Local News
Updated January 13, 2016 12:39:49 PM
Lynch 'optimistic' about 2016

Despite 2015 dealing a pair of blows to the county, Unicoi County Mayor Greg Lynch is hopeful about the coming year.

“I’m fairly optimistic Unicoi County can come back and get to where we once were,” Lynch told The Erwin Record at the end of December. “Unicoi County is a community of faith and a community that helps one another ... we’ve got the spunk to come back from this to better ourselves as a whole heading into the new year.”

CSX Transportation announced during the month of October that traffic reduction would occur across the East Coast, which led to approximately 300 workers from the Erwin terminal being furloughed.  More...

Updated January 07, 2016 04:06:05 PM
Fines for seat belt violations increase

As of Jan. 1, the fines for seat belt violations in the state of Tennessee will increase. According to state officials, the increase is a new tool meant to decrease the number of traffic fatalities in Tennessee.

Commissioner Bill Gibbons of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDOS&HS), Colonel Tracy Trott of the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP), Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John Schroer and Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) Director Kendell Poole announced the increase last week.

The increase, which more than doubles the cost of the fines, was passed by the State Legislature during its 2015 session. The fine for a first offense seat belt violation will be raised to $25 and the second and subsequent offense will be $50, according to the state.  More...

Updated December 03, 2015 03:23:14 PM
Election Commission considers moving voting location to UCHS

A change could be underway for individuals who vote at the Unicoi County Intermediate School (UCIS) precinct.

Unicoi County Election Commission officials discussed the potential change of name and location for the precinct during their regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 23 at the commission office. The Unicoi County High School cafeteria has been discussed as the new destination for voters of the UCIS precinct.

Sarah Bailey, administrator of elections in Unicoi County, told commissioners that she discussed the potential change with Director of Schools John English and Dr. Chris Bogart, principal of UCHS, and both have agreed to the idea.  More...

Updated January 07, 2016 04:19:14 PM
New project aims to help homeless

MedicOne Medical Response and the Red Rock Resale Shop have joined forces to provide assistance to homeless individuals in Unicoi County.

According to information from organizers, the Bucket of Hope project will collect needed items for the homeless and distribute the items in buckets.

“The concept behind this project is to fill up buckets with needed items for the homeless,” a press release from the organizers said. “Why a bucket? Think of all the ways a bucket can be used: It can haul items, carry water or be used as a seat. If the bucket has a lid, it can keep items dry in the weather and so many more uses.” More...

Updated December 02, 2015 02:36:11 PM
Creation of new police force stalls

The creation of a new police/enforcement department in the town of Unicoi is no longer viewed as urgent by town officials following an announcement made on Monday, Nov. 16, during the town’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting. All members of the BMA were in attendance on Monday.

“Sheriff Mike Hensley has gone to a four-man shift,” Sgt. Nick Hughes, with the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department said during the meeting. “An officer will be assigned to the town 24/7.”

Hughes also said that a current officer is finishing up his time at the police academy. When the officer completes the training in approximately two weeks, he will be added to the rotation of officers stationed in the town.  More...

Updated December 02, 2015 02:35:39 PM
Group requests removal of flag

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 FFRF, a non-profit educational charity that, according to their website, is the nation’s largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), the foundation sent a letter to the board after a concerned parent contacted the group.

“The Christian flag being displayed during public school board meetings unabashedly created the perception of government endorsement of Christianity,” FFRF Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert stated in the letter to the board. “The display of this Christian flag is a brazen affront to the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. More...

Updated December 02, 2015 02:11:38 PM
Animal Welfare Board approves hiring of new director

The Unicoi County Animal Welfare Board met on Tuesday, Nov. 10, as they prepare for a new era at the Unicoi County Animal Shelter in Erwin.

With the resignation of shelter director Jessica Rogers going into effect on Wednesday, Nov. 10, the shelter will be led by newly hired director, Jessica Carter, who is set to hit the ground running, according to board chairwoman Joann Tatro.

“She has great ideas,” Tatro said during Tuesday’s meeting. More...

Updated October 22, 2015 11:59:28 AM
Ceremony puts official name to overpass

After the shocking revelation that CSX would shut down the Erwin Terminal for a host of railroad traffic on Thursday, Oct. 15, town officials took a moment to remember an individual that played a key role in the early success of the tracks.

Members of the community and the local and state governments joined at the Main Avenue intersection in town on Friday, Oct. 16, to officially name the recently built $10 million railroad overpass project by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) after the late Pat E. Brown. The overpass was finished in the summer for use, while a ribbon cutting ceremony for the overpass was held on August 10.

“This is a momentous day for us,” Erwin Mayor Doris Hensley said following the ceremony. “There were a lot of names that were suggested to us about naming the bridge, but the Brown family, and Mr. Brown, when he was still with us, were so responsive to the needs of the town and the county. He had a good business here and ran a good economy for Erwin and it was just fitting for us to memorialize him with this bridge.” More...

Updated October 22, 2015 12:00:14 PM
Father, daughter perish in plane crash

Two Indiana residents lost their lives after a single-engine aircraft crashed on Buffalo Mountain on Friday, Oct. 9.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Department, which helped the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department search Buffalo Mountain for the crash site, identified the victims as William Gibbons, 45, and his daughter, Abbey, 15, on Sunday. Oct. 11.

According to FlightAware.com, the Columbia MFG aircraft, registered to Gibbons, was en route from McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville to Monroe County, Ind., after taking off at 6:32 p.m. on Friday.  More...

Updated October 08, 2015 02:21:59 PM
Festival wraps up fifth year

Music was able to fill the air during a damp weekend in Unicoi.

With inclement weather, the fifth annual Buffalo Valley Music Festival was still able to greet performers and music lovers to an enjoyable three-day stretch during the weekend at Farmhouse Gallery and Gardens.

The event was the third year at the premise in Unicoi and attendants were welcomed to over 60 bands, storytellers, singers, songwriters and artists lining the fields to provide various types of entertainment. More...

Updated October 08, 2015 02:13:51 PM
Outdoor offering focuses on youth

Drought weather across the area didn’t stop youth from enjoying the outdoors over the weekend.

Unicoi County was home to the annual Youth Outdoor Day on Saturday, Sept. 26, at Rock Creek Park.

With different activities during the evening, the event had to go without filling the pond due to recent weather hindrance, according to Richard Lewis with the Unaka Mountain Longbeards chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). More...

Updated January 07, 2016 04:18:31 PM
Mountain Commerce announces closure of Main Avenue branch

Mountain Commerce Bank will shut down its South Main Avenue office at the end of the year, according to Bill Edwards, president of MCB.

Edwards told The Erwin Record last week that the bank is closing the office in the downtown area and will shift focus toward the second location on North Main Avenue, near the railroad overpass.

“There will be no change in customer service at all,” Edwards said. More...

Updated October 08, 2015 12:38:38 PM
Inaugural fitness challenge draws 102 participants

The inaugural Nolichucky Triple Threat, which was held on Saturday, Sept. 19, went off without a hitch, according to an event coordinator.

“The Nolichucky Triple Threat was a very successful event,” Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Delp said. “We had 102 participants.”

Delp said the competitors came from across northeast Tennessee and as far away as Nashville to participate in the outdoor fitness challenge that combined rafting, an obstacle course and a 5K run, part of which took place on the Appalachian Trail. More...

Updated October 08, 2015 12:36:47 PM
Unicoi BMA moves ahead with plans for own police force

Town of Unicoi Mayor Johnny Lynch announced that steps are being taken to create a security/police department for the town.

The Unicoi Board of Mayor and Aldermen convened on Monday, Sept. 21, at town hall to give notice to the public of the steps taking place for a police department.

Midway through the BMA meeting, Lynch explained that officials recently met in a planning commission meeting and formed a four-person committee tasked with gathering information on the process of starting a police department. More...

Updated January 07, 2016 04:18:17 PM
Board chooses Engle as chairman

As it is required to do each year during its September meeting, the Unicoi County Board of Education elected its chairman, vice-chairman and athletic council representative for the coming year.

Board member Lisa White nominated Tyler Engle as chairman. No other nominations were received. The board then unanimously voted, with Engle abstaining, to elect Engle as chairman.

White then nominated Steve Willis as vice-chairman. Again, no other nominations were received. The board then unanimously voted, with Willis abstaining, to elect Willis as vice-chairman. More...

Updated September 10, 2015 12:28:57 PM
CHIPs receives $100K grant

Last week, a local non-profit organization received grant funds which will help it continue to assist homeless individuals and families in Unicoi, Carter and Greene counties.

On Thursday, Sept. 3, Katie Moore, a liaison with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA), visited Change is Possible (CHIPs) in Erwin to present the organization with a $100,000 federal Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG).

CHIPs Executive Director Carolyn McAmis said the grant funds will be used for the rapid re-housing of victims of abuse. More...

Updated January 07, 2016 04:18:07 PM
Man charged with murder

An Erwin man has been charged by the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department with first-degree murder following the shooting death of his wife.

Sheriff Mike Hensley said his department arrested Norman C. McKinney, 76, 149 Masters St., Erwin, on Sunday, Aug. 30, after McKinney appeared at the Sheriff’s Department Jail Annex on Jackson-Love Highway around 4:30 p.m.

“Mr. McKinney approached Deputy Austin Miller and said ‘I believe I killed my wife’,” Hensley told The Erwin Record on Monday, Aug. 31. More...

Updated January 07, 2016 04:17:59 PM
Commission overrides mayor's veto

With a 6-3 vote during a meeting on Monday, Aug. 24, the Unicoi County Commission overruled a veto made last month by County Mayor Greg Lynch regarding the panel’s decision to lower the amount the county pays for employee family insurance coverage.

The motion to override the veto was made by Commissioner Gene Wilson and seconded by Walter Garland. Voting to overrule the veto on Monday were commissioners Jason Harris, Marie Rice, Kenneth Garland, Bridget Peters, Walter Garland and Wilson. Voting against overruling the veto were commissioners Glenn White, John Mosley and Loren Thomas.

At a June meeting, the Commission voted 5-4 to approve funding insurance costs for employees who sign up for family coverage for the 2015-2016 fiscal year at the same level as the 2014-2015 fiscal year. More...

Updated January 07, 2016 04:17:44 PM
Commission passes budget

The Unicoi County Commission voted to pass the county’s budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year during a meeting on Thursday, Aug. 13. No property tax increase was included in the budget. Also not included was funding to county employees’ family health insurance plans.

The budget passed by a 7-2 vote with all commissioners in attendance. Voting in favor of the budget were Bridget Peters, Jason Harris, Kenneth Garland, Chairwoman Marie Rice, Gene Wilson, Glenn White and Walter Garland. The two “no” votes came from commissioners John Mosley and Loren Thomas.

A packed house inside the Unicoi County Courthouse saw numerous citizens plead for a change in the budget to support the family coverage for health insurance.  More...

More Top Stories
Local News
• Lynch 'optimistic' about 2016
• Fines for seat belt violations increase
• Election Commission considers moving voting location to UCHS
• New project aims to help homeless
• Creation of new police force stalls
• Group requests removal of flag
• Animal Welfare Board approves hiring of new director
• Ceremony puts official name to overpass
• Father, daughter perish in plane crash
• Festival wraps up fifth year
• Outdoor offering focuses on youth
• Mountain Commerce announces closure of Main Avenue branch
• Inaugural fitness challenge draws 102 participants
• Unicoi BMA moves ahead with plans for own police force
• Board chooses Engle as chairman
• CHIPs receives $100K grant
• Man charged with murder
• Commission overrides mayor's veto
• Commission passes budget

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• Off the Field - Potential favorites (Sept. 23, 2015 issue)
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• Blue Devils bounce back from loss
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• Off the Field - Debate nears end (Sept. 9, 2015 issue)
• Lyle drafted 26th by Admirals
• Sullivan East bests Blue Devils
• Lady Devils fall to region teams
• Runners open new season with meet in Kingsport
• Off the Field - TSSAA votes (Sept. 2, 2015 issue)
• Devils win first game since 2013

• Former JROTC instructor's foundation continues sending students to the skies
• UCMS students pen cards for burn victim
• Hatcher shares tales of railroad past
• Guinn's new project will honor grandmother, heritage
• Ray's station wins CMA market award
• Bennett honored with ceremony, memorial
• Chick-fil-A's leadership development program begins at UCHS
• Clothing ministry moves to Main Avenue location
• Clothing shop in downtown Erwin
• Quilt show underway at Keesecker's
• UCHS band prepares for season, trip to D.C.
• Brodeo opens on Carolina Avenue
• Tipton shares 'signs' of expression
• History, heritage on display at bed-turning
• Erwin Presbyterian members, youth travel to New Mexico for mission trip
• Back-to-school carnival big success
• Ham operators test emergency equipment
• Fred Hollier shares experiences in World War II memoir
• Unique gardening method earns Casey blue ribbon
• Metcalf retires after 12 years of service at Town Hall
• Dog Days of Summer
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• Osborne reflects on trip to Nepal
• Crank Up Antique Engine Show draws crowd
• Ranger leads group on hike through park
• Remembering the Roadways
• Students participate in state auto competition
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• UCHS releases first album
• Teacher, students reunite at Special Olympics
• Troop 227 receives Bronze Award
• LEGO League members share information

• From the Publisher's Desk - 'With a little help from my friends' (Feb. 3, 2016 issue)
• A Denney for Your Thoughts - Erwin recalls Erwin, Erwin's (Feb. 3, 2016 issue)
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• Library Happenings - Audiobooks beginning to arrive (Jan. 20, 2016)
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• Movie Night - Top 10 movies of 2015 (Jan. 6, 2016 issue)
• From the Publisher's Desk - Somehow I survived my deprived life (Dec. 30, 2015 issue)
• Hood's Winks - House has emptiness after Tank (Dec. 30, 2015 issue)
• Library Happenings - Waiting to see if new year is annus horribilus or mirabilis (Dec. 30, 2015 issue)
• Movie Night - 'The Force Awakens' blends old with new (Dec. 30, 2015 issue)
• From the Publisher's Desk - Excuse me, but I saw that item first (Dec. 23, 2015 issue)
• A Refreshing Knapp - Christmas has bigger meaning (Dec. 23, 2015 issue)
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• Movie Night - 'Mr. Holmes' proves to be boring to watch (Nov. 25, 2015 issue)
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• Senior Center News - Center appreciates festival success (Oct. 7, 2015 issue)
• Movie Night - 'Hotel Transylvania 2' welcome family appeal (Oct. 7, 2015 issue)
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• Movie Night - 'Black Mass' is serious movie on serious people (Sept. 30, 2015)
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