Archive: December 2013

Archive: December 2013

Archive: December 2013

Parks, entertainment venues, Farmerís Market all in City Hallís plan for 2014
December 31, 2013

    In 2013 Brownsvilleís leaders started several projects aimed at improving the cityís infrastructure and appeal. On New Yearís Eve, Brownsville Radio contacted Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne to ask about progress. At least four of the initiatives are moving along but one is stymied by the state legislature.
Tamm Park, downtown ñ
Request for bids has been advertised, and bid opening is scheduled for January 7th; construction to begin upon approval of bid this Spring.
East Main Street pedestrian improvements ñ
Bids will be opened January 7th. Funding will replace existing sidewalk on East Main in front of Tamm Park and Brownsville Family Restaurant, install utilities underground and enhance landscaping. The money is also earmarked to repave Haralson St. from the Hwy19/Hwy 54 split on W. Main to the Bypass @ Preston Place.
Farmer’s Market ñ
Brownsville received a grant from USDA Rural Development for Phase I of the project to be located at the corner of East Jefferson and Anderson Avenue. Paving and dirt work is included initially. Work should begin this spring. †The city is applying for a grant with the TN Dept. of Agriculture for construction of the shed for the market.
Results of the grant application should be known by summer 2014.
Haywood lot located on the west side of the square ó
Brownsville purchased the lot in 2013. No specific plans have been finalized but the intent is to create an amphitheater/outdoor entertainment area as part of the overall Downtown Master Plan for Main Street. Brownsville will seek grant funding through Local Parks & Recreation Fund.
Annexation Exit 56 ó
Last year the state legislature passed a law placing a moratorium on annexation. The law, which was recently reviewed and extended, has stopped Brownsvilleís plan to annex a small tract south of I-40 at Exit 56. Utilities have already been installed in the area. A Jackson developer promises to build a new hotel there when the annexation is completed. Mayor Jo Matherne says that until the state lifts the stay on annexation the project is on hold.


Flagg Grove challenge met, Tina Turner school house renovation funded
December 31, 2013

    Ann and Pat Mann promised to donate $75,000 to help renovate the one-room Haywood County schoolhouse attended by rock ní roll legend Tina Turner if their pledge could be matched. Organizers say the Manns will deliver the check Thursday, and that just over $75,000 has been committed.
Tina Turner was born in Haywood County and lived her early years in Nutbush.
The dilapidated schoolhouse known as Flagg Grove was located in a field on Joe Stephens farm near Nutbush. Delta Heritage Center Director Sonia Outlaw-Clark organized a mission to rescue the historic structure. Stephens agreed to donate the building and Brownsville funded the job of moving the building to the parking lot of the Delta Heritage Center.
With the Mannís commitment, Outlaw-Clark and others organized the fundraiser. Individual pledges, Outlaw-Clark said Tuesday, were $75, 029.59.
A ceremony is scheduled for Thursday morning at 11am when Ann and Pat Mann will deliver their contribution.
The schoolhouse it situated on the parking lot alongside the shotgun house blues legend Hammy Nixon once called home. City officials hope the two buildings will soon become significant tourist attractions.


Bad weather won’t stop Saturday’s Christmas basket deliver
December 18, 2013

    The weather forecast for Saturday morning may be one of the worst ever in the 29 year history of the Brownsville Radio Basket project but just like the post office, and Santa Claus himself, packages must be delivered.
Rain seems likely, and there might even be some thunder, but the Christmas baskets, somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 of them, will have to be delivered Saturday morning.
We’ll have baskets ready to deliver between 8 and 9 a.m. Please try to be the first in line! The delivery process begins as volunteers load vehicles at the Brownsville Utility Department’s gas warehouse located on Dupree Street.
Mayor Franklin Smith is the event’s co-sponsor.


Haywood Park Hospital wins Cigna contract
December 18, 2013

    In a letter circulated via e-mail yesterday, Haywood Park Hospital CEO Joel Southern said Haywood Park has just won a new contract “retaining our hospital as a provider in the Cigna network.”
“This agreement was important for many reasons, but it is our community who have Cigna insurance who benefit the most. We understand how important it is to have access to healthcare close to home and work,” Southern wrote.


Historic planners meet today at city hall
December 18, 2013

   Brownsville’s historic zoning commission is scheduled to meet today at 4pm at City Hall. Commissioners are developing historic district design guidelines. They are also overseeing the work of consultant Thomason and Associates. The Nashville firm is preparing paperwork for the creation of new and expansion of existing historic districts.
A draft of rules for commercial signage for the historic district can be seen in PDF format HERE.


Public hearing — how did commissioners respond?
December 18, 2013

   News Analysis
With some possible exception, none of Monday night’s public hearing questions and comments seemed unexpected or to ruffle members of the Brownsville Haywood County Metro Charter Commission. In a report broadcast on Brownsville Radio and published on Tuesday we provided summarized details of what most of the participants had to say.
Today we’ve prepared a summary of select responses from the charter commission.
Concern: Too much power is vested in the mayor’s office.
Commissioners said they believe “checks and balances” are in place to assure the mayor’s actions are transparent.
The commission’s plan parallels the structure of federal and state governments in which the executive and legislative branches are separate and, they believe, balance authority.
For example, in the case of the most important job appointments or terminations, the mayor can’t act alone. The mayor must win approval of the metro council and must do so at meetings open to the public.
Other rules require that the council and the mayor must work together but do so separately. The mayor may not be a member of the metro council or vote, but he may veto their actions. The council may, in turn, override a mayoral veto.
Concern: Equal opportunity for a diverse population
Fewer elected representatives result in more accountability, according to the authors of the draft charter. Commissioners believe that exactly who in government is responsible will be apparent than either of the present governments.
Charter Commissioners believe the requirement of a Human Resources Department will increase the likelihood that hiring practices more thoroughly consider diversity and other legal issues.
Concern: Discontinuing the constitutional offices is illegal.
Michael Banks, who is the lawyer for the commission, believes eliminating the so-called constitutional elected leaders is legal. Banks points to language in the state constitution, which, he says, doesn’t require elected office holders. Further, Banks believes, the theory has been tested and confirmed by the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Concern: Taking away voters’ right to elect office holders
This concern focuses on the draft charter’s plan to discontinue the election of the assessor of property, register of deeds, county clerk and trustee.
“You’re locked in” once an elected official wins an office, commissioners say. If the office holder doesn’t do a good job, then he or she may not be “fired” until the next election, and only then if they have become unpopular.
Charter Commissioners point out that their proposal is close kin to a city form of government but makes departments and workers even more accountable. For example, in Brownsville, the city board is made up of the mayor (who has a vote and chairs the meetings) and four aldermen. The metro charter requires more checks and balances than Brownsville’s current form of government by separating the legislative (board or council) and executive (mayor) branches.
Government will be “getting smaller” if the metro charter is adopted. Metro Charter Committee member Dorothy Granberry said, …”this is representative government…. you can hold your mayor and council responsible…”
Concern: Will the new government really make a difference?
Commissioners provided a number of comments including the following opinions:


      • Less government and fewer elected officials will allow citizens to better understand where decisions are made and who to blame (or give credit) for operations. Transparency is the word commissioners often used to describe this viewpoint.


      • There will be “one set of people” (metro council and mayor) operating the government. Government will operate as “a unit” instead of several independent (constitutional offices as example) operations. This will provide efficiency.


      • Commissioners believe one government will be an asset to economic growth, and will be especially important to industrial and business recruitment.


      • Though they have not been specific, charter commissioners believe there will be significant taxpayer savings because operations will be consolidated and streamlined.


           There are at least two other concerns that are significant and seem to capture the attention of the panel. Commissioners have heard from a number of people who believe the sheriff should not only provide services as required by the state’s constitution but also serve as the chief law enforcement officer. A number of citizens have expressed concern that ten is too few members of the metro council.


REACH holds graduation ceremony for 19 students
December 18, 2013

   The Haywood High School Reach Academy held its December graduation ceremony on December 17 for 19 students who are early graduates of the HHS Class of 2014. Participating in the ceremony that took place at Sunny Hill Innovative Learning Center were Superintendent Teresa Russell, Deputy Superintendent Vincent Harvell, HHS Principal Jerry Pyron, and the Class of 2014 President Justice Brown. Hosts for the event were Director of the REACH Academy Drayton Hawkins and REACH Graduation Coach Stephen May.
Earning Valedictorian honors in the class was Adriana Caletre. Lanqueya Hess was Salutatorian of the Class. The other graduates were Ismael Aguirre, Dalvin Bailey, Shaniece Bufford, Martez Comage, Keundra Gibbs, Darvis Jarmon, Ibrahim Jobeh, Jessica Johnson, Montravious Jones, Jose Lemus, Amente Mans, Whitney Mitchell, Jasmine Perry, Devante Taylor, Ricky Taylor, James Whitelow and Chassidy Worles.
James Whitelow received a $500 scholarship from Vincent Harvell, representing the Leadership Haywood County Class of 2013.
Guest speaker for the ceremony was Dexter G. Moragne. He is a 35-year U. S. Postal Service employee and is Pastor of St. Luke Baptist Church in Covington, Tennessee, where he has served for 24 years. He congratulated the graduates on completing this challenge and gave them a message from the real world, encouraging them to set goals and work hard.
Guests representing the city, county, Board of Education and Haywood County Schools Central Office joined a packed house of family and friends who came to celebrate with the graduates.
The REACH program offers an innovative, rich, rigorous and engaging program designed to address the individual academic and developmental needs of the program’s students. REACH is an acronym for Receiving Educational Academic Credits Hastily. This allows those students who have gotten behind in their course work to catch up and graduate on time. The program also ensures that each of our students has been accepted into a post secondary program before graduation. The REACH program has two main objectives: 1) Increase the graduation rate of the students attending Haywood County Schools. 2) Decrease the dropout rate of students attending Haywood County Schools. In order for a student to graduate from the REACH program, they must have completed all requirements as set forth by the Tennessee State Department of Education.


Questions and answers – comments pro and con – the Metro Charter Commission’s first public hearing.
December 17, 2013

   December 16, 2013 Less than a dozen people asked questions and/or commented during a two-hour public hearing on the proposed Brownsville Haywood County Metro Charter. The meeting was held at the Justice Complex last night and ended slightly before the two-hour time limit set by the panel.
Is it legal? Will it allow fair, diverse participation? Are there enough elected representatives? What about the law enforcement plan? Most of last night’s discourse struck the core of issues charter commissioners have spent the most time discussing and debating. They started their work last summer and produced the first draft just a couple of weeks ago.
Last night’s crowd totaled around 60 people. The community’s elected leadership were mostly no-shows. The attendance included about a half-dozen of the 20 county commissioners and only one of Brownsville’s aldermen. Mayors Jo Matherne, Allen Sterbinsky and Franklin Smith were there along with Trustee William Howse and Sheriff Melvin Bond.
Select comments
Tennessee’s NAACP President Gloria Sweet-Love who is a rural Haywood County resident asked questions about diversity pointing out that less than a third of the charter commission are “people of color.”
Another rural resident, Jerry Hollingworth, expressed concerns that discontinuing the elected positions of assessor, register of deeds, trustee and county clerk is illegal. “You are taking away my right to elect officials,” Hollingworth said.
James Pirtle probed the council on how people will know about opportunities within the new government.
Rodney Wright worries about the power of the metro mayor. Wright also expressed concern the council could be unfairly influenced by voters concentrated in Brownville — while rural voters might become marginalized.
Perhaps the hearing’s most vocal opponent, Johnny Haynes said, “…you are planting the seed for corruption…it’s a rich man’s form of government…”
If Haynes was the most vociferous opponent, Lyle Reid may have been, with some reservations, the night’s top supporter. He said Brownsville, Stanton and Haywood County’s current forms of government would be “the last to choose” when writing a new plan. He called county government archaic. However he said “serious flaws” are included in the present plan including the blueprint for the sheriff’s department. Reid believes there are not enough representatives included on the metro council.
Former County Commissioner Pam Russell addressed the group stating that she understands how the abolishment of the constitutional offices could streamline government and make operations “more efficient.”
Mayor Jo Matherne, who did not express a view on consolidation, said commissioners should think about adding language that helps set a course for community planning. “A community that fails to plan will fail…” Matherne said.
Next session
The Metro Charter Commission will hold its next public meeting at Mt Zion Church, 100 Lafayette Street in Stanton January 9 at 6pm.
Charter Commission Chairman Christy Smith called the charter writing process “alive and flexible…”


Federal Extensions Of Unemployment Benefits Set To Expire At Close Of 2013
December 17, 2013

   Tennessee’s Unemployment Program Continues To Support Jobless
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development is alerting more than 18,000 Tennesseans currently receiving federally extended unemployment insurance that those payments will soon end. The federal legislation that extended Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) expires at the end of 2013 in the absence of congressional action.
“We don’t want people who are presently receiving EUC to be caught unaware, expecting their EUC benefits to continue into 2014,” said Labor Commissioner Burns Phillips. “We also want workers to know that the Tennessee unemployment insurance program that provides the first 26 weeks of benefits is not affected by the expiration of the federal EUC extension.”
After December 28, 2013, Tennessee will return to the system in which an approved new claim can have a maximum of 26 weeks of Tennessee Unemployment Compensation (TUC) benefits.

        • The last week for which EUC will be paid is the week ending December 28, 2013.
        • If claimants certify for that week in a timely manner, they will receive their final EUC payment during the week ending January 4, 2014.
        • All EUC payments stop at that time, regardless of the number of weeks claimants were initially notified they would receive.


           The latest date for which claimants must have received their final regular state payment in order to transition to EUC federal benefits is the week ending December 21, 2013; in those cases claimants will receive EUC for one week only.


           Only individuals who have worked and met the re-earnings requirement will be eligible for Tennessee unemployment compensation.


           The Department of Labor encourages claimants to explore the

        database, which contains more than 90,000 jobs. Once registered, jobseekers can easily connect with employers and be notified when suitable openings are posted. Additionally, the department’s network of Tennessee Career Centers across the state offers services including job placement, training referral, Internet access, and helpful workshops. Find the Career Center nearest you by visiting



Charter comments start Monday – commission sets rules
December 13, 2013

   If you’ve been following the work of the Brownsville Metro-Charter Committee you may have questions about their work — and you may have suggestions. The first (there will be three) public hearing is scheduled for Monday, 6pm at the Justice Complex.
Anticipating there will be many with thoughts and questions the Charter Commission has set rules for those who would like to speak.

        • The public hearings will end in a maximum of two hours…unless the questions and comments conclude earlier.
        • Each speaker must identify him/herself and may speak for two minutes, either to ask a question or to make a comment. (Dr. Dorothy Granberry has agreed to be the timekeeper.)
        • No speaker may return to the microphone until all who wish to speak have had an opportunity…and then only to ask a new question or make a different comment.
        • Each participant will be asked the register.
        • The room will be set up with the commission members within the bar of the court at tables in a U shape facing the courtroom. We will have microphones so that all/any commission members may field questions.


           “We hope some high school students interested in watching government at work will be present as ushers and to hand out any materials we may need to distribute,” Charter Commission Chairman Christy Smith said.


Brownsville Radio to broadcast public hearings and videotape for Internet
December 12, 2013

   The Brownsville-Haywood County Metro Charter Commission has scheduled three public hearings, and Brownsville Radio plans live broadcasts of all three. The first public event is scheduled for Monday night, 6pm at the Justice Complex. The next hearing is set for January 9 in Stanton and the final event is January 16, again at the Justice Complex.
The broadcasts will be uninterrupted and carried in their entirety. Additionally, Brownsville Radio has made arrangements with Haywood High School’s Broadcasting class to videotape the sessions. The videos will be available for viewing within a couple of days of each hearing at


Brownsville buys new police cars and tackles zoning issues
December 10, 2013 – By Martha Lyle Ford

   Christmas bonuses, rezoning, and new police cars were on the agenda last night as the Brownsville Mayor and Board of Aldermen met in regular session at City Hall. Business was concluded in less than an hour as several department heads were under-the-weather or absent.
New Police Cars
Brownsville aldermen and the mayor unanimously approved the purchase of 4 new vehicles for the Brownsville Police Department… The 2014 Chevy Impalas will cost $21,305.14 each. These funds are already included in the 2014 budget and the vehicles are purchased through a state government contract. Mayor Matherne stated that purchasing the vehicles this way is less expensive than if the purchase were bid out.
Police Chief Chris Lea reported that one more vehicle will be purchased next year … at that point the entire Police vehicle fleet will be 5 years old or less and all will still be under warranty.
Rezoning in North Brownsville
The Board approved – on first reading — Ordinance 903 which proposes rezoning a section of north Brownsville from High Density Residential to Low Density Single Family Residential. The area is located generally in the Scott Street, Key Corner Street, North Grand Avenue neighborhood.
The measure was recommended to the Board by the City Planning Commission. Analysis by Planner Tom Skeehan had determined that Brownsville has, according to Mayor Matherne, “an inordinate amount of R-3 (High Density Residential) areas” and not enough “decent, affordable single family housing on smaller lots.
City Planner Sharon Hayes stated that the objectives for the rezoning are to 1) revitalize the area, 2) reduce blight, 3) protect older homes, and 4) avoid inappropriate in-fill of the neighborhood.
The Board’s vote was unanimous … there will be a second reading of the ordinance at the January City Board meeting.
Historic Districts
The City Board approved hiring Thomason and Associates to complete necessary documentation to submit applications to the Tennessee Historical Commission and the National Register of Historic Places. The application process is projected to be completed by October 2014. Thomason and Associates will be paid $18,816 to complete the project.
Over the past year, Thomason and Associates Preservation Planners have conducted a survey of historical properties in Brownsville. The compilation of their data has led to the proposal of three new historic districts and the extension of the existing historical district. The new districts would be 1) North Washington/East College Street Historic District, 2) Downtown Commercial Historic District, and 3) Civil Rights Historic District. The College Hill Historic District boundaries would be extended.
Budget amended
The City Board unanimously approved – on first reading — to amend the City’s 2013-14 budget to take into account increased expenses not foreseen when the budget was passed in August. Budget increases are $35,000 for special projects, $70,337 for law enforcement, and $1,698,158 for community development. The ordinance will have second reading at the January meeting of the Board of Aldermen and Mayor.
Mayor Matherne encouraged everyone to visit College Hill Center to see the Festival of Trees sponsored by the Carl Perkins Center. The event extends through December 18.
She also reported that bids for construction of the Tamm Park will be opened on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. There will be a pre-construction conference on Thursday for anyone interested in knowing more about the requirements of the project and bidding.
Brownsville Housing Authority Board
Danny Murley was unanimously approved for reappointment to a 5-year term on the Brownsville Housing Authority Board. Mr. Murley has been serving a partial term, filling a vacancy left when Mr. Jack Fletcher left the Board. Mr. Murley’s term will expired in 2019.
Christmas bonuses
The Board unanimously approved Christmas bonuses for City employees … Full-time employees will receive $275 and part-time $75. Prior to the vote, Alderman John Simmons said, “I think this is money well spent.” Employees will receive their bonuses in time for Christmas shopping — it will be added to their paychecks next week.


Superintendent celebrates schools; board votes to support resolution about buses
December 11, 2013

   When the Haywood County School Board met in regular session on Tuesday, December 10, Superintendent Teresa Russell celebrated several schools and students for their accomplishments. She congratulated students from all the schools who participated in the Christmas at College Hill event on December 9. She also commended East Side students for their new clubs and activities and for their Reading Buddies program. These students have been reading to students at Anderson. East Side students will also be visiting Sugar Creek and Crestview residents this week. Mrs. Russell reported that the HOSA organization at HHS held a successful “Fill the Bus” event recently to collect donations of food and money for the school’s Backpack program. And in the sports arena, she reported that the HMS basketball girls are undefeated and the HHS boys are undefeated.
Board members approved a request from the Superintendent to accept a Utrust Mini Grant for $4,000 to be used for technology in a school. They also supported a resolution written by the Tennessee School Board Association regarding statutory caps on school buses. Currently, school buses must be removed from their fleets upon 17 years of service or 200,000 miles, regardless of how mechanically sound they may be or the results of mandatory inspections performed by the Department of Safety. This resolution urges the General Assembly to eliminate or at the very least, increase the caps on school buses to enable districts to run them as long as they are safe and passing inspections conducted by the Department of Safety.
In other business, Superintendent Russell reported that the audit for the school activity accounts and cafeteria funds for the year ending 6-20-13 found no significant problems. Several minor findings had been addressed, according to CFO Vincent Harvell.
In the Director’s Report, Superintendent Russell went over the state’s report card for Haywood County Schools with board members and guests at the school board meeting. For a complete look at the report card, go to and click on Report Card.
Mrs. Russell reminded everyone that the REACH Program graduation will be held at Sunny Hill Innovative Learning Center on December 17 at 6:30 p.m.
The next board meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 14, at 6 p.m.


Taylor and Curtis chosen as 2013 Parade Grand Marshal
December 10, 2013

   Tom Taylor and Jerry Curtis are no strangers to folks in Haywood County. Both have served more than 30 years on the Brownsville-Haywood County Rescue Squad and over 35 years collectively as volunteer firemen. So it’s no surprise that they have been chosen to lead this year’s community Christmas Parade.
The co-Grand Marshals began their official duties November 30, when they flipped the switch to light the community Christmas tree. Over his lifetime, Taylor has 18 years experience at Haywood Company, 16 years at Wal-Mart and also served more than six years as a volunteer on the Brownsville Police Department during the tenure of Darrell Bull. Curtis has worked at Wal-Mart for the last 15 years and 10 years at MTD.
They invite the public to the festivities on the courthouse lawn this Saturday, December 14, beginning at 3 p.m., when all the children are invited to decorate their bikes, trikes, scooters or just about anything else they can ride, push or pull and join Santa for the Children’s Parade. Santa will hang around for picture and to hear all the wishes of our local boys and girls. You’re also invited to bring your letters for Santa, too.
Our four-legged friends get in on the fun, when Santa will lead the First Annual Pooch Parade at 4 p.m. He’ll also take time to have pictures made with your pets.
The Haywood High School Show Choir will perform at 5, along with other area church choirs and groups helping to ring in the season and entertain the crowds gathering for the big parade which will begin at 6 p.m.
The Carl Perkins Center’s Holiday Hustle fun run/walk will also be taking place. You can register at the Carl Perkins Center and enjoy the stroll from Boyd, down East Main and around the courthouse before the parade.
Food will be available on the square and parade watchers are invited to shop with local merchants while waiting for the parade to begin.
Over 35 entries have been confirmed for this year’s parade which promises to be bigger and better than ever before. The parade is sponsored annually by the Brownsville-Haywood County Rescue Squad. In the event of pouring rain or inclement weather, the parade will be rescheduled for Monday, December 16.
Tom Taylor (left) and Jerry Curtis visit with the crowd and wait to perform their official duties as Grand Marshal during this year’s Community Christmas Tree Lighting November 30.


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 ìVolunteer State.î 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 Americaís 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 ìStar Spangled Bannerî 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 or call 731-779-9000.


Just over $21k pledged ó 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 ó 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 ñ 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 donít keep Haywood Park Community Hospital from helping with sign-up for health coverage
December 4, 2013

   Youíve most likely heard the confusion surrounding the website for the Health Insurance Marketplace, the governmentís new platform for offering affordable health insurance. While the site may not be fully functional yet, Haywood Park Community Hospitalís 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 ñ 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 governmentís 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 ñ and more.
Medicaid Expansion
“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 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 ó to complete draft by Friday
December 3, 2013 – Meeting #17

    At last nightís 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 ó the transitional procedure ó 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 ìcome aliveî 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 ìtransition task forceî is appointed. The task force will include the mayors of Brownsville and Haywood County, the governmentís 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 ( 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 isnít 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 theyíve heard from the public ó 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 ó 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 ó how the governments would move from the current operation to the new modeló has taken extra time. If voters approve the consolidated government, it wonít 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 todayís 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 ó likely sometime next year.


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