Looking forward to this sessions’ legislation


Now that session is in full gear, these last few weeks have had legislators getting bills ready to be filed before the Feb. 5 cutoff date. 

Not a fan of carrying many bills, I will say this year’s “menu” will have some pretty hefty issues to resolve: 1) Tightening restrictions on the purchase of medications that contain pseudoephedrine, which is a key ingredient in making meth, by requiring a doctor’s prescription for more than a ten-day supply.

2) Annexation – Tennessee is one of only three states in the nation that permits cities to annex property by ordinance without a vote or any law in place to protect the citizen.

3) To accept – or not – medicaid expansion, not to mention marijuana for medical use only, wine in grocery stores, Common Core, vouchers and a Constitutional Convention.  

May I suggest to you the General Assembly website is very user-friendly, and you can navigate legislation, watch the committee hearings, and know who is carrying what.  

“Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Sunday evenings are a perfect time for me to read up and study on some of these top issues, for there is much to think through. I pray for wisdom to understand what is best for the people I represent in this great state.  

The quiet evenings bring me to pause, look over the week that lies ahead, make my “to do” list, and write “The Loop” before Monday morning begins at a fast pace.

On the wall, framed above my desk, is the “Oath of Office” of which I swore to protect the Constitution of this State and the Constitution of the United States.  Affirming that I will not propose or assent to any bill, vote or resolution which should appear to me injurious to the people or to anything that will lessen their rights as described by the Constitution of this State, every time I enter the House Chambers, the “Oath of Office” resonates in my thoughts as we begin business each legislative day.  

In a worldview that continues to expand the growing boundaries of government, it is imperative to remain vigilant as a watchman on the wall of this great State of Tennessee, which currently is the third freest state in the nation in terms of fiscal policy, regulatory policy and personal freedom. 

Beginning this month, Coffee Conversations will resume and I look forward to these Friday meetings at 7:30 a.m., for it offers me a chance to hear from you on the issues concerning the state. The schedule is as follows:

• First Friday – Smithville

• Second Friday – Hartsville

• Third Friday – Carthage

• Fourth Friday – Gallatin

Please plan to attend. Memos will be sent out from my office that will give you further details.

Bills that I am sponsoring can be found on the General Assembly website, www.capitol.tn.gov, and they include:  ATM owners and operators disabling their machines from accepting EBT cards in business establishments for which the benefits were never intended; preemption of weapons regulation concerning Handgun Permit Holders; tougher penalty on Aggravated Child Neglect; HB1295 ready to proceed forward – a bill that would bring accountability to a pregnant mother taking illegal narcotics thus birthing drug-addicted babies.

What a wonderful answer to many prayers! A $40 million investment by a 500-year-old firearm giant will add nearly 300 jobs! Selected out of 80 sites in the country, Gallatin will be home to Beretta, in a 100-acre industrial area, with construction beginning this May.  

How blessed, indeed, for families to have work in order to provide and care for their needs! How thankful we are for Beretta choosing Gallatin!

And I will continue to work to keep Tennessee low tax base, and strong on our Second Amendment rights!

It is an honor to work for you.

Ward School receives a grant from CFMT


The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, a charitable organization dedicated to enriching the quality of life in the 40 Middle Tennessee counties it serves, announces $1.24 million in grants to 255 nonprofit organizations as part of The Foundation’s annual discretionary grant making process.

Ward School Community Preservation Association received a grant to repair the school’s roof, remodel one restroom and update air handling systems for two floors.

“The work of our nonprofit partners has never been more important as we watch needs emerge and evolve in this community,” said Ellen Lehman, president of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. “The Community Foundation is honored to connect generosity with need through these annual grants and other avenues throughout the year, but we couldn’t have an impact without the array of quality nonprofits offering solutions to our community’s needs and vital services to our neighbors.”

The Community Foundation awards discretionary grants annually from its unrestricted and field-of-interest funds, through an open application process, to Middle Tennessee nonprofits organizations addressing community needs and benefiting the well-being of citizens through valuable programs and innovative services. 

More information on the grant process is online at cfmt.org/request/grants/.


About The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee 

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee oversees nearly 1,000 charitable funds, providing customized philanthropic solutions with flexibility for donors, nonprofit organizations and the community. In the past 22 years, The Community Foundation has distributed more than $684 million to community programs and institutions. It is located at 3833 Cleghorn Avenue, #400, Nashville, Tenn., 37215. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit www.cfmt.org.

Ward School renovation making progress


The Ward School Community Preservation Association is making progress in its goal of restoring the old Ward School building and turning it into a center for the community.

Since it took over the school from the county, the association has had to face the reality of an old building with a leaky roof, dilapidated restrooms, overgrown landscaping and failing heating and cooling units.

Under the direction of association president Albert Strawther volunteers have worked to clean up the school, trim shrubbery, haul off trash and begin restoration.

Despite the overwhelming task ahead of them, there is good news.

The association has received a matching grant from the USDA that has paid for a new roof and gutters, and will let work progress towards new heating and cooling.

Last week the association, through the diligent work of member Jim Falco, was awarded a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. This money will go towards needed repairs to the building.

The Community Foundation is a charitable organization with the goal of improving and enriching the quality of life for the people of Middle Tennessee. In the past 22 years since its creation the Foundation has given out $684 million dollars!

In other news, the school will soon become the location for the Mid Cumberland Community Action Agency commodities distribution. Currently that has been held in the old Co-op building on East Main. The Mid Cumberland Agency will also move their administrative offices to the school, where they plan on conducting workshops and other activities for the residents of Trousdale County.

People can join the Ward School Association or volunteer to do work such as painting and cleaning by contacting any member of the board of directors. 

The directors are: Albert Strawther, Clara Woodmore, Elaine McClellan, Freddie Banks, Earnest Harper, James McDonald, John Oliver, Hattie McDonald, Jim Falco, Kenneth Locke, Bobby Joe Lewis and Tillman Payne.

Final year of the Tobacco Buyout Program


There have been several questions in the past few weeks concerning the last payment to producers from the tobacco buyout program. 

The questions arose because these payments were typically made during the middle part of January. Due to the sequestration and federal policy, it delayed the payment somewhat this year.

Producers will be receiving payment in February. 

The government will be paying 95 percent of the total amount in February and the remainder will be paid out after the new federal fiscal year in October. 

Producers will receive the entire payment this calendar year and this is the tenth and final payment for the tobacco buyout program. 

If you have any questions about your tobacco buyout please contact the USDA-Farm Service Agency at 1-855-581-7889.

Trousdale Fair takes 2nd runner-up at convention


Thanks to their hard work and commitment, the Trousdale County Fair was recognized for their achievements during the recent 92nd annual Convention of the Tennessee Association of Fairs (TAF) in Nashville.

Trousdale County was named second runner-up in Division A for 2013, which included 17 fairs with county population under 21,000. 

Division A fairs included: Benton, Bledsoe, Clay, Decateur, DeKalb, Fentress, Franklin, Houston, Humphreys, Lauderdale, Meigs, Morgan, Overton, Polk, Rhea, Sequatchie, Smith, Van Buren and White.

“The Trousdale County Fair was recognized by TDA and TAF Executive Secretary Emily Pitcock, with the second runner-up  ‘Award of Merit’ based on overall operations, educational value and promotion of local interest in agriculture and community spirit,” Kathy Atwood, Trousdale County Fair president.

This is the first time Trousdale County has received an award since it “reorganized beginning with the 2005 fair.”

Atwood added, “Last year’s fair saw a marked increase in participation and attendance.”

“As fair as why I think we did well is two fold,” said Atwood. “First, we have a dedicated fair board that has worked hard to make our fair better every year. They are the best!

“Secondly, we made a determined effort to implement suggestions that have been provided to us. Each year we have fair visitors who represent the TAF who come and review our fair. They give us suggestions for improvement to make our fair better. We use that information as we plan for the next year. An example is the new signage and theme from last year. We have tried to make our fair a quality experience that has something for all ages.”

The top award went to the Overton County Fair in Livingston when it was named the Champion of Champions Fair for 2013. The Overton County Fair was also recognized by Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson and TAF President Stephen Potter, with the “Award of Merit.”

“Fairs are a wonderful way for families to bond and create life-long memories while experiencing the best our farms and communities have to offer,” said Johnson. “Our Tennessee fairs have a positive impact on local economies as well as on agriculture and education.” 

The annual awards are sponsored by TDA and TAF, the state organization representing Tennessee’s fair industry. 

Winners were:

Division A

State Champion, Sequatchie County Fair; first runner-up, Fentress County Agricultural Fair; second runner-up, Trousdale County Fair; and most improved, Benton County Fair.


Division AA

State Champion, Rhea County Fair; first runner-up, Hardin County Fair; second runner-up, Middle Tennessee District Fair; and most improved, Dickson County Fair.


Division AAA

State Champion, Williamson County Fair; first runner-up, Greene County Agricultural Fair; second runner-up, Wilson County Fair; and most improved, Anderson County Fair.


Premiere Awards (Previous Winners’ Category)

Champion of Champion: Henry County Fair; Division AA, Cocke County Fair; and Division AAA, Sevier County Fair.


In the Regional Division, the Appalachian Fair and the Tennessee Valley Fair received “Award of Merit.” The Tennessee State Fair also received “Award of Merit” based on overall fair operations. The regional fairs and the State Fair are not in competition with the county fairs for awards.  

In 2013, almost three million visitors attended county, regional and state fairs in Tennessee. Fairs in Tennessee generated more than $12 million in gross receipts last year. More than 14,700 volunteers from 63 fairs in the state devoted valuable time, resources and energy to fairs which had more than 130,000 agricultural exhibits, and more than 32,000 agricultural exhibitors showcasing livestock, farm crops and other agricultural exhibits.  

The 16th Annual Fair Showcase, a statewide competition held during the convention, consisted of more than 400 entries from 38 fairs in 39 categories. Fairs competed for prize money, trophies and ribbons sponsored by the TDA and the TAF. Categories ranged from fair catalogs, websites and educational displays, to promotional videos, posters, scrapbooks, creative ideas and free-standing & table-top exhibits. To see a list of these winners, visit www.picktnproducts.org or www.tnfairs.com.

Black applauds House passage of the G.I. Bill Tuition Fairness Act


Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) voted Feb. 3 for the G.I. Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013, bipartisan legislation that would expand education opportunities for veterans by allowing them to attend the state-run higher-education institution of their choice at the in-state tuition rate. Congressman Black released the following statement upon House passage:

“High out of state tuition rates should not come between our nation’s bravest and a paycheck,” said Congressman Black. “The unemployment rate for veterans remains unacceptably high, and this commonsense legislation would help those who have served gain access to higher education, equipping them with more tools to compete for jobs. As the mother, wife and daughter of U.S. servicemen, I know firsthand that our brave men and women in uniform deserve access to the educational resources necessary to succeed in today’s economy. I hope the Senate will act quickly to send this important legislation to the President without delay.”

H.R. 357 would expand education opportunities for veterans by allowing them to attend the state-run higher-education institution of their choice at the in-state tuition rate. It would do this by requiring public schools to charge in-state tuition rates to all veterans in order for the school to be eligible to receive G.I. Bill education payments. This requirement would take effect Aug. 1. G.I. Bill students enrolling before Aug. 1, at schools that choose not to charge veterans in-state tuition could still apply their benefits toward tuition at those institutions.

Those pesky New Year’s resolutions


Two of the most popular New Year’s resolutions are: lose weight; eat healthier. They are also two of the New Year’s resolutions most likely to fail. Changing our eating habits and getting more exercise translate into a lifestyle change, something that’s not always easy in our day-to-day lives.

The following statistics might help you change your lifestyle and keep that New Year’s resolution:

• Tennessee ranks last in the U.S. in physical activity rate

• Tennessee ranks 6th in the U.S. in adult overweight and obesity

• Trousdale County ranks 71st out of 95 counties in overall health

• Trousdale County ranks higher than the state average in premature death, morbidity, physical inactivity and preventable hospital stays

The first step to a healthy lifestyle is stepping out the door for a walk — and a goal is a great way to stay motivated. On Feb. 13, the Heart of Tennessee 5K Run will kick off at the TCHS. The race includes a 1 mile fun run/walk in addition to the 5K. Information will be available as well as a training program for the race on March 29.

You might ask, why would the chamber care about your New Year’s resolution and the health of Trousdale County? Prospective businesses look at the pool of available labor when they look at Hartsville and Trousdale County. Skilled workers are certainly a top concern but a healthy workforce also means less sick days and better rates for health insurance. Our area needs every advantage it can find in recruiting business and jobs.

The fourth annual Haley’s Hearts Foundation Chili Cook Off and Winter Carnival will be held on Saturday, Feb. 8, at Trousdale County High School. Haley’s Hearts Foundation donated over $26,400 last year to help families in need who are affected by CHD. If you would like to participate, volunteer or help in any way with the event, please contact Racheal Petty at 615.804.8945 

Applications for Leadership Trousdale are available at Citizens Bank and Trousdale Band & Trust, 2014 class members will be chosen from all age groups and walks of life. Members will be attending approximately seven class sessions and one or two sessions outside of class meetings.  Anyone interested in Leadership Trousdale is encouraged to fill out an application and participants will be chosen by leadership alumni. Applications are due by Feb. 28. For more information contact the chamber at 615-374-9243.

Congratulations to H&R Block on the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting at their new location 206 McMurry Blvd (the former Western Auto location). For more information contact Brian Taylor at 615-374-0140 or email [email protected], or franchise owner Charles Isham at [email protected].

County salt supplies remain stocked as arctic temperatures return


Barely thawed out from the previous week’s Arctic temperatures, most of Tennessee once again will drop into single digits as the newest wave of winter weather moves through the state.

Trousdale County’s salt supplies remain fully stocked to take on whatever Mother Nature wants to throw the county’s way.

“We got a pretty good supply of salt on hand,” said Road Superintendent Bill Scruggs. “We just got 25 ton [of salt] last Tuesday.”

Scruggs admits the county has been going through a lot thanks to the various Arctic blasts.

“We went through about three times in two days from the last arctic blast that we normally go through in a season just trying to get rid of the ice. But it has been one of those years that if it snows and ices just enough, we have had to get out and use a little bit more.”

Thanks to Tuesday’s snowfall the crews were out and about salting the bridges and roadways.

“It looks like a winter wonderland up here in Gravel Hill area, and it is three times more snow than other parts of the county. Hopefully this stuff will get out of here.

If the storm moves out and gets dried off, I don’t think we are going to have to worry too much about black ice after today [Tuesday].”

According to Meteorologist Scott Unger, with the National Weather Service, folks can see a return of above freezing temperatures Saturday, as Trousdale should reach the low 40s, and remain there throughout the weekend.

But before reaching Saturday, Trousdale County will drop around to 7 degrees overnight Friday morning.

“With the temperatures on Friday morning, people need to take the proper precautions as far as protecting their property, and make sure to bring in animals Thursday night,” said Unger.

Trousdale County EMA Director Allen Lewis couldn’t agree more.

“Just use common sense,” said Allen. “Don’t leave an open fire unattended if they have a fireplace or a wood burning stove; if they are in fear of their pipes bursting, leave some water running in the sink because running water is harder to freeze than still water; make sure to have an emergency number to call in case something happens to them; and have enough food in case they have to stay home for two or three days.

Allen added, “Stay home. If you have to get out, just make sure that you have your headlights on when you are driving so people can see you, especially in dingy weather like this. It is very difficult to see cars in this weather that are the same color as the road.”

He also wanted to remind folks to slow down and plan ahead.

“If you have to be somewhere ahead of time, and roads are bad. Leave an hour early. It is better to be 20 minutes early somewhere, than be in a wreck.”

Allen added, “If you think that it might be unsafe, then it probably is.”

Managing Editor Marie Corhern can be reached at 615-374-3556 or email [email protected].

4-H’ers recognized for past year achievement


Local 4-H’ers gathered on Dec. 29, 2013, to be recognized for their outstanding work over the past year at the 4-H Awards Banquet. The 4-H Awards Banquet was sponsored by Citizen’s Bank.

While at the banquet two, Caroline Guffey and Kassie Copas, were initiated into the 4-H Honor Club. The 4-H Honor Club recognizes junior high members who have demonstrated leadership skills and have been active members in their clubs and communities.

Other members received awards for a variety of projects and contest, such as: archery, livestock judging, poultry judging, sheep show, public speaking, poster contest, interactive exhibit and demonstration. 

4-H’er of the Year awards were given to 13 members who participated in several different contest, judging teams and attended different camps. The Explorer award was given to Katelynn Brown, Alexus Atwood and Skye Guimont. 

Junior 4-H’ers of the Year went to Brianna Porter, Wyatt Verville and Eric Loerch. Cooper Belcher, Tyler McGowan, Kassie Copas, Caroline Guffey, Haisley Burns, Michaela Kelly, and Michaela Hodge received Jr. High 4-H’ers of the Year.

UT Extension- Trousdale County would like to think all of the 4-H’ers, parents, volunteers and sponsors for helping make 2013 an outstanding year.

4-H is available for students in 4th-12th grades. For more information about 4-H please contact the local UT Extension office at 374-2421.

USDA FSA urges farmers, archers to vote in County Committee Elections

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia announced that the FSA County Committee Elections began Dec. 20, with the mailing of ballots to eligible voters.The deadline to return the ballots to local FSA offices is Jan. 17, 2014.
Producers have been instructed to destroy the FSA County Committee Election ballots (FSA-669’s) mailed on Nov. 4. The new ballots mailed to producers will have the word “corrected” printed on the outside of the mailing, the ballot itself, and the return envelope. Producers must complete and return the corrected FSA-669 to have their vote counted.
Eligible voters who do not receive a ballot in the coming week can obtain one from their local USDA Service Center. The last day for voters to submit corrected ballots in person to local USDA Service Centers is Jan. 17, 2014. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Jan. 17. Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office Feb. 18, 2014.
County committee members are an important component of the operations of FSA and provide a link between the agricultural community and USDA. Farmers and ranchers elected to county committees help deliver FSA programs at the local level, applying their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on commodity price support programs; conservation programs; incentive indemnity and disaster programs for some commodities; emergency programs and eligibility. FSA committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.
To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program. A person who is not of legal voting age, but supervises and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm may also be eligible to vote. Agricultural producers in each county submitted candidate nominations during the nomination period, which ended on Aug. 1.
Close to 7,700 FSA county committee members serve in the 2,124 FSA offices nationwide. Each committee consists of three to 11 members who serve three-year terms. Approximately one-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. More information on county committees, such as the 2013 fact sheet and brochures, can be found on the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections or at a local USDA Service Center.

Adios 2013

It was the year that sent people who suffer from triskaidekaphobia [the fear of the number 13] hiding in their houses. While I, on the other hand, embraced 2013, because it ended with my lucky number.
I have to say, while it might not have been my best year, for Trousdale County it is definitely one for the record books.
Almost all of our high school sports teams went on to the playoffs in 2013, and the Jackets football team won it all. A few of Trousdale’s little league softball teams also went on to the playoffs. Youth football teams were all named undefeated football champs.
As Director of Schools Clint Satterfield keeps saying, “We are not only champions on the football field, but also in the classroom.”
This was the year that our school system was named the “top district for academic achievement” in the state, and won a $25,000 prize to go with that title. Then a week later, Tennessee was named the “fastest improving state in the nation.” Leading many to feel that Trousdale might be the “fastest improving school district in America.” Not too shabby for the smallest county in the state. It definitely has put a few of the larger school districts with large pockets on notice as they scramble to figure out what Trousdale is doing that their districts aren’t, and how can they change that.
These weren’t the only exciting news for the county.
In 2013, we welcomed Zwirner Equipment, and welcomed back CCA. Rumors circulated about another business that might soon call Trousdale County home in 2014. With the possibility of future jobs, many are becoming hopeful about Trousdale’s economy.
It will be interesting to see what 2014 has in store for Trousdale. After all it might be hard to top 2013, but hopefully 2014 will bring bigger and better things for the county.
We will cover all the highlights of 2013 in The Vidette’s Jan. 2 edition.
We invite you to vote for the year’s top stories at www.hartsvillevidette.com/poll/2…, and visit The Vidette’s Facebook page to vote on the top photos of the year. We will include the Top 10 of both categories in the next issue.
As this is our last issue for 2013, we thank you all for allowing us each week into your homes and businesses, and that you continue to keep us around in 2014. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at The Hartsville Vidette.

Let us be thankful for all things

It is the Sunday before Christmas Day and all through the Weaver House not a present is wrapped nor a cookie is baked. Though the tree is up and the wreath is on the door, I must admit I am not at all in an uproar! Must be true, the older one gets, the more mellow one becomes. LOL
The Christmas Story found in Luke never becomes the same ole same ole with me. For every year the season comes upon us there is another “gift” or treasure found in this passage of scripture. God’s Word is alive and active and exposes us for what we really are.
The Angel of the Lord, Gabriel, had a message directly from God for two people.  One was Zacharias, who would not believe that his wife, Elisabeth, would bear a child in her old age. So to prevent his unbelief from messing up God’s plan, Zach was silenced ’til after the child was born. Ummm. There is power in what we believe and what we say!
Next stop was Nazareth, where Gabriel appeared before a young woman and told her she would be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Son of God. Mary asked Gabriel, “How can I have a baby, for I am a virgin?” Her response? “I am the Lord’s servant. Be it unto me according to thy word.”
In this complex world in which we live, daily we are exposed to things we clearly do not understand. Christmas for some this year is full of laughter and family gatherings, but for others this season is a time of sadness and loneliness, tragedy, and turmoil. Christmas for the first time this year will miss that young soldier killed protecting our freedoms, or a husband of 39 years, a son killed in a head-on collision, or a mother taken by a deadly disease. These loved ones will be missed at the dinner table and there will be no presents under the tree bearing their names. One never knows when your last Christmas will be. Every day is a gift, indeed. However, one thing is for certain – over 2,000 years ago, on a very still, silent night, a child was born, sweet little Jesus boy, born to die for the sins of this world and to bring Hope and eternal life for those who will only believe.
As we finish out the rest of 2013, let us be thankful in all things. For it is only by His strength that we will be made strong and able to do the task at hand. While we anticipate what the New Year will bring, may it be filled with a listening ear and an obedient heart that believes the Lord will do what He says. For nothing is impossible with God!
On Christmas Eve at 10 p.m. in the Historic Carthage Courthouse, come hear the acoustic sounds of Christmas. This marks my twentieth year to host a quiet, candlelight time to worship the birth of our Savior.
May you and yours have a very Merry Christmas!

Celebrating an old fashion Christmas

Candles were lit and garland hung with care, as vocalist and musicians filled the air with delightful noise as strong winds bellowed outside the small one room church Saturday night.
With temperatures in the 70s and threats of possible tornadoes Dec. 21, it would be hard to believe that a Christmas celebration would be happening, but despite the weather folks showed up in droves for the annual Dixon Springs’ old fashioned Christmas at the century old Union Church.
“We did talk about the possibility of storms,” said Lucy Oldham, member of the Dixon Springs Preservation Association, “but it didn’t seem to bother those who come out each year.”
The event has a bit of a cult following, with some coming in from other states to attend.
“It is so much fun,” said Fran Cutrell Rutkovsky, with her husband Paul, who traveled from Florida. “I like all the mixture of people, and seeing the programs. It’s always different programs.”
Rutkovsky added that for her Dixon Springs is still home despite living in Florida, and they make the pilgrimage to attend the annual celebration each year.
Jason Hollman along with his children Cecilia, 6, and Walter, 4, attended the event for the first time.
“We have a family farm near by, and we were visiting family. After hearing about this event, we decided to continue our Christmas festivities over here,” said Hollman.
Each year the celebration features different local musicians and vocalists from Trousdale and Smith Counties. This year’s program featured Lynn Sharenberger; Les McDonald; a youth choir directed by Sharenberger; Vivian Reynolds Penfield Family and sons; and Greta and Bro. Glenn Kirby.
Dixon Springs Preservation Association member John Oliver read “The Night Before Christmas,” and Bill Allen read “The Christmas Story” from The Bible.
In years’ past musical groups included choirs from various churches and a Latin choir.
“This was the best ever,” said Oldham. “It is a thrill to see everyone every year, and this year we have a lot of new faces.
“This event seems to get a little bigger each year, and we would like local residents to come out to the various events that happen at the church.”
The annual celebration started in 1990 as a fundraiser for the Dixon Springs Preservation Association.
Oldham added that at the 25th celebration in two years, the group hopes they will be able to have a “big shebang” in honor of the work the preservation association has done.
Managing Editor Marie Corhern can be reached at 615-374-3556 or email [email protected].

Kids see an early Christmas

Nearly 200 children are having a merrier Christmas this year thanks to the Trousdale County Christmas for Kids program.
The annual program held at Hartsville Church of Christ takes donations of toys and clothing to help children in need during the holidays. Each child visits the Fellowship Hall at the church to pick out a few toys of their choice and then they are given a bag that is filled with a pair of shoes, pants, a shirt and a coat, that are all purchased using donated funds.
“We spend approximately $150 per child,” said coordinator Jennifer Claridy.
Following their selection of goodies from the donated toys, each child is given a gift certificate to go shopping and purchase addition items.
“Volunteers take the kids shopping, we encourage the parents not to go because sometimes the kids will buy the parents gifts with their certificates,” Claridy said.
Claridy said each participant was given $30 to spend while shopping, which is up from last year’s $25.
“This would not be possible without the generosity of the people in this county. I think it is amazing that a little town like Hartsville can [donate] like this,” she added.

Come Home for Christmas


It might have been cold and rainy, but nothing dampen the spirits of citizens of Trousdale County Dec. 14 as it held it’s annual Christmas parade.

This year’s parade had close to 200 entries from beauty pageant winners to scouts, to veterans to antique cars and everything in between. The Grand Marshals for the 2013 parade were Bill Holder, Ed Martin and John Martin.

The theme was “Come Home for Christmas,” and the winners were: 

Grand Prize – Bill Scruggs family; best float – Citizens Bank; best Christmas theme entry – Trousdale Medical Center; best pet entry – Dames For Danes; best horse drawn entry – Driver Farms; best commercial entry – Red Hat Ladies; best church entry – Rocky Creek Fellowship Church; best kids entry – Youth Football 6 and 7-year-olds; best motorcycle entry – Don Burnley; best tractor entry – Royce Belcher; best truck entry – JImmy Shrum; best antique car – Thomas Baird and best modified car – Seed Morton.

Managing Editor Marie Corhern can be reached at 615-374-3556 or email [email protected].

Christmas is up and running in Tennessee


The holiday season is in full swing here at the Capitol in Nashville.

We kicked it off just after Thanksgiving with the annual lighting of the Christmas tree, a 30-foot Norway spruce from the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture’s Cumberland Forest near Oliver Springs. The tree included a three-foot star on top, approximately 6,000 bulbs and more than 200 ornaments.

We were joined again this year at War Memorial Plaza by Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, and we were treated to entertainment by the 129th Army Band and multi-platinum-selling Curb Records recording artist Lee Brice.  We had carriage rides, popcorn, hot chocolate and apple cider.  Crissy and I joined Santa and Mrs. Claus to read “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” for children, which is always a highlight for us.

The following night, I was joined by Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel, members of Chabad from across the state and children from the Akiva School of Nashville to light the Capitol menorah to mark the second to last night of Chanukah, which fell early this year.

We have also been hosting the annual open house at the Tennessee Residence.  The theme for this year’s decorations is “Tennessee Legends,” to celebrate our state’s history.  The decorations showcase influential people, places and events throughout Tennessee’s rich past. They include trees and displays featuring Andrew Jackson, Sequoyah, Davy Crockett, Tennessee’s governors and more recent legends like Pat Summitt and Dolly Parton.

Through partnerships with the Tennessee State Museum, the Hermitage, the Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park, the East Tennessee Historical Museum and the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, we have some very special artifacts on display.

While tours of the Residence are given year-round, it’s a lot of fun to have so many visitors come for the holidays.  Over the past two years, nearly 10,000 people have attended these open houses.

From Memphis to Mountain City, this is a great time of year to be in Tennessee.  Our state has so much to offer. 

The holidays are a time to reflect on our many blessings and to spend time with family and friends.  In the Volunteer State, we understand the meaning of helping others, and Tennesseans often do a lot of work to help those in need this time of year. 

We are especially grateful to the brave men and women serving our state and our nation around the world.  We know that they are often far from home and away from their families over the holidays, and we appreciate their sacrifice.

Crissy and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for a Happy New Year.

Christmas trees of yesteryear


How did people celebrate Christmas in the past?

That is our subject this month. Last week we saw how children long ago hung their stockings on the fireplace mantel and how, on Christmas morning, they would be delighted to find them stuffed with fruit, nuts and hard candies.

This week we look at Christmas trees.

We know the first pioneers thought little of holidays. They were too busy carving a home out of the wilderness.

But, as Middle Tennessee became more settled and a little more civilized, people began to set aside Sundays as a day for worship and religious holidays were observed.

Alabama was the first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday and that was in 1836!

At that time, however, celebrating Christmas meant meeting at the local church for a service and singing. Decorations were there…but not the festive ornaments we have today. 

Branches of evergreen were brought into the church or home.

Notice, I said “branches” of evergreen…not “trees!”

A decorated tree was a long tradition in the Germanic countries of Europe, but not here.

Historians credit the popularity of England’s Queen Victoria with the Christmas tree’s arrival on the American scene.

When pictures of the Queen and her family around a small tree were published in American newspapers and magazines it suddenly became the “in” thing to do.

That was in the mid 1800s.

By the 1870s Christmas trees were common across our country. And, while the Queen had only a table top tree, it was Americans who insisted on having floor to ceiling trees!

Still, the trees people had in Hartsville 100 years ago were not like those we use today.

If you had a tree, it was a cedar tree you cut off the side of a hill and you put it up on Christmas eve and you took it down on Jan. 7, the day after “Epiphany” (the traditional day when the wise men appeared before the Christ child).

The only artificial trees were small ones made of feathers dyed green!

And, the decorations didn’t come from the Hallmark store made of plastic and resin!

Let’s look at what the late Ruby Stone wrote about Christmas around 1905: “We never had a Christmas tree at home in my early days. We had a large tree at the church…they would meet to decorate it with different sized tissue paper bells that opened out. We would string popcorn and make green and red paper chains for the tree. Later we had tinsel ropes to put on the tree.”

Popcorn was definitely the most popular decoration.

Virginia Winston Foley told her family, “Christmas was the favorite time of the year for my three sisters and me. We loved everything about it. Chopping down a cedar tree in the woods and decorating it with garlands of popcorn!”

In an article printed in the Vidette in the 1970s, Lucie Clayborne had this to say, “…we rarely ever went to Grandmother’s. It was too far and we had to go in a wagon.” But, she went on to say, that didn’t keep Christmas from being special as they decorated the family tree with “popcorn and holly berries and cutting our paper snowflakes.”

In the same article, Vyda Mae Draper Thompson said, “Mother would cut out large gaps in the branches of the tree and then clip real candles in the spaces for a picture perfect Christmas tree.”

Vyda Mae’s brother, the late Brown Draper, added, “By all safety standards today, we should have all burned up!”

Vyda Mae then finished her interview with this recollection, “The tree was decorated with ornaments our Grandmother made from crochet spools, as well as paper cones full of candy and nuts.”

What would people from the past think of what we have today?

Sharing the Christmas Spirit


It was great to see all the smiling faces lining the streets and gathered at the courthouse for the horse-drawn delivery of the Trousdale County Christmas tree. The beautiful decorations at the courthouse and the Christmas tree bring a very festive feel to downtown Hartsville.

Speaking of people lining the streets, we hope everyone will turn out for the annual Christmas parade this Saturday, Dec. 14, beginning at 10 a.m. The theme “Come Home for Christmas” is a reminder of the importance of community, friends and family during the holiday season. This year’s parade is shaping up to be one of the largest in recent memory with plenty of local participation. The parade line-up is listed in today’s Vidette.

Everyone is invited to gather at the courthouse immediately following the parade for the presentation of trophies to the winning entries. Free coffee and hot chocolate will be provided by the Hartsville/Trousdale County Chamber of Commerce. Food will also be available for purchase. Please contact the chamber at 615-374-9243 for more information.

You can also share the Christmas Spirit by donating to Christmas for Kids and the Community Help Center. Christmas for Kids will serve more than 200 local children ages 3 to 15 years this holiday season. Christmas for Kids provides gifts for Trousdale County children who might not otherwise have much of a Christmas celebration.

The Community Help Center is also in need of monetary, food, clothing and furniture donations to serve those in need in our county. For more information please contact the Help Center at 374-2904. Store hours are Monday and Thursday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The Living History Museum will be celebrating the Christmas season! Volunteers are decorating the house and making it available for tours again this year. Individuals, organizations and church groups are welcome to schedule a time to tour the house, learn its history and enjoy hot cider and cookies. Please contact the chamber at 615-374-9243 to reserve your tour.

Citizens Bank will be hosting the St. Thomas Susan G. Komen Mobile Mammography Unit at the Bank for a repeat visit on Dec. 13. For more information please contact Tracy Belcher, Citizens Bank, at 615-374-2265. Mammograms are offered on a walk-up basis and financial assistance is available.

The EAO Fundraiser will begin at 1 p.m. on Dec. 14, and feature concessions and vendors at the Trousdale County Elementary School.

Congratulations to all the talented and dedicated players, coaches and staff for bringing home the 2013 State Football Championship. Go Jackets!