Trousdale County schools hit ‘academic grand slam’

All three schools in Trousdale County have been named Reward Schools by the Tennessee Department of Education for 2019, marking the first time each school has been recognized in the same year.

Additionally, Trousdale County Schools has achieved the designation of Exemplary School District. According to the TDOE website, Exemplary districts are exceeding growth expectation on average for all students as well as each historically underserved student group.

Director of Schools Clint Satterfield

Trousdale County Schools received a value-added growth score of Level 5 (the highest level) in all three areas of Overall growth, Literacy and Numeracy. All three schools also met the district’s chronically absent (18 days or more) achievement goal of nine percent or less.

Trousdale County Schools were last named an Exemplary School District in 2012.

“This is only something that we dream of achieving,” said Director of Schools Clint Satterfield. “It is equivalent to an academic grand slam!”

Reward status is the top distinction a school can earn in Tennessee. Schools can earn Reward status by improving overall student academic achievement and student growth (year-to-year results) for all students and for student subgroups.

For Jim Satterfield Middle School, this marks the second straight year that the school has achieved Reward status after doing so in 2018.

“We have developed a culture of constant school improvement among our students and teachers that has attributed to much of our successes,” stated JSMS Principal J. Brim McCall in a press release.

Trousdale County High School is now a three-time Reward School, having been previously named so in 2012 and 2014. Trousdale County Elementary School last received the Reward designation in 2013.

“We focused a lot on attendance at the high school, and we have found it to have a more positive impact on student learning than we first predicted,” said TCHS Principal Teresa Dickerson in a press statement.

Trousdale County Elementary School Principal Demetrice Badru said that much of her school’s success is a result of high-quality curriculum, which the school has been implementing over the past three years, along with ongoing professional development to support teachers’ utilization of the curriculum.

“These accomplishments mean everything for our students, their families, and our community. Having more students learning at higher levels each year increases their opportunities of postsecondary success after graduation, which leads to higher-paying jobs and a more robust economy,” Satterfield added.

“This is definitely a team accomplishment; I can’t say thank you enough, starting with our Board of Education to our food service staffs. These accomplishments are a result of a lot of intentional hard work for a long period of time. I think all of these accolades coming at once certainly validates our work.”

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

Trousdale County deputies arrest suspect after two-day manhunt

Photo courtesy of Trousdale County Sheriff’s Department

Trousdale County Sheriff’s Department deputies captured a man wanted on multiple charges Tuesday afternoon after a two-day manhunt.

Derrick Paul Hankins, 32, of Linden, was captured around 1 p.m. after being located in a barn on Puryears Bend Road.

Authorities began searching for Hankins in the area of the Highway 141 river bridge near River Road on Monday, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page that described him as a vehicle theft suspect. A female suspect was taken into custody at the time but was not immediately identified.

Helicopters from the Tennessee Highway Patrol were used in the search Monday, as well as K-9 units from Sumner and Macon counties. The suspect was thought to be hiding in a cornfield at one point Monday afternoon but was not located. He was spotted again around 6 p.m. Monday evening but again eluded capture.

On Tuesday, the search resumed with assistance from THP, Gallatin PD, the 15th Judicial District Drug Task Force, Wilson County Sheriff’s Office and Macon County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the sheriff’s office, Hankins is wanted in Perry County on charges of failure to pay child support, probation violation, aggravated burglary, theft of property between $1,000-$2,500, vandalism and theft. He is also wanted on charges of theft of property and vandalism in Lewis County and for probation violation in Wisconsin, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Ray Russell was not immediately available for comment on what charges Hankins may face in Trousdale County. Hankins was booked into the Trousdale County Jail on Tuesday afternoon.

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

Car show, cake walk to be held Saturday at Fair

Two fundraisers for local charitable programs will be held Saturday as part of the Trousdale County Fair.

The fourth annual Car, Truck, Bike Show & Swap Meet will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday morning in the parking lot at Trousdale County High School. Also, the annual Christmas For Kids cakewalk will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday in the high school auditorium.

Submitted photo
These custom panels will be up for auction during Saturday’s car show, which benefits the Backpack Program.

Organizers anticipate this being the biggest car show yet, with as many as 150 cars, trucks, motorcycles and tractors potentially on display. The entry fee to show a car is $15 and booth spaces are available for $20. There is no fee to come see the cars on display.

“We are striving to deliver the premier car show in the region in order to benefit a great cause,” said Wayne Andrews, one of the car show organizers.

Bryan King, who runs a custom automotive restoration business in Trousdale County, has donated a number of custom panels to be auctioned off Saturday. There will also be a 50/50 cash drawing and other door prizes.

All proceeds from Saturday’s car show benefit the Backpack Program, which provides meals to underprivileged children in Trousdale County.

For more information on the car show, call Seed Morton at 615-374-9419 or King at 615-454-8301.

The Christmas For Kids cakewalk is a part of the fair for the second straight year. Last year’s walk raised nearly $2,500 for Christmas For Kids, which has helped the needy in Trousdale County for over 30 years. Last year, Christmas For Kids helped over 170 children have a better holiday season.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
The Christmas For Kids cake walk will be held Saturday at the high school auditorium.

The Trousdale County Rescue Squad and Hartsville Rotary Club are teaming to organize and operate the cakewalk. Each walk is only 25 cents.

Organizers hope that moving the cakewalk indoors will help boost attendance as neither rain nor the summer heat will be a factor.

“We’re excited about the annual cake walk and the opportunity to help such an incredible program as Christmas For Kids,” said Rotary Club President Chris Gregory. “We hope as many people as possible will come out and show their support by participating!”

The Rescue Squad and Rotary Club are also seeking donations of cakes, cookies, pies and other baked goods for Saturday’s cakewalk. Anyone interested in donating can contact the Rescue Squad at 615-374-9503 or Gregory at 615-450-5756.

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

County, schools reach deal on 2019-20 budget

The Budget & Finance Committee gave unanimous approval to a budget deal between the county and schools during a special called meeting Monday evening.

The agreement calls for the county to pay for a new roof at Jim Satterfield Middle School, with the School Board to make the first payment. In return, the school system will receive no new funding in the FY20 or FY21 budgets.

Under the agreement, there will be no increase in property taxes for the FY20 budget. The tax rates were set at $2.4388 for county and $0.8753 for the Urban Services District.

The deal was hammered out in discussions between Director of Schools Clint Satterfield, Commission Chairman Jerry Ford and other members of the County Commission.

“I think it’s a win-win. A good compromise is when neither party’s really happy,” said School Board Chairman Regina Waller. “Everyone gave a little and I’m very pleased.”

The School Board approved the plan at a called meeting on Aug. 1 and the full Commission will vote on the budget at a called meeting on Monday, Aug. 19. Should it pass, a second called meeting will be held on Aug. 20 for a public hearing and second vote.

Commissioners pointed out that funding the roof will not count under maintenance of effort, or the amount the county is required to pay toward school funding each year.

The school system previously received a quote of $830,000 for replacing the roof at JSMS. The project must go out for bid and work is unlikely to take place before next summer.

County Mayor Stephen Chambers said he planned to look into funding options to reduce the burden on county government, such as grants. If revenues come in better than anticipated, moving funds around to lower the county’s overall cost could also be an option.

“I’m glad we got something moved forward,” the mayor said. “I don’t think we’re locked into a bond issue. I’m certainly going to find any alternative I can before we get to that point.”

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

John Martin, one of Trousdale’s last WWII veterans, passes away at 97

Trousdale County’s “Greatest Generation” has one fewer member after the passing of John William Martin.

Martin, 97, passed away on Thursday, Aug. 1 and was one of a handful of surviving World War II veterans from Trousdale County.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Family members pose with John Martin (seated) at last year’s state football championship game. Martin, one of the last surviving World War II veterans in Trousdale County, passed away Aug. 1 at the age of 97.

Martin’s son, Kenny, told The Vidette that Billy Woodmore and Budgie Oakley are also WWII veterans. Jimmy Anthony said his stepfather John Gregory, a Trousdale County native who now resides in Madison, also served in WWII.

Martin’s obituary lists him as a three-time recipient of the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement or service. Born in 1922, he entered the U.S. Army on Jan. 10, 1943 and trained at Camp Bowie, Texas.

According to Kenny Martin, his father trained in lining up artillery and saw extensive action in the European theater, including engagements in the Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe.

John Martin returned to America in January 1946 and was discharged in February of that year with the rank of Staff Sergeant. He later worked for the U.S. Post Office for 35 years.

Kenny Martin said his father seldom spoke of his wartime experiences but was always ready to talk about the Trousdale County Yellow Jackets, calling him “the No. 1 Yellow Jacket fan.”

John Martin played football at TCHS in 1938 and 1939 and “probably watched more Trousdale County football games than anyone ever,” according to his son.

Funeral services for Mr. Martin were to be held Saturday at Anthony Funeral Home and he was to be laid to rest in the Stalcup Cemetery.

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

64th Trousdale County Fair to be held Aug. 8-10

The Trousdale County Fair is preparing for its 64th annual event, which will be held from Thursday, Aug. 8 through Saturday, Aug. 10 at the high school.

The 2019 Trousdale County Fair will feature many of its traditional events and ones that have become popular in recent years, including Family Feud, the children’s LEGO contest, the children/youth beauty pageants and the Tea with the Queen tea party.

“We’re really excited about this year’s fair,” said Fair Board President Kathy Atwood. “Our main focus is to promote agriculture in Trousdale County, but also to showcase the traditions that have made our county what it is.

Submitted photoy Fair

“We hope that our community will come out and support us. We try to have something for everyone to do. It is so much more than what is used to be – a youth fair – but we try not to forget our roots.”

Emily Pennington, the Tennessee 2019 Fairest of the Fair winner from Warren County, will participate in the Tea with the Queen event on Friday, Aug. 9.

“We’re excited to have her this year,” Atwood said.

The car show to benefit the Backpack Program will be held for the fourth straight year. Bryan King of the Hartsville Rotary Club has taken a lead role in organizing the car show, which is expected to be the largest ever. Nearly 100 entries were in last year’s show but the 2019 version could dwarf those numbers.

Also returning this year is a cash giveaway of $500 to be awarded in amounts from $100 to $250 over Friday and Saturday. Rules for the giveaway are available in the Fair catalog or in the tabloid insert in this week’s Vidette.

The annual Christmas For Kids cake walk will also be a part of the fair again this year. The cake walk will be held on Saturday, Aug. 10 at 5 p.m. in the auditorium at TCHS.

“We thought moving inside would help boost attendance since folks won’t have to be out in the heat,” said Rotary Club President Chris Gregory. “Having the cake walk as pat of the fair last year really helped boost the turnout and we look forward to another successful event this time!”

Tri-County will provide an electric demonstration on Friday, Aug. 9 at 1 p.m. in the rear parking lot near the cafeteria.

Community craftsmen will also be on hand to show their wares and skills.

There are also expected to be expanded food option this year.

The fair will begin with the annual Century Farms Banquet on Friday, Aug. 2. Rose Duncan Kelley will be recognized with the Fair Pioneer award and the 2019 fair will be dedicated to the memory of Dianne Martin.

Exhibits will be accepted from 8 a.m. until noon on Friday, Aug. 9 at the high school’s Ag Pavilion.

Children’s exhibits will include categories such as field crops, garden crops and home cookery. Adult categories include canning, gardening and arts and crafts.

In a slight change, most exhibits will be displayed in the high school gym this year.

The Fair welcomes entries from all ages, with a junior category for ages 4-third grade, youth exhibits for grades 4-12 and adult entries. Youth exhibitors must be members of 4-H or Future Farmers of America, and adult exhibitors must be a resident of Trousdale County or a member of a Trousdale County agricultural organization.

A complete list of categories and rules for each entry can be found online at TrousdaleCountyFair.com. Fair catalogs are available to the public at the UT Extension Office on Broadway.

The Sheep Show will be held Thursday evening at 6 p.m. in the Ag Pavilion. Friday afternoon will feature the LEGO contest and Tea with the Queen, with the Cattle Show and Family Feud planned for Friday night.

The entry fee for Family Feud is $20 per team of five and this year, teams can choose to keep prize money or donate it to charity. To sign up for Family Feud, email Seth.Thurman@gmail.com or kathrnatwood@bellsouth.net.

Saturday will begin with the annual pancake breakfast held by the Lions Club from 7-9 a.m. in the school cafeteria. Other activities on Saturday will include carnival games, farm games, the Kiddie Tractor Pull, a greased pig contest and the homemade ice cream contest.

“Most of our farm games are open to children and adults,” Atwood said.

The chicken show and sale will also be held Saturday morning at the Ag Pavilion.

Saturday also includes with the Children/Youth Beauty Pageant at noon in the Eleanor Ford Theater. Boys from 0-24 months and girls from 0-age 10 can enter the pageant. The entry fee is $25 per contestant.

Admission to the Fair is free, although some individual events such as Family Feud and the Beauty Pageant will have admission costs. Children will also need to purchase tickets for games and rides.

For more information, visit TrousdaleCountyFair.com or check out the Trousdale County Fair’s page on Facebook.

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

Discussions continuing on Trousdale’s school budget

Trousdale County’s School Board took no action on revising its budget during a special called meeting last Thursday.

Instead, board members voted to continue the meeting until Aug. 1 at 6 p.m. to allow for further discussions between the director of schools, mayor and county commissioners.

The Budget & Finance Committee rejected the schools’ budget proposal at a July 19 meeting. That proposal called for $367,078 in new dollars for the school system.

Courtesy of Trousdale County government

“We feel like we’ve been responsible, frugal with tax dollars and we also feel like we made a reasonable request,” Director of Schools Clint Satterfield said to board members during Thursday’s meeting.

“Our budget is a status-quo budget… We have no raises for employees other than teacher raises mandated by the state… no new positions, no new educational programs. We’ve tried to hold the line.”

Satterfield told board members he was optimistic of getting a deal worked out with commissioners. Board member Johnny Kerr added that multiple members of the County Commission had expressed in conversation with him the possibility of assistance with capital outlay needs – such as a new roof for Jim Satterfield Middle School – rather than providing more money to the school budget.

“That doesn’t take them up any on maintenance of effort, it’s not a recurring cost, and it allows us not to go any deeper into our fund balance, maybe for a couple of years,” Satterfield said to the board.

“Some of them thought that was a good compromise,” Kerr added. “I think we need time to go about that decision-making process and see if a majority can be gained on that.”

County Commission Chairman Jerry Ford told The Vidette that Mayor Stephen Chambers and Satterfield were discussing multiple compromise options, but did not give further details.

Chambers’ only comment when contacted by The Vidette was that “discussions are ongoing.”

Commissioner Rachel Jones, who sits on Budget & Finance, added, “I’ve heard several different ideas for the middle school roof… but I’ll have to have more details before I make a decision.”

The Budget & Finance Committee has announced a special called meeting on Monday, Aug. 5 at 6 p.m. to discuss the school system’s budget, as well as the county’s proposed 2019-20 budget.

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

Budget & Finance Committee rejects schools’ budget proposal

Trousdale County’s 2019-20 budget remains a work in progress after the Budget & Finance Committee rejected the school system’s spending plan during hearings last week.

Commissioners met Monday and Friday and had given their approval to other departments’ budget requests. Tax levies had been set at $2.4388 in the county and $0.8753 in the Urban Services District. Both those amounts matched what was set by the state earlier this year and would require no tax increase.

But on Friday, the school budget was the topic of a long and sometimes testy discussion. The School Board had requested $367,078 in new funding in its request to commissioners, which would require raising property taxes by roughly 15 cents.

Courtesy of Trousdale County government

Director of Schools Clint Satterfield told commissioners he was trying to replace a loss in state funding through the Basic Education Program (BEP).

“The Board is asking that everyone be reasonable and just make up the difference we’re losing this year,” Satterfield told commissioners.

County Mayor Stephen Chambers, using a handout from Satterfield, countered that the difference in state funding from 2017-18 to 2019-20 was only $19,000 and that county funding had made up much of the losses in state money.

“The fiscal capacity moves it from the state share to the county’s share,” Chambers said. “That’s how it’s designed to operate. The county share went up $567,000 from two budget years ago.”

Chambers also noted that total county funding for the school system in 2018-19 was just over $2.6 million, rather than the $2.236 million listed in Satterfield’s presentation.

“If you include all local revenue, the local government just by growing is putting in more revenue,” the mayor said. “Looking at our revenue situation, I think we’re looking at an improving situation next year.”

The school system’s fund balance was also a point of discussion between the two sides. As of July 1, that number was $3.922 million but would drop to $2.738 million by June 2020 even with added county funding, according to Satterfield. No extra funding would reduce that number to $2.37 million in 2020.

“Last year we did nothing but take it out of fund balance. This year, you’re saying ‘Take it out of fund balance again…’ I don’t know if that’s responsible,” Satterfield said.

“You’re going to force the school system to run a minimum program, and a minimum program is not what our community desires.”

While noting the increase in county funding, Satterfield also said teacher raises had added $135,488 and insurance costs an additional $300,080 to the schools’ costs over the last two years.

Commissioners ultimately rejected the schools’ request by a 4-1 vote as Jerry Ford, Rachel Jones, Richard Harsh and Bill Fergusson voted to send the school budget back to the board. Bubba Gregory voted to send the request on to the full County Commission but emphasized he did not favor a tax increase.

“Growth next year is stronger right now than it was at this time last year… Next year you’ll get more tax money because you’ll have more base,” said Ford, who chairs the committee. “More homes, more industry.”

“I think we’ll be in a better position next year to address some of these positions,” added commissioner Richard Harsh, who noted large one-time expenditures in the county budget such as landfill cleanup, the Streetscape project and a tanker truck for the Fire Department.

The rejection means the School Board has 10 business days to meet and come up with a new spending plan. A called meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, July 25 at 6 p.m.

“I don’t think Friday night’s meeting was too productive; I didn’t see where anything was accomplished,” Satterfield told The Vidette when asked for comment.

Satterfield declined to comment on what changes might be made to the school budget. A revamped budget will again have to come before the Budget & Finance Committee before going to the full County Commission.

It was unknown at press time when that meeting would take place.

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

Hartsville TCAT readies for campus expansion

Construction is expected to begin soon at Hartsville’s Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) to expand vocational offerings for local students.

“Excited would be an understatement,” said Hartsville TCAT President Mae Wright. “The magnitude of this renovation has not happened here. This is going to be major – a complete additional wing.”

Concept plan for expansion at Hartsville TCAT, which will add a wing on the eastern end of the building.

Once completed, additions will include a new training area for the nursing/medical technician programs, a new computer lab and testing area for that program, and expanded class space for the automotive, mechatronics and machine tool programs.

“In this renovation, we’ll have a larger space to hold seminars,” Wright added. “That’s big for us.”

Wright said the wet weather has delayed the start of construction but that work should begin soon. She said construction should be completed by the end of 2020.

The funding for the expansion came through the state’s capital outlay process, with virtually all of Tennessee’s TCAT facilities slated to receive upgrades.

“It’s part of the master plan,” Wright said. “It’s going to be disruptive for a little while, but in the long haul our students will appreciate it.”

Wright said the extra class space would allow for additional students to take advantage of the various training programs offered by Hartsville TCAT.

“Our nursing area is so crowded right now, and our labs are compacted right now,” she said. “This is going to open up a lot more space.”

Wright said Hartsville’s TCAT campus is also preparing proposals for funding under Gov. Bill Lee’s GIVE Act (Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education), which was announced earlier this year, to expand operations both at the main campus and at satellite facilities.

The application process for the first round of GIVE grants is now underway and we will be applying for grants for other projects to serve our students and the residents of our area. The first round of grants will be announced this fall. We are deeply appreciative of Gov. Lee’s commitment to Career and Technical Education and to the rural economy, and we look forward to the great things that the GIVE Act will accomplish,” Wright said.

TCAT is also preparing to launch evening classes in the welding and machine tool programs in September. Both those will be held at the Lebanon campus from 4-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

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

Softball tournament benefits injured Trousdale deputy

A benefit softball tournament was held last Saturday for Clint Friar, the Trousdale County deputy who was injured in a traffic accident in late May.

Samantha Friar, the deputy’s wife, told The Vidette that co-workers and family friends helped organize the benefit, which was held at Hobbs Park in Lebanon.

Submitted photo

Fourteen teams took part in the tournament, with the Trousdale County Sheriff’s Department taking first place. Of the 14 teams, only one was made up of law enforcement, according to Mrs. Friar.

“They were incredible,” she said of all those who participated in the softball tournament. “They played from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in a heat index of over 100 and never complained once.”

The amount raised was not immediately available.

Samantha Friar said she and her husband are grateful for the outpouring of support from the Trousdale County community following the accident, which occurred on May 28 while Deputy Friar was stopped to render assistance to a driver.

Mrs. Friar said her husband is undergoing physical therapy for several hours each week and that doctors expect a full recovery in time.

“He’s working toward being able to do the job he loves,” she said of her husband. “The doctors say he’s on a good path.”

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

Budget & Finance Committee recommends no property tax increase at Monday meeting

Trousdale County’s 2019-20 budget should contain no countywide property tax increase when it comes up for a vote before the County Commission next Monday.

That announcement came during Monday’s meeting of the Budget & Finance Committee.

“What we are presenting so far is no raises (for county employees) and no raise on the tax rate,” chairman Jerry Ford told commissioners during the meeting.

The state set the county’s general property tax rate at $2.4388 and the Urban Services rate at $0.8753 after a Certified Value Update was conducted earlier this year.

Courtesy of Trousdale County government

Commissioners voted to recommend all but the Urban Services and school budgets forward to the full Commission. The Urban Services Council was to meet Tuesday evening but was not expected to recommend an increase in that tax rate.

The school system’s budget will be voted on by the School Board at its July 18 meeting and is expected to be the subject of budget hearings on Friday, July 19 at 6 p.m.

Director of Schools Clint Satterfield told The Vidette he estimated the school budget would have a deficit of around $500,000, which would have to be absorbed by the schools’ fund balance.

Satterfield declined to comment further, citing both a need for direction from the School Board and that final numbers from the 2018-19 budget were not yet available.

Ford added that Satterfield, Mayor Stephen Chambers and himself had held extensive talks and had tentatively identified additional revenue within the school budget that could be utilized.

One example he gave was of local option sales tax. According to Ford, last year’s school budget estimated $575,000 in revenue from that tax but the actual figure came in at over $700,000.

“The growth of the county this year made up a lot of what was lost,” Ford told commissioners. “(The schools have) wound up with several more dollars than anticipated.”

The County Commission will hold a vote on first reading of the budget on Monday, July 22 at 7 p.m. If it passes, a called meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 23 for second and third readings of the budget.

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

Haven House eyes Hartsville for new drug/alcohol treatment center

A church based out of Florida has acquired property in Hartsville with plans to turn the old house into a drug/alcohol rehabilitation facility.

Haven House Mission Church purchased the 18-acre property at 814 E. McMurry Blvd. for an estimated $530,000, according to Zillow.com. Haven House operates a treatment center in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., and also operates three thrift stores in Florida and one in Lebanon at the former location of Save-a-Lot.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
This home on McMurry Blvd. will eventually become Haven House’s drug/alcohol treatment center.

Haven House Director Charles Plauche spoke with The Vidette about plans to operate the facility in Hartsville.

“It’s a discipleship recovery program,” said Plauche, a pastor who started Haven House nearly 20 years ago. “This residence will be the second (facility) we operate.

“It’s long-term; we’re not related with any court system… It’s strictly a standalone program. We’re limited in who we can take because of our skill set. We don’t take any violent offenders or sex offenders,” he said.

Asked why Haven House looked at Hartsville, Plauche said the opening of the Lebanon thrift store helped the church see the need in Middle Tennessee.

“We were looking for a place conducive to a peaceful setting and serve as a good residence to what we’re doing,” Plauche said.

Haven House is a discipleship-based program and does not utilize doctors, nor does it take referrals from the criminal justice system, according to Plauche. Those in treatment in Hartsville will work at the Lebanon thrift store as part of the recovery process, which Plauche said also is intended to help men learn leadership skills.

“If you just put someone through a program but don’t train them how to work, how to be valuable in the community… then they’ll go right back when they were,” Plauche said.

Haven House’s program lasts for 12 months and is designed to minister to men who are motivated to seek help for alcohol or drug abuse. Background checks are run on those seeking help to ensure the safety of other residents.

Photo courtesy of Lebanon Democrat
Haven House also operates this thrift store in Lebanon.

“We want people who are motivated, who know they need to change… It’s all about finding a spiritual life… We believe without faith in Christ, we can’t make it,” Plauche said.

It will likely be several months before Haven House opens in Hartsville, as the residence needs repair work done. Once it opens, it will be designed to house up to eight patients at a time.

Haven House’s treatment has a long-term success rate of around 70 percent for those who complete the program, according to Plauche, who also noted that the program also has a low turnover rate.

Concerns have been raised locally about having a treatment center in Hartsville. Plauche has met with County Mayor Stephen Chambers and County Attorney Branden Bellar to assuage community questions.

Haven House is a religious-based non-profit that has been approved by the IRS.

Chambers noted that as a religious non-profit, Haven House is likely exempt from zoning regulations under both the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and under a state religious freedom statute.

“My understanding is it’s all religious-based; they do Bible studies and church services, through teachings of the Bible,” Chambers told The Vidette.

“On the federal side under the RLUIPA, you can’t have any land use requirements that would create a substantial burden on the practice of their religion,” Chambers said.

“You’re in a grey area there, but there’s also a state statute that uses much of the same language.”

Chambers noted a recent case in Davidson County in which a federal court said a church could proceed with a lawsuit against Metro Nashville government under RLUIPA.

Plauche encouraged anyone with questions about the church and its program to visit their websites at havenhousemissionchurch.org (church) and havenhouse.net (recovery program). Haven House can also be reached at 1-888-622-3702.

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

Sweet Kuntry Bakery expands its lunch options

Sweet Kuntry Bakery has become a hit with its customers since opening nearly two months ago.

Owners Jennifer Petty and Kendra Stafford are looking to capitalize on that support by expanding the available lunch options.

Starting last week, different items are being offered each day. Tuesday features stuffed baked potatoes, Wednesday has wings, Italian food on Thursday, fish and burgers on Friday and “Cox” burgers (similar to Krystal’s) on Saturday.

Submitted photo
Sweet Kuntry Bakery is serving Italian food on Thursdays as part of its expanded lunch menu.

“We just wanted something catchy,” Stafford said. “That’s how we got Tater Tuesday, Wing It Wednesday, Tour of Italy Thursday…”

“From our Facebook posts, we asked people to tell us what foods they wanted… and we thought about some of our favorite things that we can’t get here,” added Petty.

The baked potatoes have become so popular with customers that Sweet Kuntry is offering those every day.

“They’re asking for those every day, so we’re obliging!” Petty said.

Thursday’s Italian options will feature lasagna, spaghetti or Chicken Parmesan on a rotating basis.

The “Cox” burgers have also become a hit, as the pair got the recipe from the Cox family that formerly operated a Dairy Queen in Hartsville decades ago.

“Jimmy Cox actually came in one day, tried one and gave us a thumbs up,” Stafford said. “He gave us the history of it and how it started.”

In addition to the custom lunches, the bakery offers salads, wraps and paninis on a daily basis. Lunch begins at 11 a.m. each day.

“It’s different every day here,” Petty said.

Sweet Kuntry will also be expanding breakfast options once school begins in August, with biscuits and gravy and breakfast bowls offered.

The bakery also plans to stay open late on Fridays after home Trousdale County football games to serve customers.

Sweet Kuntry Bakery is located at the corner of Broadway and Main Street and can be reached at 615-450-8091 or via their Facebook page.

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

Streetscape construction could begin in November

Construction on the Streetscape project in downtown Hartsville could begin as soon as November after bids on the project were opened at a Tuesday meeting.

Trousdale County received an $840,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation in 2016 for improvements along Main Street from the intersection of Broadway to the River Street intersection. County commissioners also approved $140,000 in matching funds for the project, which originally was set to begin in 2018. An additional $25,278 in county funds was approved earlier this year as cost estimates had risen since the initial grant.

The winning bid was submitted by Sessions Paving Co., of Nashville and was for $672,488.50. The bid must still be sent to TDOT officials for concurrence and examination to make sure it fits project requirements.

Officials with Ragan-Smith, the engineering firm overseeing the project told The Vidette that once construction begins, the contract will call for the project to be completed within 150 days.

Preliminary engineering work has been done and calls for parallel parking along Main Street. Improved sidewalks, revamped parking, crosswalks and greenery are also intended to be part of the project.

County Mayor Stephen Chambers previously told The Vidette he wants to see the angled parking remain in place and it is not known yet which will be part of the project.

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

Op-Ed: From laws to actions, stupidity abounds in society

In the spirit of my former co-worker Joe Biddle, random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to spring…

Boy, I have encountered what I would consider some really dumb things over the past week. Here goes.

I’ll start with the new “hands-free” phone law in Tennessee. I just can’t support this concept, even though it’s designed (supposedly) to make our roads safer.

I talk on the phone when driving a lot. Sometimes it’s work related, and sometimes it’s personal. But I believe most people are perfectly capable of paying attention to the road while holding a phone to their ear. I know I am! I don’t need to look at my phone to carry on a conversation. If you do, then perhaps you don’t need to be driving in the first place.

Chris Gregory

Why do the actions of an irresponsible few have to make things worse for the rest of us? Under this law, if I am merely holding my phone in my lap I’m committing a violation even when I’m not using it.

Now I’m all for having it illegal to be texting, emailing or such while driving. If it takes your eyes off the road, it’s a problem, and those types of actions are the true distractions. I don’t text and I don’t send emails while driving, unless I’m stopped at a traffic light and not moving. I don’t consider myself to be driving in such circumstances.

Have I broken this law since it took effect July 1? I’ll plead the Fifth on that one.

· Speaking of stupidity, I think there’s plenty to go around with this whole mess over Nike, Colin Kaepernick and the Betsy Ross shoe.

It’s stupid for Nike to pull a product because one high-profile guy has a problem with it. Or perhaps it’s genius on Nike’s part. I won’t be surprised if Nike “caves” to pressure from Joe Public and releases the shoe and makes a killing off sales from people who want to show their patriotism, I guess. Nothing says America like a red, white and blue shoe?

Kaepernick’s an idiot for having a problem with the Betsy Ross flag. He says it’s a reminder of slavery. Whatever.

Do we need to cut down every tree in America planted before 1865? Do we need to burn down a bunch of old homes dating to the slavery era? I guess we should rename Washington, D.C. and the state of Washington just to be sure we get every reminder of slavery. After all, George owned slaves.

Yes, slavery sucked. However I don’t know anyone who ever owned a slave and I doubt I have ever known anyone who knew anyone who owned a slave, so it’s hard to feel much sympathy with Kaepernick on this. Of course, if he wants to protest it’s his God-given right as an American. I can support his right to protest (and I’ve done so before in the Vidette) without supporting what he’s protesting.

And I think it’s a bit stupid for people to get all bent out of shape over Nike’s decision. Aren’t there more important considerations in life than a shoe?

· Stupidity helped lead to the tragic death of a Nashville police officer last week too.·

A 17-year-old girl fleeing a traffic stop caused a crash that took the life of Officer John Anderson. Running away when you see the blue lights behind you is plenty stupid. She should have stopped – no question about that in my mind.

But according to news reports, the initial traffic stop was over driving with high beams on. Yes, that’s inconsiderate to other drivers; but if I’m that officer today I’m feeling pretty stupid in that my trying to make a traffic stop over a minor violation led to the death of a colleague. Granted, he did cut the pursuit short and was not chasing her after she took off. But was the initial attempt at a traffic stop worth a man’s life?

I’ve said to my son probably a thousand times, “Think before you act.” It’d be nice if everyone took that advice. It would make life a lot simpler.

· Before I forget, kudos to Team USA for winning the Women’s World Cup on Sunday. Soccer bores me (except every four years during the Cup) but I can still be proud of my country’s team being the best in the world. Right?

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

Mexican Grilled Cheese now open for business

After sitting vacant for a number of years, the property at the corner of Broadway and Highway 25 has found new life as the home of the Mexican Grilled Cheese – Hartsville’s newest restaurant.

Alberto and Araceli Rodriguez, who formerly operated La Quesadilla, have turned the historic house – featured in the Historical Society column in last week’s Vidette – into a restaurant with a name guaranteed to draw attention.

The Mexican Grilled Cheese opened for business Sunday amid much fanfare on social media from customers who missed La Quesadilla’s fare. The former site, across from the high school, has been closed since a fire broke out at the site in February.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Owner Alberto Rodriguez and head cook Fili Rojas pose beside the sign for the Mexican Grilled Cheese.

“The plan was to have the building repaired and still be there,” Alberto Rodriguez said. “We couldn’t get it worked out… The reason we chose this site is we thought it would be quick to get going.

“We’ve only been working here a couple of months. It’s already got the hood and the walk-in cooler and freezer. The building was empty when we got here so it was a big start. All we had to do was clean up and start brining in my equipment.”

Rodriguez said the name for the new restaurant was that “if you really think about it, what would a Mexican grilled cheese be? A quesadilla!”

Rodriguez and his employees have been working since early May to get the house ready. Most of the staff at the former La Quesadilla has followed Rodriguez over to the Mexican Grilled Cheese, including longtime head cook Fili Rojas.

The menu, Rodriguez said, remains pretty much the same as when it was La Quesadilla. It features what he called “common Mexican meals.” They have added some new items, which Rodriguez said customers should come by and try!

“The food is going to be the same; it’s just new name, new building,” Alberto said.

Rodriguez praised the staff for sticking with him and thanked the customers who have been asking for months when he would reopen.

“It’s not going to be a new environment; you’ll feel like you’re right at home,” he said. “We have a very loyal customer base and when they come into my restaurant, they’ll know every face as a familiar face. We try to run it like a family and serve our friends in Hartsville the food they’ve enjoyed for a long time.”

The Mexican Grilled Cheese will also offer outdoor eating options as well as a carryout service at the side entrance facing Highway 25.

As parking has been a concern at the site in the past, Rodriguez has obtained permission to use part of the property next door and created a gravel parking lot there that ties into the main parking area at the back of the building.

The Mexican Grilled Cheese is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant can be reached at 615-680-3166.

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

School registration event scheduled for July 9 at TCES

Trousdale County Elementary School will hold Kindergarten and New Student Registration for the 2019-20 school year on Tuesday, July 9 from 4-7 p.m. at the school, which is located at 115 Lock Six Road, Hartsville.

Pre-K and Head Start applications will also be taken at this time. If applying for either of these programs, you must bring proof of your income in addition to the items listed below. Acceptance to both Pre-K and Head Start is contingent upon meeting income guidelines.

Photo courtesy of Trousdale County Government

Students are eligible for kindergarten if they turn 5 years of age by Aug. 15, 2019. Students accepted for Pre-K and Head Start programs must be 4 years old by Aug. 15, 2019.

The following items are required during registration and must be provided before attending school.

A physical dated 1/1/19 or later completed by your doctor/medical provider (the Trousdale County School Entry Medical Examination form is provided online at tcschools.org). All Kindergarten students and other students attending school for the first time must have a physical. All other new students need a physical as a part of the cumulative record transferred from the previous school or must provide a new physical;

An updated copy of the child’s immunization record on the Official Tennessee Certificate of Immunization. If you are coming from out of state or your child’s immunization record is not on the Official form, your immunizations must be transferred to the Tennessee form. This can be completed at the Trousdale County Health Department office or by your medical provider);

An original certified birth certificate (not a “Mother’s Copy” or hospital certificate). If your child was born in Tennessee, you can get this from the local Health Department for a small fee;

Proof of Legal Custody if divorced or involved in a child custody issue, including 1) Birth Certificate and/one of the following: A) Parenting Plan or B) Court order; and

Proof of Residency (Custodial guardian must live in Trousdale County and meet one of the following two):

If you own the property in Trousdale County: Property Tax Statement & ALL of the following A) Tennessee Driver’s license (with matching address); B) Two Utility bills (electric & water);

If you rent the property in Trousdale County: Lease Agreement & ALL of the following A) Signed lease agreement; B) Tennessee Driver’s license (with matching address); c.) Two Utility bills (electric & water).

The information about registration, along with the Trousdale County School Entry Medical Examination form, are available online at tcschools.org. For more information, contact the Trousdale County Board of Education at 615-374-2193, Trousdale County Elementary at 615-374-3752, or the School Health Office at 615-374-0907.

Please remember that all of the schools have limited hours of operation during the summer, but voice messaging is available. More regular hours of operation will resume the second week of July.

4-H students hone kitchen skills at culinary camp

Do you know the parts of a recipe or how to read one? Do you know the difference between a dry and a liquid measuring cup? Can you tell us the different parts of a knife?

I know one thing for sure – the group of 4-H’ers that attended our ‘Adventures in the Kitchen Culinary Camp’ can! Over the course of the three days, these 4-H’ers were able to learn that and much more. Each day, they applied those skills to create their own healthy but tasty lunch! They had a blast! At the end of each day, they received a copy of all the recipes that they made and some materials to help them accomplish one of the goals.

Submitted photo
Trousdale County 4-Hers participated recently in a Kitchen Culinary Camp courtesy of the UT Extension Office. Pictured from left are, front row: Bethany Zarichansky, Izabella Hobby, Erin Reynolds, Bryson Dupont, Noah Jellison, Charlie Beth Wright, Emma Pilewicz, Christian Coble. Back row: Extension Agent Shelby Christian, Merceah Lee, Brooklyn Webb, Volunteer Willow, Jayda Harris, Anna Towns, Madison West.

On Day 1 the 4-Hers learned all about reading recipes and measuring. They were able to test their knowledge on each topic by solving a recipe scramble. After that they were able to apply what they learned about measuring into creating Kool-Aid playdough. It was messy, but fun! Then they applied what they learned to create a wonderful breakfast lunch of vegetable scrambled eggs, parfaits, homemade biscuits, bacon and sausage. For dessert they made peanut butter protein balls. After lunch, the students were able to get plenty of exercise by playing games outside such as popcorn and relay races.

Day 2 was all about cutting! Students were able to learn about different kitchen utensils, including one of the most vital in the knife. Every 4-H’er learned about the different parts of the knives, different kinds of knives, and lastly, different cuts with the knife that are specifically mentioned in recipes. They were able to practice their knife skills and the different cuts by practicing with the playdough they made, and the butter knives. After that, we had a wonderful fiesta Mexican meal! They made tacos, fruit salsa with cinnamon chips, fresh salsa and chips, guacamole, and black bean & corn salad. Each of the stations required cutting in some shape or form and they did such a great job! For physical activity, they were able to have some fun with special guest UT Extension Agent Michaela Pedigo from Macon County. They ran through stations and did all kinds of relay races. It was a wonderful second day.

Day 3 was the final day and the 4-H’ers were able to do a lot of team building to win activities. They were able to see what it’s like to work together and communicate, just like how they must in the kitchen. They loved getting to compete against each other. On the last day, they were able to make burgers, cowboy beans, pasta salad and fruit salad. It was a healthy and very good lunch. Lastly, the 4-H’ers were able to learn more about exercise and how important it is for your body with another special guest in Kate Tippitt, Sumner County UT Extension Agent. They went through circuit training and fun dancing to cap off an amazing week.

This was a very successful camp and I cannot thank the parents enough for allowing their children to come and learn new skills all three days! I would also like to thank UT Extension Agents Tippitt and Pedigo for coming to do physical activity with Trousdale County 4-H’ers. Lastly, I would like to thank all my volunteers that helped, including teen leader Willow Jones, and adults Michelle Christian, Kathy Atwood and Talitha Austin, and FCE club members Barbara Towns and Rannye Roberson. This camp would not have been as successful without their help!

The University of Tennessee Extension offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.

Celebrate July 4 – Hartsville style!

The first week of July is full of great activities in Hartsville! We hope you’ll make plans to spend the Fourth of July in your hometown.

Thursday, July 4 kicks off with a parade at 4 p.m., followed immediately by the Music in the Park celebration. This event is FREE and open to the public. There will be plenty of great food, vendors, activities and fun for everyone. We’re working hard to bring great food options this year including catfish, barbecue, hamburgers, hot dogs, popcorn, Italian Ice and much, much more!

Bring your lawn chairs and your umbrella (a good idea – rain or shine!), get comfy and spend an afternoon enjoying great local music from Dustin Spears, local band SuperSport, and of course, the Community Band with their patriotic tribute and kickoff to the fireworks.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
The traditional Music in the Park will be part of Hartsville’s July 4 celebration.

Many of your popular events and vendors from last year will be back. Free watermelon and the watermelon eating contest, head-in-the-hole boards painted by John and Lynn Oliver celebrating our local history, the Band Boosters cake walk and raffle featuring some amazing items, and, of course, the fireworks display.

The Chamber is once again sponsoring Dunking for Drumsticks. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., you will have a chance to dunk Superintendent of Schools Clint Satterfield, and new this year, Warden Russell Washburn from the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center. All proceeds from the dunk tank will be go toward the Community Thanksgiving Celebration and Meal, the free Thanksgiving meal that is open to anyone who lives and works in Trousdale County.

Music in the Park is sponsored by the TCHS Band Boosters and the Hartsville-Trousdale Chamber of Commerce. If you’d like to be in the parade, please contact Amber Russell at 615-808-1054. For vendor information, contact Natalie Knudsen at 615-374-9243 or hartsvilletrousdalecoc@gmail.com.

Also on Tuesday, July 2, we will hold our monthly Chamber of Commerce meeting.

Join us as we hear from Senator Ferrell Haile on developments and pending legislation at the State Capitol and how it affects Trousdale County. Sen. Haile has been representing Trousdale County since 2010 and is first vice-chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, and is also a member of the Senate Education Committee; Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee; and Senate Rules Committee. Bring your questions and concerns for Sen. Haile.

The meeting will be held at noon on Tuesday, July 2, at the Community Center, 301 E. Main St. The meeting is FREE and open to anyone who wishes to attend. Lunch is available for $10 but you can attend without purchasing lunch. Catered by Piggly Wiggly, the menu includes fried chicken, potatoes, Caesar salad, roll, dessert and beverage.

Please bring your community announcements to share, join in networking with businesses and individuals and learn about what’s ahead for our county and state.