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Sen. Ferrell Haile speaks to Chamber of Commerce

The Hartsville/Trousdale County Chamber of Commerce welcomed State Senator Ferrell Haile as its guest speaker for its July 2 meeting.

“It’s always a joy coming to Trousdale County; I certainly identify out here much more,” Haile said. “I appreciate you having me out here to speak to you.”

Haile, who has represented Trousdale County in the Tennessee Senate since 2013, spoke on Tennessee’s fiscal situation. Haile, who also serves as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Senate, serves on the Finance, Ways & Means Committee.

Haile cited a U.S. News report that rated Tennessee as the No. 1 state in the country in terms of fiscal stability and that the state’s “rainy day fund” had been increased to $1.1 billion.

“We put more in the rainy day fund this year and any year before,” Haile said. “It’s taken a long time to build that back.”

Haile also promoted Tennessee’s AAA bond rating and the fact that Tennessee has taken on no new debt in three years. Tennessee’s retirement plan also rates among the top three nationally, according to the senator, at 95 to 98 percent fully funded.

Tennessee is also the lowest-taxed state per capita nationally, according to Haile.

He also noted that Tennessee had eliminated the professional fee on 15 different occupations and continues to phase out the Hall income tax, part of $845 million in tax cuts since 2011.

“Our dollars do reflect our priorities,” Haile said of the state’s $38.5 billion budget for 2019-20. “Education, TennCare, corrections, transportation – those four categories take up over 80 percent of the budget.”

Haile said he favored a bill passed earlier this year allowing Tennessee to request a block grant in Medicaid funds as opposed to the current status of funding on a per-patient basis.

“All it meant is we want to have a discussion about that,” he said. “There are parameters in the bill that if there are increases in expenditures, population… then we’re still covered as we would be under the current law.”

Asked about the possibility of adjusting state education funding to reduce the impact of fiscal capacity on Trousdale County, Haile said he doubted there was the political will among legislators to do so as the funding formula under the Basic Education Program (BEP) has been a subject of past lawsuits.

Trousdale County Schools are expected to lose $429,000 in funding in 2019-20 because of increased fiscal capacity (ability to pay on the county’s part).

Haile’s district covers Trousdale and Sumner counties and a portion of Davidson County. He will be up for re-election in 2020.

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

Planning Commission pushes buffer requirement for new construction

The Planning Commission moved forward Monday evening with a change to zoning regulations regarding buffer strips between existing homes and new construction.

Under the proposed changes, developers building on land that adjoins residential or agricultural zoned property will be required to install a buffer at least 10 feet wide which must include a solid fence (chain link will not meet the requirement) at least seven feet tall and landscaping along said fence, including trees.

The new regulations must be approved by the County Commission in two readings. The first reading will be at the next Commission meeting on July 22.

The Planning Commission also gave its recommendation of approval for a zoning change for property on Rogers Street. The owner is looking to divide a parcel of land and rezone it from R-1 to R-2 to allow for a doublewide trailer to be place on the new tract.

That request also must be approved by the County Commission, including a public hearing. The first reading will be in July, with the public hearing and second reading in August.

Two plot approvals received OKs from the Planning Commission on Monday: one on Browning Branch Road and the other on Armstrong Lane.

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

Property tax relief information available online

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has created a new interactive web tool that provides important information about Tennessee’s Tax Relief program.

The Tax Relief program began in 1973 and provides property tax relief to qualifying low-income elderly and disabled homeowners, as well as disabled veteran homeowners or their surviving spouses. In tax year 2018, more than $41 million was appropriated by the General Assembly to serve more than 140,000 homeowners across the state.

The new web portal combines important information with images and interactive maps. The portal displays key data, eligibility requirements, and local city and county contacts that will be helpful for anyone interested in learning more about the program.

“The General Assembly has prioritized property tax relief payments for Tennessee’s most vulnerable citizens and disabled veterans,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson in a press statement. “This new web portal allows us to use visual communication and interactive maps to share even more information about this program.”

If you are interested in applying for tax relief in 2019, you can apply with your county trustee after you receive your 2019 county and/or city property tax bill. In Trousdale County, the trustee is Cindy Carman and she can be reached at 615-374-2916.

To view the Comptroller’s new Property Tax Relief portal, go to
comptroller.tn.gov/office-functions/pa/property-taxes/property-tax-programs/tax-relief.html.

Look Back: Relaxing in Red Boiling Springs

We are spending this month looking at “summer pleasures.”

The warm months of summer lead us to such things as swimming in the ‘granny hole’ on Little Goose Creek, sitting under the backyard shade tree with a glass of lemonade, or enjoying a revival and dinner on the grounds at our neighborhood church.

Since our county history revolves around farming and most people in Trousdale County made their living farming, the chance to enjoy simple summer pleasures was made all the more difficult by the daily need to feed the livestock, gather the eggs from the hen house, milk the cows, hoe the weeds in the garden. Well, you get the idea.

It was said that a farmer had to get up an hour earlier if he wanted to take off an hour later in the day to sit and visit with friends and family and enjoy watermelon and hand-cranked ice cream.

Submitted photo
This old ad from 1898 promotes a stay in Red Boiling Springs. People could take the train to Hartsville and then ride a stage to the resort town. The “war bulletins” mentioned in the ad are for the Spanish-American War!

People in the big cities would visit the country to get away from the heat and congestion of the sidewalks and traffic-filled roads. Many a city kid spent the summer visiting with their country relations.

And many folks would pack a bag and visit a rural resort to spend a week, doing little more than sitting on a wide hotel porch in a rocking chair.

If you are not from here, then you won’t know that just up the road from Hartsville was the popular resort town of Red Boiling Springs!

Named for the natural springs that literally boiled up out of the ground, the small town became a resort known for its large wooden hotels, wide verandas, home-cooked meals and simple pleasures.

The waters were also said to be healing and people would drink them or bath in them to cure a variety of illnesses.

If you went, you would immediately notice a strong sulfur smell. The waters were full of natural elements and sulfur was just one of them – and you might have to hold your nose to drink a glass!

Nevertheless in the days before automobiles and such entertainment capitals as Orlando, Las Vegas and even our own Gatlinburg, the little community of Red Boiling Springs attracted a huge crowd of people from the cities.

An ad in an 1881 issue of The Tennessean encouraged people to take the Louisville and Nashville railroad to Hartsville and then take a wagon to the springs. The ad reads, “…arrive at Hartsville in time for dinner at the Allen House, and thence to the springs to supper at 8 o’clock.” The Allen House was a Hartsville hotel.

The springs offered dancing in large pavilions and even a small lake for boating. It was low-key entertainment, but occasionally it offered a bit of excitement!

The Palace Hotel, one of the town’s largest and grandest hotels, would occasionally announce a “dog and badger” fight.

Now if you place a dog of any breed in a room with a wild badger, the result is a fight the likes of which you’ve never seen. Fur would fly!

On a given afternoon, the public would be invited to the Palace dance hall where, and we quote from an account written about the frenzied event, “They had a room where they kept the musical instruments and piano…so when they’d get everybody all there they’d set it up…and they’d have someone that had never seen (a dog and badger fight) hold the rope the badger was tied to. And the badger would be inside the room where the piano stayed…And they would line the benches…in a small circle up there so the badger and dog would have to stay in that. So, when the time come this badger would be making a noise in the room and the dog would be outside, and the rope would be shaking and all, and all of a sudden, the doors would fly open, and out would come the badger whenever they pulled on the rope. And of course, it was nothing in the world but a little tin chamber (pot). A little flat one, you know, with a handle on it…Made the dog-gonest racket you ever heard.”

It was all in fun, and the “victim” holding the rope was probably red-faced at being made to look like a fool. But the whole crowd had fallen for the joke.

There are lots of stories about the healing waters of Red Boiling Springs, the old hotels, famous and infamous people who stayed there, and the various entertainments. The speaker at this Saturday’s Historical Society meeting, Mr. Don Green, is going to talk on just that. Mr. Green has written a book on the people and hotels of old Red Boiling Springs and knows about their history.

The Historical Society meeting will be at 2 p.m. at the County Archives building at 328 Broadway, behind the main county administration building. The public is invited to all society meetings!

And by the way, there are still a few old hotels in Red Boiling Springs today!

Jack McCall: Love was shown in keeping my mom safe

My late mother told me many stories of her growing up in the Brim Hollow. One of the most memorable involved a horse named “Old Hurry.”

Herod Brim, her father, was a curious fellow. He was eccentric, and somewhat distant as a father. I think my mother lived much of her life never quite sure of how he felt about her. He referred to her as “Son” until she was almost 7 years old. That fact alone should have given her reason to wonder.

I only knew him for my first 12 years. Personally, I think he adored her. But I was seeing through my eyes, not hers.

My mother loved to tell about Old Hurry. Before I finish the story, you will understand why.

Across the Miles
Jack McCall

It seems there was no shortage of horses and mules in the Brim Hollow in the 1920s and 1930s. There were riding horses; along with horses trained to pull the buggies, and mules for doing the heavy work. As a little girl, my mother knew all their names. The horse she remembered best was Old Hurry.

Most of the horses and mules were kept “up close” in the big lot which surrounded the house and feed barns. Oftentimes, they rested under big trees just outside the yard.

“As a little girl, I was always suspect of Old Hurry,” she told me. “He had a mean look in his eyes. When he was near by, I never took my eyes off him.”

One day, as she was walking to the barn, Old Hurry made his move.

“Suddenly, I heard hoof beats; and out of nowhere he came storming toward me, his teeth bared and his ears laid back,” she told. “I ran for my life!”

Fortunately, my little, skinny-legged mother made it to the safety of the barn. She later earned the nickname “Killdeer” (pronounced “kill-dee”) because she had skinny legs and was fleet of foot.

Later in the day, she told her father of how Old Hurry had chased her.

“Well, let’s just see,” was his reply.

So, the two of them devised a plan to expose Old Hurry’s mean streak.

As her father hid behind the smokehouse, he sent her on a walk to the barn right out in full view of Old Hurry. And, sure enough, here he came; his ears laid back, his white teeth flashing!

“Papa came out from behind the smokehouse hollering and throwing rocks and Old Hurry ran for the hills,” she beamed.

But that’s not how the story ended.

“The next morning when I went out to play, Old Hurry was gone. I never saw him again. And I never asked what happened to him,” she told me.

She speculated that Old Hurry was sent to the stock sale or traded, even though she was never sure. But two things she knew for certain. He was dealt with overnight and he never chased her again.

My mother loved to tell that story. In it, she was shown how much her father valued her.

I have learned over the years that a child’s greatest need is to feel valued.

And when they are shown that someone considers them valuable, they remember it for a long, long time.

IMPACThought: Lifetime of service is one truly worth living

His long and arduous journey was coming to an abrupt end. His final hours of life were spent in contemplation, reflection and introspection. The road had been very long and difficult, but through it all, there was the realization that he had been personally blessed. He bore witness to some of the greatest miracles and mysteries that God would reveal to a man. His life had been full. He knew he had fought a good fight. He had now finished his course. He had kept the faith. There were no regrets. (2 Timothy 4:6-7).

He was a chosen vessel of Jesus Christ, an apostle born out of due season. The former Saul of Tarsus, now the renowned Apostle Paul, was living out his life in the infamous Mamertine dungeon in Rome. For two years, he endured the cold of winter, the heat of summer, and a lack of sanitation in rat-infested conditions. Now he was facing beheading as an enemy of Rome, for preaching the gospel of Christ.

Submitted photo
Jon Shonebarger

In his second written letter to his son in the ministry, Timothy, Paul assured him that he was now ready to be offered, and the time of his departure was at hand. It is paramount to observe that Paul had complete peace. This was the precise peace that he spoken of when addressing the church at Philippi. (Philippians 4:7). A peace that passed all understanding. Jesus was the Lord of his life and his fate was completely in His control. All was calm in the heart of the beloved apostle. His conscience was clear.

This peace was sustaining him through the lengthy wait of execution; the reflection of the ministry he performed over a lifetime and the relationships he had built. Paul even recalled that there was a period of time when no man stood with him; all men had forsaken him. Yes, even a great servant of God, like Paul, battled unpopularity, opposition, persecution and loneliness. But through it all, he was unwavering in his faith, a soldier of the cross, and enduring hardness for Jesus Christ to the very end.

When our life’s work has ended, what will be our reflection? Joy? Satisfaction? Peace of mind? Unfortunately, some people will have regret and with it, heaviness of heart. Consider that the Apostle Paul, prior to his conversion to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, was responsible for the death of numerous Christians. He persecuted the followers of Jesus and had them put to death. A first-century terrorist! But he found redemption for his soul on the road to Damascus when he met the resurrected Christ. He had been redeemed. The sins of the past were forgiven and forgotten by a merciful Lord, who granted him a second chance.

None of us live perfect lives. We can look back over a lifetime of missteps, mistakes and misgivings. However, for the forgiven child of God, they can testify that while they were not perfect, they were pardoned because of their faith in the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary’s cross. Therein lies the peace a soul longs for when facing death.

The blessed assurance that Jesus is our soul’s possession and we have a heavenly home awaiting us on that golden shore. Until that journey into the presence of God in eternity, we must finish our journey with good works, for His glory. Let us finish the race well. Let us fight the good fight of faith!

Have a great week and remember, God loves you!

You can contact Jon at jtshonebarger@gmail.com.

Guest View: Gerrymander decision shows GOP’s ‘win at any cost’ mind

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Maryland and North Carolina’s gerrymandered district maps. More precisely, it ruled that it did not have the ability to pass judgment on whether or not a map is excessively gerrymandered along partisan lines.

Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in the court’s opinion that the maps were “blatant examples of partisanship,” but the 5-4 conservative majority fell short of doing anything about it. Rather, the Court has retreated from what it considers the “political question” of drawing districts, throwing up its hands and claiming it can’t enforce a “manageable standard” of partisan gerrymandering. Never mind that the judiciary exists precisely to resolve issues when legislatures are compromised as an avenue of remedy, or that the Court has seen fit to enforce prohibitions on racial gerrymandering.

While there may be legitimate questions about whether the maps at issue are allowed by the equal protection clause of the constitution, partisan gerrymandering is unquestionably antithetical to the spirit of democracy. By drawing district lines just right, the ruling party can ensure that even if the majority of voters vote one way, the majority of districts will go the way they want, usually arranging for a few districts to have close to one hundred percent minority voters, and split up most of the minority voters across many other districts, such that they do not have enough to win in any one of them.

The obvious problem is that of unearned majorities ruling legislatures, like in Wisconsin where 54 percent of the electorate voted Democrat for state assembly in 2018, yet Republicans ended up with 63 of 99 districts. There is also the less-obvious problem of uncompetitive elections, which breed complacency. Elected officials in safe seats have a lot less reason to respond to the needs of their constituents, regardless of party, than those who regularly face serious opponents from another party.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked the right question in a similar 2017 case (in which the Court also declined to rule on the constitutionality of a state’s maps, Wisconsin in that case). Between volleys of legalistic hair-splitting, she asked the Republican State Senate’s attorney, “Could you tell me what the value is to democracy from political gerrymandering? How does that help our system of government?”

The Republican defense for gerrymandered district maps has generally been, “It’s not about race, it’s about political advantage!” But their inability to articulate an affirmative rationale for gerrymandering is an admission of how totally uncommitted they are to democracy. Republicans see the right to draw districts as part of the spoils of political victory rather than as a duty they have to voters.

By resorting to legalistic minutiae in the courtroom to defend the practice, Republicans are essentially admitting that there is no publicly defensible justification for these gerrymandered districts. Republicans are under no illusions that they can win over the public on the merits of their ideas, so instead of changing those ideas they change district boundaries.

This decision is easily lost within the GOP’s history of contempt for democracy. Before it was outlawed, Republicans routinely gerrymandered based on race. They have instituted voter ID requirements, then shut down facilities where voters of color could procure an ID in states like Alabama. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell famously refused to advance President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland because it was an “election year.” More recently, he admitted he would fill a similar vacancy in 2020, undermining that already tenuous justification and laying bare his  party’s power-at-all-costs mentality. Indeed, four of the five Justices in the majority on this case were appointed by Republican presidents who lost the popular vote.

Voters should choose their politicians, not the other way around. Republicans see political power not as a platform from which to serve the American people, but rather as another tool to accumulate and hold onto wealth by rigging the system. Fortunately, there are a few ways that voters can take that power back; anti-gerrymandering lawsuits continue at the state level and several states have their districts drawn by nonpartisan citizens commissions.

With this decision, the Court rubber-stamps a rigged system that shuts everyday Americans out of meaningful political power. Even most wealthy business people and investors understand that in the long run, living in a country with lots of people having no political power is not in their long-term best interests. We strongly oppose the Supreme Court’s abdication of responsibility and look forward to a day when the way we choose our representatives aligns with the spirit of democracy.

Morris Pearl is a former managing director at BlackRock, Inc. and Chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, a coalition of high-net worth Americans concerned about the destabilizing concentration of wealth and power in the U.S.

David Carroll: Whatever happened to common sense?

At least 16 children have died in hot cars in the United States so far in 2019. Last year, the number of heat-related child deaths in vehicles was the highest in recorded history.

I never thanked my parents for always removing me from their parked vehicles. I did thank them for various things over the years, but I guess I took that “hot car” thing for granted.

I’m fortunate, as are you, that most adults have that innate nurturing gene that triggers their brain to remove a child from a dangerous environment.

David Carroll

I attended school when Driver Education was an important class, but the topic of removing a child from a hot car never came up. I guess our teacher assumed we could figure that out on our own.

So how are we addressing the problem? We post signs on interstate highways and at store entrances, reminding us not to ignore our children. At the rate we are going, hairstylists will soon be legally required to ask, “Before I start cutting your hair, did you leave your babies in the car?”

There are websites with “Tips on Keeping Your Kids Safe from Heat Strokes in Cars.” Here’s one of those tips: “Put your cell phone, or something else you need by the child’s car seat, so you don’t forget the child.” Read that last sentence again. Yes, if you put something you NEED by the car seat, maybe you won’t forget your child.

We have devices that signal an alarm when a child is left in a hot car. We have reached the point where we need sirens, motion detectors and flashing lights to remind us that we are parents.

When I first wrote about this in 2015, I got an angry call from a woman who said she was “an attorney, and a great parent.” She yelled, “I can’t believe you wrote that! How long has it been since your children were little?” “About 20 years,” I told her. She ranted on. “Then you have NO IDEA what it’s like having small children and a full-time job today,” she said. I did admit I didn’t have a cellphone back then. She said between job commitments, appointments, and other distractions, it wasn’t that hard to forget something. She had left her own child in a car, although it wasn’t fatal. So, she told me, it could even happen to an educated professional. She didn’t win me over.

How, in this age of information, so readily available at our fingertips, did we become so stupid? Look at a box of rice. Right there, on the label, it tells us “Caution: Contents become hot when heated.” Oh, so that’s what happens when you heat something.

Read the warning on a box of trash bags. “Keep all plastic garbage bags away from babies. Also, do not use these bags in cribs.” Yes, someone has to tell us this.

Buy a jar of Orville Redenbacher popcorn. You’ll see this on the label: “Popcorn is not recommended for infants, as it can pose a choking threat to their safety.” Because, obviously, some parents have no clue.

This is why we must post signs that say, “Stay away from falling rocks.” There is also “Do not play golf when it is lightning.” And my favorite, “No diving in empty pools.” Thank goodness for those life-saving signs.

Occasionally, there were useful educational films in my school days. In eighth-grade science class, the teacher showed us a film about food poisoning. At the end, he emphasized the importance of proper food preparation. Otherwise, he told us, “You will get dia-rear.” I had dia-rear once, and that was enough for me.

Recently passed laws are intended to keep us from holding our phones while driving. Also prohibited is watching a video while driving.” Yes, it is true. They had to make this a law. Otherwise, how would we know it is dangerous? One officer told me he pulled over a young woman who was obviously watching a video. Her excuse? “I needed to get a recipe.”

Do we also need laws that prohibit driving while holding a cheeseburger in one hand, and a Slurpee in the other? People do that, too.

It has gotten to the point that if you tell someone their state is ranked No. 48 in the nation in education, the reply is likely to be, “Oh yeah? Out of how many?”

Yes, we used to ride around without seat belts, and we were totally unprotected and unrestrained in the back of station wagons and pickup trucks.

Back then, we had an excuse. We didn’t know any better. Now we do. Don’t we?

God help the children.

David Carroll, a Chattanooga news anchor, is the author of “Volunteer Bama Dawg,” a collection of his best stories. You may contact him at 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405 or 3dc@epbfi.com.

USDA reminds farmers of acreage reporting deadlines

Macon/Trousdale County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Lisa King announced that producers who file accurate and timely reports for all crops and land uses, including failed acreage can prevent the potential loss of FSA program benefits. Please pay close attention to the acreage reporting dates below for 2019.

“In order to comply with FSA program eligibility requirements, all producers are encouraged to visit the Macon/Trousdale County FSA office to file an accurate crop certification report by the applicable deadline,” said King.

The following acreage reporting dates are applicable for Macon and Trousdale Counties:

July 15, 2019: Tobacco, corn, soybeans, hay and pasture, CRP, and other spring seeded crops.

The following exceptions apply to the above acreage reporting dates:

If the crop has not been planted by the above acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after planting is completed.

If a producer acquires additional acreage after the above acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 30 calendars days after purchase or acquiring the lease. Appropriate documentation must be provided to the county office.

If a perennial forage crop is reported with the intended use of “cover only,” “green manure,” “left standing,” or “seed” then the acreage must be reported by July 15.

According to King, Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy holders should note that the acreage reporting date for NAP covered crops is the earlier of the dates listed above or 15 calendar days before grazing or harvesting of the crop begins.

For questions regarding crop certification and crop loss reports, please contact the Macon/Trousdale County FSA office at 615-666-4015, ext. 2.

Community Calendar: July 11, 2019

POLICY: Information for the Community Calendar submitted in person, by mail or fax is due by noon Monday for publication. Items mailed should be typed or printed and sent to: Community Calendar, The Hartsville Vidette, 206 River St., Hartsville, TN 37074 or brought to the office during business hours. Free listing of nonprofit events, community club and government meetings. We reserve the right to reject or edit material. Include name and phone number in the event we have questions.

GOVERNMENT MEETINGS:

Monday, July 15

5:30 p.m. – Purchasing Oversight Committee

The Hartsville/Trousdale County Purchasing Oversight Committee will meet in the downstairs courtroom of the courthouse.

6 p.m. – Budget & Finance Committee

The Hartsville/Trousdale County Budget & Finance Committee will meet in the downstairs courtroom of the courthouse.

7 p.m. – County Commission

The Hartsville/Trousdale County Commission will hold its regular monthly work session in the downstairs courtroom of the courthouse.

Tuesday, July 16

10 a.m. – Industrial Development Board

The Hartsville/Trousdale County Industrial Development Board will meet at the office of Tennessee Central Economic Authority, 702 E. McMurry Blvd.

6 p.m. – Urban Services Council

The Hartsville/Trousdale County Urban Services Council will meet in the downstairs courtroom of the courthouse.

7 p.m. – Charter Review Committee

The Hartsville/Trousdale County Charter Review Committee will meet in the downstairs courtroom of the courthouse.

Thursday, July 18

6 p.m. – School Board

The Hartsville/Trousdale County School Board will meet in the offices of the Board of Education, 103 Lock Six Road.

7 p.m. – Prison Oversight Committee

The Hartsville/Trousdale County Prison Oversight Committee will meet in the downstairs courtroom of the courthouse.

Friday, July 19

6 p.m. – Budget & Finance Committee

The Hartsville/Trousdale County Budget & Finance Committee will meet in the downstairs courtroom of the courthouse to discuss the 2019-20 county budget.

Monday, July 22

7 p.m. – County Commission

The Hartsville/Trousdale County Commission will hold its regular monthly meeting in the upstairs courtroom of the courthouse.

Tuesday, July 23

5 p.m. – Water Board

The Hartsville/Trousdale County Water Board will hold its regular monthly meeting in the county mayor’s office.

6 p.m. – Board of Zoning Appeals

The Hartsville/Trousdale Board of Zoning Appeals will meet in the upstairs courtroom of the courthouse.

7 p.m. – County Commission

The Hartsville/Trousdale County Commission will hold a special called meeting in the upstairs courtroom of the courthouse. This is subject to passage of a budget on first reading at the July 22 meeting.

Wednesday, July 24

2 p.m. – Highway Commission

The Hartsville/Trousdale County Highway Commission will meet at the Highway Department, 535 East Main Street.

OTHERS:

Vacation Bible School

Join Hartsville Church of Christ, 108 Halltown Road, for our Vacation Bible School, July 14-18 at 7 p.m. This year’s theme is “Heroes of Godly Living.” Last night will feature a family cookout and awards. Everyone is welcome!

Women’s Day

Key United Methodist Church will have its Women’s Day on Sunday, July 14, with 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. services. The 3 p.m. guests are Evangelist Renee Caston and Hartsville Original Church of God. Please join us for this worship experience!

Homecoming

Rocky Creek Fellowship Church will hold its Homecoming service on Sunday, July 14. 11 a.m. service, and 3 p.m. guests will be Pastor Douglas and New Direction Church. Lunch will be after the service.

Pastor’s Appreciation

Williams Chapel Church will be celebrating its Pastor’s Appreciation on Sunday, July 21. Our 11 a.m. guest will be Bishop Carlos Jones and his congregation from Gospel United Baptist Church of Nashville. Our 2:30 p.m. guest will be Mt. Bethel Baptist Church of Nashville. Everyone is cordially invited to worship with us and lunch will be provided.

School Supply Giveaway

Hartsville Church of Christ will be giving away FREE school supplies on Friday, July 26 from 6-8 p.m. Games, food, free haircuts for kids!

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels is looking for volunteer drivers to deliver meals in Trousdale County one day a month to elderly clients outside Hartsville city limits. Call 615-374-3987.

American Legion

To all veterans, please consider joining the American Legion Post 56 of Trousdale County. We meet at the Ambulance Service office (across from Stagecoach market on Highway 141) at 8 a.m. on the second Saturday each month. We have a good crowd but always need more members to share their service experiences and help the people of Trousdale County. Contact Bill Painter (615-519-5033, billpainter37@yahoo.com) for more information.

Adult Education

FREE GED/HiSET CLASSES! The Adult Learning Center holds adult education classes each Wednesday at the middle school. Call 615-374-1131 to schedule an appointment.

TROUSDALE SENIOR CENTER:

Thursday, July 11

8:30 a.m. – Trip to Mennonites (lunch at Harper’s Catfish)

Friday, July 12

9 a.m. – SAIL Exercise

10 a.m. – Tai Chi

11 a.m. – Yoga

Noon – Rook games

12:15 p.m. – SAIL Chair Exercise

1 p.m. – Wii Bowling

Saturday, July 13

6 p.m. – Trip to Daisy Dukes Lafayette

Monday, July 15

9:30 a.m. – Wii Bowling

11 a.m. – Book Club

12:30 p.m. – Traveling Harts Singing Practice

5 p.m. – Water Aerobics

Tuesday, July 16

9 a.m. – SAIL Exercise

10 a.m. – Yoga

11:30 a.m. – Brown Bag Medicine Check w/ Hartsville Pharmacy

Wednesday, July 17

9 a.m. – Line Dancing at Assisted Living

11 a.m. – SAIL Chair Exercise

Noon – Rook games

12:30 p.m. – Bible Study

5 p.m. – Water Aerobics

Sheriff’s Reports: July 11, 2019

Editor’s Note: The following are suspects booked in the Trousdale County jail during the specified timeframe. All persons charged are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

July 1

Brandon Kyle Blair, 27, of Hartsville, was charged with domestic assault by Deputy Travis Blair. Bond was set for $1,000 and General Sessions court date was set for July 26.

July 2

Zachary Seth Ortiz, 21, of Gallatin, was charged with probation violation by Deputy Dusty Cato. No bond was set and General Sessions court date was set for Sept. 4.

Aysia Lanae Drayton, 21, of Hartsville, was charged with leaving scene of accident, failure to give immediate notice of accident by Deputy David Morgan. Drayton was cited to court and General Sessions court date was set for July 12.

July 3

Martez Archie Dotson, 28, of Nashville, was charged with failure to appear by Deputy James Killmon. No bond was set and General Sessions court date was set for July 12.

Huey Dewayne Brown, 68, of Hartsville, was charged with sexual battery by Deputy Travis Blair. Bond was set for $1,000 and General Sessions court date was set for July 12.

July 5

Makayla Nasha Perry, 21, of Westmoreland, was charged with aggravated burglary, robbery by Deputy Joseph Presley. Bond was set for $3,000 and General Sessions court date was set for July 12.

July 6

Brandon Kyle Blair, 27, of Hartsville, was charged with probation violation by Deputy Gunter. No bond was set and General Sessions court date was set for Sept. 4.

July 7

Zachery Clayton Walker, 32, of Bethpage, was charged with DUI, driving on revoked license by Deputy James Killmon. Bond was set for $1,500 and General Sessions court date was set for July 26.

Look Back: When bicycling was big in Trousdale County

July is summer at its best – watermelon, swimming, vacations, the Fourth of July and fireworks! What more can you ask for?

This month we will look at summer pleasures with an historic twist.

We start with kids and bicycles.

But in the past, bicycles were strictly a grown-up affair.

For many thousands of years, people got around by walking. We have accounts of people who walked from Virginia to settle in Middle Tennessee. That’s right, they walked the whole way!

A story in our archives recounts how a man returned home to Middle Tennessee after the Civil War to find that his house was abandoned and his wife gone. He asked neighbors where she might be, fearing the worst. She had gone to Texas, they said, thinking he was dead and that was where she had family. So our poor soldier walked to Texas to find her. The story has a happy ending. He was reunited with her and all was happy – and then the two of them returned to Tennessee, walking the whole way!

Submitted photo
The Nashville newspaper ran this drawing of a bicycle racer in 1891 – back when bike racing was a popular sport, even in Hartsville.

Our forefathers and foremothers were made of sterner stuff. We complain if we have to walk across the Walmart parking lot!

If you couldn’t afford a horse, you just walked everywhere you went.

Attempts at a bicycle-type device go back as early at 1842.

But it would take years of tinkering with the idea, inventions and progress to get to what we recognize as a bicycle today. Wire spokes came about in 1869, the chain drive in 1885 and the pneumatic tire in 1888.

Those first bikes were expensive and good roads were few. But give a fellow a chance to show up his fellow man and you have a sport! Men began to challenge other men to bicycle races and when the first modern Summer Olympics took place in 1896, bicycle racing was one of the events!

The 1890s are called “The Golden Age of Bicycles.”

Now for an interesting item in The Tennessean from August 1891!

“The Dixon Springs fair road race from Hartsville to Dixon Springs over a course of six miles, will be held Friday, Aug. 28. Three prizes will be offered, valued at $25, $15 and $10, for the first three men in.”

Dixon Springs had an especially fine fair back in the late 1880s. We have newspaper accounts of crowds of as large as 4,000 people.

The fair had all the attractions of a good county fair and a lot of self-promotion. Evidently, having a bicycle race was one way to attract crowds. Remember, this was a popular sport at the time and men who rode and competed on bikes were the stock car drivers of their day and time!

We do note that there were no lady racers, as the long skirts that women had to wear would make racing awkward, and very un-ladylike.

A subsequent article in the paper gives us the results:

“The Nashville boys who went to Dixon Springs to contest for cycling prizes returned last night after having a royal time. The party was composed of L.A. Lafferty, Charley Woodward, J. Newsom, Tom Bysor and W.B. Mathison. Lafferty captured the first prize in the road race from Hartsville to Dixon Springs, distance seven miles over a very rough, hilly road, in twenty-eight minutes. Woodard was second, and Newsom, the other contestant, did not finish, the tire of his wheel giving out after he had ridden only two miles. The prizes were a $25 medal to first, $10 gold-headed umbrella to second and a handsome bicycle lamp to third. The boys left Dixon Springs yesterday afternoon and wheeled into Gallatin in one hour and fifty minutes.”

Well, since the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys, we know what happened next.

The invention of the automobile took all the glamor of the bicycle away as young men climbed behind the driver’s seat and took to the roads. And of course, we soon had automobile races to cheer.

So the bicycle became something for young boys and girls to ride around the neighborhood – and that is still pretty much true today. In Europe and Asia, people ride to work on bikes! And around the world, there are more bikes than cars.

But here in the good old USA, while there are some bicycle enthusiasts around, it is bikes and children that seem to go together and riding a bike is one of our summer pleasures.

Jack McCall: Celebrating the beautiful sights of my homeland

I am a country boy at heart. I grew up surrounded by the beauty of the Tennessee hills. In my lifetime I have beheld many beautiful sights. Many of them found their beginning on the farm that I called home.

It is a beautiful sight to see when tobacco plants, recently set out (transplanted) turn green and begin to leave the ground. It is an equally beautiful sight when tobacco reaches a height of about two feet, turns dark green and begins to “lap” in the row. Some use to refer to that stage of growth as being “laid by.” When tobacco has “spread off” and stands golden yellow waiting for the knife and spike, it makes for a sight pleasant to my eyes.

My wife, Kathy, loves black cows (at a distance). Sometimes when we are driving out in the countryside, she will suddenly say, “I love black cows!” I have to admit a herd of black cows spread out against a backdrop of green grass is a thing of beauty.

Across the Miles
Jack McCall

Springtime affords one on my favorite settings. When spring hay is cut, raked, and baled: and the hayfield turns lush and green again it makes for a beautiful sight. Especially when the green of the grass is contrasted to golden round bales standing in a row.

My friend, Dr. Paul Enoch, DVM, says there is hardly anything that will lift your spirits like seeing a young horse colt or filly making a “run” in the early morning. I feel the same way about seeing young calves making their “run” with their tails high in the air.

When I was a boy my father took my brothers and me crappie fishing on Center Hill Lake. Since there were four of us, he would take us two at a time. He liked to be on the lake before daylight. Back in the day we followed a circuitous route to Center Hill that took us through Gordonsville, Lancaster and Temperance Hall best I recall. We fished the tree tops in Indian Creek with cane poles rigged with gold, Eagle hooks and “pencil” floats. We rarely caught more than a dozen fish, but the ones we kept were big, black, slab crappie. I came to decide there was hardly anything more beautiful than a big crappie lying on its side on top of the water right before you brought it into the boat.

Those who know me know I spent some of my best boyhood days in The Brim Hollow, home to my maternal grandparents, Herod and Lena Brim. Fifty-plus years have changed the landscape there. The old house, where I once slept under a tin roof, has begun to crumble under the weight of the years. The old barns are beginning to lean precariously. The chicken house looks empty and forlorn. The outhouse which once stood solid and well maintained has finally fallen in upon itself.

I don’t get back there as often as I once did; except in my mind. In my mind’s eye I see that old house standing strong and erect. Fat, spring lambs are grazing in knee-high grass in the lot next to the tobacco barn. A flock of laying hens is spread out on the hillside in search of delicacies, not too far from the safety of the trees. The mules, Kate and Liz (That’s Liz with a long “I.”) are standing in the pound. The lone milk cow is grazing lazily on the hillside near the feed barn. The branch, fed by several springs found up the hollow, is running crystal clear. It makes for a beautiful sight.

I’ve had the good fortune of visiting the great state of Texas on occasion. In San Antonio there is a tall building which features the Lone Star flag flying, majestic and proud at its pinnacle. It is a breathtakingly beautiful sight.

Speaking of flags; every year when we celebrate Independence Day, I am reminded of Francis Scott Key’s immortal words:

“And the rocket’s red glare,

the bombs bursting in air,

gave proof through the night

that our flag was still there!

Oh say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave,

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

In my mind’s eye, I can see as Key saw; that tattered old flag flying over Fort McHenry. It is a beautiful sight!

Happy Fourth of July!

Order of Eastern Star makes presentation to daycare

Submitted photo

Members of Crescent #26 Order of the Eastern Star are shown presenting a Clown Head to Kristy West of Early Learning Preschool in Hartsville. Pictured from left are Bill Scruggs, Kristy West, Collen Wynne, Vicki Fadeley, Barbara Brackebusch and Helen Murley.

Trousdale Medical Center noted for patient satisfaction

The 20 highest-ranked critical access hospitals (CAHs) in the country, as determined by The Chartis Center for Rural Health, were recently announced by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA). An awards ceremony will be held during NRHA’s Critical Access Hospital Conference in September in Kansas City, Mo.

Trousdale Medical Center in Hartsville was listed among the top 20 Best Practice recipients for Patient Satisfaction.

The determining factors for the Top 20 CAHs were based on the results of the Hospital Strength Index and its eight indices of performance: inpatient market share, outpatient market share, quality, outcomes, patient perspectives, cost, charge, and financial stability. This elite group of hospitals was selected from The Chartis Center for Rural Health’s 2019 Top 100 CAH list, which was released earlier this year. Forty “best practice” designations were also given to facilities that have achieved success in one of two key areas of performance, based on Index results: 1) quality: a rating of hospital performance based on the percentile rank across rural-relevant process of care measures, and 2) patient perspective: a rating of hospital performance based on the percentile rank across all 10 HCAHPS domains.

“NRHA is committed to ensuring our members have the best information to manage their hospitals,” says Brock Slabach, NRHA membership services senior vice president. “We’re pleased to recognize the accomplishments of these rural hospitals.”

The National Rural Health Association is a national nonprofit membership organization with more than 20,000 members. The association’s mission is to provide leadership on rural health issues. NRHA membership consists of a diverse collection of individuals and organizations, all of whom share the common bond of an interest in rural health.

Farm Service Agency announces 2019 acreage reporting dates

Macon/Trousdale County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Lisa King announced that producers who file accurate and timely reports for all crops and land uses, including failed acreage can prevent the potential loss of FSA program benefits. Please pay close attention to the acreage reporting dates below for 2019.

“In order to comply with FSA program eligibility requirements, all producers are encouraged to visit the Macon/Trousdale County FSA office to file an accurate crop certification report by the applicable deadline,” said King.

The following acreage reporting dates are applicable for Macon and Trousdale Counties:

July 15, 2019: Tobacco, corn, soybeans, hay and pasture, CRP, and other spring seeded crops.

The following exceptions apply to the above acreage reporting dates:

If the crop has not been planted by the above acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after planting is completed.

If a producer acquires additional acreage after the above acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 30 calendars days after purchase or acquiring the lease. Appropriate documentation must be provided to the county office.

If a perennial forage crop is reported with the intended use of “cover only,” “green manure,” “left standing,” or “seed” then the acreage must be reported by July 15.

According to King, Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy holders should note that the acreage reporting date for NAP covered crops is the earlier of the dates listed above or 15 calendar days before grazing or harvesting of the crop begins.

For questions regarding crop certification and crop loss reports, please contact the Macon/Trousdale County FSA office at 615-666-4015, ext. 2.

IMPACThought: Second chances available to those who trust in Lord

They were confused, dejected and tired. The events of the past several days had worn heavily on the heart and mind of the disciples. They had witnessed the betrayal of their friend and Messiah by another friend and fellow disciple, Judas. Three of them had encountered the chief priests and soldiers in the Garden of Gethsemane. The entourage came to arrest Jesus and take Him away for interrogation. Judas identified Jesus by a kiss of betrayal. To defend the Savior, Peter drew a sword and cut off the ear of a servant of the High Priest. In fear, all the disciples fled into the darkness of night. Except Peter.

Peter waited outside the High Priest’s house, where Jesus was being interrogated. As Peter waited, he warmed himself by a fire of coals. The group who had gathered outside the High Priest’s palace heckled Peter and accused him of being a follower of Jesus. At that moment in a dramatic fulfillment of Jesus’ earlier words, Simon Peter cursed and denied Jesus three times before the rooster crowed. Through the window of the palace, Jesus turned his head and looked at Peter. The disgraced disciple exchanged looks with Jesus, and fled in humiliation, weeping bitterly. (Luke 24:61-62).

Submitted photo
Jon Shonebarger

To find respite for his soul, Peter decided to seek solace by returning to a familiar place. He wanted to do what he did best, fish. It is significant to observe that Peter and the other disciples did not elect to focus on the ministry of which Jesus had called them. In obvious resignation, Peter along with (doubting) Thomas, Nathaniel, James, John and two unnamed disciples, journeyed to the sea of Tiberias. Back in their comfort zone, they cast their nets.

The former fishermen caught nothing that night. As the morning sun rose in the eastern sky, Jesus stood on the shore. He called out to the group, asking them if they caught any fish. In fatigue and dejection, they answered no. Jesus then called and directed them to cast their nets on the right side of the ship to draw a multitude of fish. They complied and the catch was miraculous! There were too many fish to draw their nets.

It was upon the miraculous catch that provoked Peter to realize that the voice from the shore was none other than the resurrected Jesus. Peter shed his fisherman’s coat, jumped into the water and swam ashore to greet the Savior. Upon arrival, Peter smelled a fire of coals that Jesus had prepared to cook their breakfast. Through his sense of smell, Peter flashed back to the night of the betrayal, where he was sitting by a fire of coals, cursing and denying Jesus. The sense of smell is the most powerful of all the senses. Memories flood the mind when the nose breathes in a familiar aroma. It was a poignant moment for the fallen follower of Christ. He was mentally taken back in time to that bitter night. That flashback set the stage for a powerful conversation between him and Jesus.

Jesus, in His divine providence, arranged this meeting of His fallen disciple. It was time for Peter to return to the ministry and feed His lambs and sheep. Jesus inquired three times whether Peter loved him. The three answers by Peter would also correspond to the three denials Peter had uttered a few nights before.

The dialogue between Jesus and Peter was direct. Jesus asked Peter twice whether he loved Him with a mature, sacrificial and committed love. Jesus also wanted to know if Peter loved Him more than fishing. Peter would reply twice that he loved Him with a less committed love, a brotherly love. After the two answers, Jesus instructed him to feed his flock. Upon the third and final question, Jesus asked if Peter even loved Him with a brotherly love. With this rephrased question, Peter was smitten in his heart. He confirmed that he did love Him with a brotherly love, yet, he knew that his denial of Jesus lacked any evidence of faithfulness that a friend would demonstrate.

Jesus demonstrated His unconditional love for Peter that morning. Yes, Peter had denied Him three times. Yes, Peter had failed in his calling. Yes, Peter had been overcome with foolish pride. Yes, Peter had not demonstrated a mature, sacrificial love for Christ. But Jesus’ love and unmerited favor prevailed. Jesus recommissioned Peter to the ministry. Peter was granted a second chance.

It stirs our heart to know our Savior is the God of a second chance. We all have failed the Lord. We have all sinned and fallen short before His holiness. We have all blasphemed His name and denied Him before others. Yet, He loves us. His mercy endures forever. He is calling sinners to come to Him in faith, and He will save their soul.

Peter would go on to do tremendous things for Christ in his ministry. In like manner, we can rise up from the dust into which we fell and get back to serving God. He indeed, is the God of the second chance!

Have a great week and remember, Jesus loves YOU! You can contact me at jtshonebarger@gmail.com. God bless!

David Carroll: Easy lifestyle changes to improve my health

Recently, I walked out of my allergist’s office, and said to myself, “I feel good.”

You may be asking, why waste valuable newspaper space on my (knock on wood) good health? Because I’ve made four lifestyle changes that have made me feel better than I have in years. There may be someone reading this who wants to feel better, and maybe I can help. I’m no doctor, but I have stayed in a Holiday Inn Express, and my first two initials are D.R. Close enough.

1. I finally went to the allergist. Ever since I was in my twenties, I sneezed a lot. I have vivid memories of spring softball games, sneezing my brains out. My wife Cindy would suggest I see someone about it, but in typical male fashion, I’d blow it off (pun intended).

David Carroll

It got to the point that I was downright sick every May. The tree and grass pollen overwhelmed me. Each October the leaves would fall, and my misery level would rise again. Twice a year, for several weeks at a time, I’d trudge on to work, stuffed up and sore-throated. A few years ago, I had the “scratch test” done, the allergies were identified, and the weekly shots in the arm began. Soon they were bi-weekly, and then monthly. It was a life-changer.

2. I finally went to the dermatologist. Being of fair skin and English/Irish descent, the sun is not my friend. No one told me this when I was a teen, sunbathing constantly in a futile effort to look as good as my bronzed friends. I kept thinking that painful beet-red burn would magically peel into a skin tone somewhere between Bob Barker and George Hamilton. No such luck. The only thing it turns into is melanoma. About 10 years ago, a good dermatologist looked first into my family history, then my skin, and laid down the law. He said, “You shouldn’t even go to the mailbox without smearing SPF 55 sunscreen over your exposed skin.” Done! Much of the damage was done long ago, and it never goes away. But I have fended off any new damage in recent years.

3. I finally started getting an annual physical exam. A former boss of mine scared me to death when I was in my 20s. He was telling the tale of the prostate exam, and made it sound like torture. I never forgot that, and adopted the stubborn male philosophy of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So unless I was deathly ill with a stomach virus, I stayed out of doctors’ offices. Finally, I gave in to spousal pressure, and made the annual appointment. That uncomfortable exam I had so dreaded wasn’t really too bad. It only lasts a few seconds. And the good doctor has monitored my once-high cholesterol levels, and introduced me to the world of colonoscopies.

(That reminds me of a story. My first colonoscopy was about 10 years ago. During one of my many visits to the bathroom the night before the procedure, I looked at the bottle of liquid laxative I was chugging. It was called GoLitely. On the floor was a bottle of bathroom cleanser, labeled KaBoom. I remember thinking KaBoom would have been a more appropriate name for the laxative.)

4. I finally visited a sleep center. Cindy had often expressed amazement I was still alive each morning, after enduring sleepless nights of my high-decibel snoring, the rattle frequently interrupted by gasping for breath. I had no idea this was happening. I would awaken bone-tired, like I had worked all night. I would often stumble out of bed wondering why I was so exhausted. Eventually I’d snap out of it, but mornings were not pleasant. I endured a sleep test, with the sticky electrodes making it almost impossible to sleep. The doctor was able to gather enough data and video evidence to prove that I had sleep apnea. The solution was the CPAP device that covers your nose, keeping your airways open.

The happy ending: almost immediately, I slept better, stopped snoring, and have felt great when I wake up each day. Another life-changer!

Nothing I’ve written here is a recent medical breakthrough. Certainly, I’ve been blessed to work for an employer with a health insurance plan that allows me to make regular doctor visits and undergo these treatments. I wish everyone could do the same with no hassle or financial worries. So if you’re able and willing to get your allergies under control, have regular physical exams (and if appropriate, colonoscopies), skin cancer screening or sleep apnea testing, it might make your life better too.

David Carroll, a Chattanooga news anchor, is the author of “Volunteer Bama Dawg,” a collection of his best stories. You may contact him at 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405 or 3dc@epbfi.com.

Guest View: Photo shows disturbing state of U.S.

By Dahleen Glanton

Chicago Tribune

Certainly, Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez must have known that his perilous journey to America would be in vain. Hadn’t he heard even before leaving El Salvador in April that people like him and his family were not welcome here?

Why would he sacrifice so much just to end up facedown in the murky waters of the Rio Grande River on the Mexico border with his lifeless 23-month-old daughter’s arm draped around his neck?

How could he not have known that granting U.S. asylum to people fleeing danger in Central America is a pipe dream? Did he think that his story of hardship and poverty would somehow elicit more sympathy than those of thousands of weary migrants who had been turned away at the U.S. border before him?

Didn’t he realize that the idea of his daughter growing up in a country flush with opportunity was a fairy tale no more realistic than a lonely princess who kisses a frog and turns him into a handsome prince?

Did he think the stories about young children being abused and neglected at detention centers run by the U.S. government were a scare tactic designed to convince foreigners that they would be better off at home?

It is likely that 25-year-old Martinez understood it well. But he came anyway, with his wife, Tania, and daughter, Valeria, because he had no other choice. The disturbing photograph of him floating in the river with his baby’s body tenderly nestled underneath his T-shirt tells us so.

Still, some of us lucky enough to have been born in a country where we are taught that even what seems impossible is attainable if we work hard enough might find it difficult to fathom the hopelessness that led Martinez to this river.

We might not entirely understand the desperation of a father willing to risk his family’s life for a chance to live the American Dream – an elusive promise that many Americans know firsthand is a lie. We question why he had to come here.

Maybe some have not heard about how gangs run rampant in El Salvador, targeting women and children, simply because they are the most vulnerable. Maybe some have not read about the open confrontations that occur between criminal gangs and the El Salvadoran government. Perhaps some have not paid attention to the tales of rape, torture, executions and extortion at the hands of violent gangs that have taken over large swaths of Martinez’s country.

It is likely that Martinez weighed his options carefully and decided that coming to America, even with its hard-line asylum policies, was better than staying in El Salvador. So he quit his job and traveled 1,000 miles, ending up in the river.

From his vantage point in Matamoros, Mexico, the Rio Grande may not have seemed so menacing. Its water was dirty. Trash and beer bottles were floating about, but Martinez likely had not seen the fury of a mighty current like the one that rose up and swept him and Valeria away.

A month earlier, the river claimed the lives of four migrants, including a 10-month old baby and two other children. Since October, more than 400 migrants, many of them children, have been rescued from the treacherous river. And there are many others who, if the river did not take them, the scorching heat in the valley did.

After waiting two months to apply for asylum, Martinez and his wife had grown desperate, she told news organizations. They were so close to their dream that swimming to the riverbank on the other side of the Rio Grande must have seemed inevitable.

On Sunday, Martinez attempted to swim across with Valeria on his back, tucked under his shirt. His wife followed on the back of a family friend. At some point, she turned back, but Martinez kept going, only to be swept away with his daughter shortly before reaching the banks of Brownsville, Texas, according to the New York Times.

The picture of the two of them, taken by a news photographer after their bodies were discovered downstream the following day, has been held up as a symbol of the great lengths to which migrants will go to live in America. But it also is a reminder of how determined the U.S. government is to keep them out.

Many Americans are saddened and angered that such a tragedy could occur, yet again, on our watch. We have vowed to do something – anything – to make it stop.

This is not who we are as a nation, we insist. But regardless of what we say, this is the nation we have become. The proof is in the picture.