Garbage pickup fees could see increase next year

A proposal to raise garbage fees by $3 per month will come up for a first vote during Monday’s meeting of the Hartsville/Trousdale County Commission.

Both the Solid Waste Committee and Budget & Finance Committee gave their approvals to the plan in recent meetings.

Under the proposal, residential fees would go from $16 per month to $19 beginning on January 1, 2018. Business customers would pay from $21.50 to $32; depending on how often trash pickup occurs at their location.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

The increase, the first in several years, is designed to address a deficit that will reach roughly $110,000 in the 2017-18 budget year.

The added fees are expected to raise from $30,000-$35,000 annually. Completely eliminating the deficit would require raising the monthly charge to $26.50, but neither commissioners nor the county mayor were willing to endorse such a move.

“That would be a move of major consequence,” said County Mayor Carroll Carman. “The $19 seems reasonable to me.”

Not all commissioners sounded in favor of the proposal during discussions, however.

“We’re putting another tax on the people in the Urban Services District,” said Wayne Brown. “The people in this county cannot continue doing that.”

If approved, the measure would require second and third readings during October’s Commission meeting.

Other measures up for votes Monday will include:

Funding $15,000 for the county’s next sidewalk project, on Andrews Ave. from White Oak down to Main Street.

Carman said the project was not ready for bid yet, but estimated a total cost of around $45,000 based on the previous work on the other end of Andrews. He said the Highway Department had pledged to return $20,000 and also eyed utilizing $10,000 already budgeted for sidewalks, with the intention of completing the project by winter.

Choosing a replacement for the School Board. The Commission declared the seat held by David Crabtree vacant at its August meeting.

Declaring vacancies for Commission seats in the Sixth and Ninth Districts, as Andy Jellison and Michael Satterfield each resigned earlier this month. The vacancies must be advertised publically and are expected to be filled in October.

Several budget amendments, most of which are internal transfers to address certain needs.

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

Trousdale’s graduation rate among state’s best

Trousdale County continues to rank among the top school districts in the state in terms of graduation rate, according to data released by the Department of Education last week.

Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced last Thursday that the 2016-17 graduation rate of 89.1 percent was the highest on record for Tennessee. The statewide graduation rate was up more than half a percentage point since last year, and overall has increased 3.6 percent since the 2010-11 school year. This year, graduation rates increased in nearly 56 percent of districts with high schools.

Trousdale County had a 97.9 percent graduation rate and was one of 43 districts statewide with an average of over 95 percent. Trousdale’s number was up from 95.3 percent in the 2015-16 school year.

Graphic courtesy of TN Department of Education

“Since 2008, our school district has continually focused on improving graduation rates so that our students will have an opportunity be successful beyond high school,” said Director of Schools Clint Satterfield. “It important for our community to understand that a high school diploma is the first essential step to ensure gainful employment. Our vision statement of ‘Accelerating and Graduating All Students for the Careers of Tomorrow’ continues to utilize multiple educational programs, initiatives, and high quality professionals throughout our graduates’ educational experience. All of these factors have attributed to our district’s graduation rates that have consistently been in the mid-90s year after year.”

The state transitioned to a more rigorous calculation for graduation rates in 2011, and even under the new criteria, rates have continued to rise. This year, the most notable gains and overall achievements include:

13 districts improved graduation rates by 5 percentage points or more. The district with the most significant gains was Lake County, up 23.1 percentage points.

43 districts — about one-quarter of the districts in the state — have graduation rates at or above 95 percent, up from 36 districts last year.

The group of students who identify as Black, Hispanic or Native American increased its graduation rate by 0.4 percentage points to 83 percent, which is a three-year high.

“Teachers and educators in Tennessee have worked tirelessly to support students and these record graduation rates show their hard work is making a difference,” Haslam said in a press release. “As more students graduate from high school, we are committed to helping them go to college, succeed and become skilled members of Tennessee’s workforce. The graduation rate is reflective of the many gains we are making in education in our state.”

As part of the state plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Department of Education has created an accountability metric known as the Ready Graduate indicator.  This new tool will measure the percentage of graduates who have met benchmarks proven to increase their probability of seamlessly enrolling in postsecondary education and entering the workforce or military.

“Today, we focus not only on graduation rates but connecting graduation rates with ACT success and linking students to educational opportunities beyond high school such as four-year college, two-year college, technical college that leads to high-skill, high-wage jobs,” Satterfield added. “We must think of education as kindergarten through the 14th grade not as kindergarten through the 12th as we did just a few years ago.”

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

SaGrace Farms opens flower shop in Hartsville

SaGrace Farms is now available to fill local flower needs with the opening of its store on Main Street in downtown Hartsville.

Located next to East Main Street Missionary Baptist Church, SaGrace Farms’ store is affiliated with Flower Express of Nashville.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
SaGrace Farms store owner Derek Vance, left, and manager Elizabeth Fernandez

“My wife is from here and we farm peonies over on Crenshaw (Lane),” said storeowner Derek Vance. “We were looking to move our peony patch over on the main road and found this property.

“Everyone said, ‘You need to open a flower ship,’ and we opened a flower shop!”

Vance says his longterm plan is to move the production of flowers (greenhouse, etc.) to the downtown Hartsville location.

SaGrace Farms offers delivery to Hartsville, Gallatin and Lebanon. A $5 delivery charge applies in Hartsville and $10 to other locations.

Sister stores in Nashville and Hendersonville also offer service to those areas.

SaGrace Farms offers fresh-cut flowers, silk flowers, chocolates, teddy bears, balloons and more. Funeral arrangements are also available at the store. Flowers are available by the stem or by the bunch.

“We can get you taken care of,” said store manager Elizabeth Fernandez.

SaGrace Farms is open Monday-Tuesday, Thursday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Wednesday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday hours are from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

“We’re glad to be here,” Vance said. “Hopefully we can fill a gap in the community. There’s a bit of a need.”

For more information on SaGrace Farms, call 615-680-3030.

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

Tri-County sends crews to help with hurricane relief


On Thursday morning, eight Tri-County Electric linemen & four bucket trucks headed to Clarkesville, GA, to assist Habersham EMC restore power to nearly 10,000 members entering their third day without electricity due to Hurricane Irma.

The linemen providing assistance are: Adam Borders, Alan Carman, Anthony Carter, Casey Cole, Holden Pitts, Kolby Sullivan, Brad Wood and Tim Wooten.

Tri-County Electric also released its Seelbach contract crews to assist in power restoration in Florida and Georgia.

As Executive V.P. & General Manager Paul Thompson stated: “Tri-County Electric is proud to have employees willing to help neighboring cooperatives restore power to their member-owners – it is the cooperative way of doing business!”

Trousdale students see improved ACT results

Trousdale County students bested the state average on the ACT by a full point, according to results released last week by the state.

Trousdale students averaged a 20.8 score on the college preparatory exam, tying a local mark set in 2015. The average score was up from a 20.2 in 2016.

Director of Schools Clint Satterfield emphasized that the state’s numbers represented a student’s most recent ACT test and not necessarily their best score overall.

“The state will release data from the student’s best score later in the month. We are hoping for even higher results,” Satterfield said.

Satterfield said he was “thrilled” that the county had averaged over a 20 for the third consecutive year – a first for the district.

“Our students are more consistently prepared for college or other postsecondary education than ever,” he said.

Results were also released for each of the four college-ready benchmarks set by the testing agency. Meeting those scores gives students an estimated 75 percent chance at earning a C or better in corresponding college classes.

Again, Trousdale students exceeded the state average in all four benchmarks.

The averages were 20.8 in English (state average 19.5), 20.7 in Math (19.2), 20.4 in Reading (20.1) and 20.7 in Science (19.9). Trousdale students met all four benchmarks at a 21 percent rate, ahead of the state average of 19 percent.

The state will release later this month a county average based on a student’s highest score.

Additionally, TCHS students will have a chance to retake the ACT at school next month on Oct. 17.

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

Saved by Grace church plans Hartsville expansion

Saved by Grace, a non-denominational church based out of Gallatin, is planning an expansion into Hartsville.

Pastor Dwight Thomas calls Saved by Grace “a community of believers who are just that, saved by grace.”

Members of Saved by Grace church pose during their recent back to school bash in Gallatin.

The church’s mission statement, according to its Facebook page, is to “make an impact in our community by spreading the Gospel, showing love and giving our service.”

Thomas and members of Saved by Grace will be holding a meet-and-greet event on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. in the Foodland parking lot. Food will be available, but the main purpose is to gauge the needs of the community.

“We want to share information about our church, and focus on what the people need,” Thomas said.

Thomas started the church just over a year ago out of desire to feed the spiritual needs of the underprivileged.

“I’m a young minister who wants to do something good in the community,” Thomas said. “We started with a Bible study and it grew and grew, with more people coming. We like to focus on the community church.”

Among the ways Thomas has sought to serve the community are providing school supplies to over 200 children in Gallatin, cooking for the fire department staff and visiting with senior citizens at a local retirement home.

Asked why Saved by Grace chose Hartsville as the spot for it second campus, Thomas noted that his family is originally from the town.

“This is where I’m from, my roots,” Thomas said. “It’s where my heart is and where God has led me.”

Thomas is still searching for a location for Saved by Grace, but noted that fellow pastor Albert Strawther has granted permission to use his chapel in downtown Hartsville.

“I want to be in the city,” Thomas said. “We’re a small church that wants to have a big impact and serve a big God..”

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

Tennessee launches online voter registration system

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett is proud to officially launch the state’s new online voter registration system.

The system offers a convenient way for voters to easily register or change their address if they have moved. Counties across Tennessee can now securely receive voter registration information faster than using traditional paper registrations.

“This system meets people where they already are: online. It will improve accuracy and efficiency for voters and election officials by ensuring there are fewer errors and more accurate voter rolls. I would like to thank Sen. (Ken) Yager and Rep. (Gerald) McCormick for their leadership in making this system a reality for Tennesseans,” Secretary Hargett said.


“Registering to vote in Tennessee is now more accessible than ever,” said Sen. Yager (R-Kingston). “Regardless of health or circumstance, Tennesseans can now register to vote from their own home. As Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘Elections belong to the people.’ I encourage all Tennesseans to take advantage of online registration and guarantee that Lincoln’s statement rings true now and for years to come.”

The new system will allow U.S. citizens with a driver’s license or photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security to register to vote online. Each online submission is checked against the department’s database while securely obtaining an electronic signature already on file with the state.

“In Tennessee, many of our hard-working men and women exercise their right to vote during each election cycle, and they take this responsibility very seriously,” said Rep. McCormick (R-Chattanooga). “I urge our citizens who have not registered to vote to do so online. The process is quick and easy and can be completed from the comfort of home. Registering to vote is an important step for citizens across our state to have their voices heard during the upcoming election in 2018.”

The system will also help streamline the process of changing a voter’s address. It allows someone to update their information instantly while reducing time-consuming data entry by state or county employees who traditionally had to manually type in what voters write on paper forms.

“In addition to offering a convenient way to register to vote, I’m excited that online voter registration will allow currently registered voters the opportunity to update address changes instantly. This will eliminate paperwork and additional time spent at a polling place for voters who moved but did not notify the election commission before the election,” said Trousdale County Administrator of Elections Steve Paxton.

Tennesseans must still register online or use a paper form at least 30 days before an election to participate.

For more information on Tennessee’s new online voter registration, visit GoVoteTN.com.

Remnants of Irma expected to impact locally

The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory to take effect Monday afternoon as forecasters expect rain and windy conditions through Tuesday morning for Trousdale County.

Photo courtesy National Weather Service – Nashville

Hurricane Irma is expected to weaken to a tropical depression Monday afternoon. A wind advisory goes into effect at 4 p.m. and will continue through Tuesday until 7 a.m. Winds between 15-30 mph with gusts between 45-50 mph are expected.

Heavy rainfall is possible, with 1-3 inches expected mainly from Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning.

Driving conditions may become difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles. A few trees and tree limbs may be blown down, as well as loose objects blown around. Power outages may also happen.

Guard stabbed at Trousdale Turner prison

A correctional officer at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center was assaulted Wednesday afternoon by an inmate, according to prison officials.

CoreCivic spokesman Jonathan Burns released the following statement:

Photo courtesy of CoreCivic

“There was an inmate on correctional officer assault on the afternoon of September 6 at Trousdale Turner Correctional Facility.

The correctional officer is stable and being treated at an outside medical facility. The facility is on lockdown.

We are fully cooperating with our government partner and the incident is being investigated.”

Trousdale EMS Director Matt Batey told The Vidette that the officer was taken by LifeFlight to Vanderbilt Medical Center with multiple stab wounds that were believed not to be life threatening.

No further information was available.

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

Two county commissioners resign seats

Two vacancies opened up last week on the Hartsville/Trousdale County Commission with the resignations of Andy Jellison and Michael Satterfield.

Both men resigned on Wednesday via letters sent to the county mayor’s office.

Jellison, who was elected from the Sixth District in 2014, cited other obligations when asked why he was stepping down.

Photos courtesy of Trousdale County Government
Michael Satterfield, left, and Andy Jellison

“I run two small companies and am completely slammed right now,” Jellison said when contacted by The Vidette. “I need to step away and allow the district to have the representation it needs.”

The Vidette was unable to reach Satterfield, who represented the Ninth District, for comment.

After the removal of school board member David Crabtree, The Vidette acquired attendance records of each commissioner dating back to January 2016. Of 23 meetings since then (19 scheduled, 4 called), Jellison had missed 16 and Satterfield 14.

County Mayor Carroll Carman said he expected the County Commission to declare the seats vacant during its September meeting and appoint replacements at the October meeting.

Once the seats are declared vacant by the Commission, applications will be taken from those wishing to be appointed. Those chosen would serve through August 2018.

Carman noted the timeframe was ultimately up to Commission Chairman Mark Beeler, who was out of town last week and unavailable for comment.

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

Trousdale schools rank No. 1 in math scores

Trousdale County High School students performed well above the state average on TNReady tests at the end of the last school year, according to results released last week.

The state released scores from the second year of TNReady in nine subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Algebra II, Integrated Math I and II, English I, II and III and U.S. History.

TCHS students rated as on track or mastered in Integrated Math II at a 48.9 percent rate, which ranked No. 1 in the state in that subject. Integrated Math I students were on track/mastered at a 37.1 percent rate, which ranked second statewide.

“We are feeling really good about everything, top to bottom,” said Director of Schools Clint Satterfield. “That puts all our content in the top 30 percent across the state, and I don’t know if we’ve ever done that consistently well. “It speaks well about our system.”

Director of Schools Clint Satterfield

The state averages of on track/mastered in Integrated Math I and II were 18.3 and 21.8 percent, respectively.

Science scores were also high in Trousdale County, with 77.9 percent of students on track or mastered in biology, which rated No. 13 in the state, and 67.1 percent in chemistry, which was 14th statewide.

The school’s lowest rating was in English III with 40.0 percent on track or mastered, which ranked 42nd statewide of 146 school districts.

Trousdale was one of four school districts to have the highest percentage of students score on track or mastered, joining Bradford Special School District, Bristol City Schools and Clay County Schools.

TNReady scores fall into one of four achievement levels: mastered, on track, approaching, and below. These categories aim to help teachers and parents easily understand if students are ready for the next step in their academic journey and identify which students may need additional support.

Satterfield also noted that local students also outperformed state averages when broken down into three subgroups: Economically Disadvantaged, Black/Hispanic/Native American and Students With Disabilities.

“We exceeded the state in 27 of 32 reporting categories, which was 84 percent,” he said. “It really speaks high of our math and science.”

Nearly every district reduced the percent of high school students scoring as below in English, and about two-thirds of districts with high schools reduced the percent of students scoring at below in both high school math and English.

“We’re really excited,” Satterfield said. “It’s that springboard to launch kids into postsecondary success.

“It speaks highly of everyone from top to bottom – our principals, our teachers, our parents who support the students. We have phenomenal parental and community support.”

Scores for grades 3-8 have not been released by the state as of yet.

Additionally, Trousdale County was rated the No. 17 school district in the state in the annual NICHE rankings.

Ranking factors include state test scores, college readiness, graduation rate, SAT/ACT scores, teacher quality and reviews by parents and students.

Trousdale had an overall grade of A-minus in the rankings and was rated No. 14 in safest school district and No. 19 in districts with best teachers.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com. Contributing: Staff reports

Flash flood watch issued for Trousdale County

The National Weather Service in Nashville has issued a flash flood watch from Thursday at 7 a.m. until Friday at 7 p.m. for Trousdale County.

Photos courtesy of National Weather Service

Heavy rainfall from the remnants of Tropical Storm Harvey will increase the potential for flooding. Forecasters said low-lying and flood prone locations in both urban and rural areas will be most impacted by heavy rainfall.

In addition to Trousdale, the watch was issued for Cheatham, Clay, Davdson, Dickson, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Macon, Montgomery, Perry, Robertson, Smith, Stewart, Sumner, Wilson and Williamson counties.

According to the National Weather Service, Harvey has set a preliminary record, surpassing 50 inches of rainfall. This is the greatest amount of measured single-storm rainfall on record for the continental U.S.

A statement from NWS reads, “Much of the severe risk during the forecast period will be tied to Harvey as it migrates from northern Louisiana into Middle Tennessee throughout the forecast period.  Although an overall weakening trend is expected as the system undergoes extratropical transition, there are some indications in the models that a surface low may deepen slightly during the latter half of the period across northern Miss. and western Tenn.”

Projected rainfall totals

It is possible that tornadoes may develop as the center of the low pressure from Harvey moves across the Midstate Thursday afternoon.

Travel over the holiday weekend may be affected, but the storm is expected to weaken considerably by Saturday as it continues to move northeast. Rainfall is expected across the Southeast region through Saturday.

Risey Scruggs, 95, takes stage at Grand Ole Opry

It is rare for a performer to get a standing ovation at any music venue, much less the Grand Ole Opry. But that is just what happened to Trousdale County native Risey Scruggs when he recently played an original song for the crowd on the stage of the nation’s most prominent country music radio program!

And, as if that is not enough to be proud of, Risey is an energetic 95 years old!

We need to backtrack a little.

Submitted photos
Risey Scruggs, a 95-year-old Trousdale County native, recently got the chance to perform on stage at the Grand Ole Opry.

Risey, along with his brothers Monk, William, Carl and Ped, grew up on Lick Creek in Trousdale County a long time ago. The boys’ father, Bill Scruggs, had a fiddle, but he was very proud of the instrument and told his boys not to touch it.

Boys being boys, when Daddy was away they would pick it up and try to play like their daddy did. They eventually taught themselves to do just that. One day, their father came home early and caught them, but when he heard how well they were playing all thoughts of punishment went away and he welcomed their interest.

Eventually, Bill Scruggs handmade a number of fiddles so the family wouldn’t have to fight over his!

Now, let’s point out one thing – Risey learned to play his daddy’s fiddle without any formal instruction. He just plugged away at that old fiddle till he got the sound that he was aiming to get. When he got it, he remembered where it was!

To this day, Risey Scruggs plays by ear; he can’t read a note of music printed on a page!

The song he played on the stage of the Opry was one he wrote when he was only 14. We say “wrote” but the correct term would be “memorized.” He never set it down on paper, but he did play it regularly and even taught a few friends to play it. One friend asked Risey what the name of the tune was and Risey replied, “It don’t have a name.” So the friend took to calling it “The Scruggs Reel!”


First chance at Opry

Risey and his brothers all did well playing as young men, often accompanying their father as he played for local square dances, fiddle contests and such.

In fact, Risey played so well that he was asked to take the place of the fiddle player in the “Possum Hunters Band,” one of the original bands that played on the Grand Ole Opry radio show.

At that time, Risey and his wife had just bought a small farm and had two kids. The job meant a long drive into Nashville to the Ryman Auditorium and back again, plus it only paid eight dollars a night.

So Risey suggested his brother Monk instead, and Monk took the job and played with the group from 1949-59.

Since then, Risey has put some time under his belt, buried a beloved wife, all of his brothers, and even one of his eight kids. Over the years he has played here in Hartsville and entertained at nearby towns; enjoying making music and watching people tap their toes to a good tune.

And he can still play the fiddle at age 95!

A few months back, his reputation as an old-time fiddle player in the old Texas style caught the attention of the Music Department at Middle Tennessee State University. School officials got with Risey, came to Hartsville and recorded and filmed him playing. He now has a place in the school’s permanent collection of music recordings for future generations to enjoy.

And they did something else. They contacted someone who loved old-style music like they did – Mike Snider, an old-time string instrument musician and member of the Grand Ole Opry. They told him, “You need to hear him play,” and he told them, “Send me a tape.”

Snider got the tape, listened to it and he liked what he heard.


Second chance

The very next day, Mike Snider contacted the Scruggs family and said, “I want him to play on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry with me, this Friday night!”

Well, the family needed an extra day to contact all the relatives and for everybody to get tickets to the nationally broadcast show. So they talked Mr. Snider into letting him play on Saturday night’s show…and, Snider told them, “Fine, but we may only have time for half a song.”

The big night came and the family joined a packed house. Jennie Sealy introduced Risey, who sat down in a chair on stage set there just for him while Snider told his story.

He told how Risey had been given the chance to play on the Opry “way back when,” how he had written this song when he was only 14 and how he was now 95 years old and finally getting his chance to play on that famous stage.

Risey lit into his fiddle, with Mike Snider and his band playing as backup, and wowed the crowd!

As soon as he finished – the whole song we might add – the crowd rose up to their feet and gave him a standing ovation!

Mike Snider said, for the benefit of the radio audience, “Risey is grinning like a Cheshire cat!”

And the announcer said, “I believe they want a little more!”

So Risey and the boys played the “Peacock Rag” as every member of the family had their smartphones recording, just as they had for the first song. The performance can be found on Youtube.

For a few minutes that Saturday night, in this fast-paced world, the crowd at the Opry House swayed to and fro in their seats, as they and a national radio audience listened to some fine, old-time country music.

After more applause, Risey took a bow and disappeared behind stage to join his family and return home. But what a night!

We can certainly say that Risey enjoyed his time on stage, although he did admit to being a little nervous before he went on. Now he’s back at home, content to return to his regular schedule.

But he keeps an ear open for the phone to ring just in case it’s Hollywood calling or some big record company. You know, it’s never too late to start a recording career!

County Commission declares vacancy on school board

The County Commission voted Monday night to declare a vacancy on the School Board.

The seat was held by David Crabtree, who has not attended a meeting since February 2016 and has moved out of Trousdale County.

“At first we didn’t know if we could handle this except by charter amendment,” said Commissioner Bill Fergusson. “The county attorney and the district attorney uncovered written information that pertains to this situation.”

Tennessee Code Annotated 49-2-202 allows a county commission to declare a school board vacancy if a member moves outside the county.

With a vacancy now in place, applications will be accepted for a replacement board member. Anyone wishing to apply must reside in either the Third or Ninth Districts of Trousdale County. Qualifications can be obtained from Administrator of Elections Steve Paxton at his office, located at 214 Broadway.

Applications will be accepted at the county mayor’s office through Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 4:30 p.m.

“We will be advertising in the next two weeks for the vacancy,” said County Mayor Carroll Carman. “We hope we have some very good candidates to fill the position.”

The Commission will choose from applicants at its next regular meeting, scheduled for Monday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m.

Whoever is chosen will serve for the remainder of the term, which expires Aug. 31, 2018.

In other action, the Commission approved four other resolutions to:

Provide $2,000 in funding for Habilitation and Training Services (H.A.T.S.), a non-profit agency that provides support for individuals with developmental disabilities;

Allow the Water Board to seek $269,000 in grant funds from USDA;

Set up committee appointments for 2017-18; and

Accept the Living History Museum on White Oak Street as a donation from the Historical Society.

Commissioners also approved an ordinance on second reading to adopt the 2012 edition of ICC IRC codes related to residential construction.

Also passed on first reading was an ordinance to rezone the former site of Knight’s Greenhouse, at the corner of Highway 231S and Canoe Branch Road, from A-1 to R-1. That will come back for second reading in September.

The Commission also approved $13,500 for the sheriff’s office to purchase a work truck for inmate crews. That funding will come from contracted prisoner revenue, according to Sheriff Ray Russell.

Five notaries were also approved: Jenesia Ellis, Paul R. Oswald, Jr., Lorie Barrett, Michael Spivey and Angie Hibdon-Johnson.

The Commission also recognized Hartsville resident Sam Holder for 40 years of service as machine technician for the Election Commission.

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

Vote planned Monday on school board seat

The Hartsville/Trousdale County Commission will vote at Monday’s meeting on whether to declare a vacancy in the School Board.

If successful, the seat on the five-member board currently held by David Crabtree would be declared vacant, citing Crabtree’s currently residing outside Trousdale County.

Applications would then be taken to fill the vacancy until the next general election in August 2018. The Commission would choose a replacement from the applicants, likely during its September meeting.

“The mayor, in consulting with (County Attorney) Betty Lou (Taylor) and (District Attorney) Tommy Thompson, uncovered a method that this can be declared vacant,” said Commission Chairman Mark Beeler.

Tennessee Code Annotated 49-2-202 states that, “If any member ceases to reside in the county, the office of the member shall become vacant.”

Crabtree, who has not attended a meeting of the School Board since early 2016, has been the subject of an ouster petition. Monday’s vote would make that petition unnecessary.

The Charter Review Committee met last month to discuss proposed charter amendments to provide a mechanism for the removal of county officials who fail to attend meetings on a regular basis. Those discussions led to the discovery of state law pertaining to the removal of a school board official.

Crabtree was elected to represent the Third and Ninth Districts in 2014. Any replacement named would have to reside in one of those two districts.

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

‘Trousdale Remembers’ recalls local impact of suicide


The Trousdale County Health Council is planning its sixth annual “Trousdale Remembers” event next week to remember those lost to suicide.

Scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 31 at 6 p.m. on the steps of the county courthouse, “Trousdale Remembers” allows family members and friends who have lost loved ones to suicide to gather and pay tribute to their memory.

“We want to fight the stigma that keeps people from going and getting the help they need,” said Health Council Chairman Brenda Harper. “We want people to reach out and get help when they need that help. We want to offer resources, let people know where you can go to get help.”

County Mayor Carroll Carman has joined mayors and county executives across the state in signing proclamations declaring September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Carman signed a local proclamation on Wednesday.

Each September, the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) and its allies in the public health, mental health, and social service fields arrange several educational and memorial events across Tennessee. These projects help teach the general public about the problem of suicide and how it can be prevented.

They also give an opportunity to remember those lost to suicide; to encourage survivors of suicide, survivors of suicide attempts, and people who have triumphed over mental illness; and to recognize individuals who have made notable contributions to suicide prevention efforts in our state.

In Tennessee, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among youth and young adults ages 15-24. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there were 945 recorded suicides in the state in 2014, at a rate of 14.4 per 100,000 people.

According to Harper, in 2015 Trousdale County’s suicide rate was the seventh-highest among Tennessee’s 95 counties.

“We must continue to increase awareness for all those who are suffering of resources available and  there can be hope even you are feeling hopeless. We also need to offer the support to those who have lost someone to suicide and they can become our most vulnerable,” Harper said.

In almost all cases, suicide can be traced to unrecognized, untreated, or poorly treated mental illness. It can happen to people of either sex, any race or ethnicity, and any economic status. The average suicide death leaves behind six survivors — family and friends of the deceased — all of who are at increased risk for a suicide attempt themselves. As if the emotional and psychological toll were not enough, suicide and suicide attempts cost the state of Tennessee $1 billion a year in medical treatment, lost wages, and lost productivity.

Additional information about Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is available from the TSPN central office at 615-297-1077 or tspn@tspn.org.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com. Contributing: Staff reports


Op-Ed: No room in society for hate, whatever the source

Race relations in the United States look to be hitting a low that hasn’t been seen since the days of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 60s.

Granted, I was not around during that time period, but I find myself having a difficult time imagining that it could have been much worse than today.

The recent incident in Charlottesville and the aftermath leave me concerned about the future of our country. It seems to be splitting into two along racial/political lines.

Blaming “both sides” as President Trump did in his comments after Charlottesville does nothing to defuse what I believe is a ticking time bomb in this country. And when/if it explodes, we will have even bigger problems.

“Both sides” did not drive a car into a crowd of innocent protestors. “Both sides” do not celebrate the death of those they might disagree with.

It’s no secret that my personal politics tend to run pretty left, but I am glad at least some on the right are willing to speak up and against the “white supremacy” crowd even if the president is not.

Is Donald Trump a racist? I have no idea. Only he knows what is in his heart. But the president of the United States is the president of all Americans, not just those who elected him.

A president is supposed to be able to lead the country in times of crisis. Great ones like Washington or FDR did that with remarkable ability. Others couldn’t handle the responsibility and are a historical embarrassment. I’m afraid that Mr. Trump seems to be headed in that direction. He just does not seem to be up to the job.

White supremacists and neo-Nazi types need to be put down, period. There are men still alive who 70 years ago fought to rid the world of these types of ideas. While I can’t speak for those patriots, it would depress the hell out of me to see what I had fought against making a comeback.

It is just as upsetting to see neo-Nazi types co-opting Southern culture and heritage in an effort to influence people toward their point of view. Southern culture is not a bad thing by any means. Having been born and raised in the South, there is much to admire about it. Kindness, helpfulness to others, good manners, the food, the pride in our history – these are just a few of the things to admire about Southern culture.

But it’s not just the hate from the right that is concerning. There is hate from the left as well that needs addressing.

The rising controversy over Confederate memorials is one that frankly mystifies me. Why do some people feel the need to tear down monuments that in some instances have stood for decades and that do no one any harm? So you don’t like a statue of Robert E. Lee? Don’t look at it.

The history of our nation hasn’t always been a pretty one. Instead of denying that history, use it as a teaching lesson to future generations. It is wrong to look at and judge the past through modern vision. I see nothing dishonorable in recognizing brave men who fought for what they considered right at the time, even if 150 years later history has judged their actions wrong.

Many of these men were fighting not for slavery per se, but for their homes and their liberty. All of America’s wars have been about defending our way of life. That war ws no different.

According to research done by my now-deceased great-aunt, my great-great-great-grandfather served in a Confederate militia regiment as both a doctor and a chaplain. Recognition and pride in the service of such a man is entirely appropriate, even if the cause was questionable.

Men are flawed beings. Acknowledging those flaws does not make us weak. It is said, “Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.” From what I see today, it’s hard to argue with that.

Hate must NOT be tolerated in a free society, no matter what that hate is directed toward. We are all Americans, whether white, black, brown, yellow, green, polka-dot, whatever.

I’m going to quote a post from a high school classmate of mine I recently saw on Facebook: “There is nothing political about hate. If you cannot directly condemn hate and prejudice and those that perpetrate it, then you need to do some soul searching. If you are a Christian, and you are unable to critique the missteps of your leaders, then I question your faith.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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

Hartsville man gets 60 years in child porn case

A Hartsville man was sentenced Friday to 60 years in prison for his role in child pornography.

Richard A. Souders, 41, of Hartsville, was sentenced by visiting United States District Court Judge Marvin Aspen, to 60 years in prison for production of child pornography, transportation of child pornography, and receipt of child pornography, announced Jack Smith, acting United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.

Souders was charged in a 12-count indictment in October 2014, after an undercover investigation revealed that he was trading child pornography with like-minded individuals.

Investigators discovered that during a week in mid-June 2014, Souders had been taking care of a 17-month old girl and took sexually explicit images of her on four occasions. He communicated online with others, who also had a sexual interest in children, talking about his molestation of this baby in his care and sending sexually exploitive images of her. Additionally, he had a collection of over 100 images and videos of other children being sexually abused.

“The sentence imposed by the Court reflects the horrendous actions of the defendant and society’s need to punish the offender and insure that no other innocent children will become a victim of his perverted sexual desires,” Smith said.

Souders pleaded guilty to these charges in December 2015, admitting that he had recorded the sexually explicit images of a toddler, transported those images to others online, and collected images and videos depicting the sexual exploitation of young children.

The matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office.

Trousdale schools plan to use eclipse as teaching moment

Students in Trousdale County schools will get a unique opportunity to view Monday’s solar eclipse.

With Hartsville nearly dead center along the eclipse’s visible path through North America, school officials looked for a way to turn the event into a lesson.

With parental permission, students will be bused at 12:15 p.m. from all three schools to the football stadium and provided with glasses to safely view the eclipse.

Map provided by NASA The path of the total solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, passes through Hartsville. Students will be taken to the football stadium for a viewing of the eclipse.

“We saw that some districts were having a viewing and some were closing,” said Director of Schools Clint Satterfield. “The last time we had a total eclipse in this area was 500 years ago.

“This is a great science learning opportunity for students, so we wanted to capture that. We also knew that a lot of parents were working and if students are home by themselves, they might miss the opportunity.”

Each school was to have sent a permission form home with students earlier this week. Students must return a signed form by Friday, Aug. 18 in order to participate.

Parents who wish to sign their children out early Monday are asked to do so between 11 a.m. and noon. Waiting until 11 a.m. allows a student to not be counted absent and it will instead be listed as an excused early dismissal. However, students who leave school early will not be allowed into the stadium.

Parents are invited to attend the stadium viewing but will have to enter through the entrance at the Victory Bridge (south end of stadium). Buses will be dropping off students at the main entrance. The regular public will not be allowed into the stadium, Satterfield said.

“We don’t want to mix cars, buses and students in the main lot, for safety,” Satterfield said.

The high school’s Science Club will have eclipse glasses on sale for parents for $2 each. There will also be a concession stand operated by the middle school.

Students will be bused back to school for regular dismissal at 2:45 p.m.

Elementary parents will be able to sign out children at the stadium with ID and a signed note submitted by Friday. Satterfield said middle and high school students would not be dismissed from the stadium.

“That’s a principal thing,” Satterfield said when asked for an explanation. “We want our parents to participate.”

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

2017 Goose Gala scheduled for Aug. 26

Trousdale County’s premier social event is marking its 12th year as the Goose Gala returns next week, offering an evening of laughter and conversation, dining and dancing under the stars!

The 2017 Goose Gala, the annual fundraiser for the Downtown Hartsville Revitalization Commission, will be held Saturday, Aug. 26, at the home of Dr. Ray and Brenda Miller at 1930 Herod Lane in Hartsville.

Tickets cost $50 each, and are currently on sale at Citizens Bank, Trousdale Bank & Trust, Hartsville Pharmacy, the Hartsville/Trousdale Chamber of Commerce or from any member of the DHRC.

Photos by Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Attendees mingle during last year’s Goose Gala.

The Goose Gala will begin at 6 p.m. with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres around the pool and patio area, followed by a catered buffet dinner at 7 p.m. underneath the tents. After dinner, Lafayette-based band Southern Image will provide entertainment.

And of course, guests will vie against each other in their bids for silent auction items ranging from furniture to artwork, restaurant gift cards and spirits, golf and travel packages, tickets to sporting events, jewelry to gift baskets, and much more.

While the annual party is often considered to be Hartsville’s premiere annual social event, Miller and others with the DHRC want to emphasize that the Goose Gala – much like the projects the DHRC helps to fund – is for everyone in Trousdale County.

“There’s no dress code,” said Miller, who helped found the DHRC and serves as president of the nonprofit organization. “You’ll see everything from shorts to suit and tie, to cocktail dresses and formalwear. We want everyone to be comfortable. And remember, the tickets are tax deductible!”

Also tax-deductible are funds raised by the purchase of silent auction items. Some highlights of this year’s auction include:

Golf packages from Fairvue Plantation, Foxland, Five Oaks, Gallatin County Club, Macon Co. Country Club, Long Hollow and Hunters Point;

Two Cracker Barrel rocking chairs;

A Nashville Predators autographed puck;

Gift basket from Channel 4;

Tickets from Holiday World, Dollywood and Nashville Symphony;

Tennessee Titans and University of Tennessee football tickets

A Ralph McDonald print and other artwork;

Karen Scott and Premier jewelry;

Roden & Fields skin care products;

Autographed books from John Oliver, Jack McCall and Eddie Sherlin;

Liquor and wines;

Gift cards for area restaurants, Walmart, pressure wash services and more;

Furniture by Jason Ford.

The Goose Gala is the sole fundraising venture for the DHRC. In years past, the Gala has helped the DHRC partner with Trousdale County government on numerous projects, including repairs and renovations to the century-old courthouse and memorial bricks in the courtyard. Other projects have included the Yellow Jacket Victory Bridge, which opened in 2015, and the adjoining ticket booth currently under construction.

“We’re in limbo right now regarding projects,” Miller said. “One of our ideas was to clean up Goose Creek; there’s a lot of rocks and trash in there. We want to get a dam or small series of dams, but we can’t increase any flood damage.

“We need to get an engineer to tell us what we can and can’t do.”

The committee is also examining ways to assist in the upcoming Streetscape project, a plan to rework the area along Main Street from the post office to River Street. Work is currently expected to begin on that project in the summer of 2018.

To learn more about the Downtown Hartsville Revitalization Committee, visit sites.google.com/site/goosegala/home/the-goose-gala. The website also includes information about the Goose Gala, projects the group has helped to fund and the latest updates on DHRC’s activities on behalf of Trousdale County.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com. Liz Ferrell is a member of the Downtown Hartsville Revitalization Committee and a former editor of The Vidette.