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WMUF/WLZK News                                                               

From News Director Tim Alsobrooks Weekend News Director Nicki Cronkright

 

 

State Unemployment Rate Hits Record Low for February

Nashville- The statewide unemployment rate in Tennessee dropped to a new historic low in February according to data released Thursday by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD). The seasonally adjusted rate of 3.2 percent is 0.1 of a percentage point lower than the previous historic low.
 
Tennessee reached its previous record low unemployment rate of 3.3 percent in October 2018 and it remained at that level for four consecutive months. The state began tracking unemployment rates in 1976
 
Over the past year, Tennessee's February unemployment rate decreased from 3.6 percent to 3.2 percent.
 
“To reach a record low unemployment rate is quite a milestone for Tennessee,” explained TDLWD Commissioner Jeff McCord. “Month after month the state has experienced record low, or near record low unemployment for nearly two years.”

While Tennessee did see record-breaking unemployment in February, there was a decrease in the number of jobs across the state. Total nonfarm employment was down by 1,500 jobs between January and February. The state experienced the biggest decreases in the mining/logging/construction sector, followed by the professional/business services sector.
 
In a year to year comparison, Tennessee employers created an estimated 53,000 new jobs. The sector with the largest increase was leisure and hospitality, followed by trade/transportation/utilities and manufacturing.

The national unemployment rate also decreased in February. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the United States is 3.8 percent, down 0.2 of a percentage point from January.
 
The statewide and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted to eliminate the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from an economic time series.
 
The state of Tennessee has produced a detailed analysis of the unemployment rate and job situation across the state. You can access that information here.
 
Tennessee’s workforce development website provides over 150,000 current job openings which you can apply for online, resume writing assistance, along with other job search assistance without any cost to Tennesseans.

UTM Makes Changes to Graduate level Programs

Martin, Tenn.- Those seeking to earn master’s degrees in education or business administration from the University of Tennessee at Martin will have fewer credit hours to complete beginning with the fall 2019 semester.

Students pursuing a master’s degree in education with a major in teaching and concentrations in initial licensure for either elementary or secondary education will need to complete 36 credit hours instead of the previous 42 hours, and those with concentrations in interdisciplinary education and curriculum and instruction will need to complete 30 hours instead of the previous 37 hours. Students pursuing a master’s degree in business administration with a general business concentration will need to complete 30 credit hours instead of the previous 38.

These reductions, in combination with a seven-week course structure, will allow graduate-level students to complete their degrees in as few as three semesters or one calendar year.

Students seeking master’s degrees in education will also have three new options in the coming year. New concentrations in special education and literacy have been added to the Master of Science in Education program with a major in teaching. An option in higher education leadership has also been added to the major in instructional leadership, formerly called educational leadership.

UT Martin also offers graduate-level programs in agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer science, and strategic communication. For more information, contact the UT Martin Office of Graduate Programs at 731-881-7012.

Chamber, DPA Welcome Group of Journalists, Bloggers

Paris, Tenn.- The Downtown Paris Association and the Chamber of Commerce welcomed a group of journalists, social media influencers and bloggers to the area today. As part of their visit in West Tennessee, the group spent two hours in the community experiencing the Eiffel Tower, the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center and the Downtown Area. 

Geiger and Associates Public Relations Firm organized the trip through the Tennessee Department of Tourism. (Chamber photos)

Hosp. Board Hears of Regulatory News from CMS

HCMC Holds monthly meeting at Healthcare Center Thurs. Night. (Tim Alsobrooks photos)

Paris, Tenn.- At Thursday night’s Henry County Medical Center Board of Trustee’s meeting, CEO Lisa Casteel updated the board on some regulatory news. She said the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, or CMS, believe help is coming to rural hospitals concerning the Area Wage Index Disparity. Administrator of CMS, Seema Verna, said “forty percent of rural hospitals have negative operating margins and many Americans face challenges solely based on geography. That’s why we are looking at how to adjust the Wage Index Forumla to avoid exasperating the already stark disparities between urban and rural hospitals.”

Casteel also reported that TennCare is requesting an additional $144M from CMS. The funds come from unallocated supplemental pool funding. These funds are not currently distributed because Tennessee didn’t approve the expansion of Medicaid. Castell said that approval is expected by August with distributions available by the start of FY 2020.

Casteel also reported to trustees that a proposed new payment model for Medicare public option on the individual health exchange would create the largest ever cut to hospitals and be disruptive to the employer sponsored health-insurance market.

Trustees learned that mental health transportation continues to be a main focus of the Tennessee Hospital Association. The push is coming from sheriffs who believe mental health patients who are non-violent and not in police custody should not be subjected to the sometimes-traumatic transport experience allowed by law. THA however maintains that the law cannot go thru without an alternative transportation in place.

The board of trustees were informed that the hospital has grown in the past year by 16% in occupancy. Staffing plans for more growth are on the table when the addition of Pulmonology and Neonatology April 1st.

HCMC Emergency Dept. Reduces Opioid Usages in State's Pilot Program

Paris, Tenn.- The hospital recently had recognition from the THA for the pilot program in Opioid Light Emergency Departments by reaching the target goal of a 20% reduction of opioid usage in the Emergency Department. Dr. Scott Whitby, chairman of the board, presented Gina Gierhart, Director of Emergency Services, and Paula Bell, Director of Pharmacy with a plaque for excelling in the pilot program. (pic above)

Hospital Board Approves $1.298M in Equipment Purchases

CFO Dale Guffey goes over financial reports and capital equipment requests. (Tim Alsobrooks photos)

Paris, Tenn.- The hospital board approved capital equipment requests in the amount of $1.298M for several pieces of equipment that Casteel said, “have been talked about and needed for awhile, this will not only help doctors do their jobs better, help our patients, but also help our recruiting.”

The major piece of equipment is a Mindray Monitor at a cost of over $863K. The medical center worked with a bank in Nashville and got a 5-year note that can be reevaluated and looked at again at that time. This can monitor patients from where the Doctor is at the time and is something that the hospital is going to have to have eventually with the pulmonology coming in next month.

HCMC BOT Hears Healthcare Center Reports

Paris, Tenn.- The board heard an update from the Healthcare Center from Director Sandy Ray, as they hosted the board meeting Thursday night. She said the turnover rate is about 34%, which is much lower than the National average which ranges in the 60s and 70s percentile. The family atmosphere, teamwork, and work ethic helps people feel at home. People enjoy the many activities and the staff does a great job interacting with patients.

In quality, Lori Moore spoke on the healthcare center’s quality measures which have scored well. HCHC is 70.8% in getting patients better and sending them back home where the national average is 54%. There are 30 different things scored upon and the center constantly tries to improve.

Ray said the state required us to go with a different survey company and the first one was done in January. The results of overall satisfaction and recommendations were 95% from the residences and 100% from families.

Reminder: City of Paris, BPU Giving Away Trees Friday

Paris, Tenn.- The Board of Public Utilities and the City of Paris will be giving away tree seedlings beginning at 11 am on Friday, March 22. The event will be held at two locations with members of the BPU staff set up in the alleyway by their main office at 117. E. Washington St. and staff from the City of Paris set up at Eiffel Tower Park. Trees will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last. Available tree varieties will include: Red Oak, Pine, Fruit or flowering variety and Redbud or similar species.

Man Charged with Agg. Kidnapping, Assault

Paris, Tenn.- Dep. William Whitaker of the Henry County Sheriff’s Office has charged Jeramy Wardlow, age 36, of 1485 Guthrie Road, with aggravated kidnapping, four counts of aggravated assault, domestic assault, vandalism, public intoxication, and interference with emergency calls after an incident were shots were also fired at a residence Tuesday night.

Dep. Whitaker talked with a woman who had come to the Sheriff’s Office to file the report on Wardlow for assault, and explained Wardlow was drunk and he and her got into verbal arguments. She tried to leave and told Dep. Whitaker that Wardlow came out side and disabled the vehicle which kept her from being able to leave at the time. The woman then stated, according to the report, she tried to call family member to come get her and Wardlow took her phone and threw it across the road. She then picked up her child and attempted to walk away and Wardlow grabbed her by the hair and refused to let her leave.

Family members did arrive and the woman, with her one year old child, managed to get away and get to the vehicle. Wardlow came outside and fired two shots from a gun into the ground.

Sgt. Blake Jenkins and Dep. Kyle Waldron were informed by Dep. Whitaker about the situation going on and to be on the lookout for Wardlow as he was packing up things looking like he was ready to leave town. Sgt. Jenkins arrived at the home as Wardlow was continuing to load up his truck. Dep. Whitaker and Paris Police Lt. Josh Frey also arrived on scene for assistance and Wardlow was taken into custody. 11 guns were seized at the residence. Wardlow was placed on $40K bond.

BPU Shows Lakewood 2nd Graders Water Treatment Proceedures

Paris, Tenn.- Pictured is BPU Pretreatment Coordinator, Travis Jones, talking with students from Ms. Christie Wimberley’s 2nd grade class about the wastewater treatment process. Students also had the opportunity to learn about the water distribution cycle, watch BPU linemen set a pole, watch a demonstration of a “hurt man” rescue and much more. (BPU photos) 

Girl Scout Day Planned at LBL this Saturday

Land Between the Lakes, Ky/TN- Woodlands Nature Station will host Girl Scout Day on March 23, 2019, from 10am-3pm at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. The theme is Camping Adventures Day! Hands-on activities, programs, an outdoor cooking demonstration, crafts, games and more will help Daisies, Brownies, Juniors and Cadettes earn their Camping badge requirements. There is no need to register, just show up and bring a friend! Everyone is welcome. General admission covers all programs and activities: $5 ages 13 and up, $3 ages 5-12, free for ages 4 and under. Plan to spend at least 3 hours to complete all activities. Be prepared to be outdoors. Pack a lunch and make a day of it!

“It’s Camping Adventures Day this year at Girl Scout Day!” says Monica West, naturalist at Woodlands Nature Station. “Come learn how to ‘Be Prepared’ for a camping trip. Learn about gear and equipment from a local expert, taste some outdoor cooking and practice some survival skills to get you ready for your own camping trip at home.” Daisies, Brownies, Juniors and Cadettes will have a chance to work towards their respective Camping badges, and receive a certificate of the completed requirements. Seniors and Ambassador Scouts are encouraged to volunteer! Call Monica West at 270.924.2299 for more information on volunteering for Girl Scout Day.
 
Girl Scouts can come with their troop or individually with a parent, and are encouraged to bring friends. Non-scouts are welcome to participate! Badge requirements will be completed through a combination of scheduled programs and a series of activity stations that scouts can visit throughout the day. For a complete schedule of activities be sure to check out the Girl Scout Day flyer available at the Land Between the Lakes Woodlands Nature Station website, https://www.landbetweenthelakes.us/seendo/attractions/nature-station/
 
Fourth grade students can go to https://everykidinapark.gov/, get their free Every Kid in a Park pass, and get their family in for free. For more information, call the Nature Station at 270.924.2299.

LBL Seeks Public Input on Future Plans

Golden Pond, Ky.- Land Between the Lakes is seeking public input on its Forward to the future drafts and goals initiative by March 31st, 2019. Forward to the Future is an ongoing strategic planning initiative which focuses on the future of recreation and environmental education at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. 

The purpose of this effort is to develop the organization’s first Strategic Sustainability Plan for the Future of Recreation and Environmental Education at Land Between the Lakes. The Plan will identify: 1. Key strategic plan components (vision, priority areas of focus, and set of goals and objectives) that will guide management of recreation and environmental education programs for the next 10-15 years; 2. Strategies which will help Land Between the Lakes, as an organization, to be more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable; and 3. Ways in which Land Between the Lakes can help to cultivate regional sustainability through collaboration and partnership.

Comments can be submitted through the MindMixer website: landbetweenthelakes.mindmixer.com, or by sending them directly to Jeff Laird, Customer Service Manager at jlaird@fs.fed.us.  If you have any questions they can also be addressed to Jeff Laird at jlaird@fs.fed.us. Comments will be accepted until March 31st. To date, public input has been collected from approximately 700 participants as part of the Assessment and Visioning phases via one of the following methods: through an online engagement platform.

Mac Powell and the Family Reunion at KPAC Saturday

Paris, Tenn.- The Krider Performing Arts Center will host Mac Powell and the Family Reunion this Saturday March 23rd. Mac Powell is a four-time Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum selling frontman of the former band Third Day.

This event is for all ages and will feature and full and unforgettable night of music by Mac Powell and the Family Reunion. Broken into 2 sets, the show will feature one part songs you love from Third Day years and one part cover songs and influences you know, and one part original songs. For tickets log onto www.macpowellandthefamilyreunion.com.

Upcoming March Programs at W.G. Rhea Library

Paris, Tenn.- Upcoming programs at the W.G. Rhea Public Library include a Calligraphy Workshop Thursday March 21st 6-8pm, Foreign Language Tuesday March 26th 5:30-6:30pm, Preschool Story Hour March 27th form 10:30-11:30am, and Roken Robotics and Engineering Thursday March 28th from 5:30pm-6:30pm. For any additional information on the W.G. Rhea Public Library’s events, like them on Facebook or call 642-1702.

One Killed in Shady Grove Rd. Accident Tues. Night

Paris, Tenn.- A 57 year old Paris woman was killed in a one vehilce accident on Shady Grove Road Tuesday night. The report from Lt. Brad Wilbanks of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said Kenitha Desauliner was traveling south on Shady Grove Road when her 2007 Toyota Camry went off the right side of the roadway. She overcorrected and then went completely off the left side of Shady Grove Road. After exiting the roadway, the vehicle struck a drainage culvert, went airborne, and struck a tree head-on. The vehicle's final resting place was facing north.

Paris Police Investigate Thefts

Paris, Tenn.- A report at the Paris Police Department stated Ptl. Jeff Smith took a report of theft where a woman had a diamond ring valued at $800 stolen during her giving another woman a ride to walmart. Invesitgation is still ongoing at this time.

Sgt. Tony Hutcherson took a report of  vandalism to a business on Mineral Wells Avenue where a business had BB gun bullet holes. Value of the vandalism is $1000.

City Units also responded to a resident on Belmont St., where someone appear to force enter in the backdoor. Stolen from here was a TV.

Small Business Awards Given Out at Chamber

Paris, Tenn.- The Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at the UT Martin Regional Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (REED) Center celebrated National Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Day March 20thwith a presentation of their center’s Rising Star Award and Community Partner Award.

Gary and Nancy Morris, owners of the FOOTBAR Walker, were recognized as the center’s Rising Star Award.  Travis McLeese, Executive Director of the Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce was recognized as the Center’s Community Partner. Both recipients are from Paris. Pictured are Gary and Nancy Morris, Travis McLeese and Landy Fuqua, director of the TSBDC at the UT-Martin REED Center. 

Chamber's Donuts with Director Welcomes UTM Chancellor Thurs.

Paris, Tenn.- The Paris Henry County Chamber of Commerce’s Donuts with the Director Program continues at 10am Thursday March 21st at the Chamber when Dr. Keith Carver, Chancellor of UT Martin is the guest speaker. His tenure as the 11th Chancellor of UT Martin begin January 3, 2017.

Entering his twentieth year of service at the University of Tennessee, Carver previously served as executive assistant to the president January 2011 to December 2016. Prior to that, he held roles at UT campuses in Knoxville, Martin and Memphis, including serving as interim vice chancellor for development and alumni affairs at the UT Health Science Center in Memphis and assistant vice chancellor for development at UT Martin. He held several positions at UT Knoxville including assistant director and director of development and alumni affairs for the College of Law, program director for the Office of Student Activities and co-director of TeamVOLS (community outreach and service program).

Carver has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Memphis, a master’s degree in college student personnel and educational leadership from UT Knoxville and a doctoral degree from UT Knoxville. His doctoral dissertation was titled, “A Study of Presidential Derailment in Public Research Universities.”

Keith and his wife, Hollianne, are the parents of a daughter, Carson, and two sons, Jack Thomas (J.T.) and Britton. Everyone is welcome to attend the Roundtable discussion.

Solid Waste Committee Learns of 2018 Progress Report

Paris, Tenn.- Northwest Tennessee Development District Regional Planner for Solid Waste/Infrastructure, Wanda Fuzzell, reviewed the 2018 progress report which was approved by the Henry County Solid Waste Committee at its meeting Tuesday night at the court house.  County Mayor Brent Greer was re-elected chair of the group, Paris City Mayor Carlton Gerrell was elected Vice Chair and Ron Watkins was elected Secretary.

In the Progress Report Fuzzell pointed out that the state has a goal for Henry County of 25% Real Time Reduction Diversion Rate for solid waste in the county.  At this time Henry County exceeds that amount at 41,403.19 or 36.13%.  She also informed the committee that Henry County has the highest recycling amount of the 9 counties she works with in Northwest Tennessee. 

Cottage Grove Mayor David Jackson expressed appreciation for the recycling pickup provided for Cottage Grove by the county.  He noted that, "We have had some concern with abuse of the curbside recycle program with some people placing household waste into the bags." 

Watkins said that the problem was real but not too great at this time although it has had an adverse effect on other areas of the county with recycle bins being used for garbage disposal.  "It causes a hardship on our workers who sort through the materials." 

Cottage Grove citizens use clear plastic bags that can be purchased at JT's in Cottage Grove for recycling.  If workers discover bags that have garbage in them, they will mark them with a black magic marker and be left for the homeowner to dispose of properly.  Fuzzell pointed out that Cottage Grove is one of three communities in the area that have curbside pickup.

Solid Waste manager, Ron Watkins, reported that the county had received a grant with a 30% matching funds that would allow the county to purchase a new box truck.  Presently the newest one in the fleet is a 2015 model.  He was also disappointed to report that a second grant for the convenience Center for an expansion in the facility was not received.  According to Greer and Watkins, "We hope to reapply for those funds this year as well."

PSSD BOE Increases Daycare Fees; Seeks Paving Bids at Rhea Elementary

Paris, Tenn.- The Pairs Special School District Board of Education met in regular session for March on Tuesday night and voted to expand the daycare services provided for teachers in the system. Retired Superintendent Mike Brown had this idea to give teachers access to daycare and the program started 7 years ago. In that time, there have been no price increases but the number of children using the daycare have gotten larger and next fall’s incoming toddlers will be too many for one teacher to handle. Chairman of the PSSD Board Richard Edwards said, “we’ll have to hire another teacher due to the amount of toddlers coming next fall, but we will be able to share teacher assistants.”

To help defray some cost, the board approved increasing the cost on teachers to use the PSSD Daycare $10 per week from $65 to $75 for Toddlers, ages 18 months to 3 years and from $55 to $65 per week for Preschool, which is age 3 years to Kindergarten.

The increase still gives teachers a great value because they know where their children are at and those prices remain under what most daycares charge in the area. The PSSD also wants to continue to offer this service to teachers in the system to stand apart from other systems.

In other business, the board voted to move forward with having Director of Facilities Jason Coffield advertise for bids to repave, seal, and repaint all asphalt at Rhea Elementary. There have been many cuts and potholes due to weather and construction at Rhea that has happened the last several months. The money is in the construction budget and won’t be needed from fund balance, but must be used by June 30th.

The board also voted to oppose Education Savings Accounts, or ESA, which is Governor Bill Lee’s basic voucher program that he is wanting to institute to start with in the major metropolitan areas. The ESAs take public money from school systems so the PSSD board, just as the County did last week, opposed them in resolution form.

The board also saw a presentation from Karen Goodman and some Paris Elementary’s Gifted students as they used geometry to quickly solve rubix cubes.  

Man Charged with 5 Counts of Agg. Rape

Paris, Tenn.- In a joint investigation between the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and the Paris Police Department, Jared Payton, age 29, of 1450 Hwy 69S has been arrested and charged with 5 counts of Aggravated Rape, 1 count of Rape, 1 count of reckless endangerment and 1 count of animal cruelty.

The Investigation began as allegations were reported to the Sheriff’s Office and the Police Department of Payton coercing juvenile girls into sexual contact by the use of illegal narcotics. During the course of the investigation it was also revealed that Payton had actually shot one of the juvenile girls with a bb gun to further coerce her into sexual contact.

In another separate investigation involving animal cruelty the Sheriff’s Office received a call of a man pulling a dog by the neck down the road. Deputies arrived on scene and did find a dog that was deceased. It was later revealed that Payton had found this dog on the side of the road that had been hit by a car. While the dog was still alive Payton hooked a rope to the dog’s neck and then to his car and drug it down the road. Payton is being held on $350K and will appear in court on Thursday March 21st.

HCHS Baseball Falls to Rossview

Paris, Tenn.- Henry County fell on the diamond to Rossview 6-1 Tuesday evening, suffering a season sweep after losing at Rossview 5-4 Monday night. The Patriots only managed 1 run off Rossview hurler Bracken Rice. The Patriots are now 0-2 in District play, 4-2 overall and will play at McKenzie Thursday.

HCHS Softball Beats Montgomery Central

Paris, Tenn.- The Henry County Lady Patriot Softball team defeated Montgomery Central in District 10-AAA play Tuesday night at home by a final of 8-5. Emily Goins pitched for the Lady Patriots. They will play at Creek Wood Wednesday night.

HCSO, PPD Hosting K-9 Training School This Week

Paris, Tenn.- THe Henry County Sheriff's Office and Paris Police Department are hosting a NAPWDA K-9 training school in town this week. Several K-9s from multiple agencies across the southern United States will be participating in the training here in Henry County.

In addition, there will be an open to the public K-9 demo Thursday evening March 21st from 5-6pm at the Livestock Building at the Fairgrounds. Sheriff Monte Belew said this event is free of charge and is a great chance for the community to see different dogs who will cover everything from patrol to drugs to tracking and see how they greatly assist the various agencies..

BPU, City of Paris Giving Away Tree Seedlings this Friday

Paris, Tenn.- The Board of Public Utilities and the City of Paris will be giving away tree seedlings beginning at 11 am on Friday, March 22.  The event will be held at two locations with members of the BPU staff set up in the alleyway by their main office at 117. E. Washington St. and staff from the City of Paris set up at Eiffel Tower Park. Trees will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last. 

Available tree varieties will include: Red Oak, Pine, Fruit or flowering variety and Redbud or similar species. The trees are between eight and 24 inches tall and have been harvested when dormant without soil around the roots, making them easier to transport and plant.  

Trees beautify our neighborhoods and when planted in the right spot, they can even help lower your energy bills. But the wrong tree in the wrong place can be a hazard-especially to power lines. Along with the seedlings, individuals will receive a brochure that explains the importance of planting the right tree in the right place and BPU’s commitment to protecting our environment.

“We are very excited to be partnering with the city on this project,” said Terry Wimberley, BPU General Manager. “From time to time we do have to trim or cut down trees to ensure we are able to provide customers with safe and reliable power, with this project, not only are we able to educate our customers on best practices for tree planting but also help generate new tree growth in the community.”

Also included in the brochure is information about the City’s Preserve Paris Program and the City’s MS4 Recognition. Preserve Paris is a neighborhood revitalization, preservation and clean-up initiative that began in early 2016. The city believes this giveaway accomplishes two things in preserving our neighborhoods- it improves the aesthetics as well as the water quality in our community.

Kim Foster, City Manager stated, “we are pleased to offer this tree giveaway for our spring, 2019 Preserve Paris Event.  In the past we concentrated on specific neighborhoods.  We are excited that all residents can benefit from this upcoming event.  Please join us on Friday and plant a tree!”

MSU Financial Dept. at HCHS Tues. Evening Helping Understand Financial Aid

Paris, Tenn.- The Murray State Financial Aid Department will be at the Testing Center of Henry County High School at 6pm Tuesday doing a presentation on “How to Understand your Financial Aid Letter.” The meeting will address topics such as how to correctly read the letter; understanding different types of aid; how to determine the remaining cost of students education; what to accept and what to decline; what if I decide to go to another school after I have accepted financial aid; how do I determine what is right for me in financial aid; how to compare financial aid letters from different schools. Seniors and their parents are encouraged to attend.

Mandatory TN Promise Meeting for HCHS Students Wed.

Paris, Tenn.- A Mandatory TN Promise meeting will be held Wednesday March 20th at the Cafeteria. Students must attend the meeting to remain eligible for the TN Promise Program, parental attendance will not count, and students themselves must attend. Enter at the basketball entrance and park near the tennis courts for easiest access.

HCHS Baseball Drops District Game at Rossivew; Host the Hawks Tues.

Paris, Tenn.- Henry County Patriot baseball lost at Rossview 5-4 Monday evening in Clarksville. The Patriots will host Rossview on the diamond Tuesday with a 6:30pm first pitch. We will broadcast Tuesday evening’s game on WLZK 94.1FM starting with a pregame show at 6pm.  

911 Board Learns that Centralized Dispatching is Moving Along and Becoming a Real Possibility

Paris, Tenn.- The Henry County E-911 Board met Monday afternoon and learned that Centralized Dispatching is becoming closer to reality. Paris Police Chief Chuck Elizondo gave reports and 911 Director Mark Archer said the City and County are looking at some interlocal agreements and working towards the start of the new budget later this summer. Archer said there is room to possibly house the Central Dispatch in the back of the 911 Communications Office on Brewer St. Archer said they would move equipment from the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and possibly purchase some new equipment. Archer said some money in the budget and money coming due on CDs would help pay for relocation and new equipment.

Archer said the County Radio Project is going along well and there will be a more detailed update at the April County Commission meeting to see where they stand and were to go from there.

IT Director Chad Howard updated the board on the QGIS progress which allows all agencies to work together and see things mapped in the county. The technology is so advanced Archer said it would allow responders to pinpoint a caller to 911 being a bridge if they were and allows agencies to use it for different things such as utility companies to help locate lines etc.

Commission Hears of Space Concern at Election Commission

DeLaina Green, Election Administrator, addresses the County Commission Monday night about spacing issues. (Tim Alsobrooks photos)

Paris, Tenn.- The Henry County Commission met in regular session for March Monday night and heard form Administrator of Elections DeLaina Green regarding lack of space at the Election Commission Office.

Green told commissioners that she had already went to the courthouse committee with the issue and wanted the full commission to know the problem with lack of space at the Election Commission Office. Green told the commission Monday night that more and more laws change each year with regulations and such and its becoming an issue to handle the equipment with the space which they have. Green said in the ten years she has been at the office, the amount of equipment has basically doubled. Although the current machines should suffice in the next round of Elections in 2020, Green said they would likely need to purchase more by 2022.

Green said voters need more privacy and the space to fill out paper ballots if they wish and the office doesn’t really provide that now. County Mayor Brent Greer said that the courthouse committee has discussed this problem with space. There has been some space found at Weston Hall that could help with equipment and maybe a potential future Election Commission Office. Mayor Greer said he would come back to the commission in a future meeting with more details and cost estimates.

Members of leadership Henry County learned about County Gov. Monday and ended their day at the County Comm. meeting.

Citizen Asks Commission to Work on Getting Streets, Areas Cleaned Up Again

RIck Parker, standing facing commission, asks for more work to clean up areas of the County. (Tim Alsobrooks photos)

Paris, Tenn.- At the beginning of the meeting, citizen Rick Parker spoke to the commission asking for the County and City to work together to help clean up some areas that are continuing to be an eye sore. Parker said “I see trash flying out of the back of trucks that are untarped, I see it at these Dollar Stores and other stores where its all over their parking lots and around their garbage bins.”

County Attorney Rob Whitfield said, “the codes enforcement officer is given an address that is violating the litter resolution and he goes to the address and cites the person and tells them they have “x” number of days to clean it up, then the county can seek court action or send someone to clean it up and bill that person for the service.” Whitfield said the county has had some measurable success with that the last year or so. County Mayor Greer said the County, City, Sheriff’s Office and Police Department, and Highway Department are all working hard to try to keep our streets and areas clean.

Commission Passes Resolution Opposing Re-Districting

County Mayor Brent Greer discusses the resoution opposing re-districting. (Alsobrooks photo)

Paris, Tenn.- The Commission approved a resolution opposing the redistricting of the 24th Judicial District. Tennessee Code Annotated 16-1-119 set the parameters for an Advisory Task Force of 11 members appointed jointly by the Speaker of the Senate and Speaker of the House. County Mayor Brent Greer said the Henry County Bar Association met earlier in the month and opposed any re-districting that would reduce the number of judges that serve Henry County. This resolution by the County Commission does the same thing, opposing redistricting of any kind that would reduce the number of judges that serve the area.

Commissioners approved the sale of certain delinquent tax property at reduced prices in resolution form Monday night. The parcel will be sold for $200 to the bidder, unless someone raises the price in the next 10 days by 10% or more, as required by state law.

Tense Situation Ends Peacefully With Man in Jail, Woman Cited

Paris, Tenn.- A fierce and tense situation, ended peacefully thanks to work of the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and landed a man in jail and citations for drug possession on a woman. The report by Lt. Clyde Sulcer of the HCSO stated they received a call of a woman calling from her neighbor’s house, saying her boyfriend, Dr. Robert W. Hamm, age 41, of 215 Country Wood Drive, had threatened her and did have a gun.

Several deputies arrived and took position in locations around the home, Hamm was inside. They could see him lying on the bed and numerous times attempted to call him and have him surrender. He continued to refuse, but finally after Lt. Sulcer explained to him the process would be a deputy would meet him on the porch and handcuff him. He finally did surrender with no issues. He was charged with domestic and aggravate assault. The woman, Kathryn Grace McCoy, age 37, 1504 Belmont St., was cited into court for possession of marijuana after some was found in her backpack.

Deputies Investigate Theft Reports

Paris, Tenn.- Dep. Haley French of the Henry County Sheriff’s Office took a report of theft from Terrappin Creek Road where someone allegedly ripped open a packaged from the mail left at a residence and took the T-Shirts that were inside of the package. There are no suspects at this time.

Dep. John Andrews of the Sheriff’s Office took a report of theft from a resident of Atlantic Avenue in Henry. The report stated that two lock boxes with medication had been stolen along with an Ipad mini. More investigation is underway in this incident with no arrests at this time.

TN Paws Act up for Hearing in Subcommittee This Wed.

Nashville- House Bill 852 also known as the TN PAWS Act – the TN Protection of Animal Welfare & Safety Act – is scheduled for hearing this coming Wednesday, March 20, at 3:30 pm before the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee in House Hearing Room II.  This bill, sponsored by Representative Bruce Griffey, seeks to completely overhaul animal laws in Tennessee, provide stronger protection to voiceless victims, harsher penalties against animal abusers and greater assistance to law enforcement and rescue organizations who assist victimized animals.  Griffey was inspired to write the bill based upon his and his wife’s experience as prosecutors handling animal cruelty cases. 

“Tennessee is currently ranked as a ‘middle tier’ state with respect to animal protection laws and I want to make Tennessee a ‘top tier’ state.  I have frequently seen prosecutors suspending sentences for animal crimes so animal abusers serve no time in jail.  My bill would change that and create mandatory sentences as well as mandatory fines, which are currently not in place.  Those fines would go to animal shelters, humane societies and animal rescue organizations,” stated Griffey. 

 
Among some of the things the TN PAWS Act seeks to change is:
 
  • Creating escalating mandatory minimum sentences and fines for animal abuse and neglect and earmarking the fines to go to law enforcement agencies, shelters, humane societies and animal rescue organizations which assist victimized animals;
     
  • Increasing the penalty for aggravated animal cruelty, animal fighting and beastiality from a Class E Felony to a Class C Felony;
     
  • Requiring individuals convicted of sex crimes against animals to register on the sex offender registry;
     
  • Creating mandatory minimum “cost of care” security bonds to be posted by individuals charged with animal abuse, cruelty or neglect to cover the costs incurred by law enforcement agencies, shelters, humane societies or animal rescue organizations in caring for victimized animals who are the subject of criminal prosecutions;
     
  • mandating prohibition periods whereby convicted animal abusers would be prohibited from owning an animal or residing in a household where an animal is present; and
     
  • making it a crime to create, market, offer to market or sell, or possess depictions of animal cruelty unless it is for religious, political, scientific, educational, law enforcement, humane investigator training, journalistic, artistic, or historical value or involves rodeos, sanctioned livestock events, or normal husbandry practices.
 
These are just some of many changes that the TN PAWS Act will make.
“This bill will not only serve to protect and provide justice for innocent, voiceless animals, but it will also serve to protect humans.  It is well established that individuals who victimize animals frequently progress to victimizing children, the elderly, women – anyone they perceive as defenseless and vulnerable.  It is a well established fact that most serial killers start with abuse and cruelty to animals and progress from there to humans.  In my district just a couple of months ago, a man shot his girlfriend’s child’s puppy because he was mad at his girlfriend.  It is just  a matter of time before someone like that ends up directing violence towards the girlfriend or the girlfriend’s child,”  stated Griffey.
 
Griffey is encouraging anyone who would like to see the TN PAWS Act enacted as law to show up to the Capitol for the hearing on Wednesday afternoon to show support for the bill.
 
 
Contact: Bruce Griffey, TN State Representative for the 75th House District (Benton, Henry & Stewart Counties), 615-741-6804, ext. 44133 or rep.bruce.griffey@capitol.tn.gov

Cottage Grove Fire Department Holding Pot Luck, Meeting Mon. Night

Cottage Grove, Tenn.- The Cottage Grove Volunteer Fire Department is having their annual meeting Monday evening at 6pm at the Cottage Grove Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. The meeting begins with a 6pm potluck supper with BBQ and Chicken Strips provided by the Fire Department. The annual business meeting will follow at 7pm. All business will be conducted and the election of board members will commence. Everyone is invited. Membership Dues are $25 per ear or 5 years for $100. Just as a reminder, non-members are charged a $750 fee if called to a fire scene.  

Paris Man Arrested After Ramming Patrol Car

Paris, Tenn. - According to a report at the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, the Paris Police had a van that was refusing to stop and Deputy Hayley French, Deputy Jimmy Cole and Deputy William Whitaker responded to assist.

Sgt. Wayne Fuqua was advised that the city had attempted to stop the vehicle and the driver had fled with a pair of handcuffs on. Radio traffic advised that the driver had been identified as James Conger of Grove Street in Paris and that the vehicle was traveling the wrong direction on Veteran’s Drive and had hit a vehicle head on. Paris later terminated pursuit, but Deputy French and Whitaker followed at a distance, following Conger on Wood Street and headed toward the lake.

The van then turned into the parking lot at Lakeway Circle and deputies drove on past. Sgt. Fuqua made his way to the parking lot and observed the van and Conger in the lot.

Sgt. Fuqua pulled his patrol car in front of the van so that he couldn’t drive off and exited his vehicle, weapon drawn and advising Conger to exit his vehicle. Conger put the car in reverse, backed up and then rammed Sgt. Fuqua’s patrol car and then backed up again, put the vehicle in drive and pulled out onto Wood Street.

Sgt. Fuqua was able to get back in his patrol vehicle and get in front of Conger, slowing him down until Deputy French and Deputy Whitaker could box Conger in so that he couldn’t drive off. Upon attempting to get Conger out of the vehicle and him resisting, Sgt. Fuqua deployed his taser and Conger pulled out the barbs. Deputy Whitaker deployed his taser and again, Conger pulled out the barbs. After a second round and a dry stun with a taser, deputies were able to get Conger from the vehicle.

Conger became unresponsive once on the ground and EMS was called to assist in treatment. Conger was transported to the HCMC ER and remained unresponsive. Once a toxicology screening was complete, Conger was administered medicine and discharged from the hospital and transported to the Henry County Jail, without further incident.

The van was towed from the scene and Conger was charged with Resisting Arrest, Evading Arrest, Reckless Endangerment, and two counts of Aggravated Assault. This does not include pending additional charges from Paris Police Department.

Winners Of 27th Photography Showcase Announced

Best in Show

Paris, Tenn. - The Arts Council Photography 27th Showcase opened at the W.G. Rhea Public Library on Sunday, a reception held and the winners of each category and Best of Show were announced.

In the category of Altered Images, 1st place was awarded to Ghost Writer by Michael Grace. 2nd place was awarded to Fairy Steps by Mary Ann Claxton. Third place went to Linda Gardner for All Pumped Up.

In the Architectural category, Jason Bucher won First place with Eye of the Eiffel. Beverly Hicks won 2nd place with Another Day Begins on What’s Left from Yesteryear. Linda Gardner took third place for Mt. Zion Church.

In the Beginner category, Krystel Bucher took 1st place with Keys to Palestine. Tammie Garner won 2nd place with Orb Weaver and Gabrielle Kline won 3rd place with her photo titled Wintry Morn.

The category of Black and White saw Tammie Garner taking 1st place with Lifetime Love. American Worker by Linda Gardner took 2nd place and Tattered Memories by Debbie McDorman won 3rd place.

The awards in the Downtown Paris category were sponsored by the Downtown Paris Association and 1st place was awarded to Jason Bucher for Luckey’s Charms. Michael Grace won 2nd place for 38242 and 3rd place went to Beverly Hicks for House of Justice.

In the Mobile category, Jill McLean took 1st place with Beautiful Bark. Vanessa Solis won 2nd place with her work titled Morning Dew and third place went to Susan Jones for Waiting.

In the Natural World Category, Jim Jayroe won 1st place with Golden Light. River Crossing won 2nd place and was shot by Lisha Donald. Kevin Buie took 3rd place with his work titled From the Depths of Hell.

The People category 1st place winner for BPU Lineman…I am a Lineman for the County was Christy Casey. Tootin’ his own Horn won 2nd place and was by Debbie McDorman and Waiting for a Bus-Chicago won 3rd place and was by Renee Day.

The category of Travel saw 1st place go to Lost by Judith Putnam. Susan Corbin took 2nd place with her work, Amish Homestead and Thingvellir National Park – Iceland by Renee Day took 3rd place.

Wildlife and Animals 1st place winner was Jean Owens with Hand Stand. Jere Hughes took 2nd place with Penthouse Suite and 3rd place, which was untitled went to Vanessa Solis.

The Best in Show was awarded to Judith Putnam for Lost. The judges had quite a discussion about the Black and Whites and all agreed that it is difficult to shoot well, because the photographer doesn’t have the “noise” associated with the color.

The showcase will remain on display until April 12th.

Warrants Filed On Employee After Customers Report Thefts

Paris, Tenn. - According to a report at the Paris Police Department, Lt. Michael Ramos spoke to a complainant at City Hall, who wanted to file charges of theft after an employee of a local business had stolen items from his vehicle while maintenance was being conducted.

The complainant stated he had gone to Triple T Tire to have new tires placed on his Chevrolet. He arrived at the business around 9 a.m. and while he was waiting on his vehicle, he observed an employee, later identified as Joshua Ryan Hammond, age 37 of Big Sandy, acting suspiciously. At approximately 11 a.m., the complainant was notified his vehicle was finished.

The complainant advised that is when he got into his vehicle and checked to see if Hammond had taken something. He noticed a bag of change, with approximately $30 in it missing. He also noticed that his tools that were in the back of his vehicle, all moved from the bag and placed to the side.

The complainant approached the manager of the store and made him aware of the situation. The manager approached Hammond, who then gave him the bag of change, which he had stolen out of the vehicle. The manager advised he planned on terminating the employee, but had not done so at this time.

The complainant advised he wished to pursue charges against Hammond and that after checking, called the Police Department to advise his Snap-on jumper box had also been stolen. The jumper box was valued at $475.

Lt. Ramos will be issuing warrants for Hammond for theft.

Speeding Leads To Additional Citations

Paris, Tenn. - A report at the Paris Police Department stated that Patrolman Johnathan Baxter observed a black, 2018 Dodge Ram 1500 traveling at a high rate of speed traveling outbound on East Wood Street. Ptl. Baxter’s radar unit indicated that the vehicle was traveling 63 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone.  

Ptl. Baxter initiated a traffic stop on East Wood Street and Recycling Drive. Upon making contact with the driver, identified as Orville Edgil, age 48 of Buchanan, dispatch advised Edgil was suspended out of Benton County General Sessions Court for failure to show proof of insurance on  01/06/19.

Edgil was cited in lieu of arrest and left at the scene while waiting for alternate transportation.

Donkey Basketball Game March 23rd

Paris, Tenn. - Donkey Basketball is once again coming to the Central Community Service Center on Saturday, March 23rd at 7 p.m. Prominent local people ride stubborn and tricky donkeys, all while playing basketball. Admission is $8 at the gate and advance tickets can be purchased at Take Me Back Café for $6.

For more information visit www.donkeyball.net or for event bookings, please contact Circle A Donkey Ranch at 731-243-3326.

Shepherd's Table Supper Planned For Tuesday

Huntingdon, Tenn. - The Shepherd’s Table will be hosting their next supper on Tuesday, March 19th, with the meal beginning promptly at 5 p.m. and the kitchen will remain open until 6:45 p.m. and anyone hungry or seeking fellowship for supper is invited.

This community kitchen was created by the volunteers at the First Presbyterian Church of Huntingdon. The Shepherd’s Table has served as many as 70 guests and is always willing to serve more.

The menu for this month’s meal is chicken breast with homemade gravy, noodles, corn, English peas, fresh baked rolls and brownies with ice cream for dessert. Milk, tea and water will available as well.

The Fellowship Hall is located at 19835 East Main Street in Huntingdon and visiting is like having dinner at a casual restaurant in town. You are greeted at the door by a host and seated at a table. A server brings your drink and meal. Your food is served hot and fresh from the kitchen.

Between the generous donations and what the committee spends each month, each meal costs approximately $50. If you would like to sponsor a meal or give a donation of any amount, please contact The Shepherd’s Table by calling the First Presbyterian Church of Huntingdon at 731-986-5642.

Reminder: American Legion Post 89 Fish Fry Fridays Continue

Springville, Tenn.- The American Legion Post 89, located at 4326 East Antioch Road, will be holding Fish Fry’s several Fridays in a row starting this week during Lent. Every Friday until April 19th. They will serve Catfish, fries, hushpuppies, white beans, slaw, dessert, and drink for only $10. The meal will be served beginning at 5pm until they are sold out. The meal is open to the public.

 

News from past weeks here.

     
     
 
-

HCPC Stop Underage Drinking

Tennessee Valley Community Churcy

Paris Country Club

ReMax Realty

Tennessee Valleyn Communityn Church

Peppers

Henry County Mobile Alerts

WMUF Country Coupon Club

 

Joe Mahan Ford

Patriots Football

First United Methodist Church

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