Local News
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...


More Top Stories
Local News
• Board selects Engle as vice-chairman
• Unicoi Ruritan Club celebrates 65th anniversary
• Panel discusses outdoor dining regulations
• Body of Ohio hiker found on A.T.
• Shepard reaches plea deal
• Farmers eligible for emergency loanst
• 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
• Second suit filed against sheriff, county
• 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
• Blue Devils still seeking first win
• Off the Field - Basketball season approaches (Oct. 22, 2014 issue)
• Todd finishes in top 10 at meet
• Off the Field – Don't fret, Blue Nation (Oct. 15, 2014 issue of The Erwin Record)
• Blue Devils fall to Longhorns
• Ladies end season with loss in district tournament
• White: Blue Devils will 'keep fighting'
• Off the Field – Homecoming time in UC (Oct. 8, 2014 issue)
• Visitors win inaugural game
• Larkey: Players improved during season
• Season ends for Jr. Blue Devils
• Blue Devils prepare for Patriots
• Church Hill, Greeneville defeat Jr. Blue Devils
• New swim teams dives in
• Bulldogs race past Devils
• EJAA teams take victories over Cyclones
• Robinson defeats Jr. Blue Devils
• Jr. Lady Devils defeat Liberty Bell
• Apple Festival Bowl announced
• Off the Field - There's No Need to Fret (Aug. 27, 2014 issue)
• Lady Devils get first win
• Off the Field – Making Headlines (Aug. 20, 2014 issue)
• Lady Devils hope to serve up success
• UCMS football team scrimmages Hampton

Neighbors
• Town celebrates days gone by
• Lyons announces retirement
• Godsey brings photography business home
• Blue Ridge once again draws vendors, visitors to Erwin
• Bailey earns 'Gold Award'
• Wright Stuff: Local teacher selected for state fellowship
• New book details ‘story within the story’ of famed locomotive
• Rider begins fundraising campaign for new novel
• Allen awarded Ned Lyle Scholarship on behalf of American Legion Post 25
• History rolls in with CRR 100

Viewpoint
• From the Publisher's Desk - Clowning around not always fun (Oct. 22, 2014 issue)
• From the Publisher's Desk - I’ve gotten myself into a pickle