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Chamber of Commerce launches photo contest

As you might have guessed, the Community Chamber meeting for April will not be held due to shelter in place and social-distancing restrictions. The Chamber is planning to bring the program to you! We are working with our April Community Chamber speaker to video record their presentation. The presentation will then be posted to our YouTube channel: Hartsville Trousdale Chamber. It’s a great place to catch up on past programs as well.

Now that spring is officially here – I’ve mowed the lawn twice – the grass is so green that it reminds of the tempura paint I used in grade school to make the leaves on my stick trees! It’s time to start taking photos and submitting photos for the City Guide Photo Contest (see rules below).

The winning entries will be on the front and back covers of the new City Guide. We have some of the most beautiful scenery in the entire state and we’d like to show it off. Please follow the coronavirus safety guidelines when venturing out to take photos.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
The repaved parking lot across from the Post Office is shown here.

The Chamber of Commerce continues developing the City Guide/Business Directory for Hartsville and Trousdale County. The publication will be 32 pages printed in full color on heavy paper (think Wilson Living magazine).

We all know the finances of businesses are uncertain right now but like the old commercial used to say, “Bad times are the best times to advertise.” The Chamber will be selling ads to cover the cost of printing this publication. The ad prices are reasonable, and even more so, because we plan to update the publication every other year. One payment covers two years of advertising – and helps get people into your business.

If you are a Chamber member, you will be listed in the Business Directory. If not, you still have time to join the Chamber and be included in the directory. Please email the Chamber at [email protected] for an application.

We hope to have the City Guide/Business Directory available by early September. The Guides will be placed in local businesses and will be free to customers and people passing through our community.

Your Chamber of Commerce continues to serve the community through its Facebook page. Check out Hartsville-Trousdale Chamber of Commerce for important state and federal coronavirus updates including links to: Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers; Governor Bill Lee’s daily press conference; the Tennessee Department of Health’s updated statistics on the coronavirus by county and more.

A big shout out of thanks for the newly paved parking lot across from the Hartsville Post Office. It is an amazing improvement that benefits locals, new residents and visitors to our community!

 

 

Photo Contest for new City Guide Publication

Contest period   March 1 – June 1, 2020

All photos must be taken in Trousdale County

The front cover photo will be limited to professional photographers (anyone who has sold photos or their photographic services for pay).

The back cover photo will be limited to amateur photographers.

Exhibitors can only enter in Amateur or Professional, not both.

All photos must be 8” x 10” or 8” x 12” and neatly mounted without frames on 11” x 14” mat board or foam board.

The name, address, email and phone number of the contestant must be on the back of each entry. Each person may submit a maximum of four photos. Entries will be professionally judged.

Entry fee is $10 per photo.

Winning photo will receive: Front Cover: $200; Back Cover: $100.

Please mail photos to:

Hartsville-Trousdale Chamber of Commerce

328 Broadway Rm 7

Hartsville, TN 37074

OR drop them at the County Clerk’s office in the Administration Building.

The Hartsville-Trousdale County Chamber of Commerce reserves the right to reproduce the two winning photographs.

Looking Back: Our Main Street was once a natural creek ford

When the first Native Americans visited the hills and hollows of Middle Tennessee, they used the paths and trails made by a million years of animal traffic.

If you have ever walked on a farm with high hills, you will know that the cow path you are following takes the easy way up the hill. Cows, like the elk and deer and woodland buffalo that preceded them, will not go straight up the side of a hill, but will take a leisurely winding path that slowly but surely gets them to the top.

No sense making the trip hard on yourself.

The same natural logic followed for crossing a creek or stream.

Submitted photo
This rare old postcard of Goose Creek shows the flat rock surface that makes a natural ford, or place to cross. This shows the old creek bed where today the bridge on Broadway crosses Little Goose Creek.

No sense in plunging into deep water or swift current. Instead, find a shallow place to cross.

We mention this because when you drive down an old highway today, you are likely following the same paths and that is why old roads will wind and meander and go up and down and around and twist and turn. It took modern machinery like bulldozers to make a straight highway.

When you drive across an old bridge, it was where generations of men had crossed before you – at a natural crossing.

We call those places ‘fords.’

Around here, a natural ford will likely have a shelf of rock and the water will be extremely shallow.

I have driven on old country roads and actually driven on the original rock bottom of the creek to get to the other side. At one place I visited in the Cherry Valley community of Wilson County, the road itself included a few hundred feet of creek bed!

Every bridge on the original road between Knoxville and Nashville, what we today call the old Avery Trace, was originally a shallow ford.

We have written about that first road into Middle Tennessee, laid out in 1787 by Peter Avery. The Avery Trace, called the “Immigrant Trail” by the pioneers, used the north side of the Cumberland River because Avery knew that the north side had fewer creeks and streams to have to cross than did the south side.

If you drive into town from the east, and drive down East Main Street and cross Little Goose Creek and drive past our courthouse, you are actually driving down the old Avery Trace.

When Peter Avery and his crew were cutting a pathway wide enough for a wagon to travel, he used the old animal and Indian paths. And he crossed at the same natural fords they did.

Our bridge over Little Goose Creek as you come into town goes right over a flat piece of rock surface that was, for most of the year, either dry or very shallow. A perfect place to cross – a natural ford.

I am familiar with that spot because when the state replaced the old wood bridge in the 1980s, I would walk from my home on Church Street to my job at the old high school and I would wade the creek to get across.

But I never got my feet wet because there was dry flat rock everywhere. I could hop from one dry section of rock to another, unless it had just rained. In that case, I would drive to work.

As you may have guessed, our subject this month is bridges.

As you drive about the county in the coming weeks, notice where our bridges are and you will see the reasons the old bridges were placed where they are. The water will be shallow or even dry most of the year. There may be deep spots to either side, good for minnow fishing or skinny-dipping, but the actual spot will be a rock shelf and shallow.

Now, a funny story about the ford on what is now East Main Street.

When the first settlers built their homes here in what is now Hartsville, they built on the east side of the creek. That community was small and called itself Damascus.

When James Hart developed his side of the creek on the west side, his side quickly grew and soon outdid the old village of Damascus.

The owners of the first general store in Damascus, the Towsons, saw that people were now visiting Hartsville and they decided to relocate their business, a simple log building, to the up-and-coming little town of James Hart.

So they placed their store on some round logs and rolled the entire building over to the west side of the creek, using the flat rock surface of the creek and the natural crossing there. A gentle slope on each side made the job easy and it was relocated onto what is now our Main Street!

Jack McCall: A different kind of March Madness

You’ve heard of March Madness? It’s a phrase associated with each year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The tournament is amateur sports at its very best. Each spring the tournament features upsets, surprises, “Cinderellas,” human interest stories, heart-stopping, last-second wins, and crushing losses. By the time the tournament rolls around the television sports networks have devoted fans worked up into a frenzy. Not so this year.

This year the tournament was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak – more specifically, COVID-19. It appears we have been introduced to a new version of March Madness.

I have been a member of the human race for almost seven decades. Over the course of those years I have fallen victim to a host of viruses. I have endured 24-hour viruses, 48-hour viruses, and once I encountered a 72-hour virus. Whew!

Across the Miles
Jack McCall

Through the years I have made appointments with my family physician for treatment of assorted upper respiratory infections. A few times I had come down with the flu (which can be caused by a variety of viruses). On some occasions I experienced bronchitis, and still on other occasions I simply had “taken” cold (the common cold), which had descended into my chest.

When my doctor wasn’t exactly sure what I had, he would usually say, “you have a virus.” Please note he said, “you have a virus.” In all my years, a doctor has never said to me, “you have the virus. If I had asked, “Which virus?” he would have given me a look of surprise and said, “What do you mean which virus? There are hundreds of viruses out there.”

And so, we have arrived at dealing with a family of viruses that have been around for years – the coronaviruses.

Just to keep things in perspective, ten short years ago, the U.S. experienced another pandemic known as the Swine Flu or H1N1. According to the CDC, 60 million Americans were infected. Let me write that again – 60 million. It is estimated there were 300,000 (possibly 400,000) hospitalizations and 12,500 to 18,000 deaths.

Best I can recall, we as a nation took that pandemic in stride. There was very little sense of panic, if any. We were months into the pandemic before it was declared a national emergency.

Back to the COVID-19. In all my born days, I have never witnessed the panic, the sensationalism, and, yes, the hysteria that has gripped the citizens of our nation in the past few weeks. Fueled by two medias, the national television media and social media, we seem to have become unhinged. How could the psyche of our people become so easily fractured in 10 short years?

Have we forgotten the world in which we live has never been a safe place?

Shortly after World War II, C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) wrote of how are we to live in an atomic age? “I am tempted to reply, why as we would have lived in the 16th century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as we would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavian might land and cut your throat any night.”

Since the time of C.S. Lewis, we survived the Cold War in which Nikita Khrushchev, Premier of the Soviet Union, rattled his sword to the point we were building bomb shelters (the old-timers called them “bum” shelters). Back on the old home place we still have the remnants of a bomb shelter yet unfinished.

We are now living in the age of cancer and radicals who would see us dead and car accidents and natural disasters. To quote C.S. Lewis, “You and all whom you love were already sentenced to death when we came into this world.”

How could a specific virus that causes minor, if any symptoms, in 80-85 percent of the people it infects throw our nation (and the world) into such a frizzy?

Here are few facts to consider: The United States of America has a pure water supply and the safest, most inspected food supply in the world. And our hospital and healthcare system is the finest in the world. We have the best doctors and the finest research universities. As we fight this virus we are in the best of hands.

So how are we to live in an unsafe world when uncertainty and an underlying sense of panic   are the rulers of the day? Again, let me share the words of C.S. Lewis with a few of my own.   May we be found doing sensible and human things – praying, working, teaching, listening to music, staying in touch with friends, taking time to reflect, and counting our blessings – doing ordinary things that bring us joy.

Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), an English general and statesman, encouraged his soldiers with this maxim: “Trust in God and keep your powder dry.”

I would add to that, as we confront a different kind of enemy. Trust in God, wash your hands, protect your older friends, and keep a level head.

This, too, shall pass.

State makes changes to Drivers License Services

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDOSHS) continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak closely. At this time, most State Driver Services Centers remain open and the Department is currently taking precautions to protect the health and safety of our customers and employees.

To relieve as many customers as possible from needing to visit a Driver Services Center during the outbreak, the Driver Services Division is implementing the following changes:

  • Extending the expiration of Commercial Drivers Licenses and Commercial Driving Permits. These licenses will be extended until June 30 if set to expire between March 12, 2020 and May 18, 2020. All non-CDL licenses will expire six months from the date the license is set to expire. This does not apply to an individual with a Class X license.
  • Suspend non-CDL knowledge and skills tests until May 18, 2020.
  • Tennessee will temporarily suspend the issuance of REAL ID credentials effective March 25, 2020 through May 18, 2020.
  • The requirement that new Tennessee residents obtaining a Tennessee driver license within 30 days of becoming a resident has been extended to June 17, 2020.
  • Allow Med-Cert extension for CDL holders with a medical card expiring between March 12, 2020 and May 18, 2020. CDL holders have until June 30, 2020 to submit their new Med-Cert to the Department. Extension is available to CDL holders with a medical card that is currently valid for more than 90 days.
  • The Department is waiving its requirement that citizens appear in person and have a new photograph taken through Oct. 1, 2021. This will allow many customers with expiring credentials to renew online and not visit in person.
  • Non-US citizens with Temporary driver licenses (Class XD and XID) will still need to visit in person to renew those licenses upon expiration of the current license.

The Department is also taking the following precautions for the health and safety of employees and customers:

  • Adopting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing all Driver Services Centers and equipment.
  • Providing guidance to our personnel regarding precautions to minimize risk of exposure for themselves and customers.
  • Stationing a staff member at the entrance of each Driver Services Center to ensure the number of customers entering the Center does not exceed CDC recommendations.
  • Encouraging and allowing customers to wait in their vehicles using the · Department’s queuing technology (E-Ticketing) until notified by text or call to enter the Driver Services Center.
  • Providing protective gear for examiners who interact with customers following TSA procedures.
  • Encouraging customers to use credit or debit cards only to limit handling of cash.

We encourage everyone to utilize our e-Services portal for available online services such as renewals, duplicates, paying reinstatement fees, and changing your address.

If you wish to obtain a REAL ID at this time, you will still need to visit a Driver Services Center. However, the federal government has delayed the deadline to acquire a Real ID to Oct. 1, 2021.

Unemployment claims skyrocket across state, nation

By Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press

With restaurants, retailers and hotels laying off thousands of Tennessee workers, the number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits in the state spiked last week by the biggest weekly jump in history.

For the week ending last Friday, Tennesseans filed 39,096 initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits, including 16,993 new claims in the 13-county Northern Middle Tennessee district including Trousdale County, according to government figures released Thursday. That was up nearly 20-fold from the previous week, when new claims for jobless benefits in the state totaled only 2,702 before most businesses had shut down and laid off staff.

“We’re going from 250 to 300 claims a day being filed two weeks ago to already more than 7,000 claims coming in every day – it’s a massive increase and I’m afraid it’s going to continue for some time,” said Dr. Bill Fox, director for the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee.

Nationwide, the U.S. Department of Labor reported a similar jump with nearly 3.3 million new unemployment claims filed last week and more expected to come this week.

“These latest unemployment claims are really just the first wave of bad numbers that are going to be coming in because of the impact of the coronavirus,” said Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director at the Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia. “We’ve experienced an unprecedented deliberate shutdown of the U.S. economy and that is costing millions of jobs nationwide.”

Humphreys said he expects the U.S. economy will decline by as much as 20 percent this spring and is likely to continue to contract this summer in what could be the biggest short-term drop in economic activity since the government has kept comparable data.

“But this is not like the Great Depression,” he said. “It’s more like a global snowstorm that shuts down the economy for an indefinite period. But once the storm or pandemic passes, I think we’ll see a relatively rapid recovery because there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the economy.”

As job losses mount, some economists say the nation’s unemployment rate could approach 13 percent by May. By comparison, the highest jobless rate during the Great Recession, which ended in 2009, was 10 percent.

“What seemed impossible just two weeks ago is now reality,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, an economist at Oxford Economics, a consulting firm. “The U.S. economy will experience the largest economic contraction on record with the most severe surge in unemployment ever.”

The economic deterioration has been swift. Tennessee began 2020 with the lowest January jobless rate in modern history at only 3.3 percent and reported last Thursday that the jobless rate in February was still at a historically low 3.4 percent rate. Employers across Tennessee added 4,800 jobs during February and added another 22,108 jobs over the past 12 months ahead of the shutdowns that began this month as schools closed, conventions were scrapped and ultimately non-essential businesses in many areas of the state were forced to close.

Many people who have lost jobs in recent weeks, though, have been unable to file for unemployment aid because state websites and phone systems have been overwhelmed by a crush of applicants and have frozen up.

In Tennessee, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development said it is processing jobless claims as quickly as possible to determine eligibility and distribute benefit payments.

IMPACThought: History chooses its leaders in times of crisis

We are at a critical moment in world history. The COVID-19 virus has literally turned our world upside down. The increased fear and uncertainty in the hearts of billions of citizens upon this planet is disconcerting. The world’s death toll is rising. Resources are stretched thin. First responders and medical professionals are at risk of their own health.

We are all hoping for an end to our living nightmare. We have never experienced anything like this in our lifetime. However, let me magnify this truth, we are not without hope! God has a purpose, a plan and a time for everything. We must trust in God. There is a remnant of Christians who do.

Submitted photo
Jon Shonebarger

The nations of the world are responding to the COVID-19 virus pandemic. From the sanitation of hands, to social distancing or complete isolation, people are taking the necessary precautions to maintain their health. Except for certain critical, mission essential professions, workers are all locked down awaiting the moment when it is safe to resume normal business operations. Until then, it is wise to stay at home as much as possible.

Our United States government has authorized a financial relief package in an effort to assist families, small businesses and corporations in this time of shutdown. It is imperative that basic needs are met. Failing is not an option! We are literally doing everything we can humanly do, to help one another and defeat the virus. The plan of action seems to change each day because there is a neverending array of time sensitive, critical needs.

While everyone is equally vulnerable to catching the virus, not everyone is equally strong physically, mentally or spiritually. As a professional, frontline caregiver, I want to recommend we remember, yea, seek out, those who are most vulnerable. Our community is full of needy individuals. We must not overlook them. Response is critical.

There are senior citizens who need their medications resupplied or the need of groceries. There are those folks who battle mental illness who also need medications and wellness checks or phone calls. There are young people who need assistance with online schooling, tutoring or mentoring. There are sheep in the church congregation who still need pastoral counsel, encouragement, discipleship and prayer. There are business leaders who have subordinates who are concerned with their unemployment claims and questions about the future of the company.

In other words, the needs of people are not suspended, just the platform in which the needs are satisfied has changed.

In this unparalleled time of difficulty, leaders must step up and seize the moment. Leaders do not sit in the bleachers and watch what is going on. Leaders are prepared to accept the challenge and accomplish the difficult mission that chose them! History chooses leaders!

I am mindful of the first responders on Sept. 11, 2011. They took immediate action, charged a burning building and sought to make a difference for all who were in need. This was also a crisis but from the hands of terrorists. The pandemic of 2020 requires an even bolder response. Why? Because more lives are at stake.

The Scriptures are filled with examples of those who stepped up in a crisis. As Mordecai asked Esther during a perilous time for the Jewish people, “…and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). I submit the same question to my readers. Think about it. This is our time to impact the lives of many. Our “kingdom” is calling. Our people in Trousdale County and around our state need our assistance. Together, let us make a difference. We accept our call to leadership!

Contact Jon Shonebarger at [email protected]

John Rose: Tennesseans show spirit during this crisis

Tennesseans are facing an unprecedented challenge, one that has brought uncertainty, new routines, and many questions. As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to press in on our daily lives, we, as Tennesseans, have faith that together we will overcome.

On behalf of the folks of Tennessee’s Sixth Congressional District, I have continued to participate in frequent interactive briefings on the work of the President’s Task Force, the State of Tennessee’s response, and the public-private partnerships formed in recent days. I am fully focused on doing everything possible to equip our state and local officials, first responders, and health care professionals who are working tirelessly and heroically to keep us healthy and safe here in Tennessee.

John Rose

I have been continuously working with my colleagues in Congress to develop the legislative response to this crisis. My staff and I have been seeking out input and listening to the needs of individuals, businesses and institutions across the Sixth District making sure to include provisions that will serve the families and small businesses of Tennessee. While the legislative response will be far from perfect and will, no doubt, include special interest provisions that are not appropriate responses to this crisis, we cannot allow perfection to delay relief badly needed here and across the nation. In this legislative response, we have achieved major steps of relief for our communities.

Our work does not stop there. We have numerous stories of folks who traveled abroad, often on mission trips, only to be caught off guard by the recent, swift turn of events. These Tennesseans need our help, and I am committed to doing all that I can to bring them home.

Ultimately, I know that Tennesseans will continue joining together – though temporarily from a distance – to overcome this challenge just like we always have during difficult times in our past. As COVID-19 has brought harm to many of our neighbors and friends, we have witnessed the incredible strength of our communities coming together to protect one another.

Our health care professionals, grocers, scientists, first responders, farmers, transportation workers, and all other essential workers, have stepped up in incredible ways – all for the sake of their fellow Americans. This brave volunteerism demonstrates the very best of our state. Tennesseans are truly embodying the Volunteer Spirit of service and sacrifice. Whether it is working in the emergency room, tending livestock, or transporting supplies, we are forever indebted to those making these sacrifices. We extend both our gratitude for their service and our prayers for their safety.

Now is the time, as a greater community, to support both those who are sacrificing and those at the highest risk. For those of us with elderly neighbors, it is incumbent upon us to check in, meet needs, and provide encouragement. For those of us with small children, it is our responsibility to reassure them, continue to educate them, and keep our families safe. For those of us with immune deficiencies or other factors that put us at high risk, it is important that we allow those at less risk to do what we cannot right now. For those of us who are healthy, we must ask ourselves if we can give blood, support local food banks, or meet other needs.

For all of us, it important to remember that we are all our brother’s keeper. We may not be together in our places of work, worship, or fellowship, but we are together in spirit and heart.

We, as Tennesseans, will lead the way in protecting ourselves and each other. Looking out for one another is what we do best. When I return to Washington, D.C., to vote on measures to address COVID-19, I will be all the prouder entering the House Chamber as a representative of Tennesseans who are at home, on the front lines, fighting this virus in the best way possible: looking out for one another. This is what the Volunteer State does best.

U.S. Rep. John Rose represents Tennessee’s Sixth Congressional District and resides in Cookeville with his wife, Chelsea, and their young son, Guy.

Governor issues order closing non-essential businesses

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced Monday he is issuing a statewide order closing “non-essential” businesses and asking state residents to remain at home to battle the continuing spread of the coronavirus.

READ GOVERNOR LEE’S ORDER: Link here

In doing so, the Republican governor follows the lead of mayors in Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville as well as some 25 other state governors in issuing “safer at home” orders. It comes at the urging of frantic physicians who are battling potential COVID-19 cases and as Tennessee’s rate of infection continues to climb.

Lee said he it is “not a mandated shelter in place order” but a “strong urging of Tennesseans to stay home if at all possible.”

“We need you to stay home where at all possible,” Lee said during an afternoon teleconference. “Your habits and routines will make the difference.”

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, the Senate speaker, joined with fellow Republican Lee and said “this threat changes from day-to-day, hour-to-hour and minute-to-minute. I appreciate Gov. Lee’s ability to remain data-focused and flexible.

“Today’s order is a big step but a needed one at this time. Most population centers in our state are already operating under these conditions,” McNally added. “Essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open. The most important part of this order is that it sends the message the governor has been sending for many days now in no uncertain terms: stay home and stay apart.”

U.S. Senate approves $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill

By Sarah D. Wire, Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON – In an overwhelming bipartisan vote, the Senate on Wednesday passed a $2 trillion economic stimulus package – the largest ever – designed to pump money directly into Americans’ pockets while also shoring up hospitals, businesses and state and local governments struggling against the coronavirus pandemic.

The $2 trillion price tag is equal to more than half of the $3.5 trillion the federal government expects to collect in taxes this year, and is 9% of the nation’s gross domestic product.

“It’s going to take care of people,” President Donald Trump said of the legislation during a news conference, vowing to sign the bill immediately when it reaches his desk.

A vote was initially delayed in part by concerns from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and a handful of Republican senators that laid-off low-wage earners in some states might be able to temporarily collect more from the expanded unemployment insurance in the bill than from their original salaries, creating a disincentive to work.

But Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin earlier Wednesday said most Americans would opt to keep their jobs, adding that the provision was needed to streamline the process of getting aid to workers nationwide.

“Our expectation is this bill passes tonight,” said Mnuchin, who took part in five days of tense, marathon negotiations between congressional Democrats and Senate Republicans.

The sweeping package will impact a broad swath of American society, with some elements potentially lasting longer than the health crisis. Along with providing a one-time direct payout of up to $1,200 for most American adults, the bill includes $500 billion in loans to struggling businesses, $377 billion in loans and grants for small businesses, $150 billion for local, state and tribal governments struggling with a drop in revenue and $130 billion for hospitals.

The package also blocks foreclosures and evictions during the crisis on properties where the federal government backs the mortgage; pauses federal student loan payments for six months and waives the interest; gives states millions of dollars to begin offering mail or early voting; and provides more than $25 billion in new money for food assistance programs such as SNAP.

The real test will be whether the House accepts the bill as it is, and can pass it with “unanimous consent,” a procedure usually reserved for small, noncontroversial bills. If a single member comes to the House floor and objects, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., may have to recall House members to Washington for a vote that would draw out the process. Democratic and Republican House leaders are hoping to avoid that, but it remains to be seen whether they can. A House vote is scheduled to occur Friday.

Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, an independent who left the Republican Party last year, called the package a “raw deal for the people” in a tweet shortly after it was announced, but clarified later in the day that he will not delay the bill by objecting to unanimous consent.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Wednesday that he supports holding a voice vote, which would ensure House members don’t have to return if they don’t want to for health or safety reasons. But if some wanted to object in person, they could. “I do not believe we should pass a $2 trillion bill by unanimous consent,” McCarthy said.

A voice vote is generally determined by which side is the loudest, as decided by the member presiding over the House at the time. The losing side often asks for a recorded vote, which would require Pelosi to recall House members from across the country. Pelosi voiced willingness Wednesday to have a voice vote.

Several House Democrats were also unhappy with the bill, saying it helps business at the expense of people. Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib tweeted that she is angry the Senate bill doesn’t help people whose water was shut off for lack of payment during the outbreak.

The one-time payments to Americans will be based on adjusted gross income reported in 2019 taxes – if they have been filed – or 2018 taxes, if they have not. The amount will decline gradually beginning with individuals who made $75,000 or married couples filing jointly who made $150,000. Individuals making $99,000 or above or married couples making $198,000 or more would receive no check. People would receive an additional $500 per child.

Mnuchin said payments could arrive in three weeks for those who have direct deposit set up with the Internal Revenue Service, but could take several additional weeks for printed checks. The IRS may also release the payments in the form of debit cards, a Republican aide said. Even those who have no income, whose income comes entirely from nontaxable benefit programs such as Social Security or who file a tax return only in order to take advantage of the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, should get a check.

First proposed last week, the bill was delayed by days of negotiations that spurred angry speeches and uncharacteristic outbursts on the Senate floor. Republicans accused Democrats of dragging their feet and trying to squeeze more priorities into the bill while the crisis mounted.

“We should have passed this last Sunday. Time was wasted,” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday he would leave it to others to determine whether Democrats’ changes were worth the delay. “The Senate is going to stand together, act together, and pass this historic relief package today,” McConnell said. “The Senate will act to help the people of this country weather this storm. This is not even a stimulus package. It is emergency relief.”

Democrats say they won many important changes that made the bill more beneficial to people hit hardest by the coronavirus crisis.

“To improve this legislation was worth taking an extra day or two,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said.

Included in the changes are:

  • An expansion of who qualifies for unemployment insurance to include people who were furloughed, gig workers and freelancers. It included an increase in the unemployment payments by $600 per week for four months on top of what states provide as a base unemployment compensation, and extended the benefit to 13 weeks for people already collecting unemployment insurance.
  • An additional $150 billion for hospitals, including $100 billion in grants that can be used by nursing homes, hospitals, clinics and other health care providers scrambling for medical supplies such as face masks, gloves and ventilators.
  • An inspector general to oversee $500 billion in loans the Treasury Department will distribute to industries affected by the pandemic and a new five-person congressional committee to conduct oversight of the federal government’s spending on the COVID-19 response. The original bill left it to the Treasury Department to determine which businesses get loans and allowed it to wait up to six months to disclose where the money went.
  • Prohibition of businesses controlled by the president, vice president, members of Congress and heads of executive branch departments receiving loans or investments from the Treasury programs. Their children, spouses and in-laws also cannot benefit.
  • $400 million for states to prepare for the 2020 elections, aimed at making it easier for states to move toward vote by mail and early voting. It does not require states to participate and is more than double the $140 million in the original bill.
  • $25 million for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., which is much closer to the $35 million Democrats asked for than the $1 million in the original Republican proposal.

Looking Back: Buggies were a potentially dangerous luxury

We have spent this month looking at how our ancestors traveled, before the automobile was invented and we had paved highways and gas wars.

For many thousands of years, mankind used what Mother Nature had provided him – his feet!

It wasn’t until man domesticated the horse and the donkey that we had the luxury of riding. But it was a luxury that most people couldn’t afford.

As we pointed out last week, riding a four-legged animal was not without its risks!

The Hartsville paper wrote this in January 1908, “Fred Hall, son of M. F. Hall, County Register, had a narrow escape yesterday. The little fellow was attempting to mount a horse and had placed his foot in the saddle stirrup, when the horse became frightened and jumped, throwing the boy, his foot catching in the stirrup. The horse immediately began to run and dragged the boy a considerable distance, when the stirrup broke, releasing him from what seemed to be certain death. He was considerably bruised about the head, but it is thought that no serious results will follow.”

Submitted photo
This young fellow is sitting pretty in a “courting buggy.” There was just enough room for him and his sweetheart! This photo is from the Kathleen Rodgers McIlwain estate.

With the advent of the wheel, travel improved.

Most people in rural Trousdale County would have had a “farm wagon” – a multipurpose vehicle, good for farm work, hauling produce to market and carrying the family to church on Sundays.

Having a buggy was a sign of wealth, as it was only practical for carrying people to and from places. A family buggy would be large and wide, so that several people could sit on each seat. A courting buggy was smaller, with just enough room on the seat for two people!

Today, you can vacation somewhere and for a few dollars you can hire a buggy to take you around the park or even the streets of an historic district in a large town. And we do so, thinking how nice it must have been in the “good old days’” to travel so leisurely and slow.

We burst that bubble by reminding you that horses still bolted, buggies ran off the road and stagecoaches overturned!

The headline of the paper on Sept. 28, 1911, was, “Injuries Sustained by Hartsville Woman Prove Fatal”. The accompanying article goes on to say, “Mrs. A.C. Welch, who was thrown from her buggy Sunday, Sept. 17, died this morning at 7:30 without ever regaining consciousness.”

Mrs. Welch was the wife of the owner of the Hartsville newspaper!

The tragedy happened just a few months after another prominent local family was in the news, when the nephew of State Representative A.E. Foust was killed in a buggy incident.

“Carl Leslie Foust, the 9-year-old son of Oscar Foust, was accidently killed about 5 o’clock this afternoon in Hartsville. He was standing on the back spring of a buggy driven by his brother, Herman, when in some manner he lost his footing and was caught in the right hind wheel of the vehicle, and dashed against the street… and instantly killed.”

Horses, like car engines, were unpredictable.

We give this account of an accident on the bridge across Little Goose Creek in 1909, “Clerk Lytle Dalton, his wife and little girl, Lillian were driving home from church and had crossed the North Hartsville bridge, when the horse, from some unaccountable reason, began to stagger and, despite the efforts of Mr. Dalton, the animal fell over the bridge approach, carrying the vehicle and occupants with it.”

As it was, Dalton suffered a broken arm. The child was pulled from under the horse with minor scratches and Mrs. Dalton had been thrown clear of the wreck and was unharmed.

Buggy accidents were front-page news in the past, just as terrible auto accidents are today. We have many we could include in this article, but we’ll add just one more, this one involving a runaway horse.

From 1905, “Clair Littleton and Lem Plummer, were out driving, and when coming down a hill near town (Hartsville) the horse commenced to run. As it entered town the horse dashed down the pavement, smashing chairs and running until it fell in front of the bank, the buggy turning completely over the prostrate animal, throwing the occupants out. Young Plummer escaped with only a few bruises, but Littleton received a severe cut on the head, from which he bled copiously, and also received other painful injuries. Fears were at first entertained for his recovery, but he is now much improved…”

UT Extension agents still available with office closed

I hope that this article finds everyone well amongst this coronavirus crisis. This article is to update the public about the status of the University of Tennessee Extension office.

Due to the nature of the coronavirus and how quickly it can spread from person to person, the University has asked that all extension agents and staff work at home until further notice.

Courtesy of UT Extension

Some of you may ask why? The University of Tennessee Extension takes pride in serving our communities, but we also value the health of our staff and clients. Many of our clients fall into the high-risk categories and some of our staff may be caregivers of persons in the high-risk categories. So we are doing our part to limit the spread of the coronavirus and protect the health of our friends and family. We ask that you do the same.

What does that mean for our clients that need assistance? All UT Extension staff will be working from home and answering phone calls and emails. We will also be providing educational information and materials through our Facebook page (UTExtenson-Trousdale Co.); our website (trousdale.tennessee.edu), and also timely articles in the Hartsville Vidette. We ask that anyone that calls the office during this to please leave a message and we will return your call as soon as we can. We request that you contact us by email. Our emails will be posted at the end of the article.

What about 4-H events and 4-H Camp? At this time all 4-H events are canceled until April 30. We are still accepting 4-H Camp applications and we hope that our summer 4-H events (June-July) will be unaffected by this. However, we do not know how long this situation will last and if it extends into the summer we will provide full refunds for those that have already signed up to 4-H Camp.

At this time we ask that our friends, clients, and 4-Hers continue to work with us and reach out to us with their educational programming needs, questions, or whatever it is that we can help you with. Contact us at the emails below or call the UT Extension Office at 615-374-2421 and leave a message.

Jason Evitts, Adult Agriculture / 4-H Agent, County Director [email protected]

Shelby Boyer, Family Consumer Sciences / 4-H Agent, [email protected]

Terry Toney, Administrative Assistant, [email protected]

Health Department offers tips to avoid COVID-19

The Trousdale County Health Department is working in partnership with other local, regional and state officials to implement prevention and mitigation strategies for local communities based on guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and by state leadership.

Trousdale County has a local preparedness plan for pandemics that is practiced at least once a year, and this plan is the basis for the county’s response to COVID-19. Local leaders are empowered to make decisions based on the needs of the residents of Trousdale County and are doing so.

“We’re working to ensure that everyone in Trousdale County that has a clinical picture consistent with COVID-19 can be tested,” said Trousdale County Health Department Director Tim Diffenderfer. “We need all Trousdale County residents to join the effort to prevent further spread of this illness in our communities.”

It is important to note the testing process for COVID-19 is not like that of something like a rapid flu test, with results provided on the spot. Testing for COVID-19 is conducted in the laboratory, so tests themselves are not distributed to health care facilities. Rather, health care providers take samples from their patients and submit them to a laboratory for testing.

Many health care providers can assess patients for COVID-19 and collect samples to submit for testing. People who have concerns about their health should contact their regular health care providers, who can assess their risk and determine if they should be tested. People who don’t have insurance and have concerns they may have symptoms of COVID-19 can contact the Trousdale County Health Department for consultation and to talk through potential options for assessment.

Most people, particularly those with mild or no symptoms, do not need assessment for COVID-19. Public health authorities are prioritizing testing of people in high-risk categories: contacts of confirmed cases; people in occupations with exposure to large numbers of contacts; health care workers; nursing home residents; severely immunocompromised patients; critically ill patients; pregnant women and people who have traveled to areas with high case counts.

Anyone concerned about their health should first contact their regular health care provider. If you feel you need treatment, call the health care provider or facility first, so they can arrange for your arrival if you need to come in and can accommodate you while reducing risk of exposing other people to illness.

There are lots of things everyone in Trousdale County can do to help flatten the curve and reduce the impact of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water (or alcohol-based hand rub) for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm or a tissue
  • Clean and disinfect objects (e.g., cell phone, computer) and high touch surfaces regularly

Some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness, including older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease. It’s extra important for people in these groups to take actions to reduce their risk of getting sick with COVID-19:

  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel
  • During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed

For a list of assessment sites, please visit tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov/remote-assessment-sites.html. For additional information, please visit tn.gov/governor/covid-19.html.

Assault at Trousdale Turner leaves employee hospitalized

A female correctional officer is recovering from injuries after being assaulted by an inmate last week at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center.

Sources told The Vidette that the guard sustained facial injuries described as “severe but not critical.” Other sources said the injuries included a broken eye socket and broken nose.

Trousdale EMS responded and transported the employee, who was not identified, to Skyline Medical Center for treatment.

CoreCivic spokesman Ryan Gustin issued a statement on the company’s behalf:

“On Thursday, March 19, an employee was assaulted by an inmate at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center. The employee was transported by EMS to an outside hospital for treatment of injuries sustained during the assault.

Our partners at the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) were immediately notified and the Office of Investigations and Compliance (OIC) is investigating the incident. The alleged attacker has been identified and transferred to TDOC custody.

In deference to our government partner, all other inquiries regarding the investigation should be directed to TDOC Communications Division at [email protected]

The facility remains on lockdown, which has reportedly been the case since contraband packages were introduced on March 10.

Visitation has also been suspended, as is the case at all Tennessee prisons, because of the coronavirus crisis. So far, no cases have been found at the facility.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or [email protected]

Jack McCall: Weighed down by the world? Leave it there

I doubt that very many people ever heard of Sal Hackett. I would further imagine even fewer people knew him. For the most part, he lived out his life on the Hackett farm in the Lock 7 community of Smith County.

In today’s world he would have been considered a “special needs” person, or “mentally challenged.” He was never gainfully employed. On a typical day he would show up for breakfast, then “disappear” until the middle of the day. After joining the family for dinner (the noon meal), he would be off again until day’s end. He was known to stuff his pockets with extra biscuits after breakfast. To show his favor, he would offer you a cold biscuit. He might have been carrying it for a few hours or a few days. A member of the family told me Sal could shell corn with best of them, and could be seen shelling corn for hours as he sat among the shucks and ears of corn in the corn crib. Sometimes he could be seen puttering on the banks of the sprawling family pond; but for the most part, the family had little idea of how and where he spent his time.

Across the Miles
Jack McCall

I was half-grown before I knew of Sal. I saw him a time or two while visiting the Jack Hackett farm, but to me, he largely remained a mystery.

Then came the summer of 1966. Sal’s nephew, Neal, had been involved in a farm accident and was incapacitated at the time, putting the Hackett farming operation in a bind. 1,600 bales of first-cutting, red clover hay lay in the river bottom, and rain was in the weather forecast. Almost on cue, neighbors showed up on the day before the rain came to get the hay in. My father, two of my brothers, and I were among those who answered the call.

We arrived that day in our two-ton Chevy farm truck, complete with a 16-foot flatbed. It was made for hauling 100 square bales. We loaded up our first load and headed out of the river bottom. When we stopped at the gate, Sal stepped out from behind the overgrown fence row and indicated he wanted to ride. I pulled the handle on the door. I shall never forget how he reached up and pulled himself up into the truck cab. Neither shall I ever forget the excitement I saw in his eyes. He was like a child anticipating the opening of a wonderful Christmas present.

The old Chevy truck my father was driving was equipped with a powerful, straight-six cylinder engine, and the transmission had a double-low, first gear. Sal’s head swung back and forth as he waited for the truck to move. When my father pressed the accelerator and engaged the clutch, the engine roared as the old truck lurched forward. Sal’s eyes grew wider as he turned to my father and exclaimed, “BAD, ain’t it, buddy!?!”

I shall never forget how freely my father laughed as he answered through his laughter, “Yeah, it’s BAD, Sal!”

The hill that led out of the river bottom seemed almost straight up. When we reached level ground, Sal suddenly pulled the door handle, climbed out of the truck, and was gone. We unloaded the truck and returned to the hay field and re-loaded. Not until we arrived at the gate did Sal show up again. He was waiting for us.

Each time he climbed in the truck that day, he seemed more excited. And every time the truck engine roared, he responded in the same way – “BAD, ain’t it buddy!?!

And that’s how the day played out. Each time we reached the top of the hill, Sal would leave us, and he would be waiting for us at the gate for the return trip. I shall never forget the light in his eyes, nor the joy in my father’s laughter.

Sal was a grown man when his mother died. They played an old hymn at her funeral titled, “Leave It There.” You’ve probably heard it. The chorus goes like this: “Leave it there. Leave it there. Take your burden to the Lord, and leave it there. If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out. Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.”

Some years later, a family member gave Sal a harmonica (He called it a French harp) for Christmas. Would you like to guess the first song he played? “Leave It There.” Every note – just the way he remembered it from his mother’s funeral.

Of course, there’s a lesson in the song. It’s one thing to share your burdens with the Lord. It’s altogether something different to leave them in His care.

I visited Sal’s grave a few years back. It lies in the morning shade of a tall, cedar tree in the back row of a little private cemetery. His headstone simply reads:

Eugene (Sal) Hackett

1903-1978

His father, Rufus Donald Hackett, and his mother, Grace Pettie Hackett, are buried just to his left.

In the quiet of that little country cemetery on a windswept hillside, I recalled a roaring truck engine, and joyful laughter, and flashing, bright eyes, and a harmonica and a song.

It’s funny, the people God uses and how he uses them to enrich our lives.

And one other thing. They played “Leave It There” at Sal’s funeral. I’m told there was not a dry eye in the house.

Terri Lynn Weaver: State’s budget helps in coronavirus fight

Greetings Fabulous Folks of the 40th!

Working closely together over the last few weeks, the Governor and the Legislative Body placed a preliminary 2020-2021 $39.8 billion, no-growth budget on the books to ensure that Tennessee is in good standing as we weather this storm. On Thursday around 11:30 p.m., the General Assembly recessed until June 1, 2020.

Leaving the House Chamber and going directly to the members’ garage, I started the car, put some tunes on to keep me awake on the drive home and headed east to Smith County. It had been a long hard day and to be honest I was looking forward to being quarantined in order to get some rest! These are unprecedented times, and I pray you and your family stay safe and healthy for “this too shall pass.” I intend to make good use of the time spent at home. There are some books waiting to be read, things to declutter and a few projects to finish around the house. It is also a good time to reflect and thank God for the many blessings I tend to take for granted.

Terri Lynn Weaver

Over $900 million in reductions were made to the originally proposed budget. This is what is in the budget we passed:

Education

$58.7M in new funding for state’s educators;

$50.3M BEP investment;

$38M to fully fund Higher Education;

Health care

$150M fund for health and safety issues resulting from COVID-19;

$3M to maintain DIDD direct provider wages of $10/hour recurring;

$7M to increase reimbursement for Emergency First Responders;

$1.2M investment access Telemedicine services;

$26.5M strengthen safety network for mental health and health care services;

Community

Double local government grants from $100M to $200M (15 distressed counties to receive additional $462,000);

$30M Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) Disaster Relief for recovery efforts for victims of the March 3 tornado;

$33M additional capital monies to repair damaged buildings;

$25M additional year of broadband for rural communities;

Law & Safety

$9.9M salary increases for probation and parole officers;

$10M additional Hepatitis C treatment in prisons; and

$1.5M for 10 additional State Troopers.

All Tennessee schools are closed through March 31 at the request of the Governor. With these unexpected closures resulting from the tornado and COVID-19, it was important schools were not negatively impacted. HB 2818holds all students, teachers, and schools harmless as it relates to TNReady testing, teacher evaluation growth scores, final grades, school and district accountability assessments, BEP-related requirements, and post-secondary readiness assessments for the 2019-2020 school year. We also garnered two nutrition waivers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide School Food Authorities flexibility to continue providing meals to our students who rely on a school meal.

HB1175 is extremely important for our Emergency Medical Services. This was funded with recurring monies of $7 million in this year’s budget. For such a time as this we need these trained paramedics that keep our loved ones alive while transporting them to the nearest hospital. For rural communities this is a vital service. Local governments can now breathe easier and our EMS services will not be forced to cut their services. This was work worth doing and I was honored to carry this legislation and to have it funded.

These last two weeks at the Capitol were, well, surreal to say the least. The halls of the Legislature were quiet, except for members of the General Assembly, a few interns and assistants. It seemed like we were in some kind of a sci-fi movie. Both sub and full committees have legislation to be debated and voted on. However, those remaining bills will be taken up when we resume in June. Due to CDC recommendations, groups of more than 10 were not to assemble. We did social distancing as best as possible. Only by the grace of God were we able to do the people’s business and pass a balanced budget in order to carry us through these uncertain times. Tennessee is postured in a good place as we press toward the mark when folks can return to work, our economy gets back on track, and our children can resume their studies.

I leave you with these words from Psalm 91 as we pause and pray for our families, our state and our nation.

“The Lord says:

I will rescue those who love me.

I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call upon me, I will answer.

I will be with them in times of trouble.”

All Coffee Conversations are postponed until further notice. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions at all. It is an honor to serve you.

Stay safe and healthy!

Blessings,

Terri Lynn Weaver

IMPACThought: Sequestered from the world

The world, as we have known it, has come to a screeching halt! Most of the citizens across our land have retreated to their homes to wait out the coronavirus. Waiting is the hardest part. Our lives are indefinitely stuck in neutral.

People want to know when they will return to work. When will their kids return to school? Will this lockdown last another month, or two? What about their bank accounts? How will they pay their bills and purchase their necessities? Will their place of employment survive the effects of a lockdown? Without a doubt, people feel thoroughly helpless amidst the crisis that has shocked their way of life. For Americans, a land of the free and independent, immobility takes a lot of getting used to.

Submitted photo
Jon Shonebarger

As a chaplain, I have often wondered what it would be like to be sequestered, to abide in a mountaintop seminary, faraway from civilization. What would it be like to spend my day devoted only to prayer, reflection, meditation and study? While a temporary respite from the caustic chaos of the world is a tremendous form of soul-care, most of us are unwilling to live the rest of our lives in permanent isolation and tranquility.

We are social beings! We have gifts and talents to contribute to the success of our society. We have jobs to do. But now in the crisis we endure, we feel sequestered to that remote corner of the mountaintop. Frustration, fatigue and fear have gripped our weary minds. Have I mentioned boredom?

In Psalms 90:12, Moses prays this request to God, “So teach us to number our days, so we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

A worldwide pandemic forces us to consider our mortality. The tragic reality of the moment is that this virus has killed thousands of people around the globe. We are all taking precautions and instituting safeguards to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Yet we realize how frail our human condition is. It is sobering times we live in.

None of us is guaranteed tomorrow, regardless of the coronavirus. It is wise for us to number our days! Most certainly only God know the length of our lives. Our days ARE numbered. Our lives are but a vapor, which appears for a short time, and then it vanishes away (James 4:14). There is no need to live in fear, from our yesterdays to the future. However, it is wise to embrace our lives with faith in God and with the assurance that He is in complete control.

There are many benefits to our time sequestered from the world. We are afforded opportunities for lengthy conversations with our family. We may catch up with old friends on the phone or social media. We may play board games and enjoy each other’s company. We may play with the kids and help them with online schoolwork. We may enjoy the outdoors and take long walks. We can complete home projects, improvements and spring cleaning.

Most importantly, we can rekindle, or deepen our relationship with God. We can read the Bible and grow in faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ. We can watch spiritual studies online and enroll in Bible College. Yes, there are also many positive spiritual benefits to this time at home.

I am blessed to know that I am in the grip of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is my hiding place. Whenever I am afraid, I trust in Him. This virus has not caught the Lord by surprise. The Lord has a purpose, a plan and a time period for all things going on in our world today.

God’s children are called to look to Him in faith. We do not have all the answers for the chaos and uncertainty, but we trust the One who does. With that faith in the Almighty, our souls can rest and allow Him to provide and care for us. He is teaching us to number our days and apply our hearts to knowledge. May each of us live accordingly.

Have a great week and remember, God loves YOU!

Contact Jon at [email protected]

All residents urged to respond to U.S. Census

The 2020 Census is getting underway and is ready for America to respond as the first invitations begin to arrive at the nation’s estimated 140 million households by March 20.  For the first time, nearly everyone will be invited to respond online, by phone or by mail.

“Invitations are arriving in mailboxes across the country, and everyone will receive an invitation to respond through the mail or from a census worker soon,” Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham said in a press statement. “We are encouraging everyone to respond once they receive their 2020 Census invitation.”

The invitation mailings are addressed to “Resident” at the household address and do not include an individual’s name. In areas more likely to respond online, mailings contain information on how to respond online. Households in areas of the country that are less likely to respond via the internet will also receive a paper questionnaire in their first mailing, along with information on how to respond online. All non-responding households will receive a paper questionnaire after two more reminder mailings.

Along with the invitations, people can expect to find an overview of the census, a description of language assistance in English plus 12 non-English languages and a census ID number linked to their address.

“Responding to the 2020 Census is easy, safe and important, and it’s key to shaping the future of your community,” Dillingham said. “The 2020 Census will determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, and influences how hundreds of billions of dollars in public funds are allocated for critical public services like emergency response, schools, hospitals, roads and bridges over the next 10 years.”

The Census Bureau has launched a public education and outreach campaign to inform the public on how and when to respond. Below is a timeline of Census Bureau mailings inviting households to respond online, by phone or by mail.

  • March 12-20: The U.S. Postal Service will deliver initial invitations to respond online and by phone.
  • March 16-24: Reminder letters will be delivered.
  • March 26-April 3: Reminder postcards will be delivered to households that have not responded.
  • April 8-16: Reminder letters and paper questionnaires will be delivered to remaining households that have not responded.
  • April 20-27: Final reminder postcards will be delivered to households that have not yet responded.

If a household does not respond to the census, a census taker will follow up in person. In most cases, this will begin in mid-May and conclude in late July. Households can still respond on their own during this period. People are encouraged to answer all questions on the 2020 Census to avoid having a census taker knock at their door.

The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years. Responding to the 2020 Census is easy, safe and important, and it’s key to shaping the future of communities. The goal of the 2020 Census is to count everyone who lives in the United States as of April 1, 2020 (Census Day). Census statistics are used to determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and informs how billions of dollars in public funds are allocated by state, local and federal lawmakers for public services like emergency response, schools, hospitals and bridges over the next 10 years.

For more information about the 2020 Census, visit 2020census.gov.

County Commission meeting could be called off

The Hartsville/Trousdale County Commission is scheduled to vote on the nomination of a new fire chief at its Monday meeting – assuming that meeting takes place.

At last Monday’s work session, Commission Chairman Dwight Jewell said all county meetings would take place as scheduled. On Tuesday, those plans changed.

“Because of new White House and CDC recommendations for the public to ‘avoid crowds of 10 or more’ and other considerations, we have decided to cancel the budget hearings, Law Enforcement Committee, and Charter Review Commission meetings,” Jewell said by email.

Commissioners had been scheduled to meet Tuesday evening, as well as next Tuesday, to hold hearings on the proposed county budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Both meetings have been canceled.

Jewell said a decision on the County Commission meeting would be made Monday morning.

On the agenda Monday are the nominations of Ken Buckmaster as fire chief and a reappointment of Johnny Kerr to the Planning Commission. Appointments as Judicial Commissioner, to the Animal Shelter Board and the Board of Zoning Appeals are also scheduled. Those names were not available at press time.

Also on the agenda are resolutions to declare Trousdale County a Second Amendment sanctuary, to declare the 2020 County Road List and to provide 401(k) and 457(b) retirement plans for county employees.

A rezoning of property on Hilltop Drive from C-2 to R-1 is scheduled for a public hearing and second vote, while rezonings on Hawkins Branch Road (A-1 to R-1) and Hilltop Drive (C-2 to R-1) are scheduled for first reading votes.

Two budget amendments are on the agenda, both of which are internal transfers of funds already budgeted:

$5,000 in grant funding for equipment for Trousdale EMA; and

$116,032.61 in incentive bonuses for the school system.

The County Commission meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 23 at 7 p.m. in the upstairs courtroom of the old courthouse.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or [email protected]

Looking Back: Horse flu once plagued Hartsville, U.S.

In 1872 the United States had an epidemic – the greatest it had ever seen!

You won’t recall this form of influenza because not only were you not alive back then, but because the death toll was small. Although as much as 85 percent of the population in some towns and cities were stricken, only one percent perished from the disease.

Yet slight cases took two to three weeks to recover and serious cases took up to six months to return to normal.

It was so bad that Mexico sent aid to our country!

What did our neighbor to the south send? Horses!

Submitted photo
A young Rex Gaskins stands beside his pony, named “Dot,” which we would have ridden around Hartsville to school and to visit friends. At one time everyone used horses to get around, despite their drawbacks.

Let me explain. In 1872 the great “equine epizooty” hit the United States and Canada. I am not making the word ‘epizooty’ up. It is real and it is the name attached to any epidemic that affects animals and not humans.

This was a time when people traveled by horse, our topic this month, and used buggies and wagons to get around. The country ran on horsepower!

The epizooty had a very short incubation period, two to three days, and the effect was almost instantaneous. Horses would have runny noses, they would cough and they would be weak and unable to work!

People were forced to walk everywhere – just like the pioneers – and they didn’t like it.

Freight couldn’t be delivered from the train depots because the freight wagon didn’t have healthy horses or mules, which also were affected, to put into the harness!

In large cities, the fire departments had to use manpower to pull their fire engines!

Mexico, which didn’t suffer as bad, sent live healthy horses to its neighbor to the north and eventually things returned to normal.

This was just one of the many problems associated with horse travel.

If you kept a horse, you also had to have a small barn or horse shed. You had to feed it daily, water it, give it exercise, keep it healthy and then there was the regular need to provide horseshoes.

Even though we may wax nostalgic about the past, the good old days when we had the one-room school and everyone stopped on Sunday and attended church, back when we knew our neighbors and everyone got along with each other, the reality of horse travel is something we forget.

If you see an old movie and a character gets a job as a ‘street cleaner’ or ‘sweeper’, it is considered a job at the bottom of the list. You were down and out if you swept the streets for a living, because you were sweeping up horse poop (we could use other words, but you get the idea).

Streets, even in small towns like Hartsville, were dirt and horse droppings were everywhere, and yes, horse urine too. Women grabbed their long skirts and pulled them up to cross the street to keep from getting horse manure on their skirts.

But there were other drawbacks to horse travel.

Horse travel can be dangerous.

We quote from an article in the Gallatin Examiner from October 1877, “…Clifton Carson, son of Mr. Woods Carson, living near Hartsville, was thrown from a horse on Sunday evening last breaking several ribs from the back bone, driving one into his lungs. He suffered intensely for five hours and died of his injuries.”

We won’t begin to quote from other articles we have seen where buggies turned over, where people were kicked by a mule, where horses ran away with their rider and where riders fell off like Clifton Carson and were mangled, crushed, wounded, broken or injured.

And just like people steal cars today, theft was also a problem for people who owned horses.

Again, we quote from a newspaper, this time The Tennessean, also from 1877, “The people of Trousdale and the adjoining counties have suffered so severely from horse thieves of late, that the Hartsville Sentinel proposes an organization of citizens for the capture and punishment of such depredators, with lodges in every town and village.”

Nothing like a good old band of vigilantes to keep our streets safe from horse thieves!

Jack McCall: Common sense not too common these days

Someone has said common sense is not so common. In reality, common sense is really uncommon sense. Some have described common sense as “walking around sense,” implying one’s being in touch with everyday reality.

You’ve heard it said all your life: “Why, he doesn’t have any common sense!” or “She has plenty of ‘book’ sense, but she doesn’t have a lick of common sense” or “He doesn’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain!” or better, yet “She doesn’t have the sense God gave a goose!” All refer to someone’s lack of common sense.

Across the Miles
Jack McCall

In all my years, I have never seen such a departure from the use of common sense as we are now seeing in what some have come to refer as the “post-modern era.” And yet, why should we be surprised? Most common sense finds its roots in basic Biblical principles. Once we leave the teachings of the Bible and its wisdom behind, all thinking becomes distorted and cloudy.

I made a speaking presentation to a group of educators in Nashville, Ark., not so long ago. Nashville is located in Howard County down in the southwest corner of the state near Texarkana, Texas. It was the first day of in-service training for a new school year.

After the morning session, a group of administrators and I were discussing how the educational environment had changed, along with the “do’s” and “don’ts” that have come along with those changes. At some point in our discussions the subject turned to the school’s lunch program.

As I understood it, a box lunch was offered to students at some of the high schools there. The lunch consisted of a hoagie sandwich with ham or turkey, a bag of chips, an apple and a brownie. One supervisor told of how students would walk up to the lunch counter, take their box lunch, open it, take out the bag of chips and throw the box and the remainder of its contents into the trash can.

Well, I almost fell out of the buggy! Maybe I should have not been so taken by surprise, but I was aghast. I could not believe it!

Please understand. I grew up in a very conservatively run household. It was so conservatively run we never “felt” recessions when they came along. You might say our way of life was “recession proof.” My mother made sure of that. She could stretch a dollar with the best of them.

My brothers, my sister and I were brought up to “clean our plates” and food was rarely thrown away. “Waste not, want not” was a guiding principle at our house.

It took me a moment or two to gather my wits after the educator dropped the box lunch bomb on me.

“You can’t be serious!” I objected.

“I’m totally serious,” she answered, with a note of mild dismay in her voice.

“Why don’t they keep the sandwich and give it to a homeless shelter or a food kitchen for the needy?” I pressed.

“Oh, we can’t imply someone might need it,” she said.

I was not going to give up easily.

“Well, how about another student? Could the food not be given to another student who would like another sandwich, or apple, or brownie?” I insisted.

“Oh, no!” she answered. “You could get into real trouble implying that a child was needy or, even worse, poor.”

And then I said it.

“That absolutely makes no sense!”

“I know,” she admitted. “But it is easier to throw the food away than deal with a potential problem.”

So, I did some checking around. And I found under the guise of “following the letter of the law” and in a bumbling attempt to be maintain political correctness, millions of dollars worth of food are being throw away every day in our public school system.

And please understand. I’m not picking on our school system per se. Examples can be seen everyday. It is simply what begins to happen when bureaucrats get carried away with spending other people’s money.

Sometimes when I see so little good judgment (or common sense) being applied, I am want to ask, “Who are these people?”

The American Sioux Indians called themselves “the human beings.” By doing so, they distinguished themselves from all other animal life.

In a great western movie of years gone by, one famous Sioux chief declared, “More and more people will come, but there will be fewer and fewer human beings.”

He was speaking of the Sioux, but his words had the ring of a prophet.

Another Sioux chief declared, “A world without human beings has no center to it.”

“A world with no center to it.” That’s another way of describing a world that has lost it equilibrium, or lost its way – a world in which common sense has become all too uncommon.

Gives one pause for thought, doesn’t it?