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By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Metro Creative Connection

As 2019 begins, The Vidette takes a look back at what made headlines in Trousdale County over the last year. From the election of a new mayor to the Yellow Jackets’ run to the BlueCross Bowl, there was plenty of news to report!

 

January

  • The Trousdale County Sheriff’s Department bid farewell to Wanda Wix, who retired after 32 years as a jail administrator.
  • Trousdale County’s Jake Gregory was named a consensus all-state selection after completing his junior season of football.
  • Tri-County Electric opened a series of public meetings to inform customers about its plans to wire most of Trousdale County for broadband Internet service. Phase 1 of the three-year plan is now near completion and Phase 2 is expected to begin early in 2019.
  • A pair of winter systems caused schools to close for a couple of days and brought snow to the county.
  • Trousdale County Schools fared well on the state’s Report Card, finishing with its highest-ever ACT average score and ranking near the top statewide in student achievement.
  • An early-morning burglary at Oldham’s Market on Jan. 18 occurred when thieves broke the front glass door, pried it open and stole cigarettes. The alleged perpetrators were later caught and reportedly linked to a series of robberies across Tennessee and other states. One suspect would later escape custody and was added to the TBI’s 10 Most Wanted List before being recaptured in Marion County.
  • Ferrell Haile, whose district includes Trousdale County, was elected as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Tennessee Senate.
  • The Trousdale County Fair was chosen as Division A State Champion by the Tennessee Association of Fairs, qualifying it to compete in 2019 for the Champion of Champions title.

 

February

  • Tri-County received a $1.35 million grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development for its broadband project. The state is offering $10 million in grant funding for each of three years as part of a 2017 law signed by Gov. Haslam.

    Hartsville Vidette File Photos

  • Trousdale County government announced plans to fund a hotel feasibility study to determine if the community could support such an endeavor. The study would conclude that a 47-room hotel was possible, and two chains have been in contact with the Chamber of Commerce to move forward. Currently, the Chamber is working to find a suitable location and local investors.
  • The Hartsville Rotary Club held its second annual Father-Daughter Dance, drawing a large crowd to the TCHS auditorium.
  • Both Candice Hall and Leah Verville announced plans to seek election to the office of Register of Deeds. It would be the first contested election for that office since 1978, when Mary Holder was elected and served 38 years before retiring at the end of 2016.
  • Trousdale County Schools were ranked No. 17 in the state by the annual NICHE rankings.
  • Trace McGuire and Haylee Holder were crowned basketball Homecoming King and Queen at TCHS.
  • Hartsville’s public library began offering free classes in cursive writing to students of all ages.
  • Trousdale County government passed the annual state audit with just five findings against it – which primarily were lack of bids for some purchases and failure to segregate duties in some offices.
  • Haley’s Hearts Foundation held its annual Winter Carnival fundraiser for the eighth year in a row.
  • Both TCHS basketball teams lost in the opening round of the district tournament. Both teams finished with 9-17 records.

 

March

  • Mark Beeler and Baylee Huffines were chosen as the initial Trousdale County recipients of the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Award, which seeks to recognize service in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties.
  • Carroll Carman and Stephen Chambers each announced plans to seek election to the office of county mayor. Carman was seeking a second term, while Chambers was making his first run at political office.
  • Two TCHS baseball players – Logan Hewitt and Logan Calhoun – signed to play baseball at Roane State Community College.
  • The Community Help Center held its first fundraising dinner on St. Patrick’s Day, while Trousdale Medical Center held an after-hours event to allow community members to tour the facility and see what services the hospital has to offer.
  • Rotary Club members planted 40 trees in Hartsville City Park as part of a 250,000 planting across the state.
  • THP and Trousdale County deputies arrested a Davidson County teen who allegedly attempted to flee a pursuit that originated in Wilson County.
  • Whitney Dansby was crowned as 2018 Miss Trousdale, while Madison Farley was named Jr. Miss Trousdale and Reagan Petty as Miss Trousdale Elementary.
  • Holder’s Tobacco Warehouse announced that it had lost its contract with Alliance One International and later announced its intention to close in 2018.
  • Todd Austin, president of Citizens Bank, saw a piece of history when top-seeded Virginia lost in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Austin, who referees college basketball on the side, was one of the officials in that game.
  • Trousdale County’s population topped 10,000, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

 

April

  • A female employee at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center was arrested on charges of having sex with an inmate. The case against Crystal Rose Graves, of Lafayette, was still pending as of press time.
  • Trousdale County’s EMS announced it would distribute free smoke alarms to residents without a working detector or who cannot afford to purchase one.
  • The Boy Scouts Council presented John Oliver with its 2018 Trousdale County Good Scout Award for his long service to the Boy Scouts of America.
  • CoreCivic officials testified before state lawmakers that the facility had been fined over $2 million through the end of 2017 for various violations of state regulations. An audit released in late 2017 cited staffing problems, poor management and other TDOC policy violations at the facility.
  • The Little League fields were rededicated and a new sign was placed in memory of Ronnie Martin, a Hartsville man who was killed in the Vietnam War in 1968. Members of the Martin family and of the community attended a service in Martin’s honor.
  • The School Board voted to fund equipment and training for two new school resource officers at TCES and JSMS, and to request funding for salaries from the County Commission.
  • Jerry Thigpen of Hartsville was convicted by a jury of assaulting Property Assessor Dewayne Byrd during a June 2016 meeting of the Board of Equalization. Thigpen was sentenced in June to a year in jail but is currently free on bond while appealing his conviction.

 

May

  • Hartsville’s Community Pregnancy Center held its first fundraising banquet, raising around one-third of its budget needs that evening. Nearly 100 people were in attendance.
  • Shelby Vaughan was crowned as Trousdale County’s 2018 Fairest of the Fair, with Ashton Scott being named Fair Princess and Sarah Dickerson as Jr. Fair Princess.
  • Jeremy Wilhelm was relieved of his duties as TCHS girls basketball coach after finishing with a 93-157 record over nine seasons. He would be replaced by Jared Hawkins.
  • Oldham’s Market became Highway Food Mart after longtime owner Chris Oldham sold the business to Nick Patel.
  • The TCHS baseball team placed second in the district tournament and qualified for regionals, while the softball team placed third in the district. The boys finished with a 17-13 record, while the girls finished 11-12-1.
  • Then-TCHS assistant football coach Brandon Eden was relieved of his duties and suspended from his teaching position for an incident during practice in which he reportedly grabbed a student and cursed both the player and spectators. Eden would eventually be replaced as JSMS football coach by Matt Dyer.
  • Blake Satterfield was named as TCHS defensive coordinator.
  • The School Board voted to end the annual Senior Trip after the 2019-20 school year, citing lack of participation and difficulties in fundraising and finding chaperones.
  • Emily Booth became the second TCHS athlete to qualify for the state track meet, where she placed third in discus and sixth in shot put.
  • Hartsville’s United Methodist Church celebrated its 175th anniversary.
  • TCHS bid farewell to 79 graduating seniors from the Class of 2018.
  • County Mayor Carroll Carman cast a tiebreaking vote for $100,000 from the schools’ fund balance to fund training and equipment for SROs at TCES and JSMS.

 

June

  • Jimmy Anthony announced plans to retire as fire chief after nearly 46 years of service with the Volunteer Fire Department. Mark Beeler was named as interim chief until a permanent replacement is named.
  • The mayor’s office released its 2018-19 budget proposal, which featured raised of $1,000 and $2,000 for part- and full-time county employees, $238,724 in raises for employees of the Sheriff’s Department and a $102 monthly increase in county contributions to employee insurance costs. The budget did not call for a tax increase but featured just over $750,000 in new spending.
  • The body of 26-year-old Donovan Crittendon was pulled from the Cumberland River on June 9 after he had gone missing on June 3. Crittendon was reportedly last seen in the company of Drug Task Force agent Keith Holder, who was later terminated from his position. Holder’s personal vehicle would be pulled from the river later in the month. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is still investigating the circumstances of Crittendon’s death and no arrests have been made.
  • Ray Russell announced he would seek re-election as sheriff after 22 years in the position. Russell was unopposed for election.
  • A Facebook video by Andy Jellison on heating/cooling tips went viral, gaining over 1.2 million views and 22,000 shares.
  • The Chamber of Commerce held a candidate forum, inviting anyone seeking public office to address the public.
  • Trousdale County announced that it would receive a $500,000 grant from THDA to assist low-income homeowners with needed repairs. A public meeting would be held later in the year to discuss qualifications and work is expected to begin on qualified homes sometime in 2019.
  • The new Justice Center opened its doors after being converted from the remaining portion of the old Co-op building on Main Street.

 

July

  • ‘Books & Bites,’ a mobile cafeteria/library utilizing a converted school bus, made a one-week trial run in the community and served between 20-25 children each day. A joint venture between the school system and the Rotary Club, ‘Books & Bites’ will go into service in the summer of 2019.
  • Hartsville’s Alan Fisher competed in the World Championship of Magic in South Korea.
  • Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd made a stop in Hartsville as part of his campaign.
  • Abe Zimmerman was named as the new pastor of Hartsville’s United Methodist Church.
  • Trousdale County students exceeded state averages in all reporting areas of the TNReady tests, according to date from the state Department of Education.

 

August

  • Stephen Chambers was elected as Trousdale County mayor with nearly 55 percent of the vote, unseating incumbent Carroll Carman. Also, Candice Hall was elected as Register of Deeds by a nearly 2-to-1 margin over Leah Verville.
  • Seven new members were elected to the County Commission: Ken Buckmaster, Landon Gulley, Grace Thomas, Coy Dickey, Dwight Jewell, Beverly Atwood and Mary Ann Baker.
  • A team of Trousdale County trap-shooters won the national title in their division at the Grand American World Championships in Sparta, Ill. The team, coached by Van Thompson, won the Junior A Division and the High Overall championship.
  • A report to the Water Department cited a number of deficiencies, including water tanks badly in need of repair or replacing. Other maintenance problems were cited in the report from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
  • A prisoner escaped from the Trousdale County Jail on Aug. 2 by climbing a fence in the recreation yard. Charles Groves would be recaptured in Bowling Green on Aug. 9 and remains jailed there on other charges. Two Hartsville residents would later be charged with aiding Groves after he escaped.
  • An employee at the CoreCivic prison in Hartsville was charged with bringing cocaine and a cell phone into the facility. The case against Treyvone Edward French, of Lebanon, remains ongoing.
  • A group of newborn puppies was discovered abandoned along the side of Boat Dock Road. They were taken to Dreamland Animal Rescue & Sanctuary but did not survive.
  • Trousdale County opened its 2018 football season with a win over Gallatin in the Tobacco Bowl Jamboree. The Yellow Jackets lost to Lebanon in the season opener but ended Friendship’s 14-game win streak with a 27-21 victory in Week 2.

 

September

  • Three people from Hartsville – Aaron Sykes, Patrick Persley and Kaylee Myers – were arrested and charged in an alleged armed robbery on Labor Day in Hendersonville.
  • Deanna Winter was named as the new director of Trousdale’s Meals on Wheels program.
  • Hartsville’s Reagan Petty and family were guests of the Tennessee Titans at a preseason game, courtesy of the Middle Tennessee Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
  • Sarah Dickerson was crowned as Homecoming Queen at JSMS, along with attendants Autumn Parrish and Taryn Simmons.
  • Trousdale County’s Dustin Burton was recognized as the Tennessee Archery Shooters Association’s Shooter of the Year in the Junior High Male Division.
  • JSMS was designated as a Reward School by the Tennessee Department of Education for overall achievement and student growth. The high school missed out on the honor by one-hundredth of a point.
  • A tenant was found dead at King’s Court Apartments on Friday, Sept. 21 after not having been seen since early Monday morning. The cause of death for Jeremy Hutchinson, 42, has not been released yet but foul play was not suspected.
  • The Scott Farm was designated as a Century Farm for having been a working farm in the same family for over 100 years.
  • Camyron Hurd was crowned as TCHS Homecoming Queen. Attendants were Destinee Burnley, Ashton Scott, Tori Simmons and Kaitlyn Foret.

 

October

  • A small explosion at the ARC Automotive plant damaged a building but caused no injuries. Investigators said a motor overheated and likely caused the incident but that no hazardous materials were involved.
  • The library launched a Homebound Services program, providing for individuals who are unable to visit the library because of health, disability or other reasons.
  • Haley’s Hearts Foundation held its annual Forever 5K, raising over $23,000 for research into congenital heart defects and help for families with children suffering from CHDs.
  • The Water Department announced changes to its leak adjustment policy. Instead of allowing one adjustment every 12 months, customers receive insurance protection through ServLine for a small monthly fee. Customers can also purchase protection for water line breaks. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Contact the Water Department for more information on the program or see the Oct. 18 issue of The Vidette.)
  • La Tienda Hispana La Costenita opened for business on Foxall Street, providing a Hispanic market to Hartsville customers.
  • A Hartsville man was indicted on charges of rape of a child. Jonathan Wayne Langford, 50, is scheduled to appear in court in February.

 

November

  • Trousdale County voters came out strong for Republicans Bill Lee, who was elected as Tennessee’s next governor, and Marsha Blackburn, who was elected to the U.S. Senate. John Rose was elected to Congress to replace Diane Black, who stepped down to run for governor. State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver was unopposed for re-election.
  • Trousdale County’s Marching Yellow Jackets qualified for the state finals for the first time. The band would place ninth in the Nov. 3 event at Riverdale High School.
  • The Community Pregnancy Center held its second annual Fall Festival and Chili Cook-off fundraiser.
  • The Trousdale County Yellow Jackets advanced to the Class 2A BlueCross Bowl but lost 17-9 to Peabody in the finals to finish 11-4 on the season. In the playoffs, the Jackets defeated three previously undefeated teams in No. 2-ranked Tyner, No. 3 Watertown and No. 1 Meigs County.
  • Jerry Burchett was named as the new minister at the Hartsville Church of Christ.
  • Garrett Bros. received approval from the Planning Commission for a ready-mix concrete plant in Hartsville, to be located at the corner of White Oak and Planters. The plant must still receive approvals from the TN Department of Environment and Conservation but is expected to open sometime in 2019.
  • The third annual Community Thanksgiving Meal, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, served over 600 meals to Trousdale County residents.

 

December

  • A public meeting discussed changes in state funding for education through the Basin Education Program (BEP) and how Trousdale County could be affected. The school system saw a roughly $251,000 reduction in state funding this year and could see a similar amount next year.
  • The Three Days of Christmas were held with the FCE Tour of Homes, Christmas at the Courthouse and the Hartsville Christmas Parade. World War II veteran John Martin, 96, served as grand marshal of the parade.
  • A group of parents met to look into forming a Trousdale County PTA to serve all three schools. The group is continuing to organize via Facebook and hopes to get School Board approval in January.
  • The Community Help Center announced a move from its old location on Main Street to the former site of Razors Barbershop, 120A McMurry Blvd. The food pantry was expected to open today, while the thrift store will reopen once all items have been moved from the old location. A timeframe was not yet available.
  • An inmate serving a life sentence for two murders was found hanging in his cell at Trousdale Turner after an apparent suicide. Ross Anderson, 34, was convicted in 2015 or murdering his girlfriend and her son.
  • Curt Cannamela, 41, of Hartsville, was sentenced to 188 months in prison by a federal judge for child pornography charges and enticement of a minor.
  • Twelve Yellow Jacket players were named to the All-Region 4-2A team. Tarvaris Claiborne was voted Defensive Player of the Year while Jake Gregory was named Most Valuable Lineman. Both players, along with Keyvont Baines, would later be named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association All-State team for Class 2A.
  • Evelyn Woodmore of Hartsville celebrated her 102nd birthday on Dec. 20.
  • The School Board set Aug. 1 as the start date for the 2019-20 school year.

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