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WMUF/WLZK News                                                                          

From News Director Tim Alsobrooks, Assistant and Weekend News Director Shannon McFarlin


Paris Man Arrested for Sex Registry Violation

Paris, Tenn.- A Paris man was arrested for violation of the sex offender registry after it was determined by the Henry County Sheriff's Office that he had been convicted of aggravated criminal sexual assault involving a minor in Chicago and that when he moved to Henry County, he did not report the offense to authorities. Arrested was Michael Oliver, age 49 of 901 E. Blythe St., Paris. A bond of $10,000 was set for him.


Criminal Impersonation, No License Leads to Arrest

Paris, Tenn.-A Buchanan man was arrested on two charges after he was allegedly caught driving without a license and lying about his identity to a police officer.

Sheriff’s Deputy Cpl. Forrest Kemp first spotted Benny Parker, age 50, of 400 Buchanan Resort Rd. driving on East Antioch Rd., then witnessed him driving off at a high rate of speed onto Highway 79N.

When Kemp stopped Parker’s vehicle, Parker first said he did not have his license with him and when the dispatcher ran his social security number through the system, there was no listing for him in the state. Parker then told Kemp that the license was from Michigan and gave his name as Randy William, according to Kemp. Again, the dispatch revealed no listing under that name and date of birth in Michigan.

While Parker was being booked into jail, he gave his name as Benny Parker. According to Kemp’s report, a check by dispatch revealed that his license in Georgia had been suspended and there was an outstanding warrant for him in Georgia for violation of probation on a marijuana possession charge.

According to Kemp, Georgia authorities did not want to extradite him on the charge. Kemp arrested him for driving on a suspended license and criminal impersonation.


Williams Sausage Expands Union City Plant; Adds Jobs

Nashville, Tenn.- Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty, along with Williams Sausage Company officials announced today the company will add 148 new jobs to its manufacturing facility on Old Troy-Hickman Road in Union City. Williams Sausage, an established food manufacturer, will create 148 jobs and invest $3 million at its Obion County headquarters.

“I want to thank Williams Sausage for its continued investment in Tennessee and the new jobscreated in Obion County,” Haslam said. “Companies like Williams Sausage highlight the importance of existing industries in creating jobs and help us toward our goal of becoming the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

“Tennessee’s unique business advantages allow companies with deep ties to not only grow but thrive,”  Hagerty said. “With their investment, Williams Sausage Company is building on more than fifty years of success in Tennessee as it remains an important and growing employer of our high quality workforce.”

“Williams Sausage is excited to announce the expansion of our plant in Union City, Tenn. and the addition of 150 new jobs over the next two years. In these tough economic times, we consider ourselves very fortunate and are thankful for the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development’s assistance in this major expansion of our business,” Williams Sausage President Roger Williams said. “We don’t take it for granted that we are based in a state with a very business friendly environment. Without this ongoing support, we would find it very difficult to make these investments in our business.”

“Williams Sausage Company is a great asset to Obion County and we are very excited about the announcement of their expansion,” Mayor of Obion County, Bennie McGuire said. “We look forward to working with Williams Sausage in the future.”

Williams Sausage Company is headquartered in Union City, Tenn. and began under the entrepreneurial spirit of Harold L. Williams in 1958. Since then, Williams Sausage Company has grown from one employee to 414 by expanding its distribution and adding new products. For more information on Williams Sausage Company, please visit www.williams-sausage.com.

Possession, Burglary Arrests Made

Paris, Tenn.-Henry County High School School Resource Officer Deputy Buford Taylor arrested Seth Crouch, age 19, of 1008 Brown St., Paris, for simple possession at the high school. A bond of $1,000 was set.

In another incident, sheriff’s deputies arrested Shawn Mullins of 418 Harrison Lane of Paris for aggravated burglary, possession of a Legend drug and theft of property over $1,000. A bond of $10,000 was set.

WBFF Parade to Air Sunday

Remember the re-broadcast of the World’s Biggest Fish Fry parade will again be shown on WLJT-TV at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. WLJT is the local public broadcasting channel and can be found on Channel 11.


Valleywood Drainage Project Plan discussed at City Commission

Timetable Not Set in Stone, but prelimary work is underway

Paris, Tenn.- A couple of citizens were on hand at Thursday night’s Paris City Commission meeting to check with the commission on the progress of the Valleywood Drainage Project.

Ray Hooper, who lives in the area, presented commissioners with a poster board full of pictures of flooding that occurred around his home when the torrential rains came down last Saturday.

The issue is that development over the years has caused more runoff and hence more soil erosion in the area, and city manager Carl Holder said it is undermining the root system of the trees along the creek and causing them to fall in addition to causing flooding concerns during heavy rain events.

Holder presented a plan to the commission and audience about what recommendations he feels will be coming from the engineer who is studying the project.

The plan includes cutting most of the current trees down, which are mostly large oaks, and having the bank area laid back and filled with sod grass, which will be able to absorb and hold more water during heavy rains. Holder said they will then add younger trees with deeper root systems in hopes to stabilize the bank and help stop the erosion. He also advised a drainage easement will be requested from property owners in the area.

The timetable for completion is a bit up in the air. The engineer has had some family emergencies, and a very wet spring has pushed things back a bit. Plans are to at least get numbers in the new budget which starts July first and proceed as quickly as they can on the issue.

In other business, the commission passed a resolution establishing a policy regarding charges for cost of compliance with the open records statute. This was discussed in detail last month where state statute requires in order to charge for copies of documents citizens request to meet the open records law a municipality must have a written policy.

The commission had asked Holder to see what the state’s rate was and let them adopt that. The rate will be 15 cents for a black and white copy and 50 cents per color copy.

Retail Sales Continue to Dip in City Compared to Last Year
Budget Continues to Be on Track as New Fiscal Year Draws Near

Paris, Tenn.- City Finance Director Kim Foster told the Paris City Commission on Thursday night that retail sales in February were down from February of 2012 but up slightly from January of 2013. She said we are on track with the budget as revenues and expenditure are basically right in line for this far into the budget year.

City Manger Carl Holder said both the city and county have seen some disappointing sales tax numbers the last 8-9 months overall, especially since the first of the year. He advised it might be time to look at some of the possible issues and find ways to possibly change the trend.

Commissioner Gayle Griffith said part of the reason may be that last year in February, March, and April, it was warm and drier, while this late winter and early spring has been cool and very wet, which might be causing people to not get out and spend money as much. Mayor Sam Tharpe asked Holder and Foster to look and see if they can find some deeper issues and report to the board later on.

City Commission Approves Resolution On Joint Purchasing

Paris, Tenn.- More from Thursday night’s Paris City Commission meeting: the commission approve a resolution that lays out a basic memorandum of understanding between the city and the county for participation and joint purchases of contracts.

The state comptroller’s office recommends that local government entities who regularly joint purchase or utilize contracts of other units have a joint resolution authorizing such actions. Holder said that the city and county work together on many things to save money or purchase off each other’s contract and basically this resolution is an agreement to continue to do so whenever necessary or beneficial.

Paris Woman Arrested After Pound of Marijuana Found

Henry County Sheriff's deputies Jamie Myrick and Cpl. Lance Perry examine marijuana found in the search with Perry's K-9 Casey. (Sheriff's Office photo).


Paris, Tenn.-A Paris woman was arrested after the Metro Crime Unit found a pound of marijuana inside a McSwain Street home.

Natasha Cervantes, 29, 1014 McSwain St., was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver following the search by officers of a residence at 1010 McSwain. Cervantes was at the 1010 McSwain residence at the time of the search and according to officers, claimed ownership of the marijuana.

Involved in the search were officers with the Paris Police Department, Henry County Sheriff's office, and the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole. They were assisted by Cpl. Lance Perry's K-9 Casey of the sheriff's office.

Cervantes' bond was set at $10,000 and she is set to appear in General Sessions Court May 16.


State Survey Seeks Public Input on Paris Landing

View of the Ned McWherter bridge from Paris Landing State Park. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Nashville, Tenn.-The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced a new survey asking for community input regarding the amenities at Paris Landing State Park. The survey is specifically designed for overall park visitors -- including campers, inn or cabin guests, marina visitors, etc. We are asking for your assistance in helping TDEC get the word out about this particular survey.

Tennessee State Parks is interested in finding out what park visitors think about Paris Landing State Park's current condition, in addition to their thoughts on amenities, recreation activities and the various services they seek when selecting a park to visit. The survey will be available beginning today through May 15, and can be accessed by visiting https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ParisLanding.

The survey contains up to 23 questions, taking approximately 15 minutes to complete. All responses are anonymous and will be used to potentially make changes at Paris Landing or at other state parks -- helping us deliver a better product and elevating our level of customer service.

It is requested that only customers that fit the definition of a park visitor or user of its various facilities complete the survey. Please direct any questions regarding the survey to Jeni Lind Brinkman at 931-432-7614 or JeniLind.Brinkman@tn.gov.

Benefit for Shawn Gafford Set for Saturday

Paris, Tenn.-A benefit for Shawn Gafford, who was critically injured last weekend, will be held at noon May 4 at the Oakland Volunteer Fire Department.

Gafford is a patient at Vanderbilt Medical Center following a paddle boat accident in which he nearly drowned. Organizers are holding the benefit for he and his family to help with costly medical expenses.

Hamburgers, hot dogs, ribeye sandwiches, chips, drinks will be served. Organizers are asking $5 for a hamburger or hot dog plate or $8 for a ribeye plate. Donations also will be accepted.

Work on Washed Out Basement Begins

Paris, Tenn.-Workers have begun buttressing the basement at 901 E. Blythe Street that was washed out during Saturday night's severe storms. Homeowners had been remodeling the house when the storm severely damaged their basement. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Luminarias Currently on Sale for Henry County Relay For Life
Relay For Life Set for June 14th at Fairgrounds

Paris, Tenn.- Henry County Relay for Life is set for Friday evening June 14 at the Henry County Fairgrounds and there are lots of events and activities already going on to prep for the big night.

Relay for Life Luminarias are currently on sale at several local businesses and forms are available at Farm Bureau or from any Relay for Life Committee or Team Member. The Luminarias are the bags that will light the track at the June 14th event of Relay for Life and can be purchased in honor or memory of someone touched by cancer for only $5 each. For more information on Luminarias call Dana Allen, Relay for Life Chair at 336-3719 or Pat Webb Luminaria Chair at 445-2055.

Henry County Relay For Life Seeks Cancer Survivors to Register

Complete Form to Assure Access to Upcoming Events

Paris, Tenn.- The Relay for Life Survivor Search 2013 is ongoing currently as well. If you are a cancer survivor Relay for Life asks you to let them know. By completing the form as a survivor you will get access to all the latest information including the Survivor Dinner which is set for June 8th. For more information or to obtain a form call Survivorship Chair Alonna Tosh at 731-676-4551 or Relay for Life Event Chair Dana Allen at 336-3719.

Dana Relay Team to Host Car and Bike Show May 11

Paris, Tenn.- The Dana Corporation Team for Henry County Relay for Life will host a Car and Bike Show on Saturday May 11th in the Dana parking lot across from the National Guard Armory in Paris. The event will run from 8am to 3pm and trophies for 1st thru 3rd place and survivors choice will be handed out.

All cars and bikes are welcome to enter and pre-registration cost is $20 with the registration on May 11 being $25. Free Dash Plaques will be given out for the first 50 entries.

On the day of the event, registration will start at 8 am and go until 11 am, with judging being from 11-2 and awards presented at 3 pm. There will be food and beverages on sale as well. For more information call 731-415-0997. Admission for spectators is free.

Paris City Commission May Meeting Set for Thursday at 6pm

Paris, Tenn.- The Paris City Commission will meet in regular session Thursday at 6pm at the city hall courtroom. The meeting will start with a public hearing on two rezoning requests: one for 812 East Wood Street and the other for Mineral Wells Avenue. Items on the agenda for Thursday evening include joint resolution between the city and county to encourage joint participation and purchasing practices, discussion of debt obligation on BPU bond issue, discussion of TDOT purchase of city property, and more. The meeting is open to the public.

T-Shirts Being Sold as Fundrasier for Paris Native Will Gray

Paris, Tenn.- Paris native Will Gray has been fighting an aggressive form of cancer over the last 7 months and friends have decided to sell t-shirts and sell them as a fundraiser to help Will and his wife with medical expenses. They are currently taking orders for the shirts which are $16 and anyone who would like to have it shipped to them from out of town they will ship them for $5.

Sizes available are Youth Small-Youth XL and Adult Small- Adult 4X. Donations are also being accepted to help Will Gray. All orders on T-shirts must be paid by Wednesday May 8th. For more information contact Holly Buchanan at 270-394-3654 or visit the website www.goteamgray.com.

Tomorrow's Hope Spring Fling Rescheduled for June 1st

Rainy Weather Expected This Weekend, Decision Made to Reschedule

Paris, Tenn.- The forecast for more rain over most of the upcoming weekend has prompted Tomorrow’s Hope Pregnancy Medical Clinic to postponed and reschedule their annual Spring Fling. The event was set for this Saturday along the court square area, but they have decided to reschedule it for Saturday June 1st because of a forecast that calls for rain Friday and Saturday. For more information on the event call 642-0600.

Cottage Grove School Annual Recitation Set for Thursday Evening

Cottage Grove, Tenn.- The Cottage Grove School invites everyone to its Annual Recitation Program on Thursday May 2nd at 6:30pm. They will serve refreshments. The Cottage Grove School is now accepting applications in grades 1-4 for the 2013-14 school year. For more information call 782-3711 or 336-4478.

Betsy Ross Foundation Pledges $100,000 Donation to UT-Martin 

Foundation Begun by Late Dave Wilcox of Paris for His Wife

John Luthi (center), UT Martin rodeo coach, accepts a $100,000 pledge to the university’s rodeo teams from Ruth Wilcox Conroy of the Betsy Ross Foundation. Conroy is foundation secretary and the youngest daughter of the late Dave Wilcox, founder and board chairman of Allegro Fine Foods in Paris, Tenn. Also pictured (l to r) are David Pruitt, public relations officer for the UT Martin Rodeo Booster Club; Dr. Tom Rakes, UT Martin chancellor; and John Fuqua, Allegro president. (UT-Martin photo).

Martin, Tenn. –The University of Tennessee at Martin rodeo received a    $100,000 pledge to the university’s rodeo teams from the Betsy Ross Foundation, established by the late Dave Wilcox, founder and board chairman of Allegro Fine Foods in Paris.

This donation is the largest gift ever given to the rodeo in UT Martin history. The Betsy Ross Foundation presented a check for the Wilcox Family Rodeo Scholarship, which will annually give $20,000 for scholarships over a five-year span.

Wilcox was a familiar figure in Paris, known not only for being an entrepreneur, but through his love of rodeo and the charitable foundation which helped many UT Martin rodeo team members.  

Wilcox passed away in 2011, and founded and was board chairman of Allegro Fine Foods in Paris. He established the Betsy Ross Foundation in 1987. The foundation, named in memory of his late wife, helped send Tennessee and Kentucky residents to college over the last quarter-century.

 “We are so fortunate to have community leaders supporting our rodeo program,” UT Martin Chancellor Tom Rakes said. “This gift is a major benefit for our riders for years to come.”


According to a press release from UT-Martin, the chairperson of the foundation is Julie Williams, Dave’s middle daughter, who saw her own daughter Catlin attend UT Martin. The secretary is Ruth Conroy, Dave’s youngest daughter who attended UT Martin in the 1980s. The board also includes Mary Lou Reed (Dave’s oldest daughter), John Fuqua (president of Allegro) and Thomas Harrison (executive vice president of Allegro, UT Martin graduate).


Paris Woman Arrested for Child Abuse, Neglect

Paris, Tenn.-Paris Police arrested Crystal Wofford, 27, 1450 N. Market St., on a charge of aggravated child abuse and neglect April 30. Investigator Ricky Watson said the arrest stems from her giving birth to a child that tested positive for narcotics.

George Jones Funeral Open to Public, to be Televised

Nashville, Tenn.-The funeral for Country Music Legend George Jones will be open to the public. A public memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Grand Ole Opry House at 2804 Opryland Drive in Nashville.

“George would have wanted his fans and friends everywhere to be able to come and pay their respects along with his family,” according to Jones’ publicist Kirt Webster.

Jones’ wife of 30 years, Nancy, said in a statement, “Thanks to George’s friends, fans and loved ones for the outpouring of love at this terrible time. I love you all.”

A private visitation for Jones’ friends, family and fellow artists will take place Wednesday evening at an undisclosed location. Those who fall into one of the designated groups are asked to call 615-777-6995, ext. 230, for details.

The funeral will be televised on Nashville television stations Channel 4 and 5, as well as the GAC network.

Ky. Lake/Lake Barkley Rank #12 in Bassmaster Top 100

Bald Eagle flying over Kentucky Lake. (David Dudley photo).

Buchanan, Tenn.- The May issue of Bassmasters Magazine which hits news stands this week has ranked the top100 bass fisheries in the country and Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkely come in at number 12 in that list.

The list is compiled using state wildlife agencies data such as catch rate and shock data and then notes from tournament directors across the Bassmaster circuit. They then welcomed the Elite Series professional writers in to compile the list.

Lake St. Clair in Michigan came in as the number one bass fishery according to the article followed by Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas and Clear Lake in California as the top three.

Chickamauga Lake, also in the volunteer state, ranked number 7 on the list, jumping up from 61st in the 2012 top 100. The full list can be viewed in the article or visiting bassmaster.com/top100.

Wet Weather Causes Drop in Fish Fry Numbers
Still Serve over 5K Fish Plates during annual event

Paris, Tenn.- The 60th Annual World’s Biggest Fish Fry concluded Sunday and this year’s wet weather did impact some of the numbers. Paris Henry County Jaycee Loria Plunk released numbers that show fish plates served at the fish tent Wednesday thru Saturday were down about 1,370 compared to last year. Even so, over 5,000 people bought a fish plate this year.

Heavy rains Friday and Saturday caused lighter crowds not only at the fish tent but also for the last two nights of the IPRA Rodeo and the carnival as well. The rodeo attendance overall was down slightly over 1100 from last year. The carnival was down as well, but did have a good crowd on Sunday for its last day.

Rains on Saturday completely washed out the catfish races and caused the Small Fry Parade to be rescheduled for this coming Sunday May 3rd at 2pm.

The Paris Henry County Jaycees thank all who come and supported the fish fry once again this year and the numerous volunteers who came out to work with them at the many events. They also would like to thank corporate sponsors Mobile Nation, TransCanada, Peppers Auotmotive, and AT and T, plus the many local sponsors who help make the events possible as well. Plans for the 61st annual World’s Biggest Fish Fry will get under way later this summer.

TBI Releases Crime Report for 2012

Nashville- The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released a "Crime in Tennessee 2012" report that showed a 2.8% decrease in overall crimes reported in the Volunteer state compared to 2011.

This is the third year in a row reported offences decreased when compared to the previous year. For the 2012 calendar year, over 566,601 group A offenses were reported compared to over 583,000 in 2011. The largest majority of crimes reported were committed against property at more than 57%, which is a decrease of 5.8% from the previous year.

Crimes against persons also decreased nearly 1%, while crimes against society increased over 6%. With an estimated population of 6.4 million people, Tennessee has seen crime drop a total of approximately 3.5% since 2010. Some statistics from the report said the number of murders increased by 1.5% marking the 2nd year in a row the number of homicides increased. DUI arrests for 2012 number over 29K which is an increase from 2011 and 162 juveniles were arrested for DUI in 2012, also an increase from the previous year.

Domestic violence offences made up more than 51% of all crimes against persons and the reported number of aggravated assaults increased by almost 8%. The full report can be viewed by logging onto the TBI website and clicking the Statistical Analysis Center. Up to date 2012 stats can be accessed at tncrimeonline.com

Gafford Still in Critical Condition

Benefit Planned for Saturday

A sign outside the Oakland Volunteer Fire Department gives well wishes for Shawn Gafford. (Oakland VFD photo).

Paris, Tenn.-Nineteen-year-old Shawn Gafford of rural Paris is still listed in critical condition at Vanderbilt Medical Center after he was pulled from a pond at 920 County Home Rd. over the weekend. Gafford reportedly stayed underwater for several minutes.

Emergency crews were called to the pond and Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew and his daughter Ashley arrived on scene quickly after the call came in at 7:41pm Sunday evening. Sheriff Belew and Ashley, who is a trained lifeguard, along with a diver from the Henry County Rescue Squad, entered the water and began searching for Gafford. Sheriff Belew found him in about 8 foot deep water and pulled him to the shore. Paramedics immediately began life saving procedures and Gafford was taken by EMS to Henry County Medical Center and life flighted to Vanderbilt.

Oakland Fire Department Assistant Chief Michael Canady said Gafford is a volunteer firefighter with the department. Canady said a benefit is being planned for Gafford on Saturday and details will be released when they are finalized.

Paris Police Make Drug Arrest, Sheriff's Office Investigates Thefts

Paris, Tenn.- Cpl. Jeramye Whitaker of the Paris Police Department arrested Gerald E. Dolberry, age 25, of 615 Mandalay Road after a traffic stop Monday. The report stated that K-9 Herrum alerted on the vehicle after it was stopped by police for a seat belt violation.

Dolberry admitted it ‘was all his’ and explained the gun and marijuana was his to officers. A search of the vehicle found marijuana bagged for possible resale, hydrocodone, and a pistol. Dolberry was charged with simple possession of schedule three, possession of schedule six with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, and possession of a handgun during the commission of a felony. $125 was seized from Dolberry and he was placed on $20K bond.

The Henry County Sheriff’s Office received some reports of thefts from over the last couple days. A 1990 Dodge truck, valued at $1K was stolen from TN Metals on highway 641N. The report stated it was taken from the lot around 1am Monday and was last seen heading north on highway 641. Three hundred dollars in damage was done to the gate when the suspect rammed it with the vehicle, police continue to investigate the incident.

Deputy Blake Jenkins took a report from a woman on highway 119 about a man she met on the internet stealing items from her. The report said the man, with the name Brian Allen McGerrity, no known address, was living with the victim and when she returned home several items were missing. Items taken included a $500 Cannon Camera, $138 in cash and a blank check from her checkbook. She later found out from her bank that McGerrity had forged her name and cashed the check for $500. Investigation in the case is continuing.

Donations Needed For Jackson Drive Residents 

Paris, Tenn.- The flooding that occurred Saturday evening caused five families in the Jackson Drive trailer court to lose almost everything they owned. Jayme Freburg is asking the community for help gathering donations for these families as they try to recover from the flood. Clothing is the most important thing needed for all families with adults and children ranging in age from 4 to 18. An assortment of boys and girls clothes are needed.

All the appliances were destroyed in the floodwaters as well, so donations of unused washers, dryers, fridges, and deep freezers are also welcome along with furniture, mattresses, and other household items. For more information on helping these families displaced by the flood contact Freburg at 336-8949.

Patriots Lose Pitcher's Duel to Dickson County

Paris, Tenn.- Henry County lost a pitchers duel to Dickson County on the diamond Monday night. The Patriots fell 3-0 to the Cougars in a well played ballgame on both sides. It was the last game of the regular season and now the Patriots will compete in the district tournament beginning Friday night at Clarksville High.

HCHS Track Competes in Paducah

Paris, Tenn.- Four distance runners on the Henry County High School Track team traveled to Paducah to race in wet and windy weather on Saturday in the 53rd annual Paducah Tilghman High School Track and Field Invitational. Sophomore Kaity Beth James set personal records in both her races finishing the 1600 meter run 2nd overall for the females at a time of 5:50 and 3rd overall in the 3200 meters with a time of 13:07.

Savannah Rose set a personal record in the 800 meter finishing 4th overall with a time of 2:47. She also came in 5th overall in the 1600 meter with a time of 6:09.

In boys competition freshman Javan Winders came in 1st place overall in the 1600 meter run with a time of 4:32 and Harrison Robbins, also a freshman on the team finished 12th overall in the 1600 with a time of 5:25. Both also competed well in the 3200 meter run with Javan Winders finishing 2nd overall at 10:20 and Harrison Robbins came in 9th overall with a  time of 12:08.

Javan Winders is currently ranked the #1 freshman in the state right now in the 1600 and 3200 meters and ranked 3rd in the state in the 800 meters, according to Milesplits USA which covers national high school track and field. The track team will compete in Union City on Thursday at the Union City Rotary Relays.

Lake Area Experiencing Flooded Conditions

Breakers Marina to be Closed this Weekend

Buchanan, Tenn.-The piers at the Paris Landing State Park marina are underwater and some roadways through the park are closed due to the recent heavy rainfalls, especially the seven-inch rain that fell Saturday. That didn't deter fishermen, however, as the fish were biting in the Paris Landing area over the weekend. The Breakers Marina has announced it will be closed this weekend, due to high water at its facility. Top photo shows the pier area underwater at Paris Landing State Park, while bottom photo shows one of the closed roadways. (Shannon McFarlin photos).

Cherry Jones to Return to Broadway

A scene from "The Glass Menagerie" during its Cambridge, Mass. production during the winter. Cherry Jones is second from left. (American Repertory Theater photo).

New York City, New York--The American Repertory Theater’s recent production of “The Glass Menagerie,” starring the Tony Award-winning actress Cherry Jones of Paris as Amanda Wingfield and Zachary Quinto as her son Tom, will transfer to Broadway in September for a 17-week run. The show’s New York producers have confirmed the play's Broadway run.

This revival of the Tennessee Williams play has received strong critical acclaim during its wintertime run at the theater in Cambridge, Mass, with glowing reviews in The New York Times, Boston Herald and New York magazine, among others.

The production, directed by the Tony winner John Tiffany (“Once”), will begin preview performances on Sept. 5 at a Shubert theater to be announced later; opening night is set for Sept. 26, and the run is scheduled through early January 2014.

Returning with  Jones and Mr. Quinto (who plays Spock in the current “Star Trek” film franchise) will be the Tony nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger (“Peter and the Starcatcher”) as Laura and Brian J. Smith as Jim, the gentleman caller.

Jones has received two Tony Awards for Best Actress as well as an Emmy for her work in the television show '24'.

Small Fry Parade Rescheduled to Sunday

Paris, Tenn.-The World's Biggest Fish Fry Small Fry parade has been rescheduled again to 2 p.m. Sunday in downtown Paris. The parade was washed out last weekend and had been rescheduled for Saturday morning, but due to the Tomorrow's Hope walkathon that will be held in downtown Paris at that time, Small Fry parade organizers decided to reschedule for Sunday.

FUMC Hosts Spring Gathering

Paris, Tenn.-The annual Spring Gathering luncheon will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Paris from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, May 3. On the menu is chicken casserole, Methodist green beans, salad, rolls, dessert, all for $8. Casseroles also will be for sale. There also will be a bake and plant sale. For take out and deliver call 642-4764.

Tickets are available at the church, Perkins Drugs, Merison's and from church members.

Roy Herron to Speak at Bethel Commencement

McKenzie, TN – Roy Herron, former legislator and current Chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, will deliver the Commencement address at Bethel University’s spring 2013 Commencement. Bethel’s Commencement ceremonies will be this Saturday, May 4, at 10 a.m., in the school’s Rosemary and Harry Crisp II Arena on Wildcat Lane on the McKenzie campus.

Roy Herron graduated from UT-Martin with highest honors, studied New Testament and Ethics in Scotland as a Rotary Scholar, then became one of Vanderbilt University’s first two joint Divinity and Law graduates. He worked part-time as a minister and began making his living as a country lawyer and small businessman.

He began public service by working on the staffs of his Dresden neighbor, then-Speaker Ned McWherter, and then-Congressman Al Gore when he ran for the U.S. Senate. He was elected to Governor Ned McWherter’s Tennessee House seat, and served there and then in the Tennessee Senate where his colleagues elected him Democratic Floor Leader and Democratic Caucus Chair.

In January 2013, Herron concluded his service in the Tennessee Senate and was elected Chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party.

Seating for Commencement will begin at 9 a.m. and the processional lineup (for both students and faculty) will also be at 9 a.m. For more information about Bethel University’s spring 2013 Commencement, contact Myra Carlock at 731-352-4090 or at carlockm@bethelu.edu.

Pre-Registration Deadline for Rhea 5K, One Mile Run is Friday

Paris, Tenn.-The W.G. Rhea School PTO is hosting the third annual 5K and 1 mile fun run at the school on Saturday, May 11.  The event has a 7:30 am sign in / registration. The 5K starts at 8 a.m. and the one mile start is at 8:45 a.m. 

Pre-Registration forms can be accessed at:
$15 pre-registration and $20 Day of Race (Pre-registration must be completed by May 3. Only those who pre-register will be guaranteed a t-shirt.)

All children under 12, accompanied by a participating adult, will be free of charge. T-Shirts may be purchased for children at an additional charge of $10 per shirt.


News Channel 5 Meteorologist Charlie Neese to Visit Paris
Set to Host Tornado Safety Informative Session at Maplewood Baptist Church

Nashville, Tenn.- News Channel 5 Meteorologist Charlie Neese will be in Paris Wednesday May 8th presenting a program called “Tornado Safe, Surviving Nature’s Most Violent Storm.”  Although Neese was raised in Nashville, his parents and grandparents are from Paris.

The event is presented by the Paris Board of Public Utilities and will be held at the Maplewood Baptist Church on Wednesday May 8th at 7pm. Charlie will discus what to do during a tornado event in our area and the event is free for the public.

In just the last five years 50 tornadoes have touched down within 50 miles of the Paris city limits. For more information call Maplewood Baptist Church at 642-2022 or visit www.charlieneese.com.

County Unemployment Rates Released
Rates for All Counties in Our Listening Area 10% or Higher

Paris, Tenn.- County Unemployment numbers came out late last week and every county in our listening area continues to be plagued by 10% or higher unemployment rates.

County currently is ranked 90 of 95 counties for the highest rate, coming in at 12.3% for March up a tenth of a percent from February and up 1.7% from March 2012. Numbers suggest that over 1700 Carroll Countians were looking for work in March. The highest unemployment rate in the state once again belonged to Scott County at 17.2%.

Henry County’s March unemployment rate came in at 10.8% equating to 1,470 of Henry County’s 13,660 workers looking for a job in March. That number is down from 11.0% in February but up from March 2012 when the rate was at 9.7%.

Other unemployment rates for counties in our listening area were Houston County at 10.1%, Stewart County at 10.2%, Benton County at 10.6%, and Weakley County at 11.2% for the month of March.

Reminder: Titans Caravan to Be at Clifty Farms Offices Tuesday

Paris, Tenn.- The 2013 Academy Sports and Outdoors Titans Caravan will be in Paris Tuesday April 30th at 3pm at the main offices of Clifty Farms Country Hams on highway 641 S. The public is invited to meet and greet Titans players Akeem Ayers and Jurrell Casey along with the “voice of the Titans” Mike Keith and mascot T-Rac. The Titans caravan will stop at 22 schools during the caravan stops in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama.

Flooding Prompts Refuge Closures

Morris Rd. near Puryear is one of several roads throughout the county that have sections that have been washed out following Saturday night's heavy rainfall. (Stephanie Gallimore Zuckschwerdt photo).

Paris, Tenn.-Recent intense rainfall paired with flooding river conditions has caused the temporary closure of Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge. For safety reasons, the refuge will remain closed until flood waters have receded and road damage assessed and repaired. 

However, two areas will remain open on Cross Creeks at this time. Upper South Cross Creeks Boat Ramp on Highway 49, as well as the boat ramp on Elk Reservoir off Highway 233 will remain open.

On the Big Sandy Unit, the BrittonFord Peninsula including the Britton Ford Hiking Trail is closed. Swayne Point Boat Ramp is closed, however the V.L. Childs Observation Deck remains open. On the Big SandyPeninsula the road leading to Pace Point is closed but the rest of the peninsula remains open.

On the Duck River Unit, the entire Duck River Bottoms will be closed at the main gate and at the entrance from Honey Point Ferry Road. Nix Landing Boat Ramp and the area between Ward Hill and Morgan Creek Boat Ramp is closed, however Morgan Creek Boat Ramp will remain open.

All of the Busseltown Unit will be closed at the main gate.

For an update on these temporary closures, please contact the refuge office at 731-642-2091.

Man Pulled from Pond In Critical Condition at Vanderbilt

Paris, Tenn.- A 19 year old Paris man is in critical, but stable, condition this morning after being pulled from a pond at 920 County Home Road after staying underwater for several minutes.

Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew and his daughter Ashley arrived on scene quickly after the call came in at 7:41pm Sunday evening about the man, Shawn Gafford, age 19 of Old Union Road, being underwater.

Sheriff Belew and Ashley, who is a trained lifeguard, along with a diver from the Henry County Rescue Squad, entered the water and began searching for Gafford. Sheriff Belew found him in about 8 foot deep water and pulled him to the shore.

Paramedics immediately began life saving procedures and Gafford was taken by EMS to Henry County Medical Center and life flighted to Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Sheriff Belew said that Gafford and two juveniles were in a boat in the pond fishing and the boat began to take on water. The two juveniles swam to shore and Gafford got in trouble and went under when the boat flipped over.

The water was really cold and in the deepest part was about 12-15 feet deep. Sheriff Belew credited quick response and great work by all on the scene helped to rescue Gafford.

Rotary Club Scholarships Awarded to Three HCHS Students

Savannah Rose, Conte Johnson, and Warren Newcomb received scholarships at Thursdays Paris Rotary Club meeting. Photo submitted by club.

Paris, Tenn.- At last week’s Paris Rotary Club meeting, three students (pictured above) from Henry County High School received some scholarships from the Rotary Club. The Dan Paschall award for $500 went to Conte Johnson. The Bill Caldwell Good Citizenship Scholarship winners were Savannah Rose and Warren Newcomb. Both of them received $1000. Also during the meeting, Joe Lankford at Henry County High School was recognized for his work with students and it was announced the Caldwell family had made a generous donation for next year’s scholarships.

Scenes From Saturday's Severe Storms

The view from The Huddle House on East Wood Street as water envelopes cars in the parking lot. (Photo by Jordan Holland).

Paris,Tenn.-Henry County ’s first responders were busy all night with calls about stranded cars and motorists needing rescue, wrecks, collapsed roads and other emergencies.

Dispatchers at the Henry County sheriff’s office and Paris Police received numerous calls beginning around 8 p.m. as the storm and intense rains intensified. Calls included reports of a car running off the road into a creek at Greer and Cooper Streets; the creek overflowing at Post Oak and White Oak Roads near the fairgrounds; East Antioch Rd.; a vehicle rollover on Hwy 79N near Richardson’s Body Shop; a house flooded with water on Jackson Dr.; a woman and her baby trapped inside a vehicle that was stranded in floodwaters on Lone Oak Rd.; a van that washed off a road on Caledonia Rd.; a tree fallen across the road on Hwy 641N near Whitlock; a vehicle off the road on Hwy 641N in floodwagters and another vehicle on Whitlock Rd. that was swept off the road.

According to dispatchers, first responders rescued numerous people from their vehicles and evacuatedmany more from local trailer parks that are located in low-lying areas. No injuries were reported from the evacuations, rescues or accidents.


This is a common sight today, as several roadways in the county were damaged and sections washed away. Angela Garner sent this photo in to us, as taken by the Boone family, of damage to East Antioch Rd.


Smith Street in Puryear experienced considerable flooding. (Holly Morgan photo).

The fairgrounds was flooded during the height of the storm. (Deb Barker photo).

Residents of the flooded Cherokee Plains Trailer Park were evacuated, as were residents of other trailer parks. (Deb Barker photo).


Heavy Rains, Severe Storm Cause Widespread Damage

Numerous rescues, evacuations, roads washed out overnight

Occupants of this vehicle escaped without injury after their car collapsed into a washed out section of road on Caledonia Rd. Saturday night. Robert Worrall said he and his brother were driving along Caledonia when the road just collapsed under them. (Robert Worrall photo).


Paris, Tenn.-The all-day downpours and severe thunderstorms Saturday caused widespread damage throughout Henry County. At least eight roads are washed out, numerous people had to be evacuated from several trailer parks and roadways are flooded throughout the county.

Henry County Rescue Squad Unit Director Deb Barker said the rescue squad was called out on several swift water rescues through the evening as seven inches or more of rain fell through the night. The Henry Co. unit also was called to help in Stewart Co., she said.

Barker also is a dispatcher at the Henry County Sheriff’s Office. She said, “Eight roads were washed out that we know of and I mean there were chunks of the road washed out, 15-20 feet sections washed out.” Roads washed out include Palestine Rd., Jackson Dr., Morris Rd., West Antioch Rd., Caledonia Extended, East Antioch Rd., and Foundry Hill Rd.

Barker said the rescue squad and its new Zodiac inflatable boat were called to Freeland Rd., where people who were trapped on the top of their car were rescued. Numerous people were evacuated from Cherokee Plains Trailer Park on Lone Oak Rd., the trailer park on Jackson Dr., and Paris Woods Trailer Park on N. Market St., all in Paris. Barker said at one home at Cherokee Plains, “the water was literally up to the door of one of the trailers.”

On Highway 79N near Richardson’s Body Shop, a car hydroplaned on rushing water, flipped over and the driver was thrown out of the car, Barker said. “Thankfully, the driver and his wife are o.k.,” she said.

Henry County’s first responders were busy last night responding to the reports of flooding and numerous wrecks, many of which were caused by people trying to drive through flooded roadways.

Henry County EMS, rescue squad and the Paris Fire Department were called to 901 E. Blythe St., where a basement wall collapsed at a home that is being remodeled. There were no injuries reported.

The storms wreaked havoc on the last day of the World’s Biggest Fish Fry, with the Small Fry Parade, Catfish Races, Junior Fishing Rodeo, and IPRA Rodeo cancelled. The Henry County Fairgrounds also was flooded.

The Small Fry Parade has been rescheduled for next Saturday at 10 a.m. in downtown Paris.

The basement at 910 E. Blythe St. collapsed during the storm; no injuries were reported. The home is being remodeled. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Our offices at WMUF/WLZK on India Rd. are surrounded by water Sunday. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Fairgrounds Rd. is one of several that are closed today. (McFarlin photo).

Road Floodings, Closings Listed

Paris, Tenn.-Dispatchers at the Henry County Sheriff's Office and Paris Police Department have compiled a list of roads that are either flooding or washed out as of Sunday morning. Law enforcement officials caution drivers to be especially careful today when traveling county roadways. This list is subject to change as conditions improve through the day.

Washed-Out Roads:

West Antioch at Antioch Harbor; Briarpatch Lake Rd.; Jackson Drive, near Guthrie Rd.; Morris Rd./Howard Rd. in Puryear area; Caledonia Extended at Travis Rd.; East Antioch Rd.; Foundry Hill Rd. south of bridge; Rowe School Rd.; Port Rd.

Flooded Roads (Unsure of Underwash):

Fairground Road at 'S' curve; Foundry Hill Rd., south of Wyninger Rd.; Elkhorn Rd. gravel section; Rabbit Creek Rd. (1300 area); Cowpath Rd. (3000 area); Osage-Crossland (1130 area); Riverdale Dr.; Blood River Church Rd.; Freeland Rd.; Lampkins Rd. in the bottom section; East Antioch near American Legion Post; Log Cabin Rd.; Huwy 140South; Gate 3 Rd.

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