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.



Presley Lay Named Union County 4-H National Dairy Month Chairman

Nashville, TN– Presley Lay has been named the 2023 National Dairy Month Chairman for Union County.

Lay will be honored June 8 at the Tennessee June Dairy Month Kickoff Event at Ellington Agricultural Center in Nashville. The event includes recognition from Brian Flowers, president of the American Dairy Association of Tennessee. The official kickoff celebration recognizes Tennessee 4-H members’ efforts to promote National Dairy Month in Tennessee.

2023 Green Industry Field Day Scheduled for June 27

The Green Industry Field Day returns in 2023 as an in-person event. The last time the event was held completely in person was in 2019 (pictured above). Photo by B. Sims, courtesy UTIA.

In-Person Event Returns to UTIA Campus

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Green Industry Field Day will be hosted in person this year by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. The event takes place on June 27, 2023, and participants will enjoy a variety of sessions that will take place beginning at the UT Gardens Plaza and ending in the Brehm Animal Science Building Lecture Hall.

A look at the Lumbar Spine

The spine is made up of distinct areas: the cervical spine, which is essentially the neck; the thoracic spine, in the mid-back; the lumbar spine, the lower back; and the sacral spine, in the pelvis. The lumbar vertebrae—the individual bones that make up the lumbar section of the spinal column—are described as L1 through L5. If one or more of those vertebrae are out of line—what chiropractors call a ‘subluxation’—here are some problems that may ensue:

Where's the Lunch?

What’s your favorite thing about visiting another town? Mine is eating at local restaurants that we don’t have back home. It’s usually a great experience. Usually.
Recently I was in a small town when lunch time rolled around. I was excited because I was going to eat at a local Barbeque restaurant. A couple of different people had recommended it to me, so I was giddy with excitement when I pulled into the parking lot. I did notice there wasn’t a lot of cars there. As I walked into the dinning area, I was going over in my head I was going to order. Soon, I realized I was the only ...

Sweet Serenity

I related in my last article about my aunt Fleetie and her daily review of obituaries. This has rubbed off on me, and I know I’m not alone. I have at least one friend who is younger than me who also does a daily obituary check.
Occasionally both my friend and I notice an obituary that “stands out”. It might be due to the picture of the deceased, or the length of the obituary (the longer, the more impressive, when the cost of printing an obituary is considered).

Fiesta Corn Salad

Corn salads are so pretty. They are easy to make, as well. I often use a drained can of diced tomatoes when I don't have fresh ones on hand. This is a cold weather salad, but you can make it any time you like. Combine all veggies in large bowl. Add Italian salad dressing. Toss gently. Chill 2 or 3 hours before serving.

Union County American Legion New Liberty Post 212 Part II

Dinners for First Responders, police, sheriff deputies, firefighters and EMTs have been held at the American Legion New Liberty Post Hall to thank them for all that they do for this county. The training that first responders go through and the commitment they must have are remarkable. Disaster relief is also a calling of New Liberty Post 212. Annually, they take clothing to homeless veterans. Initially, they traveled to the VA Mountain Home Hospital in Johnson City. But now they are taking clothing to the Ben Atchley VA Nursing Home in Knoxville.

Fruits of the Backyard Field Day Scheduled for June 13

Blackberry care is among the topics at 16th annual event. Photo by K. Thompson, courtesy UTIA.

Blackberry and Blueberry Care Among the Topics at 16th Annual Event

SPRING HILL, Tenn. – Homegrown blackberries and blueberries pair perfectly for summertime in Tennessee, and the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture would like to help bring them to your backyard. This year marks the 16th annual Fruits of the Backyard Field Day where attendees can receive valuable information, products and techniques that will help backyard fruits and other plants flourish.

Don’t Wait ‘til It Hurts

Most people’s approach to health care is a preventive one. They visit their medical doctor regularly to check for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other issues. They see the dentist regularly to prevent development of cavities, gum disease and other problems with the mouth. The idea is to not wait until a problem becomes evident.

Papaw and Old Spice

Have you ever felt like you have been hit in the chest? I am not talking literally. That being said, I think I have been hit over the years by any kind of ball you can think of: softball, football, basketball, volleyball and or any other plastic ball. In this article, I am talking about something touching your heart and memories.

I'm Still Here

I once went to visit an elderly friend who was near death. She occasionally lapsed into sleep. As she came closer to the end, she woke from one of these small naps, looked at those of us surrounding her, and said, “I’m still here.”

Creamy Grape Salad

Grape Salad recipes are few and far between. Try this one, You'll like it. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir until bubbly, but not browned. Add milk and heat until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low. Add marshmallows and continue heating, and stirring until marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat. Cool 5 minutes. Stir in grapes, pineapple and pecans. Chill several hours before serving. Grapes may be cut in half if you prefer.

Privet: A Pretty Bush You Don’t Want to See or Smell

Right now if you’re outside much you are liable to catch a whiff of an almost overpowering flower smell, and if you investigate, you will likely find a bush loaded with small white flowers. This is Privet, a foreign shrub brought in as a landscape plant as early as the late 1700s. It has unfortunately gone Frankenstein and naturalized into the wild, where it is now very common to see along roadsides, woodland edges, and fencerows. It is bad news and a serious threat to our mountain farms and forests.

Union County American Legion New Liberty Post 212 Part I

Sure, I knew that the American Legion New Liberty Post 212 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8682 shared a building up at the end of Veterans St. And I knew that it had something to do with military veterans. But I am not a veteran, nor do I come from a military family. So they really had nothing to do with me, did they? Well, I was wrong. As a community, we need to support these folks who train, work and fight to protect us. What they did was not easy and often left physical, mental and emotional scars. And we need to recognize their dedication to us and our community.

UCBPA awards scholarships

L to R. Three of UCBPA Scholarship Recipients, Rileigh Collins (Jeffreys Memorial Scholarship), Lauren Bentley (Founders Scholarship for Service), Emili Strand (Career & Technical Scholarship)

Union County Business & Professional Association presented scholarship awards to eight graduating seniors at the Union County High School Senior Awards and College Signing Day on Tuesday, May 9, 2023. Receiving the Jeffreys Memorial Academic Scholarship was Rileigh Collins. Rileigh will attend East Tennessee State University to pursue a dual major in physical therapy and business.

Sweet Rewards for Helping Others

Members of Mrs. Keck's second period class enjoy ice cream treats at Maynardville Elementary School

Union County elementary schools’ 4-H Clubs just wrapped up their annual pop top tab collection drive to benefit Ronald McDonald House, and students at Maynardville Elementary enjoyed an ice cream party to celebrate collecting more tabs than any other school. They combined their favorite choice of ice cream flavor and topping and enjoyed the sweet rewards of their success during the last in-school 4-H meeting of the year. What a great way to finish an exciting year of learning about community service and volunteerism.

Nourish Kids Kick-off

Join us this Saturday, May 20, as the Union County Farmers Market kicks off our 2023 Nourish Kids program. This program has been designed to get children excited about local food and healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables. Once again, our market has partnered with Nourish Knoxville to present this program. Through a grant, Nourish Knoxville has been able to assist markets like ours throughout East Tennessee, providing materials and Produce Bucks making this program possible.

UT Hopyard Grand Opening – Tennessee Hops Week Event Scheduled for June 15 in Knoxville

This spring a new UT Hopyard has been constructed and planted at the East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center Plant Science Unit. Photo by B. Stocek, courtesy Unsplash.

Farmers, Industry Professionals and Public Invited to Attend

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Researchers and Extension specialists with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture are teaming up to support the state’s growing ...

Chiropractic and Arthritis

It used to be thought that the pain, stiffness and diminished function of joints due to arthritis were just an unavoidable part of the aging process. Advice on the topic was for some time limited to, “slow down.” We know now, though, that exercise is essential to managing the disease. Though chiropractors may be best known for working on the spine, particularly keeping its vertebrae, or individual bones, in line, they are trained in the operation of all the body’s joints and in the various therapies available to keep those joints working smoothly.

A Tap in the Dark

Have you ever had something happen that you thought you couldn’t explain? It happened to me as a child while I was being a “Smarty Pants.”
The women at our old church used to have a circle meeting once a month. In these meetings, each lady brought a covered dish so they could spend the evening in fellowship and discussing church matters. They would take turns hosting it in their homes. Then came the month when it was Mamaw Jo’s turn to host. At this time, I think I was around 9 years-old. I helped her clean house and set extra chairs out in the living room.

Watch Those Toes!

My nephew and I took a Saturday trip this past weekend to visit the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. The distillery is on the National Register of Historic Places. I had been there once, probably more than ten years ago, with my brother J. C. I had forgotten a lot of what I learned from my first visit.

Chicken Loaf

Here is an easy lunch or supper entree. Use canned chicken breasts, with a bouillon cube and water instead of chicken broth. You should have all the other ingredients in your pantry. i do. Use a can of cream of mushroom soup heated with 1/2 cup milk or light cream for the sauce. Beat eggs until thickened. Add 1 cup milk, chicken broth, onion, seasonings, chicken and bread crumbs. Mix well. Pour mixture into greased 9 inch loaf pan. Set in pan of hot water. Bake at 350 F. for 45 to 60 minutes or until set. Invert loaf onto hot platter. Serve with mushroom sauce made with 1/2 cup milk and can of mushroom soup heated almost to a boil. Makes 6 servings.

Lazy But Easy Composting

With living green becoming a worthy cause these days, you’ve probably heard the benefits of composting yard and kitchen waste. It’s good fertilizer, adds organic matter, improves soil moisture, and the environmental upshot is you’re sending less stuff to landfills and septic systems. Despite the positives, few people compost for various perceived negatives: no room, maintenance hassles, too complicated, bad smell, etc. As a composter, I would be considered a passive one, bordering on lazy.

Mystery Hike Revealed

On Saturday, May 13 there will be no Union County Farmers Market due to UCHS graduation. As usual, our walking program, Nourish Moves, has partnered with Preservation Union County and promised to keep everyone moving by offering a walk on that day. To celebrate National Preservation Month, we will be exploring “Farming: Past, Present and Future” with a hike at Seven Springs Farm.

UCHS tennis competes in district tournament

The UCHS Tennis Team competed in the TSSAA District Tournament. The young team garnered two All District Athletes, Dalton Schreieck and Jace Walker. Schreieck, a junior, competed in boys individuals and took his opponent to a tie breaker in the first match before losing the second match. Janae Chapell challenged in the first round of Girls Individuals. Hannah Groot and Scarlett Gwaltney and also Ava Tiller and Saria Chapell competed in Girls Doubles.

Union County 4-H Achievement Day

1st place Animal Science Horse – Scarlett Hughes
1st place Veterinary Science- Bree Williams
1st place Communication/Public Speaking Ava Cumberland
1st place Engineering/Safety Science – Landon Jessee
1st place Animal Science Sheep- Carson Hayes

Union County 4-H held its annual 4-H Acheivement Day on April 27th, 2023. 4-H members from all Union County Schools were invited to present a demonstration of "how to."

4-H Achievement Day Winners are pictured left to right in order. Each will move on to our sub-region contest in May in Jefferson County. 4-H Members who were not able to attend the county event should contact us to determine eligibility to advance in available project areas at subregion.

Ribbon Cutting at UT AgResearch Facility Ushers in New Era of Dairy Research

Members of the University of Tennessee dairy research herd at the East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center helped usher in a new era of Precision Farming Livestock (PFL) research during a demonstration of UT's new robotic milking technology on May 2. The robotic milking system will help measure production efficiency and food supply chain robustness, as well as cow response to the technology, through automatic data collection. Photo courtesy UTIA.

Robotic Milkers and Precision Livestock Farming on Display

WALLAND, Tenn. — Some very special dignitaries ushered in a new era of dairy research at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture on May 2 at a ribbon cutting and demonstration of UT AgResearch’s new robotic milking technology. Installed at the East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center’s Little River Unit, the new system allows cows to be automatically milked at their own will under a stress-free environment.


Fibromyalgia is a condition in which, essentially, a person “hurts all over.” Difficult to diagnose, fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread pain in muscles, ligaments and tendons and creates tender spots all over the body. In some cases, symptoms have begun to appear after a physically traumatic event, like a fall or car accident; after surgery or an infection; or in the aftermath of severe psychological stress. In other cases, though, symptoms may just build gradually. For some reason, women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men.

Eerily Quiet

Unlike most people, I don’t like quiet. To me, it’s deafening. It’s like a silent roar in my ears. When I was young, there was this one time where the quiet wasn’t just uncomfortable, it was rather eerie.

Color Blind?

I have been a church attender all my life. Over the years, I have served as Sunday School teacher, occasional usher, trustee and treasurer. One of the greatest honors of my life was to have once been anonymously recommended as a deacon. I did not pursue that opportunity, but I found it humbling for someone to even have considered me worthy.

Creamy Lemon Bars

Cake mix can make cookie baking easier. This one calls for a lemon cake mix. If you don't have that one, substitute any flavor that well with cream cheese and sour cream. These stir up quickly and do not require chilling..

Moss, Worth a Closer Look

By Steve Roark
Volunteer, Cumberland Gap National Park

Anyone who has walked in the woods has seen areas of rock or soil covered with a thick, green carpet. Moss often just blends into the forest background and goes unnoticed, but it is an old and venerable life form unique to most plants you find.

Union County's legendary Wanda celebrates 90th

Wanda Cox Byerley

Her family, friends, former students and colleagues flocked to the Union County Museum to wish Wanda Woods Cox Byerley a happy 90th birthday.
All in all over a hundred visitors came on Sunday, April 16, 2023. Her birthday was April 13 and County Mayor Jason Bailey, who was also a former student, proclaimed that date “to be forever known as Wanda Cox-Byerley Day in Union County.”

Union County Farmers Market opening soon

It’s time! Farmers Markets are opening throughout the south, and that includes your Union County Farmers Market. The season will kick off on Saturday, May 6, and we are looking forward to seeing you there.
Come and welcome our new market manager, Deerenda Cooke, and her daughter, Delana Hutchison, assistant market manager. Both the Union County Farmers Market and UT Extension Union County understand the importance of supporting and promoting not just local small businesses and farms, but our families that make up our community.

Tuesday night jams at the museum

Wayne Goforth on the fiddle and Mark Walker on the mandolin back up Donna Kerr on the flute.

The Union County Historical Society has opened the doors of the museum every Tuesday for an acoustic music jam. Everyone who plays an instrument, sings from the heart or just loves tapping their toes and clapping their hands to good ole country, bluegrass and gospel tunes is welcome.
The music begins at 6 p.m. and winds down about 8:45.
Recently, Norris Freeway came to play. Musicians come from all parts of the county.
Noted fiddle player Wayne Goforth coordinated the fun and makes sure everyone gets involved.

Commissioners to meet on budget

At the April 24 County Commission meeting, County Mayor Jason Bailey announced that Union County Commission would be taking action on the FY24 Budget at the May 22 meeting. He also noted that the Budget Committee will have two meetings, May 2 at 6 p.m. and May 16 at 7 p.m. to discuss budget concerns.
The May 2 meeting will discuss property for the justice center, voting machine storage, and the possible purchasing of property around the courthouse.

Plainview remembers Dave Williams, proclaims Crime Victims Week

Vice Mayor of Plainview Richard Phillips reads the
resolution passed by the Board of Aldermen to proclaim
April 23-29, 2023, as Crime Victims Week. Eighth District
Attorney Jared Effler sponsored the walk in cooperation
with the Maynardville Police Department on April 25 to
draw attention to the need for fair treatment of victims of
crime especially those that are victims of violent crimes
and the families of the victims.

Plainview Planning Commission and City of Plainview paid tribute to David Williams, the city planner, who died about a week before the meeting. Stewart Skeen, Plainview City Codes Zoning Officer, praised Williams for his depth of knowledge, his professionalism, but most of all for his ability to adapt complex issues to simple rules and explanations that a small city like Plainview could enforce.
Williams remarked many times how thoroughly he enjoyed working with his “friends in Plainview.” Jordan Rockwell will be the new planner.

Allie Tharp wins Keeping Norris Blue contest

Lynda McKay, NLPA member, Anna Jones, Allie Tharp, Avery Branscomb and Sabrina Cason, Paulette Elementary contest participants, and Janet Stout, NLPA member.

The Norris Lake Protection Alliance (NLPA) sponsored a drawing contest for children in all five counties surrounding Norris Lake. The theme was to draw a picture representing Norris Lake and things that we do on the lake. We had many talented entries.
Allie Tharp, a 4th grader at Paulette Elementary School was selected as the winner.
She was presented with tickets to MagiQuest and Soaky Mountain Waterpark.
Allie’s drawing has vivid color, excellent detail and a great theme of cleaning up the trash on Norris Lake.

Back Pain Won’t Go Away On Its Own

Experts estimate that as many as 80 percent of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives. The back is a complicated weave of nerves, muscles, joints and ligaments. There are plenty of opportunities for something to go wrong. A twinge or minor pain in the back may come and go. But what the average person would call “pain” in the back is not likely to go away on its own. Low back pain, some experts say, is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Back pain often is the result of mechanical problems with the back.

'StoryThyme' at the farmers market

Everyone enjoys a good story, so we couldn’t imagine a better way to start each market than with StoryThyme.
Stories not only develop language and listening skills, they stimulate our imaginations, promote lifelong learning and can expand our understanding of the world we live in.
While the Union County Farmers Market and UT Extension are all about promoting good health and nutrition for our children, story content will vary. Obviously, many will be food and farm related.

Healthy lifestyles and the farmers market

UT Extension Union County and the Union County Farmers Market are at it once again, partnering to create healthier, more active lifestyles.
This year, when “Union Gets Movin” and we “Walk the Market,” Nourish Knoxville will be sponsoring our new program, Nourish Moves! The program is designed to promote a more active lifestyle increasing overall health, as well as building community.
After all, the market is “where the community meets” and we’d like to encourage families and people of all ages—our community—to meet up and walk.

Halls High Class of 1983 reunion announced

Does anyone know what time it is? Here’s a little hint.
If you graduated from Halls High School in 1983, it’s time for the 40th reunion. Are you thinking: “Where has the time gone?” I totally understand. It seems like yesterday we were listening to Prince and Journey; whereas, today we’re listening to our bodies “pop” and “crack” every time we move. That’s okay because we’re staying alive. So, let’s celebrate together and party like it’s 2023.

Baking tips and tricks from Buttercup Bakehouse

As we all know, baking has its ups and downs—even the most experienced baker will run into a problem in the kitchen from time to time.
Here are some baking tips and tricks to help ensure a more consistent outcome when making cakes, cupcakes, breads, and any other sweets and treats. A big thing to remember when baking is that measurements matter. The phrase “cooking is an art and baking is a science” holds a lot of truth.

Jaydon Battles named Champion Speller

Union County Spelling Bee participants pose with their Bee Awards: Ayla Etheir (5th grade MES) placed 4th, Tanner Spangler (4th grade PES) placed 2nd, Jaydon Battles (3rd grade SCES) 1st place Champion, Deacon Collins (5th grade LES) placed 6th, Clay Korth (5th grade BRES) placed 5th and Heaven Jones (8th grade HMMS) placed 3rd.

The Union County Spelling Bee was held in early April in the Union County High School Library.
Winners from all of the elementary schools spelling bees and the winner of the middle school spelling bee listened intently as Stephanie Walker, the District ELA Coach for Grades 3-8, pronounced each word.
Before spelling the word, some asked for a definition or for the word to be used in a sentence.

Patriots tennis matches Carter

Hannah Groot and Scarlett Gwaltney

The Union County Tennis Team experienced several match wins as the Patriots competed against Carter High School in late April.
Sophomores Hannah Groot and Scarlett Gwaltney earned their first career singles match victory and junior Dalton Schreieck and sophomore Jace Walker beat Carter in singles (8-3, 8-0) and doubles (8-2). Sophomore Ava Tiller won her singles match vs. Carter 8-6.
The team is young, but full of energy and the desire to play a highly skilled game. Championships are most likely a part of the future for the Patriots.

The most misunderstood book in The New Testament

The last book in the Bible, which is commonly called “Revelations,” is arguably the most misunderstood book in the New Testament.
One major contributing factor to this misunderstanding is that the colloquialism “Revelations” is not the actual name of the book. The title as given by the KJV translators is The Revelation or more fully The Revelation of Saint John the Devine.
The book is not “Revelations” as in many, but rather one single Revelation. We simply need to look no further than the first verse to know this is true:
Revelation 1:1 KJV

World War ll women's fashions

The Korean Conflict, Vietnam and Iraqi Wars did not trouble the civilian population of our country as much as the First and Second World Wars. There were rationing and shortages during the first conflict, but nothing like during World War ll. It started immediately. I remember when sugar rationing was announced. Those who could afford it hoarded quantities of sugar. That couldn’t be done with women’s fashions, however.

Jam-Filled Oatmeal Bars

If I have a box of cake mix that has been there a bit too long, I will make this cookie recipe. You would never know that the cake mix was a little stale. Jam-Filled Oatmeal Bars. If the dry cake mix is lumpy, sift before using. In large mixing bowl, combine dry cake mix and oatmeal. Add butter and mix until crumbly. Press 3 cups of the crumb mixture into greased 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Reserve remainder for topping. Use bottom of a glass to flatten evenly. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack ...

In the beautiful city of the sweet forever

Is there, or was there ever, a person in your life whose presence thrilled your very being? In my life, to now, there have only been a handful. Near or at the top of my list was my great-aunt Lidia (pronounced “Liddy”) Mincey.
When I was a pre-teen Aunt Lidia would come to our house for visits. Her visits were always surprises, for she never announced her coming. She just appeared. There were times when I would come home from school and there she’d be. No matter what might have happened during the day that was disappointing, all was erased by Aunt Lidia’s presence.


Authors Guild of Tennessee

The Authors Guild of Tennessee (AGT) will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, June 1, 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:

Union County Board of Education

The Union County Board of Education will have a workshop on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. at the Union County High School library to discuss the Union County Board of Education Policy Manual and for a presentation from Johnson Controls, Inc.

The next regular workshop and meeting of the Union County Board of Education will be on Thursday, June 8, 2023 at Union County High School. The workshop will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the meeting immediately to follow.

Girls Volleyball Tryouts

Horace Maynard Middle School will host Girls Volleyball Tryouts Monday, May 22 from 3:15-5pm.
All current 5th, 6th, and 7th grade girls are invited to try out. Tryouts will be held in the gym.
If you plan to attend this event, please make sure you have a ride from Horace Maynard Middle School promptly by 5pm.

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.


Patriccia Gail Capps

Patricia (Patty) Capps-age 54 of Washburn passed away Friday, June 2, 2023 at U. T. Medical Center with her family by her side. She was an employee of East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Knoxville. Preceded in death by mother, Connie Wallace; sister, Faye Martinez; mother-in-law, Patsy Capps.

She is survived by husband, Tim Capps; father, Paul Wallace; sister, Donna Brown; children, A.J. (Valerie) Bales; Chelsey (Cameron) McGinnis; granddaughters, Leah and Emery Bales. Father-in-law, Dale Capps. Several nieces and nephews along with a host of friends.

Roberta Bruner

Roberta Christine Bruner – age 94 of Maynardville, went to be with her Heavenly Father, June 2, 2023. She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend. Roberta retired from Standard Knitting Mill after 44 years. She will be greatly missed.

Larry Steve Shoffner

Larry Steve Shoffner-age 70 of Sharps Chapel passed away Wednesday morning, May 31, 2023 at Claiborne Medical Center. He was a retired employee of Union County Highway Department. Preceded in death by daughter, Gabrielle Shoffner; parents, Charlie and Edna (Beeler) Shoffner; brother, Tom Shoffner; sister, Wanda Brown.

Jeffery Allen Farris

Jeffery Allen Farris – age 60 of Andersonville, passed away suddenly at his home on May 29, 2023. He was a member of Hines Creek Missionary Church.

He is preceded in death by parents, Herman Farris and Geneva McNish. Jeffery is survived by wife, Martha Farris; brother, Steven Odel Farris of Knoxville; sister, Carolyn Irene White of Knoxville.

Raymond Lynn Sexton

Sexton, Raymond “Lynn” Sr. “Jamup” – age 80 of Maynardville, TN, passed away Saturday, May 27, 2023. He was a Member of Alder Springs Missionary Baptist Church.

He is proceeded in death by father and mother, Troy and Lucille (Hunley) Sexton. He is survived by wife Patricia Acuff Sexton; sons and daughters-in-law Ray (Tricia), Casey (Sara), Anthony (Melanie) grandchildren Bradey, Brice, Daniel and Sydney; sister Norma Sharp; and several nieces, nephews, and friends. Special thanks to Michelle Helton (Amedisys Hospice) and Alder Springs Baptist Church.

Danny Ray Flatford

Danny Ray Flatford-age 67 of Maynardville, born March 24, 1956 passed away Sunday, May 28, 2023 at his home. He was of the Baptist Faith. Preceded in death by daughter, Kami Flatford, parents, Wilma and Clarence Flatford; sister, Patricia Flatford along with several aunts and uncles.

Dorena Clay Nicley

Dorena Clay Nicley-age 86 of Washburn passed away peacefully Saturday, May 27, 2023 at her home. She was a member of Mt. Eager Baptist Church. Preceded in death by parents, Bill and Annie Clay; husband, Hubert Nicley; daughters, Kaye Nicley and Janice Nicley. Several brothers and sisters.

Everett Miller

Everett Miller-age 86 of Monroe, Michigan made his final journey home peacefully the morning of Friday, May 26, 2023 with the window open, the sun shining, and birds singing. He was born in Sharps Chapel Tennessee in a one room, dirt floor home. In his mid-teens he relocated to Monroe, Michigan where he graduated from Monroe High School and then went on to complete a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University in 1961, and then his master’s degree from Eastern University in 1972.

Jeffery Lynn Hoskins

Jeffery Lynn Hoskins-age 57 of Maynardville passed away Thursday, May 18, 2023 at North Knoxville Medical Center. Jeff was a painter and loved his work; also, he enjoyed shooting pool. He was an outside guy and loved his two dogs, oby and Sissy. Preceded in death by his parents, Gene and June Hoskins.

Survivors: Girlfriend of 20 years, Rhonda Hulett; brothers, Robert Hoskins, Gary Hoskins, Mark Hoskins and Joe Maples. Several aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews along with a host of other relatives and friends.

Dalton James Burton

Dalton James Burton-age 17 of Mooresburg passed away Friday, April 14, 2023, at his home. He was a baptized and a member of New Hope Baptist Church, Corryton, Tennessee. Preceded in death by grandmother, Sandra McCroskey and husband, Darrell Banks; grandfather, David McCroskey; great-grandmother, Wilma Carolyn Murrell; grandfather, Charles Burton; grandmother, Tilda Burton; aunt, Sasha McCroskey.

Kenneth Doyle Brown

Kenneth Doyle Brown, age 73, went to join his Heavenly Father on May 21, 2023. He was born and raised in Luttrell, TN. He served his country as a Sergeant E5 in the Army during the Vietnam War. After an honorable discharge, he worked at Ready Mix Concrete. He later owned and operated Ken Brown Excavating. He retired in 2018, and his son took over the business. He is preceded in death by his mother, Thelma Dyer; sister, Mary Dyer; best friends, Kenneth Williams and Jay Atkins.

Swan Junior Evans

Swan Junior Evans-age 86 of Maynardville went home to be with the Lord Monday, May 22, 2023 at his home. Swan faithfully attended Alder Springs Baptist Church for many years. He retired from Roddy Manufacturing Company in 1996 and then went to work with Cooke Mortuary until 2016. Swan loved his cows and riding around in his tractor and his dog “Little Girl”. Preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Louella Loy Evans; parents, Woodrow and Vennie Evans; brother, Willie Evans.

Mabel Lois Guignard

Mabel Lois Guignard, age 94 of Maynardville, passed away peacefully to be with the Lord, Saturday, May 20, 2023. She was member of Halls Christian Church. Mabel is preceded in death by her parents Charles and Elise Schaumburg, husband Carl Guignard, siblings; Phillip Schaumburg, Charlotte Guignard, and Herburt Schaumburg. She is survived by her daughters Lois Bruner and Joan Proffitt, stepchildren; Norma Allen, Don Guignard, Charles Guignard, and Carol Simmons, grandchildren; Timothy Bruner, Robert Bruner, Jessica Proffitt, and many great grandchildren and close family and friends.

Wanda Sue Shoffner

Wanda Sue Shoffner-age 76 of Sharps Chapel went to be with her Lord and Savior Sunday, May 21, 2023, at her home. She professed faith in Christ at an early age. Preceded in death by parents, Sammie Dan and Mary Edna (Russell) Shoffner; brother, Harvey Otis Shoffner.

Sharon Booker Voigt

Sharon Marlene Voigt (née Booker) of Fort Mill, SC, passed away on April 23, 2023 in Charlotte, NC after a long battle with ALS. Sharon was born on June 17, 1948 in Knoxville, TN. Sharon was remembered for her kind heart, infectious laughter, and unwavering love. She loved spending time with her grandchildren Alexander and Andrew, who were the light of her life.

Willie Eugene Lawson

Willie Eugene Lawson-age 77 of Maynardville passed away Friday, May 19, 2023 at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. He was a U. S. Army Veteran and served in Germany in 1966 during the Viet Nam War. He was of the Baptist faith and professed faith in Christ at an early age. Preceded in death by mother and step-father, Imogene and James Hayes; father, Willie Junior Lawson; grandmother, Ruth (Clyde) Lawson; son, Donald Eugene Lawson; brothers, Jimmy, Charlie and Darrell Hayes.

Georgia Lorena Dyer

Georgia Lorena (Davis) Dyer of Maynardville, our beloved mom, mamaw, mam departed this life on Sunday, May 14, 2023 at the age of 93. She was a member of Warwick’s Chapel Baptist Church. Preceded in death by husband, Conley Dyer; parents, Sam and Sarah “Sally” Davis and 10 siblings.

Survivors: son, Virgil Dyer (Pat Tharpe); daughter, Pat Dyer; grandsons, Mike (Linda) Dyer, Tim (Crystal) Dyer; great-grandchildren, Ethan, Koby, Katy, Krissy, Lane, Jace; special friends, Jerry and Candy Halford.

Proverbs 31:28, Her children arise up, and call her blessed.

Billy W. Russell

Billy Wayne Russell-age 55 of Sharps Chapel, born April 17, 1968 passed away suddenly and peacefully Thursday, May 11, 2023 at his home. He professed faith in Christ and was baptized at an early age. Preceded in death by his grandparents, Charlie and Jennie Russell, Rev. Charlie and Hattie Leach, father, James Edward Russell.

Jeannie Cox

Angela (Jeannie) Cox, age 55 of Maynardville, went home to be with Lord on Wednesday, May 10, 2023. Jeannie was a small business owner in Maynardville for several years before retiring. Rustic-re-Do was a business she started from her garage and grew into its very own store front in Maynardville. Jeannie would transform old worn-out furniture into beautiful household show pieces. Her gift of working with furniture and ability to make relations with so many people allowed her to be an extremely successful business owner and staple in our community.

Larry Allen Sheckles

Larry Allen Sheckles-age 70 of Harrogate passed away suddenly Monday evening, May 8, 2023, at Claiborne Medical Center. He was of the Baptist faith. He was a former employee of Morgan’s Furniture Store, Middlesboro.
Preceded in death by wife, Rosemary Sheckles; parents, William and Beulah (Partin) Sheckles; three brothers; one sister.

Karin M. Wilburn

Karin M. Wilburn-age 63 of Maynardville, Tennessee passed away Monday, May 5, 2023, after a long battle with cancer at her home. She was born in Salzburg, Austria and resided in the United States for the past 24 years. She was an avid follower and participant in Tai Chi. Preceded in death by parents, Arthur and Josefine Hinteregger.

Reaford Mills

Reaford Henry Mills – age 79 of Knoxville formerly of Maynardville, passed away going to his eternal home. He was a Deacon for 48 years at Community Baptist Church in Maynardville.

He is preceded in death by mother and father, Thomas and Etha Mills; sisters, Margaret Boles, Carolyn Jones and Alma Hutchison; brothers, Alvin and Benny Mills. Reaford leaves behind his wife, Eula Mills; sons, Marty Mills and Kevin (Jennifer) Mills; and grandchildren, Jay, Jeffrey, Gabriel, River and Zoey.

Charles "Chuck" Seymour

Charles “Chuck” Joseph Seymour-age 49 of Maynardville, Tn. passed away suddenly Friday, May 5, 2023 at Claiborne Medical Center. It sounds cliche but Chuck really never, ever met a stranger. He was warm and funny and he loved everyone in his life with his whole heart. He was a cherished and beloved son, a loving brother, a doting uncle and a generous friend. He will be deeply missed by all who love him. Chuck was a graduate of Horace Maynard High School, Class of 1991.

Mable Hayes Flatford

Mable Irene Flatford-age 85 of Maynardville went to be with the Lord Friday morning, May 5, 2023 at home surrounded by her loved ones. She was a member of Ailordale Baptist Church. Preceded in death by her parents, Virgil and Elsie Hayes; son, Donald Norton; brothers, Jackie Hayes, Franklin Hayes; sister, Wilma Beason.