/script>

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.

Hartsville man indicted on first-degree murder charge

Photo courtesy of TBI

Special Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have obtained an indictment for a Trousdale County man in connection to the death of his girlfriend at their Sulphur College Road residence last year.

At the request of 15th District Attorney General Tommy Thompson, TBI Special Agents began investigating the December 2018 death of Dwanna Mayfield on May 28, after an autopsy revealed the cause of the woman’s death was homicide by strangulation. During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information leading to Mayfield’s boyfriend, Jimmy Lee Scruggs, age 59, as the person responsible for the crime.

On Monday, the Trousdale County Grand Jury returned an indictment, charging Scruggs with one count of First Degree Murder. Agents arrested Scruggs on Thursday and booked him into the Trousdale County Jail, where, at the time of this release, he was being held without bond.

BBQ Shack now open in downtown Hartsville

Tucked away at the corner of White Oak Street and Broadway is Hartsville’s newest place to grab a bite to eat – the BBQ Shack.

Owner Dwight Cothron has moved his restaurant from its former location in Dixon Springs into downtown Hartsville and he is excited to be here.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Dwight Cothron and staff pose outside the new location of the BBQ Shack at the corner of Broadway and White Oak Street. The restaurant opened for business last week.

“We’ve moved everything to Hartsville,” Cothron said. “I wanted to find more people and I think the volume will help more than anything.”

Cothron opened the BBQ Shack in October 2016 but said he had long wanted to be in Hartsville, where he calls home.

“I’ve cooked for my family and everyone said, ‘You should try to sell this,’ so I gave it a shot,” he said. “I was driving a truck and it got me home.”

Cothron built the ‘shack’ himself, built the smoker he uses and also built the fence around the new site.

The BBQ Shack opened on June 12 and the initial turnout was overwhelming. Cothron told The Vidette he did what would have been a week’s worth of business at the old site on his first day in Hartsville.

The menu features pulled pork, pork shoulder and side dishes, with ribs perhaps in the future plans according to Cothron. The site also has tables and umbrellas set up to allow customers to east in the shade on site.

Cothron also thanked his staff for all their assistance in getting the new location ready, and also thanked property owner Keith Roddy for allowing him to use the corner lot.

The BBQ Shack is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and can be reached at 615-552-8063.

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

County Commission pushes budget decision back to August

Trousdale County government looks likely to begin the 2019-20 fiscal year without a budget in place after the Budget & Finance Committee opted Monday evening to delay a decision on a spending plan.

Instead, the County Commission will vote at its June 24 meeting on a continuing resolution to authorize spending at current budget levels while budget discussions move forward.

State law allows counties to wait until Aug. 31 before a budget is required to be in place. According to the mayor’s office, Trousdale County last had to pass a continuing resolution in 2010.

County Mayor Stephen Chambers’ proposed budget already has a $1.2 million deficit in the general fund for the fiscal year. Of that total, just over $900,000 is in one-time expenses such as the Streetscape project, landfill repair on Gammons Lane and a tanker truck for the fire department.

Commissioners made the decision to hold off on a budget vote after a presentation from Director of Schools Clint Satterfield on the school budget, which seeks just over $850,000 in additional funding from the county.

With a penny of the property tax rate projected to bring in $24,989, meeting that request would require a 34-cent increase in county contributions.

“I don’t know what to say; this is a big lick thrown at Budget & Finance all at once,” said committee chairman Jerry Ford. “That might give us a little more time to think about (this) and decide what we want to do.”

“We need time to look at these numbers,” added commissioner Gary Walsh.

Commissioner Bill Fergusson brought up the idea of helping out the schools over a period of time. He mentioned the Commission previously having to raise property taxes by 42 cents to fill a budget deficit and phasing that in over two years.

“That’s something we might think about; I’m not saying that’s what we’re going to do. Maybe we have to gradually ease into the water in this situation,” he said.

As he has done previously, Satterfield cited a $429,000 loss in state funding under the Basic Education Program (BEP) in the upcoming year. That loss was just over $300,000 in 2018-19 and could grow to $600,000 in 2020-21.

He presented commissioners with two scenarios: one with full funding and one with no new funding. Under the second scenario, the school system’s fund balance would be depleted to $1.967 million by June 2020, with only an estimated $429,981 of that total available for unrestricted use.

“You’re pretty near broke in a year if you don’t do something about it now,” Satterfield said.

The schools’ proposed budget includes just over $500,000 in capital outlay projects such as roof work at the elementary school and door replacement at the middle school. Upcoming capital needs include a roof at the middle school, a new bus route and redoing the parking lot at the high school, according to Satterfield.

“We’re trying to save that fund balance for those capital outlay expenditures we’ve got coming,” he said. “What’s it going to look like when I have to come back here to fix a parking lot or buy a bus, because we don’t have the money to do it?

“It teeters on irresponsibility in that we know what the future is going to look like and if we refuse to do anything about it.”

Past ideas for school funding have included a half-cent local sales tax increase, which would require a public vote in 2020, or extending the wheel tax, which could not occur until 2022.

Commissioner Rachel Jones said while she favored fully funding schools, she was concerned about putting the burden on what she called the “38 percent” of county residents who pay property taxes.

“I think everyone wants to give the schools the money they need… I just think we need to come up with an option that’s more equitable for everyone,” she said.

“It’s not just the BEP, it’s not just what we’ve spent money on, it’s not just the fact that we lowered taxes,” commissioner Dwight Jewell said of the factors behind the budget deficit. “It’s all of those things.”

The County Commission will meet on Monday, June 24 at 7 p.m. in the county courthouse.

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

Court hearings held in Trousdale County homicide cases

Hearings were held Monday in Criminal Court for a pair of defendants in two high-profile Trousdale County court cases involving deaths.

Keith Alan Holder, of Carthage, was indicted in February on six counts including vehicular homicide in the June 2018 death of Donovan Crittendon.

Holder’s attorney, Zach Taylor, waived appearance and pleaded innocent on his client’s behalf before Judge Brody Kane. A hearing in the case is scheduled for July 2.

Holder, a former Drug Task Force agent, was charged after Crittendon went missing and was later pulled from the Cumberland River in June 2018. Investigators from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation reportedly determined that the two were together when Holder’s personal vehicle went into the river.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Benjamen Carter appeared in Trousdale County’s criminal court on Monday after being indicted in April on first-degree murder charges.

An autopsy later determined that Crittendon had a blood alcohol level of 0.126 but listed the cause of death as “undetermined.”

Holder remains free on $75,000 bond.

Also, an initial appearance was made by Benjamen Timothy Carter, who is facing premeditated first-degree and attempted first-degree murder charges in the death of Bailey Donoho.

Donoho’s body was found in a homeowner’s yard on Browning Branch Road on March 31 and a grand jury issued indictments later that week against Carter.

Carter’s attorney requested that the case be moved to General Sessions Court for a preliminary hearing, but Assistant District Attorney Ian Bratton cited precedent that an indictment supersedes the need for such a hearing.

Kane ruled in favor of the state but said he would hear a motion to reconsider if the defense requested. Carter is next scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 28.

Carter remains in the Wilson County Jail and is being held without bond.

Also Monday, two women entered guilty pleas to attempting to introduce contraband into the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center.

Cynthia Faye Curtis, of Winchester, pleaded guilty to mailing cell phones and tobacco in November 2017 to her son, who was an inmate at the Hartsville prison.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Kane sentenced Curtis to two years probation. Curtis will be eligible for judicial diversion, which means the charge can be dropped from her record if she completes probation without any further charges.

Jessica Nicole Scruggs, of Hartsville, pleaded guilty to smuggling marijuana into the prison and delivering it to her boyfriend, who was then incarcerated at TTCC.

Under the plea deal, Kane sentenced Scruggs to eight years and a $2,000 fine but suspended the sentence, meaning she will be on probation for that time period.

Teacher case: Carla Haynes, a former teacher at Trousdale County Elementary School who was arrested and charged with child abuse in April, made an initial appearance in General Sessions Court before Judge Kenny Linville on June 14.

Haynes is next scheduled to be in court on Sept. 27.

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

TBI investigating inmate death at Trousdale Turner prison

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was investigating after the Saturday death of an inmate at Hartsville’s Trousdale Turner Correctional Center.

The TBI identified the inmate Sunday morning as Ernest Edward Hill, 42. The cause of death was not immediately available.

CoreCivic spokeswoman Amanda Gilchrist issued the following statement:

“Trousdale Turner Correctional Center remains on partial lockdown status following an inmate-on-inmate altercation that resulted in one inmate losing his life.

On Saturday, June 15 at approximately 3 pm CDT, while conducting formal count, an inmate was found unconscious on the floor of his cell. A medical emergency was called and unit staff initiated life-saving measures until medical staff arrived. EMS was called to the facility and the inmate was transported to an outside hospital where he was pronounced deceased at 4 pm CDT.

Our partners at the Tennessee Department of Corrections were immediately notified and facility staff are cooperating fully with the investigation. The unit remains on lockdown status while the TDOC Office of Investigations and Compliance investigates the incident.”

The TBI issued the following statement:

“At the request of 15th Judicial District Attorney General Tommy Thompson, the TBI is investigating the death of an inmate inside the Trousdale Turner Correctional Facility in Hartsville. According to preliminary information, the incident happened this afternoon inside a prison cell involving two inmates. No correctional officers were injured or involved.”

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

Commissioners look to address schools’ budget deficit

Trousdale County’s Budget & Finance Committee opened the first of three budget hearings Monday evening with a look at addressing a deficit in the school system’s 2019-20 budget.

County Mayor Stephen Chambers presented the certified tax rate as determined by the state, which is $2.43. Trousdale County underwent a Current Value Update earlier this year in which all property was reassessed. At the new rate, one penny will bring in $24,989, as opposed to $19,336 in the current year.

The county has lost some state funding through the BEP (Basic Education Program) because of increased fiscal capacity (ability to pay) by Trousdale County. The schools lost $300,000 this year and are anticipated to lose $429,000 in funding for the upcoming year. In 2020, that loss could reach $600,000.

Courtesy of Trousdale County mayor’s office

On the bright side, Director of Schools Clint Satterfield reported that the current fiscal year is estimated to end with a surplus of around $350,000 as opposed to a projected $780,000 loss.

In its preliminary budget, the schools requested $900,000 in new money from the county to help offset the loss of state funding. Satterfield called it a “status quo budget” with no raises for non-certified employees and no new programs.

“The thing we all have to think about is what our moral purpose is in changing lives in our county,” Satterfield told commissioners. “There’s a direct correlation between education and earnings and we are trying to make good taxpayers instead of people who become dependent on the tax system.”

The proposed school budget also includes $451,980 in capital expenses, which would be funded by the school’s fund balance. That includes recoating the elementary school roof, replacing doors at the middle school and replacing sidewalk at the elementary school.

Satterfield also cited future projects that will be needed, including a roof at the middle school, redoing the high school parking lot and adding a new bus route to accommodate growth in the western part of Trousdale County.

Accommodating the schools’ request would require a 32-cent hike in property taxes, according to the mayor’s budget documents.

The school system is projected to have a fund balance of roughly $3.5 million as of June 30, of which $1.736 million is restricted for certain uses. Not getting any new money from the county would drop the overall fund balance to $1.4 million by June 2020, according to estimates.

Commissioners have previously looked at funding solutions, such as returning impact fees for new construction to schools and increasing the local option sales tax. The latter of those could not occur until 2020 as it would have to be approved by voters.

“We didn’t do anything last year. We have to do something this year to stop the bleeding or we’re going to be down to zero (fund balance) in two years,” Satterfield said. “There’s not one particular solution.”

Committee members asked Satterfield to return Thursday evening with a revamped budget that takes into account the increased revenues from this year.

Exact figures were not available at press time as Satterfield told The Vidette he was still working on recalculating the budget.

“We’re trying to be as frugal and responsible on our end as we can. I ask that you recognize that,” Satterfield said to commissioners.

 

Raises for Highway Department

Commissioners next looked at Debt Service, Education Debt Service and the Highway Department during Monday’s hearing.

“We’re pretty much following the principal and interest schedule,” Chambers told commissioners of the debt payments.

The mayor’s budget anticipates paying just over $1.1 million of debt. The largest amounts owed are for the justice center ($1.606 million owed as of July 1) and energy efficiency work on the county schools ($2.317 million).

Overall, the county’s debt is estimated at $7.748 million as of July 1.

“The county is not that much in debt,” said committee chairman Jerry Ford. “We’ll pay off the high school in 2022, so that will help.”

Asked about the potential for paying off smaller debts early, the mayor said waiting until next year might be better.

“We’ve got Streetscape, the HOME grant, the landfill coming out this year,” Chambers said. “I think we can certainly look at paying some of those off at that time.”

Highway Superintendent Bill Scruggs presented the budget for his department, which includes a 3 percent raise for employees and money toward equipment purchases.

While county government has no planned employee raises, the Highway Department raises would be funded by the state.

“Over half my staff only gets to work nine months out of the year and makes $12 per hour,” Scruggs said. “That’s who I’m trying to help out a little bit.”

Scruggs said he would take some of the increased gas tax revenue through the 2017 IMPROVE Act to put toward replacing equipment, some of which he said was nearly 40 years old.

Commissioners seemed to favor the Highway Department giving raises, especially as it will not cost local taxpayers a cent.

“If you’ve got the money in your budget and it’s not going to cost the county any more money… he should be able to give his people raises,” said commissioner Dwight Jewell.

The Budget & Finance Committee was to look at the budgets for the Sheriff’s Department and other elected officials during Tuesday’s hearings. In addition to reexamining schools on Thursday, committee members will look at remaining departments at that time.

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

Prohibition Party candidate addresses Historical Society

C.L. Gammon, the presidential nominee for the Prohibition Party, was the guest speaker at Saturday’s June meeting of the Trousdale County Historical Society.

The Prohibition Party is the third-oldest political party in the United States behind the Democratic and Republican parties, dating back to 1869. The party’s symbol is a camel and was created by political cartoonist Thomas Nash, who noted that camels do not need to drink much.

Gammon is a native of Lafayette and a published author. He formerly served in the U.S. Army and was part of Operation Desert Storm in the 1990s.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette

Gammon spoke on the party’s history, current platform and how he got involved with the Prohibition Party. The party claims the first woman mayor of a U.S. city (Argonia, Kan., 1887), the first female candidate for Vice President (1924) and a U.S. Congressman during World War I.

The party’s best performance in a presidential election was in 1904, when the party received over 250,000 votes. In 2016, the Prohibition nominee received just 5,617 votes nationally.

Aside from Tennessee, Gammon said the Prohibition Party is working to get on the ballot in 14 other states for the 2020 election.

“The party is small but growing,” Gammon said. “We expect this campaign to do better than any campaign in the last 50 years.”

Aside from prohibition of alcohol and tobacco, the party’s stated platform includes a mixture of ideas from the left and right, including fair trade, a balanced budget amendment, opposition to capital punishment, free college education and a sensible immigration policy while working to curb illegal immigration. The party has, in the past, also supported women’s suffrage and the Civil Rights Movement.

“Nowadays the Prohibition Party isn’t trying to change the Constitution,” Gammon told the gathered audience. “We’re trying to educate… we want to teach (alcohol) out of existence.”

Gammon claimed that much of the crime in America is related to alcohol abuse, as well as increased costs of goods in America.

He also expounded on the party’s immigration platform, saying, “We need to come up with a policy that works. This isn’t a Republican or Democrat kind of thing. It’s easier to preach sometimes than it is to teach.”

Gammon said he learned about the Prohibition Party after reading about the party’s history and talking with Earl Dodge, who ran for President six times.

Gammon received the Prohibition Party’s nomination via a conference call in April. His running mate is Nevada’s Phil Collins, a former candidate for mayor of Las Vegas. Gammon originally was nominated for Vice President but was moved to the top spot on the ticket after the former nominee stepped aside.

Gammon is funding his campaign through the sale of buttons and bumper stickers. For more information on his campaign, email gammonforpresident@hotmail.com or visit his Facebook page, Gammon for President.

“Every time I’m offered an opportunity to speak, I do,” he said. “I do a podcast as well, I’m on Facebook.”

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

Hartsville Printing closes up shop after nearly 40 years

Hartsville Printing Company has shuttered its doors, leaving a hole in the local business community and the hearts of its loyal customers.

Roger and Linda Gregory, who ran Hartsville Printing for nearly 40 years, have decided the time has come to retire and move into the next stage of their lives.

“We closed a week ago Thursday,” Roger said, “when they came and took our Xerox copier. They let us out of our contract and that wound us up.”

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Roger and Linda Gregory ran Hartsville Printing for nearly 40 years.

Roger said after 40½ years, “we’re ready to retire. No real plans, just taking it easy once we get everything out of the shop.”

The Gregorys have been looking for customers to take some of the old equipment and had hoped to be able to turn the business over to a new owner. However so far both efforts have come up short.

“We wanted someone to take it over and accommodate our customers like we’ve done, but nobody was interested,” Linda said.

“A lot of it is scrap iron these days; they’ve outlived their usefulness,” Roger added.

He also noted that parts are no longer made for some of their old equipment.

Linda said that they were referring customers to Quality Printing in Gallatin, which is owned by Keith and Lisha Spivey.

Submitted photo
Roger and Linda Gregory are shown here shortly after opening Hartsville Printing in 1978.

“I believe they’ll give the same good service that we have for all these years,” Linda said of the Spiveys.

Roger’s roots in printing run deep, dating back to his time working at The Hartsville Vidette from 1968 to 1975 at its old location on Marlene Street. He began sweeping the floors and delivering papers and eventually learned to operate the press.

“One day someone said, ‘Come over here and watch this machine and if something happens do this and this,’ ” Roger said. “That’s the day I became a printer.”

After leaving The Vidette, Roger worked in Nashville for 18 months before going to Quality Printing in Gallatin for nearly a year and a half. Linda was working in The Vidette’s print shop at that same time and when the paper’s owners opted to close that portion of the business, Roger decided to take over.

The Gregorys opened Hartsville Printing at its location on River Street, just behind the historic courthouse, in October 1978. The company’s first job was a run of 1,000 envelopes for Tri-County Gas & Oil at a cost of just over $45.

Roger said they had rented the building for $125 monthly to start out, but decided to purchase the site after finding the monthly payments would be $135. According to Roger, the building itself is on the list of historic buildings as it dates back to the 1940s.

He also noted changes in the business over the years, saying they used to print a lot of medical records and government files – much of which are now computerized.

“All those little pieces of paper we used to produce; they’re gone,” Roger said.

The Gregorys said they would miss providing good service to their customers but plan to remain involved in the community.

“It was hard work but we always enjoyed it,” he said. “We’ve enjoyed helping people and satisfying our customers with a good product at a reasonable price.”

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

Fund created at Wilson Bank for injured Trousdale deputy

A fund has been created at Hartsville’s Wilson Bank & Trust location to benefit a Trousdale County deputy who suffered serious injuries last week.

Deputy Clint Friar was struck by a pickup truck on the evening of May 28 while stopping to render assistance after a passing motorist hit a dog on East McMurry Boulevard.

Deputy Clint Friar • Trousdale County Sheriff’s Department

According to Sheriff Ray Russell at the time, Friar was thrown about 20 feet and suffered a concussion, a broken leg, road rash and ligament and cartilage damage.

Russell told The Vidette Friar had undergone surgery to repair the broken leg and a second surgery to have his left knee reconstructed. At press time, Friar remained at Skyline Medical Center.

“He probably won’t be able to walk for about three months,” Russell said. “I don’t know when he’ll be able to come back to work.”

“They can go in and say they want to donate to Deputy Friar,” Russell said. “There’s a lot of medical bills; his wife’s missing work to care for him. It’s going to be hard on them.”

The Tennessee Highway Patrol was investigating the incident but no charges have been filed against the driver of the pickup truck.

Russell said the incident should remind drivers to drive slowly and take greater caution when they see the blue lights of law enforcement on the side of any road.

“People need to slow down more than what they’re doing,” Russell said. “It was a dark area and the driver couldn’t see, but he could have been driving slowly than he was.”

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

‘Books & Bites’ set to begin mission of reading and feeding

Trousdale County Schools, the Hartsville Rotary Club and the Summer Backpack Program are teaming up to fill students’ minds and stomachs during the summer.

‘Books & Bites,’ a mobile library/cafeteria utilizing a converted school bus, will begin operating in Hartsville next week. The name ‘Books & Bites’ came as the result of a 2018 competition in which students suggested names for the bus.

From June 3-28, the Books & Bites bus will be set up Monday through Friday at two locations: First Baptist Church on McMurry Blvd. and in Hartsville City Park. The bus will be at the church from 11-11:40 a.m. each day and in the park from noon-12:40 p.m.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette

“It aligns directly with our Read to Be Ready summer program,” said Director of Schools Clint Satterfield.

Any student age 18 or under, or over 18 if they were enrolled in school this past school year, can enjoy a free lunch regardless of income.

“We’d like to reach at least 50 at each site,” said Kathy Atwood, Coordinated School Health supervisor for the school system. “It will be hot or cold lunch depending on the day. We’ll have menus posted as well.”

Atwood said fresh produce and vegetables would be included with the lunches, but added that “a lot of their favorites” would be on the Books & Bites menu.

Funding is part of the regular school lunch budget under a program called “Seamless Summer.”

“It’s a continuation of the free breakfast/lunch program we have,” Satterfield added. “The idea is to feed children during the summer months, to continue to provide nutritious meals.”

In addition to the bus, an open breakfast and lunch are being provided each weekday at Jim Satterfield Middle School in the cafeteria. Breakfast runs from 8-9 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m.-noon. Participants should enter JSMS from the Andrews Avenue entrance.

The meals at JSMS are also available to children not yet of school age, with Atwood saying, “If they’re eating table food, they can eat. They don’t have to be enrolled in school.”

Besides food, Books & Bites also has books that can be checked out by students entering grades 1-5. The books were obtained from Barnes & Noble and school staff utilized a list of suggested texts.

“We’re trying to put them on appropriate levels so kids can check out something on their reading level,” said Linda Carey, supervisor of federal programs for the school system.

Children will be encouraged to check out books on Monday as a librarian will be on the bus on those days. Exchanges will be available any day though.

“Kim Reynolds (librarian) knows these kids. She can say, ‘Here’s books that might interest you,’ ” Carey added.

From idea to reality

The idea for ‘Books & Bites’ came as a result of observing what other communities were doing with similar programs during the summer.

“Our school board went to a convention a couple of years ago and Greeneville City Schools did a presentation on their program,” Satterfield said.

The School Board took a retired school bus and began looking for ways to make the conversion. The Hartsville Rotary Club assisted, providing over $6,000 in funding for the program.

“We saw Books & Bites as a continuation of our mission to help make our community a better place,” said Chris Gregory, president-elect of the Hartsville Club. “It fits perfectly with our four-way test – the ethics code we strive to operate by – as it is beneficial to all concerned; the children of Hartsville and Trousdale County.”

Rotary members built the shelving that was used in the library portion of the bus as well.

School officials also looked at a similar program in the Lebanon Special School District and in Rutherford County.

“I thought, ‘What a great idea!’ ” Atwood added. “We wanted to see how we could take the food to where people might be.”

A test program was held last July in the park and served an estimated 25 to 30 students each day for a week. While the bus will only be running in June this year, the hope is to be able to expand operations in the future.

Satterfield said the decision to operate in June was made because it fit with the schools’ Read to Be Ready summer reading camp and also because families were more likely to be traveling in July, potentially lessening demand.

For more information on Books & Bites, contact Trousdale County Schools at 615-374-2193.

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

Do Re Mi Gospel Music Academy gets help with museum goal

Hartsville’s Do Re Mi Gospel Music Academy is looking toward the next step in its mission of preserving the history of shape note gospel music by creating a museum at its facility.

Shape-note music is designed to make congregational and community signing easier, and dates back over two centuries in the United States. Today, Southern Baptist and Church of Christ congregations still commonly use shape-note songbooks in their worship services.

Do Re Mi, located on Cedar Bluff Road, has been in Hartsville since 2010 and is preparing to welcome a group of campers for its annual two-week camp, beginning June 2.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Students at Trousdale County High School pose with some of the cabinets they built for Do Re Mi.

“Our charter is organized to education, promotion and preservation of shape-note music, so from the very beginning that was the vision we had,” said Key Dillard, the director of Do Re Mi. “We just haven’t had the opportunity till recently.”

Dillard’s efforts were aided when Trousdale County High School received a $3,500 grant from Middle Tennessee State University. Students in Dan Dickerson’s class built shelving that will be used in displaying artifacts when the museum comes into being.

Dr. Heather Dillard, an education professor at MTSU and Key’s daughter-in-law, was instrumental in helping TCHS obtain the grant.

“It’s a grant for a public service-oriented project,” Heather Dillard said. “The project they did was to make these cabinets for the museum at Do Re Mi.”

“It got us to moving,” Key Dillard said of the grant. “It called for cooperative community resources and the kids at TCHS built our cabinets and we’ll be utilizing them. We’re so very thankful for those kids at the high school.”

Dillard said Do Re Mi secured the building three years ago and has been working since then to locate items related to shape-note music that can be displayed.

“It’s going to be an ongoing process; the key to any museum is the artifacts that will be displayed,” he said.

Items already obtained by Do Re Mi include a 1939 scrapbook from the Macon County Ladies Quartet, of which Dillard’s mother was a member, and a teaching slate used by music instructors back in the day.

“We need people to dig deep in their attics and see what they can find,” Dillard said.

Anyone with items that might be of interest to the museum can email Dillard at keydillard@gmail.com or can call 615-969-2708.

Do Re Mi’s gospel music camp will run from June 2-15 and will have nightly singings at 8 p.m. that are open to the public.

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

Trousdale sheriff’s deputy hit by truck Tuesday night

A Trousdale County sheriff’s deputy was hit by a pickup truck Tuesday night after he stopped to help after a car hit a dog on East McMurry Boulevard in Hartsville.

According to Sheriff Ray Russell, Deputy Clint Friar was thrown about 20 feet and suffered a concussion, a broken leg, road rash, lacerations and ligament and cartilage damage after the truck hit him at about 8:44 p.m.

Deputy Clint Friar • Trousdale County Sheriff’s Department

Friar responded to a disabled car that hit a dog near Locke Six Road when he was injured. Friar activated his emergency lights and pulled behind the stopped car along the road. He was on the opposite side of the road and tried to help the injured dog.

Russell said it appeared the driver of the truck was watching the side of the road that the patrol car was on and did not see the deputy.

Friar was taken by ambulance to Skyline Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries, and Russell characterized Friar as in good spirits after he had surgery Tuesday night.

No one else was injured in the crash. The Tennessee Highway Patrol continued to investigate the incident. No charges were filed against the pickup truck’s driver.

Education Committee looks for ways to fix school budget deficit

Members of the Education Oversight Committee gave preliminary support to the school system’s proposed budget at their May 14 meeting, but also warned that funding will be a concern.

The budget, which was approved by the School Board at its April meeting and was presented by Director of Schools Clint Satterfield, calls for just over $900,000 in new money from the county. The school system will lose roughly $429,000 in funding under the state’s Basic Education Program (BEP) because of increased fiscal capacity (ability to pay) on Trousdale County’s part.

Long-term solutions need to be found, committee members said, rather than relying on property tax. Filling the projected deficit would require 46.5 cents of property tax based on current values.

Director of Schools Clint Satterfield

“I’d like for the Budget & Finance (Committee) to find ways to address this revenue source without it all coming from property tax,” said commissioner Bill Fergusson. “We don’t want to lose the gains we’ve had in the school system.”

Ideas tossed about included extending the Urban Services District, adding a half-cent to the local option sales tax, redirecting impact fees paid to the county or extending the wheel tax.

A local option sales tax increase would require a public referendum, which likely would not take place until August 2020. The wheel tax is currently set to expire in 2022 after the loan for the high school building is paid off.

County commissioners discussed extending the wheel tax last year but ultimately decided to take no action.

“The good thing about the wheel tax is it affects everyone in the county,” said committee chairman Jerry Ford. “The problem with raising property tax is just 38 percent of the people pay it.”

Satterfield agreed, saying, “What’s important is that we find long-term solutions tot this… we can’t wait to say ‘Will conditions ever change?’ ”

The budget does call for a percent raise for teachers, which will come from BEP funding. The state is giving 3 percent among the 84.5 teachers funded through BEP. However, Trousdale County Schools divides that money equally among all teachers (87.5 currently), so actual raises will be slightly under 3 percent.

The budget also calls for $462,890 in capital outlay projects, which would come from the schools’ fund balance.

“We’ve always been able to use our fund balance to upgrade our facilities and do one-time expenses and we’ve never had to come to the County Commission to ask for money for capital outlays since I’ve been superintendent,” Satterfield said.

The school budget calls for the system to finish the 2010 fiscal year with roughly $2.3 million remaining in fund balance. Without additional funds, that balance would drop to roughly $1.4 million.

“There’s no way the school system can continue to operate with a deficit of this magnitude without some help from the county,” said committee member Johnny Kerr, who sits on the School Board. “No one’s thinking about kicking this can down the road another year; we need some help.”

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

Mayor presents estimated costs of merging fire, EMS

County Mayor Stephen Chambers presented estimated costs of a merger between the Volunteer Fire, Rescue Squad and EMS departments during a pair of meetings last week.

The County Commission had requested budget estimates from the mayor at its April meeting and delayed a second vote on the merger to allow for Chambers’ office to compile those numbers.

At the Emergency Services Committee meeting on May 14, the mayor presented costs of merging the VFD and Rescue Squad that were estimated at $49,000. Most of that funding would go toward purchasing required turnout gear for members of the Rescue Squad who opted to join the fire department. The remainder involved the additional cost of utilities for having personnel at the fire hall on a 24/7 basis.

Courtesy of Trousdale County government

“When I met with (Fire) Chief (Mark) Beeler, (EMS) Director (Matt) Batey, Mr. (Ken) Buckmaster, and Mark Carman, they said there were 13 Rescue Squad… that would need fire turnout gear and seven firefighters that need to replace theirs,” Chambers told commissioners.

“We’re transferring out four or five sets a year,” added commissioner Ken Buckmaster, who serves as a volunteer firefighter. “We got a little bit behind several years ago and that hurt us some.”

Chambers also included two sets of self-contained breathing apparatus and two spare bottles for those units in his budget estimate. Otherwise, he added the current costs of the fire and Rescue Squad to come up with projected costs.

He added that most of that $49,000 would not be a recurring expense as a combined department would not need to buy as much replacement gear in future years.

“You’ll see a jump in your first year… you won’t have that in your second year,” Chambers said.

There is also an anticipated cost of $9,000 in salary increases for nine EMS workers who are trained in fire response and would be added to the fire department’s rolls.

The mayor also presented two options for expanding the fire hall to accommodate extra personnel but added that neither option was planned for the upcoming year’s budget.

Chambers estimated $612,000 for adding sleeping quarters, a kitchen, office space and showers as well as three new vehicle bays, or $758,690 to double the size of the facility.

“We’re not in any fiscal shape to expand that building now,” Chambers said. “We’re not going to do it this year.”

At Thursday’s County Commission work session, Chambers said the county could use the Ambulance Service’s fund balance to pay for costs of merging the various departments. The mayor said he had spoken with the state comptroller’s office, which indicated that moving those funds – along with current funds for fire and Rescue – into a new dedicated fund for a combined department would be permissible.

“You can do it; you just have to do it that particular way,” the mayor said.

As of the end of April, the Ambulance Service’s fund balance was just over $627,000. Chambers told The Vidette that number is expected to drop to just over $491,000 by the end of June.

The Commission is scheduled to vote on the merger at its May 28 meeting. Commissioners will meet at 7 p.m. in the upstairs courtroom of the courthouse.

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