Updated February 05, 2016 02:47:41 PM
Hensley: 'Things are looking up in 2016'

With the completion of the revitalization construction downtown, the town of Erwin is looking to the future – and it is a bright one, according to Mayor Doris Hensley.

“I think it was a very successful year for the town,” Hensley said about 2015 on Tuesday, Jan. 26. “We finished our downtown revitalization, completing all three phases. We are still looking for industry and jobs for the town ... We purchased the Morgan Insulation property and we’ve had several requests for proposals on the property. We’ve met with several industries, so we’re still hopeful that we will land an industry here in the near future.”

The downtown work has led some retail establishments to open up shop in Erwin, Hensley said, which assists with the sales tax revenue. The town is confident it can attract more retail for downtown in 2016 with various events being coordinated by the Erwin Downtown Merchants Association, Joint Economic Development Board and Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce.  More...

Updated February 05, 2016 02:46:43 PM
Major: Guard is available in emergencies

Whether abroad or at home, the Army National Guard is in the business of protecting.

Members of the Army National Guard and officials from Unicoi County converged at the Erwin National Guard Armory on Friday, Jan. 29, for a showcase of different services the group offers back into the community.

“We’re here to show the community the services available to them and how to be able to request us in case of an emergency,” Maj. Patrick Ellis said. “We’re working with the county emergency management director (Ed Herndon) and the county mayor (Greg Lynch) to show what assets we have. We’re also here to show what we can offer to young adults interested in the military and what type of benefits we have out there.” More...

Updated January 29, 2016 12:17:55 PM
Board of Education unanimously votes to remove Christian flag from boardroom

In a unanimous vote, the Unicoi County Board of Education voted to donate the Christian flag previously on display in its boardroom to the Unicoi County Ministerial Association.

The vote, which took place in front of a large crowd during a meeting of the board on Thursday, Jan. 21, officially addressed a request that the flag be removed from the boardroom issued by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) in November.

In November, the FFRF sent a letter to Director of Schools John English and the board and requested the removal of the flag. More...

Updated January 29, 2016 12:17:01 PM
Baker resigns as alderman

Citing a possible conflict of interest created by a new job, Michael Baker resigned his post as an alderman for the town of Erwin.

Baker announced his resignation during a meeting of the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Monday, Jan. 25, at Town Hall.

In a letter sent to Mayor Doris Hensley, Baker states: “I regret to inform you but effective at the adjournment of our Jan. 25, 2016, Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting I will no longer be an alderman for the town of Erwin.  More...

Updated January 29, 2016 12:14:53 PM
Commission OKs $100K for grant, does not discuss marriage resolution

A second attempt for the county to receive a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) offered by the state is moving forward following the Unicoi County Commission’s first meeting of 2016 on Monday, Jan. 25.

The Commission voted unanimously to commit $100,000 as a local match for the $525,000 CDBG, which will allow the creation of a waterline by funding the installation of infrastructure for Rocky Fork State Park. The project will also allow residents within range of the waterline to tap onto the line for free.

The vote OK’ed the county’s second attempt to apply for the grant, which had been denied last year due to lack of community support, Erwin Utilities general manager Lee Brown told the Commission.  More...

Updated January 29, 2016 11:49:03 AM
Public forums set to talk future of Love Chapel

The Unicoi County Board of Education is facing a deadline that will determine the future location of Love Chapel Elementary and its members have scheduled public forums in order to receive input from community members.

According to Director of Schools John English, the lease on the modular buildings that currently house the school expires in May at the end of this school year. This leaves English and the board with a decision: Do they purchase the modulars for approximately $1 million or do they find another location for the school?

English said he and the board are currently leaning toward allowing the lease to expire and finding a new home for Love Chapel. As of now, though it is subject to change, the plan that has garnered the most traction from the board is using the building that now houses the intermediate school as the new home for Love Chapel, according to English. More...

Updated January 29, 2016 11:48:05 AM
Group asks supporters to express opposition to resolution

An advocacy group for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is encouraging Unicoi Countians to voice their support for marriage equality before the county’s legislative body.

The Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), which fights for marriage equality throughout the state, is asking residents to attend an upcoming meeting and wear red as a way to oppose a proposed resolution of the Unicoi County Commission that voices the panel’s support for defining marriage to be between one man and one woman.

The panel could have discussed the resolution at its meeting on Monday, Jan. 25. However, the resolution was not on the agenda for that meeting. More...

Updated January 22, 2016 03:48:56 PM
Chamber invites community to participate in health challenge

What Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce officials are describing as “an exciting, national wellness initiative” is coming to Unicoi County.

Executive Director Amanda Delp said The Biggest Loser Community Challenge will begin on Feb. 1. The Chamber has partnered with NBC and The Biggest Loser to bring the challenge to the county.

“Teams of four are invited to join this 8-week, online health and wellness community challenge,” Delp said. “The challenge is for people of all fitness levels and is designed to get the community moving, eating better and having fun.” More...

Updated January 07, 2016 04:16:27 PM
County Commission plans to express opposition to same-sex marriage

At its January meeting, the Unicoi County Commission will most likely vote on a resolution expressing its members’ belief that marriage should be defined as one man and one woman.

The resolution, according to discussion during the panel’s work session and regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Dec. 28, at the Unicoi County Courthouse, will also support the overturning of the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges which made same-sex marriage legal in the United States.

During the work session, Charlene Thomas, a representative of the Family Action Council of Tennessee and pastor David Crutchfield addressed the Commission about the Family Action Council’s efforts to fight same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court’s decision. More...

Updated January 07, 2016 04:15:57 PM
Erwin BMA considering grant program for merchants

Members of the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen used the final regularly scheduled meeting of 2015 to look into the future on measures that will help make the town more viable in the coming years.

Officials concluded the year with their meeting on Monday, Dec. 28, to address a variety of topics to help the growth of Erwin, including a discussion to provide a Downtown Erwin Facade Improvement Grant Program for downtown merchants.

Town officials are looking at two different options for granting funding for downtown merchants, according to Town Recorder Glenn Rosenoff, including a grant offered through the First Tennessee Development District or the town providing its own grant program.  More...

Updated January 07, 2016 04:06:32 PM
Free chemistry course available

Options have become available for displaced CSX employees in Unicoi County.

The Alliance for Business & Training (AB&T), working in conjunction with Northeast State Community College (NESCC), will offer a free chemistry course in 2016, which will allow individuals to qualify for potential job openings around the region.

“After CSX’s decision to reduce traffic, we had around 25 workers come by the office and say they would be interested in a course like this,” Kathy Pierce, executive director with the Northeast Tennessee Workforce Development Board, told The Erwin Record on Tuesday, Dec. 22. “Well-paying employers in the area consider hiring candidates with a year of college chemistry.”  More...

Updated January 07, 2016 03:49:24 PM
Three join race for assessor

Election time is around the bend.

According to the Unicoi County Election Commission, three candidates have qualified for the ballot in the upcoming assessor of property race in Unicoi County. Wayne Peterson, interim assessor, along with J. Alan “Rocky” McInturff and Margaret Seward filed papers to run in the March 1 primary election.

James Edwin Lauderback was the only person to file papers for next year’s election for the position of Circuit Court Judge of the First Judicial District, including the counties of Carter, Johnson, Washington and Unicoi.  More...

Updated January 07, 2016 03:45:27 PM
United Way campaign receives record funds

The 2016 Unicoi County United Way fundraising campaign resulted in an early Christmas present for the organization’s board members, volunteers and supporters last week.

During a victory luncheon held on Thursday, Dec. 10, at the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center, Lee Brown, president of the Unicoi County United Way, announced that the campaign raised $147,953 – the most ever raised during an annual campaign in the county. The goal was $105,000.

“We had a record year,” Brown said. “... It takes everyone’s help – from the smallest donation to the largest to pull this off. Thank you so much for what you have done to support this community and for giving (Unicoi County United Way) the opportunity to help so many others.” More...

Updated December 17, 2015 01:43:23 PM
Kiwanis Club brings Christmas to children

Members of the Erwin Kiwanis Club, along with a large group of volunteers, put smiles on the faces of more than 200 Unicoi County Children on Saturday, Dec. 5.

The annual Kiwanis Christmas Shopping Tour took place at the Unicoi Walmart with approximately 175 children from across the county having the opportunity to get an early start on the Christmas season with $100 supplied by the Erwin Kiwanis Club.

“This is a 50-year tradition here in Unicoi County,” Bill Gaines, chairman of the shopping tour, said on Saturday. “The Erwin Jaycee chapter started this up in 1965 and when they folded up, the Kiwanis Club took it over and have grown the project. We have over 100 volunteers out today to take the kids on the tour. We encourage the kids to buy clothes and shoes, but of course they buy toys, too. More...

Updated December 02, 2015 02:51:56 PM
Board of Education to discuss flag issue at next meeting

The Unicoi County Board of Education will address the issue of the Christian flag on display in their meeting room during their next scheduled school board meeting, according to Director of Schools John English.

No meeting was currently scheduled in the month of December. The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 14.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently asked the Unicoi County Board of Education to remove the Christian Flag from school board meetings, according to a press release issued on the organization’s website dated Nov. 11.  More...

Updated December 02, 2015 02:12:10 PM
Career center opens

Assistance is now available for the hundreds of employees who lost their jobs due to the recent reduction of operations in Erwin by CSX Transportation.

The Tennessee American Job Center – Erwin opened its doors to the public this week to serve workers from CSX that are without a job or unsure of what is ahead. The center is located in the East Tennessee State University extension office at 1413 North Main Ave., Suite C. The Center is being operated by the Alliance for Business & Training.

“The first step for this was meeting with members of the community Oct. 26 and 27,” AB&T Executive Director Kathy Pierce told The Erwin Record on Monday, Nov. 9. “About 200 employees that were affected by the decision came to Johnson City and were given surveys to get a better idea on the demographic and what we need to do to assist the area.” More...

Updated November 05, 2015 02:07:13 PM
Leaders promise assistance for CSX employees

State and local leaders gathered at Erwin Town Hall on Friday, Oct. 30, to address the future of Unicoi County and how to help those who lost their jobs following CSX Transportation, Inc.’s recent decision to reduce operations in the county – a move that has affected approximately 300 workers.

The gathering was a special roundtable meeting organized by State Senator Rusty Crowe. The different leaders each worked to address the issue of job displacement and what’s ahead for Unicoi County.

Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd took part in the meeting and told the different agencies that “we (TNECD) are going to stand with you.”  More...

Updated October 22, 2015 12:02:29 PM
My last run

Contributed by

Joe Barr

Last night and into this early morning has been bittersweet. I want to keep this moment, this memory, for as long as I can, so I have chosen to document it here. It’s 4 a.m. and I have just completed my last run out of Erwin on APBR A202 pool turn on CSX's former Clinchfield Route. More...

Updated October 22, 2015 12:01:25 PM
CSX reduces operations in Erwin, 300 affected

After being a mighty staple in the region over a century ago, with trains heading though the Clinchfield Route, Erwin saw part of the town’s legacy slip away last week.

CSX Transportation announced on Thursday, Oct. 15, that the CSX Erwin Terminal would be closing it’s doors and that around 300 employees would be affected by the decision.

“CSX is reducing train operations here in Erwin as a result of the significant decline in coal traffic that this region has seen over the last decade,”Melanie Cost, CSX spokeswoman, said during an impromptu-press conference with The Erwin Record and WJHL following the meeting with employees. “That means we are going to be eliminating switching operations at the yard and also closing the locomotive shop, car shop and the project shop. More...

Updated October 08, 2015 03:02:37 PM
TDH urges everyone to get flu vaccine

The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) is urging the public to get a flu vaccine as soon as possible.

"Getting our flu vaccination is really about protecting other people, not just ourselves," said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, in a press release issued from the state. “Even those who think 'I have never been sick from the flu' have probably passed it to another person at some point. It is easier than ever to do the right thing and get vaccinated."

According to the TDH, flu vaccines are widely available throughout the state and typically only take a few minutes to receive. Those planning to get a flu vaccine can contact their healthcare provider to inquire about locations. They may also visit the Vaccine Finder online at http://flushot.healthmap.org/.  More...

Updated September 17, 2015 12:43:56 PM
Specialty Tire, parent company reach milestone

Since 1994, Specialty Tire of America has been a staple in Unicoi County.

Last week, the company, and its parent company Polymer Enterprises, Inc., celebrated their 100th anniversary, according to a press release issued to The Erwin Record.

Unicoi is one location for a Speciality Tire facility that is “Made in the U.S.A.” The other is located in Indiana, Penn. The parent company is also based in Pennsylvania and has another operation locally in Piney Flats. More...

Updated September 10, 2015 12:29:29 PM
Rocky Fork celebration

The pieces are in place for Rocky Fork State Park to become Tennessee’s “most popular park,” according to U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander.

Alexander, along with other members of the federal, state and local governments, celebrated the acquisition of the 100 acres of the Rocky Fork tract with a ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 2, at the Clear Branch Visitors Center in Flag Pond.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) helped secure acquisition of the final pieces of the property needed at the park for its full protection. The acquisition ensures the protection of wildlife habitat, water quality, recreational access and economic opportunities for Unicoi County and the surrounding community.  More...

Updated August 21, 2015 10:49:42 AM
Love Chapel recognized by state

Overall student achievement landed one Unicoi County school on a list of the state’s best.

Earlier this month, Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced that Love Chapel Elementary was among the schools designated as Reward Schools.

Love Chapel, led by Principal Ben Evely, was among 170 schools recognized as being in the top five percent of schools in the state for academic achievement. More...

Updated July 16, 2015 04:19:03 PM
Rafter rescues cub from river

Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR), a facility based in Townsend for orphaned and injured black bears, picked up Cub 207 last week from Unicoi County.

After being spotted by rafting guides for three-straight days, “Noli Bear,” a five-month-old cub, was rescued on Thursday, July 9, on the Nolichucky River. Since the rescue, the story received worldwide attention with stories coming from the U.S. and media outlets in the United Kingdom.

“Noli Bear is continuing to get better and gain strength inside the ABR Cub House,” ABR President Dana Dodd said in an interview with The Erwin Record.  More...

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• From the Publisher's Desk - I need at least five bars a day (Sept. 23, 2015 issue)
• A Refreshing Knapp - Search on for 'shouting Methodists' (Sept. 23, 2015 issue)
• Library Happenings - Language barriers met within travels (Sept. 23, 2015 issue)
• Movie Night - 'The Visit' brings horror, thriller, comedy mix (Sept. 23, 2015 issue)
• From the Publisher's Desk - Steps turn apples into butter (Sept. 16, 2015 issue)
• Ready, Willis and Able - Population of deer is 'edgy' situation (Sept. 16, 2015 issue)
• Library Happenings - Queen Elizabeth II surpasses record (Sept. 16, 2015 issue)
• Movie Night - 'Transporter Refueled' brings out new stunts (Sept. 16, 2015 issue)
• From the Publisher's Desk - Kind words go a long way (Sept. 9, 2015 issue)
• Hood's Winks - Game of love predicted by board game (Sept. 9, 2015 issue)
• Library Happening - Appreciation given for club's work (Sept. 9, 2015 issue)
• Movie Night - 'Insurgent' good rental (Sept. 9, 2015 issue)
• From the Publisher's Desk - Fairies creating shenanigans (Sept. 2, 2015 issue)
• A Denney for Your Thoughts - Gritted bread brings back memories (Sept. 2, 2015 issue)
• Library Happenings - Close of summer brings beach desire (Sept. 2, 2015 issue)
• Movie Night - 'Wild' depicts life of disaster and courage (Sept. 2, 2015 issue)
• From the Publisher's Desk - Life's book has many chapters (Aug. 26, 2015, issue)
• A Refreshking Knapp - Summer brings two vacations (Aug. 26, 2015, issue)
• Library Happenings - New books reach range of interests (Aug. 26, 2015, issue)
• Senior Center News - Center looks for Olympic participants (Aug. 26, 2015, issue)
• Movie Night - 'Man from Uncle' is spy caper from past (Aug. 26, 2015, issue)
• From the Publisher's Desk - Local store addicting to many (Aug. 19, 2015 issue)
• Ready, Willis and Able - John Tilson's grandson shares story (Aug. 19, 2015 issue)
• Library Happenings - Find brings back past memories (Aug. 19, 2015 issue)
• Senior Center News - Cat hammocks donated to shelter (Aug. 19, 2015 issue)
• Movie Night - 'The Gift' has tense mystery about past (Aug. 19, 2015 issue)
• From the Publisher's Desk - Baker keeps tradition alive (Aug. 12, 2015 issue)
• Hood's Winks - Flight plan causes loss of sleep (Aug. 12, 2015 issue)
• In the Stars - Meteor shower to brighten up night skies (Aug. 12, 2015 issue)
• Library Happenings - White rocker finds new home (Aug. 12, 2015 issue)
• Senior Center News - Rummage, bake sale planned (Aug. 12, 2015 issue)
• Movie Night - 'Rogue Nation' stands as one of year's best (Aug. 12, 2015 issue)
• From the Publisher's Desk - Trying to erase some mistakes (Aug. 5, 2015 issue)
• A Denney for Your Thoughts - Restoration meets revitalization (Aug. 5, 2015 issue)
• Senior Center News - Gospel singers to perform Aug. 6 (Aug. 5, 2015 issue)
• Library Happenings - Writings of past finally available (Aug. 5, 2015 issue)

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Front Page Weather Box

Front Page Index

Guest Columnists

Viewpoint's Online Poll

Publisher's Column

Piece of Mind Question

On The Drawing Board Cartoon

Neighbor's Features

Pettus Read Column

Senior Center News

Library Column

Feathered Friends Bird Column

Heritage Page's Years Gone By

Through the Ages Photo

Community News

Church News

Brenda's Country Kitchen


Sudoku Puzzle

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