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By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

With 2020 and the dawn of a new decade upon us, The Vidette takes a look back at the biggest headlines from Trousdale County in the previous year. There was plenty to report on – we may be small but we’re certainly not dull!

January

  • Four Trousdale County players – Jake Gregory, Keyvont Baines, Tarvaris Claiborne and Jay’dynn Hayward – were named to various all-state football teams. Brad Waggoner also resigned as football coach after two seasons to take a job at Elbert County in Georgia. Waggoner went 19-8 in two seasons, including a runner-up finish in the Class 2A BlueCross Bowl.
  • Walgreens opened its new location on the corner of Andrews Ave. and McMurry Blvd., the site of the former Rite Aid. The changeover came after Walgreens purchased the rival pharmacy chain. Also, Fred’s Hartsville location closed its pharmacy after selling its patient files to Walgreens.
  • A portable meth lab was discovered and dismantled in the field behind Foodland. The Drug Task Force disposed of the illicit material.

    Illustration by Metro Creative Connection

  • The County Commission rejected a request to rezone property along Hickory Ridge Lane and Highway 25 from residential to commercial. The location had been seen as a possible site for a hotel, but nearby residents overwhelmingly opposed the rezoning.
  • Trousdale County was required to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up an old landfill site off Gammons Lane that was found to be leaching contaminated water into a nearby creek. The county received a 50/50 grant from the state to offset the cost, which came to around $650,000. Work was completed at the site toward the end of the year.
  • TCHS senior Shelby Jane Petty signed a basketball scholarship with Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
  • TCHS seniors Houston Stafford and Mallorie McGee were named basketball Homecoming King and Queen on Jan. 25.

 

February

  • The Trousdale County grand jury indicted former Drug Task Force agent Keith Holder on multiple charges, including vehicular homicide, in the June 2018 death of Donovan Crittendon, whose body was discovered in the Cumberland River. Holder has pleaded not guilty and no trial date has been set as of yet.
  • Two members of the Water Board – Toby Woodmore and Sissy Harper – resigned after The Vidette reported on a handshake agreement between the board and a local developer. The deal violated Water Board policies and exempted the developer from certain required fees.
  • TCHS senior Keyvont Baines signed a football scholarship with Southwest Mississippi Community College. Baines and Shelby Jane Petty were also recognized for scoring 1,000 career points in basketball.
  • An automobile accident on Halltown Road on Feb. 4 claimed the lives of two Hartsville residents.
  • Blake Satterfield was hired as Trousdale County’s football coach, becoming the third generation of his family to coach the Yellow Jackets. A former football star at TCHS, Satterfield served as defensive coordinator prior to being named head coach.
  • Hartsville’s Blake Holder received the Outstanding Producer Award from the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association.
  • The Trousdale County Fair received the Premier Fair Award in Class A from the Tennessee Association of Fairs, while Judy Woodard received a statewide award as outstanding fair secretary.
  • An early-morning fire on Feb. 19 damaged La Quesadilla Mexican Restaurant and led to the facility’s closing. Repairs to the building are ongoing.
  • Trousdale County’s basketball season ended in the district tournament with a 13-16 record, while the girls advanced to the regionals before bowing out with a 15-7 mark.
  • Jeffery Damont Allen of Hartsville was indicted on three counts of kidnapping related to a November 2017 incident. Allen was later charged with a parole violation and according to state records is scheduled to be incarcerated until 2026.

 

March

  • TCHS senior Jake Gregory received the Admiral William P. Lawrence Award from the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the National Football Foundation. Gregory was recognized as the top scholar-athlete in the Midstate and was a three-time all-state selection on the field.
  • TCHS students got a firsthand look at the effects of distracted driving through a new interactive program. Trousdale County was the first school in the state to try out the new program.
  • Tri-County began Phase 2 of its three-year broadband buildout in Trousdale County, which was designed to operate in the middle of the county including downtown Hartsville. Phase 3 should begin sometime in 2020.
  • Hartsville middle school student Rob Atwood won his second consecutive AAU state wrestling championship, winning the 189-pound category by decision.
  • Casey Wayne Looper of Westmoreland was charged after allegedly firing a gun at Keller’s Bar & Grill. In April, Looper was charged with attempted first-degree murder in Overton County and remains incarcerated there.
  • Ashton Scott was crowned as the 2019 Miss Trousdale, with Sarah Dickerson named Junior Miss Trousdale and Charlie Beth Wright named Miss Trousdale Elementary.

 

April

  • Benjamen Timothy Carter was indicted on a first-degree murder charge in the March 31 shooting death of Bailey Donoho of Portland. Carter would eventually plead guilty to the murder charge and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
  • Fred’s announced that it would close 159 locations, including the Hartsville store that eventually shut down in May. The retailer later closed all its stores nationwide and filed for bankruptcy.
  • Trousdale Medical Center reopened its main emergency room after a five-month renovation to fix flood damage that cost an estimated $500,000.
  • Leon Wayne Berry of Hartsville was charged with attempted murder after allegedly shooting at his ex-girlfriend’s new partner. Berry pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and received a six-year sentence with all but one suspended. At press time he remained in the Trousdale County Jail.
  • Hartsville’s Dean Uhles celebrated her 99th birthday with family and fellow members of the Red Hat Society. The Vidette was honored to be invited to the festivities and looks forward to Dean turning 100 later this year!

 

May

  • In a story that gained attention from Nashville media, an elementary school teacher was charged with child abuse after video emerged of her dragging a student by the feet into a classroom. Carla Haynes was suspended and later terminated by the Board of Education. Haynes later received pretrial diversion with the charges dismissed after six months.
  • Annie Valentine of Hartsville perished in a house fire on Skillet Creek Road early on May 1.
  • Trousdale County underwent a Current Value Update by the state comptroller’s office as required by state law. While the assessed value of property went up considerably, the county’s property tax rate was adjusted to leave the amount of tax paid the same.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau released estimates showing that Trousdale County’s population had increased to over 11,000 – a 40 percent rise since 2010 that was the highest in the state.
  • Hartsville’s Community Pregnancy Center raised over $13,000 at its second annual fundraising banquet.
  • Faith Parker was named the 2019 Fairest of the Fair, with Madison Farley named Fair Princess and Reagan Petty as Jr. Fair Princess.
  • Sweet Kuntry Bakery & Eatery opened for business at the corner of Broadway and Main Street in the old Bank of Hartsville building. Despite initial success, the bakery closed for good later in the fall.
  • A Macon County jury convicted Keithandre Murray of two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a Hartsville woman and a Lafayette man in February 2017.
  • Trousdale County’s softball claimed the district regular-season and tournament championships. The Lady Jackets took the tournament title by scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh to down host Gordonsville. TCHS would reach the substate round before ending its season at 18-9.
  • TCHS baseball coach Travis Humes resigned after five seasons and a 63-78 record. Humes’ 2018 team finished as district runner-up.
  • The County Commission voted down a controversial merger between the Volunteer Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services departments by a 12-7 margin. The final vote was delayed twice in March and April amid concerns of costs and perceived opposition from fire department leadership.

 

June

  • The Hartsville Vidette, Lebanon Democrat and Mt. Juliet News were purchased by Paxton Media Group, a family-owned company out of Paducah, Ky. Mike Alexieff was named publisher of all three papers and editor of the Democrat.
  • Hartsville Printing closed its doors after nearly 41 years of business as owners Roger & Linda Gregory retired.
  • Trousdale County sheriff’s deputy Clint Friar suffered severe injuries after being struck by a vehicle while he was stopped to render assistance after a traffic accident. Friar underwent multiple surgeries but is expected to make a full recovery. A timeframe for his return to duty is unknown.
  • Gravel Hill Missionary Baptist Church celebrated its 150th anniversary.
  • C.L. Gammon, the presidential nominee of the Prohibition Party, was guest speaker at June’s meeting of the Trousdale County Historical Society.
  • The BBQ Shack opened at the corner of White Oak and Broadway on June 12 after moving from its Dixon Springs location.
  • The County Commission delayed its budget vote for the 2019-20 fiscal year after an agreement between the schools and county government could not be reached. The schools requested roughly $850,000 in new money from the county in its initial request.
  • Jimmy Lee Scruggs was indicted on a first-degree murder charge in relation to the 2018 death of his girlfriend. Scruggs remains in the Trousdale County Jail and no trial date has been set.
  • The Mexican Grilled Cheese opened for business on June 30 in the old Tully’s site at the corner of Broadway and McMurry. Alberto Rodriguez, who operated La Quesadilla prior to the February fire that shut down that location, moved his business to a new site.

 

July

  • Commissioners announced no property tax increase in the county’s 2019-20 budget, something that had been discussed after Mayor Stephen Chambers’ proposal came in with a large deficit. Much of that deficit was one-time expenses, however. Commissioners also rejected the school system’s budget proposal, which called for $367,078 in new funding to replace money from the state’s Basic Education Program.
  • Haven House Mission Church announced the purchase of 18 acres of property along Highway 25 for an eventual drug/alcohol rehabilitation center. Renovations are continuing at the property and the center could open sometime in 2020. Haven House does not take court referrals and is a discipleship-based program. The group also runs a thrift store in Lebanon.
  • Hartsville’s Tennessee College of Applied Technology announced an expansion program that will include new training areas for nursing, a new computer lab and expanded space for vocational programs.
  • The School Board approved a policy change to allow out-of-county students to attend Trousdale County Schools by paying a $1,500 per semester fee.

 

August

  • One of Trousdale County’s last remaining World War II veterans, John Martin, passed away Aug. 1 at the age of 97. Martin was a three-time recipient of the Bronze Star and saw action in multiple engagements in the European theater of the war.
  • County government and the school system reached a budget deal that provided no new tax money to the schools for two years in exchange for the county paying for a new roof at Jim Satterfield Middle School. A previous quote for a roof came in at $830,000 but must be bid out, with work expected to take place in summer 2020.
  • The youth football league raised nearly $12,000 for new uniforms and equipment and announced a ‘Friday Night Lights’ event in October to give the young kids the experience of playing a night game on John Kerr Field.
  • The Trousdale County Fair was held from Aug. 8-10 with multiple events, including a car show that raised over $10,000 for the Backpack Program and the annual Christmas For Kids cake walk.
  • Trousdale County Schools hit “an academic grand slam” in the words of Director Clint Satterfield, as all three schools were named Reward Schools by the state Department of Education. Trousdale was also named as an Exemplary District.
  • A two-day manhunt near the Cumberland River on Highway 141 resulted in the arrest of a Linden man who was suspected of vehicle theft and wanted on other charges. Derrick Paul Hankins was caught in a barn on Puryears Bend Road and at press time remained in the Trousdale County Jail.
  • The Board of Zoning Appeals rejected 3-2 a request from a homeowner for a fitness studio in her home. The business had been operating in a limited capacity and according to reports a court battle could be in the works over the matter.
  • TNReady scores highlighted achievement and growth in Trousdale schools, with grades 3-8 ELA rating No. 12 in the state and 3-8 math No. 13. In high school, English I was No. 12 statewide and Integrated Math I, II and III each rated No. 2. Trousdale schools also rated a Level 5 (highest level) in growth, or year-to-year improvement.
  • U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn, who was elected in 2018, visited Trousdale County on Aug. 21 to hear local concerns.
  • A female employee at CoreCivic’s Hartsville prison was taken by helicopter to Vanderbilt with life-threatening injuries after being assaulted by an inmate on Aug. 30. TTCC Warden Russell Washburn later confirmed to county commissioners that the employee lost an eye in the attack. An investigation by the Tennessee Department of Corrections remains ongoing.

 

September

  • Hayden Williams was named as TCHS baseball coach and it was announced that Blake Satterfield would continue coaching the softball team in addition to his football duties. Williams had previously also been named football coach at JSMS.
  • Over 570 people participated in an online survey to determine the future of Hartsville City Park. The survey was intended by county government to help come up with a master plan for park improvements. Two design concepts were presented to the public in November and a final plan is to be presented early in 2020.
  • Trousdale County’s graduation rate was announced at 98.9 percent, up six points from the previous year.
  • The Fred A. Vaught Public Library received a $1,572 grant from the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office for technology upgrades, which was to be used on new computers and monitors.
  • County commissioners elected Dwight Jewell as the new chairman. Jewell replaced Jerry Ford, who announced he would not seek another term as chairman.

 

October

  • Jimmy Anthony, the longtime owner of Anthony Funeral Home, announced that he was retiring and would sell the business to Sellars Funeral Home in Lebanon. The Anthony name will remain on the business, which has operated in Hartsville since 1969.
  • Cassidy Todd was named as Jim Satterfield Middle’s Homecoming Queen, with Katie Jo Gregory and Mia Mitchell as attendants.
  • James Melvin Stansberry was charged with filing a false report and theft of property after telling police that someone claiming to be a TWRA wildlife officer took items from him at a local boat ramp. The TWRA issued a warning to the public and Nashville media picked up the story before Stansberry’s claims were found to be false.
  • JSMS finished its football season with a 5-4 record under coach Hayden Williams but ended the year with a three-game winning streak.
  • The Early Bird Café gained new ownership when Lilla Brewington purchased the Hartsville breakfast stop.
  • Neighborhood Health announced that it would close its Hartsville clinic on Damascus Avenue effective Oct. 28.
  • Concerns over a proposed meat processing plant in Hartsville began to rise on social media after an announcement that the Industrial Development Board had sold a 9-acre property in the industrial park to a Carthage cattle producer. At a December meeting, the board extended the contract through the end of January to allow Steve Anderson to complete his financing. The proposed plant would be next to Old Time Express and across from Dakota Works and would be able to process 10 head of cattle per day, according to Anderson.
  • First Baptist Church celebrated its 150th anniversary on Oct. 20. The church originally opened on Church Street and now is on McMurry Blvd. near the elementary school.
  • Josie Garrett was crowned as Trousdale County’s Homecoming Queen, with Sarah Dickerson, Lily Haynes, Erin Hix, Addison Gooch and Christina Sisco as attendants.
  • Mayor Stephen Chambers hosted a forum on homelessness that was designed to bring multiple agencies together and coordinate efforts to assist in the need for shelter.
  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee toured Hartsville’s TCAT on Oct. 30 as part of efforts to promote his GIVE (Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education) initiative.
  • Judge John Wootten announced his retirement effective Jan. 1 as Circuit Court Judge for the 15th Judicial District, which includes Trousdale County. Wootten had served in that role since 1998.

 

November

  • TDOT announced plans to build a turn lane at the intersection of Highway 25 eastbound and Halltown Road. Utilizing federal and state transportation funds, the project is expected to begin in 2021 and take about 18 months to complete.
  • New Beginnings Pentecostal Church opened its doors on West Main Street.
  • The Trousdale County Historical Society and Civic League announced the publishing of a two-set volume on Trousdale County’s history. The books are available by contacting the Historical Society.
  • The Chamber of Commerce held a Football Fantasy Contest in which local business could purchase wooden footballs and decorate them. Nineteen footballs were sold and Trousdale Medical Center won the grand prize.
  • Trousdale County’s Marching Yellow Jackets placed 11th at the state championships.
  • TCAT Hartsville received a $994,995 grant from the state to expand its advanced manufacturing training operations in Hartsville and at its satellite locations.
  • The Volunteer Fire Department told county commissioners it had exceeded its budget by over $34,000. Interim chief Mark Beeler cited expanded training for volunteers, adding personnel to the department and a higher call volume.
  • Trousdale County’s football season ended with a 22-20 loss in the Class 2A semifinals at Meigs County. The Yellow Jackets finished 11-2 under first-year coach Blake Satterfield and had 12 players named to the All Region 4-2A team. Tarvaris Claiborne was named region Defensive Player of the Year and Kobe Ford was named co-Offensive Player of the Year.

 

December

  • The entire community mourned the death of 7-month-old Ridge Williams, who according to reports swallowed a pacifier and choked. Multiple fundraisers were held to benefit the Williams family and blue ribbons could be found all over Hartsville.
  • The Water Department said it was working to test all fire hydrants in Hartsville after a hydrant reportedly failed when firefighters tried to tap into it to fight a house fire on Halltown Road near Rogers Street.
  • Trousdale County’s Kobe Pridemore signed a baseball scholarship with Freed-Hardeman University.
  • Hartsville held its largest-ever Christmas parade on Dec. 14 with over 200 entries, capping off the annual ‘Three Days of Christmas’ that includes the FCE Tour of Homes and tree lighting at the courthouse.
  • TDOT announced bridge repairs along Highway 231, including at the Cumberland River, which is expected to cause traffic delays through November 2020.
  • The School Board set the 2020-21 school calendar at its Dec. 19 meeting, with the first day of school on July 30.

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