Becoming the Volunteer State exhibition opens at Delta Heritage Center
December 7, 2013
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, Brownsville, will host the Tennessee State Museum traveling exhibition "Becoming the Volunteer State: Tennessee in the War of 1812" Dec. 19 - Feb. 3, 2014. The exhibit commemorates the war's 200th anniversary and features artifacts, maps and an in-depth exploration of the significant role of Tennessee and its people in this important chapter in history. Curator Myers Brown will lead a tour of the exhibition and answer questions at an opening reception Thursday, Dec. 19, beginning at 6 p.m. Brown is an Archivist with the Tennessee State Library and Chair of the Tennessee War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission.
After years of escalating tensions, the United States declared war on Great Britain on June 18, 1812, the war culminated with the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815. By the time the war was over several Tennesseans were beginning to emerge as important American figures, including Andrew Jackson, David Crockett, Sam Houston, Edmund Gaines (Act of Congress Medal winner), and Sequoyah.
The war in the south was waged predominately by Tennessee militia, volunteers, or regular army units raised in the state. So many Tennesseans volunteered for service that the state was soon known by the nickname, the “Volunteer State.” The victory at the Battle of New Orleans propelled Andrew Jackson to the White House and established Tennessee at the forefront of American politics.
Two notable events from the War of 1812 are forever etched in the collective consciousness of America’s heritage: the British burning of Washington, D.C. when First Lady Dolly Madison saved the portrait of George Washington before she fled the capital, and the writing of the “Star Spangled Banner” by attorney Francis Scott Key during the British attack of Ft. McHenry at Baltimore.
The Tennessee State Museum collaborated with other organizations to develop and produce the exhibition, including The Hermitage: Home of President Andrew Jackson, the State Library & Archives, and the Tennessee War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee. Important art, portraits, uniforms, weapons and period artifacts from the era, as well as a broad variety of documentary art, maps and illustrations have been selected to recreate a flavor of the times.
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is home to regional museums depicting the history and culture of the West Tennessee people. Inside visitors will find the Cotton Museum, West Tennessee Music Museum, Hatchie River Museum, the Sleepy John Estes Home and Flagg Grove School, the childhood school of Tina Turner. To learn more about the Center, visit www.westtnheritage.com or call 731-779-9000.
Just over $21k pledged — over $19k already in hand
December 6, 2013
29th Brownsville Radio Christmas Basket Radiothon
Between 7:15 and noon today, Brownsville Radio listeners pledged $21,150 to the 29th annual Brownsville Radio Christmas Basket Radiothon. The charity event is co-sponsored by Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith.
Pledges were continuing to come in, even those the radio broadcast ended. Contributors had already delivered about $19,200 of the pledges by the time this news report was written at about 3pm.
Christmas baskets for needy families will be delivered December 21.
Emergency/road crews preparing for onslaught of weather
December 6, 2013
The State of Tennessee has declared a state of emergency — schools are closed in Haywood County and around the area. Crews that deal with problems created by icy weather are ready to go. This morning the National Weather Service continues to warn about an early winter ice storm that could strike today. Most forecasters predict frozen precipitation – mostly in the form of freezing rain could strike by noon today and continue through the afternoon. Forecast models say the precipitation should end by late afternoon but could leave behind a layer of ice capable of breaking limbs and power lines. Travel could be treacherous.
Another round of wintry weather is anticipated in the middle of the night Saturday and into Sunday morning.
Brownsville Radio will keep you informed on the air and by text alert.
Website woes don’t keep Haywood Park Community Hospital from helping with sign-up for health coverage
December 4, 2013
You’ve most likely heard the confusion surrounding the website for the Health Insurance Marketplace, the government’s new platform for offering affordable health insurance. While the site may not be fully functional yet, Haywood Park Community Hospital’s application counselors can help make things more clear and assist with the sign-up process. And, if you enroll by December 23, 2013, you will have health insurance January 1, 2014!
A primary goal of the Affordable Care Act is to help eligible Americans gain access to affordable health care. Most U.S. citizens are required to enroll for health insurance by March 31, 2014. Based on household income and dependents, you may be eligible for health insurance coverage at no cost through Medicaid. Or, you may be eligible for new health insurance options on the Health Insurance Marketplace – and financial help from the government towards the cost of premiums may be available.
"This is where Haywood Park Community Hospital can help," said Joel Southern, CEO. "With many people in our community lacking access to a computer or having difficulty enrolling on the government’s website, our application counselors can help. We can assist individuals and their families evaluate the available health plan options and determine if they are eligible for Medicaid or other financial assistance."
Health Plans on Health Insurance Marketplaces
All health plans on the Marketplace must offer a comprehensive set of benefits, and individuals cannot be denied coverage based on a pre-existing condition. Some of the available health benefits include preventive care and wellness services, doctor visits, prescription drugs, hospital and emergency department care, lab services, pediatric services – and more.
"Even though Tennessee has chosen not to expand Medicaid, there are still many individuals in our community who qualify for Medicaid coverage," explained Joel Southern. "We can help screen these individuals and if they qualify, we can enroll them at any time, with health coverage beginning immediately."
"While a major function of www.healthcare.gov is assessing whether individuals and families qualify for financial help to lower the cost of the insurance, Haywood Park Community Hospital's application counselors can perform the same analysis and help with the sign-up process," Joel Southern said.
Charter commission schedules hearings — to complete draft by Friday
December 3, 2013 - Meeting #17
At last night’s Brownsville Haywood County Metro Charter Commission meeting the panel made good on a promise to take their thoughts to the public before a final vote. Commissioners also agreed on a final draft.
Draft to be delivered by Friday
Deciding how Brownsville and Haywood County governments would merge — the transitional procedure — was discussed last night. Lawyers for the commission suggested two and in one case, three, ideas for the final transition of elected offices and departments.
If voters pass the consolidated plan it will “come alive” as lawyer Michael Banks put it September 1, 2018 when the new legislators take office.
The transition takes place in two phases
The evolution begins immediately upon approval of the voters when a “transition task force” is appointed. The task force will include the mayors of Brownsville and Haywood County, the government’s attorney, the administrator of elections and the chair of the Brownsville Haywood County Metropolitan Government Charter Commission. The charter assigns various responsibilities to the task force.
The new representatives, including the 10 member metro council and the metro mayor, would be elected in August 2018 and begins phase two. When the new government takes office less than 30 days later the former elected officials and in some cases employees will be asked to head various departments at least temporarily. If the official or worker is unwilling or unable then the new metro mayor will appoint someone temporarily. Eventually department heads will need a mayoral appointment and confirmation by the metro council. Each department is defined in the charter and each department has its own transition plan.
Commissioners promised that the draft, with new language agreed upon last night, would be published by Friday.
On the road
In October, when Chairman Christy Smith published a list of frequently asked questions, she asked commissioners to think about how their first draft should be presented to the public. Last night they decided to hold three public hearings. At the hearings citizens will be allowed to comment and ask questions.
Each meeting will last two hours and have been scheduled for:
December 16, 6pm at the Justice Complex
January 9, 6pm in Stanton, the location to be announced
January 16, 6pm, at the Justice Complex
All of the public hearings will be recorded and transcribed for further review.
Smith said last night that charter commission representatives are available to talk to civic and church groups upon request. The charter commission has already spoken to at least one private group, has made a presentation to the Brownsville Exchange Club, and will present to the Brownsville Rotary Club today.
Smith has also published her e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that people may contact her with questions and to schedule presentations.
What happens next?
The charter commission has not scheduled further meetings and it isn’t expected they will reconvene until after the public hearings. After the public hearings, Smith said, the commission will schedule additional meetings as necessary and consider what they’ve heard from the public — eventually submitting a final version of their work.
The Haywood County Election Commission has 80 to 120 days to schedule a referendum after the charter is filed as final.
This afternoon — first draft complete metro charter?
December 2, 2013
When the metro charter commission meets this afternoon it will be their 17th get-together, and it could be one of the most important meetings so far. The group expects to see the first complete draft of the charter.
Commissioners have taken the last two weeks off, waiting on their attorney, Michael Banks, to complete the draft. Banks has said most of the work is done, but writing the transition — how the governments would move from the current operation to the new model— has taken extra time. If voters approve the consolidated government, it won’t go in to business until 2018, according to the most recent straw poll commissioners participated in and crafting the right words of transitioning has been time consuming, according to Banks.
If today’s meeting concludes with a charter ready to present for public comment, Chairman Christy Smith says public hearings will be scheduled at which citizens may ask questions, offer suggestions and comments. Smith says commissioners will also make themselves available to talk to civic groups. After the period for public comment, commissioners will convene to write the final version that will be decided by voters — likely sometime next year.
Draft of charter due Monday
November 29, 2013
The Metro Charter Commission will almost certainly take up their work again Monday — and Monday’s meeting could be one of the most important.
Commissioners have stood down for the last two weeks, waiting on their attorney, Michael Banks, to craft the words that deliver a draft document of their thinking so far. Banks has said most of the work is done, but writing the transition — how the governments would move from the current operation to the new model— has taken extra time. If voters approve the consolidated government, it won’t go in to business until 2018, according to the most recent straw poll commissioners participated in, and crafting the right words of transitioning has been time consuming, according to Banks.
Monday’s meeting will be the 17th session of the charter commission.
Chairman Christy Smith said once commissioners agree on the wording, the next step will be a series of public meeting at which citizens may comment and question the work. After the public meetings the commission will reconvene and consider the final work.
The charter commission is scheduled to meet Monday at 5.
Haywood County Democratic Part wants primary election
November 26, 2013
If Haywood County's election calendar wasn't busy enough already, along comes yet another opportunity to go to the polls next year. In an e-mail sent late yesterday, Election Registrar Andrea Smothers said the Haywood County Election Commission received "notice from the local Democratic Party that they are calling a county primary for the district-wide offices."
The primary will all voters to select democratic contenders for the offices of circuit court judge, chancellor, district attorney general and public defender, according to Smothers. Haywood County is in the 28th Judicial District. Candidates for these offices also face voters in Crockett and Gibson Counties.
The election commission set Tuesday, May 6 as the date for the primary. The offices targeted in the primary will be ultimately decided in the general election scheduled August 7. The deadline to qualify for the primary is noon Thursday, February 20, 2014.
With the addition of the primary, the Haywood County Election Commission has scheduled six elections for next year.
- Democratic Primary for district offices, May 6
- City of Brownsville, June 17
- County General and Statewide Primary, August 7
- General Election and Stanton General, November 4
A seventh visit to the polls is likely and could be set on a date separate from all the others; the yes or no decision for metro government.
Next metro meeting delayed another week
November 25, 2013
Though the Brownsville Haywood County Charter Commission has given specific instructions to their lawyer about the features of the proposed charter, writing the first complete draft it has taken longer than thought. The charter commission won’t meet today as planned because there’s still not enough reading available.
The commission last met November 11 when they decided to give lawyer Michael Banks until today to finish the draft. In an e-mail memo to charter commissioners this weekend Chairman Christy Smith said that though Banks had made some progress, it would be best to put the next meeting off until December 2.
Main Street Brownsville Elects Board Members, Gets Rolling
November 22, 2013 - By Joe Sills (@joesills)
The Main Street Brownsville committee elected a board of directors and adopted bylaws on Thursday night in the Haywood County Courthouse.
According to Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne, approval of the bylaws also approves the Main Street Brownsville program area which extends roughly from Grand Avenue on West Main past Anderson Avenue on East Main.
The Main Street Brownsville committee has until January 1, 2014 to file its’ application to Main Street Tennessee—a coordinating partner of the National Main Street Center which provides admitted communities funding for revitalization of their downtown areas, as well as enhanced marketing opportunities for Main Street areas.
Currently, only Collierville, Dyersburg, Ripley and Union City represent West Tennessee in the Main Street Tennessee program, which boasted an economic impact of $82 million last year.
That’s high cotton—and newly elected Main Street Brownsville President Sandra Silverstein says Brownsville has every reason to compete with those towns, “I’m very excited about everything that’s happening. You know timing is everything and I see so many events that are going on in this community right now. When they all come together we’re going to be the hottest spot not only in Tennessee but in the South.”
Other elected officials include Jim McAdams, Vice President; Brandon Williams, Secretary; and Betsy Reid, Treasurer.
Main Street Brownsville hopes to kick off their first fundraiser in several weeks. They’ll be selling copies of the Thomason & Associates Historic Brownsville Survey, which was presented at the Brownsville Business Association meeting earlier this week. The group hopes to raise significant operating expenses by selling the in-depth, 450 building survey of Brownsville.
Brownsville hopes to combine a successful Main Street program with the creation of new National Historic Districts to revitalize the small West Tennessee town’s economy and generate tourism.
Brownsville Historic Zoning Commission Approves Application Process for New National Historic Districts
November 22, 2013 - By Joe Sills (@joesills)
The Brownsville Historic Zoning Commission unanimously approved to move forward with applications for three new National Historic Districts and the expansion of the town’s only current district on Thursday night.
The application process is extensive, and will likely require a grant from a state organization such as the Tennessee Historical Commission.
The motion to move forward with the application process was raised after review of an extensive 450 building survey of Brownsville's historic buildings, conducted this summer by Thomason & Associates of Nashville, Tennessee. The decision sets in motion the survey’s recommendation to expand the current College Hill Historic District along Key Corner and West Main Streets. In addition, it begins the process of creating new districts along North Washington Avenue and East College Streets, the Southeast corner of the Square, and—perhaps most notably—a Civil Rights Historic District along Jefferson Avenue.
National Historic Districts are approved through the National Park Service, and while they provide tax credits for improvements and possible tourism benefits, the designation does not provide any protection for properties located within their boundaries.
Historic District protection can only come through the creation of local zoning overlays, which place restrictions on the types of signage, usage and construction of buildings within their borders.
"Whenever you set up (national) districts and setup local, you establish value of around 6-8% higher value than properties directly adjacent to them," said Dan Brown, a local government coordinator from the Tennessee Historical Commission, who has been assisting the Historic Zoning Commission this year. Brown added, "Those properties also stabilize quicker than others around them when there is economic pressure."
Currently, the Historic Zoning Commission is in the preliminary stages of reviewing new local zoning regulations that would protect the proposed districts—a process that could take several months.
"In all cities the National Register districts are where you begin and then the community outlines what they see is important to protect locally," stated Brown.
The Historic Zoning Commission wants to be careful when finding the right mixture of local zoning regulations to work beside the new National Historic Districts. "We want to look at putting these things on the National Register then form some strategy for forming the overlays," added commission member Joe Barden.
Brownsville's current zoning regulations were a source of criticism in the Thomason & Associates report on Monday night, with particular attention being paid to commercial zoning along the proposed Main Street Brownsville corridor. However, much of that falls outside of the proposed new National Historic Districts.
For Brownsville, the goal here is to triple the area of businesses and residences which are eligible for federal tax credits to improve their structures. Currently, any contributing building within a National Historic District that generates income is eligible for a 20% federal tax credit towards rehabilitation. That sort of historic rehabilitation creates jobs in the local construction industry enhances civic pride and creates a destination for affluent heritage tourists.
Historic planners meet today
November 21, 2013
Brownsville's Historic Zoning Commission meets today. Among the agenda items is consideration of next steps for evaluating and implementing the report delivered by Thomason and Associates Tuesday.
The report suggests adding three new historic districts and expanding the existing historic district.
Commissioners will also continue to work on development of Historic District Design Guidelines for the commercial district.
The commission meets at City Hall at 4pm.
Survey in Brownsville Recommends Three New National Historic Districts
November 20, 2013 - by Joe Sills (@joesills)
An in-depth survey of Brownsville has uncovered enough historically significant architecture to warrant the creation of three new National Historic Districts and the expansion of the town’s existing College Hill National Historic District, which could bring tax credits and tourism to the "Heart of the Tennessee Delta."
At least, that's what a Nashville-based survey group presented to the Brownsville Business Association on Tuesday night.
According to Phil Thomason—Principal of Thomason & Associates, a firm who specialize in historic surveys—a total of 450 individual buildings were examined during a five-month period from May to August of this year. The survey covered every street in the 9.1 square-mile town, focusing on buildings built prior to 1960.
"I found the results encouraging and astonishing and so full of hope with what we can do with this community," Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne told the crowd gathered at the town’s Backyard Barbecue. "We sell ourselves short so much of the time and we don’t need to do that."
The results yielded some uplifting information to many locals, and outlined areas for three new historic districts to compliment the College Hill Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. They are: a North Washington/East College Historic District, a Downtown Commercial Historic District located around the South and East of Brownsville’s Square, and a Civil Rights Historic District surrounding the old Carver High School.
The group also recommends expansion of the 30-year old boundaries of the College Hill Historic District and the inclusion of a handful of individual properties. "A lot can happen in 30 years," said Thomason, "so we like to go in a re-inventory everything."
The findings may have shocked some local business owners in attendance, whose eyes grew wider as Thomason and historical researcher Rebecca Hightower presented an analysis of the West Tennessee cotton town's wide variety of important buildings, including Victorian, Colonial, Greek, and Tudor Revival, as well as Art Deco and Craftsman style homes—many of which are not currently protected. Recommendations were also made for aesthetic improvements along some of the asphalt-lined gateways into the proposed districts, such as some current commercial areas along Main Street.
The survey was funded by the City of Brownsville and a grant from the Tennessee Historical Commission, and represents just a portion of government funding that may help Brownsville rehabilitate its historic buildings in an attempt to draw tourism to compete with recently revitalized towns like Covington, Bolivar and Ripley.
But to get to that funding, Brownsville will still need to actually form the historic districts, which involves the creation of zoning regulations from the Brownsville Historic Zoning Commission and an application process with the National Parks Service.
Still, the process may be worth it—especially for business owners. Properties located within a National Historic District are automatically eligible for a 20% federal tax credit on property improvements. In addition, property values within National Historic Districts tend to rise more quickly than those located outside of them.
And the historic rehabilitation business is booming. From 1976-2010, historic rehabilitation generated over $100Bn in economic impact, from job creation to tourism. It's an established market that Brownsville business owners may want to tap into.
Thomason says Brownsville has a lot to gain from focusing on preservation, "Heritage tourists are more affluent. They spend more, they stay longer and they make return trips. Those of us in the historic community have always been impressed with the architecture that you’ve had here. Brownsville was always known as one of the true gems in West Tennessee."
What to do with the results of the survey is now in the hands of the City of Brownsville and the Brownsville Historic Zoning Commission. Be sure to check back with Point Five Digital on the radio, Facebook or Twitter for further updates.
County commission mulling changes to county judiciary
November 19, 2013 - By Martha Lyle Ford
Haywood County's Charter would have to be changed if Haywood County Commissioners follow through with action on an idea discussed Monday night. The charter amendment would move juvenile court responsibilities from the General Sessions judge to a to-be-established Juvenile Court judge. The General Sessions judge's pay would be reduced by 25% which would help pay for the new Juvenile Court judge position.
The county commission met Monday night. Mayor Franklin Smith launched the discussion about the judgeship.
Commissioner Bob Hooper said the idea for the change had come from him and from conversations he had had with County and City attorney Michael Banks and current General Sessions judge Roland Reid.
Judge Reid, who was in attendance Monday night, reported that after considering Hooper's idea he is "neutral." He said, "I've considered the pros and the cons of it. I'm not against it, but I'm not going to carry the flag for it either."
Mr. Hooper reported that at least 17 other counties in Tennessee have separate Juvenile Court Judges and General Sessions Judges. Lauderdale County has a similar set-up.
Reid has been Haywood County General Sessions judge since 1993, when he made a commitment to the Commission that he would not practice law while also serving as judge. Previous judges had continued to practice law while also sitting on the bench. The General Sessions judge position was changed from part-time to full-time in 2002.
Reid said last night he hopes to serve another 8-year term and will run for reelection next year.
"If the Commission determines that making the change is a good idea and is good for the community, I'm okay with it," Reid commented. When asked if he has enough time to get all of the work done that needs to be done, he replied, "Yes."
The Commission took no action Monday but is expected to take the matter up at its January meeting.
City's request to expand planning region withdrawn
Brownsville has withdrawn a request that county government expand its planning region.
At the October meeting of the county commission, legislators considered a request from the City Hall to expand Brownsville's planning region to match its urban growth boundaries.
At the earlier meeting Brownsville officials and County Planner Tom Skeehan explained that approval of the request would give zoning and permitting authority to the city planners for property south to the Hatchie River. After extensive discussion in October, the Commission unanimously voted to postpone action on the measure until last night. Mayor Smith reported that he'd received correspondence from city officials asking the county commission to disregard.
Part of Wyatt Road de-listed
The Commission unanimously approved a recommendation by the Haywood County Highway Commission to remove a portion of Wyatt Road from the County's Uniform Road list. Two-tenths of a mile of the dead-end gravel road was affected. The request to take the road portion out of county maintenance was made by a farmer who wants to install an irrigation system through the road.
Inadequate bridge hinders farmer's progress
Commissioner Larry Stanley brought up another road concern - a bridge on Estanalua Road, which is too small for farm machinery to cross. Stanley reported that the inadequate bridge requires farmers to drive an extra 10 miles to reach their fields. Mayor Smith promised to request that the highway commission renovate the bridge.
Historic report to be unveiled today
November 19, 2013
Phil Thomason and Rebecca Hightower will present an historic assessment of Brownsville today. The two are with a Nashville firm hired by City Hall to review the cityÕs historic assets. Last week city officials said the report contains a Òtreasure troveÓ of historic wealth.
Conducted over the last several months the task included research of some 450 commercial and residential structures. This afternoonÕs meeting will include photographic examples of various architectural styles and periods through the 1960s. The effort includes recommendations for heritage preservation, asset-based economic benefits and expansion ideas for tourism.
The public is invited. The meeting starts at 5:30 and will be conducted at the Delta Room of Back Yard BBQ.
Brownsville's historic assets to be shown off next Tuesday
November 15, 2013
A just completed survey reports that Brownsville has a “treasure trove” of historic assets. The results of the work, commissioned by City Hall, will be unveiled next Thursday during an event at Back Yard Barbecue’s Delta Room.
Phil Thomason and Rebecca Hightower will present the appraisal performed by Thomason & Associates, a Nashville based firm. The study was funded through a grant from the Tennessee Historical Commission
Conducted over the last several months the tasks included research of some 450 commercial and residential structures. Next Thursday’s meeting will include photographic examples of various architectural styles and periods through the 1960s. The effort includes recommendations for heritage preservation, asset-based economic benefits and expansion ideas for tourism.
The public is invited. The meeting starts at 5:30.
Second safe space approved for Haywood Schools
November 14, 2013
With the first of two tornado safe spaces completed, the Haywood County Board of Education has approved a construction plan for the second.
The shelter at Haywood Elementary is finished and, now, ground is not far from being broken on the Haywood Middle School Safe Space, which will feature six classrooms.
Taxpayers spent $1,550,000 on the elementary school structure. The middle school shelter will require $1,575,000. The school board accepted bids this week. The structure will likely be complete sometime near the start of the 2014/2015 school year.
School workers to get bonus this week
November 14, 2013
During the 2013/2014 budget process the school board elected to give school workers a $400 bonus. School officials said this week the checks will be distributed November 15.
Students saluted by school board
November 14, 2013
Superintendent of Schools Teresa Russell recognized two HHS students for outstanding achievement this week.
• Will Clinton earned membership into the prestigious 30+ Club for making at least 30 on the ACT.
• Deonte Brown was recognized for competing on the state level in the cross-country race. He placed 39th out of 188 in a 5K.
Brownsville expected to officially become a Main Street town early next year
November 14, 2013
At this week’s Brownsville City Board meeting aldermen and the mayor took action that moves Brownsville closer to becoming a Tennessee Main Street Town.
Brownsville Radio contacted City Planner Sharon Hayes who provided additional details about Brownsville’s Main Street journey.
Hayes reports that the undertaking started about two years ago. And, now, Brownsville is in the final stages of the application process. The designation first required entry into Tennessee Downtowns (TD), a program sponsored by the State Department of Economic and Community Development.
“Our effort was spearheaded by a steering committee of dedicated local volunteers and guided by state Main Street professionals along with our Collierville mentor. We have successfully progressed building on a series of activities and projects through goal setting under the Main Street 4-Point Approach — Organization, Design, Promotion, and Economic Restructuring. The culmination has been a Downtown Master Plan and a mission for downtown revitalization,” Hayes wrote in an e-mail.
The most recent actions moving Brownsville steadily along: organization of a Main Street Board of Directors, the drafting of bylaws, and setting boundaries. The next step is to complete a lengthy application. City Hall has contracted with TD Steering Committee member Hayden Hooper to complete the documents.
“We plan to submit the application in early January and expect to be notified sometime in February of our acceptance,” Hayes said.
See more information on Tennessee Downtowns and Main Street including a list of State-certified cities and stats on economic development at this site: www.tennesseemainstreet.org
Territories downtown and just east of square to see improvement
November 13, 2013
When the Brownsville City Board of Mayor and Aldermen met Tuesday, they learned that work will start within a few weeks improving the Tamm lot downtown and streets and sidewalks between the square and Jackson Street. Leaders also approved application for a $1 million grant that will extend the work further east.
“All of the questions have been answered,” Mayor Jo Matherne said about the construction projects already funded. These include an elaborate park for the Tamm lot (just east of the courthouse). Enhancements aimed at aesthetics and pedestrian improvements from the square to Jackson Avenue are also anticipated. The mayor said advertisements for bids would be composed soon and the work could likely start, weather permitting, sometime in early 2014.
Another million to be spent
The board unanimously approved a Transportation Alternatives Program grant application. The total endowment is for $1 million but city leaders say they will have to chip in local funds of up to $300,000 to qualify for the subsidy.
“This is to continue the development of the East Main Street corridor,” Mayor Matherne said. “…to make it more friendly to pedestrians” The work will include improvements to utilities, sidewalks, streets and other infrastructure. “This is the gateway to our central business district,” Matherne commented.
The Delta Regional Authority has approved a rail spur grant. Aldermen and the mayor accepted the terms Monday. The money, $162,598, will be used to make repairs and improvements to the rail line servicing the Industrial Park.
Other news from Monday’s meeting
• City leaders will hold a budget session Monday December 2 at noon. City Hall will present semi-annual budget amendments to aldermen and the mayor.
• The Brownsville Energy Authority’s recommendation that George Chapman be appointed to BEA’s board was approved.
• Madeline Matheny and Julie Dahlhauser were reappointed to the Library Board.
• The council approved application for the annual Christmas Parade (December 13) and an application for a companion event sponsored by the Carl Perkins Center that takes place the same day.
• Most city workers will get the day after Thanksgiving off when City Hall will also be closed. City Hall will be open on Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas but aldermen and the mayor provided an extra “floating day off” employees may take during December.
• The board endorsed submission of an application authorizing participation in the Main Street Program.
Brownsville’s Utility Rates compare favorably in area
November 13, 2013
At Monday’s Brownsville City Board meeting Brownsville Energy Authority manager Regie Castellaw provided aldermen and the mayor with a bar graph comparing Brownsville’s gas, electric and water rates to other utility rates in West Tennessee. The comparison proves that Brownsville’s rates are among the lowest.
When compared to Humboldt, Covington, Memphis, Jackson, Gibson and Lake Counties, Brownsville has the next-to-lowest lowest rate for natural gas.
BEA has the lowest electric rates when compared to Jackson, Covington, Dyersburg, Ripley, Gibson County, Southwest and Forked Deer
Water rates in Brownsville are also the lowest when compared with Covington, Humboldt, Jackson, Ripley, Dyersburg, Huntington and the Haywood County Utility District.
Castellaw also commented that the utility has been approved for a half-million dollar wastewater improvement grant that will go a long way in renovating the city’s aging water system. “Some of our sewer infrastructure is approaching 100 years old,” Castellaw commented. But, he said, with the continued outside financial aid, which have been coming regularly, utility workers are gaining ground on a system that would be otherwise troubled by its stage in life.
First real charter document could come near first of the year
November 12, 2013
Holiday schedules and the tedium of writing the details of the suggested Brownsville Haywood County Metro Charter may delay the unveiling of the real first draft until the New Year. The news came at yesterday’s Committee of the Whole assembly of the charter commission.
The panel met for two hours Monday. It was their 16th get-together. They talked at length about methods for eventually getting the public involved and informed. They also made substantive decisions about previously undecided fine points.
Michael Banks, who is charged with the minutia of writing the draft, said yesterday that describing the transition — from present to consolidated is “taking up more time than we thought.”
Commissioners took action on several subjects
Metro Council Pay
Under the present proposal the ten representatives of the metro council will have many responsibilities and the commission discussed, at length, the compensation of councilpersons. Finally deciding on $500 monthly, the stipend is more than Haywood County Commissioners make ($100 per meeting) and the same as Brownsville’s aldermen. The charter will allow the council to adjust its pay at the beginning of a term of office.
Department of Public Safety
The new government would have a Department of Public Safety led by a manager. The charter will require the manager, like others, to hold a Bachelor’s Degree or have equivalent experience.
Chief Of Law Enforcement
A college degree in criminal justice or equivalent experience will be required for those seeking to run the metro government’s police department. Qualifications include POST certification. Under the present thinking, the metro council can appoint the sheriff as chief law enforcement officer. To be qualified to run for sheriff a candidate must be POST certified and have five years of law enforcement experience.
School Board members
Haywood County School Board members are presently paid a small stipend — $50 per meeting and $25 for mid-month luncheon gatherings. The new charter will state, “school board members may be paid…”
Amendments to the budget
Like Brownsville’s government is today, the consolidated government will pass budgets by ordinance. After discussion last night, the group intends to require budget amendments also be made by ordinance. Ordinances, under the new government plan also closely mirror Brownsville’s existing requirements, requiring two readings and sometimes a public hearing.
The agenda for regular meetings of the metro council must be published at least three business days in advance. The same regulation will apply to special called meetings except that for called summits only agenda items may be discussed.
Next steps/future meetings
Charter commissioners will take next Monday off, providing Michael Banks more time to draft. His work will focus on the transition. He describes the work as “90% done.”
Once the final draft is delivered, it’s likely certain commissioners will want to renew debate about some of the features before the public hearings commence.
Last night Commissioner Tom Archer made it clear he wants the group to talk more about the number of people who will serve on the metro council. “Is ten enough?” Archer questioned.
The next meeting is scheduled for November 25, 5pm at the Justice Complex.
Santa makes his first stop in Brownsville Saturday, November 16
November 9, 2013
Haywood County children are invited to visit with Santa Saturday morning during a special Breakfast with Santa at this year's Holiday in Haywood. The pancake breakfast is presented by the Brownsville Unit of the Boys and Girls Club and will be held from 9-11 a.m., at the Haywood County Justice Center Saturday, November 16. Cost is $5 and includes breakfast and a picture with Santa.
Children who just want to get their picture taken with Santa ($3) can drop by any time before Saturday at noon. All proceeds benefit the Boys and Girls Club.
Letters to Santa can be brought to the event beginning at noon on Friday, Nov. 15. Letters will be published in the December 19 issue of the Brownsville States Graphic.
Holiday in Haywood is a two-day shopping mart featuring retail and specialty merchants showcasing their best holiday wares and gift ideas. This year's event is held November 15-16, at the Haywood County Justice Center, 100 South Dupree. Friday hours are noon -7 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Admission is free. Attendees are asked to use the north door under the breezeway.
Items that will be available for sale include clothing, jewelry and accessories, handcrafted pens, jewelry boxes, frames, wine racks, wood decor, ciders, butters and jellies, toys, pecans, Tupperware, cakes, pies and candies, purses, candles, and more.
Holiday in Haywood is sponsored by the Brownsville Business Association. For more information about this event, contact Vickie at 731-225-5683.
Metro charter commissioners have today off
November 4, 2013
For the first time in weeks the Brownsville/Haywood County Metro Charter Commission isn’t meeting. Commissioners are taking the week off because their attorney, Michael Banks, needs extra time to complete the first official draft. At last Monday’s meeting Banks said he needs two weeks to write the paper and commissioners decided they need the document before work could further progress.
The charter commission’s next meeting is set for 5pm November 11.
Start your holiday shopping at 6th Annual Holiday in Haywood
October 29, 2013 - Meeting #15
BROWNSVILLE, TN (October 28, 2013): Those looking for unique holiday gift items will have the perfect opportunity during the 6th Annual Holiday in Haywood two-day shopping mart planned for November 15-16, in Brownsville, Tenn. "Holiday in Haywood" will feature retail and specialty merchants all under one roof and offering a variety of items perfect for your holiday gift giving.
"This is a great opportunity for people to get a head start on their holiday shopping," says Vickie Cooper, Holiday in Haywood coordinator.
This year's event will be held at the Haywood Justice Center, 100 South Dupree Street, and the north doors will open Friday from noon until 7 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., giving shoppers plenty of time to make their choices. Santa will be on hand Saturday to greet kids and take pictures. There is no admission fee.
Among the many items for sale will be handcrafted jewelry, all natural soaps and lotions, candles, homemade pies, cakes and other culinary goodies, ladies and children's clothing, toys and books, wood-crafted items and much more.
Local businesses, individuals, clubs and organizations will also have a chance to win $100 for their charity by decorating a Christmas tree and entering it to be judged by attendees. Once attendees have voted, one hundred dollars will be donated to the winner's charity.
"Holiday in Haywood" is sponsored annually by the Brownsville Business Association. For more information about the event contact Cooper at 731-225-5683, or visit www.ShopBrownsvilleTN.com.
Shoppers at Holiday in Haywood will have lots to choose from this year, including custom jewelry pieces, wood crafted accessories, handmade and home baked items and more during the two-day event planned for November 15-16 in Brownsville.
Special deputies instead of constables in Monday Metro discussion
October 29, 2013 - Meeting #15
The last of the elected positions in Haywood County took center-stage Monday when metro commissioners discussed constables. Constables are elected positions in each of the county's civil districts and serve as peace officers.
Commissioners voted unanimously (there were 12 of the 15 panelist in attendance) to discontinue the positions, preferring to give the sheriff power to appoint special or reserve deputies to accomplish the same work. The special deputies can be supervised and managed by the sheriff's department.
Early on, the commission pondered the fate of the Brownsville Utility Department in consolidation, but yesterday they passed over any action that would make changes to the utility. Attorney Michael Banks said the charter couldn't undo the private act that separated the utility from the control of the Brownsville City Board.
During the Webb Banks administration the utility, now known as the Brownsville Energy Authority, became a separate entity by order of a private act approved by the Tennessee legislature. The change came as a result of a request by the Brownsville City Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Under the present structure, the utility's only political oversight comes when BEA managers want to change utility base rates. They must get approval from the city board. While the Brownsville City Board can't pick members for the three-member utility board, Brownsville Energy must win their approval for appointments.
Some members of the charter commission seemed interested in undoing the private act, but Monday Banks said changes to the utility can be made only by the current Brownsville City Board or the new Brownsville-Haywood County Metro Council. "We can only bring in (to the new government) the power the city currently has," Banks said.
The metro charter commission isn't tampering much with the operation of county schools, preferring to leave most everything the way it is. There is, however, disagreement about the minimum age of those who may serve on the elected school board.
At Monday's meeting there were twelve commissioners present. Six of the twelve voted that the minimum age be 18 and the other six voted that school board members must be at least 21, though some of those would prefer an even older age. Commissioners promised to revisit the issue.
Civil Service rules governing employment practices in Haywood County apply only to the Haywood County Sheriff's Department. Haywood County government presently has a Civil Service Board that hears appeals for employees who have faced job actions at the hands of the sheriff.
Michael Banks told commissioners that he would draft a "framework" for the consolidated government's employment practices but the new metro council should decide the final details.
"This is one place where less is more," Chairman Christy Smith said.
NAACP sponsoring wellness program today
October 23, 2013
As a part of their Childhood Obesity Initiative, the TN NAACP in partnership with the St. John Baptist Church (Stanton, TN), the Haywood County NAACP Branch & Youth Council will host a Health & Wellness session entitled (Eat Well, Move More, Live Longer) in observance of Food Day, which is today. The event is tonight from 7 to 8pm. Youth & Parents are invited to attend. Refreshments will be served. For More information call 731-660-5580.
Metro Government Frequently Asked Questions now on line
October 23, 2013
The Brownsville Haywood County Metro Charter Commission has published a list of Frequently Asked Questions. There are 18 common questions and answers that can be found on-line at Brownsville Radio's website, point5digital.com. The questions range from those answering queries about the historical background of the initiative to current work being accomplished by the commissioners.
Questions and answers may be added from time-to-time as new questions arise.
34th Annual Tennessee Trash Car Show October 20
October 10, 2013
The tradition continues Sunday, October 20, when the Tennessee Trash Car Show in Brownsville, Tenn., will present its 34th annual event. The show is one of only a few in the area that has been held consistently for over 30 years. This year's event will take place at the WOW/Elma Ross Public Library, 100 Boyd Ave.
The club began in 1978 when Tim Sills, David Duke and Jim Mayer began fixing up old cars and traveling to areas show, some as far away as Indianapolis. Eventually these three decided they should organize their own show and the first Tennessee Trash Car Show was held in 1979. The title "Tennessee Trash" is taken from the old Tennessee Dept. of Transportation song about keeping Tennessee beautiful.
While the actual 'club' no longer exists, former members continue the tradition that raises money for Haywood County charities. The Multiple Disability Class has been the beneficiary of the show's proceeds for most of the 34 years.
"This is something we love and it's a way for us to give back to our community," says Sills. Over the years, the event has contributed more than $100,000 to local charities.
The show is held in conjunction with the annual Hatchie Fall Fest during the third weekend of October.
Participants are asked to register between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Entry fees are $25 per car and includes an event t-shirt. Judging will begin at 1:30 p.m., and winners will be announced during an awards ceremony at 2:30 p.m. There will be classes for all entries.
With 100+ cars participating, Sills estimates that crowds reach well into the thousands during the daylong event. There is no admission fee for spectators. Concessions and t-shirt sales will be available.
For more information, contact Tim Sills, 731-780-6061; Wayne McCool, 731-772-9276; or Joe W. Sills, 731-780-1356.
Haywood County School Board manages routine business in October session
October 9, 2013
The Haywood County School Board met in regular session on Tuesday, October 8, and talked about the HHS Golf Team's success, the new flagpole at the stadium, out of state travel trips for several groups at the high school, policy changes, adopting textbooks, budget amendments and the Tornado Safe Space at Haywood Elementary.
Superintendent Teresa Russell in her monthly celebration of schools, talked about the HHS Golf Team.
The Haywood High School Golf team just completed a very successful season that included sending one player to the state contest. Team members were Lauren Markowski, Kayln Emerson, Ethan Riddell, Trevor Lott, and eighth grader, Timmie Fredrick. Out of 13 matches this year, the team had five first-place finishes and five second-place finishes with two teams from our district, JCS and TCA, both qualifying for the state tourney as teams in both boys and girls.
On Monday, September 23, Ethan Riddle and Lauren Markowski played in the Regional Golf Tournament at the Tennessee River Golf Club. Both did very well. Ethan scored an 88 and Lauren scored a 94. Lauren advanced to the State Tournament that took place October 1-2 in Manchester, Tennessee.
Out of 56 individual girls in the A-AA State Tournament, Lauren placed 31st. "Lauren is an exceptional student and a good golfer who will only get better," said Coach Frank Chapman. "She is just a junior, so we are looking for bigger things out of her next year, as well as the others I have coming back." The last Lady Tomcat to travel to the state golf tournament was Leah Taylor in 2006 and 2007.
"All members are returning next year so we are looking for another stellar year," Coach Chapman added.
Mrs. Russell and Board member Greg Vanstory also reported that at 5:30 on Friday, October 11, Grayson Robinson's Eagle Scout project will be completed when he will raise an American flag, a Tennessee flag, and a Haywood County Schools flag at the stadium. He received approval from the school board and others in the community earlier in the year, and has raised money to have the flagpole installed near the sign on the home side of the stadium. Everyone praised his efforts for getting this done. Grayson is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Craig Robinson.
In other business, board members approved six out-of-state trips for the HHS AFROTC, the HHS DECA Club, the HHS Marching Band and The Family Resource Center for a trip for students at East Side. The HHS groups will perform fundraising projects to raise money for their trips.
Board members also approved a Textbook Adoption Committee and several budget amendments.
Mrs. Russell reported that the Tornado Safe Space at Haywood Elementary is very close to being completed and that there should be an open house there soon.
The next board meeting will be held on November 12 at 6 p.m. at the Central Office.
Constitutional offices win almost no favor with Metro Charter Commission
October 8, 2013 - Meeting #12
Grinding through a more that two-hour session Monday, the Haywood County Metro Charter Commission took on the thorny questions of how to accomplish the work of government offices that, until about two weeks ago, were thought to be required to be managed by elected officials. The commission deliberated the operation of the offices of the trustee, register of deeds, county clerk and assessor of property.
The duties of the county government departments now headed by elected administrators are clear, but how they will get their jobs in a consolidated government is the subject of dialogue. A lawsuit decided in 2007 provides new governments in Tennessee with the option of doing away with the elected positions and, apparently, allows the charter writers to decide how the managers are hired - and fired.
The majority of the metro charter commissioners attending Monday (11 of the 15 member charter commission were in attendance) were in favor of consolidating many of the offices in departments as follows:
- Finance would include the work of the trustee's (William L. Sonny Howse) office. Responsible for collecting the government's monies, paying bills and making payroll the office would consolidate similar work presently done at city hall.
- Road and sanitation functions would be run by a consolidated public works department. Parks and Recreation would likely be included in public works. The elected highway commission would be dissolved.
- Election of an assessor of property (Dare Simpson) and register of deeds (Steve Smith) would be ended and the manager of this department hired. The property department would include the work of the assessor, code enforcement and the register of deeds.
- The county clerk's office (Sonia Castellaw) is also likely to be reorganized and the elected position discontinued.
Operations of departments currently not run by elected officials
- Public Safety includes the ambulance service, emergency dispatch and the fire department but not law enforcement. Currently there isn't one manager for all of these services and the charter commission did not discuss how these departments might be run under consolidation.
- The charter commission is taking the advice of several current county leaders and is considering including a Human Resources Department in the new government, the manager of which would be hired and not elected.
Other important details:
- The metro mayor would be responsible for hiring and overseeing the government's department heads. The mayor would make hiring and firing recommendations to the metro council where the final decision would be made.
- The office of the circuit court clerk (Mary Margaret Bond Lonon) will be unchanged. It is not a constitutional office but is governed by separate state law.
Commissioners started talking about the future of the sheriff's department and how the school system might work under consolidation but left substantive discussion for a future meeting.
The charter commission meets again Monday at 5.
Special note: The Haywood County Charter Commission is presently conducting business as a Committee of the Whole (See Robert's Rules of Order). The procedure means decisions made are not yet final. Eventually the panel will reconvene as the Charter Commission and officially vote on the various questions currently under discussion.
Metro charter commission considers new information about constitutional offices
October 1, 2013 - Meeting #11
"As long as their duties are performed by somebody..." Michael Banks said last night, "they (constitutional offices) don't have to be elected." Banks is the lawyer for the Haywood County Metro Charter Commission. The news came last week that a Tennessee Supreme Court decision issued in 2007 made it apparent that the offices donÕt have to be included in a new government. Yesterday, in a two-hour session, the commission began considering the new information as they deliberate the finer points of the consolidation.
There are some on the panel, including John Duckworth, who expressed doubt that doing away with the elected offices will give it any chance of passing when considered by voters. "I donÕt think we'll have a chance if we change from elected to appointed offices," Duckworth commented. Still others, like Vice-Chairman Joe Barden, see it as a potential benefit. "This isnÕt radical," Barden pointed out. "ItÕs just like the city government has now."
Committee Chairman Christy Smith said, "Our job is to write a charter that enhances our county." Pointing to the results of other consolidation efforts in Tennessee she said, "Some of the traditional charters haven't passed. I can't second guess the electorate."
Last night the group studied a three-page draft of articles written by Attorney Banks. Some of the important points in the draft that were edited last night:
- The metro mayor would be elected to four-year terms. The mayor would not be term limited.
- The metro mayor cannot serve as chairman of the metro council but is empowered with veto. While the council, the members of which are popularly elected, may pass resolutions and ordnances with a simple majority (6), it would take 2/3 (7) votes to override a mayoral veto.
- In a change from their earlier position, a person would be qualified to run for office if they are at least 21 years-old and a resident of Haywood County and a resident of the district. In an earlier discussion the group seemed intent on requiring persons be Haywood County residents for at least three years before they could run for council seats.
- Passage of ordinances requires two readings. In all cases the two readings must be held at separate meetings but the group created circumstances and rules that allow special meetings to be called. Resolutions may pass with one reading.
So far, the fate of the constitutional offices still hasn't been vetted. But last night Vice-Chairman Barden unveiled one idea that he placed on a new white board installed in the meeting room. His idea depicted a diagram with suggestions that the mayor, sheriff and county clerk be elected positions. Other jobs, including those found in the elected offices of the register of deeds, the trustee and assessor, would be rolled up under hired supervisors. In Barden's example the school board would no longer be elected but appointed by the metro council. The highway commission did not appear on the chart. The group took no action.
The metro charter commission meets again next Monday at 5.
Metro Charter Commission is "committee of a whole"
September 24, 2013
Only a very small handful of people have attended and watched as the Metro Charter Commission plods along with its work. And so far the gallery has seen commissioners participate in very few real issue-settling votes. Still, the process they have adopted is helping build what is likely consensus on many issues that include important features like the name of the government and term limits.
The commission's attorney, Michael Banks, explained the process in an e-mail to Brownsville Radio. "The Metro Charter Commission has voted to operate as a "committee of a whole" which is found in Section 52 of "Robert's Rules of Order". It allows the body to discuss matters freely, much like a committee, and make recommendations that are not final decisions. When all the issues have been decided, there will be a report from the committee as a whole, the committee will then cease to exist and the Commission comes back to life and must make a decision on the recommendation of the committee of a whole."
The metro charter commission meets again Monday when commissioners will likely discuss next steps after learning this week that they may be able to exclude the so-called constitutional offices.
No mayor, no sheriff, no constitutional offices ... could be no problem
September 24, 2013 - Metro Government Meeting #10
Stunning might best describe the news that metro charter commissioners got last night. They learned that it may be possible to create a new government that does not include what previously was believed to be required elected positions.
According to Michael Banks, who is the attorney for the charter commission, a lawsuit decided by the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2007 (click here to see lawsuit opinion) appears to say that a consolidated government doesn't require the so-called constitutional offices. Those positions include the trustee, register of deeds, county clerk and assessor of property. Even the offices of the mayor and sheriff aren't safe under the ruling. "You can throw just about everything you know about constitutional offices out of the window," Banks said.
"There may be a lot more creativity than we have here-to-fore considered," Chairman Christy Smith said.
Consolidated governments in Tennessee aren't new and there are three currently in operation. A handful of other counties have tried but failed to consolidate when voters rejected the new charters. All of the three currently in operation include the constitutional offices, but that may be because the lawsuit was settled well after the last consolidation effort took place in Tennessee. "We have an opportunity to make changes that have not been written into any of the other charters," Smith said during last night's two hour session. The group has been studying several Tennessee charter documents - some that passed and some that failed.
Banks cautioned there is still much to be learned. During conferences he had last week with the County Technical Advisory Service (CTAS) Banks said there seemed to be as many questions as answers about the result of the lawsuit. "We don't know where the landmines are," Banks said.
Vice-Chairman Joe Barden may have summed it up by saying that the news could mean that "the only elected officials are the (metro) council - all the others work for the council."
At last night's meeting Lyle Reid became the group's unpaid legal consultant. Reid will assist Michael Banks. The two attorneys are charged with assuring the proposed charter is legal. After last night's meeting both told Brownsville Radio they must further study the decisions reached by the 2007 Knox County lawsuit. Banks and Reid confirmed, however, that a new government could do away with an elected school board and highway commission.
The board continued last night to work on details of the government but did not take up the questions resulting from the lawyer's news.
Brownsville/Haywood County Metro Government — likely name of consolidated proposal
September 19, 2013 - Metro Government Meeting #9
The Metro Charter Commission met in a near 2-hour long session Thursday and made substantive progress in their quest to write the proposed charter. While last night’s decisions aren’t final, more than two-dozen questions were tackled.
Highlights of discussion —
Name of government: Brownsville/Haywood County Metro-Government
Number of Legislative Districts: 10 with no geographical changes from county government’s present districts
Name of legislative body: Brownsville/Haywood County Metro Council
Number of members of the council: 10
Qualifications for those seeking election to the council: Must be at least 21 years of age and have resided in Haywood County for at least 3 years
How elected: Plurality of voters
Term for council members: 4 years with no term limits. The council members will be elected in staggered terms (not all members are on the ballot in the same election)
Filling vacancies: If a council member can’t serve his entire term, the council will appoint a replacement that will serve until the next election
Meetings: Held monthly. The chairman or a consensus of 5 council members may call special meetings. Special meetings require an agenda and at least three days notice.
Quorum: Simple majority (6)
The charter questions taken up yesterday are relatively simple when compared to other, more complex issues. At future meetings the group will have to take on more controversial questions like the role of the metro mayor.
Also on the agenda, and with Stanton in mind, will be how to make rules for special or other urban districts. There are decisions to be made about law enforcement and the judiciary there are sure to spark lively debate, too.
The group has until April of next year to write the charter and it will be put to voters sometime in 2014.
County commission reelects leadership
September 17, 2013 - by Martha Lyle Ford
The Haywood County Commission held its regular monthly meeting last night at the Haywood County Courthouse.
Meeting highlights: Solid waste rates will increase for some … Mayor Smith and Commissioner King re-elected to leadership positions … and No Texting while Driving efforts endorsed.
Each year the County Commission elects a chairman and chairman pro tem to serve for the coming year. Last night County Mayor Franklin Smith was re-elected Chairman and Commissioner Allen King was re-elected Chairman Pro Tem. There were no other nominees and both votes were unanimous.
New audit committee
A 4-person audit committee was appointed by the Commission … it’s a committee suggested by the State of Tennessee, but not required… yet.
According to Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith, the state Comptroller is encouraging every county to appoint an audit committee to help county government address any findings in its annual state audit. The County Commission approved the appointment of Steve Correa, Joey Jeter, Pam Deen White, and Leonard Jones Jr. to serve. Correa is and executive with Haywood Company, Jeter is a local CPA, White is former County Clerk for Tipton County, and Jones serves on the Commission’s Budget Committee. Committee members will be paid $50 per meeting, the same rate County Commissioners are paid per meeting.
No texting while driving
A resolution to support no-texting-while-driving received unanimous support from the Commission. Commissioner and Brownsville Police Chief Chris Lea presented the resolution -- which is part of the It Can Wait National Day of Action -- naming Thursday, September 19th “No Text On Board – Pledge Day”. Lea reported that students at Haywood High will be encouraged to sign pledges saying the will not text while driving. He also told Commissioners that it is illegal to text and drive in Tennessee and, if caught, a driver will be fined and charged court costs.
Landfill rate increase
The Commission’s Solid Waste Committee reported that it had approved a rate increase for commercial users at its recent meeting -- raising the rate for dumping at the county’s landfill from $17.50 a ton to $19 a ton. Commissioners unanimously passed the increase last night. This increase is for commercial users only and won’t affect residential or industrial users. The increase is expected to generate an additional $9,000 a year.
Regional gospel favorites perform on the porch
September 16, 2013
Southern gospel takes center stage during this month's Concert on the Porch September 21, at the Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville. Local and regional artist including David Smith, Amy Barcroft and The Gospel Stars will perform their favorite hymns beginning at 7 p.m.
The Gospel Stars will open the concert and feature local musicians who have been performing together since the 1990s. Known for their versions of the old gospel spirituals, the group features the talents of M.C. Cliff Jr., Mary Maclin, Felicia Walker, Evelyn Wellington and Jerry Miller.
Performing for the first time "on the porch" is Fayette County native Amy Barcroft, who now calls Brownsville home. Barcroft has been singing since she was a child and her mother played the organ at their family church in Braden, Tenn. She has released two CDs, "First Fruits" and her most recent "God's Promise" a collection of bluegrass style recordings that include five original songs written by Barcroft.
David Smith, known throughout the mid-south as the "Singing Firefighter," loves to sing the old gospel hymns like "How Great Thou Art" and "In The Garden," mixed with more modern tunes such as "What Kinda Car." Smith has released multiple CDs and continues to spread his ministry of hope through his music. "I've been singing since I was big enough to stand and hold a song book," says Smith. "I have always loved Southern Gospel music."
(Left to right) David Smith, Amy Barcroft, and The Gospel Stars.
Bleacher seating is available or bring lawn chairs or blankets for the outdoor concert. Drinks and snacks will be on site. You are also welcome to bring a picnic or visit the surrounding restaurants.
Concerts are presented free to the public each month on the third Saturday, through September, at the Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville. For a complete schedule of upcoming concerts, visit westtnheritage.com.
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is home to three regional museums depicting the history and culture of the West Tennessee people. Inside visitors find the West Tennessee Cotton Museum, West Tennessee Music Museum and Hatchie River Museum. Located on the grounds is the Sleepy John Estes Home and Flagg Grove School, the childhood school of Tina Turner. To learn more about the Center, visit www.westtnheritage.com or call 731-779-9000.
School Board reelects Garrett and Jarrett-King
September 13, 2013
The Haywood County School Board has unanimously reelected Harold Garrett as school board chairman and Robbie Jarrett-King as vice chairman. The election came at Thursday’s meeting of the board. Committee appointments remain the same as the previous year. Greg Vanstory serves as the TLN Representative, Allen Currie and Mrs. King serve on the Scholarship Committee, Mrs. Hess and Mrs. King on the Collaborative Conferencing Committee and Mrs. Hess and Mr. Garrett on the Budget Committee.
Health insurance going up
School’s CFO/Associate Superintendent Vincent Harvell told the school board that the cost for the state’s health insurance plan is going up. Rates increased 5.6 percent. Harvell won board approval to his proposal that the system pick up the increase of $72,795. The rate hike was anticipated and already was included in the budget. The state’s insurance plan offers employees several new options that will have higher deductibles and lower premiums. The plan meets the requirements of the Affordable Healthcare Act.
BPD actively seeking and winning grants
September 13, 2013
Police Chief Chris Lea says the Brownsville Police Department has been cashing in on grants made available by the state and federal government. The news comes on the heels of big news about the BPDs success in national and state police department competitions.
“This year alone, the department has received over $65,000 in grant money from the Governors’ Highway Safety Office,” Lea told Brownsville Radio. The money is used to supplement overtime pay, equipment and training. The BPD also received $12,000 from a federal grant that will upgrade car video systems to the latest state of the art.
Lea says other grants are in the works, “We are hoping to hear by the end of September if we were awarded two additional grants… the School Resources Officer’s grant for over $220,000 will allow us to place two additional officers in our schools, as well as $7,000 to provide new bullet proof vest for our officers”.
Lea gives credit to Captain Barry Diebold. Because of “his tireless efforts of seeking and applying for grant funding, we have been able to save taxpayers approximately three quarter of a million dollars in the last 3 years.”
Brownsville City Board meeting
Tuesday, September 11, 2013 - by Martha Lyle Ford
Brownsville rezones commercial tract
The Brownsville City Board approved the rezoning of a significant piece of property on Anderson Avenue when they met Tuesday. The property next to the Pictsweet facility had been zoned General Commercial a couple of years ago, when it was believed that a hotel and restaurant were going to be built on the site. Those plans changed and so the property has now been rezoned back to General Industrial. This was the second reading of the ordinance. It was first approved at the Board’s August meeting. There was no comment at the public hearing held on the matter at Tuesday night’s meeting. The vote to rezone was unanimous.
Big Grant for Safer School Route
Mayor Jo Matherne announced that the City of Brownsville has received a $188,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program. The funds will be used to improve sidewalks, crosswalks and signs in the Haywood Middle School area, specifically Meadow Street to Key Corner.
Dozens of students use the Meadow Street route between the Middle School and Banks Park, especially after school.
Currently the route is unmarked and has no sidewalks or caution signs. According to Governor Haslam’s office, the Safe Routes to School project is intended to encourage more students to walk and bike to school for health and practical reasons.
City’s Human Relations Council
Brownsville’s newly formed Human Relations Council had a productive first meeting on Monday night, according to Mayor Jo Matherne. However, one member of the appointed council has resigned, and a new member will be coming on-board. Mr. Larry Douglas, a Council member nominated by Alderman Reverend Thomas Averyheart, resigned due to previous commitments and conflicts.
Tuesday, Reverend Averyheart nominated Mr. Abdulaziz Jobeh (Ab-DU-la-ziz HO-bay) to the vacant seat. The Board approved the nomination. The Human Relations Council’s next meeting will be Monday, September 23 at City Hall.
Mark your calendar for upcoming events
3 event and parade permits approved
The Brownsville City Board has approved permits for 3 upcoming events and parades:
Brownsville Baptist will host its 6th Community Friend Day on Sunday September 29 at the church on West Main Street, featuring games, food and rides. The Board approved blocking North Russell Street from West Main to North Franklin Street for the event. Church representative Carl Gruenewald challenged the Aldermen to come out and ride the mechanical bull that will be part of the festivities.
The March of Dimes will hold its annual bike ride and walk on Saturday, October 5th beginning at College Hill. The Board approved police escorts for the event.
And the Haywood High School Football Homecoming Parade will be held Friday, October 11 beginning at 1:15. Floats, bands, pick-up trucks and marchers will make their way up West Main Street, around Court Square and on to the L.Z. Hurley Memorial Stadium. Schools will dismiss at 11:30 that day. The Board approved having car traffic re-routed from Main Street during the parade.
Delta Heritage Center’s final 2013 Concert on the Porch will feature local Gospel singers on September 21st. Scheduled to appear are the “singing fireman” David Smith, the Gospel Stars, and Amy Barcroft.
Tina Turner Heritage Days will be September 27 & 28th. Visit www.tinaturnerheritagedays.com for a full schedule of events.
National Night Out will be Tuesday October 1 at East Side School practice fields from 6 – 9 pm.
Brownsville-Haywood County Fall Fest will be Saturday October 19th.
The Brownsville-Haywood County Christmas Parade will be held Saturday, December 14 at 6 p.m. The theme is “The Music and Magic of Christmas.” Anyone or any organization interested in participating the in annual Christmas Parade should contact City Hall.
The Chamber of Commerce’s 2013-14 Leadership Haywood County class has 13 class members
Commerical and residential building projects underway in town
This week Brownsville Building Inspector Jerry McClinton updated the Brownsville City Board on several construction projects going on around Brownsville:
The steel building frame for Family Dollar Store will be going up at the corner of Park Avenue and East Main Street in the next few days;
Phil Moses’ Brownsville Mini Warehouses will soon add units to its North Washington Avenue facility;
Burger King will be temporarily closed within the next few weeks to undertake a $500,000 renovation;
Valley Irrigation has moved into its new facility located on Dupree Avenue near Tennessee Tractor;
And there are 2 new residential constructions and 6 remodels underway in the city.
What to do if there is trouble in schools?
Brownsville Chief of Police Chris Lea says that staff members at each of the County’s six school facilities have undergone training and drills on what to do in the event an armed intruder enters a school building. The drills were led by Brownsville PD and were in compliance with a new state law which requires every school in the state to have an intruder plan and drill within the first month of classes.
BPD wins 1st place in Law Enforcement Challenge
September 11, 2013
The Brownsville Police Department has been awarded First Place in the Tennessee Law Enforcement Challenge. The Governor’s Highway Safety Office sponsors the Challenge. The Tennessee Lifesavers Conference and Law Enforcement Challenge was held in Murfreesboro September 4-6. This is the fourth consecutive year the Brownsville Police Department took top honors.
The Brownsville Police Department was also recognized for placing third in the United States in its department size for the National Law Enforcement Challenge. The Police Department will receive this honor at the International Chiefs of Police Conference to be held in October in Philadelphia.
The Law Enforcement Challenge program is an incentive/ award program designed to award law enforcement for outstanding achievements regarding highway safety enforcement and education.
In addition to these awards, Lt. Mark Covington was the recipient of Tennessee’s “Beyond the Traffic Stop” award. This award was based on a traffic stop that started as a minor speeding violation and concluded with three suspects from Texas being charged with over 80 criminal counts including identity theft and fraud from victims in three different states.
Philosophically — what does the metro charter say?
September 10, 2013
The Haywood County Metro Charter Commission’s first meeting was in July. Now, two months and eight meetings later, little has been decided and nothing has been written. It’s not because the commissioners haven’t been diligent, it’s because crafting a charter, as Chairman Christy Smith says, is a lot like being one of the founding fathers of the country — you start from scratch. The commission’s latest guest, Judge Lyle Reid, echoed that sentiment at yesterday’s meeting.
Reid is a lawyer who oversaw Haywood County legal matters for 23 years and has served on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals and the Tennessee Supreme Court. The group asked Reid for his comments because of his background in constitutional law and with government.
“You have a unique opportunity. You can write anything you think will work. I challenge you to use your most creative intellect,” Reid said.
For about two hours Reid and members of the 15- person charter group chatted. Much of the conversation focused on how the new charter might distribute power between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government. Reid suggested that the “allocation of power to govern” and the “philosophy of government” are two areas of thought where most of the group’s energy should be focused. The charter should make government efficient, visionary and transparent, Reid said. Lawyers will work out the technical language, he commented.
Using existing charters as a template is not a good idea, according to Reid who is a vocal proponent of consolidation. “A good charter is the best way to get it passed,” Reid said.
Metro members agreed yesterday to let Judge Reid and their attorney Michael Banks draft ideas including a document that will suggest “three approaches to county government.”
It is also clear the charter commission is eager to get on with their work, which has on it a nine-month deadline. Some have suggested ramping up the meeting schedule to twice weekly though no action on that proposal has yet been taken. The next meeting is Thursday September 19 at 5pm
City fathers and school board meet today
September 10, 2013
The Brownsville Board of Mayor and Aldermen hold their regular meeting this afternoon at 5:30. The board will hold a public hearing on a rezoning issue. The agenda is otherwise light.
The school board meets tonight at 6.
TN Employers To Pay Lower Unemployment Insurance Premium Rates
September 5, 2013
Tax surcharge removed by state fund reaching target balance
NASHVILLE – The TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development today announces most employers will pay a reduced amount on their quarterly unemployment insurance premium rates.
Unemployment insurance rates will decrease because the balance of Tennessee’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund on June 30 was more than $650 million, triggering the permanent expiration of the .6% additional fee in premium rates. Additionally, the trust fund trigger temporarily shifted the Premium Rate Table from table three to five, further increasing potential savings for employers for the next two calendar quarters.
Legislation enacted in June 2009 created a temporary additional fee of .6% on all unemployment insurance premium rates. This provision became effective January 1, 2009 as the trust fund became nearly insolvent, causing the state to take a $20 million interest-free loan from the federal government to continue benefit payments. The state paid back the federal loan within a month, and the measure has steadily improved the health of the fund to its balance of $817,606,274 as of August 23, 2013.
“Tennessee has shown a tremendous amount of fiscal responsibility managing the fund into which employers contribute,” said Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips. “This announcement is good news for both employers and the citizens of our state.”
Employers were mailed notifications of the changes to their individual accounts at the end of August showing their revised premium rate for the third and fourth quarters of the current year.
Eight Employer Accounts offices are located across the state and are staffed with auditors who answer employers’ questions. They can assist Tennessee employers who are starting a business understand premium and wage reporting and the payment of premiums. The directory below lists the Employer Accounts office locations in Tennessee.
County commission OK’s new budget
September 4, 2013
Haywood County’s budget predicts a near $1 million deficit and it was approved last night during a brief, called county commission meeting. Most county insiders think the year-end cash count could actually be much better than anticipated — and that’s supported by historical results. County budget committee projections have typically been bested by more income than expected and less spending than forseeable.
The budget approved Tuesday comes just over two months after the end of the fiscal year. All of the county commissioners present voted for the spending plan. Commissioner Larry Gene Stanley passed when asked to vote on the tax rate. Budget Commissioner Allen King was absent, recuperating from illness.
County government will cost $45,165,012 during 2013/2014 according to the budget. The budget year started with an estimated $12 million in government accounts and is predicted to end the year with just a little over $11 million in fund-balance.
County workers can expect raises or bonuses, depending on the department in which they work. Taxpayers, except for farmland owners, can anticipate writing property tax checks for about the same as last year. The wheel tax will remain unchanged. The county jail will add three new jailers. The new jail employees are expected to reduce overtime charges.
Mayor Franklin Smith says commissioners can expect, sometime later this year, to hear that the county commission’s solid waste committee will recommend a raise in select commercial rates for disposal of waste in the landfill.
Charter to propose four year-terms for officials — no limits
September 4, 2013
Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - by Martha Lyle Ford
During a meeting yesterday, Metro Charter Commission members proposed four-year terms for elected officials in a consolidated government. Like the present governments in Brownsville and Haywood County, the elected officials would not be limited to the number of terms they serve. At yesterday’s meeting the group talked about the number of representatives that would sit on the metro commission, but did not reach conclusion.
To help them with their work, the panel has been referring to drafted charters for three other Tennessee counties who have gone through the metro charter process: Hartsville/Trousdale County, Lynchburg/Moore County, and Columbia/Maury County.
There was general consensus among Commission members at yesterday’s meeting that the Columbia/Maury County charter is the preferred document to use as a template (guide) for writing the Brownsville/Haywood County charter.
Most of the two-hour meeting centered on discussion about provisions regarding county and city employees’ benefits and jobs under combined government. The two governments have significantly different pay scales and benefits. It was agreed that more discussion and research is needed before the Commission can write this section of the proposed charter. Michael Banks, who serves as attorney for all three governments in Haywood County, will present additional information as part of the discussion at the next meeting.
Once drafted, the public will vote the charter on. In order to be enacted, the charter will have to pass in both Brownsville and rural Haywood County.
The next meeting will be Monday, September 9 at 5:00 p.m. at the Haywood County Justice Complex.
Your vote needed: Ernie Jackson up for Titans’ Coach of the Week!
September 4, 2013
New Tomcat Football Coach Ernie Jackson is among four Tennessee high School Football coaches nominated for Tennessee Titans Coach of the Week.
The voting is simple. Click on the link below and vote for Jackson.
Metro committee “getting down to work” today
September 3, 2013
When the Metro Charter Committee meets this afternoon it’s likely they may be asked to vote for the first time on language for the proposed charter. Last week Vice-Chairman Joe Barden IV said the group would consider Articles 1 through 4 of the charter.
The first four sections of other charters the group has reviewed include
1) Consolidation, Territory and Powers
2) The Metropolitan Council
3) Metropolitan Executive
4) Metropolitan Executive Departments and Boards
The Metropolitan Charter Commission meets this afternoon at 4.
The links below include the charters of metro governments located in Hartsville and Lynchburg, Tennessee.
Haywood County Commission poised to approve budget
September 3, 2013
The county commission meets tonight at 6. It’s a special session with only two items on the agenda. The primary purpose of the meeting is to adopt the 2013/2014 budget. (See additional story here)
If last week’s budget hearing is any indication, the budget should easily pass.
Haywood County Government will require $45,165,012 to fund operations through next June.
Commissioners will also consider the purchase of equipment for the county landfill operation.
Tina Turner Days become annual celebration
August 30, 2013
What started as a fan celebration honoring Tina Turner's childhood school, Flagg Grove, has developed into an annual festival observing the heritage and legacy of the international music icon. Tina Turner Heritage Days will be held September 27-28 at the Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, Tenn. The event will include tours, concerts and a stew competition.
Friday night is Fan Appreciation Night and includes a reception and exhibit of Tina posters. A documentary titled "From Muskogee to Nutbush" will follow. The film, made during the 2012 visit to Nutbush by a group of young artist from Muskogee, Ok., creates a parallel between the two cities, including their struggles with adversity and segregation and highlights the common bond that is part of the journey - music.
Wrapping up the Friday evening activities is Norwegian Bluesman Knut Roppestad. Born and raised in Horton, Norway, he began his American adventures in the 1980s and continues to travel and perform in the U.S. at every opportunity. "I've been a long time fan of Tina Turner since seeing her live in Oslo," says Roppestad. "I promise a steamy version of 'Steamy Windows' for the fans."
Saturday's festivalgoers can choose between tours of Nutbush, Turner's childhood home, and painting an abstract of Tina on vinyl. The smell of stew will fill the air as teams compete for the title of "Stewmaster" and live music from the Spotlight Rising Stars of Muskogee, will entertain between 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
The festival concludes with a Tribute performance at the Ann Marks Performing Arts Center in Brownsville's Historic District. Former Flagg Grove School student Lollie Mann will open the show with original gospel numbers and share her memories of time spent at Flagg Grove. Following Mann is Music Highway Band. This Jackson, Tenn., group has performed together since 2001, and have worked with such legendary performers as Carl Mann and Eddie Bond, developing their own special blend of rockabilly and country.
Rhythm and blues performer Dorothy Cole will headline the show. Energetic and fun, Cole began her career as a tribute artist in 1993 when she won a Tina look-a-like contest while performing Proud Mary. Since then, she has performed all over the country and in England where she shared the stage with Rod Stewart during a special performance tribute to Tina. A Chattanooga native and Decatur, Ala., resident, Cole appeared in Haywood County for the 2002 dedication of Highway 19 as "Tina Turner Highway."
"I'm excited about being back in Brownsville," says Cole. "Performing in Tina's hometown is always a privilege and I'm especially excited to be a part of the first Tina Turner Heritage Days."
(Left to right) Tina Turner, Norwegian Bluesman Knut Roppestad, who will perform during the opening night of Tina Turner Heritage Days, and Tina tribute artist Dorothy Cole, who will rock the stage of the Ann Marks Performing Arts Center during an evening concert September 28 in Brownsville.
The Saturday evening concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets and more information, including a complete schedule of events, can be found on the festival website: www.tinaturnerheritagedays.com, or by contact the Delta Heritage Center at 731-779-9000.
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is home to regional museums depicting the history and culture of the West Tennessee people. Inside visitors will find the Cotton Museum, West Tennessee Music Museum, Hatchie River Museum, the Sleepy John Estes Home and Flagg Grove School, the childhood school of Tina Turner. To learn more about the Center, visit www.westtnheritage.com or call 731-779-9000.
County budget includes same tax rate as last year — employee raises
August 30, 2013
Passing Haywood County’s new budget next Tuesday night ought to be a breeze for county commissioners. At last night’s public hearing there was little comment and no debate about spending or income in the 58-page document.
As in year’s past, the budget predicts a deficit, but if history repeats itself, budget makers might end 2013/2014 treating taxpayers to an upside surprise. Last year’s budget ended with nearly $3 million more in the bank than the budget committee projected.
Here are some highlights:
• Last year’s budget (year ended June 2013) predicted a fund balance of $9,198,964, after deficit spending of nearly $2 million. The estimate presented Thursday predicts the bank will actually balance with $12,014,744 at the end of the fiscal year. That’s surplus cash of $2.8 million more than the budget projected.
• The budget committee has predicted they will end the new year (year end June 2014) with $11,120,117, meaning they think government operations will spend about $900,000 more than is expected to be taken in.
• Taxpayers will pay the certified tax rate of $2.3956. While last year’s tax rate was $2.58, the new tax rate takes into account reappraisals and most property owners will write about the same checks when bills are delivered in October. The exception is farmland owners, who will experience an average 25% hike because the value of farmland has risen dramatically.
• The wheel tax will be unchanged.
• County workers will get raises or one-time bonuses. The pay hikes vary from department to department.
• Three new employees will be added to the jail’s staff.
• Haywood County’s annual debt payments are about $1.8 million.
• County government debt is $19,627,000. Most of the note payments end in the early 2030’s.
• The budget predicts it will cost $44,955,012 to fund operations in 2013/2014.
The breakdown includes:
County general, $11,073,350
Sanitation services (there are two budgets), $1,476,721
Debt payments, $1,930,905
Road department, $3,559,370
Schools including the cafeteria, $27,107,438
• Income predicted to be derived from property taxes is $8,799,500.
• The assessed valuation of Haywood County property is $366,737,513.
Haywood County budget to be heard tonight
August 29, 2013
The public is invited to a review of county government’s proposed new budget today. The public hearing is set for 6pm at the county courthouse.
Budget commission members toiled for months to develop the $40+ million spending and income plan that, if approved next week, will be retroactive to July 1 and extend through June 2014.
Taxpayers will learn that the proposed tax rate will be lower than last year, but property reassessments make the rate effectively the same as the previous year. Except for farm owners, most taxpayers will write checks for equal to those of a year ago. Farmland owners can expect to pay about 25% more. The wheel tax will remain the same.
Public invited to budget comment next week
August 22, 2013
Months of number crunching will be publicly unveiled next Thursday when Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith and the county commission’s budget committee hold a public hearing. The session is set for 6pm at the courthouse August 29.
Smith said Wednesday that the certified tax rate — roughly $2.39 — will be proposed. The rate, although lower than this year, will mean most taxpayers will pay about the same thing. The rate changed because property was reappraised during the last year. The rate is expected to yield to government about the same income as 2012/2013.
Smith says the last budget year ended with better results than budgeted. Fund balances, or savings accounts, grew to $16 million according to comments Smith made Tuesday to the metro charter commission.
While most commercial and residential property owners will pay about the same amount of property tax, farmland owners can expect dramatic increases. Estimates made by the assessor’s office and in budget committee meetings project farm taxes will increase by an average of 25%. The value of farms dramatically increased in the last reappraisal — the result of escalating sale prices of land.
At the public hearing, leaders will review the highlights of the budget and the public will be allowed to comment. Smith says a specially called meeting of the county commission is scheduled for September 3, also at 6pm.
Brownsville’s planners to consider Dupree Street development today
August 22, 2013
The Brownsville Planning Board will be asked to take action on a site plan that proposes a 1,860 square foot “temporary” building on a 1.46 acre tract located on Dupree near the Wal-Mart shopping complex. First State Bank is proposing the structure, and has signaled its intention to build a bank there.
Regional Planner Thomas Skehan, who advises the city’s planning board, says there are at least three issues that need to be considered. He’s concerned about trees, the length of time the bank will use the temporary structure and ingress/egress on to Dupree. Otherwise, Skehan says in his notes, he is prepared to recommend the site plan be approved.
Planners meet this afternoon at 4pm.
Metro committee gets down to work — hears expert — schedules mayors
August 7, 2013
Jay West, an expert on consolidating local governments both big and small, told the Haywood County Metro Charter Committee Tuesday that metro governments are a hard sell with voters. They are “tough to pass.” Once adopted a consolidated government in the United States has never been repealed either, according to West.
Mr. West is the Executive Director of County Officials Association of Tennessee (COAT). His resume includes stints as city councilman and vice mayor of Nashville. He has authored a number of metro-charters in Tennessee. Voters have approved some of his charters he has written and others have failed.
At Tuesday’s metro meeting, West, who is also a lawyer, made a presentation and pitch that the group hire him to write Haywood County’s charter. Procedurally, he recommends the charter group determine the specifications and rely on him to craft the language.
West works for a “flat fee” but when pressed Tuesday wasn’t prepared to say what he’d charge Haywood County. He said, “For the flat fee I will give you a charter…a document that reflects what you want.”
Excerpts of comments made by Mr. West
• On taxes. Nashville/Davidson County is the state’s oldest metro-government. Its consolidated operations have a 50-year history. He said Davidson County taxpayers have found that “taxes have increased at a decreasing rate…. that’s what happened in other areas, too.”
• On industry. West believes one government helps industrial recruiting. “My personal opinion is that it is a benefit. They (industry) want to do business with one entity.”
• On borrowing money. Consolidated governments generally help a community’s “bonding authority.” We may be able to borrow money at lower interest rates as a metro, according to West.
• Charters are not boilerplate documents. West has been involved in the writing of four metro charters. He says, “every charter is different.”
• Cost more or less? Even though there are hundreds of consolidated governments in the United States West says there are no economic studies indicating consolidation means government cost more or less to operate.
Committee members did not take action on West’s proposal he be hired.
The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 12 at 4pm at the Justice Complex. Mayors Jo Matherne, Allen Sterbinsky and Franklin Smith will be asked to appear and discuss current government operations.
First State Bank signals intention to expand in Brownsville
August 1, 2013
The Brownsville Planning Board has approved a plan to subdivide property located on the bypass near Wal-Mart. Planners took the action at a planning board meeting last week. This week First State Bank, based in Union City, issued a news release signaling their intention to develop the property, but stops short of stating they’ll build a new bank there.
The tract, as described on the city’s planning board agenda, is a “two lot subdivision sitting on approximately 14.5 acres. The property is located on the west side of Dupree Avenue just north of property owned by the American Legion…and cattycorner to the Super Wal-Mart property.”
In a news release issued by First State Bank Wednesday (see news release here), the bank describes its commitment to Brownsville and states there are “contingencies within our contract that must be completed prior to the actual purchase of the property. Once these items are satisfied and we receive Regulatory approval from FDIC, the purchase should be completed.” The statement continues, “Upon completion of the property purchase, First State will move forward with a plan to utilize the new property to best meet the needs of our customers, our staff and our community.”
City Planner Sharon Hayes wrote in an e-mail to Brownsville Radio that it is “our understanding the bank intends to construct a new banking facility” on the tract but a building plan has not been submitted to city planners.
First State currently operates with two locations in Brownsville at 25 South Grand and 111 Peachtree Plaza. First State operates 31 full-service locations in 25 communities in West, Middle and East Tennessee.
Former study committee leader now charter commission chairman
July 24, 2013
Three people were elected to administer the metro charter committee. The panel met late yesterday afternoon.
Dr. Dorothy Grandberry nominated Christy Smith as chairman. There were no other nominations and Smith was elected. She is the former editor of the Brownsville States-Graphic and was chairman of the first metro charter study group which did their work in the 1980’s.
Gem Bell declined when he was nominated for vice-chairman and eventually Joe Barden IV was elected. Barden is a building contractor and former member of the Haywood County School Board.
County Commissioner Marjorie Vaulx declined a nomination for secretary but nominated Jan McAdams. McAdams accepted and was elected. She is an employee of the county school system.
Michael Banks will serve as the committee’s lawyer.
Dr. Grandberry suggested an important first step. She asked that organizational charts be developed for present city and county staff. Members are also studying the metro charters of other Tennessee metro governments.
The next meeting is set for August 6 at 5pm
Little work for county commissioners at Monday meeting
July 16, 2013
In a short session Monday Haywood County Commissioners approved the purchase of a Vulcan gas range for the county jail at a cost of $15,891.00.
Commissioners were told to expect to be asked to approve the 2012 International Building Code when they meet next. The Code places new rules and requirements on contractors.
Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith said he expects to complete the county’s budget sometime in August. Budget planners have not yet determined a tax rate or whether county workers will get pay increases.
10 appointed to Metro Charter Commission
June 27, 2013
Mayor Franklin Smith has named ten of the fifteen people that will write a consolidated government charter that will likely be put to popular vote sometime in the first half of next year. The charter would propose to combine the Haywood County and Brownsville governments, creating the Tennessee’s third metro government.
Smith appointed, and the county commission confirmed, Dr. Dorothy Grandberry, John Duckworth, Tim Stokely, Joe Barden, Gem Bell, Kathy Ward, Rick Bowden, Charlie Tripp, Christy Smith and Marjorie Vaulx.
Mayor Smith made the announcement at a specially called meeting of the Haywood County Commission Thursday night.
Mayor Jo Matherne will name five more people to the commission. Matherne said she expects to make her appointments July 9.
The charter commission has nine months to complete their work and the county commission will provide $50,000 to fund the work.
The charter group must conduct their first meeting within five days of the final appointments.
Governor brings big check to Brownsville — more downtown improvements on the way
June 27, 2013
Brownsville is place that has “a lot going” for it — and that’s why Governor Bill Haslam a check for $506,566 for continued improvements to East Main Street.
Martha Lyle Ford attended the governor’s visit for us and delivers today’s news story.
The transportation enhancement grant comes from money appropriated by Congress to Tennessee … state officials then determine which communities will receive the funds. Haslam said that the State surveyed the needs of various communities and then choose recipients which have “a lot going for them.”
The funds will be used to renovate aging curbs and sidewalks from Court Square down the first block of East Main Street. Haslam said the funds will be used to make the area more accessible and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations. New lighting will also be included.
In making the presentation, Haslam said to the 50 or so citizens gathered, “Downtowns are important … they are where folks come together … downtown is everybody’s neighborhood …”
State Representative Craig Fitzhugh and State Senator Delores Gresham stood with Haslam as he made the presentation. Fitzhugh said, “Brownsville has long been the jewel of West Tennessee … we’re going to help polish it up a bit with this enhancement grant.”
Haslam also visited Humboldt yesterday where he dropped off a check for about $400,000 for improvements to Humboldt’s downtown.
Metro Government Charter Commission — two-thirds named tonight
June 27, 2013
Ten of fifteen people whose work could dramatically overhaul governments in Haywood County will be named tonight. Mayor Franklin Smith has called a special meeting of the Haywood County Commission to unveil his 10 appointees to the Metro Charter Commission. Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne will appoint the other 5.
The group will have nine months to write a charter consolidating Brownsville and Haywood County’s two governments. Only two other counties in the state have metro governments.
The charter commission’s document will eventually be put to a referendum in which Brownsville and rural voters will decide if it really is a good idea.
The county commission meets tonight at 6. Commissioners may also be asked to tend to year-end budget amendments. The county’s fiscal year ends Sunday. Already county commissioners have voted to extend the parameters of the 2012/2013 budget until the new budget is approved — and that’s not likely until August.
Brownsville public hearing today to study proposed budget
June 21, 2013
A sneak peek into the 2103/2014 Brownsville budget will happen this afternoon at city hall. Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne and aldermen from the city’s four wards will hold a work session this afternoon at 3. The mayor will present her budget proposal.
Mayor Matherne said in today’s session she’ll get “aldermen’s feedback in order to make changes” before the first reading of the new budget.
Like Haywood County, Brownsville has just received its certified tax rate from the state. The mayor said the rate is .0027 of a cent less than the current rate of $1.80. Haywood County’s rate was 19 cents less but the county’s budget was heavily impacted by the change in the assessment of farmland. Assessments in Brownsville changed very little, as evidenced by the fractional change depicted in the certified rate.
The mayor said her mission is to complete the budget after today’s workshop with a plan to vote when the city board meets July 9. The city’s budget requires two readings to become law.
Taxicab board meets Monday to consider application
June 21, 2013
It’s been years — maybe decades since Brownsville had public transportation — but that apparently is about to change. The city has published notice that its Taxi Cab Board will meet Monday, June 24 to consider an application from Alpha & Omega Transit Network, Inc. According to the notice Cee P. Palmore is the owner.
Haywood Countians top shots — again
June 19, 2013
Three Haywood County youth competitive shotgunners took home awards at the state scholastic shooting competition this week. Carah-Beth Maddux and Ford Ellington were declared the best shots in the state in their category. Zach Tinsley won third place overall in his class.
The Haywood County Young Guns placed second in the varsity division’s skeet shooting competition. The team hit 282 out of 300 targets.
• Carah-Beth Maddux was the top varsity female shot with a score of 96 out of 100.
• Ford Ellington broke 97 of 100 targets to be the state’s top male varsity shooter.
• Zach Tinley’s score was unavailable but he placed third overall in the junior varsity division.
More than 500 youth shooters competed in the Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target competition sponsored by the Tennessee Wildlife Federation.
County commissioners called to special meeting set for June 27
June 18, 2013
Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith put county commissioners on notice last night that they should plan to attend a called meeting June 27. At the special meeting Smith will ask county legislators to confirm his appointments to the metro charter commission. County government is responsible for 10 appointments. The City of Brownsville will appoint 5 people.
Smith’s announcement came last night during the regularly scheduled meeting of the Haywood County Commission.
At the June 27 meeting year-end budget amendments will also be managed, though that job may be fairly small because nearly five-dozen adjustments were made during last night’s session.
Commissioners will meet at 6pm.
Tax valuations way up
County commissioners learned last night that the six-year reappraisal program yields a county property assessment increase of $32,729,171. Much of the increase comes from increased value of farm acreage. Most farmland increased in value by more than 30% according to the assessor’s office.
The state has certified the county’s tax rate fractionally higher than $2.39 — that’s 19-cents lower than the 2012-2013 tax rate. The certified tax rate is the rate county government will charge if they intend to bring in the same amount of revenue as last year. Though the certified tax rate is meant to keep tax bills more-or-less level after reappraisals, some taxpayers could pay more and some less.
Commissioners also agreed to a “continuing budget and tax rate” until they complete their budget work for fiscal 2013-2014. The county’s budget year ends June 31. “I don’t think we’ll have a budget until August,” Mayor Smith reported. He did not comment about the anticipated tax rate but did say that county government has, so far, spent less than predicted in this year’s budget.
• Bob Kendrick was re-appointed to a four-year term on the Haywood County Utility Board.
• Commissioners amended the county personnel manual to allow sheriff’s deputies, who work 12-hour shifts, 12-hour paid sick days.
• The jail committee was eliminated from the county commission’s roster of standing committees. The jail committee was appointed to study needs at the old jail that eventually led to the construction of the criminal justice complex. No longer needed in the judgment of county leaders, the work of the jail committee will be taken over by the public safety committee.
• County commissioners heard a presentation from fundraisers who are asking area county commissions to help raise $1 million as seed money for a new Veterans Cemetery that will be established in Henderson County. The 135-acre cemetery will be the state’s fourth veteran’s cemetery and will receive $6 million in funding from the federal government once the initial cash is raised. Haywood County has been asked to donate $9,200. County commissioners will consider the donation in their 2013-2014 budget.
Metro government charter commission — Brownsville approves
June 12, 2013
The Brownsville City Board has voted to take the metro government proposal to the next level. Tuesday night aldermen and the mayor voted to appoint a charter commission.
The vote follows the Haywood County Commission’s passage of the measure three weeks ago. The next step will be for Brownsville Mayor Matherne and County Mayor Franklin Smith to appoint members of a 15-person charter commission. Mayor Matherne will appoint 5 members and Mayor Smith 10.
Once assembled, the charter commission will be responsible for drafting a proposed charter for a new combined government. The proposed charter will then be voted on by residents of Brownsville, and by residents of the rural Haywood County. It would have to pass in both of those votes in order to become a new government.
Stanton could include itself — totally consolidating all governments here. The Stanton City Board is expected to vote on the measure soon. If Stanton elects not to participate, it has no effect on Brownsville and Haywood County’s consolidation.
Brownsville to develop downtown entertainment venue
June 12, 2013
The Brownsville City Board voted unanimously to purchase a parcel of land just off Court Square on South Lafayette to be developed as an outdoor entertainment venue.
The tract, located between Las Palmas Restaurant and Jefferson Street, is owned by Jim Haywood; Haywood has offered to sell the property to the City for $55,900 – about $14,000 less than its appraised value. Development includes plans for an amphitheater for music, movies, and performances. According to Mayor Matherne, the funds for the purchase will come from this year’s Economic Development budget.
Stormwater ordinance passes first reading
June 12, 2013 - By Martha Lyle Ford
An ordinance to update the City’s Municipal code regarding stormwater management passed first reading Tuesday. Mayor Matherne explained that this is the first in a series of steps that need to be taken in order to comply with new policies of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and of the US Environmental Protection Agency.
The measure will be considered again on its second reading at the Board’s July meeting.
Farmers’ Market Coming to Brownsville?
June 12, 2013 - By Martha Lyle Ford
For years, there’s been talk about the City building a facility to house a farmers’ market. That possibility took a step toward becoming reality last night when Aldermen voted to approve a resolution to apply for funding to develop and build a facility. Application will be made to the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Enterprise program for $150,000 - $200,000.
Already 11 local producers have expressed support for the proposed market, as well as the UT Ag extension service and Haywood County government. The proposed site for the Farmers’ Market is at the corner of Anderson and Jefferson Streets, across from the newly constructed Brownsville Housing Authority offices. No timeline was given for the application and approval process.
Critical RR Industrial Park railroad spur to be repaired
June 12, 2013
According to Brownsville officials, the railroad spur, which services the industrial park, is in desperate need of repair. So last night, the City Board agreed unanimously that Brownsville should apply for funds from the Delta Regional Authority to pay for the repairs, estimated to cost around $200,000.
Representatives of Lowe’s Warehouse in the industrial park, report that they have 35-40 railroad cars in and out of the park each week. If approved, the City would be responsible for paying 10% of the cost, or $20,000. Lowe’s will be a partner in the application for funding.
Paving in the industrial park
Streets in the industrial park need some repairs as well. Ford Construction Company submitted the low bid to perform paving work on Welch, Morgan, and Blackwell Streets and on Lowe’s Boulevard. The City Board approved to accept Ford’s bid of $211,304.
News Briefs from Brownsville’s June City Board meeting
June 12, 2013
The Mayor and each alderman gave short reports … all praising the weekend’s highly successful Relay for Life events. Alderman and Vice Mayor Carolyn Flagg, who served again as chairman of Relay, received compliments and congratulations from her fellow Board members and mayor.
Alderman Simmons also commended the City employees of the Public Works Department for their hard work in preparing for and cleaning up after the events.
Mayor Matherne announced the City’s Fun Camp for Kids will be held June 24 – 28th.
Flagg announced that Ward 2 will have a clean-up, beginning at the old Lasco building, on Saturday, weather permitting.
Mayor Matherne also asked aldermen to submit to her the names of citizens they would like to have serve on the newly-forming Human Relations Board. Each alderman will submit 2 names which will be voted on at the City Board’s July meeting.
Director of Central Dispatch Starla Singleton reported that the City had passed its recent audit by the FBI.
Chamber of Commerce Director Renee Moss announced that 4 businesses joined the Chamber in the past month: Bliss Salon and Spa, Fast Pace Urgent Care Clinic, Kreme Kastle, and Milano’s.
Police Chief Chris Lea reported that his department is submitting applications for 3 federal grants totaling $256,000 to help fund two more School Resource Officers, more bullet proof vests and other equipment, and audio-visual equipment needed for department training and community education programs.
Delta Heritage Center director Sonia Outlaw-Clark reported that both the Exit 56 Blues Fest and the first Hatchie Bird Fest were very successful. She also announced that the Center, in collaboration with the Dunbar Alumni Association and the College Hill Center, has received funding for presenting a film series called “Created Equal” which is intended to foster discussion on race relations in the community.
And Code Enforcement officer Rene Hendrix reported that numerous derelict buildings will soon be demolished including properties on Robin, Greenwood, N. McLemore, N. Grand and Austin Street.
Aldermen and the mayor to act on metro government today
June 11, 2013
All eyes are on city leaders today in Brownsville. Brownsville aldermen and the mayor are expected to vote this afternoon on whether a charter commission should be appointed to write a document by which Brownsville and Haywood County governments would be consolidated.
Haywood County Commissioners, by a narrow margin, approved the charter commission last month.
Stanton’s government could also join the consolidation movement — but their participation isn’t pivotal in the consolidation of Brownsville and Haywood County.
If a charter commission is appointed, they’ll have nine months and a $50,000 budget to write the outline for the new government. The plan would be put to voters in a referendum for a final decision.
The city board meets today at 5:30 p.m.
Concert series kicks off with Music Highway Band, Wildwood Express
June 7, 2013
BROWNSVILLE TN (JUNE 7, 2013): The "Sleepy" John Estes porch will be rocking Saturday, June 15, when two of West Tennessee's favorite bands take the stage for this season's first Concert on the Porch. Rockabilly's Music Highway Band will open the season when they take the stage at 7 p.m., followed by Wildwood Express. Concerts are presented free to the public each month on the third Saturday, June through September, at the Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville.
"Both of these groups are energetic and like to get the audience involved," says Center Director Sonia Outlaw-Clark, "so we know the kick-off of our summer series will be full of fun."
Music Highway Band was organized in Jackson, Tenn., in 2001, and has worked with such legendary artists as Carl Mann and Eddie Bond. You may remember the original trio who played many years at the Rockabilly Hall of Fame as the house band. Over the years, members were added and this diversity has led to developing their own special blend of Rockabilly and country. Band members include Stan Brunner, Sammy Wood, Jimmy Webb, Donald Carp, Gary Spraggins and Jimmy Stephenson.
Wildwood Express will take the stage around 8 p.m., and perform old time stringed music including bluegrass gospel, instrumentals and old time country. Their instruments of choice include the banjo, dulcimer, mandolin, upright bass and guitar. The band is made up of Grover Westover, Paul Jackson, Gary Spraggins and Coley and Marilyn Graves. All are members of the Jackson Tennessee Area Plectral Society whose main purpose is the preservation of old time stringed music.
You are invited to bring lawn chairs or blankets for the outdoor concert. Drinks and snacks will be available. You are also welcome to bring a picnic or visit the surrounding restaurants.
For a complete schedule of upcoming concerts, visit www.westtnheritage.com.
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is a tourist information center and home to three regional museums depicting the history and culture of the West Tennessee people. Inside visitors will find the Cotton Museum, West Tennessee Music Museum, Hatchie River Museum, the Sleepy John Estes Home and Flagg Grove School, the childhood school of Tina Turner. To learn more about the Center, visit www.westtnheritage.com or call 731-779-9000.
Music Highway Band, a rockabilly and country band from Jackson, Tenn., and Wildwood Express, an old time string band, will kick off the 2013 summer concert series "Concert on the Porch" Saturday, June 15, at the Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville. Concerts are held each third Saturday, June through September, beginning at 7 p.m.
Government budget year-end looms — county working on new numbers
June 7, 2013 - By Martha Lyle Ford
The process of creating and adopting the 2013-2014 budget for Haywood County is moving along as expected — slow but sure.
County department managers are submitting their proposed budgets for 2013/2014, outlining how much money they expect will be needed to provide government services.
The Budget Committee of the Haywood County Commission has met with many of the department heads over the past two weeks and will meet with the remaining departments soon. According to Haywood County Trusteee William L. Sonny Howse, the budget committee has met with the Sheriff’s Department – which includes the jail operation -- , Ambulance Authority, County Executive’s office, Register of Deeds, County Trustee, and County Court Clerk. Budget makers have not, so far, voted on a recommendation they’ll make to the county commission.
New property tax data will make a difference
The six-year property reappraisal is in focus. The appraisals help determine the county’s property tax rate and therefore the amount of taxes each property owner must pay in the coming year.
According to Haywood County Property Assessor Dare Simpson, the reappraisal process has been going on for 6 years – that’s how long it takes to appraise all of the land and properties in the county. This year – the 6th year in the cycle – is the year when all the documentation is sent to the Tennessee State Department of Property Assessment in Nashville, which then calculates the certified tax rate for the county. The certified rate is the tax rate required to bring in the same amount of revenues – money – in taxes as before the property is reappraised. In most reappraisal years the tax rate goes down, but because property values go up, taxpayers pay approximately the same amount of money. If budgeters want to change the tax rate, their starting point will be the the state’s certified rate.
Not everybody agrees
Property owners who disagree with the new appraisal calculations are taking their concerns to the Equalization Board – a 5 person committee appointed by the Haywood County Commission to settle such matters. The Equalization Board is scheduled to finish its work on Monday. Simpson says there have been fewer disputes brought before the Equalization Board than she had anticipated. Members of the Board are George Williams, Maltimore Bond, Tara Joyner, Rick Bowden and Susan Wilson.
The county’s fiscal year ends June 30, but it’s unlikely the budget will be prepared by then. Brownsville’s fiscal year also ends in June. The city’s budget process is also in progress.
Effect of a megasite — UT study shows economic impact of VW plant
June 4, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP and local writers) — How much impact could our megasite have on the Haywood County economy? A research study by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville shows Volkswagen's assembly plant, located on a megasite in Chattanooga, is responsible for more than $643 million in annual income.
The study also estimates that the plant increases state and local tax revenue by $53.5 million annually.
Last month, VW announced it had reached a production milestone at the plant when the 250,000th midsize sedan rolled off the assembly line.
The milestone came a little more than two years since production began at the plant.
The Memphis Megasite — located in the southwest corner of Haywood County — is the only certified megasite still available in Tennessee and leaders say it is well positioned to attract a mega-industry sooner than later.
Catch your limit before Relay— Saturday is free fishing day
June 4, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP and local writers) — Tennessee's annual free fishing day is coming up this weekend.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will allow fishing without a license in the public waters on Saturday. The annual event is part of an effort aimed primarily at youngsters to increase interest in fishing in the state.
Children ages 13 through 15 will able to fish without a license through June 14.
The TWRA stocks several thousand pounds of fish for various events associated with the free fishing day.
A basic one-day fishing license for state residents costs $5.50, while an annual hunting and fishing license costs $28. No permit is required for children younger than 13.
Saturday’s weather is perfect for free fishing day — just be sure you catch your limit by the Haywood County Relay for Life kickoff at 5:30 p.m.!
Jail inmates to get GED today
May 30, 2013
They may be in jail, but they’ve still been hitting the books. Sheriff Melvin Bond said five Haywood County Jail inmates will receive their GED diplomas today.
The five prisoners, who are serving time for crimes ranging from sexual offender to second-degree murder and many things in between have been studying for weeks under a program supervised and funded by the Haywood County School Board. Certified schoolteacher Sue Geter teaches the class.
According to Wikipedia, General Educational Development (GED) tests are a group of five subject tests which, when passed, certify that the taker has mastered certain levels of academic skills.
A graduation ceremony, to recognize the achievement, will take place in the general sessions courtroom of the Haywood County Justice Complex today at 9 a.m.
Sheriff Bond says he supports and encourages the class because he believes education can create new opportunity for the inmates once they have served their time. Taking the course sometimes helps inmates reduce their stay in jail. Bond said many more prisoners take the course and often graduate once they have been released.
Are you ready for some birding?
May 30, 2013
The first ever Hatchie birdfest is set for this weekend. The birdfest kicks off Friday night at 7pm at College Hill Center. Fish & Wildlife Service Biologist Bob Ford will talk about the birds of Haywood County followed by a question and answer session.
There are activities all day Saturday including guided bird watching tours and programs at the Delta Heritage Center. The day ends with a Concert on the Porch at the Center.
See the schedule of events and register at www.hatchiebirdfest.com. There is no charge for the events.
More people working in April; Haywood unemployment numbers released
May 23, 2013
Data released Thursday by the Tennessee Department of Workforce Development suggest a few more Haywood Countians were on the job in April than in March. The numbers indicate improvement from a year earlier, too.
All of the counties surrounding Haywood enjoyed a slightly lower unemployment rate except for Madison, which was up slightly and Hardeman, which was unchanged.
Madison: 8.2% (up from 8.1%)
Fayette: 9.5% (down from 9.7%)
Tipton 10.2% (down from 10.7%)
Crockett: 10.5% (down from 11.1%)
Hardeman 11.2% (unchanged from 11.2%)
Haywood 11.3% (down from 11.9%)
Lauderdale 13.5% (down from 14.2%)
All of the county unemployment data can be see by clicking —
County yes to metro — Brownsville up next
May 23, 2013
Approving a charter commission for consolidating governments in Haywood County squeaked by the county commission Monday night by a vote of 11 to 9. All attention turns now to Brownsville where aldermen and the mayor will vote next month.
The next meeting of the Brownsville Board of Mayor and Aldermen is June 11. If Brownsville approves a charter commission then the appointment and funding process will go forward.If Brownsville’s leaders vote no then the proposal dies unless citizens petition for a the commission — something many say is likely.
Sobriety Checkpoints Set for Memorial Day Weekend May 24th to May 27th, 2013
May 23, 2013
The Brownsville Police Department and the Haywood County Sheriff’s will be increasing enforcement efforts during the Memorial Day weekend. Sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols will be conducted Friday May 24th – Monday May 27th, at three locations within the Brownsville city limits: Highway 76/Anderson Avenue, Bypass and Hatchie St., and Bypass at Highway 19. The checkpoints and saturation patrols will be conducted between 6:00pm – 3:00am.
Officers will concentrate their enforcement efforts on removing impaired drivers from the roadways.
Law enforcement will also be enforcing non-compliance with the safety belt law as well as child restraint laws.
The extra patrols are funded by a grant from the Governor’s Highway Safety Office.
Funds available for wildlife conservation
May 23, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Federal officials have set aside more than $1 million for Tennessee landowners who help conserve wildlife. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said owners of agricultural and forest land can apply by June 10 for funding under the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program.
Haywood County Commission meeting
May 21, 2013 - Reported by Betsy Reid
The Haywood County Commission met in its regular monthly meeting last night. All 20 commissioners were present. Mayor Franklin Smith called the meeting to order at six pm; he asked for a moment of silence in memory of former County Commissioner Danny Claiborne. He also asked the group to remember “honorary chaplain” Walter Brown, who is recuperating in Crestview Nursing Home. Mayor Smith then led the group in prayer.
Minutes from the March 18 meeting were approved as presented. The reports from the County Trustee, the Board of Education, and the Highway Commission were approved. The Education, Solid Waste, and Jail Committees had not met since the last Commission meeting. Public Safety Committee chairman Joe Stephens reported little change since the last Commission meeting. Conservation Board chairman Bob Hooper announced that the county swimming pool will open on May 28, and that the Arts Council will sponsor concerts at College Hill in June. Budget Committee chairman Allen King reported that no additional funds would be coming out of the County’s fund balance.
Board of Equalization nominees Maltimore Bond, Tara Joyner, George Williams, Susan Scott-Wilson, and Rick Bowden were appointed for two-year terms.
Resolution to form a metro charter commission
Item number four on the agenda, resolution authorizing the formation of a charter commission for a metropolitan government, received the most attention of the evening. The item was moved by Commissioner Jerry Smith, and seconded by Commissioner Samuel Mathes Jr. Commissioner King led off the discussion, asking whether the votes of residents of rural Haywood County would be counted separately from those of residents of Brownsville. Mayor Smith replied that the votes would be tallied separately. If the City of Stanton opts into the process, those votes also will be counted separately. Commissioner King expressed concern that they had heard from only one county where the metro government effort failed. Commissioner King asked, among other things, what services would be combined under a metro government. Mayor Smith explained that the charter commission would have nine months to write the charter, and that they will address such questions. Commissioner King commented, that there will be “no way to know” what the county would save money on, or what it would spend more money on. When asked about the effect of metro government on the tax rate, Mayor Smith replied that the county will be divided into a general services district and urban services district.
Chairman King further asked what the $50,000 would be spent on. Mayor Smith replied that the money will be spent on expert assistance, expenses incurred by the committee, and legal expenses. No member of the charter commission will be paid for their services. Commissioner King commented that he never has seen a line drawn between the city and the county, but that this vote will draw a line. King then moved to table the motion to appoint a charter commission, until they can hear from counties which have voted against metro government. Commissioner John Gorman seconded the motion. Mayor Smith reminded them that, procedurally, he has to recognize Commissioner King for him to make the tabling motion. Smith also said that if the motion is tabled, it will in essence be killed
The motion to table failed on a roll call vote, 13 to seven. Commissioners voting to table the motion were Allen King, Richard Jameson, Charles Wills, John Gorman, Larry Stanley, Leonard Jones, and Robert Earl Thornton.
Commissioner Bob Hooper said that he would vote no, but if the motion passes he hopes to be appointed to the charter commission. Commissioner King called for a roll call vote on the question. Commissioner Chris Lea said that he planned to vote to give his constituents the opportunity to vote on the issue. Commissioner Leonard Jones stated that he has heard from more people on this issue than on any other issue, and that the most were against the commission. Commissioner Robert Green said that “for growth and prosperity”, he was going to support the effort to move forward with the metro conversation. Mayor Smith reminded the commissioners that if either the City of Brownsville or Haywood County fails to approve the charter — or Stanton if they opt into the process—the effort will fail. Finally, Mayor Smith said that if the effort fails at either the county or the city level, the issue can be brought to the public by a petition signed by 10% of the number of registered voters who participated in the last governor’s race—in this case, about 600 people.
Discussion ended and a roll call vote was taken. The matter passed; the final tally was eleven commissioners voting for the appointment of the charter commission and nine voting against. Commissioners voting against the charter commission were Allen King, Richard Jameson, Wally Eubanks, John Gorman, Becky Booth, Larry Stanley, Bob Hooper, Leonard Jones, and Robert Earl Thornton.
Resolution to name the baseball complex at Volunteer Park
The next item of business, a resolution to name the baseball complex at Volunteer Park, the A. Franklin Smith Baseball Complex, received only minor discussion, and passed on a voice vote.
Resolution authorizing the submission of an application for a litter grant from TDOT and authorizing county mayor to execute litter contract with TDOT.
The resolution authorizing the submission of an application for a litter grant from TDOT and authorizing the county mayor to execute a litter contract with TDOT passed on a voice vote with no discussion.
Final items of business
Updates were given on the construction of a tornado safe space at Haywood Elementary and on the renovation at Stanton Headstart Center.
Budget Committee chairman Allen King presented several amendments to the 2012-13 budget, all of which were approved with little or no discussion. After the Call of Districts, the meeting was adjourned.
HHS Class of 2013 graduates earn $1,831,552
May 20, 2013
When the Haywood High School Class of 2013 held its graduation Saturday morning, 189 students received diplomas on the L. Z. Hurley Memorial Field. But the big news came on Friday night, when administrators announced that students in this class earned a total of $1,831,552 in scholarships.
On Friday night, the seniors gathered in the HHS gymnasium for the graduation awards ceremony. Class Valedictorians are Amelia Davis, Sarah Lewis, Morgan Marlar, Molly McAdams and Rebecca Pearson, who all earned a 4.0 GPA. The rest of the Top Ten were Kenya Ector (#6), Emily Pilant (#7), Rashad Mann (#8), and Katora Holmes and Hannah Roberts, who tied for ninth place.
Also recognized were members of the Thirty-Plus Club: Connor Coulston, Chris Parker, Amy Davis, Rebecca Pearson, Emily Pilant and Molly McAdams. Each of these students has scored 30 or above on the ACT.
Winning the Joe T. Naylor Award for having the highest ACT score (30) among the boys in the class were Connor Coulston and Chris Parker. Amy Davis and Rebecca Pearson earned the Ed Thompson Award for having the highest ACT score (31) among the girls.
The Outstanding Career-Technical Scholar Award went to Connor Coulston, and the Outstanding REACH Academy Student was Briana Adams. Kadarren Bond and Molly McAdams were recipients of the Marine Distinguished Athlete Award, and the Marine Scholastic Excellence Award went to Rashad Mann and Katora Holmes.
Entering the military are Blake Call, Delvonte Pruitt, Lamarcus Williams, Tyle Cook, Kendal Middlebrooks, Willie Franklin and Anthony Prewitt.
Forty-four graduates earned the Tennessee Scholars distinction. This program is a business-led initiative endorsed by the Tennessee Department of Education, the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Tennessee Business Roundtable, and many other education coalitions across the state. To become Tennessee Scholars, students must complete a rigorous academic and technical course of study that exceeds the minimum requirements for a diploma. Collectively, class members who are Tennessee Scholars, performed nearly 3,520 hours of community service.
HHS Class of 2013 Tennessee Scholars are: Roneshia Alexander, Andrew Baggett, Jamecia Bond, Kadejhaa Bradford, Yaselin Cisneros, Connor Coulston, Kaayla Cunningham, Amelia Davis, Erin Dennis, De’Marious Douglas, Kenya Ector, Amber Harris, Zhanebria Henderson, Maggie Herron, Aliceson Hobock, Katora Holmes, Matthew Hooper, Jamari Johnson, Taylor Killen, Octavius Lanier, Katie Lewis, Sarah Lewis, Allix Lonon, Montravious Maclin, Rashad Mann, Morgan Marlar, Molly McAdams, Adeana Murphy, Mary Drake Owen, Christopher Parker, Rebecca Pearson, Noryani Perez, Tressa Perez, Josh Perry, Emily Pilant, Calandria Reid, Hannah Roberts, Adrianna Shaw, Andrew Tarkington, Rashawn Walker, Amber Williams, LaMarcus Williams, Marshika Wood and Ciera Woods.
REDI College Access Awards - Estimated Total = $9,100
Our community participates in the REDI College Access Program. At the awards ceremony, Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne and Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith presented the Haywood County-City of Brownsville Scholarships to these students to attend post-secondary institutions for the 2013-2014 academic year: Katie Lewis – Jackson State Community College; Aliceson Hobock – Jackson State Community College; Maggie Herron – University of Memphis, Lambuth; Jessica Maclin – Jackson State Community College; Yaselin Cisneros – Jackson State Community College; Kenya Ector – University of Memphis; Brandy Jones – Jackson State Community College; Sheronica Hammond – Jackson State Community College; Rhonda Clark – Jackson State Community College; Brent Crawford – Tennessee Technology Center, Whiteville; Taylor Jones - Tennessee Technology Center, Whiteville; Brittany Bradford – University of Memphis; and Traveka Person – Jackson State Community College.
College and University Scholarships - $642,452 (4 years)
Twenty-one students earned a total of $642,242 (over 4 years) in college and university scholarships.
HOPE Scholarships -- $1,066,000 over 4 years
The State of Tennessee provides HOPE Scholarships (from lottery money) for students who meet certain academic requirements and who will continue their education at a postsecondary school in Tennessee. Sixty-seven seniors meet these academic criteria and are eligible for scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $5,500 per year, pending approval from the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation. Other students may qualify as their application process is completed.
Students who have an ACT score of 29 or higher and who have a grade-point average of 3.75 or higher qualify for the General Assembly Merit Scholarship in addition to the HOPE Scholarship. Five of our graduates – Connor Coulston, Sarah Lewis, Morgan Marlar, Rebecca Pearson, and Emily Pilant – meet these qualifications and will receive General Assembly Merit Scholarship, pending approval from the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation.
And last but not least, from local groups, organizations, individuals and families, Haywood High School graduates received $114,000 in scholarships.
After the awards ceremony Friday night, HHS Principal Dr. Jerry Pryon spoke to the seniors, “Graduates, remember, to whom much is given, much is required. Tonight, local individuals and organizations, have come together to give you a great deal of money. All they ask in return is that you work hard to put the money to good use by learning all that you can. If you keep your grades up and remain eligible to renew your college and lottery scholarships for four years, members of the Class of 2013 will leave here tonight with a combined total of $1,831,552 to help further their education over the next 4 years.”
Football stadium being polished up for final march
May 17, 2013
Plenty of people — workers and volunteers— are getting set for the Big Day for high school seniors. Haywood High’s graduation is tomorrow. The ceremony, weather permitting, will be held at LZ Hurley Memorial Stadium at 10am.
About 200 students will graduate. Haywood High’s graduates are famous for reeling in hundreds of thousands — and sometimes millions of dollars in scholarships. The scholarships will be announced Saturday.
Russell presents organizational chart for Haywood Schools
May 15, 2013
Haywood County School Superintendent Teresa Russell presented announced her executive level organizational chart for 2013-14 school year. She made the presentation Tuesday night at the monthly Haywood County School Board meeting.
Russell created no new positions but changed some titles. Vincent Harvell is the school system’s Chief Financial Officer and he is also serving as the deputy superintendent, the job formerly held by Russell. Art Garrett, serves as Chief Operations Officer and Toni Eubanks is the Chief Talent and Strategy Officer.
To meet the coming changes in education, she has made changes in titles and responsibilities in the curriculum and instruction department to include Common Core Specialists for each school level.
School lunches up a little
It’ll cost students and staff a little more to eat in school cafeterias next year. Nutrition Director Allison Pyron said Tuesday that student lunch prices will be raised to $2 and adults will pay $3.50.
Funding, scholarships and new building project — Haywood County School Board
May 15, 2013
Haywood County Schools completed some budget housekeeping this week. Deputy Superintendent/CFO Vincent Harvell reported a number of budget amendments and also reported that the Catherine Colhoun Trust will give six $2,000 scholarships to seniors this year. The balance of the fund as of March 31 is $240,616. The Colhoun Trust started with a $268,000 donation/balance and has provided $178,000 in scholarships over the years.
Harvell also reported this week that renovation construction is on schedule at HHS, and is expected to be complete in August or September.
Another building project — the Tornado Safe Space at Haywood Elementary — should be completed by August or September. Funding for a similar structure at Haywood middle school has been approved, and that project should get underway soon.
Metro Government and economic expansion in focus at Brownsville City Board
May 15, 2013
The topic of Metro government was on the Brownsville City Board’s agenda at its monthly meeting last night. That and reactivation of the Revolving Loan Fund along with department reports resulted in a lengthy meeting. All four aldermen and the Mayor were present.
To begin the meeting’s discussion on metro government, Mayor Matherne introduced Teddy Waldrop - Haywood County Commissioner and chair of the recent Metro Government Study Committee – who gave an overview of the committee’s work and report. It was the same report presented at the Haywood County Commission meeting in March and the Public Hearing on Metro Government in April.
Mayor Matherne then introduced David Angerer and Ronnie Neil, municipal management consultants with MTAS – the University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service. MTAS staff works with cities across Tennessee to assist in all areas of city management.
Mr. Angerer started his remarks by saying that he wasn’t there to be critical of anything that had been done or to criticize anyone. He said, “We have helped many cities in West Tennessee write or amend their charters…and what you would be undertaking would be a new charter on steroids … this would be the biggest vote a city could have in Tennessee.”
Angerer went on to say that no studies that MTAS has reviewed show that metro government necessarily increases government efficiency or is more economical than separate governments. He emphasized that quality of government services should be considered, not just the cost of services. He added, “When you have to find a doctor to do heart surgery on you, you don’t necessarily just want the guy who is the cheapest.”
Angerer concluded his remarks by saying “I won’t say metro government is a bad deal … or that it won’t work … but you can create a lot of the consolidation you want with inter-local government agreements…. You can do a lot of what you want without going to a metro government…Metro government is like getting married with no chance of divorce … once it’s done, it’s permanent.”
The Haywood County Commission will vote next Monday, May 20th, on whether to establish a Metro Government Charter Commission. If the measure is passed by the County Commission, the City Board will vote on it at its June meeting. If it doesn’t pass the County Commission, it can be moved forward by a citizens’ petition.
Revolving Loan Fund
The Board voted unanimously to re-activate a local funding program for small businesses which began back in the 1980s.
The program -- called the Revolving Loan Fund -- will be available to for-profit businesses in Brownville for various uses including 1) acquisition of land and/or building, 2) construction or renovation of facilities, 3) machinery or equipment, and 4) professional fees.
The funds cannot be used for 1) working capital, 2) debt consolidation, 3) refinancing, or 4) personal expenses. Mayor Matherne emphasized that these funds are not grants, but rather loans that will be repaid to the City.
NEW Police Officers
Two of the City’s new police officers were introduced to the Board of Aldermen last night. Officer Lance Chandler is from Bells, lives in Brownsville, and is the son of a veteran Tennessee state trooper.
Officer Adrian Perkins grew up in Memphis, lives in Brownsville, and has family in Brownsville – including Sgt. Mitchell Turner and Sgt Ray Turner.
These two officers and Officer Dallas Byrd will complete all of their training – including attending the Police Academy -- this summer.
Delta Heritage Center director Sonia Outlaw-Clark updated the Board about plans for the Exit 56 Blues Fest Saturday May 25…noting that this year’s Festival will include a deep-fried barbecue eating contest … the winner will be the person who can eat the most deep fired bbq in 10 minutes! She also gave details about the first-ever Hatchie Bird Fest which will be held May 30, June 1 and June 2nd at the Delta Heritage Center and Hatchie Wildlife Refuge. The Bird Fest will include speakers, hikes, music, exhibits and food.
City building inspector Jerry McClinton reported that Valley Irrigation has begun on the bypass near Tennessee Tractor.
Slum Clearance officer Rene Hendrix reported that Tom Mann submitted the low bids for demolition work on Robin, Greenwood, McLemore Streets and Grand Avenue. The city will recycle as much of the concrete and bricks from those structures as possible.
One new business open … another on the way
Fast Pace medical care center has opened its facility located in the retail complex on Dupree in front of Wal-Mart.
And a new business is coming to Brownsville that will offer transportation and taxi services. It has been a while since the City had a taxi service and so the taxi Board membership had to be revised… Board members are now Leon King of the City Board, Chuck Willis of the Police Department and Jessie Rosales of the City Clerk’s office.
Don’t be concerned if you see people wandering around taking pictures of old buildings and such …
The City is undertaking a citywide survey to identify buildings with historic, cultural or preservation value. Staff from Phil Thomason & Associates of Nashville will be in Brownsville for the next few weeks, taking pictures of various properties. The work is being funded by a Historical Preservation Grant from the State of Tennessee.
And finally, Relay for Life will be held on the Court Square in Brownsville on Saturday, June 8th… the annual Survivors’ Lunch will be held on Thursday, June 6th at Christ Church.
Deep-fried barbecue makes debut at Exit 56 Blues Fest
May 10, 2013
Do you love barbecue? Have you tried it deep-fried? Attendees to this year's Exit 56 Blues Fest will get an opportunity to try the bite-sized, deep-fried barbecue nuggets and even compete to see who can eat the most. The Deep-Fried BBQ Eating Championship will take place at 4 p.m., Saturday, May 25, at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville.
Contestants must be at least 18 years of age and will have 10 minutes to eat as many deep-fried barbecue bites as possible. Water and sauce will be plentiful to help wash it down. There is a $5 entry fee and the lucky winner will receive a trophy, t-shirt and prize package. Interested parties are asked to pre-register for the competition by May 23. Complete rules and registration can be found at www.westtnheritage.com/exit56.
Along with great barbecue, festival attendees can spend the afternoon and evening listening to the Blues. Concerts will be performed from the porch of the Sleepy John Estes home and features performers such as Sean "Bad" Apple, Bluesberry Jam Band, Little Boys Blue and headliner TeeDee Young.
Car enthusiasts can cruise-in from 1-3 p.m., to compete for titles such as "Cool Chrome" "Most Likely to Get a Ticket" and 12 other fun titles. There is no entry fee and motorcycles are welcome, too.
Arts and crafts vendors will also be on site throughout the afternoon for those wanting to add a little shopping to the Blues mix. Jewelry, woodwork and paintings are just a few of the items you'll find.
Admission to the festival is free and open to the public. A complete schedule is available online, or by calling the Delta Heritage Center at 731-779-9000.
About the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is a Tourist Information Center and three regional museums that highlight West Tennessee Cotton, West Tennessee Music and the Hatchie River. Also on the grounds of the Center is the last home of Blues pioneer Sleepy John Estes and the childhood school of Tina Turner. The Center is located at 121 Sunny Hill Cove in Brownsville, Tenn., right off of Interstate 40 at Exit 56. Online at www.westtnheritage.com
Main Street data released
May 2, 2013
Brownsville is one of two dozen towns across Tennessee that participate in the Tennessee Main Street program and the people that run Main Street said in a news release earlier this week that the economic impact has already been significant.
According to the Main Street web site the program has resulted in new businesses, jobs and other improvements. The list includes:
New Jobs — 617
New Businesses — 135
Building rehabilitations projects — 224
Public improvement projects — 371
New construction projects — 25
Housing units created — 28
Number of volunteer hours — 103,614
The web site claims the private and public investment in the Main Street communities is $89.5 million.
Haywood County metro government public hearing
April 29, 2013 - Reported by Martha Lyle Ford
Approximately 45 people attended last night’s public hearing on metro government held at the Haywood County Justice Complex. Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith led the hearing. During the hour-long meeting, Smith described the process leading up to the hearing and next steps; he then took questions from the audience.
On February 28, 2013, the Metropolitan Government Study Committee voted 16-10 to recommend that a Charter Commission be formed. The Commission would be charged with writing a charter that would consolidate Haywood County and Brownsville governments into one. Stanton’s government could also be included.
Smith explained that on May 20th, the Haywood County Commission will vote on whether to establish a Commission to draft a Charter for Metro government. If the measure passes by a simple majority, then the Brownsville Board of Mayor and Aldermen will vote on the same question at its June meeting.
If both bodies vote to establish a Charter Commission, then Mayor Smith will appoint 10 members and Mayor Matherne will appoint 5 members to the Charter Commission. If Stanton chooses to be part of the metro government process, it would have a person on the Charter Commission who would serve as a consultant but would not have a vote. It then becomes the Charter Commission’s responsibility to draft a document outlining the structure of a new, proposed unified government.
If either the Haywood County Commission OR the Brownsville City Board votes to not establish a Charter Commission, then the matter is defeated, with one exception. A group of citizens could create a petition to establish the Charter Commission. The petition would have to be signed by 10% of the number of voters who voted in the 2010 gubernatorial election. In other words, if 6,000 people voted in Haywood County in the 2010 governor’s race, then the citizens’ petition to establish a Charter Commission would have to have 600 signatures to succeed.
The 15-member Charter Commission would have 9 months to write a charter for the new metro government. The Haywood County Commission would provide up-to $50,000 for the work of the commission – paying for experts to assist in the research and writing of the charter. All Charter Commission meetings would be open to the public.
After the proposed charter is written, the Election Commission would have 90 days to have a referendum election on the proposed charter. For the proposal to become official, the referendum would have to be approved by a majority of voters in the City of Brownsville and by a majority of rural Haywood County voters, and a majority in Stanton, if Stanton chooses to be part of the proposal.
Smith pointed out that, during the entire process, the three existing governments – Brownsville City Board, Haywood County Commission, and Stanton City Board – would continue to operate.
Comments from the hearing
When asked about the possible success of a referendum, Smith said, “In my opinion, if the referendum was held tomorrow, it’d have a good chance of passing in the City (Brownsville) and a small chance in the County (rural Haywood).”
The mayor endorsed a consolidated government. “It has served Nashville well for 50 years. And for a county of 18,000 people, one government would work better than three,” Mayor Smith commented. He was referring to Brownsville City government, Haywood County government, and Stanton city government.
When asked about the status of various departments in the proposed metro government, Smith speculated that
Garbage collection would stay the way it is now;
Brownsville Energy and Southwest Electric would each continue as they are;
There would be a unified public works department;
City and County Road maintenance would be consolidated;
There would still be six constitutional officers including the sheriff, who could be the chief law enforcement officer;
There would be a Metro Mayor and Metro Commissioners; the charter would establish the number of Metro Commissioners and the districts.
He pointed out that many City and County services are already consolidated: The schools have been consolidated since 1970; Parks and Recreation is already consolidated; and that the three governments work cooperatively already.
•How would the tax system work? “There would be one tax … the entire county would be a general service district … there would only be a metro tax … the rate could be different depending on which services you get based on where you live … in the County or in the City,” Smith said.
• Higher taxes? When asked if there would be a tax increase, Smith said, “I think taxes would be fairly stable. I think the tax rate acceleration of the County would slow down…I don’t think taxes will go up.” Commissioner Allen King, who is a farmer, said his taxes had gone up significantly in recent years … Smith said the Property Assessor’s assessment of farmland value doesn’t depend on whether there’s metro government or separate governments. He added that under metro government, there would no longer be separate taxes.
• Charter commission provided direction? Mayor said the Charter Commission would follow guidelines and rules from the State of Tennessee and would be trying to create a charter for a government that would serve the people of the Haywood County. Smith said that if both County and City governments choose to establish a Charter Commission, the Commission would be racially balanced, balanced between rich and poor … “I want it to be reflective of our county … we have one of the most diverse counties in the state … and I’m proud of that.”
• Impact on grants available? Smith said he thought it would be a benefit to have metro government because sometimes grants have to be divided three-ways among Brownsville, Stanton and Haywood County. But Brownsville Mayor Matherne pointed out an instance where it had benefitted the governments to be separate … each had received a maximum grant amount.
• Why isn’t everybody else doing it? One County Commissioner at the meeting asked why there weren’t more than three metro governments in the state … He said; “There are 95 counties in Tennessee. What makes us think we’re smarter than all those other counties … If this is such a great thing, why aren’t more counties doing it?” Smith responded that he thought it was probably because people don’t like change or giving up their power.
“I don’t know that metro government is the answer … but in this day when people want less intrusive government it seems to me like one government for the whole county would be less intrusive than three.”
Metro Government heard today
April 29, 2013
If you’ve been curious about consolidating all of the governments in Haywood County — or maybe you’ve formed an opinion about it already — tonight is the night for you.
A public hearing on metro-government will begin tonight at 6pm at the justice complex in Brownsville. The session will help you understand more about the work done by the county study committee. Tonight’s meeting could be pivotal in the decision county commissioners are about to make about whether there should be next steps.
Haywood birding festival registration and Internet sites now available
April 26, 2013
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is hosting a birding festival in Haywood County, TN May 31 through June 2, 2013 and there is new website to help birders prepare.
Speakers are scheduled for both Friday and Saturday nights. Birding hikes (for both beginners and advanced birders) are scheduled over several days and there are other events including activities for children, Saturday afternoon talks, and exhibits. There will be plant sales from local nurseries, and a demonstration from live rehab hawks. A few activities are still tentative, so "like" the festival on Facebook and get updates as events become confirmed. All of the activities are free and open to anyone.
In an effort to ensure quality experiences for all of the hikes, sponsors request pre-registration for hikes. Bird experts will be leading hikes of 8 - 12 people. Some target species that you may be interested in, include good chances for Cerulean Warbler, Swainson's Warbler, and Mississippi Kite. The Hatchie bottomland hardwood forest is well known for its high density of American Redstarts and Prothonotary Warblers. Many other species will be seen as well.
Got old medicines you need to dump? Saturday is the day
April 24, 2013
The Haywood County Sheriff’s Department and the Brownsville Police Department are participating in the Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Drug Take Back Day.
This Saturday between 10am and 2pm sheriff’s deputies will be set up in front of Wal-Mart and police officers will be stationed at the police department downtown to receive prescription medicines that need to be destroyed.
The goal of the project is to provide a means for people to safely discard medicines they no longer need. Officials say it also helps reduce the chance the medicines may be stolen and used illegally.
Emergency vehicles at the high school — but not to worry
April 23, 2013
Emergency crews will pile into the Haywood High Parking lot today at about 10am but it’s only a drill, according to the Brownsville Police Department. The BPD stages a mock DUI car crash in the high school parking lot every year a few weeks before graduation.
Emergency workers will be “treating” car crash victims in an effort to impress upon the soon-to-be graduates the dangers of driving impaired.
Singing with Soul
April 22, 2013
Singing with Soul might sound a bit cliché to some but the phrase appropriately describes the down-home gospel sound of The Como Mamas
The three life-long African-American gospel singers have sauntered in from the small Delta town of Como, Mississippi. Their new, critically acclaimed album “Get an Understanding” features only three instruments—the powerful, raspy voice of Ester Mae Smith, the deep soothing sounds of Angela Taylor, and the energetic, spirited vocals of Della Daniels. Recently featured SXSW 2013(South By SouthWest) music festival in Austin Texas, the group garnered huge audience followings that led to being voted one of the festival’s top 3 acts.
Don’t miss this opportunity to hear the spirit and soul of the Delta. The harmonies of the Como Mamas are so powerful, musical accompaniment will not be missed. And neither should this May 5, 3 pm show.
Tickets are available at area Brownsville banks, Livingston’s or from the Arts Council office (731.772.4883).
Brownsville to host "Cancer Queens! A Cancer Prevention Musical Revue"
April 22, 2013
A group of professional health educators will provide a light-hearted approach to a serious subject when they present a cancer prevention musical Saturday, May 4, in Brownsville, Tenn. The performance will begin at 6 p.m., at the Ann Marks Performing Arts Theater. While there is no admission charge for the event, donations will be accepted and will benefit the American Cancer Society.
Known as the Cancer Queens, the group presents ways to improve health and reduce cancer risk through original lyrics and dances to tunes of popular songs. For example, dancing to the tune of Brooks and Dunn's "Boot Scootin' Boogie," they encourage audiences to eat fruit and veggies and to go and get their Pap smears" to a parody of the Little Eva song, "Locomotion."
I'm always amazed at the lack of knowledge and awareness of the impact on health that simple lifestyle choices can have," said Brownsville Relay for Life Chairperson Carolyn Flagg. "The Cancer Queens present that information in a way that is fun and easy to remember. They engage audience members by entertaining them and drawing them into the fun."
Recognized by the Centers for Disease Control, the Cancer Queens have been bringing their health messages to audiences in churches, schools, women's organizations and other venues across the state of Tennessee for the last three years. The group is part of the Office of Community Outreach of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, in Nashville.
For more information about Brownsville's Relay for Life and the Cancer Queen performance, contact Flagg at 731-772-0425.
Historic planners to see Brownsville downtown plan today
April 18, 2013
Much of downtown Brownsville is in an downtown Historic District governed by city ordinance. Leaders in Brownsville are working to improve and protect historic architecture. The historic planning board will review a professional plan today.
The planning board meets at 4pm at Brownsville’s city hall and their agenda includes an historic and architectural survey presentation from preservation planning firm, Thomason & Associates.
Mayor Jo Matherne says the work is in accordance with the Brownsville on the Move Plan. We reported last week that the mayor promises low interest loans among incentives for building owners interested in improving and protecting their properties.
About Thomason & Associates
According to their web site, Thomason & Associates was founded in 1982. They claim to have completed over 700 preservation projects that include “farmsteads in the South to courthouse squares in the Midwest and historic districts in the Northwest.”
Stanton amends beer-selling ordinance and talks consolidated government
April 17, 2013
Stanton Mayor Allen Sterbinsky said the Stanton Board of Mayor and Alderman will serve as the community’s beer board. The creation of the beer board came at yesterday’s Stanton city council meeting. Stanton has permitted the sale of package beer for a couple of years.
Stanton’s leaders are also being briefed about considerations for consolidated government. Yesterday county study committee member Allen King made a presentation to the Stanton Board. Sterbinsky says he is asking various members of the study group to visit with his board based on how they have already voted on the issue. King voted against recommending that any further steps be taken in consolidated government. Sterbinsky says a proponent will also present. Next month the Stanton board will hear metro government information from officials from the Municipal Technical Advisory Service. Stanton aldermen could be asked to vote in June.
Brownsville travels to Muskogee for multicultural exchange
April 15, 2013
A group from Brownsville traveled to Muskogee, Ok., April 12 - 14, as part of a multicultural exchange between the two cities. The exchange began last September when residents of Muskogee visited for the Tina Turner Celebration.
Brownsville was greeted by Chamber officials and treated to a full weekend of activities, including visiting the USS Batfish submarine, the Azalea Festival and Chili Cook-off, Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, Honor Heights Park and a tour of the city. The highlight of the trip was the Bare Bones Film Festival and the screening of the documentary "From Muskogee to Nutbush: In Search of Tina Turner American Music Icon."
The film follows Muskogee's Rising Stars, a group of students participating in the town's music Spotlight Program, as they traveled to Brownsville and Nutbush to learn more about Anna Mae Bullock and her rise to fame as Tina Turner.
Twelve-year-old Memphis native Emma Webb joined the Brownsville group and provided the entertainment for the opening of the film. She was joined on stage by the same Rising Stars featured in the film. Brownsville scenes include clips from the ribbon cutting of the Flagg Grove School and a tour of Nutbush. Local people are also featured in the film, including Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne and Pam and Joe Stephens.
Brownsville residents will have the opportunity to see the documentary this September during the annual Tina Turner Heritage Celebration.
A group of 17 visited Muskogee, Ok., for tours and the screening of the new documentary "From Muskogee to Nutbush," April 12-14, 2013. Pictured are (from left, standing) Director of the Muskogee Spotlight Program Michael Anthamatten, Mary Hines, Mayor Jo Matherne, Phyllis and Austin Brown, Sonia Outlaw-Clark, Jean Avery, Muskogee historian Jonita Mullins, Spotlight Program's Clayton Campbell and Muskogee Chamber President Treasure McKenzie; (from left, kneeling) Paula Webb, Vickie Cooper, Emma Webb, Andy Cooper, Vice Mayor Carolyn Flagg, Peggy Jones and Austin Webb. Not pictured are Joe Stephens and Joseph, A.C. and Rooks Stephens.
Haywood County Metro government meeting set for April 29
April 15, 2013
Have a question or maybe a comment about consolidating the governments in Haywood County? Mark your calendars for two weeks from today. Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith says April 29 is the date.
Mayor Smith said yesterday he plans on allowing public comment on the proposal during the public hearing. The event comes just before local governments are set to vote on whether to advance the measure with the appointment of a charter commission. County commissioners will be asked to vote in May. If county government seeks a charter, Stanton and Brownsville’s political leaders are likely to decide in June whether their governments are to be included.
County government started the consolidation discussions by voting unanimously in early 2012 to form a study group. The study committee voted to recommend governments form a charter commission.
Dixie Youth gets grand grand opening — Smith honored with naming of baseball complex
April 15, 2013
Volunteer Park was a mob scene Saturday — a mob of kids and parent who were celebrating the opening of Dixie Youth Baseball. Nearly 200 children age 3 to 12 will participate in youth baseball this year, according to Dixie Youth leader Michael Banks.
Leaders also announced Saturday that the four-field baseball complex will now be named in honor of one of its original developers. Volunteer Park’s baseball development is now known as the A Franklin Smith III Baseball Complex. Smith was among the early proponents of the recreational facility that came to be known as Volunteer Park because of the many people who worked to create it. Smith has helped see the facility is maintained and grown.
Haywood County School Board one of “Distinction”
Updated - April 11, 2013
The Haywood County School Board was recognized at its meeting Tuesday night, April 9, as a Tennessee School Board Association Board of Distinction, highlighting outstanding board performance. Cynthia Glenn, TSBA Delta District Director from Lauderdale County, was on hand to make the presentation. This award, one of TSBA’s most prestigious, celebrates the achievements of those boards that have met the challenge of leadership in every area of their board responsibility. Mrs. Glenn said that the Haywood County Board is one of a select few boards that earn this designation. The HCS Board has been a Board of Distinction since 1990.
The Haywood County School Board was recognized as a TSBA Board of Distinction at the meeting on April 9. This prestigious honor celebrates the achievements of those boards that have met the challenge of leadership in every area of their responsibility. Pictured are TSBA Presenter Cynthia Glenn of Lauderdale County, Superintendent Teresa Russell and board members Harold Garrett, Greg Vanstory, Robbie Jarrett-King, Allen Currie and Pearlie Hess.
In other business, board members approved the adoption of reading books for grades K-6.†They also decided to award six $2,000 scholarships to selected HHS seniors from the Catherine Colhoun Scholarship fund that the Haywood County Board of Education manages.
The HHS Step Team, under the direction of teacher Cherie Timberlake, was approved to take a trip to St. Louis, Missouri, then to Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville to participate in a discussion forum regarding transition into college life and getting involved on campus.
Board members approved Five Points Benefits Solution to serve as the Haywood County Schools broker/agent for its benefit plans. They also approved the company US Able to manage the plans.
School Board members voted to provide six college scholarships. The $2,000 scholarships will be funded from the Catherine Colhoun Scholarship fund.
Two Haywood Countians named Most Influential
April 9, 2013
Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne and Stanton’s Emma Delk were among 20 women named in the Jackson Sun’s Sterling Awards. The awards pick West Tennessee’s most influential women.
Delk is the co-director of the Stanton Welcome Center and Library. Delk also served for 26 years as an alderman in Stanton and has been instrumental in community projects there ranging from development of the Farmer’s Market to providing free Internet and GED services.
Matherne, the first female mayor of Brownsville, was instrumental in developing Brownsville on the Move. Matherne, among her many accomplishments, has appointed a record number of women and minorities to leadership positions in Brownsville.
More people working in Haywood County — state data released
March 29, 2013
County unemployment rates for February 2013, released Thursday, report the unemployment rate decreased in 87 of Tennessee’s 95 counties, increased in five, and stayed the same in three.
Haywood County’s rate was down fractionally and so was the rate in all of our neighboring counties.
Fayette County, 10%
Crockett County, 11.6%
Haywood, 11.9% down from 12.4% a month earlier
The entire report is available here: www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/labor_figures/LaborFeb13.pdf
Brownsville Planners recommend city take in tracts south of I-40
March 29, 2013
The Brownsville City Board of Mayor and Aldermen will have the final say in an annexation that could take in to Brownsville a potentially important sliver of land near I-40’s Exit 56. The Brownsville Planning Board recommended the annexation during a meeting yesterday at City Hall.
The property is mostly in the southwest corner of the Exit 56 interchange and encompasses 30 acres. Jackson, Tennessee developer David Hunt owns some of the property and has, for several years, promised to build a hotel and restaurant there.
You can see the map of the property and a detailed description HERE
The city board must pass the annexation on two readings for it to become official.
New business for Dupree
Valley Irrigation’s plan to build a new building on a lot located of Dupree Street was approved by the planning board yesterday. The business sells farm irrigation systems and is affiliated with John Deer dealer, Tennessee Tractor.
Valley Irrigation will be located between the Haywood County Road Department and the vacant car dealership building. Sources say it is likely construction will begin very soon.
See this week's Brownsville Planning Commission agenda and the minutes of last month's Planning Commission meeting by clicking on these links:
Brownsville Agenda and Staff Memo.pdf
Planning Commission Minutes 02-13.pdf
Brownsville on the Move Report released
March 29, 2013
Brownsville leaders have complied the results of their work in achieving the goals of the Brownsville on the Move initiative. City planners and the historic zoning commission were presented the report at recent meetings.
The compilation lists 15 items government leaders say help accomplish the goals of the plan. The achievements range from winning a Community Excellence Award from Southwest Tennessee Development District to the city’s participation in the school system’s Gear-Up program.
You can read the entire report HERE
Clark Earns ‘Travel Marketing Professional’ Certification from Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College
March 22, 2013
Three-year program recognized nationally for continuing education
ATLANTA, Ga. (March 19, 2012): Sonia Outlaw-Clark, director of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, has earned certification as a “Travel Marketing Professional” (TMP) after completing the three-year program of the Southeast Tourism Society (STS) Marketing College.
Clark was one of 47 new TMPs recognized at the STS spring meeting in Atlanta, Ga., Tuesday, March 19. STS Marketing College started in 1992, and 749 people have earned TMP certification. Clark was also recognized and presented a certification in festival and event planning.
(Left photo) Sonia Outlaw-Clark (pictured second from left) is among seven Travel Marketing Professionals who also earned certification as Festival and Events Planner during the spring meeting of the Southeast Tourism Society in Atlanta, Ga., March 19. (Right photo) Southeast Tourism Society President Bill Hardman presents Sonia Outlaw-Clark with her Travel Marketing Professional diploma Tuesday, March 19, at the Southeast Tourism Society Spring Symposium in Atlanta, Ga. Also pictured is Angie Briggs, vice-president of Miles Media, presenting sponsors of STS Marketing College.
The STS Marketing College is a professional development program that for one week each summer turns the facilities of North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, Ga., into a laboratory to teach tourism marketing.
Instructors are working professionals in the travel industry such as convention and visitors bureau executives, public relations practitioners, sales and marketing consultants and research experts.
“This is not another program like ours in the country; we are the envy of travel professionals in other regions,” said Bill Hardman, president and chief executive officer of STS.
Tourism ranks as the first, second or third-largest industry in the 12 STS states that stretch from Virginia to Louisiana.
Course topics include special events marketing, media relations, tourism advertising, vacation research, crisis management, heritage tourism and community/rural tourism. After the classroom work, students also must complete a project that relates to their employment.
“Our curriculum is practical. What students learn can be put to use as soon as they get back to their workplaces,” Hardman said.
The newest group of TMPs also raised enough funds for eight scholarships for future STS Marketing College students.
About Southeast Tourism Society (STS)
Founded in 1983, the Southeast Tourism Society (southeasttourism.org) promotes and develops tourism in its 12 member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Its headquarters are in Atlanta. The membership includes state travel offices, attractions, hotels, motels, resorts, convention and visitors bureaus, airlines, car rental agencies, newspapers, magazines and other travel-related organizations.
Southwest manager new president WTIA
March 22, 2013
West Tennessee Industrial Association’s work includes attracting industry and job retention in West Tennessee, and the organization has a new president. Kevin Murphy, general manager of the Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation, is the incoming president. Southwest is headquartered in Brownsville and serves thousands of rural utility customers in central West Tennessee.
Alex Smith, manager of the Humboldt Utility Department, is the association’s new vice president. Jeff Graves, Manager of the Lexington Electric System, has been elected secretary/treasurer.
WTIA’s headquarters is in Jackson. Michael Philpot is the executive director.
Randall Taylor Jr., Conservationist of the Year
March 20, 2013
The 2012 J.B. McAdams Conservationist of the Year award "...has a history of dedication to the conservation of natural resources in Haywood County." Randall Taylor Jr. won the award at this year’s Soil Conservation Banquet hosted by the local USDA farm services office.
Taylor farms near two thousand acres of cropland that includes cotton, corn, soybeans and wheat. Nearly all of Taylor’s farming operations are no-till. He employs over 16 miles of terraces and diversions and over 20 acres of grassed waterways.
Tina Turner graces the cover of German Vogue
March 18, 2013
Haywood County's most famous native, Anna Mae Bullock, known worldwide as Tina Turner, is the oldest woman to grace the cover of Vogue Magazine. Turner, who turned 73 in November, is featured on the cover of the April 2013 issue of German Vogue.
According to the magazine's interview, Turner talks about her hometown of Nutbush and the Flagg Grove School project.
"We are so excited that Ms. Turner mentions her involvement with the Flagg Grove School project," said West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center Director Sonia Outlaw-Clark. "She speaks of the beauty of the farmland around Nutbush and remembers walking to Flagg Grove School with her sister and classmates."
The school's restoration project began in June 2012 when the school was donated and moved to the Delta Heritage Center. According to Clark, the project could take up to three years to complete.
Once completed, the school will highlight African-American early education and the legacy of students who attended there. The school was built in 1889 on land donated by Benjamin Flagg, Turner's great-uncle, making Flagg Grove school not only the school she attended but a part of her family's legacy. Turner's involvement with the project will include memorabilia and displays once the building has been restored.
As the project moves forward, it will be dependent on public fundraising efforts. Since the Vogue article appeared, fans have begun making donations through a link on the Center's website.
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is a tourist information center and home to three regional museums depicting the history and culture of West Tennessee. To learn more or to make a donation to the Flagg Grove School restoration, visit www.westtnheritage.com or call 731-779-9000.
Metro government vote — Brownsville will wait to hear from Haywood County Commissioners
March 17, 2013
Mayor Jo Matherne said Brownsville Aldermen likely wouldn’t vote on taking the next steps toward formation of a metro government until after the Haywood County Commission has spoken. The commission’s vote won’t come for a couple of months, so the city’s position probably won’t be known until June.
The Metro Government Study Committee voted to recommend that a charter commission be formed. A charter commission would author the document by which a consolidated government would operate. To go forward with the charter leaders in Brownsville and Haywood County government must approve. Stanton can opt in or out.
The metro study group was formed at the suggestion of Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith. The county commission unanimously approved the study last year.
Mayor Matherne said she thinks it appropriate the city council consider the matter only after county commissioners have decided if they want to participate in the charter committee.
The county commission will receive the report when they meet Monday night, but Mayor Franklin Smith says they won’t be asked to vote until May. The county commission doesn’t meet in April.
Helen is “Queen” of BBQ
March 17, 2013
You already knew it, but according to Garden & Gun magazine, Helen Turner is officially the country’s new queen of BBQ. In a blog written a week or so ago, Garden & Gun provides details about how Turner, best known in Brownsville as Helen of Helen’s BBQ, boarded a plane and travelled to Charleston, South Carolina for this year’s Wine + Food Festival. There she was crowned queen by the Southern Foodways Alliance.
Helen, heralded as one of the few female pitmasters in the country, had already won the Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award and has been the star of a mini-documentary produced by Southern Foodways.
Helen’s BBQ is located on North Washington Street in Brownsville.
Read the Garden & Gun blog at http://gardenandgun.com/blog/meet-new-queen-barbecue
Brownsville takes action on three measures: Zoning, building code, municipal code in focus
March 13, 2013
he Brownsville City Board made quick work of a short agenda Tuesday. During their regular monthly meeting, aldermen and the mayor agreed to two ordinances that effect zoning and building codes.
City leaders approved the second reading of the ordinance to rezone parts of Dupree Street between East Main and Washington Avenue. According to Mayor Matherne, this ordinance will get the zoning on Dupree in agreement with the actual usage of the properties. It changes the zoning of the houses on Dupree from industrial to residential.
The board also adopted the International Building Code for the city. This measure is important for insurance and city rating purposes and for Brownsville to be in sync with the State of Tennessee’s building codes. This was the first reading on the ordinance; the second reading will be at the April City Board meeting.
The city board updated the City of Brownsville’s Municipal Code. According to City Clerk Jessica Frye, the latest Brownsville code on file with the state’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service is dated 1983. Changes and additions to the Code passed in the past 30 years are not included in the comprehensive document and, in fact, they are not compiled anywhere.
The resolution approves paying $9300 to MTAS to codify and revise Brownsville’s ordinances. Frye estimates the process won’t start for another year or more.
Once complete, all of Brownsville’s ordinances will be compiled in one document and accessible on-line.
City’s new Internet site up and running/public Wi-Fi coming downtown
March 13, 2013
Brownsville’s new website is up and running. City Hall has been working on the new, comprehensive site for weeks.
You can find it at www.brownsvilletn.gov. It is also accessed at www.haywoodcountybrownsville.com .
Mayor Matherne reports that within a couple of weeks, downtown Brownsville will have a free wireless Internet connection. The antennae will be located on the Courthouse.
Brownsville group to Muskogee for cultural exchange
March 13, 2013
Delta Heritage Center director Sonia Outlaw-Clark told the Board about plans for a multicultural exchange trip to Muskogee, Oklahoma April 12 – 14. The trip will be a follow-up to a visit by Muskogee officials to Brownsville when they were here in September for the Tina Turner Celebration.
In April, a busload of Brownsvillians will visit Muskogee for its Azalea Fest, Barebones Film Festival, and Chili Cook-Off and will present entertainment at each event.
New businesses opening soon in Brownsville
March 13, 2013
City building inspector Jerry McClinton reported Tuesday that two businesses are in the process of getting buildings ready for opening.
• Fast Pace Medical Center will open in the former Payless Shoe store space located near Wal Mart.
• Valley Irrigation will construct a new building on a 6-acre tract on the bypass near Tennessee Tractor. Valley Irrigation is affiliated with Tennessee Tractor.
McClinton says a bank is interested in building a branch on the bypass across the street from Wal-Mart and adjacent to the horse arena. McClinton did not name the bank.
Answer to 4-H camp here may be a while coming
March 12, 2013
“Three to six” location finalist for the UT 4-H camp are likely to be announced sometime in the coming weeks, but probably not by March 18 as previously expected. Mayor Franklin Smith told county budget committee members late Tuesday that 19 communities have submitted proposals and the volume of interest has pushed the first round of decisions back.
“If somebody beats us they will have offered UT one heck-of-a deal,” Budget Committee Chairman Allen King commented. King helped present the offer to UT officials.
Haywood County and Brownsville have offered the university a package estimated to be worth nearly $3 million. It includes giving the school all of the acreage in the new industrial park and installing some infrastructure.
Smith said UT trustees aren’t expected to make a final decision until November. The project is, so far, unfunded. In 2014 UT will ask the state legislature to fund the project estimated to cost $35 million.
County government poised to take big insurance premium hike
March 12, 2013
County workers' health insurance won't renew until this fall, but county number crunchers are bracing for a big premium increase. County budget manager Larry Livingston said Tuesday that over $400,000 in health insurance claims means the premiums could increase “30 to 35%.” The county’s insurance premium is “about $35,000” monthly.
Metro government vote probably won’t come until May
March 12, 2013
Whether to proceed to the next step in the formation of a consolidated government here — a charter commission — probably won’t be decided until May.
Teddy Waldrop, chairman of the metro study committee commissioned by the county commission about a year ago, made a presentation to the county budget committee Tuesday. The budget committee took no action, deferring to the county commission.
Commissioners will meet next Monday, but Mayor Franklin Smith says they won’t be asked to vote on the study group’s recommendation that a charter commission be formed. Smith said commissioners need to hear Waldrop’s presentation, read the report and have time for consideration. A public hearing may also be held prior to the commission’s vote.
The Haywood County Commission doesn’t meet in April, so a vote on the proposal won’t come until May.
Brownsville’s Board of Mayor and Alderman must also vote to proceed to a charter commission. Brownsville’s board hasn’t yet heard Waldrop’s presentation and it is unclear when they will be asked to consider.
Budget committee members — all of them county commissioners—discussed the pros and cons of a consolidated government at length Tuesday. The best summation may have come from Joe Stephens who said; “Until we have a charter we won’t know…” what’s best.
Farm ground owners get ready — assessments expected to be way up this year
March 12, 2013
The price of farmland in Haywood County has been going up in recent years, and county tax assessors are noticing it. At a meeting of county commissioners who serve on the budget committee Tuesday, commissioners said they’re hearing that farm acreage may be assessed at a rate “36%” higher than in years past. The state’s greenbelt law, which provides certain tax advantages for farmland, provides some tax relief to just over 1.2 million acres in Haywood County.
County's budget may end year in surplus
March 12, 2013
With just over 8 months in the year accounted for, Haywood County government has spent less than expected and income has exceeded expectations. County Budget Manager Larry Livingston said Tuesday that he expects the fiscal year to end with surplus funds.
FEMA has approved moving tornado safe space
March 12, 2013
The tornado safe space at Haywood Elementary School is presently under construction, but a second tornado shelter previously approved has been on hold until recently. The second space had been planned for Sunny Hill School. But school officials, who changed how the Sunny Hill property is used, decided not to build the structure there, instead asking government funders to allow them to move it to Haywood Middle School (formerly the Junior High).
Smith said FEMA has approved the change but the contracts haven’t been signed.
Haywood and immediate surrounding counties not in judicial redistricting plan
March 12, 2013
If a proposed change to judicial districts announced yesterday in Nashville is approved, there will be no changes in Haywood County and the 28th Judicial District in which it resides. Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey suggested changes to 8 judicial districts in Tennessee. Only a handful of counties in rural northwest West Tennessee are included in the proposed redistricting.
Ramsey said reviewing the judicial districts was in order because of population shifts. The last changes were made in 1984.
The 28th Judicial District is comprised of Haywood, Crockett and Gibson Counties. Voters in the three counties decide who will serve as circuit judge, chancellor, pubic defender and district attorney. The next election is in 2014.
Ramsey has suggested changes be made in Lake, Dyer, Obion and Weakley Counties. He has proposed other changes in middle Tennessee.
Judicial District redistricting plan could be unveiled this week
March 11, 2013
A plan that could change who prosecutes, defends and decides certain judicial cases in Haywood County is scheduled to be released this week. Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, in a mid-February news release, said his office was working on a judicial redistricting plan. Ramsey says the last time the districts were assessed was in 1984. Published reports say Ramsey is set to distribute a map of his recommendations.
The 28th Judicial District includes Haywood, Crockett and Gibson Counties. Circuit Judge Clayburn Peeples, Chancellor George Ellis, District Attorney General Gerry Brown and Public Defender Tom Crider manage cases in Haywood County Circuit Court and Chancery Court. It is unclear if changes are in the offing for Haywood County.
Much like county commissioner or legislative districts, judicial districting depends on population. Ramsey says there have been material shifts in population since the 1984 plan was adopted and that triggered his review.
All of the offices in the judicial district will be on the ballot in 2014. Public defenders, district attorneys, chancellors and circuit judges run for office once every eight years, so if redistricting is to be accomplished before 2022, Ramsey says, it must happen now.
You can see the make up of the judicial districts here www.tncourts.gov/administration/judicial-resources/judicial-district-map
January unemployment rate 7.7 percent
March 8, 2013
Tennessee Gains 7,600 Jobs From December To January
Tennessee Commissioner of Labor & Workforce Development Karla Davis announced today Tennessee’s unemployment rate for January was 7.7 percent, which increased one tenth of one percentage point from the December revised rate of 7.6 percent. The national unemployment rate for January 2013 was 7.9 percent, and also increased by one tenth of one percent from the previous month.
· Tennessee’s January unemployment rate is the lowest January rate since 2008.
· Over the past year, Tennessee’s unemployment rate declined from 8.2 percent to 7.7 percent.
· The number of employed persons (2,891,100) is the highest since December 2007.
· Total nonfarm employment increased 7,600 jobs from December to January. Increases occurred in administrative/support/waste services, retail trade, and education/health services.
· Total nonfarm employment increased 56,200 jobs from January 2012 to January 2013. Increases occurred in professional/business services, trade/transportation/utilities, leisure/hospitality, and manufacturing.
Sequestration lowers federal unemployment benefits
March 8, 2013
State unemployment benefits are not affected
The Budget Control Act of 2011, generally known as “sequestration,” requires budget cuts to many federal programs including the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program. All payments of EUC on or after March 31, 2013, will be reduced by 10.7 percent through September 2013.
The weekly benefits of approximately 30,000 Tennessee claimants currently receiving EUC or transitioning into EUC from Tennessee Unemployment Compensation program will be affected. The state’s unemployment compensation system, generally the first 26 weeks (maximum) of available unemployment benefits, will not be reduced.
Claimants will be notified by mail detailing their reduced benefit amount no later than 3-22-13.
All affected claimants must continue their regular weekly certification as well as satisfy their weekly work search requirement.
Using separation notices benefits Tennessee employers
March 5, 2013
Notices help jobless attain services and lower need for employer appeals
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development today announced few employers are in compliance with a state rule requiring them to issue separation notices to all workers who become separated from their jobs for any reason. These workers should expect to receive the notices within 24 hours, which are often needed when applying for services like unemployment benefits and food stamps.
"What employers should know is when they don’t document separations with these notices, it invites confusion and unnecessary appeals when someone files for unemployment benefits," said Labor Commissioner Karla Davis.
During the unemployment application process, it’s the employer’s responsibility to provide the separation form. If the document isn’t available and the employer does not reply to a request for information, the department must rely on information provided by the claimant. If an employer doesn’t agree with the department’s initial decision, the employer must file an appeal or run the risk of higher tax rates.
Davis says the answer is partially in the hands of employers. "Employers have vocalized with us their frustration when facing appeals, but using separation notices and responding to requests for information can be steps in avoiding that process."
Employers can download separation notices online at www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/Employers/forms/LB-0489.pdf. In April 2012, the department announced an electronic method of responding to unemployment information requests called the Unemployment Insurance State Information Data Exchange System or SIDES, which results in a more accurate claims-filing process. For more information on SIDES visit http://info.uisides.org/.
Crafters invited to participate in 3rd annual Exit 56 Blues Fest
March 4, 2013
Calling all arts and crafts vendors. The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is seeking do-it-yourselfers and traditional and non-traditional crafters who create high quality, one-of-kind items to take part in the Exit 56 Blues Fest Arts and Crafts Show May 25, in Brownsville, Tenn.
The show will run from noon to 6 p.m., and is limited to the first 40 applicants. Application deadline is May 1. The location, just off of Interstate 40 at Exit 56, offers crafters a unique opportunity to showcase their talents and wares to visitors traveling through West Tennessee, as well as residents of the region.
This is a non-juried event, but special care will be taken to ensure that a good selection is available without an over abundance of any one particular items.
"The Blues Fest is planned for Memorial Day weekend, which is the first big travel weekend of the year," says center director Sonia Outlaw-Clark. The event attracted more than 800 attendees last year.
In addition to the Arts and Crafts show, live Blues music will be performed from the porch of the Sleepy John Estes home from noon-10 p.m. A car cruise-in, special exhibits inside the Center and lots of festival foods are also planned for the event.
Crafters may download an application by visiting the Center's website at www.WestTNHeritage.com and click on the Exit 56 logo. For more information or questions, email email@example.com, or call the Center at 731-779-9000.
Clark elected to TACVB Board of Directors
March 4, 2013
Sonia Outlaw-Clark, Director of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, has been elected to the Tennessee Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus Board of Directors. Board members were elected by the membership during their annual meeting at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism in September 2012 and officially took office January 1, 2013. Clark will serve a three-year term as the West Tennessee representative. Barry Young, Sumner County CVB Director and Brownsville native, was also elected to a two-year term representing Middle Tennessee.
TACVB’s board members represent a broad and diverse group of tourism professionals from all areas of the state. Newly elected officers of the Association are Chairman Shelda S. Rees, Chattanooga CVB; Vice-Chair, Kim Bumpas, Visit Knoxville; Secretary Lori Nunnery, Jackson CVB; Treasurer Theresa Harrington, Clarksville-Montgomery County CVB; Immediate Past Chair Rhonda Adams, Dickson County Chamber. Other Board members include Laura Canada, Cookeville-Putnam County (East TN rep); Mark Shore, Williamson County CVB (Middle TN rep); Katy Brown, Oak Ridge CVB; Brenda McCroskey, Sevierville CVB; Calvin Taylor, Memphis CVB; Jennifer Wheatley, Paris-Henry County Chamber; and Melissa Woody, Cleveland-Bradley County Chamber. Affiliate members elected to one-year terms are: Tubby Kubik, Chocklett Press; Craig Richards, Collinson Media; and Mary Steadman, Miles.
“TACVB is fortunate to have outstanding community leaders willing to volunteer their time and talent to enhance Tennessee’s reputation for hospitality,” said Sheila Leggett, TACVB Executive Director. “The importance of tourism in Tennessee cannot be overstated. It is one of Tennessee’s largest industries, and provides billions of dollars of direct economic impact and sales tax revenues annually.”
The Tennessee Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus is a non-profit organization representing the state's official destination management and marketing organizations. It is dedicated to the advancement of issues and activities deemed to be in the best interest of the Tennessee tourism industry and, specifically, the membership of the organization.
County to sell surplus vehicles at auction Friday
March 4, 2013
The Haywood County Highway Department and Parks and Recreations will hold an auction at 1306 S. Dupree Ave. on March 8, 2013 at 10:00 A.M.
The following equipment will be auctioned:
2 – 2000 Model 6605 John Deere Tractors with flat mowers
1 – 1999 Model 8160 New Holland Tractors with boom mower
1 – 1996 Model XL 4100 Gradall
1 – 1998 Chevrolet 1 ton truck with dump bed
1 – 1975 Model 930 Caterpillar loader
1 – 1988 Model 2955 John Deere Tractor with boom mower
1 – 1994 Model 7840 Ford Tractor with boom mower
1 – 1991 Jeep Cherokee SUV
1 – 1995 Chevrolet Pickup 1500 4x4
All tractors have cabs and air conditioning
The Highway Department and Parks and Recreations reserve the right to reject any and all bids.
Family Dollar Chain to locate here
March 4, 2013
City planners reviewed and approved a site plan for a new big-box merchant that wants to open a store in Brownsville. Family Dollar plans to build a store on East Main at Park Avenue.
Family Dollar’s new building will be located east of Park Avenue and on the north side of East Main. Back Yard BBQ will be Family Dollar’s neighbor. According to city planning notes two houses and outbuildings will be demolished and removed to make way for the building that will occupy, including the parking lot, about 1.35 acres.
In notes to the planning commission, City Planner Sharon Hayes said “…the city plans to work with the developer and BUD for the city to make a street improvement…in order to enhance traffic flow at the intersection turning right from Main Street onto Park Avenue.”
No construction or opening dates were provided.
Yahoo Finance lists the following information about Family Dollar Stores:
Family Dollar Stores, Inc. operates a chain of self-service retail discount stores primarily for low- and middle-income consumers in the United States. Its merchandise assortment includes consumables, such as household chemicals, paper products, food products, health and beauty aids, hardware and automotive supplies, pet food and supplies, and tobacco; and home products comprising blankets, sheets, towels, housewares, giftware, and home décor products. The company also provides apparel and accessories consisting of men’s and women’s clothing products, boy’s and girls’ clothing products, infants’ clothing products, shoes, and fashion accessories; and seasonal and electronic products, such as toys, stationery and school supplies, and seasonal goods, as well as personal electronics, including pre-paid cellular phones and services.
It operates a chain of approximately 7,400 general merchandise retail discount stores in 45 states. The company was founded in 1959 and is based in Matthews, North Carolina.
At market close Friday, Family Dollar shares traded for $58.69 on the NYSE, has a market cap of $6.8 billion and enjoys $9.6 billion in annual sales. Family Dollar employees 33000 workers.
Joel Southern Appointed Permanent CEO at Haywood Park Community Hospital
March 4, 2013
Joel Southern has been named permanent Chief Executive Officer of Haywood Park Community Hospital effective immediately. He has served as interim chief executive officer since August.
“Haywood Park is an important resource to this community,” said Southern. “I’ve enjoyed working with the medical staff, board and employees of Haywood Park over the past six months and look forward to building upon the groundwork we’ve laid together.”
In his previous role as Chief Nursing Officer at Henderson County Community Hospital, Southern contributed to the hospital’s designation as a Joint Commission Top Performer on Key Quality Measures two years in a row. The hospital was also recognized for excellence in inpatient and employee satisfaction as well as outstanding performance on Core Measures. Before that, as CNO at Parkway Medical Center in Decatur, Alabama, the hospital received the “Best in Value” award and was accredited by the Society of Chest Pain Centers and as a Bariatric Center of Excellence.
“Joel’s career has been dedicated to achieving the highest standards of quality and providing patients with exceptional service,” said Michael Banks, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Haywood Park Community Hospital. “His expertise will only enhance Haywood Park’s reputation of delivering the finest care to the people we serve.”
Southern received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing with concentrations in Hospital and Healthcare Administration from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Metro group votes to advance metro government initiative
March 1, 2013
Members of county government’s metro government study committee voted Thursday night to recommend that Haywood County’s government explore writing a charter that could consolidate the governmental operations of Brownsville, Stanton and county government. There are 26 members of the group that have studied both sides of the issue for about a year.
Sixteen committeemen voted to proceed. Nine members of the commission thought the idea of consolidation should be dropped. One committee member has yet to vote, but her vote won’t change the final recommendation.
About a year ago, Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith appointed the group from a cross-section of residents including representatives from Stanton, Brownsville and rural Haywood County.
Interestingly, elected officials on the committee were not universally in agreement.
Voting in favor of the charter commission
Tom Averyheart (Brownsville Alderman)
Webb Banks (former Brownsville Mayor)
Freddie Burnette Jr.
Emma Delk (former Stanton Alderman)
Wally Eubanks (Haywood County Commissioner)
Sam Mathis Jr. (Haywood County Commissioner)
Janice Rogers (Haywood County Commissioner)
Teddy Waldrop (chairman and Haywood County Commissioner)
Jerry Wilson (vice-chairman)
Voting not to advance to the charter commission
Jessica Frye (Brownsville City Clerk)
Mary Jane Hawkins
Allen King (Haywood County Commissioner)
James Morgan (former Haywood County Commissioner)
John Simmons (Brownsville City Alderman)
O.G. Stewart (former Haywood County Commissioner)
Greg Vanstory (City Planning Board and County School Board)
Chairman Teddy Waldrop said he would present the committee’s findings to the county’s budget committee March 12 and later to the county commission.
If county commissioners agree to proceed, the next step could be the formation of a charter commission. City governments would also have to agree to be included in the charter group. Eventually, the charter could be put before county voters to decide consolidation.
Metro study might end tonight
February 28, 2013
For more than a year a group of Haywood County citizens has been studying how a metro or consolidated government might benefit Stanton, Brownsville and Haywood County. Their mission may be completed tonight. Insiders say the group is likely poised to make their recommendation at tonight’s session set for 6pm.
There are three governments operating here. Haywood County, the cities of Brownsville and Stanton all have charters and governments. The metro group has been tasked with deciding if merging the governmental operations will be beneficial to residents.
The study group can either suggest the idea be dropped or that local governments organize a charter committee. The charter committee would be charged with writing the rules for metro government. If the charter passes muster with elected leaders, then the proposal would be put to voters.
No one has said what they think the committee will suggest.
The metro study committee was organized at the suggestion of Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith. The county commission is not bound by the study group’s recommendation.
Tonight’s meeting will be conducted at the Justice Complex.
HHS places third in Tennessee Academic Decathlon
February 25, 2013
In the Twenty-eighth Annual Tennessee State Academic Decathlon competition, Haywood High placed third overall, and brought home 24 medals, one plaque, one trophy, and a scholarship. With 66,000 points possible for a team, the HHS team scored only 139.3 points behind the second-place team. The HHS team also tied with Madison Academic Magnet High School to place second in the Super Quiz event.
Marco Romero and Kia Davis were invited to participate in the prestigious Speech Showcase to deliver their award-winning speeches to the entire group of decathletes from across the state.
Winning individual medals were the following:
Rashad Mann: Silver Medals in Super Quiz and Social Science
Tressa Perez: Copper Medals in Essay, Science, and Literature, Bronze Medal in Art, Silver Medal in Super Quiz
Emily Pugh: Bronze Medal in Interview, Silver Medal in Super Quiz
Jason Elrod: Silver Medal in Super Quiz
Octavius Lanier: Copper Medal in Interview, Silver Medals in Math and Super Quiz
Brent Ward: Copper Medal in Literature, Silver Medals in Art and Super Quiz
Kia Davis: Bronze Medals in Speech and Interview, Silver Medal in Super Quiz
Marco Romero: Silver Medals in Speech, Math, and Super Quiz
Tony Wilbourn: Bronze Medal in Art, Silver Medal in Super Quiz
Tressa Perez was also recognized for being the highest-scoring student on the HHS team. As the highest-scoring senior on the HHS team, she was awarded a $300 scholarship. She also received a plaque for being the fourth-highest scoring student in the Honor Division.
The team and their coaches, Glynn Bridgewater and John Thomas, extend their thanks to all who supported them.
Land sells for $92,000
February 19, 2013
County government-owned farmland located behind Sunny Hill School was sold this morning at public auction. The 35.67 acre tract brought $92,000. William L. “Sonny” Howse bought the property.
The land had previously been offered by sealed bid, but was not sold because the bids were too low. The highest sealed bid was just a little over $72,000. Today’s auction started at a minimum bid of $80,000. The public auction was staged in the lobby of the Haywood County Courthouse with County Attorney Michael Banks presiding.
The land was sold to help fund the local match for tornado safe spaces. At last night’s county commission meeting, officials said construction will resume on the Haywood Elementary School structure very soon. Work was halted when the project came in over budget. Modifications to the plan and new bids have made the building affordable.
Tina Turner's representative visits Brownsville
February 19, 2013
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center was honored to welcome a special guest during the week of January 14, 2013. Rhonda Graam, of Los Angeles, California, spent a week in Brownsville exploring the Center and learning more about the Flagg Grove School restoration project.
Graam, who is Tina Turner’s assistant and has been with her organization since the mid 1960s, met with local officials and others involved in the school restoration. She took the opportunity to tour Nutbush and the surrounding area where Turner lived during her childhood. Gramm also met with the Joe Stephens family who donated the school, visited the original site of the school and heard about the next phases of the project.
Her week in Brownsville also included meeting former classmates of Turner and hearing about their school days together at Flagg Grove and visiting cemetery sites of Turner's ancestors.
In an email to Center Director Sonia Outlaw-Clark after the visit, Graam says Turner is “thrilled with all the information and my explorations.”
Restoration efforts continue on the Flagg Grove School. Those wishing to contribute to the project may do so by mail to Friends of the Delta Heritage Center, P.O. Box 1358, Brownsville, TN 38012; or by dropping by the Center at 121 Sunny Hill Cove.
Rhonda Graam, assistant to Tina Turner, is pictured in front of Flagg Grove School during a recent visit to the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, Brownsville.
Delta Heritage Center makes book donations to Library
February 19, 2013
Librarian Katherine Horn of the Elm Ross Public Library recently accepted the donation of four books from the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center. In honor of Black History Month, the Center donated books that document influential Black people in our community. Among the books are Women of Haywood by Dr. Cynthia Bond Hopson; I, Tina by Kurt Loder; and Ramblin' On My Mind and Big Road Blues by Dr. David Evans.
Pictured are (from left) Center Director Sonia Outlaw-Clark, Center Advisory Board members Carolyn Flagg and Becky Booth and Horn.
Delta Heritage Center makes book donations to HHS Library
February 19, 2013
In honor of Black History Month, the Advisory Board of the Delta Heritage Center has donated two Blues books by music historian Dr. David Evans to the Haywood High School library. The books, Ramblin' On My Mind and Big Road Blues give new perspectives on the Blues culture and the old traditions and include mentions of Brownsville Bluesmen "Sleepy" John Estes, Hammie Nixon and Yank Rachel. Librarian Julie Dahlhauser attended the Center's Advisory Board meeting February 13, to accept the donation.
Pictured in front of the Blues mural of the Music Museum are (from left) Carolyn Flagg, Joey Conner, Becky Booth, Dahlhauser, Jerry Wilson and Sonia Outlaw-Clark. Not pictured is Sandra Silverstein.
Brownsville & Haywood County submit proposal for UT project
February 18, 2013
The proposal from Brownsville and Haywood County to locate the University of Tennessee’s Conference Center and 4-H Camp in Haywood County was delivered on Friday, Feb. 15.
Mayor Franklin Smith said UT officials report that several proposals are on file, meaning a number of West Tennessee locations will be under consideration. Three to five finalists will be chosen by March 15. A final decision is expected in April.
UT plans to build a $35 million camp and conference center somewhere in West Tennessee. Our community proposes to provide UT with about 475 acres and another $1 million in infrastructure improvements. The total package is worth nearly $3 million.
More megasite details
February 18, 2013
Last week state government’s Jimmy West provided the Brownsville Board of Mayor and Aldermen with an update on development progress at the megastite. The nearly 4,000 acre tract located near I-40’s Exit 42 is officially known as the Memphis Megasite.
Last night West provided the same update to the Haywood County Commission. In today’s report we provide some details.
• The State of Tennessee has already invested $110 million in the project: $40 million to purchase the 3,840 acre site, $59.7 million in additional appropriations, and $10.4 milion kicked in from the Tennessee Dept. of Transportation.
• The Megasite is being designed to pump 3 million gallons of water a day, from the Memphis Sands aquifer which is deep below the site;
• The wastewater from the megasite will be pumped 14 miles to a new wastewater facility to be constructed on South Washington Street in Brownsville, and then pumped to the sewage lagoons north of Brownsville. The treated water will be pumped into the Forked Deer River;
• TVA will supply the electricity to the site; they are in the planning and scoping phase, determining the best route for electric lines;
• I-40 Exit 42 Interchange Improvements will begin early this summer and will be completed summer 2014;
• State Route 222, which runs through the middle of the site, will be re-routed, running on the far east side of the tract;
• Texas Gas and ANR gas company are willing to serve the site with natural gas;
• Millington Telephone and AT&T are capable of providing telecommunications to the site;
The firm that managed the development of the Nissan site in Canton, MS – Buzz Canup (ca NUP) has been hired to help market the megasite; the website is www.memphismegasite.com.
County personnel rules changed to help ambulance workers
An amendment to Haywood County’s Personnel Policies was approved by the Haywood County Commmission Monday. The amendment will give paramedics and EMTs 12 hours of sick-leave a month, instead of 8. Paramedics and EMTS work 12-hour shifts and Mayor Franklin Smith explained that making the sick-leave change would keep a 12-hour shift worker from having to use one-and-a-half days of sick leave when they are sick and have to miss their 12 hour shift.
Fish and wildlife service on to next steps in expansion of wildlife refuges
The regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has sent a letter to landowners and others interested in what the government is contemplating for the expansion of Chickasaw and Lower Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge.
In her two-page letter Cynthia Dohner directs interested parties to an Internet site that includes a 179-page study. She also invites the public to a meeting in Ripley February 19.
The report offers the Service’s suggestion for the protection of certain sections of Hatchie River bottom’s eco-system and the expansion of the two national wildlife reserves.
An earlier letter and subsequent meeting held late last year had some landowners concerned that the government might be about to force them to sell land. In an e-mail received yesterday by Brownsville Radio, Randy Cook, Refuge Manager at the West Tennessee National Refuge Complex, continued to assure that no property will be condemned and no landowners will be forced to sell. Cook says the Service only buys acreage from “willing sellers.”
According to Cook, the Wildlife Service has no immediate plans to buy any property and there is no money allocated to fund purchases. “We are going through a planning process that, if approved, would allow us to buy property…within the proposed acquisition boundary.”
At next week’s meeting in Ripley officials will explain their findings and also receive comment. Comments must be submitted by March 29.
Cook says the final plan will be completed in May and submitted to the Service’s Washington headquarters for final consideration.
Facts about the report and meeting
What: Public Meeting to discuss US Fish and Wildlife Service proposed expansion boundaries
Where: Ripley Technology Center, 127 Industrial Drive, Ripley, TN
When: February 19, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Where to find the report: www.fws.gov/southeast/planning/PDFdocuments/HatchieDraftCCP/Formatted Edited Hatchie Draft CCP.pdf
Hunter education classes scheduled in Haywood County
February 14, 2013
Got a young outdoorsman in your home? To get set for the 2013/2014 hunting season, anyone born after January 1969 is required, before they may purchase a hunting license, to take the state approved Hunter Education course. Rex Barnes teaches the class in Haywood County.
Barnes says the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission is now providing most of the course via the Internet and the on-line class is required prior to the final date for testing and practical instruction. This link will take you to the class registration: www.tn.gov/twra/huntered.html
The test and shooting portion of the class will be taught in a 4-hour session March 15 at Zion Baptist Church starting at 6pm. Participants must register on-line prior to the class and also take the class before March 15. For more information, contact Rex Barnes at 772-6240.
HMS Beta Club inducts 64 new members
February 14, 2013
In a ceremony on February 11 in the Haywood Middle School cafeteria, 64 new members were inducted into the Junior Beta Club. This is the first Beta Club induction at Haywood Middle School that now includes the sixth, seventh and eighth grades. There were 36 sixth graders inducted, 21 seventh graders and seven eighth graders. There are 33 other eighth-grade members.
HMS Principal Yvette Blue welcomed members, students and guests to the ceremony. Senior HMS Beta members conducted the ceremony and welcomed HHS Beta Club officers Katora Holmes and Molly McAdams as guest speakers. Assistant Principal Charles Byrum also assisted with the ceremony. HMS Beta Club officers are Mikayla Flagg, Elliot Garrett, Victoria Perry, Noelita Hall and Will Chapman. Sponsors for the group are Jane Jameson and Mary Jane Williams.
Senior HMS Beta Club Members
Cynthia Cardona, Will Chapman, Xavier Currie, Rashadda Dancy, Adara Donald, Trevor Ferguson, Mikayla Flagg, Elliot Garrett, Angel Goodrich, Noelita Hall, Aniyah Harwell, Morgan Hendrix, Isaiah Hess, Brennan Holloway, Taylor Ann King, Stephen Leath, Emily Martin, Pablo Martin, Tachia Middlebrooks, Madison Milton, Telecia Nelson, Cory Newble, Maggie Owen, Victoria Perry, Mary Wyatt Pettigrew, Allison Pilant, Hannah Riley, Pablo Sagahon, Felescia Sanders, Jacob Smith, Brandon Taylor, Taylor Waddell, and Laurel White.
New HMS Beta Club Members
Brittain Adams, Sam Banks, Mary Ashton Barden, Cornisha Barnes, Riley Barr, Alexiis Bean, Candace Berry, Briana Bond, Keyshauna Bond, Jamal Bunch, Carlisle Clagg, Victoria Colbeck, Jordan Cone, Lashadia Conner, Amelya Cooper, Kendra Currie, Tyler Dickens, Jamya Douglas, Mattie Ford, Leslie Fox, Timothy Frederick, Patrick Gaines, Bria Grant, Haley Hendrix, Alexis Hines, Karoline Hobock, Calen Johnson, Kylah Johnson, Adam Jollo, McKenzie Kelly, Colbie Killen, J. T. Lea, Selena Leal, Kaitlyn Leath, Mikala Leath, Bond Lonon, Destiny McFarland, Tyler Morton, Karsen Neal, James Nelms, Everett Pettigrew, Jackson Pettigrew, Isaiah Polk, Markel Polk, Macy Reed, Ellie Riddle, Grayson Robinson, Jessie Ross, Emily Russell, Sadie Sharpe, Christine Siegler, Hunter Siler, Hunter Smothers, Brierra Starks, Ellington Steele, Jaylon Taylor, Tristan Taylor, Caitlyn Thompson, Janiya Thompson, Sam Thornton, Lane Ward, Kirsten Watson, Alex Williams, and Ashlei Williams.
City and county leaders agree to provide land for University of Tennessee project
February 13, 2013 - Reported by Martha Lyle Ford
“YES” TO POSSIBLE 4-H CAMP
The Brownsville Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the City of Brownsville and Haywood County government’s proposal to the University of Tennessee to locate a 4H Camp and Conference Center on land jointly owned by the City and County. The 475 acre tract is located in the I-40 Advantage Park which is located at the bypass and Windrow Road
The proposal deadline is this Friday. Several other West Tennessee counties are also vying for UT’s $35 million investment.
According to Jimmy West, the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development’s megasite manager, all of the projects to prepare the megasite are moving along on or ahead of schedule. West presented a report to board members Tuesday. Installation of infrastructure including water, wastewater, electricity, railroad access, telecommunications, and gas supply are all in progress.
Two projects of particular interest involve the Tennessee Department of Transportation. The first is the construction of access from I-40 at Exit 42 to the megasite. Construction will start this summer with projected completion by summer 2014.
The second project is re-routing State Route 222 which currently runs through the center of the Mega Site. TDOT has completed environmental impact studies and determined that the best route will be for the highway to be shifted to the east, passing near Muex Corner. Negotiations are underway with landowners affected by the re-routing.
The megasite now has a website. It is www.memphismegasite.com.
Accountants from Cowart Reese and Sargent CPAs presented the City’s financial audit for 2012 to the Board and Mayor. Leaders say Brownsville’s finances are in good shape and there were no findings which required additional investigation.
REZONING ON DUPREE STREET
The Board unanimously passed, on 1st reading, an ordinance to rezone portions of Dupree Street between North Washington Avenue and East Main Street. The measure is the result of requests made by some of the property owners on Dupree.
The ordinance would reclassify some properties to bring the zoning designation in line with the properties’ actual use. There will be a public hearing at the next City Board meeting, on March 12th, when the ordinance has a second reading.
MORE MONEY, MORE MONEY, MORE MONEY
The Board unanimously approved resolutions to allow city officials to apply for a Tennessee Community Development Block Grant for up to $500,000 for improvements and repairs to the sewer system.
SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL PROJECT
Brownsville will apply for a grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation to improve the street crossing at Meadow and Key Corner Streets, adjacent to Webb Banks Park. The improvements focus on safety near the Middle School.
The City will use the funding to build a sidewalk on Meadow Street from the Haywood Middle School entrance to Key Corner Street, and place signs and warning signals on Key Corner at the intersection.
The Delta Heritage Center hosted a whopping 22,000 visitors in 2012, including guests from 44 different countries!
Total 911 Calls 25,150
Animal Control 48
Fire Department 659
Sherriff’s Dept 3565
Police Dept 13,700
NEWS FROM THE POLICE DEPARTMENT
Brownsville Police Chief Chris Lea’s summary report for 2012 presented some interesting statistics:
There was a 21% decrease in “major crimes” in 2012 from 2011
Drug Arrests increased 32%, largely due to the addition of a full-time narcotics officer in 2012
Total car crashes in the City decreased by 24% in 2012
DUI arrests increased by 22% … Chief Lea said he doesn’t think there are more drunks on the roads, but rather police are doing a better job catching them.
The BPD secured $88,033 in grants in 2012to provide additional personnel, salaries, upgrade equipment and improve services
BPD won First Place in the TN Traffic Safety Award, receiving the highest overall score of Tennessee Law Enforcement Agencies in the 25-50 man department size.
RELAY FOR LIFE
Board approved a permit for Relay for Life, to be held Saturday, June 8 from 5-11 p.m. This will be the first time the event will be held on Court Square. This year’s theme is “Rain or Shine, It’s Relay Time!”
UT project: Brownsville and Haywood County leaders appear all in
February 4, 2013
With a proposal deadline just a few days away, Brownsville and Haywood County’s political leaders are preparing to offer the University of Tennessee a package worth $3 million. The incentives are an effort to lure a $35 million UT 4-H and conference center to Brownsville.
At a joint meeting attended by all of the members of the Brownsville City Board and the Haywood County Commission’s budget committee late yesterday, the group unanimously decided to offer UT the entire I-40 Advantage Industrial Park. The property is located south of the Brownsville bypass and west of Windrow Road. The tract extends west to the CSX railroad, crossing Sugar Creek.
Mayor Jo Matherne proposed the tract be known henceforth as the I-40 Advantage Park, dropping the word “industrial.” If UT takes the deal there will be no land left for industrial development.
The project includes a 4-H camp but leaders say it is much more. Mayor Matherne said, “Sure it’s a 4-H camp 7 weeks out of the year but the other 45 weeks it’s a meeting and convention center.” They say it could employ up to a dozen workers. Yet leaders don’t have a precise estimate of economic impact.
Taxpayers, via city and county governments, paid $1.975 million for the 475-acre farm. Monday afternoon political leaders agreed to ante up another near $1 million in additional improvements including installation of utilities and construction of recreational lakes. Mayors Matherne and Smith say they will lobby the Brownsville Energy Authority — asking them for at least $250,000.
UT has been browsing all over West Tennessee for just the right site. Haywood County is among several West Tennessee suitors eager to host. At least 8 governments may submit a proposal by the February 15 deadline.
A video presentation about UT’s camps and convention centers can be seen at https://vimeo.com/57787229
Other notes from the Monday meeting
• Mayor Smith says though UT is seriously searching for a location, they don’t yet have the money to fund the development. He says university officials will ask the state legislature to contribute the cash.
• The Brownsville/Haywood County proposal would provide the property in a long-term lease. The “dollar-a-year” lease is satisfactory with the developers, according to Smith.
• In addition to the contribution of land and improvements, city and county governments will be giving up just under $30,000 a year in farm rents.
• Local leaders hope the state department of transportation will fund road improvement. The plan is to make Windrow Road a three-lane highway from the bypass to the city limits.
• Mayor Jo Matherne said the city and county will have to begin looking for new land suitable for industrial development. “The need for industrial property is still here,” Matherne said. “We’re going to have to find some more land that’s suitable.” The city and county bought the Windrow Road land because there is little property left in the Dupree Street industrial park.
• Mayor Franklin Smith said the county commission has given him permission to proceed with negotiations but Mayor Jo Matherne said an official word won’t come from the city until their regular board meeting next week. That seems just a formality as all of the city board members were in agreement at yesterday’s meeting. Since yesterday’s session was not an official meeting, a vote could not be held.
School land sale back on — county added value
February 1, 2013
There have been a lot of land sales at “the east door of the courthouse” over the years — but never one that was helping to provide money for tornado shelters. Until now.
The 30-plus acre tract is located behind Sunny Hill School. School and county leaders decided to sell the taxpayer-owned farmland to help pay the local match for the multi-million dollar tornado safe spaces planned for two schools.
Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith has set February 19 as the date for the public auction. County Attorney Michael Banks will auction the land at 11 a.m.
The county commission’s budget committee, with only one dissenter, voted to sell the property when sealed bids were opened last month. But the county commission said “no.” Commissioners opposed to the sale rejected the budget committee’s recommendation saying they want more money than the two buyers were willing to pay. The two bids were within a few hundred dollars of each other and were just under $73,000.
School land sale to be scheduled
January 29, 2013
The county commission's budget committee met late yesterday and decided to hold a public auction to sell about 35 acres of farm ground owned by the school board. The property is located behind Sunny Hill School.
The budget committee says the bidding will start at $80,000 - that's about $8,000 more than the sealed bids the county commission rejected last week. Many commissioners believe the land will sell for more than the two groups submitting the sealed bids were willing to pay.
Proceeds from the land sale will go toward the cost of multi-million dollar tornado safe spaces to be located at county owned schools. The new structures are paid for mostly using state and federal grant cash.
The county's auction will be absolute - meaning the farmland will be sold if someone bids $80,000 or more. The auction is expected to be scheduled for sometime in the next two weeks Ñ though the date and time were not set at yesterday's meeting.
County to meet with city on 4-H complex
January 29, 2013
County government officials will urge Brownsville's leaders to join with them in making about 200 acres available to the University of Tennessee for the development of a 4-H camp and meeting complex. Mayor Franklin Smith wants to offer UT the south end of the new industrial park located on Windrow Road.
City and county governments own the property. Taxpayers paid $5,000 per acre for the property for the purpose of industrial park development.
UT is exploring building a complex in West Tennessee and representatives have visited just about every West Tennessee county in search of an ideal location. Haywood County's site, according to leaders, is ideal based on the university's specifications.
If UT should select the property, less than 200 acres would be left for development at the new industrial park site.
City government must agree for the project to move forward.
2013 Regional Academic Decathlon results
January 29, 2013
Once again, the Haywood High School Academic Decathlon team proved to be strong contenders. The team competed in the regional contest Saturday, January 26, 2013, and won 27 medals, 3 plaques, and the third place trophy.
Individual medal winners were as follows:
Brent Ward: Copper Medal in Economics; Bronze Medals in Science, Music, and Super Quiz; Silver Medals in Art and Literature
Tressa Perez: Copper Medals in Science and Literature; Bronze Medals in Art and Super Quiz
Tony Wilbourn: Bronze Medals in Math and Super Quiz
Kia Davis: Copper Medal in Music; Bronze Medal in Super Quiz; Silver Medal in Math
Marco Romero: Bronze Medal in Super Quiz; Silver Medal in Math
Jason Elrod: Copper Medal in Music; Bronze Medal in Super Quiz; Gold Medal in Math
Emily Pugh: Bronze Medals in Math and Super Quiz
Rashad Mann: Bronze Medals in Math and Super Quiz
Octavius Lanier:Bronze Medals in Literature, Economics, and Super Quiz
Kia Davis won a plaque for being the fifth-highest scorer in her division. Tressa Perez received a plaque for being the fourth-highest scorer in her division, and Brent Ward won a plaque for being the third-highest scorer in his division.
This year is the 28th year for Academic Decathlon competition in Tennessee. For the twenty-eighth consecutive year, Haywood High School will have a team in state competition. Other West Tennessee schools participating were Madison Academic Magnet High School (first place), Obion County Central High School (second place), and Liberty Technology Magnet High School.
State competition will be held on the Austin Peay State University campus in Clarksville, February 22-23.
Mr. John Thomas and Miss Glynn Bridgewater are the HHS Academic Decathlon coaches, and they join the team in thanking faculty, staff, and administrators who has helped in the team's success.
Congressman Stephen Fincher visits HHS
January 29, 2013
Haywood High School juniors and seniors met U. S. Congressman Stephen Fincher on Monday, January 28, when he visited the school. He spoke to the students about his time in office and about Washington, D. C., and allowed them to ask questions. One student asked about gun legislation and another about healthcare. After the question and answer session, he took the opportunity to talk to some of the students individually and meet the teachers. Congressman Fincher is a native of Crockett County and lives in Frog Jump where he is a managing partner in Fincher Farms, a seventh generation West Tennessee based agribusiness. He was recently sworn in to serve his second term representing the 8th District in Tennessee.
Chamber names Haywood County's best-of-the-best at Tuesday night banquet
January 23, 2013
Brownsville Haywood County Chamber of Commerce leadership unveiled the year’s most coveted awards at their annual banquet Tuesday night.
Awards went to:
Ambassador of the year - Marty Williams
Volunteer of the Year - Any Wynn
Educator of the Year - Latricia Bond
Recycler of the Year - Moore Insurance, Richards / Cummings Real Estate / Delta Insurance
Small Business of the Year - Conner Real Estate
Business of the Year - Dr. Clarey Dowling, MD
Industry of the Year - Lasco Fittings
Man of the Year - Dr. Jack Pettigrew
Woman of the Year - Teresa Russell
Haywood County Commission meeting
January 22, 2013 - Reported by Martha Lyle Ford
The Haywood County Commission and County Mayor met Tuesday evening with 20 commissioners and the mayor present. County Clerk Sonya Outlaw and County Attorney Michael Banks were also in attendance. A crowd of approximately 20 county employees and citizens were in the gallery.
Mr. Walter Brown opened the meeting with prayer. The minutes from the November commission meeting were approved.
The two main topics of the meeting were discussion of selling some county farmland and the possibility of having a conference center and 4-H camp in the county.
First, the land sale: At the November commission meeting, a motion was approved to advertise the sale of 35. 67 acres -- by sealed bid -- of county-owned land behind Sunny Hill School; the money would be used as in-kind matching funds for the Safe Space building project.
Two bids were received; a bid of $75,107.01 was submitted by Hendrix and Sons, and a bid of $75,025 was received from Hilltop Farms. The high bid worked out to be $2,105.60 per acre. In a meeting earlier in the afternoon, the County Commission Budget committee voted 5-1 to recommend that the property be sold to the highest bidder. Commissioner Richard Jameson was the only vote against the sale at that price.
Mayor Smith stated that the bids were lower than hoped for; several commissioners commented of area farmland being sold for up to $3,500 an acre. A motion to sell the land to the highest bidder (for approximately $2,105.60 an acre) did not pass. Ten commissioners voted yes, 9 voted no, and one abstained. The next step is that the Budget Committee will meet and set a minimum bid and will re-bid the property with an announcement in the newspaper next week.
The new bids will be received and opened prior to the next County Commission meeting on February 18.
UT conference center and camp
The University of Tennessee’s Extension Service plans to build a $35 million conference center and 4-H camp somewhere in West Tennessee and Haywood County is going to submit a proposal that it be here. UT has similar facilities in Greenville in East Tennessee and Columbia in Middle Tennessee.
The West Tennessee 4-H Center is envisioned to be a large, state-of-the-art educational center for UT’s 4-H camping program and UT Extension’s programming. It will be an educational center in youth development, agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, and resource development. It will also be a place for family reunions, conferences and retreats.
Some of UT’s specific requirements for a site are: at least 200 acres, a large lake,
feeling of seclusion or privacy, close proximity to a hospital, close to interstate, and close to retail stores. County officials recently met with UT officials and showed them two possible Haywood County sites: one is next to the County Landfill and the other is part of the Industrial Park. The Landfill site would require the purchase of additional land from a private landowner; the second site is owned jointly by the City of Brownsville and Haywood County.
The Commission voted unanimously for County officials to submit a proposal for consideration by the February 15 deadline. The proposal would name the Industrial Park site as 1st choice.
The Brownsville City Board will have to agree to propose that site before the matter can go forward.
UT officials have visited 19 of the 21 counties in West Tennessee. A selection is expected in April
Education Committee report
The Education Committee and the Budget Committee met jointly on Jan 17… Kenneth Emerson of the Haywood County Schools reported then that the renovations at Haywood High are on track and all work should be completed by August 2013 for the beginning of the new school year. It was also reported that Henson Construction and their engineers have come up with a net savings of $163,900 on the tornado safe shelter project.
The Education Committee will meet on February 4 to discuss school safety.
Standing Committees approved
The membership of all of the Commission’s Standing Committees remains unchanged from last year. These memberships were approved by the commission.
Tearing them down
The old Highway Building on North Washington Street and a house on Poplar Corner Road – owned by the county from a property sale – will be coming down soon. The commission unanimously accepted a bid from Tom Mann to demolish the properties for $6,700. The only other bid was submitted by Tim Guyeski for $19,981.
Eddie Ferrell was unanimously approved to serve on the Conservation Board. He takes the seat previously held by Mike Matheny.
Sign resolution (or, The Signs They Are A’Changing)
A resolution to amend the Haywood County Zoning Resolution establishing additional sign regulations was distributed to Commissioners for their review. The matter will be on the agenda of the next commission meeting on February 18.
School board to open land sale bids today
January 22, 2013
What will 35 acres of farmland owned by the school board bring at auction? This afternoon at 4:30 sealed bids will be opened at the courthouse.
The property is located just west of Highway 76 South behind Sunny Hill School. The school board, in cooperation with the Haywood County Commission, decided to sell the farm to raise money needed to match a grant that will fund a tornado shelter at Haywood Elementary and possibly another at the middle school on Haralson Street.
The last farm sold by county government — located behind the old county jail— brought well over $2,000 per acre. The school property could potentially bring much more.
The shelters — also known as safe spaces — will double as classrooms and provide additional valuable areas for teaching, according to officials. Some work has been completed on the East Side building but work stopped when bids came in over original estimates. New specifications were written and leaders expect to accept bids Thursday afternoon they hope will be within the grant’s spending limits.
Tennessee unemployment benefit tax information now available
January 20, 2013
1099-G forms provided online and mailed to claimants
Recipients of Tennessee unemployment benefits during 2012 will be able to access the information they need for income tax purposes on the state Department of Labor & Workforce Development homepage: https://tdlwd.tn.gov/ui1099/ on Saturday, January 19, 2013. They can also go straight to the log-in page: https://tdlwd.tn.gov/ui1099/login.aspx.
By entering their birth date or the same PIN they used to certify or inquire on their unemployment claim, claimants can view a summary of total unemployment benefits paid to them, view the total amount of federal income tax withheld, and print a summary of this information.
The department also began mailing the IRS Form 1099-G to more than 245,888 benefit recipients on January 14, 2013. The forms will reach claimants no later than January 31, 2013. The U.S. Postal Service will not forward 1099-G forms.
Recipients of unemployment benefits are not required to submit a copy of their 1099-G form with their income tax return. If claimants do not receive their form in the mail and do not have access to the Internet, any Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Career Center allows use of a computer to print the needed form. Claimants unable to visit a Career Center and not having Internet access may send a written request, including their name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and phone number, with signature, to:
Special Services Unit
TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development
220 French Landing Drive
Nashville, TN 37243-1002
Tina Turner expressing interest in her hometown — assistant visits
January 18, 2013
We all know why Tina Turner gave fame to the Nutbush Community — it’s because she was born there. Nutbush City Limits was written and performed by Turner and was a smash hit in the summer of 1973 according to Billboard magazine. However, since leaving here as a child and becoming very famous worldwide, Tina hasn’t seemed to otherwise pay much attention to her old hometown.
That may be changing. Brownsville Radio learned that Turner sent what could be her closest business associate to Brownsville for a visit, and she spent several days here.
Community leaders met with Rhonda Graam who Delta Hertiage Center Director Sonia Outlaw-Clark calls “assistant to Tina Turner.” Outlaw-Clark is Haywood County’s frontline to tourism and spearheaded the effort to begin the restoration of Flagg Grove School, the one-room schoolhouse Tina Turner first attended.
Outlaw-Clark said Graam, “…has been in town this week learning more about the Delta Heritage Center and its plans for Flagg Grove School. She examined the school and the restoration efforts that have been made so far and heard about the next phase of the project. She also visited the original site of the school and talked with Joe and Pam Stephens and others involved with the school's move and fundraising efforts."
So this sets us up to wonder. What have Brownsville officials asked of Turner? Sources told us nothing so far except for her best wishes. Why did Turner send her personal assistant to Brownsville? If anybody knows for sure, they aren’t telling.
Some schools closed Tuesday - NWS warns
January 15, 2013
Schools are closed (Tuesday January 15) in Haywood County and in Madison County. School officials, acting on an abundance of caution and listening to weather forecasters, made the decision early this morning.
The real news of the day may develop later. Weather forecasters warned yesterday that a new system might develop today that could dump some ice on us. According to the National Weather Service, the chances have increased. Much of West Tennessee is in the NWS winter storm warning area. Some forecasts suggest temps will never increase much past freezing today and they are also reporting we could see as much as a third of an inch of ice. Stay turned for more information.
Schools double-down on safety - drills this week
January 15, 2013
Haywood County Schools will be conducting safety drills this week. The Brownsville Police Department will be assisting the schools in some of the drills.
School officials say to not be be alarmed if you see several police cars or policemen around school buildings this week. The schools will be practicing lock-down procedures and visitors will not be able to enter a school during a practice session. There will be morning and afternoon drills, but none will interfere with regular drop off or pick up time for the students. If you happen to be visiting a school during a drill, be prepared to participate in the drill and follow all directions.
Rain fills ponds and river
January 14, 2013
Rain - something we haven’t see much of in a long time. Hatchie River water has run out of its banks and farm ponds are full for the first time in months.
Sheriff Melvin Bond said there has been some minor flooding but only Herbert Willis Road is closed due to water.
The University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture’s rain gauge - which resides on a far just north of Brownsville - measured 5.24 inches of rain in the last few days. It started raining last Wednesday and finally wrapped up yesterday. The gauge reports 3.11 inches fell Sunday.
The river gauges report the Hatchie River at 16 feet at Bolivar and about 12 feet at the Highway 76 bridge in Haywood County. The Hatchie has been at a level of 6 to 8 feet for months.
School board takes on bullies
January 9, 2013
The Haywood County School Board is on its way to taking a tough stand on bullying. This week school board members passed on first reading a new policy on Student Discrimination/Harassment and Bullying/Intimidation and Cyberbullying.
The policy applies to both students and school system employees. Workers could be terminated if officials determine they have committed an offense covered under the new policy.
Recently a child in West Memphis Arkansas committed suicide reportedly as a result of bullying.
The school board will consider final passage of the policy at its next meeting.
Read the proposed policy here
See story produced by WMC on the West Memphis incident here
Five HHS students earn membership in 30+ Club
January 9, 2013
Five Haywood High students recently scored 30 or above on the ACT to qualify them for membership in the school’s elite 30+ Club. Three seniors earned this recognition, John Connor Coulston, Amy Davis and Emily Pilant, and two sophomores, Emma Kaye Baumheckel and Ryan Watson.
Other members of the 30+ Club are HHS seniors Molly McAdams, Rebecca Pearson and Chris Parker; and 2012 graduates Reeves Garrett, Taylor Primrose, Seth Tillman, Kaitlyn Schwarz, Madison Eubanks, Daniel Evans and Kaylee Avant. The club was organized in the 2009-2010 school year with Anna Baumheckel and Andrew Pearson as the charter members. Other members are Audrey Pattat, Alex Primrose, Nathan Peace and Breanne Sills, who graduated in 2010 and 2011.
Senior John Connor Coulston is the son of Cindy Coulston and the late Jimmy Coulston. He is chief editor for WHHS News, a member of the Beta Club, French Club, Skills USA, the Junior Humane Society and the Library Club. He also serves as sound engineer for the HHS Drama Department. He plans to attend Middle Tennessee State University next fall.
Amy Davis, the daughter of Stark and Julie Davis, is also a senior. She is a member of the HHS Band, the Yearbook staff, Beta Club and the Library Club. She is also a member of the tennis team and will be in the Drama Department’s play this year and volunteers for the Backpack Project. She attends Skyline Church of Christ in Jackson and plans to attend Harding University, Lipscomb University or Oklahoma Christian University.
Emily Pilant, a senior and the daughter of Stan and Dee Pilant, is co-editor of the HHS Yearbook staff and is a member of the Bible Club. She attends Victory Life AIG Church in Somerville and sings in the church’s Youth Band and Praise and Worship Team. She hopes to attend Union University and major in English. Emily believes it would be interesting to become a writer one day. She also hopes to travel to Italy, India and New Zealand in the future.
Sophomore Emma Kaye Baumheckel is the daughter of Ragan and Andy Baumheckel. She is a member of the Mock Trial Team, participated in the HHS Production of Li’l Abner last year and will participate in Legally Blonde this year. Emma is active in the Brownsville Baptist Church Youth Group and has participated in mission trips and helped with Vacation Bible schools. She also volunteers for the Anderson ECC Family Resource Center. Her goals are to graduate at the top of her class, attend a four-year college and major in the healthcare field.
Ryan Watson, son of James and Rebecca Watson, is also a sophomore. He is a member of the HHS Spanish Club and FFA. He is also a member of Harmony Baptist Church. His plans are to attend college and major in engineering.
Brownsville City Board of Aldermen and Mayor
January 8, 2013 - Reported by Martha Lyle Ford
News from the City Board meeting last night … Martin Luther King Day parade set … city parking regulations changed … and trash pick up is about to cost more.
The Brownsville City Board of Aldermen and Mayor held its regular monthly meeting last night with all board members present.
Three special guests assisted with the opening ceremonies of the meeting: Jackson Pettigrew, Justin Jacocks and Everette Pettigrew, members of Boy Scout troop #68, led the invocation and pledge of allegiance. The three young men are working on their Citizenship in the Community merit badge.
The Board of Aldermen unanimously approved the minutes from last month’s meeting.
Reverend OG Stewart presented an application for a parade permit on behalf of the Haywood County Branch of the NAACP. The Aldermen and Mayor approved the permit for a parade honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, January 21. The parade will begin at 10:00 at the Carver-Dunbar Center on Jefferson Street and will follow its tradition route down Jefferson, up East Main, around the Courthouse and back to Carver-Dunbar.
The Board passed two ordinances, both on second readings:
Ordinance #895 amends the 2012-13 budget, passed in July, and will increase
- Special Projects by $6,000
- Law Enforcement by $131,358
- Fire Department by $5,000
- Community Development by $2,020,000
Ordinance #896 amends various parking regulations within the City of Brownsville and is intended to:
- Encourage appropriate location, design and number of parking spaces to ensure a safe level of service
- Reduce any undue congestion to streets and avoid conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians,
- Minimize the costs to businesses associated with excess parking
The proposed amendments to the city’s parking regulations included in the ordinance came from the work of the Regional Planning Commission.
Three new resolutions were introduced and unanimously passed:
One resolution deals with how much it’s going to cost to have your trash picked up…and it’s getting more expensive. The Board unanimously approved resolution 837 which increases the “rates for residential and commercial refuse collection”. Starting February 1, residential trash pick up from can or carts will increase from $16 per month to $20 per month. Rates for churches will be $22.39 per month … for small businesses it will be $30.81.
Mayor Matherne noted that this is the first time since 2006 that rates have been reviewed and raised. She added that the cost of trash collection has increased during that time period, particularly the costs of fuel and equipment.
Alderman Simmons pointed out that the alternative would be for residents to pay a private contractor – such as Waste Management – to deal with their trash. Residents of surrounding towns and cities that use this method end up paying more than Brownsville’s rates and have inferior service.
A second resolution authorizes the Mayor to submit a grant application to the State for up to $750,000 to fund sidewalks, landscaping and other transportation measures. If the City receives the grant, the plan is to utilize the funds for improvements on East Main Street. The resolution states that the City will be responsible for the local cash match of 20% of the construction costs (up to $150,000) and preconstruction costs, not to exceed a total of $250,000 for all local funds.
The third resolution adopted a compliance manual regarding Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The resolution states: “The following statement shall be deemed as the City of Brownsville’s title VI policy statement: ‘It is the policy of the city of Brownsville to ensure that no citizen shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
The 19-page manual outlines what the statement means and how it is implemented.
Alderman Leon King recommended that Joe Crook be re-appointed to the Citizen Review Board for another term. The measure was unanimously approved.
Fire Chief Mark Foster reported that the department responded to 35 calls during the month of December: 18 in the county and 17 in the city.
During the 12 months of 2012, the department responded to 506 calls … an increase of 5 calls from 2011. They also conducted 20 prevention & education programs with impacting 1330 people, and distributed 74 smoke detectors.
Brownsville Energy Authority reported that beginning January 1, an average residential electric bill in the City will decrease approximately 2.5% due to TVA’s Fuel Cost Adjustment.
Brownsville Police Chief Chris Lea reported that, overall, the City experienced “a quiet holiday.” Even so, the department responded to 1213 calls for service during December.
Slum Clearance efforts continue … Code Enforcement officer Rene Hendrix reported that she
- made 6 personal calls to property owners about properties to be properly maintained
- issued two letters to property owners regarding unmaintained properties
- addressed 5 properties about trash violations
- conducted title searches on three abandoned properties (one on Iola, one on Dixon and one on Drake)
- has 10 files open on junk vehicles
A house at 529 Robin Street will soon be demolished.
During his report, Alderman Leon King expressed his constituents’ concerns about the vacant building at the intersection of Tibbs Road and McLemore Street, known as “the old Cobb property.” Mayor Matherne stated that dealing with the delinquent property is a top priority for the new year.
Building Inspector’s report
Building Inspector Jerry McClinton gave a report on his department’s activity for 2012. There were 183 permits issued, 67 being new construction permits. All this amounted to over $12 million construction valuation.
Delta Heritage Center
Delta Heritage Center report showed that the Center hosted over 22,000 visitors in 2012, approximately 2,000 more than in 2011.
Brownsville City Clerk Jessica Frye reported that the City has collected approximately $4,000 in liquor tax revenue from the one liquor store which has opened to date.
Vice Mayor Carolyn Flagg submitted a lengthy report for her Ward 2 outlining the many activities and accomplishments of 2012. She also announced that there will be a Neighborhood Watch meeting on February 7 at the WOW beginning at 6:00.
And Alderman Averyheart said that we are looking forward to the “best year of our lives in Haywood County in 2013!”
End of 2012 brings end to all Federal extensions of unemployment benefits
December 26, 2012
An estimated 30,000 Tennesseans will see immediate stop in assistance.
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is warning the approximately 30,000 unemployment claimants who are receiving federally extended unemployment insurance that they are facing the abrupt end of those benefits when the program expires January 2, 2013.
Congress created the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) program in 2008 to provide unemployment benefits to workers who have exhausted the first 26 weeks of state benefits (maximum). The original legislation has been amended 10 times since it became effective July 6, 2008.
“We want to alert claimants that they are fast approaching the end of federal extended benefits,” said Labor Commissioner Karla Davis. “EUC08 assistance was created as a stopgap measure for the long-term jobless until they could get work. With that ending in a couple weeks, we encourage claimants to use Jobs4TN.gov and to visit one of our Career Centers across the state for help in finding jobs.”
The last payable week for all claimants receiving EUC08 federal benefits will be the week ending December 29, 2012, meaning claimants will certify for that week and receive their last payment the first week of January. All claimants in the EUC08 program— no matter how many weeks they were initially notified they would receive, what tier of EUC they are in, or the amount of balance in that tier — will receive their last EUC08 payment during the first week of January.
After January 2nd Tennessee will return to the system in which an approved new claim could have a maximum of up to 26 weeks of Tennessee Unemployment Compensation benefits.
Additional updates will be provided on the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development website at www.tn.gov/labor-wfd.
Jobs4TN.gov is a database of more than 90,000 jobs from job orders placed directly by Tennessee employers as well as job from major job search engines corporate sites. Once registered, jobseekers can easily connect with employers and be notified when jobs for which they are qualified are posted.
The Tennessee Career Centers are a network of offices across the state where job seekers can get assistance and career information. Each center offers Internet access, workshops, job placement, recruitment, and training referrals.
Sheriff, deputies, jailers and volunteers serve up Christmas lunch
December 26, 2012
You’ve heard about Meals on Wheels and you know the Senior Citizens Center cooks hot meals for seniors everyday. But like everybody else, they take a day off now and again and Christmas is one of those days. Sheriff Melvin Bond’s department stepped up to help on Christmas Day.
The county jail’s kitchen works everyday — no matter what – and so do deputies. So the sheriff, cooks and some volunteers worked Christmas Day to deliver 51 hot plate lunches to meals on wheels recipients. The volunteers served turkey and dressing, sliced ham, greens, yams and flat cake.
Russell: “We can never be too cautious” - Schools review security
December 18, 2012
Second only to discussion about new laws resulting from the Newtown Connecticut tragedy, there is plenty of talk about school security across the United States.
Haywood County Superintendent of Schools Teresa Russell says system policies include everyday protections and crisis protocols. The middle school and high school have fulltime police officers in the schools everyday.
Russell says the crisis management plan is studied at the beginning of each year and periodically during the school session. In light of the Connecticut school shooting she says the system’s leadership will be conducting additional reviews. “All schools have plans in place in case an intruder enters the building,” Russell said. Nost Haywood County school doors are locked — but not all. Main school entrances are not locked. Visitors are required to report to the school office where a staff member provides them with visitor’s passes if appropriate. Outsiders are often escorted if they must venture out into the school.
Main school entrances are monitored by security cameras, as are other critical areas.
“Safety is a priority of mine and I want all parents to know that I take the well being of their children very seriously. I want all parents and guests to work with the schools and to be understanding when we ask for identification, ask that you take time to sign in and even be escorted to and from places in the buildings,” Russell commented.
School Resource Officers, employees of the Brownsville Police Department, are assigned to both the high school and middle school. The officers carry side arms. Police officers also frequently visit Sunny Hill School.
Christmas delivery calendars marked for Saturday
December 18, 2012
With more than $25,000 on deposit, volunteers are set this week to spend it all on needy Haywood Countians with delivery set for Saturday morning.
The money was donated during the Brownsville Radio Christmas Basket Radiothon December 7. Mayor Franklin Smith is the cosponsor and, with help from volunteers is buying food, candy and toys this week.
Like the cash, the program depends on volunteers to donate time and cars, trucks and vans to help deliver. The baskets will be ready by 9am Saturday and will be delivered from the Brownsville Utility Department’s gas warehouse located on the bypass.
Tennessee Celebrates 376th Birthday of the National Guard
December 12, 2012
Soldiers and Airmen of the Tennessee National Guard will gather on Thursday, December 13th to celebrate the 376th Birthday of the National Guard.
The military organization we know today as the National Guard came into existence with a direct declaration on December 13, 1636. On this date, the Massachusetts General Court in Salem, for the first time in the history of the North American continent, established that all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 60 were required to join the militia.
The first known Tennessee militia mobilization was organized by Capt. Evan Shelby in 1774. His company of 49 militiamen, including his son, Isaac, and many prominent citizens of the self-governing Watauga settlement (Tennessee’s present day Sullivan and Carter counties) were called to service. On August 17 they marched from their homes to join the assembling Virginia regiments. This marked the first time “Tennesseans” deployed for war as a militia and stands as the Birthday of the Tennessee National Guard.
The Tennessee Birthday Celebration, on Thursday, will begin at 10:00 a.m. in the lobby of the Tennessee National Guard Headquarters, 3041 Sidco Drive, Nashville.
For more information, contact the Joint Public Affairs Office at 615-313-0633.
Be a blessing to those in need: Public Guardianship for the Elderly Program seeks help
December 12, 2012
The Christmas season is in full swing and Southwest Tennessee Develoment District's Area Agency on Aging & Disability is seeking help to provide an extra blessing to each of its 15 clients who are in the Public Guardianship Program. District Public Conservator, Susan Unger, is their legal or court appointed advocate. She acts as a "granddaughter" to each client -- she takes them to the doctor, pays bills, purchases groceries, and helps out in other ways as needed. In short, Unger, through the statewide Public Guardianship Program, provides legal guardianship for persons 60 years of age and older who are unable to manage their own affairs and who have no family member, friend, bank or corporation both willing and able to act on his or her behalf.
It is at this time of year that SWTDD reaches out to individuals, businesses and churches in the area for help in making this Christmas memorable for its clients. Because these very special people have no one to buy Christmas gifts for them, the Public Guardianship Program would like to facilitate having at least one gift for each client. The majority of these disabled elderly clients receive no income other than their Social Security or Supplemental Security payments; most live in area nursing homes, but three of them are able to live in their own home or apartment.
"I am happy to do the shopping, wrapping and delivery for anyone who would like to make a monetary donation toward purchasing gifts for our clients," says Susan Unger, Public Conservator. "Or, if a person or group would like to sponsor an individual, I am willing to provide information about an appropriate gift for that special client. Church or civic groups may choose to sponsor a client from their particular county or town.”
Please contact Susan Unger by phone at 731-668-6405 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in helping make Christmas a happier time for these individuals or if you are interested in hearing more about the Public Guardianship for the Elderly Program. Unger is available to speak to civic or church groups about the guardianship services available to Tennessee’s disabled elderly citizens through this program. For more information about SWTDD, visit www.swtdd.org.
Schools take a stand on state education
December 12, 2012
The Haywood County School Board met on Tuesday night and the board approved Superintendent Teresa Russell's request to organize a baseball team at Haywood Middle School.
The board approved support for three resolutions drafted by the Tennessee School Board Association that will be presented to our Tennessee Legislators:
1) That the Haywood County Board opposes any legislation to create a statewide or alternate authorizer for charter schools that would bypass local elected boards of education and usurp the responsibilities entrusted to them by their constituencies.
2) The Haywood County Board of Education opposes any legislation or other similar effort to create a voucher program in Tennessee that would divert money intended for public education to private schools.
3) The Haywood County Board of Education encourages the Tennessee General Assembly to place the interest of students above any other by recognizing the value of appointed superintendents and rejecting any attempt to revert to superintendent elections.
Brownsville City Board of Aldermen and Mayor
December 12, 2012 - Reported by Martha Lyle Ford
News from the City Board meeting last
night … the city’s second liquor store receives it Certificate of Compliance … thieves better
beware … a young hero is honored … and city employees get Christmas bonuses.
The Brownsville City Board of Aldermen and Mayor held its regular monthly meeting last
night, Tuesday, December 11, 2012. All members were present.
After an invocation by Alderman Reverend Averyheart and the
pledge to the American flag, the Board unanimously approved the minutes from last month’s
Liquor store application
The Board voted 4 to 1 to approve Dr. Tom Russell’s application
for a Certificate of Compliance to sell retail alcoholic beverages in Brownsville. In order to
be approved, Russell had to pass a criminal background check, secure a suitable location,
and prove that he meets all residency provisions. Russell’s liquor store will be located at
156 South Dupree Street, in the strip mall adjacent to the Haywood County Justice
Complex. Ward 1’s Alderman Leon King voted against the application. Russell, who
appeared before the Board last night, said that the next step will be to make application to
Tennessee’s Alcoholic Beverage Commission in January. If all continues to go well with the
process, he anticipates the store will open by early February. Prime Time Liquors, the
city’s first liquor store, is already opened on Anderson Avenue at I-40’s Exit 56.
Increased police patrols
Brownsville Police Chief Chris Lea reported that all of the divisions
of the Department, including the Criminal Investigation Division, have ramped up patrols all
over town due to the holiday season. Neighborhood watch programs are also increasing
their observations. Last Friday, police arrested a burglar in-the-act of robbing a home on
North Washington after a watchful neighbor called to report suspicious activity.
Chief Lea, Central Dispatch Director Starla Singleton and the
Board of Aldermen and Mayor recognized 7-year old Jeremy Enciso for displaying
extraordinary bravery when he recently called 911 to report a medical emergency involving
his mother. Director Singleton praised Jeremy for the calm, intelligent manner in which he
reported the incident saying he was able to answer all of the necessary questions regarding
his mother’s condition. Jeremy was presented with a Certificate of Bravery from the
Brownsville Police Department. His dad, Edgar, attended the meeting with him.
City employees’ bonuses
The Board unanimously approved Christmas bonuses for all
full-time City of Brownsville employees. Each employee will receive $250 while part-time
employees will receive $50.
The Board approved two ordinances, both on first readings:
Ordinance #895 amends the 2012-13 budget which was passed in July and Ordinance #896
amends various parking regulations within the City of Brownsville.
The budget amendments would increase
Special Projects by $6,000,
Law Enforcement by $131,358,
Fire Department by $5,000, and
Community Development by $2,020,000.
Mayor Matherne stated that this is the only time that the 2012-13
budget would be adjusted. A public hearing on the matter will be held and a second reading
will occur at the Board of Aldermen and Mayor meeting in January.
The second ordinance is intended to:
Encourage appropriate location, design and number of parking
spaces to ensure a safe level of service
Reduce any undue congestion to streets and avoid conflicts
between vehicles nad pedestrians, and
To minimize the costs to businesses associated with excess
A side benefit of the measure would be reducing the volume and
velocity of storm water which drains off of paved parking areas.
The proposed amendments to the city’s parking regulations
included in the ordinance came from the work of the Regional Planning Commission.
New police cars
The City’s 4 new Police cruisers are ready to be picked up and
will put on the streets asap. The vehicles are 2013 models and are fully equipped with
standard police package.
Two Board appointments were approved: Madeline Matheny will
join the Library Board and Sylvia Jones will join the Brownsville Housing Authority Board.
Fire Department Captain David Smith issued a reminder to all
residents to be mindful of space heaters and faulty heaters as the weather gets colder. The
Fire Department has free smoke detectors for residents who own their homes.
Delta Heritage Center
Delta Heritage Center Director Sonia Outlaw-Clark reported that
the Center’s year-to-date attendance figures are 11% ahead of 2011’s figures. She also
announced an upcoming art exhibit by area artist John Sadowski to be called “Two Sides to
Every Story.” Sadowski is known locally for his paintings of Brownsville businesses and
Fish and Wildlife service talks Hatchie land purchases
December 11, 2012
A public meeting scheduled for Wednesday evening will help Hatchie River bottom landowners better understand a letter asking if they’d like to sell their property. Randy Cook, project leader for West Tennessee Refuges, wrote the letter. Cook works for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and helps manage Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge in Haywood County.
According to a press release and Cook’s letter, the Service is proposing to expand the acquisition boundaries of Chickasaw and Lower Hatchie National Refuges. The plan could include the purchase of land in Haywood County, and many Haywood County landowners who are in the designated acquisition area have received the letter.
Cook told brownsvilleradio.com that sellers must be willing to sell. He says the Service does not condemn property. “Please be advised that the policy of the Service is to acquire land only from willing sellers. This is not a plan to take land through condemnation or by any other means other than purchasing lands from willing sellers,” Cook states in his letter.
The meeting to discuss the proposal is set for 6pm Wednesday night at the Brownsville Haywood County Chamber of Commerce.
Cook said there are no funds for additional acquisition but depending on the interest from landowners future appropriations may be discussed.
He supplied documents to provide some insight as to what the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service is proposing:
LPP Scoping Landowner Letter.pdf
LPP Scoping Press Release and Map.pdf
LPP_Economic Benefit Briefing.pdf