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WMUF/WLZK News                                                                          

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


Reminder: Shiver on River is New Year's Day

Buchanan, Tenn.-The 3rd annual Shiver on the River will be held at Paris Landing, with proceeds going toward the REAL Hope Youth Center.

This year, the event will begin at noon Tuesday, January 1 at the Paris Landing marina boat ramp, rain or shine. For $25 you can get yourself a dip in the lake, a t-shirt and a meal that will warm you up at Paris Landing State Park restaurant, as well as the satisfaction that your money will go toward a good cause.

Becki White, the new director at REAL Hope Youth Center said registration begins at 11:30 a.m. at the marina. For more information call 815-499-1221. Also feel free to check out the REAL Hope website and the Shiver on the River website for more information. www.realhopeyouthcenter.com or www.shiverontheriver.com.


CARE VAN at Farm Bureau Thursday

Paris, Tenn.-The Henry County Medical Center Care Van will be at the Henry County Farm Bureau at 406 N. Poplar St. from 8:30-11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 3.

Health screenings will be available inside the van. free finger stick Blood Sugars and Blood Pressures will be available. Finger stick cost $3 and lipid panels $10 each. Results available at time of screening. Fasting for 8 hours is required.


New Year's Closings

Paris, Tenn.-Most public offices and many private businesses will be closed on Tuesday, New Year's Day. But several others are closed other days next week.

Monday and Tuesday Closings: Henry County Health Department; Henry City Hall; Puryear City Hall.

Tuesday Closings: County Courthouse and annex, Paris City Hall, County Office on Aging; Social Security Office, W.G. Rhea Public Library, Paris-Henry Co. Chamber of Commerce, Postal Service, Tennessee Driver Service Center, Paris Public Works Departments, plus landfill and Paris-Henry County animal shelter.

The Paris Civic Center will close at 5 p.m. Monday and stay closed Tuesday.

County Unemployment Continues Drop

Nashville, Tenn.-Unemployment continued to drop in Henry County over November, with the nonseasonally adjusted rate now at 9.5 percent. October's rate was 10.1 and September's rate was 9.9.

However, Henry County's rate is higher than the state unemployment rate of 6.6 percent and the national rate of 7.4 percent.

In the counties surrounding Henry County, unemployment also dropped in Benton, Carroll, Stewart and Weakley Counties. Benton's rate of 8.8 is down from the October rate of 9.4 percent; Carroll's rate of 10.2 percent is down from 11.1 in October; Stewart's rate of 8.8 is down from 9.5 and Weakley's rate of 10.9 is down from 12.5.

However, Weakley County remains one of the top five counties in the state in terms of highest unemployment.


Ring in New Year at Paris Landing State Park

Buchanan, Tenn.-You can ring in the New Year at Paris Landing State Park with a New Year’s Eve 2013 Celebration. The Tennessee State Parks issued a press release reminding everyone they can spend Dec. 31 enjoying the beauty of Paris Landing State Park.

Later that evening, guests can put on their dancing shoes and enjoy
the Syndicate of Soul band. Event tickets are $25 per person or $200
a table, with proceeds benefiting the Friends of Paris Landing.
Tickets can be purchased at the downtown and Lake-area branches of the
Foundation Bank, Fish Tale Lodge and the Paris Winery.

To make the evening even more special, take advantage of Paris
Landing’s New Year’s Eve Dinner and Room Package. The $129 package
includes one double-occupancy inn room for two, two New Year’s Eve
dinner buffets and two New Year’s Day breakfast buffets. The New
Year’s Eve dinner buffet will be served Dec. 31 from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.
and will include chef-carved beef brisket, sliced stuffed pork loin,
fried shrimp, Southern-fried catfish, assorted vegetables, salads and
desserts. The New Year’s Day breakfast buffet on Jan. 1 will be from
8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both buffets are open to the public. For the dinner
buffet, the price is $15.95 per person plus drink and tax; for the
breakfast buffet, the price is $7.95 per person plus drink and tax.
Tickets for the New Year’s Eve dance can also be purchased separately.
Please contact (800) 250-8614 or (731) 642-4311 for reservations or
additional information.

PD Makes Public Intox Arrest at ER

Paris, Tenn.-Paris Police arrested a Kentucky man for public intoxication at the emergency room of Henry County Medical Center. Police were called to
the emergency room on a report of a man who was belligerent and

According to the police report, he was reportedly being loud and
threatening to hospital staff to the point that they could not carry
out their duties. The report also indicated he came to the ER with a
partially consumed bottle of vodka in his pocket.

Arrested was : Marty Underwood, age 35 of New Concord.

Blind Boys of Alabama to Appear at The Dixie

Huntingdon, Tenn.-There will be a foot-stomping, hand-clapping gospel music celebration with Grammy Award winning living legends of gospel music, The Blind Boys of Alabama, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 19 at The Dixie.

Inductees of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, they have earned praises for their remarkable interpretations of everything from traditional gospel favorites to contemporary spiritual material by acclaimed songwriters such as Curtis Mayfield, Ben Harper, Eric Clapton, Prince, and Tom Waits.

Ticket price: $25/person (plus tax)

For more information contact The Dixie’s box office at 731-986-2100 or order online at www.dixiepac.net. 

Greer, Johnson Appointed to State Boards

Two Henry Countians are among 152 Tennesseeans that have been
appointed by 58 state boards and commissions by Tennessee Gov. Bill

They are: County Mayor Brent Greer of Paris, who was appointed to the
Local Government Planning Advisory Council; and Rosie Johnson of
Paris, who was appointed to the Tennessee Real Estate Appraiser

Haslam said, “I appreciate the willingness to serve the state and the
commitment of these men and women. Tennessee will be well-represented
on these boards and commissions, and I look forward to continuing our
review to make sure Tennesseans have a government responsive to them.”

The governor continues his review of the state’s complete range of
boards and commissions to determine other potential reforms that might
be made to improve efficiency, effectiveness and accountability.


Law Enforcement Takes Proactive Steps on School Safety

Paris, Tenn.-Henry County Sheriff's Deputy Clyde Sulcer, center in top photo, reads from the new school emergency procedures manual that has been implemented by the sheriff's department at a tour of the county schools Thursday by local law enforcement. Sheriff Monte Belew announced Thursday that a deputy will be stationed at each school in the county system, while Paris Police Chief Chuck Elizondo said he has been negotiating with the Paris Special School District for over a year to station an officer at each school in the city system. Bottom photo shows both sheriff's deputies and city officers during a school tour. Complete information on the new policy is in an article published yesterday on our website. (Adam Jenkins photos).

PD Executes Search Warrant on Fake Wholesale Business

Paris, Tenn.-The Paris Police Department executed a search warrant Thursday at 305 Owenwood Place for documents pertaining to a supposed wholesale business being operated from the home by Kari Kenworthy.

During the search, officers did locate documents, a phone and tablet that was used to help Kenworthy operate the fake business. Investigator Josh Frey said the items were seized during the search.

Frey said further that Kenworthy has been operating the business for a few months and during that time would sell items to victims, but the victims never received the items purchased.

Items sold ranged from clothing to high-end electronics.

Frey said the PD will be filing a warrant for the arrest of Kenworthy and will be charging her with theft over $10,000.  The PD asks if anyone has done business with her and feel they were scammed, call Frey at 642-2424.

Kentucky Man Injured in Deer Stand Fall

Paris, Tenn.-A Kentucky man who fell out of a deer stand on
Christmas Day has been released from Henry County Medical Center.

Billy Eddie, age 72, was hunting from a deer stand on Forrest Lane
near Buchanan and fell from the stand. Henry County Sheriff’s Deputy
Wayne Fuqua assisted the county emergency medical service (EMS) during
the call and said Eddie fell some 8-10 feet from the stand.

He said attempts to have Eddie airlifted to Vanderbilt failed because
of the weather. “They tried to get Vanderbilt to land their helicopter
at Paris Landing, but that was cancelled because of the weather we had
that day,” Fuqua said. Eddie was transported by ambulance to the local
hospital, where he has been treated since the accident.

Pedestrian Bridge Construction to Begin in Two Weeks

Chief Finance Officer Lisa Casteel, back to camera, presents the financial reports at Thursday night's board meeting, while staff and board members look on. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Paris, Tenn.-The city of Paris has decided to shut down a portion of Tyson Avenue for the three-four week duration of construction of the pedestrian bridge that will link the new diagnostic center/Bethel campus with the Henry County Medical Center.

Hospital Administrator Tom Gee told members of the board of trustees Thursday night that construction of the bridge is on track to begin in two weeks.

Truck traffic will be redirected to Hwy 218 or other alternative routes, Gee said. Both Lake St. and Hospital Circle will be much busier than usual during that period, as local traffic will be routed on those streets.

In other business, Gee discussed Governor Bill Haslam’s decision not to pursue a state-run insurance exchange. Gee said the politics of the issue are not helpful since some would like to see the Affordable Care Act bill fail.

Gee said, “From a hospital standpoint, the impact on Medicare cuts and too many uninsured patients could be devastating to all hospitals. The insurance exchange and the individual mandate are key to getting more Tennesseans to become insured. We continue to be worried that the efforts to not trim Medicare benefits will result in cuts to providers that will be too large to absorb.”

Speaking of Tenncare, Gee said, it is very questionable whether the State Legislature will vote to expand the Medicaid program to serve all citizens below the poverty level. “If they do not,” Gee said, “those patients would not be eligible for other subsidies in the insurance exchanges and would remain uninsured.”

Hospital officials are holding their breath to see what happens to the fiscal cliff, Gee said. “If there is no decision made on that, after January 1, there will automatically be 20 percent cuts on Medicare, almost all of which will be on the providers,” Gee said.

In other business:

--The hospital continues to gear up for the additional emergency room coverage that will occur in January.

Gee said the new advance practice providers have been hired by TeamHealth. Daphne Foust is the physician assistant and Carla Davis is nurse practioner.

Those moves are intended to ease waiting times in the ER, he said.

--The hospital has had some success identifying several potential physican candidates this month. Three physicians recruits have been interviewed in the past week and have scheduled visits with an orthopedic surgeon, cardiologist and family practitioner. "We are also looking at other specialty needs in areas like psychiatry, OB and primary care."

--Chief Finance Officer Lisa Casteel provided financial reports and said, "We're not where we want to be on the budget, but we better than we were last year."

--The board approved capital requests totalling $293,180, which covers Information System equipment.

--The board heard presentations from Roger Veazey and Betty Tenley on the intake process and charity care.

Asbestos Abatement on Old Office Concepts Building to Begin

The building next to the BPU building is set for demolition. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Paris, Tenn.-Preliminary work prior to the demolition of the building
next to the Board of Public Utilities building will begin in January
when the contractor starts removing asbestos from the structure. The building most recently housed Office Concepts and is set to be demolished by BPU.

At Thursday's meeting of the BPU board of directors, BPU General
Manager John Etheridge said Contractor Mike Youngblood will begin the
asbestos abatement process on January 7. Youngblood is owner of the
BWY firm out of Dresden which was the low bidder for the project.

Etheridge said Youngblood will begin by removing the tile floor and
duct work. Youngblood will rent a trackhoe that can rise three stories
and the asbestos will be hauled off probably the last weekend of
January. BPU is coordinating with the city of Paris to use the city's
dump trucks to help haul the material off, Etheridge said.

"He thinks he can do it in two days", Etheridge said, "and he wants to
do it on a Saturday and Sunday when our building is closed."

Youngblood's bid was $250,000 for the project, which includes the
demolition and paving of the space for more parking. Etheridge said
Youngblood already decided to do less landscaping to provide an
additional parking space. A new drive-through window will be
constructed with the project.

In other business during the meeting, the board approved the purchase
of a new digger derrick for $179,633 with the trade-in of an old BPU
derrick truck that needs to be replaced.

Etheridge said the current truck has turned out to be a real lemon and
the BPU has spent $50,000 in repairs in recent years. Replacing it now
is a year ahead of schedule, he said, but it will save on more repair

Terry Wimberley, supervisor of the electric department, reported that
1500 AMI meters will be installed over the next eight weeks. The
meters are part of the automatic metering infrastructure that the BPU
will be employing. A total of 5,000 meters will be installed
altogether, which will be finished in the spring.

With the automatic meters, Wimberley said, "We can read the meters
from the car, no mater what the weather is."

The board also approved an agreement with First Bank for banking
services for the main electric general fund for the next calendar
year. Of the two banks submitting bids, FirstBank offered the highest
interest rate at 0.25 percent.

It Was Pretty While It Lasted

Paris, Tenn.-Wednesday's snowfall is all melted now in Henry County, but with photos like these, we can still remember how pretty it looked. (Shannon McFarlin photo).


Breaking News Update:

Deputies to be Stationed at All Schools in County System

Paris PD, PSSD Also Negotiating

Paris, Tenn.-Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew announced this morning that when school reopens January 3, his department will station a deputy in each school in the Henry County Schools system. “They will be in the schools all day, 100 percent of the time,” Belew said. “And not just as a law enforcement
officer, but as role models, guidance counselors and such. They’ll be
wearing a lot of different hats.”

What that means is that deputies will be stationed at Henry County High School, Grove, Henry, Harrelson, and Lakewood Schools, he said. (A deputy/school resource officer already is stationed at the high school).

Paris Police Chief Chuck Elizondo said later this morning that negotiations also are underway between his department and the Paris Special Schools District (PSSD) to have city patrolmen in the schools in the city system, as well. "Yes. I have been negotiating with the PSSD for a little over a year. I feel it will happen soon," Elizondo said.

The department is conducting tours of all the schools today for its
deputies and the department invited the Paris Police Department.. “We wanted to familiarize all of the officers with all the schools,” Belew said.

Additionally, all deputies will have a manual in their cars which will
have aerial views of and fact sheets involving all the schools,
including contact and emergency information.

The new steps are being taken in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut
shooting tragedy, he said. “God forbid if something like that happened
here we would have more preparedness,” Belew said.

Henry County Drug Task Force Cases Dismissed

Paris, Tenn.- The criminal cases involving former personnel from the
24th Judicial Drug Task Force that were expected to be heard in Henry
County Circuit Court have been dismissed.

Former Task Force Director Steve Lee, 59, of McKenzie and Former
Secretary Leona Simoneau, 42, of McKenzie, were sentenced earlier this
month in Carroll County Circuit Court.

After their sentencings in Carroll County, their cases were to have
been brought to Henry County on possible local charges, but instead
Prosector Pro-Tem Joe Baugh of Franklin, issued a nolle prosequi,
dismissing the case.

The case goes back to 2011 when both Lee and Simoneau were indicted on
charges involving theft.

Lee was sentenced to 30 days in the Carroll County Jail and was
allowed to serve the sentence on weekends. He will serve the remaining
11 months and 29 day sentence will on probation consecutively.

Simoneau will serve her sentence as well on weekends for 10 days in
the county jail on weekends and also 11 months 29 day sentence will be
served on probation consecutively as well. One hundred hours of
community service was also ordered for both Lee and Simoneau.

Springville Man Shot and Killed in Carroll County

Paris, Tenn.-A Springville man was shot and killed in Carroll County last week.
Public identification of the victim was reportedly delayed so that his
next of kin could be notified.

The victim, Todd Daniel Laatsch, age 50 of 210 Atchison Lane,
Springville, was found lying in the roadway next to a vehicle at 1130
Barren Springs Church Rd. in Hollow Rock.

The incident occurred last week in the mid-afternoon. According to
the McKenzie Banner, the Carroll County Sheriff's
Department is being assisted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
in the investigation.

The victim reportedly was shot twice.

According to the Banner, sheriff’s deputies had responded to a call at
the residence
earlier in the day concerning an unwanted individual on the property.

At approximately 3:21 p.m., deputies again were called to the
residence after a caller notified them that a man had been shot and
was lying in the roadway in front of the home.

The victim was initially taken by ambulance to Baptist Memorial Hospital in
Huntingdon, where he was prepared to be airlifted to another medical
Facility. Before the transfer could take place, however, the victim
passed away at approximately 4:30 p.m.

Deputies Investigate Thefts

Paris, Tenn.-Henry County Sheriff’s Deputies are investigating the
theft of equipment from a garage on Macedonia Rd. that occurred on
Christmas Day. According to the police report, when the owner arrived
at his garage, he found his Millermatic mig welder and his welding
helmet missing. The mig welder is valued at $2,000 and the helmet is
worth $300.

A woman on Old McKenzie Highway Rd. reported the theft of a 14K platinum and white gold engagement ring from her jewelry box sometime between Dec. 21-23 when she was out of town. She told deputies her son had people at the house and she suspects one of them took the ring.

Deputies Pick Up Suspect

Paris, Tenn.-Henry County Sheriff's Deputies picked up Joseph Swartz, 58, 134 Lorena Lane, on charges of aggravated assault and domestic assault. A warrant had been issued for Swartz earlier following the incident Dec. 24. The original story is elsewhere on our website.

Shoplifters Arrested

Paris, Tenn.-Paris Police arrested two Henry residents and charged them with shoplifting from Wal-Mart on Dec. 26. They were charged with trying to steal a pair of shoes valued at $15 from the store and they were told not to return to Wal-Mart.

Arrested were: Patricia Ricker, 24 and Zachary Paisley, 28, both of 1055 Hinchey Cemetery Rd.

Assault Report Investigated

Paris, Tenn.-Paris Police are investigating a report of an assault. Patrolman Steve McClure was called to the hospital emergency room and spoke with the victim who said he was assaulted at a Boyce St. residence. He said he had been slapped, punched and kneed in the face and knocked to the ground and that he blacked out on the way to the hospital.

Nurses and a deputy told McClure that the victim had changed his story several times. Originally, he said he was attacked at Ogburn Park and then said it happened on the court square.

McClure told the victim to come to city hall and speak with police after he sobered up.


Henry County Blanketed With Snow

Paris, Tenn.-Everyone in Henry County woke up to a blanket of snow Wednesday morning, but thankfully the light snow fall did not cover the roadways. The county was under a winter weather advisory all night until 9 a.m. Top photo shows the wind carrying the snow around Whitehall Circle around 7 a.m., while in bottom photo of the Henry County Courthouse, the wind had died down by 9 a.m. (Shannon McFarlin photos).

Three Businesses Burglarized on Christmas Eve

Paris, Tenn.-Three businesses along Hwy 69S were burglarized in the early morning hours on Christmas Eve by a lone man on foot.

The Henry County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the break-ins,
which occurred at Cookie’s Diner, Southside Café and JB Express Mart
around 3 a.m.

At JB Express Mart, the owner reported that he found his coolers and
air units not working when he arrived at work and that someone had
taken fuses out of all five units. He looked at the surveillance video
and observed a man walking from the top of the hill, from the
direction of Cookie’s and that he could see the man messing with the
units and then trying to get in the locked doors of the building.

At Southside Café, the back door had been forced open and the cash
register was wedged open. Damage to the door was reported, along with
$30 in quarters missing.

At Cookie’s, the point of entry was the back door and the cash
register had been pried open. The video system was unplugged, but they
also got a good video of the crime. At that location, there was damage
to the front and back door and the perpetrator was seen to make
several attempts to get in through the front door.

Police Issue Warrant in Domestic Assault

Paris, Tenn.-Paris Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of Joseph Swartz, age 58 of 134 Lorena Lane, for aggravated domestic assault.

Officers were called to an address on Glisson Rd. around 5:30 p.m.
Christmas Eve after a 911 hang-up. The victim told them that Swartz
had stabbed her in the hand after he had put a knife to her throat
and someone else in the home called 911. At that point, according to
the police report, Swartz said if they called police he would slice


Shiver in the River Fundraiser Set for January 1

Ready to Take the Plunge?

Paris, Tenn.-It’s not too early to start thinking about this year’s Shiver on the
River-Chillin’ for the Children fund-raising event planned for New
Year’s Day.

The Shiver on the River is in its 3rd year and is an event that raises
funds for the REAL Hope Youth Center in Paris. The event has become a
major attraction locally and draws people from all over who are
anxious to welcome in the new year by jumping into the Tennessee River
at Paris Landing State Park.

And with the extremely cold temperatures we’ll be experiencing in the
days leading up to January 1, the dip in the river this year ought to
be a real eye-opener.

This year, the event will begin at noon Tuesday, January 1 at the
Paris Landing marina boat ramp, rain or shine. For $25 you can get
yourself a dip in the lake, a t-shirt and a meal that will warm you up
at Paris Landing State Park restaurant, as well as the satisfaction
that your money will go toward a good cause.

Becki White, the new director at REAL Hope Youth Center said
registration begins at 11:30 a.m. at the marina. For more information
call 815-499-1221.
Also feel free to check out the REAL Hope website and the Shiver on
the River website for more information. www.realhopeyouthcenter.com or

REAL Hope Youth Center is a not-for-profit, after-school enrichment
program for all children, 1st-6thgrades, in Paris and Henry County,
which is dedicated to making a difference and changing the lives of
children in our community. (R.E.A.L. stands for "Recreation"
"Education" "Arts" and "Leadership".) The program is located in the
Central Services building at 55 Jones Bend Rd.

We will have other reminders for you on the event as we get closer to
New Year’s Day.

Paris, Tenn.-The "White House" in Whitehall Circle is all lit up and decorated for Christmas. The home is called the "White House", not because it is white, but because it was built by a family named White. The home is a former plantation home, built before the Civil War, and originally was surrounded by cotton fields. It was the first home to be located in the development that is now called Whitehall Circle. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Winter Weather Advisory Issued: Snow is Forecast

Paris, Tenn.-It appears we may be in for a white holiday after all, with snow forecast for the overnight hours tonight and into tomorrow.

Our area is under a winter weather advisory. Rain before midnight, then snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Some thunder is also possible. Low around 31. Windy, with a northeast wind 15 to 20 mph increasing to 25 to 30 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.

For Wednesday: Snow likely, mainly before noon. Cloudy, with a high near 36. Windy, with a north northwest wind 15 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Murray Man Arrested for DUI

Paris, Tenn.-Paris Patrolman Jeramye Whitaker stopped a red Chevy blazer on N. Poplar Street Sunday after noticing it driving on the wrong side of the road. He also observed there was a small child in the back seat.

The driver, Jose Ibarra, age 38 of Murray, told Whitaker he had no
license. A check with dispatch determined it had been suspended for
failure to provide proof of financial responsibility. Whitaker said he
noticed a strong odor of alcohol and Ibarra said he had consumed one
or two beers.

Ibarra failed sobriety tests and he was arrested for DUI 1st offense
and driving on a suspended license. A blood sample also was taken
since he was driving with a small child in the car. The vehicle was
turned over to Ibarra’s wife.

News from past weeks here.




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