Investigators probe fires at Unicoi homes

Investigators are searching for who is responsible for two fires over the weekend at two Unicoi homes.
One of the fires was reported in the early morning hours on Saturday at 309 Massachusetts Avenue. The Unicoi Volunteer Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire, which caused some damage to the home.
The other fire was at 1112 Browns Mill Road, a couple of blocks away from Massachusetts Avenue. The resident noticed the damage on Sunday morning. The fire extinguished itself and was contained to the floor of the porch and vinyl siding.
Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Stacy Wigand is investigating the case and said one person had been interviewed in connection with the fires.
“There was an accelerant used,” he said. “There was minimal damage to the porch and the corner of the house.”
If anyone has information about the fires or saw anything suspicious, contact Wigand at 743-1861 or the anonymous tips line at 743-1855.

Investigators probe fires at Unicoi homes

Investigators are searching for who is responsible for two fires over the weekend at two Unicoi homes.
One of the fires was reported in the early morning hours on Saturday at 309 Massachusetts Avenue. The Unicoi Volunteer Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire, which caused some damage to the home.
The other fire was at 1112 Browns Mill Road, a couple of blocks away from Massachusetts Avenue. The resident noticed the damage on Sunday morning. The fire extinguished itself and was contained to the floor of the porch and vinyl siding.
Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Stacy Wigand is investigating the case and said one person had been interviewed in connection with the fires.
“There was an accelerant used,” he said. “There was minimal damage to the porch and the corner of the house.”
If anyone has information about the fires or saw anything suspicious, contact Wigand at 743-1861 or the anonymous tips line at 743-1855.

UCHS Class of ’90 planning reunion

The Unicoi County High School Class of 1990 is planning a 20-year reunion for Oct. 16.
Organizers still need addresses and contact information for several classmates: Kristina Lea Anne Blankenship, Lisa Ann Campbell, Teresa Lynn Hensley, Janie Sue Kimery, Wendy Dawn Lane, Alice Michele Little, Penny Rena Sams, Teresa Lynn Shelton, Donna Marie Stallard, Coralee Ellen Tenney, Michael Todd Bailey, Michael Wayne Bailey, William Chad Bailey, Jeffery Michael Berry, Edward Daniel Cannon, Eric Bradly Combs, Jeffery Shane Crawford, Jimmie Lee Crawford, Brian Keith Cradic, Jasen Paul Edwards, Christopher Karrol English, Willard Rex Hensley, Jeremy Keith Hyder, Jack Dennis Jeffson, Joseph Richard Keever, Keith Landingham, David Eugene Lewis, Kevin Eugene Pate, Christopher Benjamin Perhne, David Joseph Scott, Timothy Bewley Shelton, Robert Lee Teaster, Bobby Gene Tipton, Raphia Gene Tipton, Jesse Charles White, Hobert Wilson Jr., Walter Franklin Burkett, Rebecca Sue Mashburn, Victoria Elaine Seagroves and Ginger Dawn Tipton.
Contact information can be given to Sharon Ritchie Slagle by calling 743-0890 or e-mailing her at [email protected] More information can be found at the Facebook group “Unicoi County High School Class of 1990.”

Roe staff sets Unicoi County sessions

The staff of U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, will hold office hours in Unicoi County.
The sessions will be at the Unicoi County Courthouse from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 8, and Tuesday, June 22. Roe’s staff will be available to assist First District constituents.
“While there are many important issues to address in Washington, the real work of a congressional office is done in the district and that’s where I have focused a lot of my time and energy,” Roe said.
Some of the ways Roe’s district offices can be of assistance:
• Senior citizens: Social Security and disability;
• Students: Financial aid, entrance to U.S. service academies;
• Veterans: VA claims and military service problems;
• Small business: SBA loan applications, technical assistance and interpretation of federal regulations;
• Home buyers: FMHA, FHA and VA home loan application problems;
• Local governments: Disaster assistance, regulation compliance and federal grant applicatio

Monroe picnic set for June 5 in Erwin

The Harmon and Mary Monroe Foundation will host its annual barbecue picnic featuring a special performance by Tomahawk Saturday, June 5.
The event will be held at Fishery Park in Erwin from 5-7:30 p.m. and will also include a barbecue dinner from Pratt’s Restaurant, fun, fellowship and celebration and door prizes.
Those who have attended in the past should note the change of venue. Traditionally, the annual event was held at GrandView Ranch in Limestone Cove, but this year the event has moved to Fishery Park in Erwin.
Tickets are $15 per person, $10 per child under the age of 12. Tickets may be purchased at The Erwin Record in downtown Erwin, Keesecker Appliance, Clinchfield Federal Credit Union and the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce.
All proceeds and donations will benefit The Monroe Foundation, which provides scholarships for students entering the health-care field and provides interest-free loans to employees of Unicoi County Memorial Hospital who wish to further their education.
Fishery Park is located off Exit 36 of Interstate 26

Auxiliary to sell poppies Saturday

The Unaka Unit 25 American Legion Auxiliary will distribute poppies Saturday, May 22, at the Unicoi Walmart from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Donations will be used to purchase gifts for veterans who are residents at Unicoi County health-care facilities. The auxiliary is also accepting donations of used cell phones. Monies received from the sale of the cell phones will be used to purchase Global Phone Cards for soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Body discovered at I-26 overlook

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is en route to Unicoi County to assist in an investigation into the death of a man discovered Friday morning at an overlook along Interstate 26.
Reporters with The Erwin Record are on the scene now and can confirm that the body of man was found by a traveler who stopped at the scenic overlook. That person called 911, and the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department began the investigation.
The overlook, near Mile Marker 53, has been shut down to the public while the investigation continues.

Greene County history to be topic

The Unicoi County Historical Society will meet on Monday, May 17, 2010, in the Erwin Town Hall at 7 p.m.
Earl Fletcher will present a program on “Green County History Through the Nathaniel Greene Museum.” Fletcher is director of the museum, a retired teacher and a lifelong historian.
The meeting is open to the public. Annual membership is $10. For information, call (423) 735-0272.

Church to have booth at festival

The Unicoi Church of God will have a booth at the Wayne Scott Strawberry Festival in Unicoi on May 15, 2010.
The booth will have desserts, baked goods, popcorn, water and soft drinks. In addition, the church will be collecting non-perishable food items for its Food Distribution Program, which helps people in need in our own community.
For each donation, a small token of the church’s appreciation will be given, and the donor’s name will be entered in a drawing for two tickets to see the Chuck Wagon Gang at Unicoi County High School on May 28.

Military Officers set annual dinner

The Mountain Empire Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America will hold its annual dinner meeting at Ridgefields Country Club in Kingsport, Tenn., on Saturday, May 15, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Please call (423) 348-6274 for information and to confirm attendance for planning purposes.

Resource Center to host meeting

The Democrat Resource Center in Johnson City will host a meeting on behalf of Organizing for America on Saturday, May 15, 2010, at noon.
The resource center is on North Roan Street across the parking lot from Hooters, behind Walgreen’s in the office complex on the very end.
For additional information, call 423-278-4282

Summer school registration under way

Registration for Unicoi County Schools 2010 Summer School Program has begun.
The summer session will be from June 1-25. Sessions will run from 8 a.m.-noon each day. No transportation will be provided.
Classes for students in grades rising kindergarten through sixth will be held at Love Chapel Elementary. Classes for students in credit recovery will take place at Unicoi County High School.
Registration forms are now available at all schools. Parents are encouraged to register their child before May 18 for planning purposes.
Registration for credit recovery and Gateway Algebra tutoring classes will be available in the guidance department at Unicoi County High School.
For more information about Summer School, call your child’s principal or Chris Bogart, supervisor of special education and curriculum, at 743-1611.

Benefit to feature Chuck Wagon Gang

First Tennessee Human Resource Agency’s Adult Day Services is excited to announce The Chuck Wagon Gang will perform at their annual benefit concert. Along with the legendary gospel group, there will be special performances by The Brotherhood Quartet and Jessica Nixon. 
This event will be on Friday, May 28, 2010, at 6:30 p.m. at the Unicoi County High School Auditorium in Erwin.  Tickets can be purchased for $10 in advance at all locations of Bank of Tennessee and Carter County Bank or $12 at the door. Grilled hamburgers and hotdogs will also be available
The ADS program has provided quality care and enrichment activities to seniors with disabilities or advanced age for more than 28 years. The proceeds from this benefit concert will help buy a new van to transport day care participants to local shopping trips and monthly outings. Transportation and nutritious meals are provided each day.
Please call 423-928-8855 or visit www.fthra.org to find out more about Adult Day Services.

Erwin sets insecticide spraying plans

The Town of Erwin will be spraying insecticide each day during the month of May, and three days each week during the month of June.
Signs are posted at the Linear Trail to let those using the trail know which days the spraying will be done there.
If a spray date is rained out, the spraying will be done the following day.
Spraying will also be done at Fishery Park and the Little League field.
For more information, call Carroll Mumpower at 743-6231.

UCGUD hosts fire training class

Unicoi County Gas Utility District hosted a training class for local fire departments on April 21.
Tim Whitson, general manager of UCGUD, opened the meeting, discussing the natural gas industry and its future in 2010.
Ronnie Higgins, operations supervisor, reviewed the Unicoi County Gas Emergency Manual and procedures that UCGUD has in place during emergencies.
Most of the meeting centered on a discussion of who has what responsibility when natural gas is present during a fire.
There were 25 people in attendance, including Ed Herndon, Director of Emergency Management Council and representatives from Erwin, Unicoi, Limestone Cove and Southside Fire Departments.
“It’s important to maintain a good working relationship and have constant communication with local emergency personnel,” Whitson said.

State board certifies Ororke

Michel G. Ororke, Erwin, was one of 104 candidates recently certified by the Tennessee State Board of Accountancy.
Ororke passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination.
The Uniform CPA Examination is one of the nation’s most comprehensive examinations. To be eligible for the exam, candidates must have completed a minimum of 150 semester hours, which include a bachelor’s or higher degree from an academic institution recognized by the Tennessee State Board of Accountancy, with a minimum of 24 semester hours in accounting and 24 semester hours in general business subjects.

Older brother joins ranks in new version of “the Lynch mob”

By Lisa Whaley
for The Erwin Record
In their youth, they were known around Erwin as “the Lynch mob” — a group of rambunctious brothers growing up in a 1950s East Tennessee railroad town.
Today, with younger brother, Johnny Lynch, now mayor of the town of Unicoi and his other younger brother, Greg Lynch, mayor of Unicoi County, Ted Lynch Jr. has bowed to the inevitable and joined today’s new “Lynch” mob.
He’s going into politics.
“Normally, the younger ones follow the older ones,” Lynch said recently during an interview at his favorite Jonesborough hangout, Hardee’s. “This time, the older one is following the younger ones.”
Lynch is running as an independent for a seat on the Washington County Commission representing the 6th district. Election day is on Aug. 5.
He and his brothers have always been close, so it hardly seems unusual to him that they should all end up in the political arena. But Lynch also credits the pull to community service partly to their parents and partly to the town in which he grew up.
The sons of Texie and Ted Lynch Sr., Lynch said that he and his brothers were blessed with tremendous encouragement from home.
“My parents always supported us,” Lynch said. From a rock-and-roll band in the garage during a time when rock-and-roll was often viewed with suspicion to encouraging them to pursue their various dreams, Texie and Ted Lynch made sure their sons knew they could do anything.
That was true even when their inspiration came from the local cinema. “We lived two block from Main Street in town,” Lynch said. “And every Saturday we would got to the movies for 9 cents each.”
If it was a Western, the boys would come back and play cowboys and Indians. If it was a military flick, they came back as soldiers. They knew whatever they wanted to be, it was within their reach — at least for that Saturday afternoon. As they grew, they knew many more things were within reach for life.
More importantly, however, Lynch’s parents taught him to care about others. “We just had that kind of family,” he said. “And it was a different time. It was a railroad town filled with railroad people. You were really involved in things to help your community and the people in it.”
When the time came to leave home, Lynch chose to attend East Tennessee State University where he received a bachelor’s degree in social welfare. He married a Carter County girl and eventually settled in Washington County. He took a job as a probation and parole officer with the state, where he worked for 30 years before retiring in 2005.
While acknowledging that a career as a probation officer may not have been the easiest profession to choose, Lynch said he still enjoyed his years working throughout the nine-county region he covered — gaining intense satisfaction doing what he believed could make a difference in the lives he encountered.
“The way I looked at it, I had good people on probation,” Lynch said. “They just made a mistake.”
Still, when the time came to retire, “I had all intentions of fishing and playing golf,” Lynch said. But something else soon caught his attention. After serving on the Washington County Regional Planning Commission and the Jonesborough Planning Commission, Lynch began to see how working in politics could really be just another way of helping others.
He talked to his wife, Brenda. He talked to his brothers. “They said go for it,” Lynch said. And into the race he went.
Today, Lynch is philosophical about the question of the outcome of the election. “Win or lose, I’m gonna try,” he said in his characteristic, easy-going manner.
After all, he said, “this is still about helping people.”
“The tax burden is so high. We’ve got to buckle down. It will take a while, but people are hurting. We’ll just have to cut out the fat.”
Lynch said tries to be as straightforward as he can. And he always wants to be fair. He also has no patience for elected officials using their positions to further their own agendas or for ignoring the questions or needs of their constituents.
He just wants to be there to help Washington County through this tough economic time. And he is committed to serving a region he loves in whatever way he can.
That is a trait, he believes, that truly characterizes today’s “Lynch mob.”

Fundraiser to benefit history efforts

The Town of Unicoi History Committee will hold a fundraiser yard sale at The Sewing Connection, located next to Crackerbee’s, on Saturday, May 8.
Proceeds from the sale will go toward purchasing a video camera and computer software to film local residents sharing family stories and oral history.
The sale will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those willing to donate items to the sale can call Judi Hopson at 743-9052. Large donated items can be transported to the sale by the History Committee members.

Flower sale set for May 8

GFWC Johnson City Junior Monday Club will hold its annual spring flower sale on Saturday, May 8, from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Farmers Market on the corner of state of Franklin and South Roan Street in downtown Johnson City.
The sale is in time for Mother’s Day this year and in addition to many flower choices, the club will have vegetables and herbs just in time for garden planting.