Local News
Updated December 10, 2014 01:59:10 PM
Commission discusses limiting permitted food trailers to five

The Town of Unicoi Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals met for their monthly meetings on Monday, Dec. 8.

The Unicoi Planning Commission’s first order of business was to approve the Dollar General site plan. This was subject to the Board of Zoning Appeals granting a variance for the number of parking spaces. A motion was made to approve the site plan, however it would be subject to the Board of Zoning Appeals granting the variance.

In other news, the board continued a discussion on the ordinance regarding food carts and trailers. Last month, town planner Ross Phillips brought forth an example ordinance from the town of Jonesborough.  More...


Updated December 10, 2014 01:56:49 PM
Store officially opens as Price Less Foods

As of Monday, Dec. 8, the Hometown IGA store on Jackson Love Highway officially became Price Less Foods. According to a press release from Price Less Foods, the Erwin store is the company’s ninth location in east Tennessee and the 15th to open in the state.

The press release also stated that the chain is a “cost-plus format” operation, which offers products to customers at 10 percent above the store’s cost.

“Price Less Foods is simple and straightforward,” said Randall Tipton, division manager for Houchens Industries, parent company of Price Less Foods. “The price you see is what it cost us to get products to the shelf. Then at checkout the customer pays just 10 percent above cost.” More...


Updated December 10, 2014 01:56:48 PM
Tittle graduates from archives institute

Three years of training recently culminated in graduation for one Unicoi County official.

According to a news release from the office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, Unicoi County Register of Deeds Debbie Tittle has graduated from the Tennessee Archives Institute. The graduation will also assist Tittle in her role on the Unicoi County Public Records Commission-Archives.

“I was pleased to have been selected to participate in the Archives Institute,” Tittle told The Erwin Record. “Various topics were covered in the classes that were valuable to me both as the County Record’s Commission Chairman and Register of Deeds.  More...


Updated December 03, 2014 04:28:12 PM
Members chosen for foundation board

The UCMH Health Inc. Board, the former board for the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital, held a called meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 26, to nominate five people to the newly created board that will serve the Unicoi County Foundation for Healthcare, Inc.

“The foundation will be used to address unmet healthcare needs and address the needs of citizens of Erwin and Unicoi County,” said chairman Roland Bailey.

Of the seven person board, regulations call for two individuals to be from Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA). The remaining five are selected by the original UCMH Board. More...


Updated December 03, 2014 04:27:41 PM
Board approves bid for road resurfacing

Sections of two of the Town of Erwin’s most heavily trafficked streets will soon be resurfaced thanks to a grant received by the town.

During a regularly scheduled meeting of the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Nov. 24, the panel unanimously approved a bid from Summers-Taylor, Inc. for roadway resurfacing and safety improvements on sections of Love Street and Carolina Avenue.

All board members were present at the meeting. More...


Updated December 03, 2014 04:24:50 PM
UCSD: Four conspired to sneak drugs into jail

A drug investigation by the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department led to the arrest of four individuals, two of which were inmates, who allegedly conspired to bring drugs into the Unicoi County Jail.

According to a news release from Sheriff Mike Hensley, a phone call reportedly arranging the delivery of drugs to the jail was recorded by officers.a

“The investigation began after investigators monitored a phone call between an inmate and one of the co-conspirators,” Hensley said. “During the call one of the inmates was describing how to disassemble a wristwatch and conceal contraband inside. Inmates are allowed to have a watch while in jail and on this event prisoners had come up with the idea to slip drugs past the guards by concealing them inside of the watch.” More...


Updated December 03, 2014 04:23:53 PM
Rep: Rebranding of IGA store will create new jobs

The IGA grocery store on Jackson-Love Highway in Erwin will soon be undergoing a rebranding into Price Less Foods.

Starting after Thanksgiving, the store will temporarily close while the rebranding takes place. It is scheduled to reopen around Dec. 8. According to Brandon Jones, marketing coordinator for Houchens Industries, the biggest thing customers will notice will be the drastic change in prices and the savings.

“The concept [of Price Less] is totally different compared to a conventional grocery store,” said Jones. “The price that the customer sees on the shelf is the same as what it cost to put the item on the shelf.” More...


Updated December 03, 2014 04:22:54 PM
Crews begin work at Bojangles site

Construction has begun on the future home of the Bojangles restaurant that will sit adjacent to Pal’s Sudden Service on Second Street in Erwin.

Last week, Rigsby Family Holdings, LLC., an Asheville-based company, completed the purchase of the restaurant site from Marotta Enterprises, LLC. for $500,000. A building permit was also acquired allowing for construction to commence.

The project will be completed sometime during “the first quarter” of 2015, according to Erwin City Recorder Glenn Rosenoff. Crews broke ground on the project last week. Rosenoff said that the grading was complete and that the next phase of the project will consist of pouring the fillers. More...


Updated December 03, 2014 04:20:32 PM
Unicoi County Commission upholds distance restriction on beer sales

The Unicoi County Commission and Beer Board met for their monthly November meeting on Monday, Nov. 24, at the Unicoi County Courthouse.

A large crowd was on hand to see the result of a vote held by the Beer Board on whether or not to uphold an ordinance requiring stores that sell beer to remain at least 2,000 feet away from schools and churches.

“We’re here to talk about changing the ordinance from 2,000 feet,” said Beer Board Chairman Walter Garland. “A lot of people are satisfied with the way it currently is.” More...


Updated December 03, 2014 04:19:16 PM
Erwin Planning Commission approves sidewalk dining ordinance

An ordinance governing sidewalk dining in the Town of Erwin’s downtown district was approved by the Erwin Planning Commission during a meeting on Thursday, Nov. 20, at Town Hall. All members of the commission – Chairman Roland Bailey, Mayor Doris Hensley, Betty Chandler, Sue Jean Wilson and Clyde Griffith – voted in favor of the ordinance, which will now be sent to the Erwin Board of Mayor and Alderman for final approval.

“The intent of this is to encourage residents and visitors to go downtown,” City Recorder Glenn Rosenoff said. “We are offering a really great opportunity. At the same time we want to keep everyone safe.”

According to the ordinance, sidewalk dining is only allowed in the downtown overlay district, which encompasses the area of Second Street to Iona Street and Elm Avenue to Nolichucky Avenue. The ordinance also limits sidewalk dining to restaurants. More...


Updated December 03, 2014 04:18:08 PM
Temporary mental health office opens in Unicoi

Frontier’s Erwin Mental Health Center has reopened in a new, temporary location, according to health system officials.

A fire on June 10 damaged the Erwin office on Main Avenue and led to the closure of the facility. According to a press release from Frontier Health, the Erwin office is currently being repaired and renovated.

The temporary office is located at 36144 Unicoi Drive, Suite A, in the Town of Unicoi. It was scheduled to open for business on Monday, Nov. 24. More...


Updated December 03, 2014 03:53:02 PM
Blaze destroys home

A large fire in the Town of Unicoi, the evening of Thursday, Nov. 13, resulted in the total loss of a two-story home.

According to Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley, emergency officials were called to the scene on Marbleton Road behind the Buffalo Valley Golf Course around 8 p.m. By the time firefighters arrived, the house was 75 percent destroyed according to Unicoi Volunteer Fire Department Chief Robert Adams. Only a single part of the first floor remained standing. The fire was contained shortly after their arrival.

Hensley said that the fire likely started with an electric heater before spreading to a nearby propane tank, resulting in a massive explosion. More...


Updated December 03, 2014 03:52:33 PM
Mother, daughter duo charged with fraud

A local woman and her daughter are facing felony charges related to TennCare fraud, according to state of Tennessee Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

The state reported that on Monday, Nov. 18, Erwin residents Kimberly Humphreys, 42, and her daughter, Courtney Bailey, 26, were arrested by the OIG as a result of a joint effort with the 1st Judicial Drug Task Force. Humphreys and Bailey allegedly sold drugs that were obtained using TennCare, which is the state’s healthcare insurance program.

According to the state, Humphreys is charged with TennCare fraud and the sale of the painkiller Hydrocodone, which is a Schedule IV controlled substance, she allegedly obtained the drug using TennCare. More...


Updated December 03, 2014 03:52:04 PM
Three charged in attempted burglary

Three individuals have been arrested on aggravated burglary charges stemming from an incident that occurred during the early morning hours of Sunday, Nov. 16.

At 2:10 a.m., the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department received a call from an elderly woman on Clear Branch Road.

According to Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley, three individuals, Isaiah L. Hicks, 32, Shawn Meeks, 22, and Amanda Jackson, 18, all from Knoxville, were going around residences knocking on doors and windows. They were doing this to see if residences were occupied. Likely believing that the particular dwelling was unoccupied, one of the subjects kicked in the back door of the residence. The woman reportedly met the man in the kitchen with her cane, which led him to flee from the home. All of the subjects then fled the area. Hensley said the man mostly likely thought the cane was a gun. More...


Updated December 03, 2014 03:51:13 PM
Owner of J.D.'s charged with tax evasion

A local business owner was arrested on Friday, Nov. 14, for allegedly committing tax evasion.

According to information from the Tennessee Department of Revenue, Sherry Mae Edwards, 50, the owner of J.D.’s Market & Deli in Erwin, was indicted on Nov. 10 by a Unicoi County grand jury on 17 counts of sales tax evasion, which is a Class E felony.

An investigation by the Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue led to =Edwards’ indictment and arrest by special agents.  More...


Updated December 03, 2014 03:49:24 PM
Railroad overpass on track to be complete in May

Construction of the long-awaited railroad overpass is on track to be complete in May 2015.

According to TDOT Region I Community Relations Officer Mark Nagi, the contractor completed the deck pouring of the bridge on Oct. 27, it is in the curing stage as of now. Once the concrete cures, crews will be able to begin installation of the parapet railing on the sides of the bridges.

Following the installation of the railing, crews will paint the bridge itself. They will also be cleaning up various areas of the bridge where the equipment is no longer needed. More...


Updated December 03, 2014 03:48:50 PM
Unicoi BMA discusses pedestrian safety

The Town of Unicoi Board of Mayor and Alderman held its monthly meeting on Monday, Nov. 17. Before the start of the meeting, new aldermen Phil Hensley and Kathy Bullen were sworn into their positions by Mayor Johnny Lynch.

The board continued its discussion on employee and visitor safety in the town hall parking lot. Town Recorder Larry Rea said that the town currently has “No Thru-Traffic” signs installed at each side of the property.

Rea said that vehicles have been cutting through the town hall parking lot at a high-rate of speed in order to avoid the stop sign at Unicoi Drive. The vehicles passing through the lot pose a serious safety issue to pedestrians, said Rea. More...


Updated December 03, 2014 03:48:18 PM
Panel certifies election results

The Unicoi County Election Commission certified the results of the Nov. 4 election during a meeting on Monday, Nov. 17. A motion was made to pass all of the election results and the motion passed unanimously.

The results certified during the meeting were for the Town of Erwin and Town of Unicoi alderman elections, as well as the county results of the statewide elections, which contained issues such as Amendment One.

The commission also certified the results of the Erwin Liquor Referendums. The two referendums on the table regarded the permitted sale of liquor by the drink and liquor by the package. Both referendums passed which will allow for the sale and consumption of liquor in Erwin.  More...


Updated December 03, 2014 03:47:14 PM
Deceased calf found in school dumpster

A deceased calf found in a Unicoi County Vocational School dumpster caused a stir over the weekend; however, the incident did not result any charges.

According to Unicoi County Director of Schools Denise Brown, a calf that became ill last week due to the cold weather, died on Friday, Nov. 14. One of the students assigned to care for the calf and others at the school notified an agriculture instructor of the death.

The instructor was not in town so he advised the student to put the dead calf in the dumpster as to move it out of the elements and away from the other calves, Brown said. More...


Updated December 03, 2014 03:57:51 PM
Unicoi panel talks food trucks

The Unicoi Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals met for its monthly meeting on Monday, Nov. 10.

During the planning commission meeting, the board discussed allowing an ordinance pertaining to temporary businesses, such as food carts. The current ordinance does not discuss temporary businesses, therefore they have had no option but to hold them under the existing ordinance.

Ross Phillips, community planner with the First Tennessee Development District, presented the board with copies of Jonesborough’s ordinance on temporary businesses as an example. Phillips went through the multi-page packet with the board and highlighted key aspects of the ordinance that he felt the town should consider. More...


Updated December 03, 2014 03:58:02 PM
Town begins researching liquor ordinances

With the approval of referendums allowing package stores and liquor-by-the-drink in the Nov. 4 election, the Town of Erwin has wasted no time setting the stage for potential businesses to move into town.

The vote passed by similar figures in each category, with the liquor-by-the-drink referendum passing by a 760-552 vote and package store referendum passing with a 776-534 tally.

As a result, the town has begun the process of looking into drafting ordinances that pertain to the referendums. Mayor Doris Hensley said that the town has been looking at other small towns in the area, such as the Town of Unicoi, to see how they have handled liquor permits.  More...


Updated December 03, 2014 03:58:17 PM
Erwin BMA discusses next downtown revitalization construction phase

When to begin the third phase of the town’s downtown revitalization project was discussed by the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen during its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Nov. 10.

Mark Lafever, public works director for the town, told the board phase three is currently scheduled to begin on Jan. 1. Construction on the third phase, which will take place on Main Avenue from Union to Love streets and Love Street up to Church Street, should be complete by the first of May.

The first phase of the revitalization project, which covered Main Avenue from Second to Gay streets, was completed in September 2013. The second phase, which covered Main Avenue from Gay to Union streets, as well as Union from Main to Nolichucky avenues, was completed in September 2014. More...


Updated November 06, 2014 02:17:40 PM
Facility remains shut down following accident

Three weeks after the death of an employee, operations at Erwin ResinSolutions remain shut down, according to a media representative of EnergySolutions – the facility’s parent company.

In response to an email inquiry from The Erwin Record about the status of operations at Erwin ResinSolutions, Mark Walker, vice president of marketing and media relations for EnergySolutions said “the facility remains voluntarily shut down.”

Local officials previously said that Gary Reedy, 51, died from injuries he sustained from a 25-foot fall into a concrete hole at the plant on Oct. 14. More...


Updated November 14, 2014 02:35:01 PM
Liquor referendums pass in Erwin

Voters in the Town of Erwin passed two liquor-related referendums during the Nov. 4 election.

According to Unicoi County Election Administrator Sarah Bailey, a simple majority is needed for the referendums to pass.

With 776 votes in favor, the referendum for allowing package stores in the town passed. There were 534 votes against this referendum. More...


Updated November 14, 2014 02:35:21 PM
Unicoi man killed by train

A Unicoi man died after being struck by a train last week in Johnson City.

According to a news release from the Johnson City Police Department, just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26, officers responded to the area of West State of Franklin Road and Mountain Home drive where a train versus pedestrian incident had occurred.

The department reported that Chad Perry, 37, 115 Cove View Road, Unicoi, was walking west on the railroad tracks just west of Jack Vest Drive, when the train, which was traveling in the same direction, struck him from behind. More...


Updated November 14, 2014 02:35:12 PM
UCMH celebrates first year as part of Mountain States

Unicoi County Memorial Hospital (UCMH) celebrated one full year as part of Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA) this week.

“We’ve really come a long way,” said Tracy Byers, hospital administrator, in a press release. “Before the hospital joined Mountain States, we were short on money and our staff was being forced to make the best of a tough situation. We didn’t have the resources we needed. Equipment was getting old.”

Future plans are currently being drawn up to build a replacement hospital set to open in the spring of 2018, according to MSHA. More...


Updated November 06, 2014 02:13:17 PM
911, CID move to new home

Unicoi County’s 911 employees have moved out of a facility where “there was not enough room to breathe” to a new home.

During an open house on Oct. 21 celebrating completion of the new facility on Jackson-Love Highway, Patsy Ledford, 911 director, said the old facility, which was located below the Unicoi County Jail, was cramped and employees were forced to work “piled on top of each other.”

In addition to more space, the new facility, which is connected to the jail annex and sheriff’s department offices, also comes with new technology and equipment. This new technology, according to 911 employee Daniel White, gives dispatch better communication with agencies surrounding the county, which is vital in mutual aid situations.  More...


Updated November 14, 2014 02:35:24 PM
Mill Creek bridge construction begins

Construction on the new Mill Creek Bridge officially began the morning of Monday, Nov. 3, as crews from the Unicoi County Highway Department began clearing trees to provide a right-of-way leading up to the new bridge.

In August, it was reported that the total cost of the bridge would be $815,250.16. The cost has since reached the $1 million mark due to the fact that the current setting of the bridge does not provide good enough terrain for a runaround.

“The bridge is going to be built in two halves,” said Highway Superintendent Terry Haynes. “They will build each lane one at a time. It costs so much more because we can’t put in a runaround.” More...


Updated October 30, 2014 02:44:13 PM
Trustee: Property tax relief available

Unicoi County Trustee Paul Berry recently announced that funding for the state’s property tax relief program for low-income, elderly, disabled, disabled veterans and widows of disabled veteran homeowners is available.

According to a press release from Berry’s office, elderly homeowners and their spouses, age 65 or older, and any co-owners who have a combined income of $28,270 or less, may qualify for property tax relief.

Also, disabled homeowners and their spouses and any co-owners who have a combined income of $28,270 or less may qualify for property tax relief. There is no age limit for disabled homeowners. More...


Updated November 14, 2014 02:34:46 PM
Board upholds zoning order

The Erwin Board of Zoning Appeals met for its October meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 22, with the main subject on the agenda being the fate of the Hillbilly Butts & Brisket BBQ food trailer located on Main Street.

The food trailer was found to be in violation of a city ordinance in late August. The violation in question is an ordinance regarding the permissibility of the use of mobile food units in the B-2 Arterial Business District.

“It is my decision that the mobile food unit does not conform to the uses provided in Section 705,” said Erwin Building Inspector Michael Borders at the meeting. More...


Updated November 06, 2014 02:04:36 PM
Fiber optic project moves forward

Work began last week on the highly-anticipated Erwin Utilities fiber optic project that will bring locally-provided high-speed internet to Erwin.

Earlier this year, Lee Brown, general manager of Erwin Utilities, gave the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) details about the company’s Pilot Fiber to the Premise Project.

Brown told the board that the utility company plans to deploy a pilot project to bring broadband Internet and telephone services to serve approximately 1,200 residential and business customers in and around downtown Erwin. According to a map Brown shared with the board, the pilot program region covers the area within the boundaries of Horton Ridge to around Broad Street and from Nolichucky Avenue to Greenway Circle. More...


Updated November 06, 2014 02:17:55 PM
Information about Ebola available

The Ebola virus outbreak in west Africa, as well as the appearance of the disease in the United States has many people in our nation concerned about their chances of contracting the disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control website, “Ebola is caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. There are five identified Ebola virus species, four of which are known to cause disease in humans: Ebola virus (Zaire ebolavirus); Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus); Taï Forest virus (Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus); and Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus). The fifth, Reston virus (Reston ebolavirus), has caused disease in nonhuman primates, but not in humans.”

The CDC also reports that Ebola first occurred near the Ebola River in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  More...


Updated November 06, 2014 02:16:37 PM
Accident investigation underway

An investigation is currently underway by state agencies into the death last week of an Erwin ResinSolutions employee.

According to officials, Gary Reedy, 51,was killed in an industrial accident the morning of Oct. 14 when he fell into a concrete hole at the plant measuring 25 feet deep. Reedy reportedly died from his injuries sustained in the fall.

Unicoi County Emergency Management Services Director Ed Herndon said that his department received a call from 911 dispatch around 8:57 a.m. that someone had fallen into a hole at the Erwin ResinSolutions plant. EMS and the Southside Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene. More...


Updated October 30, 2014 02:40:29 PM
Trial date set for lawsuit

A trial date has been set in the lawsuit filed in federal court in August by an Erwin resident against Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley, Deputy Jacob Marshall and Unicoi County.

According to a document filed last month, the suit brought by Sherry Adkins and her attorney, Gary M. Prince, will go to trial on Sept. 22, 2015. The trial is expected to last three days.

The Erwin Record previously reported that in the complaint filed in U.S. District Court on Aug. 5, Marshall is named as a defendant in his individual and official capacity, Hensley is named as a defendant in his individual and official capacity and Unicoi County is named as a defendant. According to this complaint, the actions by the defendants during a Feb. 28 incident violated Adkins’ “constitutional rights as guaranteed under the provisions of the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution of the United States as to an unlawful search and excessive force.” More...


Updated October 30, 2014 02:40:53 PM
Professor addresses JEDB

The Joint Economic Development Board held a meeting on Friday, Oct. 17, at Erwin Town Hall.

While there were not enough board members present to establish a formal quorum, those in attendance were greeted with the opportunity to hear a presentation from one of the area’s leading business experts.

Dr. Steb Hipple, Ph.D, is a professor of economics at East Tennessee State University. He is a member of the Department of Economics and Finance and a research associate with the Bureau of Business and Economic Research. More...


Updated October 15, 2014 03:46:45 PM
Board selects Engle as vice-chairman

During a brief meeting on Thursday, Oct. 9, the Unicoi County Board of Education chose its vice-chairman and athletic council representative for the next year.

Garland “Bubba” Evely nominated Tyler Engle to be the vice-chairman. Lisa White nominated Steve Willis. Four votes from the six-member board were required for an individual to be elected.

The board voted on Engle first. He received five “yes” votes (from himself, Evely, Willis, Cathy Thomas and Dwight Bennett). White voted against Engle. Because Engle received at least four votes, the board did not vote on Willis’ nomination. More...


Updated October 15, 2014 03:44:01 PM
Unicoi Ruritan Club celebrates 65th anniversary

The heavy rains throughout the day couldn’t put a damper on the Unicoi Ruritan Club’s 65th Anniversary Picnic on Saturday, Oct. 11. However, the rain forced the picnic to be moved indoors from Fishery Park to the Unicoi Visitors’ Center.

The Unicoi Ruritan has a deep history. It was charter No. 291 in 1949 and was sponsored by the Sweetwater Ruritan.

The Unicoi Ruritan had seven initial executive officers from various parts of Unicoi County. The initial charter listed their name, title and occupation. The officers were: President H.S. Murphy, merchant; Vice President Howard Garland, teacher; Secretary Wayne Scott, teacher; H.C. Carter, farmer; Director Guy Peters, merchant; Director Richard Jones, farmer; and Director Doyle Moore, superintendent of schools. More...


Updated October 15, 2014 03:40:29 PM
Panel discusses outdoor dining regulations

The Town of Erwin Planning Commission met on Sept. 24.

The panel opened discussion on liability insurance regarding downtown outdoor dining regulations. They also discussed sidewalk dining within the downtown overlay district. No motion was made and the topic will likely be brought up again at a future planning commission meeting.

While no motion was made, the officials agreed there was no need to require uniformity with the downtown dining furniture. It is common practice, especially in larger cities, to require outdoor dining furniture to be similar in its appearance. More...


Updated October 23, 2014 05:25:06 PM
Body of Ohio hiker found on A.T.

The hiker found near the Appalachian Trail in Unicoi County the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 11, has been identified, according to local law enforcement officials.

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Oct. 14, Ronnie Adkins, investigator with the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department, said the victim was Karl William Potraz, 53, of Olmstead Falls, Ohio.

Adkins said Potraz was found by two other hikers lying in the Appalachian Trail on Unaka Mountain in the vicinity of Beauty Spot. More...


Updated October 08, 2014 01:54:52 PM
Shepard reaches plea deal

Keenan Akil Shepard, 22, 321 Lynwood St., Bristol, the man the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department said stuck a gun in the face of a county woman on March 26, along with his attorney, Benjamin G. Sharp, reached a plea agreement in United States District Court in Greeneville last month. As such, the case will not go to trial.

Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley previously said on March 26 officers were dispatched around 1 p.m. to Sugar Hollow Road, Unicoi, to respond to a residence where the victim, Brenda Hoilman, was allegedly assaulted by Shepard, who reportedly knocked on the her door and asked her to give him a ride. When the Hoilman refused to do so, Shepard reportedly pointed a pistol at her head. Hoilman then slammed and locked the door, then called 911.

Hensley also previously said Hoilman watched as Shepard attempted to steal a truck at a nearby residence. Officers later discovered that the fuse box on the truck had been tampered with. More...


Updated October 10, 2014 01:18:28 PM
Farmers eligible for emergency loanst

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farmers in Unicoi County are eligible to apply for emergency loans.

“Emergency loans for farmers, ranchers, and operators are available through the Washington/Unicoi County Office of the Farm Service Agency,” Gregory A. Brooks, farm loan manager, said in a press release issued by the USDA.

The press release also said that, according to Farm Service Agency’s State Executive Director Eugene Davidson, the Secretary of Agriculture declared a major disaster in Tennessee last month due to the high winds, hail and lightning which occurred on July 27 and 28 this year. More...


Updated October 23, 2014 05:33:12 PM
United Way campaign begins

The United Way of Unicoi County launched its annual campaign with a kickoff breakfast Monday, Oct. 6, morning at the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center.

Around 100 members of the community were in attendance. Lee Brown, president of the county United Way, announced that the 2015 campaign goal is $105,000.

Unicoi County High School seniors played a part in this year’s campaign breakfast. Cheyenne Haun, the runner-up in the 2014 Unicoi County’s Got Talent contest, sang the national anthem. Seniors Morgan Brown, Dylan Roberts, Eric Arnett, Zack Thelen, Davis Webb and Laura Rogers also assisted with the event. More...


Updated October 15, 2014 03:38:55 PM
Delp: 'We had a great festival'

Despite the rainy and chilly weather, the 37th Annual Unicoi County Apple Festival was another successful one, an event coordinator said Monday.

“We had a great festival,” Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Delp said. “We have received a lot of positive feedback from vendors and festivalgoers.”

The festival opened on Friday, Oct. 3, with warm, but rainy weather. The rain continued off and on throughout the morning before the skies over downtown Erwin cleared later in the day. More...


Updated October 15, 2014 03:35:06 PM
NRC talks NFS safety at meeting

The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission held a public meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 30, to review the current status of safety at Nuclear Fuel Services and discussed an analysis of cancer risks in populations living near nuclear facilities.

The plant has had recent safety violations that were discussed. On June 17, an NFS supervisor observed an employee “improperly operating two valves that are identified as key safety devices,” according to the NRC. “The valves were propped open, which rendered them unable to perform their intended safety function.”

The valves are in place to be operated manually in order to prevent a hazardous chemical from spilling on the floor. The report says that the employee’s supervisor observed the incident and immediately took corrective action to ensure system safety. More...


Updated October 15, 2014 03:38:37 PM
Sheriff opts not to sue county

Following the Sept. 22 meeting of the Unicoi County Commission, Sheriff Mike Hensley stated that he planned to sue the county over his 2014-2015 fiscal year budget. However, by Thursday, Sept. 25, Hensley had changed his mind and said he would not being filing the lawsuit.

During the Sept. 22 commission meeting, the board voted 7-2 to approve the 2014-2015 budget, which included $3,180,172 in expenditures for the three budgets – sheriff’s department, jail and jail annex – for which Hensley is responsible. Hensley told the panel on several different occasions prior to the Sept. 22 meeting that he could not operate on that budget.

The $3,180,172 budget also forced Hensley to eliminate four deputy positions, one court officer and one jailer position, as well as maintenance personnel. More...


Updated October 08, 2014 01:50:59 PM
Board chooses Thomas as chairman

It took more than 60 rounds of nominations and voting for the Unicoi County Board of Education to elect its chairman for the 2014-2015 school year. Tennessee Code Annotated requires the board to elect a chairman each year, Chuck Cagle, the board’s attorney said.

The process of electing a chairman began on Sept. 19 when the board – which is made up of Garland “Bubba” Evely, Cathy Thomas, Tyler Engle, Lisa White, Steve Willis and Dwight Bennett – nominated and voted on its members 20 times, but was unable to come to a consensus on who would serve as the chairman. Because of this impasse, the board opted to hold a special called meeting on Thursday, Sept. 26. The only item on the agenda at this meeting was the election of a board chairman.

Before the board took up the issue and officially called the Sept. 26 meeting to session, the floor was opened to audience members in attendance to give them an opportunity to address the board. More...


Updated October 02, 2014 01:07:52 PM
Authorities: Man made threat via 'Streetchat' app

An Erwin man was arrested Monday evening following a brief undercover investigation stemming from a post he made on the popular social media site Streetchat.

Rafael Diaz Salvana, 18, 101 Engineer Lane, was arrested Monday evening on charges of false reporting, making death threats to a school employee and harassment. Salvana is a student at Unicoi County High School.

Student Resource Officer Andy Slagle keeps up with social media posts pertaining to the school and on Monday, he noticed a post that read ‘Everyone in school will die on Tuesday’. Slagle alerted Sheriff Mike Hensley. Hensley contacted Unicoi County Schools Director Denise Brown about the situation and also contacted his investigators. More...


Updated September 11, 2014 01:56:22 PM
County budget saga continues

The saga of the 2014-2015 Unicoi County fiscal year budget continued last week as office holders again appeared before the Unicoi County Budget Committee. Last week’s meetings, which were held on Tuesday, Aug. 19, and Thursday, Aug. 21, led one office holder to make numerous cuts to his department’s budget.

During a press conference on Friday, Aug. 22, Sheriff Mike Hensley detailed what he described as “unheard of” cuts to the three budgets – sheriff’s department, jail and jail annex – for which he is responsible.

The county, including the sheriff’s department, has been operating on a continuing budget resolution since the 2014-2015 fiscal year began on July 1. Hensley said on Friday he is currently operating on one-twelfth of his proposed budget. However, if his budget is cut by the hundreds of thousands of dollars proposed by some members of the Budget Committee last week, spending money now at the proposed budget levels would cause him to run out of money before the end of this fiscal year. More...


Updated August 27, 2014 01:27:34 PM
Performance dates being accepted

The UCHS Bluegrass Band is currently accepting performance requests for the 2014-2015 school year.

If you are a non-profit community organization and are interested in having the UCHS Bluegrass Band perform at an upcoming event, please email Lori Ann Wright atwrightl@unicoischools.com.

Performance dates will be accepted based on a first-come, first-served basis and band student availability. Email requests will be accepted through Sept 2. More...


Updated August 27, 2014 01:26:04 PM
CHIPs announces facility expansion

Change is Possible (CHIPS) will soon be receiving a significant expansion and upgrade to their facilities as part of an Emergency Solutions Grant from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.

The CHIPS main office located on Main Street will be receiving an upgrade which will allot for the addition of three new offices, a boardroom and a locked file room. The grant and increase in office space will help CHIPS in a variety of ways, from logistics to victim assistance. The total square footage will be around 1,102 feet.

“It allows us to help victims to transition from shelters to their own home,” said director Jewel DeBord. “CHIPS will assist with utilities.” More...


Updated August 27, 2014 01:07:50 PM
Animal Welfare Board holds meeting

The Unicoi County Animal Welfare Board held a meeting on Aug. 12.

The meeting moved along smoothly throughout the morning. The board voted unanimously to accept the minutes from the June meeting as well as for the called July meeting. The board also unanimously voted to approve the treasurer’s report.

Towards the end of the meeting, Unicoi County Animal Shelter Director Jessica Rogers gave her report. Rogers brought several items to the board’s attention. On Sept. 20, the shelter will be hosting a rabies clinic from 10 a.m. to noon. The costs are $10 and $15 for rabies and combo vaccines respectively.  More...


Updated August 27, 2014 01:06:59 PM
Children invited to enter Apple Dumpling Contest

A popular contest is back again for the 37th Annual Unicoi County Apple Festival.

According to Amanda Delp, Executive Director of the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce, children five years old and under are invited to enter the 2014 Apple Dumpling Contest. Funds raised from the competition are used to support the Chamber’s educational programs.

“The Apple Dumpling Contest is a remarkable event that spans more than two decades of tradition during the Unicoi County Apple Festival,” Delp said. “The Chamber of Commerce is proud to keep this Apple Festival tradition going.”  More...


Updated August 27, 2014 01:05:34 PM
Centenary UMC preschool now accepting students

When Unicoi County students recently returned to their classrooms, so did the students of the preschool at Centenary United Methodist Church. Even though classes are already underway, teacher Christel Peterson said the preschool will continue to enroll students for the foreseeable future.

Peterson said the preschool, which has been in operation for 25 years, is state certified and that teachers and assistants receive training on different topics to prepare them for the preschool classroom. She also said the preschool follows a standard curriculum.

“The curriculum gives you a plan to go by,” she said. “The state likes to see that you have a curriculum.” More...


Updated August 27, 2014 01:02:47 PM
Ramsey resigns from board

The Town of Unicoi Board of Mayor and Aldermen held its monthly meeting for the month of August Monday night in front of a packed house.

Under the order of new business, the board began discussion of the bids for the new mowing contract for the town. Only one bid was received and it was from Mark Ramsey’s company. Ramsey was formerly an alderman with the town.

Per legal and ethical requirements, Ramsey had as of Monday, resigned from his post as alderman as to not create a conflict of interest.  More...


Updated August 27, 2014 01:02:08 PM
TDEC, NFS hold meeting on waste permit

Nuclear Fuel Services (NFS) and the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation (TDEC) held a formal hearing on Aug. 12 at the Unicoi County Courthouse to discuss the pending operations permit for NFS.

Dilraj Mohka, of the Division of Solid Waste Management, of TDEC, gave a presentation to the audience detailing the process involved for both entities. The permitting process is subject to Tennessee Rule Chapter 0400-12-01. Nuclear Fuel Services’ permit TNWW-066 was issued March 28, 1991. The current permit TNHW was issued on Sept. 30, 2002. For the current application, a pre-application public meeting was held on March 7, 2012 with a renewal application being filed on March 28, 2012.

A public notice of receipt was issued on April 24, 2012. A notice of deficiency was issued on Sept. 24, 2012 with a completeness determination on June 9, 2013. A public hearing was to be held on Aug. 12, 2014, which was Tuesday. More...


Updated August 27, 2014 12:43:33 PM
TBI begins investigation into missing funds

A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesman confirmed that the agency is currently conducting an investigation into missing county funds.

In an email to The Erwin Record, Josh DeVine, TBI Public Information Officer, said District Attorney General Tony Clark requested the TBI investigate $1,000 reportedly missing from Unicoi County jail funds from a cash bond.

According to Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley, a bookkeeper in his department first noticed the missing funds and notified him. Hensley and the bookkeeper determined that the funds were missing from the jail. Hensley said he then immediately contacted Clark and requested the TBI investigate the matter for him. More...


Updated August 27, 2014 12:42:23 PM
Second suit filed against sheriff, county

Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley, a sheriff’s department deputy and Unicoi County have been named in another lawsuit filed by a county resident. According to court documents, complaints have been filed in both the United States District Court in Greeneville and in Unicoi County Circuit Court.

According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court on Aug. 11, Erwin resident Robert G. Tilson is seeking $1 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages against Hensley and Deputy William Laws in their individual capacity. The complaint states that on May 26 of this year, Tilson called the UCSD to report that his ex-girlfriend “and a group of thugs” threatened to assault him and take personal property. Tilson was reportedly advised that county personnel would handle the matter.

According to the complaint, the ex-girlfriend and the “thugs” later arrived at Tilson’s residence and forced their way in. Tilson “was able to protect himself and to keep the thugs from beating him up and stealing the disputed property by holding them at bay with a knife and calling 911,” the complaint also states. More...


Updated September 11, 2014 01:19:51 PM
Erwin man killed in Colo.

According to the Colorado Springs Police Department an Erwin man died in an alleged murder the morning of Sunday, Aug. 24.

CSPD officers responded to the 1000 block of Kelly Johnson Boulevard in response to a reported stabbing, the department reported. When officers arrived at the scene they found a man, later identified as Patrick Hampton, 31, in a parking, who was suffering from several stab wounds.

Hampton was transported to the hospital where he died as a result of his injuries, the CSPD said. More...


Updated August 27, 2014 12:39:08 PM
TutorTN service now available

Unicoi County is one of only a few Tennessee counties where students now have access to a new online tutoring service called TutorTN.

According to Director of Schools Denise Brown, the program is a partnership between the school system, Tennessee State Library and Archives, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and the Unicoi County Public Library.

“We are excited to be chosen for this pilot program,” Brown said. “Online tutoring supports the work of our teachers. Students will get the individualized learning and extra time they need with their homework, and can come to class ready to learn new material. More...


Updated August 20, 2014 06:34:36 PM
Local woman seeks millions in damages

An Erwin woman has filed suit against Unicoi County, Sheriff Mike Hensley and Deputy Jacob Scott Marshall, seeking millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages from a February 2014 incident.

Complaints have been filed in the United States District Court at Greeneville and in the Circuit Court for Unicoi County on behalf of Sherry Adkins by her attorney, Gary Prince.

In the complaint filed in U.S. District Court on Aug. 5, Marshall is named as a defendant in his individual and official capacity, Hensley is named as a defendant in his individual and official capacity and Unicoi County is named as a defendant. According to this complaint, the actions by the defendants during the Feb. 28 incident violated Adkins’ “constitutional rights as guaranteed under the provisions of the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States as to an unlawful search and excessive force.” More...


Updated August 20, 2014 06:35:03 PM
Erwin BMA passes budget on first reading

The Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved the town’s 2014-2015 fiscal year budget on first reading during a meeting on Monday, Aug. 11, at Town Hall.

Town of Erwin officials ironed out the details of the 2014-2015 fiscal year budget during budget work sessions held last month and in June.

A property tax increase is not included in the proposed budget and the town’s property tax rate has been set at $1.0796 per $100 on real estate and personal property. More...


Updated August 27, 2014 12:19:54 PM
Rose says he will not contest election

Larry Rose, in a telephone conversation Monday, told The Erwin Record that he has decided not to request a vote recount from the August General Election. Rose previously told the newspaper that he planned to contest the election.

“I have been doing a lot of research since the election and realize the chances would be slim that the vote count would change,” he said. “With the technology voting machines have today, the count would more than likely come out the same.

Rose lost the county mayor’s seat to incumbent Greg Lynch by only three votes (1,552 votes to 1,549 votes).  More...


Updated August 20, 2014 06:39:35 PM
Board approves new roof for school

The Unicoi County Board of Education approved a bid from Eskola Roofing for a new roof at Rock Creek Elementary School during its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, May 8.

Chairwoman Renea Jones-Rogers and board members Judy Webb, Lisa White and Victor Price voted to approve the bid. Board members Tyler Engle and Rick Butler were absent from the meeting.

Three bids, all of which met the bidding specifications, were submitted for the project with Eskola Roofing submitting the lowest bid at $195,700. Other bids were submitted by Benard Roofing ($203,213) and Morristown Roofing ($208,470).  More...


Updated August 20, 2014 06:28:54 PM
BMA discusses pending litigation, tables resolution

After adjourning from the Monday, May 12, meeting of the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen, the panel went into an executive session with town attorney Thomas Seeley, III, to discuss pending litigation.

Prior to entering the executive session, both Seeley and Mayor Doris Hensley confirmed the board would be discussing the civil complaint filed by the Centennial Lodge No. 491, Free and Accepted Masons of Tennessee regarding insurance proceeds from the fire which destroyed the former Erwin Municipal Building in April 2009. Both the town of Erwin and the Tennessee Municipal League Risk

Management Pool (TML) were named as defendants in the complaint. More...


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• Board selects Engle as vice-chairman
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• Body of Ohio hiker found on A.T.
• Shepard reaches plea deal
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• United Way campaign begins
• Delp: 'We had a great festival'
• NRC talks NFS safety at meeting
• Sheriff opts not to sue county
• Board chooses Thomas as chairman
• Authorities: Man made threat via 'Streetchat' app
• County budget saga continues
• Performance dates being accepted
• CHIPs announces facility expansion
• Animal Welfare Board holds meeting
• Children invited to enter Apple Dumpling Contest
• Centenary UMC preschool now accepting students
• Ramsey resigns from board
• TDEC, NFS hold meeting on waste permit
• TBI begins investigation into missing funds
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• Erwin man killed in Colo.
• TutorTN service now available
• Local fitness initiative underway
• Panel considers job cuts
• Local woman seeks millions in damages
• Erwin BMA passes budget on first reading
• Rose says he will not contest election
• Board approves new roof for school
• BMA discusses pending litigation, tables resolution

Sports
• Devils defeat East, remain unbeaten in conference
• Lady Devils bounce back with win over Cloudland
• Swim team competes against Morristown
• Jr. Lady Devils win in double OT
• Jr. Blue Devils defeat Greeneville
• Off the Field - Do you have a moment to share? (Dec. 17, 2014 issue)
• Webb breaks three-point record
• Blue Devils start 2-0 in league play
• Team announces date for first game
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• Facility certification topic of upcoming meeting with state board
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• Lady Devils get first win
• Devils fall to Greeneville
• Junior varsity team defeats Greeneville
• Laughren signs with Lady Bucs
• Team holds annual banquet
• Devils make all-conference team
• Off the Field - Where was the excitement? (Nov. 26, 2014 issue)
• UCHS Basketball Preview - Inexperienced Devils hope to continue program's success
• UCHS Basketball Preview - Five seniors will lead Lady Devils
• UCHS Basketball Preview - Coach: Team should have 'exciting season'
• UCHS Basketball Preview - Tough league awaits Devils, Lady Devils
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• Todd competes at chilly state meet
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• Todd advances to state
• Betsy defeats Blue Devils
• Off the Field - Be proud (Oct. 29, 2014 issue)
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• Todd finishes in top 10 at meet
• Off the Field – Don't fret, Blue Nation (Oct. 15, 2014 issue of The Erwin Record)
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• Off the Field – Homecoming time in UC (Oct. 8, 2014 issue)
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• Off the Field – Making Headlines (Aug. 20, 2014 issue)
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Neighbors
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Viewpoint
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• Ready, Willis and Able - Train still fascinates in history (Dec. 17, 2014 issue)
• Library Happenings - New juvenile books arriving soon (Dec. 17, 2014 issue)
• Senior Center News - Center announces fashion show event (Dec. 17, 2014 issue)
• Movie Night - 'Exodus' entertaining but not accurate (Dec. 17, 2014)
• One Blue Nation - High school uses testing to improve (Dec. 17, 2014 issue)
• From the Publisher's Desk - Luckily, I don't have everything (Dec. 10, 2014 issue)
• In the Stars - Stargazers have treat coming with Geminid meteor shower (Dec. 10, 2014 issue)
• Hood's Winks - Webinars bring new dimension (Dec. 10, 2014 issue)
• Library Happenings - Holiday memories stirred by books (Dec. 10, 2014 issue)
• Movie Night - 'Horrible Bosses 2' may be funniest of year (Dec. 10, 2014 issue)
• From the Publisher's Desk - Santa, please bridge the gap (Dec. 3, 2014 issue)
• A Denney for Your Thoughts - Following No. 1 from land sea (Dec. 3, 2014 issue)
• Movie Night - 'Mockingjay' fills in middle of 'Hunger Games' trilogy (Dec. 3, 2014 issue)
• Library Happenings - Library looking forward to new books (Dec. 3, 2014 issue)
• From the Publisher's Desk - Christmas is staring at me (Nov. 26, 2014 issue)
• A Refreshing Knapp - Life brings many odds to weigh (Nov. 26, 2014 issue)
• Movie Night - 'Interstallar' brings bold, massive scope to screen (Nov. 26, 2014 issue)
• Library Happenings - Bring home books for holiday reading (Nov. 26, 2014 issue)
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• From the Publisher's Desk - 'Hats off' to an amazing lady
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• Library Happenings - Thanksgiving serves up side of reading (Nov. 19, 2014 issue)
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• Nerd's Eye View - Fall TV offerings bring 'Dead' to life (Nov. 19, 2014 issue)
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