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Erwin and Unicoi are small towns, but there’s always something happening in both municipalities, as well as other locations within Unicoi County. As we venture into 2023, here’s The Erwin Record’s annual look back at some top events covered in the pages of the newspaper.

January

The Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce was getting ready to accept nominations for the annual “Best of Unicoi County” awards.

February

Tyler Engle, executive director of the Unicoi County Joint Economic and Community Development Board, resigned on Feb. 4. 

Tyler Lee Owens was charged with second degree murder on Feb. 7 in the shooting death of 21-year-old Stacie Brugger. 

March

The ballot for the May 2022 primary is unveiled. No Democrats came forward as candidates for local offices and only one independent had done so, which basically ensured a local “red wave” for Republican candidates.

The Unicoi County Board of Education announced its “Teachers of the Year” at its meeting on March 17. Honored were local educators Patience Erwin, Stephanie Howard and Stacia Silvers.

Gene Stallard, a Unicoi County High School standout athlete from 1959 to 1963, is inducted into the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame in a ceremony on March 18.

April 

Todd Wilcox is hired as city recorder for the Town of Erwin. His employment was secured by unanimous vote at the April 11 meeting of the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Kids Need to Read donates 650 books to expand the shelves of the Unicoi County Public Library. 

Erwin resident John Hensley competes in the 2022 Boston Marathon on April 18.

May

Unaka Bike Park officially opens on May 6.

A lawsuit on behalf of David J. Tipton Jr. is filed against the Town of Erwin and a police officer  involved in a shooting incident on April 30, 2021.

Voters elect Mitch Manuel as the Republican nominee to replace retiring General Sessions Judge David Shults in the May 3 election that also saw Patty Treadway defeat incumbent Mitzi Bowen to become the Republican nominee for County Clerk. Manuel and Treadway secured their offices in the August election, both running unopposed.

Unicoi County High School graduates 173 students in a commencement ceremony on May 16.

June

Bradley John Miller is apprehended and charged on June 7 with first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. A manhunt for Miller was launched after the body of his girlfriend, Athena Saunders, was found at the Unaka Mountain Beauty Spot on May 30. 

A new Gold Star Memorial marker is unveiled outside Erwin Town Hall on June 17.

First Baptist Church of Erwin celebrates the 200th anniversary of its founding on June 26.

July 

Master Sgt. Billy Joe Bradley Jr. served as the grand marshal for the Welcome Home Veterans Parade in downtown Erwin on July 2.

Unicoi County Little League Softball 12-under team wins a second state title on July 11 in the championship game in Clarksville. 

August

In the Aug. 4 general election, low turnout generally favored the status quo. Unicoi County Mayor Garland “Bubba” Evely and Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley both won reelection.

Steve Silvers is arrested by the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department on an attempted first-degree murder charge after allegedly attacking a woman with a machete. 

September

Kayla Bowman is crowned UCHS Homecoming Queen on Sept. 16.

The Ayers Foundation designates UCHS as a Scholarship School in an announcement on Sept. 19.

Unicoi County Schools renames its community learning center to honor the late Sharon Slagle, an educator and coach who died Jan. 5, 2022.

Tammy Ray is sworn into her new job as an officer with the Erwin Police Department on Sept. 13. Ray’s appointment helps Erwin break the glass ceiling with her becoming the first female member of the Erwin Police Department. 

October

The Apple Festival draws huge crowds to downtown Erwin Oct. 7-8. 

The Southeastern Autorama, one of the longest-running events of its kind, is held Oct. 15 in downtown Erwin. 

Unicoi County Public Library receives a Training Opportunities for the Public (or TOP) grant worth $4,898.

November

The Unicoi County Public Library and Town of Erwin unveil Storybook Trail, a new feature at Erwin Fishery Park on Nov. 21.

Erwin stages its annual Christmas Parade on Nov. 26.

December

The Town of Unicoi unveils the new home of the Clinchfield Caboose on Dec. 1 at a ceremony at the Unicoi Visitors Center.

Winter Storm Elliott plunges temperatures in Unicoi County below zero on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Erwin Utilities announces that TVA is instituting rolling blackouts to cope with the prolonged extreme temperatures.

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