Look Back: Old building goes from bank to bakery

Downtown Hartsville is about to see some dramatic changes as our “Streetscape” project is put into motion and new sidewalks and landscaping added. This project began several years ago, but like most government projects takes a long time to actually put shovels in the ground and begin construction.

We hope that some of our century-old downtown buildings can be restored and freshened up to go with the new sidewalks.

One old building is already setting an example of what happens when people care about an old property and want to bring people and activity back into a town.

We have this month visited two old homes that are seeing new lives as businesses. This week we visit an old bank!

Submitted photo
The old Bank of Hartsville building has stood on Main Street since 1901, making it one of Hartsville’s oldest downtown structures. Today, it is enjoying a new life as Sweet Kuntry Bakery and Eatery.

On the corner of Broadway and Main Street is one of the architectural gems of Hartsville in the old Bank of Hartsville building.

It has a history that goes back – way back.

In 1884, wealthy businessman H.C. Ellis decided that Hartsville needed a bank.

Before that date, people either used the bank in Gallatin or kept their money in a metal box under the bed!

Joined by three other affluent businessmen of town, Moscow L. Wright, R.C. Wright and G.A. Puryear, he formed “Wright, Ellis and Company, Bankers.” It was the first bank in the Upper Cumberland region.

A bank needs a building and the men rented a storefront in town, purchased a bank safe and built a brick vault around it.

That building stood on Main Street. A parking lot occupies the site today. The bank prospered as people liked the convenience of hometown banking. Then in 1900, a disastrous fire burned every building on the north side of Main Street, including our county courthouse and the bank building! Luckily, the vault saved the bank’s deposits.

Hartsville had no fire department at that time and because so many buildings back then had wood shingle roofs, a small fire in a stable, home or business posed the risk of setting the whole street on fire.

Worried that it could happen again, the bankers decided to select a safer location. They purchased the lot at the corner of Broadway and Main and erected the impressive building in our picture. And they changed the bank’s name to “The Bank of Hartsville.”

The move was a smart one as just four years later a fire did start on Main Street and spread from one building to another. It consumed almost the entire town! But the new bank building sat safe and secure.

The Bank of Hartsville was in business for over 100 years. In 1976 it would build a more modern building further up Broadway and closer to Highway 25. The old building was still used, but as a branch office. Over the years the bank was caught up in mergers with other banks, sold and resold and it eventually closed.

But the original bank building still sat proudly on its corner of downtown Hartsville, surviving a fire on one side and a neglected vacant lot on the other. Local citizens managed to clean up the burned-out lots from the fire and the vacant lot and have filled them in with dirt and planted grass and have also done some landscaping.

The old building was then purchased by Reggie and Mary Ann Mudd, who restored it on the inside and used it as rental property. In doing so they have retained its turn-of-the-century architectural features, such as its dramatic tin ceiling. They have also added such touches as ceiling fans and historic lighting! It shows what can be done when someone appreciates an old building.

Now the next chapter in our story.

Two enterprising young ladies have decided to bring a breath of fresh air to the old bank and to our historic but sad-looking downtown.

Hartsville natives Jennifer Elmore Petty and Kendra Stafford have joined forces to turn the brick-and-stone building into a trendy new business sure to attract people and put smiles on their faces – a bakery!

Not just wanting to go into business but with a desire to bring a little life to our downtown, the pair have opened up Sweet Kuntry Bakery and Eatery!

You may have already noticed how the building is becoming a busy place, with people of all ages darting into the stately old building and emerging with glazed donuts, cakes, sweets, ice cream and sandwiches!

Check out their Facebook page for daily specials!

We welcome them to the downtown and we know that Mr. Ellis would be pleased to see his old bank full of people. Maybe not taking out loans, but enjoying themselves with food, friends and good times!

Jack McCall: Making our way to Mickey Mouse’s paradise

My wife, Kathy, and I took in Disney World a few weeks back. Actually two of our sons, J. Brim and Jonathan, and their wives, Emily and Katie, planned the trip. We were invited to come along. So the two couples, Kathy and I, and six of our grandchildren made the trip.

Friends advised Kathy and me to fly to Orlando, but that would have been too easy. Besides, the thought of “caravaning” in three vehicles had a strange appeal to me. So on a Sunday morning at 4 a.m. we all headed off to Orlando.

The boys took the lead, directed by their GPS devices. It was no trouble for me to follow along. For the first half of the trip it was easy to stay within sight of the other two vehicles. Just north of Macon, Ga., we stopped at a rest area to stretch our legs, take a bathroom break and reorganize.

Across the Miles
Jack McCall

As we discussed our next move, the three oldest granddaughters, Oakley (who is almost 9), Jane, age 8, and Lena, age 6, asked if they could ride with us. It sounded fair enough, so we began to transfer car seats for the girls.

At this point it is important that I make an observation. The back seat of a Toyota 4-Runner will accommodate three children’s car seats, but it will not do so handily. Especially, when the middle car seat is one of those over-sized jobs. I might also mention that the seat belt receivers (the ones with the red release button) have a way of disappearing deep within the bowels of the vehicle when you need to reach them most.

By the time we got the girls all buckled up, my other drivers were “chomping at the bit.” The lead driver, Jonathan, bolted from the rest area like he was shot out of a gun. J. Brim followed on his heels. I looked for both their vehicles as I pulled out on I-75, but they were already out of sight. For the first time that morning I felt pressured to catch up.

Common sense told me to stay on I-75, which would take me all the way to Orlando. Jonathan’s GPS told him to take I-475 around Macon.

Ten minutes passed before he called looking for me. I told him of my whereabouts – on I-75 South. He instructed me to turn around and go back to catch I-475. I did. After 10 more minutes of back tracking, he called to tell me to stay on I-75 as it would eventually intersect with I-475.

“Thanks a lot,” I said under my breath.

Let me pause here to say that’s what happens when you depend too much on technology. If I had a map I could have figured the situation out. But as it was, I had now fallen 30 minutes behind the others. I was feeling more pressure to catch up.

Here’s another observation. When little girls find themselves cooped up in a motor vehicle for any length of time their bladders get smaller.

Just when I thought I was making some headway in catching the others, I heard a little voice from the back seat saying, “I need to go to the bathroom.”

“Me, too!” said another.

“I REALLY need to go!” the third chimed in.

So, now we began to look for a rest area. We spotted one just three miles ahead. Fortunately, they were able to “hold it” till be got there.

We unloaded, took care of business, and began to re-do the seat belts. Did I mention it was 99 degrees in southern Georgia that day? On the pavement it had to be 110 degrees. By the time I succeeded in re-buckling all their seat belts, I was sweatin’ like a pig. And we had fallen further behind.

When you drive long stretches of interstate highway, you see all kinds of billboards. Some advertise “Injury Lawyers.” Others advertise “Adult Super Stores.” I have never been in an adult super store. It is not on my “bucket list.”

But after we stopped for the THIRD time for the girls to go to the bathroom; and I feverishly worked to re-buckle their seat belts in the Florida sun, I saw a billboard that really appealed to me.

It said “Liquor Barn” next exit. Fortunately, I was running too far behind to stop.

More on Disney in next week’s column.

Trousdale County Class of 1969 holds 50th reunion

Submitted photo

The Trousdale County High School Class of 1969 recently held its 50th class reunion, which was attended by 32 of the 54 members of that class.

Pictured from left are, front row: Sammy Dixon, Bill Price, Karen Clark Luhrs, Pat Sullivan Kulas, Kaylee Needham, Donna Kerr Bartley, Sue Carey Reynolds, Barbara Wright, Janie Gregory Winfree. Second row: June Raney Aldana, June Hamlet Thompson, Mike Cornwell, Theresa Howell Stanford, Barbara Gammons Scruggs, Ray Morgan, Bill Huffines, Jerry Dickerson, Judy Gerrisen Guffey.

Back row: Rosie Cliff Donoho, Reita Beth Stone West, Jimmy Anthony, Mike Williams, Steve Ford, Wayne Holt, Stanley Holder, Harold Carman, Buddy Freeman, Mike Carey, Wayne Vantrease, Don Eckel.

Attendees not pictured are Nancy Scruggs Langford, Charles Carter.

Colleges honor Trousdale County students

Ryan Goke of Hartsville was recently initiated into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society. Goke was initiated at Murray State University.

Goke is among approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni to be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi each year. Membership is by invitation only and requires nomination and approval by a chapter. Only the top 10 percent of seniors and 7.5 percent of juniors are eligible for membership. Graduate students in the top 10 percent of the number of candidates for graduate degrees may also qualify, as do faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction.

Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 under the leadership of undergraduate student Marcus L. Urann, who had a desire to create a different kind of honor society: one that recognized excellence in all academic disciplines. Today, the Society has chapters on more than 300 campuses in the United States and the Philippines. Its mission is “To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.”

Dean’s List students: The following Trousdale County students made the Dean’s List for the Spring 2019 semester at the following colleges & universities:

Volunteer State CC – Dean’s List: Jeremiah Pinzur, Hannah Steva, Megan Stilter;

Volunteer State CC – Dean’s List & Honor Roll: Madison Bowen, Megan Freeman, Dustin Gober, Kaleigh Hughey, Michaela Kelly, Jeremiah Pinzur, Hannah Steva, Megan Stiltner;

Union – Kody Scruggs;

Tennessee Tech – Kelly Bell, Ilysa Crouch, Kyle Goke, Hannah Gregory, Will Henry, Christa Hodge, Sara Kennedy, Stuart Martin, Rance Muirhead, Moses Pinzur, Mason Quinn, Jessica Sheehan, Amber Slagle, Salem Sullivan;

Tennessee Tech – Graduates – Kace Cook, Kyle Goke, Christa Hodge, Sara Kennedy, Rance Muirhead, Amber Slagle;

Cumberland – James Babcock, Wiley Barton, Emily Smith, Mary Haley, Paige Hrobsky, Michaela Marcellino, Natalie Presley.

Mike Alexieff: What a community newspaper should be

As the new editor and publisher of the Lebanon Democrat, Mt. Juliet News and Hartsville Vidette, I thought I’d take this space to introduce myself and talk a little bit about the importance of community journalism.

With the exception of a year working for a congressman, I’ve been a professional journalist since 1984. I’m a graduate of UT. No, not the UT of the bright orange in Knoxville, but the UT of the burnt orange down in Austin, Texas.

Over the course of the past 35 years, I’ve worked for newspapers in Texas, Arizona, Texas again, Kentucky, Texas again, South Carolina, Kentucky again, and now Tennessee. With a couple of exceptions, most of those jobs were at weekly and small daily newspapers. I’ve worked for large media corporations and medium-sized and smaller family owned chains.

Mike Alexieff

What I’ve learned over the decades and distance is that a newspaper has a responsibility to the community it serves. It has a responsibility to first and foremost get it right. Without accuracy, we have no credibility, and credibility is the lifeblood of a newspaper. You must be able to trust us, something that is more important than ever today. We will make mistakes, but they hopefully will be few and far between and they will be corrected quickly and prominently.

A community newspaper has a responsibility to be fair. That means a couple of things. Traditionally, in journalism, to be fair is to get both sides of the story. While that is still true, getting both sides of the story does not mean allowing anybody to say anything. If one side says something that is objectively false, then they will either be called on it or it won’t get in the paper.

And speaking of objectivity, there is much discussion these days on whether such a thing exists. I have worked closely with more than 100 journalists over the years, and I have never come across one that let his or her personal opinions affect their reporting. No doubt newspaper journalists are opinionated, but we are also passionate about reporting in an unbiased manner. Notice I said newspaper journalist; I don’t have that same confidence when talking about TV or digital journalists, which has more to do with the nature of their medium than their skills or ethics.

The second and perhaps more subtle and important aspect of fairness as it relates to this discussion is how a newspaper reflects its community. I’ve seen way too many newspapers depend on crime news to fill their front pages. In one town where I took over as editor, the previous management regularly put relatively minor crime stories — assaults, drug busts, break-ins — on Page One. A stranger picking up a copy of that paper would think that place was the crime capital of the world.

My point is that a community newspaper must reflect the community it serves. We will still cover crime, and if it’s major it will still make Page One. For the front, we will look at trends and solutions. For example, yes, there is a drug problem here. The individual arrest or OD won’t necessarily warrant coverage, but law enforcement’s efforts to combat the problem will.

So what does reflect a community? The Democrat and its affiliated weeklies will celebrate our successes, whether they be new businesses locating here, the educational and athletic achievements at our educational institutions and their students, the accomplishments of our residents and the good works of our government employees and politicians. In essence, the things that make us proud and happy to call this place home.

We will also report on the problems we face, whether they be the aforementioned drug problem, the growing traffic congestion, the lack of a trained workforce, the strains on education caused by surging enrollment, and the growing city, county and school budgets and the related impact on tax rates. Of course, we will investigate and report on malfeasance on the part of elected and appointed officials, if it exists.

A newspaper in many ways is the face of its community. It cuts across political, geographic and socioeconomic lines. To a large degree, we are your newspaper, so don’t hesitate to call or write with questions, tips, suggestions. My number is 615-444-3952 ext. 12 and my email is malexieff@lebanondemocrat.com. I look forward to getting to know you.

IMPACThought: Ignoring God’s will is selfishness on our part

The voice was easily identifiable. The plan was clearly stated. It was God, who told this Jewish man named Jonah to travel to Nineveh and preach to the nation about its sin. The Lord’s purpose was for Jonah to call those people to repentance. The Gentile nation of Nineveh continually committed wickedness in the eyes of God, and the Lord wanted this preacher to trumpet the news of an impending invasion of a foreign enemy. The Lord’s timetable was set. This invasion would be the consequence of the nation’s sin and would quickly come to pass. The plan, purpose and time of God was emphatically articulated to His chosen vessel. Jonah needed to respond with haste. It was time to trust and obey God’s call.

Submitted photo
Jon Shonebarger

However, Jonah was unwilling to obey the Lord’s call to preach to a Gentile people. The bigoted preacher plotted a way of escape in order to hide from the presence of the Lord. In rebellion, Jonah foolishly chose to run in the opposite direction of Nineveh. His intended destination was Tarshish. Quickly Jonah journeyed to Joppa and paid the ticket price to set sail for Tarshish. Jonah instantly felt relieved from the burden of God’s call and was confident that his alternative route would excuse him from the plan that God had spoken. The deception of his heart would lead him directly into the chastening hand of God.

Little did Jonah realize that the eyes of the Lord run to and fro through all the earth. Jonah could run as far and as long as he wished, but he could never be out of the sight of his Lord. The rebellious plot of the wayward preacher would entangle others and cause innocent people to experience the effects of Jonah’s sin in their lives. The Lord sent a great wind upon the sea. The wind and waves were so powerful that the ship was in danger of breaking apart. The mariners were afraid for their lives and cried out to their pagan gods for help. The seamen cast the cargo into the sea in hope of preserving the ship.

Meanwhile, Jonah was asleep at the bottom of the ship! The mariners woke the oblivious, sleeping preacher and demanded to know the meaning of this peril. They implored Jonah to call upon his God and plead for mercy. They all cast lots to determine who caused the storm to fall upon them. The lot fell to Jonah. The mariners demanded an explanation.

Jonah brazenly testified of his Hebrew lineage and his faith in the true and living God. It was revealed that Jonah was running from the presence of the Lord, which caused tremendous fear in the hearts of the mariners. The mariners queried Jonah on what they should do. Jonah advised them to cast him into the sea, in order to secure their safety. So, Jonah was cast into the sea; the mariners cried unto God for mercy and admitted the Lord’s will would be fulfilled. The Lord would sent a whale to swallow Jonah, where the preacher would spend three days and three nights in its belly.

The story of the first chapter of Jonah is clear; God in His grace utilizes imperfect people to accomplish His plans. Jonah was a bigoted Jew who had no desire to preach to a wicked Gentile nation. Ultimately, Jonah would go and the results of that preaching are revealed in chapters three and four of this short book of the Bible. God chose Jonah to go to Nineveh; He did not take a survey or ask his opinion. He commanded him to go. God would equip Jonah, empower him and enable him to preach the message to that pagan land. Success would be achieved by Jonah’s obedience to God’s will. If you desire a successful life, use the gifts and talents He gives you, for His glory.

The story of Jonah also reveals another behavior seen in many believers. When we do not like a command of God, we rebel and choose our own course. The spiritual reality is that there is no safer place for us to be than in the grip of God and the center of His will. Our selfish plans lead to waste, misery, heartache and tragic consequences. An old gospel saying is remembered here, “Sin takes you farther than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want to stay and costs you more than you want to pay.” We can run away from the authority of Scripture and the Lordship of Jesus Christ, but we will be discouraged, depressed and defeated. Time in the belly of the whale will bring us to a place of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Finally, the story of Jonah reveals that innocent people can be caught in the consequences of our selfish, rebellious reaction to God’s authority. The pagan mariners knew that something was causing their storm. Jonah, possessing a hardened heart of sin, declared an impotent faith that did not work in his life. People often declare that their sin hurts nobody but themselves. That is simply not the case; there are always innocent victims of sin in our lives.

Jonah was content in his selfishness, his rebellion and his hard heart. His poor spiritual condition was best realized when he slept in the bottom of the ship while the others were focused on who offended God. The Lord will ultimately get our attention. God does not want to leave us to the evil devices of our hearts. We must confess our error and rely on God alone to lead us to safety. Jonah was an enigma. A man with unlimited potential for God, but a man who struggled with surrendering to the sovereignty of Almighty God.

My friends; trust God’s word; obey His commands, enjoy the pathway He has established for you. There is no safer place to be than in the center of God’s will! Have a great week and remember, God loves YOU!

Contact Jon at jtshonebarger@gmail.com.

Phil Valentine: The difference between ‘homeless’ and ‘bums’

Homeless people are taking over. I know we’re supposed to be sympathetic, and I am. I’ve worked with the homeless in varying capacities. I’ve given my time and money. I have a special place in my heart for the truly needy. But I fear too many are taking advantage of our generosity.

Take the ubiquitous person at the off-ramp with the sign. Usually it reads something like ‘Will work for food.’ The only problem is they won’t. There was a piece on Fox 17 in Nashville about a fed up local man who decided to shame a panhandler. He made up his own sign — He Can Get a Job — and stood next to the man as he tried to swindle pocket change from passersby.

Phil Valentine

In places like San Francisco the homeless problem is out of control. They’ve taken over the streets. There’s trash and human waste everywhere. There’s even an app to help you avoid the piles of stinking doo-doo. And used needles litter the landscape. Is this the liberal utopia we’ve been promised?

Here’s the deal. There’s a big difference between truly homeless people and plain ole bums. It’s the bums who’ve taken over the streets. They bug tourists in downtown Nashville. They camp out on the sidewalks of Los Angeles. The liberals who run these cities have no idea what to do about it. The solution is very simple. You outlaw it then enforce the law. This is the way things used to be done. There are probably panhandling prohibitions still on the books in these cities. Either they’ve been repealed or they’re purposely ignored. The bums have taken advantage of the situation and now they’re overrunning the streets.

I discovered a little “homeless community” recently. There’s an area I frequent that has a Walmart and a Lowe’s. I notice a different bum working the traffic light near by. And I see them wandering the parking lot. Then I was sitting in the drive-thru getting me a biscuit recently when I noticed a congregation of bums in the parking lot next door. I drove by slowly and discovered it was a small city park. As I drove by the park I noticed through the trees some tents pitched. Putting two and two together I figured out this is where these bums were living. There were whiskey bottles and trash strewn everywhere.

So, why haven’t the cops broken this little bum city up? Probably because they have bigger fish to fry. Or maybe because nobody complains. Or they don’t complain loud enough. Bums everywhere is a sure sign that your area is hitting the skids. It’s like gang tagging. Once you see gang tags on stop signs and overpasses you can bet the clock is ticking before your neighborhood becomes a dump.

We can either collectively stand by and watch it happen or we can start raising hell with the people who run our towns and cities. Those of us who pay massive property tax bills should demand that the authorities protect our property values by not allowing the bums to take over.

Yes, I’m concerned about why so many of these people have become bums. I suspect substance abuse is a large part of the problem. However, allowing them to take over large swaths of cities is not helping to get them off the streets. If these people are run off from every piece of public land in the country maybe they’ll finally seek the help they need. Allowing them to continue to panhandle doesn’t mean you have a big heart. Appeasement is not compassion.

Phil Valentine is a nationally syndicated talk radio host. Find him at philvalentine.com.

Guest View: Raising minimum wage helps businesses and workers

There are a lot of records that would be great to break. This isn’t one of them: June 16 marks the longest period in history without an increase since the federal minimum wage was established in 1938.

The federal minimum wage went to $7.25 an hour on July 24, 2009 – nearly 10 years ago. It remains $7.25 today, amounting to just $15,080 a year for full-time work.

When the minimum wage does not go up, it goes down in value relative to the cost of living.

The gap between minimum wage and the cost of rent, groceries, medicine, transportation and everything else keeps growing. That matters whether you’re trying to work your way through school, support your child, or need a job to make ends meet on Social Security.

The buying power of today’s $7.25 minimum is lower than the minimum wage of 1968, which would be $11.96 in 2019 dollars, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator. Our economy has grown considerably since 1968, but not the federal minimum wage, which sets the floor under worker pay.

When the minimum wage is too little to live on, it’s bad for business as well as workers.

“When the minimum wage is inadequate it hurts employee health, morale, productivity and retention,” says Marietta, Georgia business owner Kyle Johnson. “And it weakens consumer demand.”

It’s vital to remember that working people are also customers. Increased pay means increased consumer buying power.

U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce CEO Margot Dorfman explains that raising the minimum wage “will help small businesses like my members by putting more money in the pockets of customers – boosting consumer demand and job creation. Businesses that pay low wages may save on immediate payroll, but they experience the significant expense of higher turnover, low morale and a less productive workforce.”

When the minimum wage goes up, worker financial stress and turnover go down, and businesses save on hiring and training costs. They see lower error rates, less product waste and better customer service.

While the federal minimum wage has stagnated, more states have acted. Twenty-nine states have minimum wages above the $7.25 federal level set in 2009. But only three states currently have a minimum wage greater than or equal to $12, approximating the 1968 value. And 21 states remain stuck at $7.25. Job growth has been better in states that have raised their minimum wages than those that have not.

State action is important, but it’s not sufficient. The minimum wage should not keep workers in poverty, wherever they work. We need a decent new federal floor, as called for in the Raise the Wage Act, which would gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 by the year 2024.

Nearly 40 million workers would get a raise if the minimum wage goes to $15 by 2024. The typical worker who would benefit is 35 years old – working jobs from preschool teacher to health care aide, cook to cashier to manufacturing worker.

Many business owners across the country support raising the minimum wage because they know it will be good for their business and their communities. They know it will help level the playing field.

Keeping the minimum wage low will not help small businesses compete with big businesses. Costco and Amazon already pay $15 minimum wages. Target’s at $13 and going to $15 in 2020. Many smaller businesses pay at least $15 today or are committed to getting there by 2024 or before.

Forward-thinking small business owners know that to survive and thrive amid big chains and online giants, you need employees who want to work for you and customers who want to buy from you.

You have to give customers a reason to come through your doors and keep coming back. And that comes back to customer service, which comes back to employees.

Gradually increasing the minimum wage will enable lower-wage companies to adjust to raises over time, experiencing benefits such as lower turnover, better productivity and increased consumer spending as they do.

In the words of Angela O’Byrne, a Louisiana Small Business Person of the Year, “increasing the federal minimum wage will create an economic ripple effect benefitting businesses large and small.”

Holly Sklar is the CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, a national network of business owners and executives who believe a fair minimum wage makes good business sense.

David Carroll: Local journalism plays important role

I know it isn’t cool to say this in 2019, but it needs to be said. Let me get this out in the open, and state it for the record. I am a newspaper addict. On vacation, I pack a roll of quarters, and I have been known to track down the last paper rack in town. If I cannot find my daily dose of news and puzzles, I become cranky and irritable.

Sure, I prefer the inky version I hold in my hands, but any old platform will do. I must have my daily paper, plus a few more if they’re handy. I’m the guy who grabs the paper you leave behind at the restaurant or the airport. I haven’t yet dug one out of the trashcan, but it has been tempting at times. How would it look to see a grown man, scavenging for the sports section? “That poor man,” onlookers would say. “He’s probably hoping there are some fries wrapped up in that paper.”

David Carroll

So yes, I’m hooked on the Daily Bugle and the Weekly Town Crier. I give full credit to my parents. They were not highly educated people, but they wanted to be informed, even in a rural area long before the Internet age.

When I was just learning to read, we subscribed to the daily newspaper, and Newsweek magazine. Those sources, along with television news and encyclopedia sets, were my windows to the world.

Of course, the encyclopedia publishers surrendered to Google and Wikipedia long ago. Newsweek is also a thing of the past. TV news survives, although splintered, and seen by many as partisan and shrill.

That leaves newspapers, like the one you are reading now. Whether you are holding it in your hands, resting it on the table next to your coffee, or scrolling down a screen, this beloved paper has beaten the odds.

Obituaries for local newspapers were written a decade or two ago. Some were premature, but others were accurate. You will not find many millennials or Generation X-ers with ink on their fingers. (You will, however find them wearing ear buds, with eyes aimed downward toward their tiny screen, unaware of oncoming traffic.)

In addition to the financial fallout, newspapers have come under attack from politicians. Opinion writers were once respected for offering reasoned, educated views. They enjoyed the luxury of letting a news event simmer for a day or two, and taking time to digest it before rendering a verdict. Now, a “breaking news” story is shouted down by all sides within minutes on a cable channel near you. Incredibly, that is the news of choice for some.

Thoughtful columnists on both sides are now roundly criticized by those who are accustomed to following only media outlets that echo their take on the world. Anything less, they believe, is un-American.

As newspapers struggle to stay solvent, please remember this. In many small towns and counties, local journalists serve as the only watchdog for citizens. Thankfully, most elected officials serve for the right reasons. But as proven recently in several state capitals, we still have foxes in the hen house. Many shady politicians have been removed, or are on the way out, and the press played a major role in exposing their wrongdoings.

So we can complain about the comics being smaller, the columns narrower, subscription rates higher, and in some cases, the publication and delivery dates less frequent.

We can also mourn the loss of staff members, and the shrinkage of the newsroom. This is all the result of cutbacks, just to stop the bleeding and stay alive.

Where are newspapers headed? No one really knows. Whether your children and mine eventually get their news on paper, electronically, or by twitching their nose, we must continue to support independent reporting. We have seen what has happens when there are no checks and balances in foreign countries, and now we are starting to see it in parts of the USA.

A wise person once said that nations with a free press will never starve, because journalists will find the food, and tell you how to get it.

If it makes you feel better, you can hate the news outlets and reporters with whom you disagree. But if you’re fortunate enough to have journalists in your town who are dedicated to “comforting the afflicted, and afflicting the comfortable,” be grateful. Give them a hug, or the more politically correct pat on the back.

Renew your subscription, and do business with their advertisers. If you ever lose your local reporters, you lose much more than a companion for your coffee. You lose oversight and accountability. When that happens, everyone loses.

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.

Sen. Haile calls for change in Medicare reimbursement rule

Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin) has called for adoption of a proposed rule pending before the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Submitted photo
State Sen. Ferrell Haile

The rule would help Tennessee’s hospitals, particularly those in rural and underserved areas, receive a fairer reimbursement rate for health care services by reforming the Area Wage Index (AWI) formula.

Haile, who is Vice Chairman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, submitted a letter expressing his strong support for reform as an official response to a public comment period on the proposal, which is set to end on June 24. He also co-sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 98, which was passed by the General Assembly earlier this year urging federal authorities to revise the AWI formula.

“Tennessee hospitals have been struggling with grossly unfair Medicare reimbursement rates, which is a key reason for financial instability and closures,” said Sen. Haile in a press statement. “Fixing the flawed formula is critical to our healthcare system in Tennessee. I was glad to have the opportunity to weigh in on the many benefits reform will provide for patients and communities across Tennessee.”

Haile also praised the efforts of Tennessee’s federal delegation in working to bring the needed change to the attention of the Trump administration.

“I appreciate the hard work done by Senator (Lamar) Alexander, Senator (Marsha) Blackburn, and Congressman (John) Rose in helping to bring the proposed change before CMS and am hopeful we will be hearing good news about its adoption soon.”

Upon adoption, the new rule could take effect as soon as this fall.

Community Calendar: June 20, 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.


Thursday, June 20

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. – Parks & Recreation Committee

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

Monday, June 24

7 p.m. – County Commission

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

Tuesday, June 25

5 p.m. – Water Board

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

Tuesday, July 9

10 a.m. – Emergency Communications District Board

The Hartsville/Trousdale County Emergency Communications District Board will hold its regular quarterly meeting in the sheriff’s station, 210 Broadway.


Church of Christ Summer Series

Our Summer Series at the Hartsville Church of Christ, Halltown Road, runs each Wednesday until July 10. There will be a different speaker every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Our speakers will be teaching on the parables. Join us each Wednesday night and hear outstanding lessons on Jesus and His parables. Everyone is welcome!

Macon County Hillbilly Days

Macon County’s Hillbilly Days will be held June 20-22 at Key Park in Lafayette. Events include ‘Itty Bitty Hillbillies’ beauty pageant, cake walk, gospel concert, cast iron recipe contest, fiddle challenge and bluegrass band competition. For more information, call B.J. Blankenship (615-699-2495) or Monica Gann (615-666-5196).

Life Event Planning

Key-Stewart United Methodist Church, 166 Dorothy Jordan Blvd., Gallatin, will host “Getting Your Affairs In Order” life event planning on Saturday, June 29 from 10 a.m.-noon. Sponsored by United Methodist Women.

Grief Support Group

A new community support group for adults, “Grieving With Hope,” will begin meeting the first Tuesday each month starting on July 2 at 3:30 p.m. at Trousdale Senior Living Center. For more information, call Debbie Glover, 615-979-2146.

UT Extension Book Club

Sumner County UT Extension will have its About Book club meeting on Wednesday, July 3 from noon-1 p.m. at the UT Extension Office in Gallatin. Selected book of the month is “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens. Our book club is open to everyone and meets every other first Wednesday of the month. For more information, call the Gallatin UT Extension office at 615-452-1423.

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.


Thursday, June 20

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

Friday, June 21

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

Monday, June 24

9:30 a.m. – Wii Bowling

Noon – Betsy Walker CBD Oils

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

5 p.m. – Water Aerobics

Tuesday, June 25

9 a.m. – SAIL Exercise

10 a.m. – Yoga

11:30 a.m. – Current Events by Wilson Bank & Trust

Wednesday, June 26

9 a.m. – Line Dancing

11 a.m. – SAIL Chair Exercise

Noon – Rook games

12:30 p.m. – Bible Study

5 p.m. – Water Aerobics

Sheriff’s Reports: June 20, 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.

June 10

Glenn Maurice Dickens, 44, of Hartsville, was charged with public intoxication by Deputy Jesse Gentry. Dickens was released on his own recognizance and General Sessions court date was set for July 12.

June 11

Robert Alan Phillips, 57, of Hartsville, was charged with habitual offender-motor vehicle by Deputy Tony Wrinkle. Bond was set for $2,500 and General Sessions court date was set for June 28.

June 14

Ivan Bernardo Wright, 59, of Lebanon, was charged with probation violation by Deputy David Morgan. No bond was set and General Sessions court date was set for June 28.

Zachary Alexander Chesak, 24, of Hartsville, was charged with failure to appear by Deputy Travis Blair. No bond was set and General Sessions court date was set for July 12.

June 15

Jessie Lee Dickens, 49, of Hartsville, was charged with public intoxication by Deputy Wesley Taylor. Bond was set for $1,000 and General Sessions court date was set for July 12.

Order of Eastern Star recognizes Lorene Gregory’s 50 years as member

Crescent #26 Order of the Eastern Star recently presented Lorene Gregory with her 50-year pin for membership.

Lorene has been a member of Crescent #26 since Nov. 11, 1966.

For years Lorene was our Martha (shares the lesson of faith and trust in God) and when asked if she still knew it, she proudly said she did!

Pictured from left are, Helen Murley, Barbara Brackebusch, Lorene Gregory, Vicki Fadeley, Janice Scruggs, the Worthy Matron of Crescent #26.

Look Back: Visit Trousdale County’s historic ‘Vinewood’ estate

Last week we visited an old home in Hartsville that has a fascinating history, the Lauderdale Estate. With a pedigree that makes the house museum-worthy, it has a new career as an “event” place. That is the home’s owners, Jeremy and Jordan Barnes, not only live in the house but rent it, and its lovely tree-shaded lawn, to people to have weddings, receptions, birthday parties, family reunions and such.

This week we meet another old house with a new career.

In 1854, construction began on a large, two-story brick home between Hartsville and Dixon Springs owned by the DeBow family, prosperous Hartsville merchants.

The home’s construction was time consuming because the bricks had to be made and fired on the property, as was the custom of the time. The builders had to dig up local soil with a high level of clay – not hard to do around here – and then mix it with water. They would shape it by packing it into wooden molds, drying it in the sun, then build large fires and bake them several hundred at a time.

Large limestone foundation stones had to be quarried and carried to the site.

Submitted photo
“Vinewood” is the distinctive home beside Highway 25 as you leave town, with a history that dates back to 1856 and now a promising future!

We don’t know how far work had progressed when the Civil War broke out in 1860, but the house wouldn’t be finished until after the war was over because workers left to go fight!

The unfinished house, with a slate roof imported from England, was used as a hospital after the 1862 Battle of Hartsville.

We know that it was finished and occupied by 1870, because the men in charge of mapping out the boundary lines of what is now Trousdale County met in the front parlor to do just that!

Not many homes can boast of being the birthplace of a county!

After the DeBow family, the home was occupied by the Andrews family, also local merchants.

In 1904 the house and farm were purchased by Mr. Coleman Winston. Winston was a prosperous businessman and worked for a company that made cast-iron cook stoves. He covered a large area with his salesmen and traveled a lot.

Coleman moved his sister and her family into the house to keep it lived in while he was away. He was a bachelor and had never been married.

Now the story takes a twist when on a business trip, Coleman Winston took deathly sick and was hospitalized. During his lengthy hospital stay he and his nurse struck up a friendship that blossomed into something more.

When he returned home to Hartsville he was no longer a bachelor!

Coleman and his wife Belle would have four daughters.

It was the Winstons who gave the home its name of “Vinewood,” for the many vines that once climbed the trees and old rock walls.

Always civic minded, Coleman Winston is best remembered for leading the efforts to replace the ferry on the Cumberland River between Hartsville and Lebanon with a bridge. The public rewarded him for his hard work by naming the bridge after him.

After Coleman and Belle Winston, J.C. and Sarah Bradshaw purchased the home and also raised four children there – three boys and a girl.

The Bradshaw family was in the oil business and sold oil and gas. Later the family built the Goodyear Tire and Auto Center in Hartsville. Today, it is run by their grandson.

While the Bradshaw family owned the home, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The house passed from the Bradshaw family to Buddy Bates, who then sold it to Tom and Freda Bennett.

The Bennetts have made improvements to the stately old home and it is worthy of having a period drama filmed there like those made by PBS or by the BBC.

Throughout the home, walls are covered in beautiful patterned wallpapers and the woodwork and trim are painted in pristine white. The effect is quite dramatic, befitting the lovely curved staircase in the front entrance.

Like the Lauderdale Estate, the charming home offers itself as an event place. Google vinewoodplantationwedding.org/history.

You can contact the owners to rent the house and its massive lawn for special occasions.

Better yet, the Bennetts have recently put the home up for sale. Which means that someone out there has a readymade home and business waiting for them!

Jack McCall: Memories from days of plowing tobacco fields

Gone are the days when it was a common occurrence to see a man following a mule, or a pair of mules, or a workhorse through a tobacco patch or cornfield. Many a mile has been covered by a working man as he stumbled over newly turned up earth while gripping worn plow handles. But no more. Those days, for the most part, are in the past.

I have often written that my father was a tobacco man. He approached growing tobacco as if it were an art. He seemed fascinated by every step in the process. I hardly think he considered it to be work. You have heard the saying, “Love what you do and you will never work a day in your life?” I believe that to be true. It was true of my father. From preparing the plant beds to stripping the last stalk, it was pure pleasure to him. He especially enjoyed plowing.

Across the Miles
Jack McCall

Through most of my growing up years I recall my father leaning over the steering wheel of a “Super A” Farmall tractor as he carefully studied the row passing slowly beneath him. At the first plowing each year, he took special pride in covering up all the newly emerging weeds and grass while not covering the tender, yellow and green transplants. Because of his skills with a plow, my brothers and I spent precious little time chopping tobacco. There may have been one or two wet springs when the grass “got ahead” of him, but for the most part, he kept the ground soft and the weeds and grass at bay with his plowing.

Prior to the “Super A” years, my father relied on “Ol’ Charlie.” I can’t remember a time during my boyhood days when Ol’ Charlie wasn’t around. He was a big, black, rugged, plow horse; I would guess, all of 16-hands tall. Nothing seemed to bother him. I never saw Ol’ Charlie get in a hurry. He had one speed – slow and steady. And he was smart.

In the days when tobacco plants (also called slips) were pulled (or drawn) from a plant bed, the young transplants sometimes encountered a rocky start. If the weather was unusually hot, the sun would sometimes burn some of the plants “back to the bud.” Those tiny plants presented a special challenge at the first plowing because they were easily covered up.

When plowing with Ol’ Charlie under those circumstances, my father would watch for covered up plants in the row he had just plowed. When he came even with a covered plant he would call Ol’ Charlie to a halt, reach over, and uncover the plant. After being stopped two or three times, Ol’ Charlie would “get the hang of it.” Then he would automatically stop every time my father came upon a covered plant. I think they call that “horse sense.”

Plowing with a mule or horse was more complicated than plowing with a tractor. The tractor made one pass through per row. The horse or mule made 2½ passes. Each side of the row of tobacco was plowed and, then, the plow man would “bust the middle” between the rows. Such plowing was accomplished with a three-point plow (sometimes called a “rastus.”) As the tobacco grew larger, the plow man would resort to simply plowing the middle of each row. Sometimes that was done with a two-point plow or “double shovel.”

In those days, a patch of tobacco might be plowed three or four times before it was laid by (by laid by, I mean the tobacco was dark green and growing and lapping in the row, making it impossible to go back through with tractor or horse or mule).

Today tobacco is plowed as little as possible and chemicals do most of the dirty work on weeds and grass. Why, I hear in some parts, that no-till tobacco is being tried. What is the world coming to?

Sadly, we don’t hear much of horse collars and hames and trace chains and plow lines and single trees and clevises and plow handles anymore. Those days are gone. And unfortunately, they took something with them.

The reason our fathers and grandfathers didn’t lay awake at night and worry about their problems was because they were too “dog tired.”

Jack McCall to give Father’s Day lesson at Beech Grove church

Jack McCall will be the featured speaker at Beech Grove United Methodist Church for its 9:30 a.m. Father’s Day service on Sunday, June 16.

McCall is a nationally recognized motivational humorist who has spoken in all 50 states. He is also an award-winning newspaper columnist who appears in multiple papers, including The Hartsville Vidette, has written four books and holds the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation from the National Speakers Association.

A devoted student of the Bible, McCall has also taught Sunday school classes for over 50 years.

McCall began his working career as a livestock market manager for Tennessee Livestock Producers. Later, he spearheaded research for both the Tennessee and U.S. Departments of Agriculture. Along the way, he has enjoyed senior management positions in the financial services and health care industries. For the past 20 years, McCall has been a full-time professional speaker.

He has been married to his wife, Kathy, for 40 years and the couple has three sons, J. Brim, Jonathan and Joseph. They also have seven grandchildren; Oakley, Elizabeth Jane, Lena, Jack Harvey, J. Manning, Whitman and Amelia.

All fathers will be recognized during Beech Grove’s Sunday service. The church is located at 3410 Highway 10, Hartsville. For more information, contact Pastor Michael Grooms at 615-633-4144.

IMPACThought: Practice love and leave the judging to God

The setting was intimate. All the preparations had been made, the food had been laid out and the table was beautifully set. The 12 disciples of Jesus had gathered together in an upper room that had been borrowed from another believer so that they could observe the Passover meal together.

As was the custom in that day, they reclined around the table, eating, drinking, talking and remembering the historical significance of this Jewish feast. These men had been handpicked by Jesus to learn the ministry and to carry on His mission after the crucifixion. The 12 were a close-knit group; they had traveled many miles together preaching, healing and ministering to the multitudes. Over the course of years, they had become a band of brothers.

Submitted photo
Jon Shonebarger

In the midst of the Passover meal, Jesus made a disheartening statement, “…one of you which eateth with me shall betray me.” (Mark 14:19). The disciples were overcome with sorrow and one by one they began to ask the Lord, “Is it I?” It is important to observe in this moment of personal doubt, the disciples questioned their own hearts and behaviors. They sought an answer from Jesus, hoping that they could not be capable of such betrayal. Jesus addressed the group and said, “It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish.” (Mark 14:20).

Then Judas, who would betray Him, asked Jesus whether it was him who would betray the Master. Jesus replied, “Thou hast said.” (Matthew 26:25.) The Gospel records that when Jesus dipped the sop and gave it to Judas Iscariot, Satan entered into Judas. It is important to note, Judas is the only man that Satan himself ever indwelt. Jesus then told Judas, “That thou doest, do quickly.” (John 13:27). Judas then departed into the night at the end of the Passover meal and before the Last Supper was observed.

The 11 remaining disciples of Christ believed that Judas departed in order to conduct business on behalf of the group. Judas was the treasurer and a trusted leader. He was a Judean, while the other disciples were Galileans. He had prominence among the 12 and sat at the right hand of Jesus during the Passover meal. When the disciples individually asked Jesus whether it was them that would betray Him, they did not ask, “Is it Judas?” No, they never suspected Judas as the one who would betray the Lord. There had been nothing in 3½ years of living, eating and ministering together that would bring suspicion upon their partner in ministry, Judas Iscariot.

Judas was living a double life! Judas had conspired with the chief priests to betray Jesus. Judas did not wake up one day and decide to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. There was a progression in his life that led him to the ultimate betrayal of the Son of God. Consider, Judas had heard all of Jesus’ sermons; he had witnessed all the miracles; he had observed all of the habits and holiness of the perfect life of the Messiah. Yet, he rejected the love, forgiveness, grace and mercy of the Savior on a personal level. He uttered not a word. He never objected to the messages or denied the miracles to his fellow disciples. He hid them in his heart and kept silent, until his opportunity arose. Nobody ever suspected Judas to be a traitor.

It is disconcerting to examine this double life of this man. Imbedded in the group, plotting, scheming and waiting for his moment of betrayal. His moments alone were hidden from the others’ eyes, except Jesus. He was the ultimate hypocrite, playing the role of the beloved servant to the Savior, yet hating Him in his heart. When Jesus and the other disciples made their way to the garden Gethsemane, Judas met them with a great multitude bearing swords and staves. Judas called Him Master and kissed Him; Jesus called him friend. Judas would ultimately regret his actions and would commit suicide.

It is a valuable lesson for us to learn, that we cannot truly know the heart of another person. Only God knows the thoughts and intents of a person’s heart. People can deceive us, lie to us and betray us. There are many trusted leaders leading a double life, only to be exposed in a moment of exposure. Every day we learn of scandals, affairs and personal failure. Every day, somebody’s heart is broken when the fraud is brought to light.

Let us endeavor to love others unconditionally as Christ did, offering grace, mercy and opportunity to do the right thing. God will deal with the hypocrite in His time, in His righteous judgment.

Have a great week and remember, God loves You!

Contact Jon at jtshonebarger@gmail.com.

David Carroll: ‘News’ you might have missed

You lead a busy life. You cannot be expected to keep up with all the major happenings of the world. That is why I am here.

As you read this column, you are burdened by someone who cares. So in my continuing efforts to keep you informed, here are some of the earth-shattering news nuggets you may have missed in recent weeks.

The 2020 Subaru Outback can detect if you are tired: it is true. Subaru is now manufacturing a vehicle with a “distraction mitigation system.” It includes a camera that can track changes in your facial expressions. This system will identify signs of fatigue or distraction. When you’re about to doze off, or if you’re not paying attention to the road, it sends you (and your passengers) visual and voice warnings to wake up and drive right.

David Carroll

This is similar to how my dad used to rouse me out of a 10 a.m. slumber to remind me that I was supposed to be earning my keep. However, there is one major technological difference. Subaru’s system does not pour ice water on my face. Perhaps that will be an option on future models.

The United States Postal Service is testing self-driving trucks: also true. What could possibly go wrong? Now don’t get ahead of me. Your friendly neighborhood mail carrier isn’t going away anytime soon. For now, the driverless trucks are hauling the mail only on long, lonely highways in Western states where two coyotes are considered a traffic jam. So for the time being, no worries. A real, live postal person will still make sure your Mother’s Day card arrives just before Father’s Day.

Baby names: for the second consecutive year, the most popular name for baby boys is Liam. There are sure to be lots of little Liams toddling around in a few years, but that’s nothing compared to the most popular name for baby girls. Emma is the name of choice for the fifth consecutive year.

In other words, those of us with commonly used Baby Boomer names like Steve, Bob, Debbie and Linda are no longer in vogue. Soon our aging names (yes, including David) will go the way of Durwood, Esmeralda, Ophelia, and Archibald.

Yet there’s hope for us old-timers. Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan just named their baby boy Archie, which is sure to inspire a revival of that classic moniker. Plus, the aforementioned Emma was among the most popular names of the 1880s. The moral of this story is, if you live long enough, your name might make a comeback.

Why kids are so tired: No matter your age, at some point in your life, you fought sleep. Whether it was a paperback book with a flashlight, or a transistor radio under your pillow, we all had our ways of cheating the Sandman. Now experts say it has reached epidemic proportions. Needless to say, they have conducted a study, so I know it is true.

The culprit is now the smartphone.  For many kids, it is the last thing they see at night, and it wakes them up in the morning. Some say they delay the need to answer nature’s call, because they don’t want to miss a text, a pic, or a Snapchat. The result, according to science? Less sleep, a late start out of bed, and a rushed breakfast. All of which they say, contributes to poor performance in school.  Yet we call it a smartphone.

You can now buy an Intelligent Toilet: I’m serious. Finally, something worthwhile, for a mere $8,000. I’ve been around a lot of toilets in my time, and they’ve all been as dumb as a rock. They just sit there, and expect me to do all the work. But not the Kohler Numi Toilet. From the brochure: “The Numi Toilet offers personalized features that let you fine-tune every aspect of your experience: from ambient colored lighting to the heated seat and foot warmer. Numi delivers hands-free control, personalized cleansing functionality, and music.”

Did you say music? What songs would an Intelligent Toilet play? “Pressure” by Billy Joel? “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’ ” by Journey? “Takin’ Care of Business” by BTO?

As for “hands-free control” and “personalized cleansing functionality,” I’m not sure about this. In some aspects of our daily lives, it pays to be a do-it-yourselfer. I’ll let your 21st century robots vacuum my floor, mow my lawn, and change the cat litter. But keep them out of my bathroom. I think if I was suddenly flush with cash, and spent eight grand on a commode, God would tap me on the shoulder and say, “Did you ever hear that old saying, that God would let you know if you had too much money? Well, today’s the day.”

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.

Lamar Alexander: Take time to celebrate “Great Outdoors”

President Trump has designated this month as “Great Outdoors Month” – which will serve as a good opportunity for all Americans to celebrate our nation’s beautiful outdoors.

Enjoying the great outdoors should be especially easy for Tennesseans because our state is home to some of the most beautiful sites in the country, as well as our nation’s most visited national park – the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which had a record-setting 11.4 million visitors last year.

Documentarian Ken Burns said the national parks are “America’s best idea,” so the Great Smoky Mountains National Park must be “America’s very best idea,” because each year it attracts nearly twice the visitors as the second most visited park.

Lamar Alexander

One main reason there was such a big increase in attendance last year is the opening of the new section of the Foothills Parkway between Walland and Wears Valley – which is now one of the prettiest drives in America. The scene is so magnificent that it surprises even those of us who have grown up admiring the Smokies. Since the new section of the parkway opened in November, hundreds of thousands of visitors have witnessed firsthand how picturesque the drive really is.

President Trump designating this month as “Great Outdoors Month” is just a small part of what his administration is doing for outdoor recreation. In March, the president signed legislation that permanently reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which will help ensure Tennessee’s beautiful lands, water resources and recreation areas are protected and preserved for future generations. Over the past 50 years, the LWCF has provided Tennessee a total of $208.5 million for projects such as Rocky Fork, the Walls of Jericho and John Tully State Forest.

Last month, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt told me that passing the Restore Our Parks Act, legislation I introduced that would be the biggest help to our national parks in 50 years, is a top priority of the Trump administration. Today, too many of our national parks are in bad shape, and American families spending their vacations in our national parks are often shocked to find that so many of the roads, picnic areas, trails, campgrounds, and visitor centers are in such bad shape or even closed due to funding shortages.

The Restore Our Parks Act would help solve this problem by cutting in half the maintenance backlog at our national parks so that Americans can fully enjoy them. Growing up outside the Smokies, I had the opportunity to hike and spend time in the mountains, and it is important to me that future generations are able to as well.

As we enjoy our national parks, we should also be grateful for the dedicated employees and volunteers who make the privilege of visiting “America’s best idea” possible.

The employees and volunteers at our parks – who donated over 100,000 hours of service last year at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – deserve a lot of credit, and this month is a good opportunity to show them our appreciation by getting outdoors and enjoying the parks and their breathtaking natural beauty.

Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) represents Tennessee in the U.S. Senate.

CARE Act designed to help caregivers, hospitals

A new state regulation goes into effect soon that aims to help Tennessee’s hospitals integrate family caregivers into their loved ones’ medical records.

According to AARP, 60 percent of Tennesseans 45 and older currently provide unpaid care for a loved one.

The Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable, or CARE, Act requires hospitals to inform family caregivers when their loved ones have been discharged from the hospital.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

AARP Tennessee State Director Rebecca Kelly says the CARE Act is designed to improve communication and coordination between medical facilities and caregivers.

“I personally have parents that live three hours away, and they were discharged from a hospital in the middle of an ice and snow storm,” she relates. “And had I known that, I could have made arrangements for a more careful transition from the hospital to their home.”

Tennessee AARP, the state Department of Health and the Hospital Association of Tennessee worked to craft the regulation.

A 2015 telephone survey found more than 80 percent of registered voters in the state, age 45 and older, support the CARE Act.

Nearly 1 million Tennesseans are caregiving for a family member.

In addition to household chores, family caregivers increasingly are performing medical and nursing tasks, such as managing multiple medications, administering injections and utilizing special equipment.

Kelly says the CARE Act will help to ensure that caregivers have specific instructions on medical care for their loved one post-hospital stay.

“First of all, the name of the caregiver is recorded when a loved one is admitted into a hospital,” she points out. “The second one is that family caregiver is notified when the loved one is to be discharged to another facility or to back home, and then third, the facility must provide an explanation and live instruction of the medical tasks that need to be done for that patient.”

More than 40 states have either adopted CARE Act provisions or are considering legislation.