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Questions raised after Hartsville man’s body found in river

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is continuing to look into the death of a Hartsville man whose body was pulled from the Cumberland River last week.

The body of 26-year-old Army veteran Donovan Crittendon was discovered near the Hartsville water plant on Saturday, June 9, six days after he had reportedly gone missing.

Crittendon’s wife, Jessica Williams, told The Vidette she was told by a friend of her husband’s that he went missing around 10 p.m. on Sunday, June 3, and was last seen getting into the personal vehicle of a Drug Task Force agent.

Photos by Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Jessica Williams, right, the wife of Donovan Crittendon, stands with her sister Emelie Hester during a vigil Tuesday evening outside Crittendon’s Hartsville home. The 26-year-old man’s body was pulled from the Cumberland River on Saturday, June 9 after he went missing the previous Sunday. The TBI is currently investigating Crittendon’s disappearance and death.

That agent was identified as Keith Holder, who is employed by Smith County. Holder formerly worked for the Carthage Police Department and also is a former deputy at the Trousdale County Sheriff’s Department, according to Sheriff Ray Russell.

According to Jason Lawson, an assistant district attorney out of the Lebanon office, Holder has been with the Drug Task Force for “a couple of years.”

The Vidette attempted to contact the Smith County Sheriff’s Department to determine Holder’s current duty status, but calls had not been returned at press time. Sources told The Vidette that Holder is currently under suspension while the investigation runs its course.

Trousdale EMS Director Matt Batey told The Vidette his agency was alerted around 7:30 p.m. on June 4 of an accident at Taylor’s Landing and that a vehicle had gone into the water. Trousdale EMS was joined by TWRA and Sumner County EMS and used sonar to locate the truck, described as a 2007 Chevy Avalanche, late that night in about 35 feet of water.

On Monday morning, Holder’s truck was pulled from the Cumberland River by a rescue crew from Rutherford County, with assistance from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, TBI, Trousdale County Sheriff’s Department and Trousdale County EMS.

The truck was to be taken to the TBI’s crime lab for further investigation.

 

What happened?

Williams, accompanied by friends and family, held a candlelight vigil Tuesday evening outside Crittendon’s home on Village Lane. The vigil was postponed a day after Williams alleged she had received threats which she would not go into detail about.

Williams told The Vidette her husband was visiting the apartment of a friend in Hartsville. Robin Moore, a Carthage attorney retained by Williams, said the information they had was that Holder resided at or near the Lock Six apartment complex and came out as “a nosy neighbor” during an unrelated domestic dispute between two women, but then quickly left the scene with Crittendon.

“They were in constant contact with one another and then she did not hear from him, so she knew something was up,” Moore said. “When her phone calls went unanswered, she started reaching out to his friends.

Crews work Monday morning to recover Keith Holder’s truck from the Cumberland River. Boats were provided by the TWRA and Rutherford County.

“An individual identified Mr. Holder and advised (Williams) that he saw Donovan get in the truck with Keith.”

Sources told The Vidette that the Trousdale County deputies that responded to the domestic dispute call said Holder was not with them and they did not see him on the scene.

“Donovan recently moved here and we were making preparations to bring our family back together,” said Williams, who resides in Fort Bragg, N.C. She has been married to Crittendon for five years and the couple has two daughters.

Williams also said she was told by authorities that Holder gave a statement saying he had been involved in a car accident at the Taylor’s Landing Boat Dock, but that the accident was not reported until 20 hours after it allegedly occurred.

The Vidette was shown a copy of an insurance report in which Holder reportedly stated that the vehicle had been parked near the ramp before rolling backward into the water.

“Nothing sat right with me,” Williams said when asked how she felt after being notified of the circumstances of her husband’s disappearance. “Knowing Donovan and how safe and secure he is, he has a routine, something seemed extremely out of order.”

Williams said she became concerned after not speaking to her husband on Sunday, something she described as unusual for him.

 

TBI investigating

The TBI issued the following statement to The Vidette on Monday afternoon:

“On June 4, TBI was requested by District Attorney General Tommy Thompson to open a missing person investigation into the circumstances involving the disappearance of Donovan Crittendon, of Hartsville. On Saturday, June 9, a body found in the Cumberland River in Hartsville was positively identified as that of Donovan Crittendon. His body was transported to the Medical Examiner’s office, where an autopsy will be performed. Our investigation remains active and ongoing. Throughout the investigation, we provide our findings to the DA, and at the conclusion of our investigation, those findings will be reviewed by that office. If anyone has information about the circumstances of the disappearance and death of Donovan Crittendon, they are asked to call 1-800-TBI-FIND to provide that information.”

Friends and family of Donovan Crittendon hold a prayer circle during a vigil in Crittendon’s memory on Tuesday.

Moore added that she and her client met with the FBI on Tuesday and would not discuss specifics of that meeting, but said she did not anticipate FBI involvement.

A prayer vigil was also scheduled for Wednesday evening at a Hartsville church by friends and family in memory of Crittendon and to urge for justice.

“It doesn’t feel like he’s gone; I guess things haven’t sunken in,” Williams said. “But the outpouring of love from the entire community and everyone showing how much love and respect they had for Donovan, it’s like he’s here with us.

“The main thing I want to know is: why is it that Keith Holder came back and my husband didn’t?”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Tennessee Trek: Verville family visits 56 state parks in 2017

One year. 56 stops. Over 10,000 miles.

2017 provided a lifetime’s worth of adventure for Leah Verville and her three sons as they visited each of Tennessee’s 56 state parks.

Verville, a Hartsville native, came up with the idea after a February 2017 visit to see bald eagles at Reelfoot Lake – an item that was on her bucket list.

“It just happened that in February they had a little festival called Eaglefest at Reelfoot,” she said. “Thy had spotting scopes for us to look through and more.”

Photos courtesy of Leah Verville
Leah Verville, shown with her children (from left) Garrett, Wyatt and Everett, visited all 56 of Tennessee’s State Parks in 2017.

On the way back from West Tennessee, Verville said she noticed a number of signs for various state parks and wondered just how many there were.

An online search revealed 56 state parks, and Verville said she “though that would be a perfect opportunity to do a project with my sons; to get outside and see our state.”

Life-changing surgery to resolve ulcerative colitis, which Verville had suffered from for years, and a new job were the catalysts in making the dream a realistic possibility.

“I had surgery and then was appointed to the Register of Deeds office in November (2016),” Verville said. “It opened the door and freed me up to be able to do things I had been wanting to do.

“I really couldn’t afford to do a lot of traveling with the boys, but after that we decided we could go to other places like state parks.”

So the journey began for Verville, accompanied by Garrett, a rising freshman at Trousdale County High School; Wyatt, a junior, and when possible Everett, who just completed his second year at Volunteer State Community College.

 

Getting started

Verville printed off a map of the state and marked each of the 56 locations they would eventually visit.

“I drew every single state park on there and started thinking, ‘How can I group these together?’ I had 26 weekends to be able to get al of them in one year.”

Verville talked the idea over with her sons, who were supportive of their mother’s vision.

The trip started two weekends later with a short jaunt up Highway 25 to Bledsoe Creek State Park in Sumner County.

This map shows each of the parks the Vervilles visited.

After a 3-mile hike by the lake and over the ridge exploring the park, Verville said the boys found it “pretty boring.”

So she spiced up the trips by acquiring a dog from a local family, a weimaraner/pit bull mix that they named Juno. The trips became an opportunity to take Juno out for excursions and the boys quickly fell in love with the dog.

“She started being our riding companion,” Verville said. “She is gorgeous, going on 65 or 70 pounds. She’s loving; a great dog.”

In March, the Vervilles traveled to Burgess Falls (Putnam/White Counties) and hiked down to the waterfall there, before heading over to Edgar Evins State Park (DeKalb County).

“Adding that little bit of adventure – the waterfall and having the dog with us – got them inclined to go,” Verville laughed. “My oldest son only got to go with us a couple of times. But the other boys went when they could and when they couldn’t I called my mom and dad (Debbie and Joe Jenkins). Sometimes I would take them, sometimes I would go by myself.”

 

Standout memories

Asked which parks were the most memorable for her, Verville listed Fall Creek Falls, Roane Mountain, Reelfoot Lake, Johnsonville State and Hiwassee/Ocoee.

She enjoyed Fall Creek Falls not just for the waterfall, but also for the natural scenery along the path. At Roane Mountain, she listed a rhododendron festival that takes place each May, with 10,000 acres of flowers blooming.

“Its historic nature makes it a fascinating place,” Verville said of Johnsonville State, located in Humphreys County. “If you’re into Civil War history, it’s fascinating.”

Verville said she particularly enjoyed whitewater rafting on the Ocoee and was looking forward to going back.

From left, Garrett, Wyatt and Leah stand atop the Devil’s Racetrack at Cove Lake State Park.

In a Wilson Post story earlier this year, Wyatt cited Cummins Falls (Jackson County) as one of his favorites.

Leah said the family enjoyed a long hike at that park, one that went through the water and not just around it.

“You actually get into the creek or the river and follow it all the way to the falls,” she said. “It was Memorial Day and it was packed!”

At one point on a trip to Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park near Memphis, about halfway through the year, Wyatt turned to his mother and asked, “How many more trees are you gonna make me look at?”

In one weekend trip to the Chattanooga area, the family visited seven different state parks. While they might not stay at one for long, Verville said each stop became a memorable one.

Garrett particularly enjoyed the Devil’s Racetrack section of the Cumberland Trail at Cove Lake State Park near Lake City (Campbell County). That trip involved a 5.3-mile hike, the longest the family made on their Tennessee trek.

“It’s a mountain that when you climb to the rock dome, you can see forever around you,” Leah said.

Verville said they put over 10,000 miles on her vehicles over the course of the year. Early on, they drove a Toyota Avalon with nearly 150,000 miles on it. In April 2017, she purchased a Honda Acura that had fewer miles and was more comfortable for the family.

The quest ended on Dec. 18 with a visit to David Crockett State Park (Lawrence County). The boys held a sign saying “We Did It” along with the hashtag #56in17 to celebrate.

She noted that the Tennessee State Parks system has a passport that shows points of interest and has places for visitors to keep notes. She also cited some of the good food along the way, including burgers and milkshakes in Martin and “the best Reuben that I ever had in my life” near Pickwick Dam.

 

What’s next?

With the state parks down, Verville was asked what is next on her list.

“Campaigning” was the first answer, as Verville is seeking a full term as Trousdale County’s Register of Deeds in the August election. She was appointed to the position late in 2016.

After that, she said she wants to visit some of America’s national parks and the hot air balloon festival in Albuquerque that takes place in October each year.

Wyatt and Garrett display a sign noting their accomplishment at David Crockett State Park, the final stop.

“Albuquerque is one that could be done,” she said. “I would like to take my boys to Washington, D.C., as they’ve never been.”

Verville said her sons have visited 38 of the 50 states over the years with the help of their father.

“My boys are well traveled,” she said. “That’s another bucket list for me.”

She noted that the Tennessee State Parks system has a passport that shows points of interest and has places for visitors to keep notes.

Verville said the best part of the trip was that her sons were able “to embrace adventure and never assume you know what to expect.”

“I just wanted to get out with my kids,” she said. “That made the entire journey worthwhile.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Jimmy Anthony stepping down as county’s fire chief

After nearly 46 years of service, Jimmy Anthony is hanging up his firefighter’s hat for the final time.

The longtime chief of the Hartsville/Trousdale Volunteer Fire Department has decided to retire and is being celebrated for his lengthy service to the people of Trousdale County.

Anthony, 67, said the decision was one he had been contemplating for some time.

“I’ve been looking at it a while. I’ve been there nearly 46 years and I think that’s enough,” Anthony said.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Jimmy Anthony, center, receives congratulations from Mayor Carroll Carman and State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver. Anthony is retiring after nearly 46 years with the Volunteer Fire Department.

The owner of Anthony Funeral Home started with the VFD in June 1972 and was promoted to chief in 1988. He said things have changed considerably in that time.

“When I came on, there wasn’t any training,” Anthony said. “No OSHA, just two trucks and y’all put out fires. That’s all there was to it.

“In 46 years, it’s changed tremendously. We have to follow guidelines, all kinds of things. A volunteer chief has to have an exceptional amount of time to do what needs to be done these days.”

Deputy chief Mark Beeler will take over as interim chief until a permanent replacement is named. Beeler was voted on by the other members of the department and was confirmed on a 30-day interim basis by the County Commission.

Ken Buckmaster has been promoted to assistant chief and Danny Sullins has been promoted to captain.

Anthony thanked the fellow members of the VFD for making his time as chief an enjoyable one.

“Those other 15 or so firemen are the ones that keep it going. Without them, there is no fire department. They deserve all the credit.”

Anthony received resolutions thanking him for his service from the County Commission and from State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver during last Monday’s Commission meeting.

“Thank you for your exceptional work and paramount dedication throughout the years,” County Mayor Carroll Carman said. “Our best wishes go to you in your retirement.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Mayor casts tiebreaking vote to fund SRO training

A budget amendment to fund equipment and training for two new school resource officers (SROs) required a tiebreaking approval vote from County Mayor Carroll Carman during Monday night’s County Commission meeting.

The request was for a $100,000 draw from the school system’s fund balance to pay for training, two cars and other necessary equipment. The Budget & Finance Committee took no vote on the amendment during its May 21 meeting after a motion to approve died for lack of a second.

The vote of the full Commission resulted in a 9-9 tie. Under the county’s metropolitan charter, the mayor casts the tiebreaking vote in such a situation.

Submitted photo
Carroll Carman

“I do not disrespect those that voted no and I understand we may have the cart before the horse right now,” Carman said before casting his vote. “I believe this is the proper decision.”

Commissioners Mark Beeler, Kendra Belcher, Wayne Brown, Gary Claridy, Richard Harsh, Richard Johnson, Rachel Jones, Gary Walsh and Steve Whittaker voted no. Yes votes were cast by Shane Burton, Jim Falco, Bill Fergusson, Jerry Ford, Linda Sue Johnson, James McDonald, David Nollner, John Oliver and Amber Russell. Commissioners Don Coker and Bubba Gregory were not present at the meeting.

During his mayor’s report, Carman told commissioners that he had reached an agreement with Director of Schools Clint Satterfield to split the cost of three SROs between the county and the schools.

Currently, the schools pay approximately $50,000 for the existing SRO position at the high school. Under the proposed agreement, both the county and schools will pay $75,000 for SROs at all three schools.

While the $100,000 for training comes from the school’s fund balance, Carman told The Vidette that under the agreement to split costs, the county would credit the schools for $50,000 of that amount.

“It’s all together in one expense,” Carman said to commissioners. “This is a non-reoccurring amount. We still have to approve all the dynamics of SROs, but I believe we have a good working arrangement.”

Funding for the actual SRO positions themselves must still come from the County Commission and will be discussed during budget hearings this week.

“We are most appreciative of the commissioners and the mayor for allowing the (School) Board to use its unassigned fund balance to purchase SRO patrol cars, equipment, and training which is at no cost to the County Commission,” Satterfield said in a statement to The Vidette.

“At the same time, we need to quickly garner more support in order to get this done by the first day of school that begins on July 26. Although the mayor did a good job of explaining the cost sharing or 50/50 split, I’m not sure if all the commissioners understood the fine details. I had several commissioners speak to me after the vote that they were in favor of SROs but were confused on the funding mechanism.”

In addition to the SRO amendment, a number of budget amendments were passed. Most were internal transfers to clean up overages in certain areas, but three others required draws from fund balances and received unanimous approval:

$51,262 from the county’s general fund balance for various charges;

$21,000 from the Solid Waste Department’s fund balance; and

$7,809 from the Ambulance Service’s fund balance.

Commissioners also approved four ordinances on first reading. The first would add a sixth position to the Water Board. That position would be filled by the mayor, subject to commissioners’ approval.

The other three were zoning ordinances: 15 acres on Fort Blount Road from A-1 to R-1; 6 acres on Western Avenue from I-1 to R-1; and property on Highway 231 from A-1 to R-1. All four ordinances will come back for public hearings and second votes at the June meeting.

A proposed 3 percent hotel/motel tax also passed on third and final reading. With a hotel feasibility study now complete and at least one chain looking at Hartsville, commissioners previously determined that a tax on rooms was desirable.

Commissioners also approved the reappointment of Sissy Harper to the Water Board for a four-year term and Beeler to a 30-day appointment as interim fire chief.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Hartsville United Methodist Church to celebrate 175 years

Hartsville United Methodist Church is inviting the community to help celebrate the church’s 175 years of existence next week.

The congregation will hold a special service on Sunday, June 3 beginning at 10:45 a.m. and followed by a catered lunch at 12:15 p.m.

“It’s former pastors and former members coming back,” said Kathy Dies, who is helping organize the event along with Kathy Atwood. “We’ve had great response and we’re expecting a big turnout.”

The church’s history lists Hartsville United Methodist as being formed in 1843 with the appointment of a minister to serve the local membership.

Church tradition states that James Hart, the founder and namesake of Hartsville, laid off a lot at what would become the corner of Church and Foxall Streets in what is now downtown Hartsville for a church lot, which was intended to be used by all congregations.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette

After the passing of Hart in 1819 and his wife, Sarah, in 1823, her heirs auctioned off the lot, which was purchased by the Methodist congregation, which records say consisted of 18 people at the time.

Construction began on a one-story brick building to serve as the church and was completed sometime between 1843 and 1845. The church’s first pastor, Franklin C. Wilkes, was assigned to Hartsville in 1843. That building still exists today on Church Street today and is known to most longtime Hartsville residents as the “Popcorn Factory.”

Union Lodge #113 added a second story to the building around 1850 and changed the building’s name to the Hartsville Masonic Lodge. The Masons would remain there until moving to a new site in 1893.

During the Civil War, it is said that Confederate forces used the church as a hospital ward and as a dormitory for nurses and other personnel. The building next door, now the home of Total Image, was the site of the actual hospital.

The old building also saw use for a time as the meeting place for county government after Trousdale County was formed in 1870.

In 1947, church leaders saw the need for extensive repairs to the 100-year-old building and instead sought to build a new facility. George and Edna Mae Terry sold the church the property for its current site on River Street for the grand sum of $5.

During construction of the new building, Hartsville United Methodist held services at the Presbyterian Church on River Street (now Hartsville Printing and Prime Fitness).

The congregation was able to move into the basement of the building on Palm Sunday in 1949 and held its first service in the sanctuary on Easter Sunday in 1950.

According to church historian John Oliver, the current building was completed at a cost of approximately $32,000.

During its 175 years of existence, Hartsville United Methodist has had multiple pastors. The current pastor, Charles Smith, will celebrate his final service at HUMC on June 3. A new pastor, Abraham Zimmerman, will be taking over in July.

“He’s taking a job in the district office,” Dies said. “It’s a sad time, but then again it’s a joyous time.”

“As we celebrate 175 years, it is impossible not to think about those who have come before us. The steadfastness of our forefathers and foremothers has made it possible for us to serve God for a new generation of United Methodists. We hope you will come and celebrate this heritage on June 3,” the church said in a statement.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn visits Hartsville

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn was in Hartsville last Friday, meeting voters and talking about her campaign.

Blackburn sat down with The Vidette to discuss the campaign and the issues that will decide the November election.

Blackburn, who has represented Tennessee’s 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2003, is consistently rated as one of the most conservative members of Congress.

She said one of the top issues she hears on the campaign trail is the need for conservative federal judges to be confirmed by the Senate.

“They want to make sure we have a conservative U.S. senator, they want someone who is going to vote to confirm conservative, constitutional federal judges, not only at the District Court and Circuit Court… but the Court of Appeals and of course the Supreme Court,” Blackburn told The Vidette.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn, left, poses with State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver during a visit to Hartsville.

“People are tired of activist judges that try to legislate from the bench. They want to make certain that you’ve got those conservative judges.”

Blackburn also cited increased tax cuts, immigration and regulatory relief as other important issues to her campaign.

“Tax cuts are working in Tennessee,” she said. “Wages are going up, unemployment has decreased, and more people are working.”

Blackburn cited the Environmental Protection Agency and a vote to repeal part of the Dodd-Frank Act, which brought greater oversight to banks after the Great Recession of 2007-08. President Trump signed a bill rolling back part of those regulations into law last week.

“Dodd-Frank has been so tough on our local and state-chartered banks,” she said. “The Waters of the U.S., that was an Obama-era rule and had the potential of such a negative impact on our farms.”

Blackburn said she remains committed to the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which had the individual mandate repealed last year.

The national debt and rising federal deficits were also issues Blackburn said she would like to see addressed.

“They need to pass my legislation calling for 1, 2 or 5 percent across-the-board spending cuts,” she said. “You’re doing it for future generations.”

Blackburn said economic growth and reduced spending could bring America’s budget back into balance.

She cited the elimination of 4,000 federal jobs in the first quarter of 2018, calling it a “good start.”

 

Immigration/guns

Blackburn said in addition to supporting the building of a wall along the southern border of the U.S., she would like to see the Border Patrol receive the tools it needs to secure the border.

“That ends drug trafficking, human trafficking, sex trafficking and gangs,” she said. “Law enforcement finds itself having to deal with those issues.”

Blackburn also praised the Tennessee General Assembly for its recent passage of a law banning so-called “sanctuary cities” in the state.

She also cited a need for visa reform, such as keeping those with an H-1B visa (foreign workers) from bringing extended family with them to the United States.

With regards to increased gun violence in America, Blackburn said she supported the expansion of background checks and a ban on bump stocks. Both measures, along with a school safety bill, have passed the House and are awaiting action in the Senate, Blackburn said.
“In conjunction with those background checks, there needs to be a way of flagging for mental illness on those checks so law enforcement is aware,” she said.

She also cited a need for juvenile records to be accessible to law enforcement after an offender reaches adulthood.

“This became so apparent after the Parkland shooting, because law enforcement was not aware that this young man, as a juvenile, has an extensive record,” she said.

Blackburn said she approaches these issues as a wife, mother and grandmother and also said violent video games ought to be addressed.

School safety was also an area Blackburn cited, saying expanded school resource officers and limiting points of entry were good ideas.

 

Opioid crisis

Blackburn also spoke on the need to address the opioid crisis in America. The congressman previously co-sponsored legislation that tightened the standard for the Drug Enforcement Agency to seize drug shipments. The tighter law passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support but has since been criticized by the Justice Department and by DEA officials as making it harder to take enforcement action in some cases.

“The opioid issue is one we’ve worked on since 2012, and I’ve worked on addiction issues when I was in the state Senate (1999-2003), supporting moms who were going through recovery,” she said.

Blackburn called for federal, state and local agencies to work together to combat the opioid crisis. She said a bill with 34 changes to federal law would be on the House floor in June. These changes, which were not discussed in detail, were said to incorporate ideas from law enforcement, pharmacists, physicians and more have called for previously.

She also noted her work with Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) on an updated version of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which would provide federal funding for law enforcement and first responders, while also setting a three-day limit on opioid prescriptions.

“We have been very aggressive on this. It is a travesty and is heartbreaking to me,” Blackburn said of the opioid crisis. “We are losing Tennesseans every day and we’ve got to stop it.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Emily Booth represents Trousdale County at state track meet

When it comes to athletic success, Trousdale County is clearly known for football more than any other sport.

But the 2018 track & field team enjoyed its own moment in the sun last week as sophomore Emily Booth competed in the state track meet at Murfreesboro.

Booth, who also played basketball this year, placed third in the small school meet in the discus with a throw of 107 feet, 7 inches and sixth in the shot put with a toss of 32 feet, 9¾ inches.

She became just the second Yellow Jacket ever to qualify for the state meet, joining Kayla Howell, who placed fourth in the long jump in 2006.

Photo courtesy of Trousdale County Schools
Sophomore Emily Booth finished third in the discus and sixth in the shot put at the state track meet last week.

“It feels good to be only the second person to do it,” Booth said.

Making state was Booth’s goal from the start of the season, as she said it gave her motivation to work harder all season long.

Booth, who transferred in this past school year, has been competing in track and field since the seventh grade. Shot and discus are the only sports in which she competes.

“I started in seventh grade and I’ve grown to like it,” Booth said. “I just like working hard.”

Her father, Scott Booth, served as head coach of the track team this year and as defensive coordinator of the football team.

“Sometimes it’s tough because he expects more from me,” Emily said of having her father as coach. “I keep that in mind so I always go as hard as I can.”

“We wanted to work every day to try to get better, and that’s what everyone did,” said Scott Booth. “Mackenzie Vaughn qualified for the sectionals in the 400 (meters), and they all improved their times throughout the year.

“Working with my daughter, I try to treat her like any other. At the same time, she has to go home with me so I have to keep that in mind!” he joked.

Emily credited her teammates, including throwing partner Rob Henry, in helping push her toward greater success.

“All through practice, even on weekends, I’ll stay outside working and trying to get better,” she said. “Even at the state meet, I didn’t feel like I did to the best of my abilities. There was some tough competition.”

Emily plans to continue pushing herself to improve with a goal of winning a state championship. Unfortunately, if she does it will not be at Trousdale County, as her father has taken a coaching job in Mississippi in order to be closer to his family.

“I’ll miss the atmosphere here,” Emily said. “I loved this track team this year; they’re my best friends and we got along really great. I’ll miss them.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

School resource officer plan hits funding snag

The first shots in a potential fight over who will pay for adding two school resource officers (SROs) to Trousdale County Schools were fired Monday night.

The Budget & Finance Committee took no action on a budget amendment from the school system to use $100,000 from the schools’ fund balance to pay for cars, equipment and training for officers at the middle and elementary schools.

A motion to approve the amendment was made, but died for lack of a second. The measure does still proceed to the full County Commission for its May 29 meeting.

Photo courtesy of Trousdale County Government
Both county government and the school system say they want to provide SROs at the elementary and middle schools, but debate is ongoing over who will pay for the costs involved.

“The Board of Education said from the beginning we would pay for the non-reoccurring costs,” Director of Schools Clint Satterfield told committee members.

Commissioners questioned funding equipment and training without having a plan in place to pay for the two SROs themselves.

“You’re kind of getting the cart in front of the horse… There’s no budget yet that includes SROs,” said committee chairman Mark Beeler, who noted that the sheriff’s proposed budget does not contain funds for SROs.

While the school system will receive $39,000 in one-time costs and $15,000 in annual funds for school security, it has not yet been determined how that money will be utilized.

County Mayor Carroll Carman said initial negotiations had led to a framework where the schools and county would split the costs of three SROs, with each side paying $75,000 in annual costs. However, the School Board has voted not to take on any additional reoccurring costs.

Carman said he hoped negotiations would continue, but threw out the possibility of paying for the SROs while withholding growth money (increased funds from property tax) in exchange.

“It seems like we’re getting the low end of the stick,” Carman told commissioners.

The schools do pay for the current SRO at the high school and has done so for 19 years, according to Satterfield.

Satterfield said he was disappointed by the lack of action from the Budget & Finance Committee.

“Budget and Finance just rejected the School Board’s budget amendment to purchase SRO cars, equipment, and training. The budget amendment required no county funding and was necessary to secure equipment essentials for SROs to begin the 2018-19 school year, which opens in 10 weeks,” Satterfield said in a statement after the meeting ended.

The amendment will still go before the County Commission for its May 29 meeting at 7 p.m.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Tri-County receives $1.35 million check for broadband

Tri-County Electric officials celebrated last week with the presentation of a $1.35 million check to help bring broadband to Trousdale County, courtesy of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

The money comes in the form of a grant that was announced earlier this year by TNECD and is part of the Broadband Accessibility Act signed into law last year. That law allows electric cooperatives to sell retail broadband service and Tri-County has started its three-year plan to wire almost all of Trousdale County.

According to Paul Thompson, Executive Vice President/General Manager of Tri-County, the company has thus far laid approximately 16 miles of fiber since beginning work in April and is looking to begin providing service to customers by July 1. Phase 1 of its project is expected to cover most of the western end of the county within one year.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette

According to Tri-County Marketing Director Tammy Dixon, crews as of last week were working along the Bass Road area.

Thompson thanked county and state government for their cooperation in making the possibility of broadband service a soon-to-be reality.

“We’ve been extremely fortunate to have Sen. Ferrell Haile and Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver as our allies in this entire process,” Thompson said to the audience at Wilson Bank & Trust. “The support Tri-County has received from this community has been incredible.”

Thompson also thanked county government and the Hartsville/Trousdale Chamber of Commerce for their respective roles in providing support. After filing the necessary application, Trousdale County was recognized as the state’s first broadband-ready community by the state of Tennessee.

The check was presented by Amanda Martin, broadband director for TNECD, and Amy New, assistant commissioner of rural development for TNECD. The Broadband Accessibility Act provides $10 million in grant funding for each of three years.

According to Martin, there were $66 million worth of requests submitted to the state for the first year’s funds. Tri-County’s award of $1.35 million was one of the largest by the program.

“It’s thanks to the efforts of communities like yours, saying, ‘We’re not going to settle for being ignored,’ that really pushed this issue and led to the broadband act,” Martin told the audience. “No w we can help pick up some of the cost of building into some of these areas.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Study recommends mid-sized hotel for Hartsville

County officials along with the Hartsville/Trousdale Chamber of Commerce have received the results of a hotel feasibility study conducted earlier this year.

The report, which was commissioned by the county’s Economic Development Committee, states that Hartsville could support a “midscale to upper midscale hotel” with 40 to 50 guest rooms, with half of those featuring extended stay options.

Image taken from CORE Distinction Group feasibility study

The study, which was conducted by CORE Distinction Group at a cost of $7,500, estimates that anticipated revenue from such a hotel in Hartsville could top $1.2 million in the first year.

Three potential sites were listed in the report, although no particular site was recommended. Those were: at the north side of the intersection of Halltown Road and Broadway, along Highway 25 between Anthony Funeral Home and Tennessee College of Applied Technology, and along Highway 25 between the high school and Broadway.

The study incorporated comments from interviews from business representatives, with a number of businesses stating they currently lodge guests in Lebanon and Mt. Juliet.

A representative of CoreCivic, the operator of the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center, indicated in the study that his company lodges between 40 and 50 employees at facilities in Lebanon, with stays ranging from 30 days to as long as six months.

The study estimates a hotel would create 8-10 fulltime jobs in Hartsville, with other part-time jobs varied by need.

County Mayor Carroll Carman and Chamber Natalie Knudsen took part in a meeting last week with other county officials and business representatives, along with a representative from a national hotel chain to review the study. While no decisions were reached as a result of that meeting, all involved indicated they looked at the project with optimism.

The Economic Development Committee met Tuesday night to review the study. No action was taken, but members were unanimous in their optimism that the project could happen.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Op-Ed: Whether good or bad, being editor is about reporting the facts

“If it bleeds, it leads.”

It’s an old journalist’s saying, meaning that bad news is more likely to grab the attention of the desired audience.

In over 20 years of working as a journalist, I have learned that saying by heart. Unfortunately, it is also deadly accurate.

Bad news does happen in our world; it’s just a matter of fact. And that bad news comes in all forms: traffic accidents that result in fatalities, your taxes get raised, there’s a tornado or a hurricane, a home burns down, crime takes place, people make a poor decision that impacts their life. Those are just a few of the possibilities.

Chris Gregory

Weighing my ethical responsibilities as a journalist vs. my moral responsibilities as a human being is a difficult task at times.

From a personal standpoint, I don’t enjoy writing the bad news when it happens. I have the same emotions and sympathies as any other person, and seeing a person struggling with whatever has put them in a bad situation is never a pleasant experience.

I would much rather report the good news only, but we don’t live in that world where everything is perfect at all times. Believe me, I wish we did. It would make life considerably less stressful for all concerned.

It’s the kind of struggle I imagine many in the journalistic field deal with on a regular basis.

On the other hand if an event is of sufficient importance, you, the reader, deserve to be informed. What goes on in the local community, for good or for ill, affects our daily lives in more ways than I can imagine. That’s why it’s called society – we all impact each other in everything we do.

Keeping that perspective isn’t always easy. There are people I have dealt with in 20-plus years who are the salt of the earth and a force for good in this world. There are people I have dealt with in 20-plus years who, personally, I would have no earthly use for.

But my role is to be fair to everyone. Whether I like a person or not, I owe it to them and to my audience to treat them exactly the way I would want to be treated.

Sometimes that means reporting the good facts. Sometimes that means reporting the bad facts. Those are just the facts of life.

Chris Gregory is managing editor of The Hartsville Vidette. Reach him at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Assistant football coach Eden suspended after practice field incident

The Trousdale County School Board voted at its meeting Thursday night to certify a 53-day suspension without pay for assistant football coach Brandon Eden.

Eden, who also serves as head coach at Jim Satterfield Middle School, was suspended following an investigation by Director of Schools Clint Satterfield into an incident that occurred on the practice field on May 7.

According to results of the investigation, Eden “forcefully grabbed a student-athlete by the helmet and yelled profanity-laced criticism” at the player before the two were separated by head coach Brad Waggoner.

Photo courtesy of Trousdale County Schools

The investigation also revealed that Eden walked over to the fence and cursed a spectator. During a meeting with TCHS Principal Teresa Dickerson on May 8, Eden reportedly cursed her and walked out of the meeting.

Eden was suspended for conduct unbecoming a member of the teaching profession, inefficiency, incompetence and insubordination. The suspension took effect on May 9 and is for 53 instructional days, meaning he is currently ineligible to return to work until Oct. 1.

“In my opinion, these charges are sufficient to warrant a serious disciplinary consequence,” Satterfield said. “He responded with conduct unbecoming a member of the teaching profession, which is one of the charges.

“For those behaviors, I have recommended a long-term suspension for Mr. Eden.”

Eden was to receive a letter certifying the suspension on Friday. From that point, he has 30 days to appeal under state law. An appeal would first be made to an impartial hearing officer who would have no ties to any party involved. Under Tennessee Code Annotated 49-5-512, further appeals could be made to the School Board or in Chancery Court.

Under the terms of his suspension, Eden is not allowed on the school campus or at any school-sponsored event without Satterfield’s written permission, except for picking up or dropping off his children.

Satterfield said it was too soon to determine what, if any, coaching duties Eden would resume once the suspension ends. His suspension will likely cover most, if not all, of the middle school football season. Satterfield also said it was too soon to determine who would serve as an acting coach at JSMS.

“We’ll have to watch and see how things go,” Satterfield said. “He’s entitled to due process, so we want to be sure that we’re disciplining any employee within the bounds of the law.”

Per school board policy, the suspension is without pay.

Eden declined to comment when contacted by The Vidette. He has been a part of the TCHS coaching staff since 2007 and became head coach at JSMS in 2015.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Saved By The Waffle offers unique eating options

Driving along the highway while looking for a good place to eat. It’s an image of pure American culture.

One might imagine a burger joint, a fast-food drive-thru or an actual restaurant.

But another option has arrived in Hartsville in the form of “Saved By The Waffle,” a food truck owned by Josh and Paige Montgomery.

Saved By The Waffle serves what it calls “the best sweet and savory waffles” in Middle Tennessee, served up with chicken, cheesecake or other options depending on what the customer’s taste buds are craving.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Josh and Paige Montgomery pose outside their new food truck, titled “Saved By The Waffle.”

Paige, a 2012 graduate of Trousdale County High School, runs the truck, which was remodeled from an old fire department vehicle.

“Hartsville’s pretty much my home,” she said. “I moved away after culinary school and now we’re back!”

Paige said she has been involved with food preparation for much of her life, having started decorating cakes at the age of 12.

“I’m very artsy, I’m very creative,” she said. “I love food too, and I was very fortunate to find a spouse who cares about it too.”

Paige said going with waffles for their food truck was the result of a lot of preparation by the couple and was also based off past experiences in Lexington, Ky., where they formerly lived.

“The food truck scene up there is a lot more advanced,” she said. “You have to coax people in, to let them know it’s OK to eat off a truck!”

The Montgomerys had a friend with a waffle truck and saw ways they could expand upon the concept back home in Tennessee.

“There’s a lot you can do with waffles,” Paige said. “A lot of people say, ‘You just put syrup on them!’ ”

Photo courtesy of Saved By The Waffle
This photo shows a honey chipotle chicken and waffle, one of the options offered.

Saved By The Waffle serves chicken and waffles (of course!), with hot, medium and sweet options available. Montgomery added that they are working on other chicken options as well.

“A lot of people don’t want sweet or spicy, they want savory,” she said. “We’re working on that.”

Also on the current menu are the Polish waffle, which contains Polish sausage, peppers, onions and sauerkraut, with the meal drizzled in a special homemade sauce, the BLT waffle, which is built like a sandwich, and the cheesecake waffle.

In addition to stops in Hartsville on a regular basis, Saved By The Waffle has also made stops in Gallatin and Hermitage and is looking to expand its availability.

“We do well at hospitals – since no one wants to eat hospital food,” Paige joked. “We look for events too and we’re getting in where we can.”

Paige said they would love to be able, long term, to stay in Hartsville. When they are in town, Saved By The Waffle is set up on Highway 25 next to G&L Garden Center, just west of the intersection with Broadway. They are open during brunch hours, typically around 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

“We want to do more brunches; I think that’s what people want,” Paige said. “We are looking at an Eggs Benedict waffle or a breakfast chicken sandwich waffle.”

For more information on Saved By The Waffle, call 662-260-8795 or visit its Facebook page, Saved By The Waffle.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Committee backs sheriff’s proposal for pay raises

Employees of the Trousdale County Sheriff’s Department could see a significant boost in their pay – in some cases as much as $4 per hour – under a plan discussed during Tuesday night’s meeting of the Law Enforcement Committee.

Commissioners heard proposals from both Sheriff Ray Russell and County Mayor Carroll Carman with regards to raises for the sheriff’s department. Carman’s plan called for a total salary increase of almost $134,000, while Russell’s proposal would cost approximately $224,000. Both numbers also include an increase in the amount the county pays monthly toward employee health insurance from its current $380 to $472.

Russell cited increased turnover in his department in his request for increasing pay.

Courtesy of Trousdale County Government
This chart shows current salaries and pay rates (left column), the sheriff’s proposal for raises (column highlighted in yellow) and the mayor’s proposal (column highlighted in gray). Names of individual employees have been redacted.

“Out of 45 employees, I think 24 have been with us two years or less,” the sheriff told commissioners. “I think this is a fair plan and in the long term, I think it will help us retain officers, correction officers and dispatchers.”

Committee members ultimately voted 5-0 to endorse Russell’s proposal and send it to the Budget & Finance Committee with a favorable recommendation. The proposal must still go through that committee and the full County Commission and could be pared down during budget hearings, which have not yet been scheduled.

Russell’s plan would boost pay for deputies from its current rate of $16.06 per hour to $17 for a new hire and $18 once an officer goes through the training academy. Deputies with two years of service would go to $19 per hour and those with five years of service would go to $20 per hour. Those with more than five years of service would see a $4 per hour increase.

In terms of annual salary, a patrol deputy with less than two years’ experience would go from $35,910 to $40,428 under Russell’s plan, and one with over two years of service would make $42,484.

Some longtime officers would see annual increases of almost $9,000 under Russell’s proposal.

“Nobody wants to be a police officer anymore,” Russell said. “If I were 20 years old, I don’t know if I would do it. We’ve got to do something to help these people.”

Jailers would see an increase from $13.49 to $14.00 for newly trained staff, with raises to $14.50 and $15 after two and five years of service respectively. Dispatchers would go from $13.80 to $14.20 for newly trained staff, with two- and five-year raises to $14.80 and $15.30.

Those employees with over five years of service would see a $1.50 per hour raise. Also, part-time courtroom security officers would go from $12.72 to $15 per hour.

Carman’s proposal called for raises of $2,000 for all full-time employees of the sheriff’s department and $1,000 raises for part-time employees.

Committee chairman Bubba Gregory shared a list of deputy pay in surrounding counties. According to Gregory, Lafayette pays from $13.18 to $20.58, Macon County ranges from $15.83 to $16.55, Smith County pays $16.88 and Carthage pays $17.20 per hour. All those departments, except for Smith County, also pay more toward health insurance than Trousdale, even with the proposed increase.

“The only one we’re not in line with right now is Wilson County,” Gregory said, “but we can’t match that.”

Gregory noted that the mayor’s proposal would mean an average of a 6 percent raise for the sheriff’s department, while the sheriff’s plan would mean an average raise of 12 percent.

Carman said he was concerned that other departments could see a “window of jealousy” with regards to raises for their own personnel. He added that Russell’s increase would cost 12 cents on the current property tax rate.

Russell said he was currently short by four correctional staff and two deputies and hoped raises would help keep his personnel in place.

The proposal must still be heard by the Budget & Finance Committee and receive approval from the full County Commission. Budget hearings have not been scheduled as of yet and the county budget is expected to come up for a vote before commissioners at its June meeting.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

High school conducts evacuation drill

School officials were pleased with the results from an emergency drill conducted Monday morning at Trousdale County High School.

Law enforcement, EMS and the school system teamed to run an evacuation drill at the high school, simulating what would take place in an actual emergency.

“The kids took it serious,” said Director of Schools Clint Satterfield. “They did a great job.”

Students were evacuated within 17 minutes, Satterfield said, and were taken by bus to the middle school. That is just one of multiple options that the school system has in case of emergency.

Director of Schools Clint Satterfield

“That could change from time to time,” Satterfield said. “We wouldn’t want someone to know what our plans would be.”

State law now requires school districts to conduct emergency drills each year, Satterfield said.

Satterfield added that there were “a number of positive things” learned from the drill and also areas that were identified to be worked upon. He also praised the students for following directions, such as not bringing backpacks or other personal items.

Parents were notified ahead of time of plans to run the drill, both by letters sent home with students, a post to the school system’s Facebook and Twitter pages and a text message sent to parents Monday morning.

Satterfield said he was satisfied that sufficient word was sent, as he had received no complaints from parents. There were also no reported issues with parents showing up, which in an actual emergency could cause confusion among first responders.

“I’m very impressed with law enforcement’s response, the response of our bus drivers and our students,” Satterfield said.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Schools recognize Class of 2018 at Senior Day

Teachers, students and administrators gathered along with families last Friday at Trousdale County High School to celebrate the school’s annual Senior Day.

A number of organizations were on hand to present scholarship awards to students from the Class of 2018, and each of the seniors set to graduate were recognized during the assembly.

According to assistant principal Ben Johnson, the total amount of awards to the 79-member Class of 2018 between local awards, university awards, grants, lottery scholarships and state discounts was $1,746,950.

Photo by Amanda Carman / Trousdale County Schools

The Top 10 members of the Class of 2018 were: valedictorian Lillian Cantwell, salutatorian Sarah Satterfield, Kaleigh Hughey, Caroline Guffey, Cassie Blackwell, Chase Davis, Tyler McGowan, Callie Webster, Lydia Zarichansky and Jon Edgar Waller.

Of the 79-member class, 26 are graduating with either Honors or Scholars recognition.

To reach Honors level, students must meet the Scholars criteria and all ACT readiness benchmarks.

Students also graduating as Honors were, aside from the top 10: Kaylynn Dalton, Kenton Smith, Katie Seagraves, David Baumann and James Angel.

To be a Scholar graduate, a student must complete or be on track to complete 14 of the core curriculum courses and three of the identified elective courses. Core courses are Algebra I and II, Geometry, English I-IV, Physical Science, Chemistry, Biology, U.S. History, World History, Government and Economics. Elective courses are Physics, Biology II, Pre-Calculus, Calculus and Dual Enrollment courses.

Students who earned Scholars level are: Cortney Burris, Shelby Vaughan, Hailey Summers, Sara Johnson, Baylee Huffines, Kiersten Russell, Jeremy Burgess, Katelyn Fergusson, Gwendylan Williams, Haisley Burns and Logan Hewitt.

Senior Superlatives were: Mr. & Miss Stepping Stone, Jeremy Burgess and Baylee Huffines; Most Versatile, Trace McGuire and Sarah Satterfield; Most Likely to Succeed, Jon Edgar Waller and Kaylynn Dalton; Most Courteous, Dustin O’Saile and Taylor Muirhead; Most Dependable, Malkam Brinkley and Cassie Blackwell; Most Athletic, Logan Calhoun and Katelyn Fergusson; Most Friendly, Hunter Ford, Cheyenne St. Clair and Kim Gunthrie; Best School Spirit, Garrett Sexton, Q’Londa Maynard and Deandra Burnley.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Evelyn Woodmore shares 101 years of Hartsville history

From horse and buggy to automobiles, from the telegraph to the Internet, from small farming community to full-fledged town, Hartsville and Trousdale County have seen plenty of progress over the last hundred years.

And bearing witness to all of those changes was Evelyn Woodmore, a Hartsville woman who says she is “still going strong” at the age of 101.

The Vidette recently had the opportunity to talk with Woodmore, who lives with her daughter, grandson and great-granddaughter.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Evelyn Woodmore, seated, is shown with her daughter Willene Carr.

Woodmore was born on Dec. 20, 1916 and was the oldest of six children to William and Gracie Gregory.

“I’m the only one who’s still living,” Woodmore said. “And I’m the oldest!”

Woodmore’s father was a farmer in the Cato Community and she recalled life on the farm in her younger days, early in the 20th century. She said the farm was in what was known as the Johnny Dyer Hollow in that area.

“He raised tobacco, corn and cattle – milk cows,” Woodmore said. “I would can fruit, pick strawberries and blackberries. Then I would help Mother can tomatoes, apples and more.”

She recalled learning to quilt at her mother’s side, making lye soap, helping to strip tobacco, helping tend to her younger siblings and also remembered having spring water from the hollow piped into the house.

Woodmore said she and her siblings walked to the Maces Hill School until her father sold the farm and the family moved to Dixon Creek Road. She then went to the Cato school.

As a child Woodmore rode with the family to the Missionary Baptist church they attended each Sunday in a horse and buggy, but she never recalls going into downtown Hartsville itself.

“I stayed on the farm till I married,” she said. “I rode a pony, Ol’ Blue Bell, and then I had another, Ol’ Rex. Mother and Daddy used to tell me not to make the horse gallop, but when I’d get out of sight of them, I’d get me a switch and there I’d go!”

Woodmore did not ride in a car until her father purchased one when she was 12, she recalled.

“Daddy bought a T-Model car,” she said. “He didn’t care much about driving. Mother did the driving.”

Photo courtesy of the Woodmore family
This picture from around 1960 shows Evelyn Gregory Woodmore, her parents and five siblings. Pictured are from left: front row, Nancy, Willie Grace, William (Teapot), Gracie, Evelyn. Back row, Gerald, Truman, Adron. At 101 years old, Evelyn is the sole surviving sibling.

She recalled one of the major floods early in the 1920s and having to go with her daddy as he went to rescue Evelyn’s aunt in Hartsville from rising floodwaters. Woodmore estimated she was 6 years old at the time.

“He had to drive the horse out in the water to turn around and it scared me!” she said. “I though we were going to drown.”

Evelyn married James Erby Woodmore in 1935 at the age of 18 and lived with him in the Woodmore Hollow for the first several years of their marriage before moving to Nashville in 1944. They had one daughter, Willene Carr.

The Woodmores were married until Erby passed away in 1991, Evelyn recalled.

Woodmore recalled that her husband was spared from having to fight in World War II, as he was unable to pass the required physical because of poor hearing.

Erby worked at Tasty Bread and then took a job at Davis Cabinet Company, Evelyn recalled. They returned to Trousdale County in 1957 and he worked at Crescent Manufacturing.

“I remember I didn’t want to move!” said Willene Carr.

After returning from Nashville, Evelyn held a number of jobs. She helped run a small country store near Dixon Springs for 10 years, worked at the old Texas Boot factory, worked in the hospital, a nursing home, in the school system and a daycare before retiring in 2001. She also helped care for her own mother, who passed away in 1988 at the age of 93.

“I worked till I was 84 years old,” Woodmore said with a sense of pride. “I decided I was getting to where I couldn’t hardly hold out.”

Submitted photo
This picture shows Evelyn Woodmore, now 101, as a 2-year-old child.

The Woodmores moved to their current home in 1989, and Evelyn remains there with her daughter, grandson and great-granddaughter, a junior at Trousdale County High School.

Evelyn recalled some of the many changes she has seen in Trousdale County during her 101 years.

“Hartsville has really changed! There used to be a lot more stores, the movie theater, and the skating rink,” she said.

Despite a few surgeries, a walker and hearing aids in both ears, Woodmore said she remains in good health and is as spry as she ever was. Although her hands no longer allow her to quilt or do the word puzzles she loves, she now enjoys television game shows, especially “Family Feud” and “The Price Is Right.”

“I never dreamed I’d ever live to be 101,” Woodmore said. “I feel like I may just make 102!”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Community Pregnancy Center holds fundraising banquet

Hartsville’s Community Pregnancy Center held its first fundraising banquet last week as the facility nears its one-year anniversary.

Nearly 100 people attended the event at the Community Center and enjoyed dinner while hearing testimonials from staff and clients of the pro-life center.

“I have the privilege of serving with an outstanding team of volunteers,” said Peg Shonebarger, who serves as the center’s director. “Since opening our doors last June, we have seen… married women to young couples to scared women. Everyone who walks in has a need.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Audience members enjoy dinner during the Community Pregnancy Center’s fundraiser last month.

“At CPC, we strive to offer hope and to exemplify Christ’s love by helping meet those needs.”

Shonebarger said the CPC has seen approximately 30 clients since opening last June.

Volunteers shared stories from clients and one client spoke at the banquet.

“The Pregnancy Center has a special place in my life,” said the woman, who asked that her name not be used. “When I found out (I was pregnant), I didn’t know what to do.

“They have become like family to me. I’m thankful for my son because he saved me and opened my eyes to know that God is real.”

The guest speaker was Karen Mitchell, Vice President for Research Development at Volunteer State Community College.

Mitchell spoke on “The Gift,” which was the theme of the fundraising banquet.

“We are thrilled with the response we had! We raised just over a third of our annual operating costs that night, and we have pledges from others who will donate over the next 12 months,” Shonebarger said of the banquet.

Shonebarger also thanked the following table hosts: Carol Ambrosetti, Wayne & Gail Andrews, David & Cheryl Baldwin, Matt & Amy Brown, Linda & Carroll Carman, Matthew & Betsy Carman, Leroy & Paula Kelly, Regina & Larry Logsdon, Hannah & Yochanan Marcellino, Marla & Daryl Ratliff, Desi & Adam Steva and Van & Reggie Thompson. She also thanked all those who helped with planning, decorating and conducting the event.

The Community Pregnancy Center, located at 783 E. McMurry Blvd., is open Monday through Thursday each week and offers services such as free pregnancy tests, peer counseling, prenatal education, life skills classes and parenting classes. All services provided by the pregnancy center are free to clients.

The CPC also held free on-site cooking classes during April.

The center also has a fully stocked baby boutique with diapers, clothing and much more – all donated by members of the community. Clients can obtain ‘points’ to be used in the boutique by participating in various classes.

Shonebarger said the center would be participating in a ‘Baby Bottle’ fundraiser with area churches beginning on Mother’s Day and running through Father’s Day in June. People wishing to donate can put money in the bottles, which will be returned to the center. Shonebarger said a similar fundraiser last year raised around $7,000.

“The people here are wonderful,” Shonebarger said. “We operate totally on donated dollars, so it’s wonderful for us. We hope it will be our best fundraiser yet.”

For more information on the center or on volunteer opportunities, call 615-680-8026 or visit pregnancycenterhartsville.org.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Oldham’s Market has new name, new owner

Oldham’s Market has a new name and new ownership as of last week.

The market located at 711 McMurry Blvd. is now the Highway Food Mart after owner Chris Oldham decided to sell.

Oldham posted the following message to his longtime customers via Facebook:

Photo courtesy of Oldham’s Market

“I would like to take this time to say THANKS to each and every one of you who came thru the doors of Oldham’s Market for the past 18 plus years. I have watched many of you come and go and many become young adults. I have met many great people and have made numerous great friends over the last 30 years as a small merchant serving Trousdale County, both with the Video Store and Oldham’s Market. I can say I’ve been truly blessed and very proud to help and serve each and every customer over the many years. It’s been very tough over the past few years to balance my health and the store but with each and every thought and prayer I’ve made it because of you – as a customer, a friend and family. I can now relax and sit back and enjoy life while I get my health back in control. I appreciate all my employees that I have had over the past 30 years. For all that you did for my business and I for the customers through the good and bad. And a special thanks from the bottom of my heart to Janet for all of her hard work and dedication from the day I opened the doors. I could not have made it without her. You are the backbone of Oldham’s Market. And I have been truly blessed by the customers that come from far and near and made it great for Oldham’s Market. Thank you customers for your part in making such a successful adventure. THANK YOU ALL.”

New store manager Nick Patel told The Vidette that while the name was changing, the same country-style cooking that made Oldham’s a hit locally would remain on the menu. Store hours are also remaining the same, from 4 a.m.-9 p.m.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Trousdale County Schools to hold pre-K, kindergarten registration event

For parents with children of pre-K or kindergarten age during the 2018-19 school year, it’s almost time to register for school!

Trousdale County Schools will hold its Registration Roundup on Wednesday, May 16, from 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. at Trousdale County Elementary School. Parents should enter from the main entrance on Lock Six Road.

Courtesy of Trousdale County Schools

Parents with children ages 3-5 may make appointments by calling 615-374-0907. Only those with appointments will be served from 10 a.m.-3:50 p.m. on May 16. After 4 p.m., it will be first come, first served.

Free physicals will be offered on site as art of the accompanying Health Fair, and education professionals will be available to discuss developmental and speech evaluation for parents who suspect their child may have a special need or disability.

State law requires all kindergarten students must be 5 years old on or before Aug. 15 to start school during the upcoming school year.

Parents should bring:

• Proof of residency in Trousdale County, such as property tax statement, drivers license and utility bill with corresponding address;

• Birth certificate.

• Tennessee Public School Immunization Certificate with proof of physical (if already completed);

• Proof of income (if applying for Head Start);

• Insurance card;

• Custody papers, if applicable;

• Photo identification for the parent or guardian.

The Registration Roundup is sponsored by Coordinated School Health, Trousdale County Pre-K Program, Mid-Cumberland Head Start and Trousdale County Schools Child Find. For more information, call 615-374-0907 or 615-374-2193.