From News Director Tim Alsobrooks, Assistant and Weekend News Director Shannon McFarlin
Officials Take Walking Tour of Lakewood Storm Safe Spaces
Director of Schools Sam Miles and Lakewood Elementary Principal Amy Veazey walk down one of the wings that is being transformed into a Storm Safe Space. (Shannon McFarlin photos).
Paris, Tenn.-Henry County School officials took a walking tour of the Storm Safe Spaces that are under construction at Lakewood School on Thursday. Three classroom wings at the school are being retrofitted to create the Storm Safe Spaces. Greer Lashlee of the Lashlee-Rich Construction Firm in Humboldt said with the steel reinforcements being installed, the spaces will withstand winds of up to 170 miles per hour.
During the tour with Lakewood Elementary Principal Amy Veazey, County Schools Maintenance Supervisor John Akers, Federal Projects Director Dr. Susan Burton, the construction managers and architects, County Director of Schools Sam Miles said the retrofitting of already existing space will save the district the cost of new construction.
All of the students and adults at Lakewood Elementary and Middle Schools will fit into the spaces, Miles said.
Standing outside one of the retrofitted wings are: Veazy, Greer Lashlee, John Akers and Miles. (McFarlin photo).
Burns Speaks to Quota
Chancery Court Clerk Mary Burns
Paris, Tenn.-Mary Burns, Henry County Chancery Court Clerk and Master , was the guest speaker at the noon meeting of the Quota Club on June 26. She explained the Chancery and Circuit Court systems. Chancery Court is an appeals court and they have approximately 30 cases per month and Circuit Court is a criminal court. Among the things that the Chancery Court does is holding investment monies; divorce cases, child custody and sell real estate. They also see adoption cases, which Burns said is her favorite. Henry County is in the 24th Judicial District which includes five counties with Henry County being the largest.
Other guests at the meeting were Sharon’s Hale’s granddaughter and Wanda McCord’s great granddaughter, Marly Kate Watson.
Emily Conroy, member of the Hog Killing committee, announced that the October 15th Hog Killing Party will be held at the home of Melanie and Tommy Townsend. She urged members to feed their pigs so they will be fat for the party.
Connie Garrett reminded members to save their empty ink cartridges, which is one of the club’s fund raisers.
Mary Kathryn Moore reminded members that Quota will be responsible for the Patriot Kitchen on July 18 and has a sign-up sheet for those who would like to make sandwiches, cookies or help at the event.
Canaan Drafted by Houston Rockets
Teammate Ed Daniel to Rockets' Summer League
Murray, Ky.-Isaiah Canaan of Murray State University will be a Houston Rocket when the NBA season begins next year. Canaan became the 21st Racer to be an NBA Draft selection Thursday when he was taken in the second round as the 34th pick to the Rockets.
As a Rocket, Canaan will be playing for legendary head coach Kevin McHale, who had a storied career with the Boston Celtics.
Canaan watched the NBA draft on television in his hometown of Biloxi, Miss., surrounded by family and friends. Murray State Racers’ Head Coach Steve Prohm attended the event with Canaan and said he expects his star player to have a good showing at Houston.
Canaan had been projected to be picked in the first round by the Clippers, but said he was excited to be in the NBA, no matter whether he was picked in the first or second rounds.
"I just wanted to hear my name called," Canaan said. "It was a long wait and a lot of people were disappointed they didn't hear my name for a while. But I'm going to go down there (to Houston) and do the best I can. I'm just looking forward to getting down there and show that I belong there."
Prohm said, “I’m very proud of what Isaiah has been able to accomplish. He's got a great future ahead of him in the NBA no matter if he was the fourth pick or the 34th pick.”
Cannan's teammate Ed Daniel, an undrafted free agent, has signed to play with the Rockets' summer league. If he does well there, he will be signed to play with the team.
Signalization at Tyson/Joy Intersection Draws Near
Workers from J.R. Hayes Construction busy at work on a recent afternoon. (Shannon McFarlin photo).
Paris, Tenn.-Workers from J.R. Hayes Construction Co. have been very busy on the Joy Street realignment project, which will ultimately see the installation of traffic signals at the Joy Street-Tyson Avenue intersection.
Matt Hayes said paving on the Joy Street part of the project is pretty much completed, even with the recent rainfalls. “We expected to be a week further along than we are, but those rains got in the way,” Hayes said.
A contractor hired by Hayes will be installing the traffic signals either the week of July 8 or July 15, he said. He projected the work will be completed by the end of July.
Puryear OKs Budget
Puryear, Tenn.-At a special session Thursday night, the Puryear Mayor and Board of Aldermen approved the budget for the new fiscal year in the amount of $525,405. The budget includes a general fund of $277,850 and the balance of the budget includes solid waste, water and other expenditures.
Clerk Verla Smith said there were no increases in property taxes for the city.
Mansfield, Tenn.-Henry County Sheriff's Deputies are investigating the theft of a trailer from property on Hagler Ridge Rd. The property owner said he left the trailer at the property the day before and when he returned, it was gone.
The trailer is 10 feet long, single axle with mesh metal flooring and the spare tire is on the driver's side. Value is $500.
Clifty Farm, Kathy Ray Honored at 63rd Chamber Banquet
Andrea Lamb Takes Red Jacket as New Chamber President
Outgoing Chamber President Dr. Jeff Seaton, seated left, applauds Dan and Michael Murphey of Clifty Farms, which was named Business of the Year. (Photo by Jennifer Wheatley).
Paris, Tenn.- Clifty Farms Country Hams was named Business of the Year and Kathy Ray was selected as Person of the Year during Thursday night’s 63rd annual Paris Henry County Chamber of Commerce Membership Banquet. Andrea Lamb also took over as the new chamber president and Dr. Jeff Seaton finished off his year as chamber president.
A great crowd was on hand as Mark Johnson and Bob Valentine entertained the crowd with stories of the past. Walt Peterson was Emcee of the Banquet this year.
Charles Hopkins, of the Toggery, presented Dan and Michael Murphey of Clifty Farms Country Hams with the business of the year award. Clifty Farms is the third ever recipient of the award with the Toggery winning it last year and Commercial Bank taking home the first ever honor in 2011. Clifty Farms Country Hams has been in business for over 60 years and employees about 100 people.
Sue Quinn, the 2012 person of the year, presented this year’s person of the year award to Kathy Ray, branch manager of First Bank in downtown Paris and current president of the Downtown Paris Association. Quinn said you won’t find to many people being a cheerleader for Paris and Henry County than Kathy.
Jeff Seaton, outgoing president of the Chamber turned the red jacket over to Andrea Lamb toward the end of last night’s ceremonies. Seaton said “this year they have restructured the chamber and the staff and he feels things will work much more efficient.”
Andrea Lamb takes over as Chamber President just a couple of months after serving as the General Manager of the 2013 Worlds’ Biggest Fish Fry. Lamb, who works as branch manager of the Mineral Wells branch of Commercial Bank, said she hopes as chamber president to “approach work with integrity, be relevant, and think of more than just ourselves ” when conducting chamber business.
Kathy Ray gives her thanks for being named Person of the Year.
Andrea Lamb wears the red jacket signifying her selection as new Chamber President.
Community Leaders, Citizens Show Support for Hazelwood At Forum
Four Local Banks Each Pledge $10K Towards Project
A crowd of nearly 200 people listen on during the presentation at the Events Center
Thursday. (Tim Alsobrooks photo).
Paris, Tenn.- Around 200 people filled the Events Center at the Henry County Fairgrounds Thursday afternoon during the forum held for the committee who is in charge of recommending a site for the proposed 4-H Youth Education and Conference Center to be built in West Tennessee.
Paris City Manger Carl Holder, who is serving as Henry County’s chair of the Hazelwood site marketing committee, welcomed everyone and introduced a large number of people to speak to the group, showing favor for the Camp Hazelwood site to be chosen for the proposed project.
About 25 different community leaders and member from all different areas spoke in favor of wanting the selection committee to choose Hazelwood. Speakers included both Mike Brown and Sam Miles of the local school systems, Paris Mayor Sam Tharpe, Joan Williams of Paris Landing State Park, Joan Stevens, of the TN Wildlife Refuge, state representative Tim Wirgau, state senator John Stevens, and people involved with the business community, child advocacy groups, and others.
David Flowers spoke on behalf of the financial community of Henry County and told the committee all the local banks: Commercial Bank, First Bank, Foundation Bank, and Security Bank, wanted to pledge $10K each towards the project.
Nearly all speakers discussed how great Henry County was when it comes to volunteering and partnerships and all promised their individual help and help from their sector in any way possible.
Several members of the audience spoke as well from teachers to parents to former 4-H participants all showing support for the selection of Hazelwood as the new site.
Ben West, of the 4-H site selection committee explained that this group hopes to present a site recommendation to the Dean of UT Extension by the end of summer. From there the UT Board of Trustees and Tennessee Building Commission will make the ultimate decision and there is no timetable on when that could come down.
Close to Care Payment Implementation
Paris, Tenn.- The Henry County Medical Center Board of Trustees Met on Thursday evening and during his administrative report, CEO and Administrator of the medical center Tom Gee said that Tenncare is close to implementing some initial episodes of care payments beginning in 2014. These will include total joints and possibly diabetic and COPD chronic disease management.
Gee said that the Tennessee Hospital Association is looking to a model being implemented in Alabama for captivated payments that is friendlier to hospitals than the Arkansas plan being looked at by Tennessee. They hope to pilot something for rural hospitals this year.
Gee told board members they have had discussions with both Vanderbilt and St. Thomas about ACO and PPO type networks they are developing and will need to make some decisions regarding how we will respond to their requests to participate soon.
Also during administrative comments, Gee discussed Physician Recruitment was busy. Dr. Crigler has signed her contract and will be arriving in Paris in August. She will probably be located in Dr. Evans old office.
Gee said Dr. Christopher seems off to a good start and has a number of Kentucky patients following her to Paris and Dr. Ramage has maintained his practice growth lately as well. We are hoping to have a practice administrator hired this week to help run these practices. Josh Roberts has been fulfilling this role as part of his administrative fellowship.
The board learned Dr. Osipchuk will be leaving the end of July to return fulltime to his practice in Lebanon. He was unable to fulfill his commitment to move to Paris fulltime. We are actively searching for his replacement. We have had some issue with pediatric call since Drs. Jackson and Mann have left the community. Due to the low number of doctors (4) and the fact that most peds patients aren’t being hospitalized, there is resistance to taking call from the ED. We have a temporary coverage worked out with Dr. Selby but she has requested help recruiting another pediatrician and additional call pay if she picks up more call days in the interim.
The board also learned that the Henry County Healthcare Center went thru their annual state Licensure survey earlier in June and had a deficiency free survey. Gee said that was the first time ever to have no deficiencies at all and it was truly a remarkable feat. He said administration wanted to congratulate Sandy Ray and her staff on the hard work they do year round to accomplish that result.
Roommate Suspected of Stealing $12K Worth of Items
Paris, Tenn.- Deputy Jim Sanders of the Henry County Sheriff’s Office took a report from a Springville man about a roommate stealing about $12K worth of items from him. The report said the victim and the suspect shared a residence for about a year and the suspect had recently moved out. The victim noticed shortly after he moved that over $2200 in cash was missing and several pieces of jewellery valued at over $9K was also missing, along with a laptop computer. Police continue to investigate, but the victim said he thinks the suspect had left on a bus for California.
In a separate incident, Sgt. Michael Ramos of the Paris Police Department charged Demetrius D. Porter, age 21, of 1105 E. Blythe Street, with aggravated domestic assault after an incident that occurred in the last couple of days.
Heat Advisory In Effect Until 8pm This Evening
Relief on the way with cooler temps this weekend
Paris, Tenn.- Our area is under a heat advisory until 8pm as temperatures will be in the mid 90s with heat index values around 104. Exposure outside should be limited especially during the hottest part o the day. If you must be outside for long periods, be sure and drink plenty of water. It’s also a good idea to make sure pets have plenty of cool water and shade during hot days and always check on the elderly and kids playing outside to make sure they aren’t too hot. Friday will be hot as well, then a cool front will provide relief this weekend and into early next weeks with temperatures in the low 80s.
Section of I-440 Closed This Weekend for Concrete Repairs
First of Ten Weekend Closures begins Friday, June 28 at 8:00 p.m.
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Transportation contract crews will completely close I-440 eastbound from the I-65 junction to the I-24 junction, including the on and off ramps at Nolensville Road, in order to perform concrete repairs this weekend. I-440 Eastbound between I-65 and I-24 will be closed starting Friday, June 28th at 8 p.m. through Monday, July 1st at 5:00 a.m.
The repairs are part of a $9.7 million project to widen this stretch of I-440 Eastbound. A total of ten weekend closures will allow the concrete work to be completed on an accelerated schedule. Otherwise, repairs would require lane closures over a period of several months. During the weekend closures, crews will jackhammer and remove large sections of deteriorating concrete as much as a foot deep. Once the new concrete is poured, it will have to harden for several hours. The travel lanes will then be re-striped before reopening to traffic.
The next nine interstate closures are tentatively planned for the following weekends:
July 12th – July 15th
July 19th – July 22nd
July 26th – July 29th
August 2nd – August 5th
August 9th – August 12th
August 16th – August 19th
September 6th – September 9th
September 13th – September 16th
October 11th – October 13th
*All work is weather dependent and will be rescheduled in the event of rain or severe weather.
** There will be no construction or lane closures during the July 4th and Labor Day holiday weekends and during the weekend of the Titans’ first pre-season game on August 24th and regular season games during September.
Detours are as follows:
From the North, take I-65 South to the I-65/I-40 split over to I-24
From the South, take I-65 North to go to I-24/I-40 or take the Harding Place exit over to I-24
From the West, stay on I-40 East to the I-65/I-40 split over to I-24
If you are driving on I-440 Eastbound, drivers will be advised to take I-65 North over to I-24 or I-40.
More than 106,000 vehicles travel the 7.66 mile I-440 corridor each day. The interstate connector was completed in 1987. The current improvement project is tentatively scheduled to be complete in November 2013.
TDOT will use its overhead Dynamic Message Signs to direct motorists around the closure. Drivers are advised to be alert and follow the posted directions. Law enforcement officers will be on-site in the work zone to provide traffic control as the work is being completed. TDOT also asks drivers to use caution, reduce their speed and be alert to changing traffic conditions in work zones across the state.
For more information on TDOT construction project activity visit the TDOT SmartWay web site at www.tn.gov/tdot/tdotsmartway/. Travelers can also dial 511 from any land-line or cellular phone for travel information or can follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TN511 for statewide travel information or www.twitter.com/Nashville511 for traffic information in the Nashville area.
Android and iPhone users can download TDOT’s SmartWay Mobile App to assist them in navigating Tennessee highways. The app provides up-to-the-minute customized traffic information and enables the user to access TDOT’s SmartWay cameras, messages displayed on overhead Dynamic Message Signs, and information on construction related lane closures and incidents on interstates and state routes. The TDOT SmartWay App is free and available for download in the Apple App Store and Play Store for Android.
As always, drivers are reminded to use all motorist information tools wisely and Know Before You Go! by checking travel conditions before leaving for their destination. Drivers should never tweet, text or talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel.
Where in the World was Matt Lauer? With Pam!
New York City, New York- Where in the world was Matt Lauer Wednesday morning? He was with Pam Rockwell of Paris, that's where. Rockwell got some on-screen time on the Today show Wednesday morning during her visit to New York City, as well as a photo opportunity with Host Matt Lauer. She could be seen on air during the promo for the show, saying visiting the Today show was like visiting family. She also appeared on a segment during the Kathie Lee /Hoda Ktob hour of the show. Rockwell owns Sally Lane's Candy Farm with her husband and parents Bobby and Shelby Freeman and she also took the opportunity to talk up the business and Paris with Today show staff. She said Today show personnel asked for some candy and she told them she will mail them a package "when the weather gets cooler".
Up Close and Personal with Python
Paris, Tenn.-Youngsters at the W.G. Rhea Library got up close and personal with a Burmese Python Wednesday during the summer reading program's weekly presentation. Michael Opferman from Animal Tales in Mayfield, Ky. presented a 45-minute show with a variety of critters before a packed house at the library. At the close of the show, he enlisted the help of volunteers and allowed all the other youngsters who were willing to pet the giant snake. Library Director Connie McSwain was nearby with hand sanitizer. Mr. Bond the Science Guy will be at the library with his science experiments next Wednesday from 10-11 a.m. And on Monday morning, a butterfly craft session will be held from 10-11 a.m. for kids aged three to 12. (Shannon McFarlin photo).
Teen Night and Family Movie at Library Planned
Paris, Tenn.-Teen Night is planned at the W.G. Rhea Library Friday night. A Harry Potter wand-making class will be held at 6 p.m. Call 642-1702 to register. That will be followed by the movie, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" at 7 p.m. No registration necessary for the movie. These are activities. Free popcorn provided at movie. Bring your pillow and blanket if you'd like. For ages 12 and over. Earlier in the morning, a family movie, "The Odd Life of Timothy Green", will be shown from 10 a.m. to noon at the library.
Camp Hazelwood Public Session Set for Thursday
Paris, Tenn.-Henry County officials are encouraging the public to make plans to the community forum at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the Henry County Fairgrounds to discuss the new West Tennessee 4-H Center location. Henry County is in the running for the new center, along with Carroll and Hardemann Counties.
Michele Atkins of the County Extension Office said, " It is very important that we have as many community members as possible at the forum. The state selection committee will be here and we want to show the committee what a strong, dedicated community we have here! Your attendance will be very much appreciated!"
63rd Annual Chamber Membership Banquet To Be Thurs. at 6pm
Paris, Tenn.- The 63rd annual Paris Henry County Chamber of Commerce of Commerce Membership Banquet is set for 6pm Thursday at the Events Center at the Henry County Fairgrounds. The chamber will recognize the person of the year and the business of the year. The Henry County Leadership Class will graduate and Andrea Lamb will don the red jacket as the next chamber president.
School Board Approves Memorandum of Understanding
Board members listen as Director of Schools Sam Miles presents information. From left, Board Member Ron Frey, Board President Tom Beasley, Miles, Federal Projects Director Dr. Susan Burton. Back to camera is Jim McCampbell. (Shannon McFarlin photo).
Paris, Tenn.-The Henry County Schools Board of Education Tuesday night adopted a memorandum of understanding between the board and the Professional Employees of Henry County. Tuesday night’s meeting was delayed from last week’s regular meeting.
The Memorandum will be a one-year agreement between the board and employees. Director of Schools Sam Miles said memoranda can be approved for last years, but in the current climate it is difficult to predict changes that are coming in insurance, the Affordable Care Act and other issues.
Miles said state law changed regarding board-employee negotiations last year and now, the board appoints team members to represent the board and the county teacher association does the same. “Basically, what we look at are working conditions, salaries, benefits,” Miles said. “We had good discussions, good meetings, productive meetings. These were not debates, but discussions.”
Key points of the Memorandum include working conditions, under which professional development days are listed. Miles said under the new agreement, the board will request up to six stockpile days to be used for professional development.
Under definition of school Day, Miles said the elementary school work day for all certified employees will be seven hours and 45 minutes with a duty-free lunch. The work day at Grove and the high school will be seven hours and 50 minutes with duty-free lunch. Miles said, “Most teachers would welcome that if that’s all they really had to work.”
Under after school Meetings, it was agreed employees may be required to remain after school without additional compensation for the purpose of attending faculty or other professional meetings not to exceed four times a month.
As for salary, the agreement states that all monies designated by the state government for increases in pay will be used for salary increases or bonuses.
Under benefits, Miles said it was agreed every effort will be made by the board to level salaries and benefit costs. “We had to tweak the salary raise base pay for all teachers to $1000 to accommodate changes in health care”. He said that will help teachers on their retirement.
The agreement will take effect July 1 and remain in effect until July 1 of 2014.
In other business:
--The 2013-2014 budget was approved and now will go before the county budget committee, after which the county commission will consider it.
--The July board retreat was set for all day Monday, July 22, site to be announced.
--The board and public were invited to Lakewood School at 10:30 a.m. Thursday to review the progress being made on the Storm Safe areas.
--Board Chairman Tom Beasley handed out forms for the annual Director evaluation and asked that members fill them out and return them before the July meeting.
--Federal Projects Director Dr. Susan Burton presented the Federal Consolidated Plan.
--The board designated surplus electronic equipment, at the request of Supervisor of Technology Denton Jordan and authorized him to get rid of the surplus.
--Upon recommendation of Miles, the board extended the contract of Service Solutions for one year for custodial service.
Sobriety Checks to Begin
Paris, Tenn.-The Paris Police Department will be conducting safety and sobriety checks starting this week through July 4th weekend, according to Police Chief Chuck Elizondo.
These checkpoints will be located within the City of Paris. The checkpoints will be targeting impaired drivers and to ensure vehicle safety laws are met. All moving violations will be strictly enforced.
Henry Approves Continuation Budget, Hears Citizens Concerns
Henry, Tenn.- At a special called meeting of the Henry Mayor and Board of Alderman on Tuesday night, the board approved a continuation budget to operate on into the new fiscal year which starts July 1st. They approved the FY 2014 budget on first reading as well and will approve on 2nd reading at July’s board meeting.
The board agreed to pay $18,753 in the new fiscal year and completely pay off the attorney for the work done during the Claunch litigation trial involving the sewer system.
The board approved the audit contract for the same price as last year and hopes are the city will be in the black for the 2014 year.
Prior to business conducted, the board heard from citizens who said several lots needed to be mowed around the city. Mayor Joe Qualls agreed and said letters to owners of those lots are ready to be mailed out, but an issue with the printer has delayed that some. Citizens also asked for new street signs for Elm and Main Street to be purchased.
PSSD Board Hears Presentation on Affordable Health Care Act
Mark Ankrum, of Five Points Benefits, discusses several aspects of the Affordable Health Care Act at Tuesday's PSSD board meeting. (Tim Alsobrooks photo)
Paris, Tenn.- The closer it gets to becoming a reality, the more it appears like the Affordable Healthcare Act is anything but affordable for local school systems. At Tuesday night’s Paris Special School District Board of education meeting, Mark Ankrum, of Five Points Benefits, made a presentation to the board about the act and its possible impact on the budget for the sytem.
Ankrum said there is still lots left unsettled for the act, which is set to become law January 1, 2014, and current guidelines are only temporary and are likely to change a few times. Ankrum went over a few points of knowledge to help the board understand the main themes of the act including the government now defines full time employees at 30/hrs per week or 130/hrs per month. The system then has to decide whether to pay or play when it comes to taking part of the health care mandate.
Ankrum laid out some of the high points for both choices. If an employer decides to pay a penalty instead of offer the insurance, they would pay $2K per employee after the first 30, for companies with 200 or more employees. Employees would then have access to the national website marketplace to purchase health insurance. He told board members that that $2k per employee isn’t a fixed number and could possibly go up per employee in future years.
The penalties are ways the government plans to pay for the health care coverage as 33 states have decided not to support the exchange, including Tennessee. The law strictly states tax revenue can’t be used to pay for this, therefore, Ankrum noted the penalties will be strictly enforced.
If an employer chooses to play, or offer the program to its employees, it must follow certain rules or be issued penalties. Those rules include they must offer it to 95% of their full time employees or pay penalty. Another rule includes it must be affordable, meaning premiums should cost no more than 9.5% of employees household income.
The board asked several questions and Ankrum said there are safe harbors and side points to nearly all issues. The PSSD, and other school systems across the country, will have to decide how to treat employees like substitute teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and more. Ankrum said the system will have to monitor the number of hours for these types of employees, making sure they don’t get to that 130 hrs per month or they would have to be offered the program as a full time employee.
Much more information was discussed about the Affordable Health Care Act and issues the PSSD will face when it comes to budgeting for the impact of the act. PSSD Superintendant Mike Brown told the board, Ankrum and his company Five Points is already working with the PSSD on several options and choices concerning which direction to go.
PSSD Board Discusses Current, Proposed Budget
The PSSD also dealt with the budget at Tuesday night’s lengthy board meeting. In regards to budget amendments for the current budget, Superintendant Mike Brown told the board the system accomplished several things and will still be able to add some money back to the general fund to end the year with June 30th. He said the board authorized them to spend up to $157K on roof repairs at Inman, but they managed to fix it for $130K. Brown also said we managed to include a 3% raise last year, $10K for daycare, start the backpack program, and not use any fund balance.
In regards to the FY 14 budget, the board approved operating on a continuation budget into the new year and will approve a budget once the county commission approves the county budget, either in July or August. Brown also asked for chairman of the PSSD board Richard Edwards to appoint a committee to meet and discuss big issues in the upcoming budget like the healthcare and state minimum salary schedule. Edwards appointed himself, Amy Cathey, and Bill Jelks to set on the budget committee.
BPU Board Approves Steps for New Electric Warehouse Constr.
Board Buys Land, Hires Architect and Construction Manager
Paris, Tenn.- At Tuesday’s Board of Public Utilities Board of Directors meeting, board members took several steps to bring the construction of a new electric warehouse to fruition. The need for a new warehouse has been discussed at board meetings for the last few months, and that is one of the big capital projects the BPU plans to do in the next fiscal year which lead management to ask the board for a rate increase to go into effect October 1st.
On Tuesday the BPU board approved the purchase of some land that the Old Emerson Plant sets on for a contract price of $150K. The lot already has a large piece of concrete where the Emerson Plant once stood and is about 13.6 acres.
The Environmental Protection Agency will have to approve phase one tests before the deal can be finalized.
The BPU board also approved hiring the architect and the construction manager for the building of the new electric warehouse at Tuesday’s meeting. The board approved hiring architect David Brown, of KBJM Architect, Inc. out of middle Tennessee for a 4.5% design fee. The board also hired Scott Stephens of S and G Stephens Construction Company to be the construction manager for the project.
FY 14 Budgets Approved for All Departments by BPU Board
In other business, the board approved the budgets for the 2014 fiscal year officially in all three departments. Some of the highlights of the budgets include a new phone system in the electric department and money spent towards a pay as you go system.
For the water department budget, Water and Wastewater Supervisor Terry Wimberly said they will finish up the AMR water metering project in the next 14 FY budget and continue to do some small water line replacements to phase out some older lines the system is relying on.
Wimberly said there is also money in the water department budget to have a 10 year evaluation of the water treatment plant to help plan for the future. He said the last one was done in 2002 and they’ve done everything recommended in that study, and some of them took ten years to complete.
Wimberly also informed the board that the state inspection was recently done and BPU scored 99 out of 100 for the treatment plant and distribution system. He said the inspection is very thorough and the employees were doing a great job to make sure things run properly.
General Manager John Etheridge pointed out the wastewater budget was basically flat on the revenue side but pointed out this was a very good year and they plant to finish in the black both this current fiscal year and FY 14. Some capital project work in the wastewater department includes work on replacing some sections of small sewer lines, just like they are doing with the water lines as the system continues to age.
Dialogue Begins with Grassroots Group, BPU
Paris, Tenn.- Tuesday’s BPU board meeting began with a couple of citizens who represent the grassroots organization that has come to be known as the Citizens Against the BPU Rate Increase. Serena Norwood said she was representing single mothers, the elderly, and the disabled who have a hard time paying their bills and needed some help from the BPU board and asked them to split the cost of the rate increase between citizens and the BPU or just cancel the rate increase altogether.
Board chairman David Flowers told the citizens he appreciated them being at the board meeting and the board does understand their concerns. He said no one ever really wants a rate increase but needs of a new warehouse that is safe and a new substation to help ease the load on the one on Rison Street are necessary at the time, and the rate increase is needed to help with those cost so the BPU can continue to supply electricity to the city and county.
Etheridge, who had attended a forum hosted by the group on Monday night, said most all the communication Monday was positive, and he did understand some of the concerns of the citizens with a rate increase and other issues. He pointed out that in the near future, BPU will have a pay as you go and/or prepay system. He said that will help cut down higher deposits, late fees, and cutting off service. Etheridge said he plans to meet with one citizen about concerns later this week, and meet again with the group in the future.
Seaton Presides Over His Last Chamber Coffee As President
Paris, Tenn- Chamber President Jeff Seaton talks with Orthoworks owner Sharron Osborne at Tuesday's Chamber of Commerce coffee. This is the last chamber coffee of Seaton's reign as
President. Andrea Lamb will be taking over as the new Chamber President at Thursday night's Chamber Banquet. (Chamber photo).
Schoeberl Places Third in Nation with Recitation
Local Speech Students Do Well in National Tournament
Steele Schoeberl, standing left, prepares to present his recitation at last month's county school board meeting. Lakewood Speech and Drama Coach David Weatherly is seated at right in dark t-shirt. (Shannon McFarlin photo).
Birmingham, Ala.-Lakewood Middle School Student Steele Schoeberl placed third in the nation in Prose Interpretation at last week's National Forensic League national tournament in Birmingham. Schoeberl performed a recitation from the book "Crazy in Alabama" by Mark Childress in the contest.
Lakewood Speech and Drama Coach David Weatherly said the school took seven students who competed in a total 15 events during the contest. They competed with over 700 students from 94 schools from across the United States, China and Korea.
Schoeberl also advanced to the semi-final round (top 12 in the nation) in two other events: Humorous Interpretation and Duet Interpretation (with Noah Hulbert).
Another student, Davis Caperton, also advanced to the Quarterfinals (top 24 in the Nation) in Humorous Interpretation.
Weatherly said three students did not advance to the Quarterfinals, but still placed in the top 30 in the nation: Drew Culbreath and Deborah Beasley in Poetry Interpretation and Natalie Clark in Declamation.
"Overall, it was a wonderful experience and we are looking forward to going again next year to Kansas City," Weatherly said.
Breakfast for Babies Set for Saturday at Ann and Dave's Kitchen
Paris, Tenn.- Ann and Dave’s Kitchen will once again sponsor Breakfast for Babies from 6-11am Saturday June 29th. A portion of the breakfast proceeds and all tips earned by celebrity waiters and waitresses will benefit the March of Dimes March for Babies Campaign. There will also be a bake sale going on out in front of the restaurant to benefit March of Dimes.
Citizen Forum on BPU Rate Increase Well-Attended
Paris, Tenn.-Some 40 people attended Monday night's forum sponsored by "Citizens Against the BPU Rate Increase", a grassroots organization formed over the past two weeks.
Group Spokesman Jack Spencer said Board of Public Utilities General Manager John Etheridge attended the meeting and answered questions for about 90 minutes.
"He did seem concerned," Spencer said, "and he promised to address the issues raised. But the rate increase is a foregone conclusion at this point. He said as much."
Spencer said a member of the group will be attending Tuesday's BPU board meeting.
Henry Man Arrested on Aggravated Domestic Assault
Paris, Tenn.-A 52-year-old rural Henry man was arrested on a charge of aggravated domestic assault Saturday night by the Henry County Sheriff's Office. Arrested was Billy C. Lewis, 52, 3438 Old McKenzie Highway.
Deputies were called to the house Saturday night after neighbors heard loud screams calling for help, a gunshot and then silence, according to the report.
Sheriff Monte Belew said Lewis fired shots either at family pets or into the ground and threatened to kill another family member. Belew said the pets were not harmed.
Deputies confiscated a .38 caliber Walther handgun during the incident. Lewis is being held at the Henry County Jail on $20,000 bond.
TBI Releases Family Violence Study
Paris, Tenn.- The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation recently released a reported focused on domestic violence that occurs between family members. The report, titled, Family Violence Study 2012, is based on offences reported by law enforcement agencies.
About 14.5% of all crimes reported in 2012 were domestic in nature, according to the numbers. Of those, about 50% were reported as having a familial victim to offender relationship.
Some of the quick facts from the study include simple assault being the most frequently reported offence, accounting for almost 68% of family violence offences in 2012. Simple assault calls actually outnumbered all other offences by more than a 4 to 1 margin.
Females were found to be nearly two times more victimized than males, according to the study. In kidnapping/abduction cases, offenders were most often parents who did the kidnapping, nearly 70% of the time.
The study showed that female parents were more likely to commit simple assault against their female children vs. male children. Female parents assaulted female children nearly twice as much as they assaulted male children.
The report also showed that more than 17% of family violence offenses involved drugs or alcohol by the offender with the majority, 83% using alcohol.
For the full report, visit the TBI website and click on the appropriate links for the Family Violence Study 2012 report.
Agencies Uncover "Stash House" for Marijuana Operation
Memphis Man Wanted on Several Charges, Local Suspects Sought as Well
Deputy Jamie Myrick, Paris Police Chief Chuck Elizondo and Sheriff Monte Belew look over marijuana and other items seized in search. (Sheriff's Office photo).
Paris, Tenn.- According to a press release issued by the Henry County Sheriff’s Office stated that officers from the Metro Crime Unit, Sheriff’s Office, and Paris Police Department conducted a search at 30 Kent Road in Paris sometime Friday. Officers recovered approximately 7 pounds of marijuana that was packaged for re-sale. Also located was a digital scale and ammunition from the home.
The press release says the home has been under surveillance for several months and was being used as a “Stash House” for a marijuana distribution ring. Felony warrants have been drawn on a Memphis man who was a resident of the home. Warrants for possession of a schedule 6 controlled substance with the intent to sell/manufacture/deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia have been filed on Terry Richards of Memphis, TN.
Weapon charges are also pending due to ammunition and other evidence found in the home. Richards is believed to be armed and dangerous. He and at least two other local suspects had been using the home as a place to store, package, and distribute narcotics. The incident is still under investigation and charges are pending on several other suspects connected with Richards.
County, City Units Investigate Weekend Thefts
Paris, Tenn.- Both the Paris Police Department and Henry County Sheriff’s office took reports of theft over the weekend. A report at the sheriff’s office stated a pair of binoculars was stolen out of a car parked at a residence on highway 69 S. The value of the binoculars was $600. Nothing else appeared to be missing.
The Paris Police department investigated a couple of thefts as well including a bicycle valued at $80 being stolen from a home on Williams Street.
Another report at the Paris Police Department stated a home on Memorial Drive was broken into by entering thru the rear bathroom window. A flashlight was stolen and several drawers in the home were gone thru and scattered around. There was also some damage to the door were it appeared someone tried to pry it open. Police have no suspects in any of these thefts.
Robison is Second Runner-Up in Miss Tennessee Pageant
Left to right are 3rd Runner-Up Miss Music City Elisabeth Oliphint, 1st Runner-Up Miss Greene County Sarah Stokely, Miss Tennessee 2013 Shelby Claire Thompson Miss Capital City, 2nd Runner-Up Miss Tennessee Valley Hannah Robison and 4th Runner-Up Miss Lexington Kyndall Covington. (Photo2 by Bryan Huff - Huffoto)
Jackson, Tenn.-Miss Tennessee Valley Hannah Robison of Buchanan was named second runner-up in the Miss Tennessee competition Saturday night. Miss Capital City Shelby Thompson was crowned Miss Tennessee at the contest, which was held before a packed audience at the Carl Perkins Civic Center. Many of those in the audience were from Henry County to root for Robison, who is 19 and the daughter of Rusty and Pam Robison. She is a junior at UT Martin. For coming in second runner-up, Robison won a $5,500 scholarship.
First runner-up was Miss Greene County Sarah Stokley, third runner-up was Miss Music City Elisabeth Oliphint and fourth runner-up was Miss Lexington Kyndall Covington.
As the long evening progressed, local audience members were excited as Robison was named to the top 15, who participated in the swimsuit competiton; and then the top 12, who performed their talents. The top 10 participated in the evening gown competition before the top five were announced. Robison was among the elite few who participated in the gruelling question and answer portion, fielding questions about current events and issues.
Robison’s mother Pam said, “It was very exciting to see Hannah as a 19 year old first timer win 2nd place. She was so shocked to even make it to 15. She was so overwhelmed to have all the support from not only from Henry County but throughout the state. She loved representing her home town and just wanted to make them happy.”
Army Band To Perform July 2 in Free Concert
Huntingdon, Tenn.-The Dixie Carter Performing Arts will host a free concert by the 129th Army Band of the Tennessee Army National Guard at 7 p.m. July 2. The 129th Army Band has a long and distinguished history serving Tennessee and the United States in peacetime as well as during armed conflict. The group traces its lineage back to the earliest units of the Tennessee Militia that protected the early colonial settlements and routed the British at the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780.
The band was been called to active duty during Operation Desert Storm. They have performed for presidents, world fairs, and overseas in countries including Colombia and Turkey. The 129th Army Band has been the official band for the Tennessee inaugural since Governor Gordon Browning and represented Tennessee in the 1992 Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington, DC. The 129th Army Band is headquartered at Houston Barracks in Nashville, Tennessee, and is led by Chief Warrant Officer Billy Stepp Commander and First Sergeant Richard Griffin.
For more information contact The Dixie on the court square in Huntingdon, TN at 731-986-2100 or visit www.dixiepac.net. No tickets are required for this general seating performance. This and all our events are sponsored in part by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission.
Paris Woman Nabbed on Drug Charge
Paris, Tenn.-A Paris woman was arrested on a drug charge after Paris Police stopped her vehicle for driving recklessly on Veterans Dr. According to the police report, Patrolman Jamie James was behind her and saw her cross the center line and fog line before stopping her vehicle.
James said she was shaking and breathing heavily when he asked her if she had had anything to drink. According to the report, she said no, but did say she had taken methodone earlier. James asked for and received consent to search and four 11 bottles of methodone and two bottles of urine were found. Before further search of her person, the report says, she pulled another pill bottle out of her shirt.
Arrested for simple possession was Tracy Stallings, age 41 of 165 Guthrie Rd. Bond of $500 was set.
Cruise-In Set for Tuesday
Paris, Tenn.-The second Downtown Paris Cruise-in of the summer will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday on the court square. The public is invited to look over classic and vintage cars during the event.
Farmers Market Open Tuesday, Friday
Paris, Tenn.-The Farmers Market is now open on Tuesdays and Fridays at 3 pm at the fairgrounds.
Products available will be also local farm raised pork, beef, poultry, and brown eggs, squash, cucumbers, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, tomatoes, baked goods, canned applesauce, and new this week is blackberries.
Animal Trade Day Draws Variety of Critters
Paris, Tenn.-Lexi and Aaron Lancaster of Paris, look over their rabbits, Bo and Jolie, at the Animal Trade Day Saturday at S&R Feedstore, 45 Muzzall Street. A wide variety of cuddly critters, from rabbits to turkey to puppies and chickens, were on hand bright and early for the event. Owner Pam Hinson holds the trade days regularly and they are always a big draw. In bottom photo, Jerry Haycraft of Springville, shows one of his Flemish giant rabbits that he brought. For more information on the trade days, call 731-407-7124. (Shannon McFarlin photos).
Citizens Group to Meet Monday Night
Paris, Tenn.- “Citizens Against the BPU Rate Increase“, a grassroots organization that has formed over the past two weeks, is sponsoring a public forum Monday night, June 24 at Atkins Porter Recreation Center. The AP Center is located at the corner of Highland and Walnut Streets in Paris.
The meeting is set to begin at 7 p.m. A spokesperson for the group said all citizens and customers of the Board of Public Utilities are invited to come to the session and speak about the proposed surcharge, and other issues concerning BPU or just listen.
He also said officials from the BPU have been invited to speak at the session and answer questions.
Hearing in Arson Case Continued
Paris, Tenn.-A preliminary hearing in the Carroll County arson charge against a Paris woman was continued until next month. Former McKenzie Businesswoman Christian Radford, age 40, was scheduled to appear in Carroll County General Sessions Court on Thursday, but the case was continued until July 19.
Radford and her co-defendant, Spencer Underwood, age 23, also of Paris, were charged with arson in connection with the fire in December of 2012 that destroyed the Impressions gift store in downtown McKenzie. Radford was the owner of the store, which was located in the heart of the town, on Broadway.
The two were arrested April 15 by Investigator Steve McClure of the State Fire Marshal’s office.
Paris Teen in Critical Condition After Bike Accident
Paris, Tenn.-A 15-year-old Paris boy is in critical condition at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville after he was seriously injured in a bicycle accident earlier this week.
Koby Jones lost control of his bicycle as he rode with a friend down the hill on Norman Drive. According to Paris Patrolman Jeff Smith, the teen suffered multiple injuries, including head trauma.
Jones was first transported to Henry County Medical Center by the county's EMS unit. From there he was quickly airlifted to Vanderbilt.
A spokesperson at Vanderbilt said the teen remains in the hospital's intensive care unit.
Jones is the son of Amanda Fowler and the grandson of Regina Allen.
News from past weeks here.