; brother, Rev. Dewey Raley, Jr.; sisters, Opal Irick and Jean Raley.

Thomas E. Beach

Thomas E. Beach-age 78 of Maynardville, formerly of Knoxville passed away peacefully Saturday evening at the Willow Ridge Center, Maynardville.

No services are planned at this time. Arrangements by Cooke-Campbell Mortuary, Maynardville.

Anna Maples

Anna Maples – age 39 of Corryton. Anna’s earthly life ended on Thursday, November 16th at 6:49 p.m. We rejoice in the knowledge that she is present with the Lord hearing “well done my good and faithful servant”. She has been made whole for all eternity. Anna was a loving wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt and friend. Her smile, laugh and sweet spirit always brought joy to those around her. The void left in our hearts is indescribable.

Tim Glen Hundley

Tim Hundley-age 64 of Powder Springs passed away peacefully Friday morning, November 17, 2023 at his home surrounded by his family following a lengthy illness. Preceded in death by his parents, Swan and Lucreata (Yoakum) Hundley; nephew, Jeff Hundley.

Survivors: devoted wife of 37 years, Dinah Decker; son, Justin Hundley and wife, Rebekah; granddaughter, Savannah Hundley. Sisters, Shirley Acuff of Corryton; Maggie Collins of Corryton. Special family, Eric Hundley; aunt, Lavonda Hundley and Lew and Carla Howard.

Catherine Lorraine Guffey

Catherine Lorraine Guffey-age 82 of Maynardville, born May 14, 1941, passed away Sunday, November 12, 2023 after a long battle with cancer at her home. She attended Fairview Knox Baptist Church, Corryton. Preceded in death by her daughter, Patricia Haynes.

She is survived by son, Mitchell Adams and wife, Patti; granddaughters, Micki and Kent Venable, Sherri and Chris O’Day; great grandchildren, Kaylee and Kolton Venable, Kelsey and Abby O’Day; special friends, Anna Cantrell and Melissa Curington.

Barbara Paul

Barbara Paul – 80 of Maynardville, beloved mother, grandmother, sister and daughter, passed away peacefully with family by her side on Thursday, November 9, 2023 at U T Medical Center. She was a member of Ailor Dale Baptist Church and was faithful in her love for the Lord.

Veronica Breau

Veronica Jean Breau – age 84 of Maynardville, passed away November 10, 2023 at Willow Ridge Center. She is of the Catholic Faith and a devoted wife, mother and grandmother.

She is preceded in death by parents, Anthony and Stella Kecioris. Veronica is survived by husband of 61 years Al Breau; daughter, Theresa Kidwell; and five grandchildren.

James "Pap" Campbell

James “Pap” Campbell – age 79 of Maynardville, passed away suddenly, Thursday, November 9, 2023 at his home. He was a member of Pennington Chapel Baptist Church. He was an avid fan of U.T. football. We will surely miss his “Pap” hugs. Preceded in death by parents, Rev. George and Leona (Chesney) Campbell, brother, Tommy Campbell.