Archive: Fall 2012

Archive: Fall 2012

Archive: Fall 2012

Human Rights Agency Will Conduct Public Roundtable Session
November 27, 2012

   The Tennessee Human Rights Commission (THRC) will conduct a public roundtable session in Brownsville on Thursday, December 13, 2012, beginning at 10 a.m. – noon in the Gymnasium of the Dunbar-Carver High School, also known as the Boys & Girls Club.
Session participants will have an opportunity to speak to the Commission about personal experiences, ask questions and even submit a formal complaint when applicable.
The Commission urges those who feel that they have been discriminated against when attempting to secure housing, on the job, or at a business that offers services to the public to be a part of this event that is free and open to the public.
RSVP for the event online or call 1-800-251-3589. The Commission’s role, by means of enforcement and education, is to safeguard the citizens of Tennessee from discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations in regard to race, creed, color, religion, sex, disability, age, national origin, and familial status. More information is available


Haywood County Commission meeting
November 19, 2012

   by Martha Lyle Ford
The Haywood County Commission met last night with 19 members present and one absent. The meeting opened with Mr. Walter Brown offering an invocation.
The minutes from the October meeting were approved.
The following reports were unanimously adopted without discussion: County Mayor’s, Trustee’s, Board of Education, and Highway Commission.
Of the 6 standing committees, the Education committee and Budget committee had met and issued reports.
Education Committee Chairman Richard Jameson reported that the committee had met with and been briefed by Superintendent of Schools Teresa Russell and Haywood County Schools’ Chief Financial Officer Vincent Harvell on the renovations to Haywood High School. The HVAC systems have been installed on the roof and ductwork is being installed department by department. Committee members were assured that there will not be hot spots and cold spots during the process, but that temperatures will be consistent throughout the building. Project completion date is summer 2013. Regarding the money, Jameson said the project is currently under-budget and that the financing is going well.
The Budget Committee report stated that, according to Budget Director Larry Livingston, the combined total of all expenditures in the General Fund at the end of October was $54,141 under budget. A budget amendment of $5,408 was passed unanimously by the Commission for repair work done on the industrial park rail spur. The money came from farm rent from the industrial park farmland. Also, it was reported that the Trustee’s office received 52% of the annual property taxes due the county in October … the highest percent in recent years.
The next item of business was a presentation by Sonia Outlaw-Clark, director of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center. She reported that the Center has already exceeded 2011’s total number of visitors…at the end of last week, the center had hosted 20,599 visitors since January 2012.
Outlaw-Clark also shared some very Interesting numbers regarding the economic impact of tourism on Haywood County. In 2011, tourist activity in Haywood County:

  • Generated $13.46 million in direct tourist spending
  • Produced $1.93 million in worker income and paychecks
  • Created $0.58 million in local county tax revenue
  • Created $0.76 million in state tax revenue
  • Generated 80 jobs

As a result of taxes generated by tourist activity in Haywood County:

  • Each household pays $161 less in local and state taxes
  • Each household pays $70 less in local county taxes
  • Each household pays $91 less in state taxes

These statistics were provided by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, US Travel Association, and US Census Bureau.
An update on the Tornado Safe Space at Haywood Elementary was given by Cary Henson, head of the firm overseeing the project. Bids for the 6 classroom project, opened on November 15, were $175,000 over-budget. After Henson’s report and discussion, a unanimous vote by the Commission directed Henson to
1) pursue cost-saving measures through re-engineering the plans,
2) move forward with installing storm drainage necessary before the project can proceed,
3) re-bid the project, and
4) apply for additional funding from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Prior to the Commission’s vote, Henson presented several re-engineering ideas which would decrease the cost of the project approximately $100,000. He assured Commissioners that the changes would not compromise the integrity of the project, or change the function or appearance of the final construction. The storm drainage installation is an in-kind contribution so doesn’t affect the total cost of the project.
Henson estimated that the design work for re-engineering would take approximately 3 weeks to complete and then approximately 4 weeks to advertise and receive new bids on the revised plans. The Commission will receive an update at its January 22nd meeting.
In other business: County Mayor was directed to advertise and take sealed bids:
1) To tear down the old Highway Department buildings on North Washington,
2) To tear down a house on property on Poplar Corner Road recently acquired by the County in a tax sale
3) For 35 acres of farmland located behind Sunny Hill School.
Finally, there was discussion about offering county employees the option of having their pay checks deposited directly into their personal bank accounts instead of receiving a paper check. Mayor Smith will pursue the possibility with elected officials and department heads, and will survey county employees’ interest. The matter will be discussed again at the next meeting.

Helen’s Day in Brownsville
November 19, 2012

   Mayors Jo Matherne and Franklin Smith declared Sunday, November 18, as Helen’s Day in Brownsville. The declaration honors Helen Turner, owner of Helen’s BBQ. The proclamation was read before a near capacity crowd gathered to honor the pitmistress at the Ann Marks Performing Arts Center yesterday.
Helen’s BBQ, located at 1016 North Washington has won national and international acclaim as one of the unique places in America to eat. Those attending the gathering saw a short documentary film produced by the Southern Foodways Alliance. The Alliance “documents, studies and celebrates diverse cultures of the changing American South.”
Among her many awards is the most recent, the Helen Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award named for Ruth Fertel, founder of Ruth Chris Steakhouse.
See the documentary film by clicking on this link:


Brownsville kicks off the holidays with new traditions
November 19, 2012

   Brownsville will kick off the holiday season Thursday, November 29, with a plethora of events planned for the whole family. Among the activities are the lighting of the community Christmas Tree, a visit from Santa, opening of this year’s Festival of Trees, Brownsville – Let it Shine Church Illumination and Thursday Night Shop Hop.
For the first time in many years, an official tree lighting will signal the start of the holiday season in Brownsville. City and County officials will join the chamber and business association to mark the beginning of what is hoped to become a long-standing tradition.
“The tree is something we have talked about for over a year and I’m excited to see it happening,” says Chamber President Clinton Neal. “We also have lots of other fun activities planned and hope everyone will come out for an evening downtown.”
According to Neal, the tree will be approximately 18 feet tall and will stand at the front of the courthouse. The lighting ceremony will begin at 6 p.m., and includes a performance by the Haywood High School Show Choir.
Area children are invited to stop by and visit with Santa inside the courthouse beginning at 5 p.m. Parents are encouraged to bring a camera to be sure and capture the moment. Kids will also be able to drop off their letters to Santa at a special mailbox located at Morris Jewelers. Santa will return to Brownsville every Thursday night until Christmas.
Area clubs and organizations, along with local businesses, will display themed Christmas trees for public viewing beginning Thursday evening as part of the Brownsville Exchange Club’s “Festival of Trees.” Enjoy hot chocolate and other goodies while browsing the displayed trees inside the courthouse. The exhibits will remain open during regular business hours through December 5.
Local churches will show off their beautiful stained glass windows during a “Church Illumination” walking and driving tour of downtown churches from 5-7 p.m. This is a new Brownsville – Let it Shine event presented by the Tennessee Downtown – Brownsville Steering Committee.
Sixteen local merchants will remain open until 7 p.m., for shopper’s convenience beginning Thursday, November 29, and continuing on Thursday evenings through December 20.
“We’re happy to be teaming with the Chamber this year,” says Kenny Ellington, president of the Brownsville Business Association. “It’s given us an opportunity to bring back Thursday night shopping and build some new traditions.”
The “Thursday Night Shop Hop” kicks-off the beginning of the Brownsville Business Association’s Shop Brownsville First campaign. The campaign allows shoppers to make local purchases during a time more convenient for them and to register for great prizes. The big prize giveaway will take place December 20, 7 p.m., on the courthouse lawn.
Haywood County’s Youth Leadership class will be offering free gift wrapping to anyone presenting a local receipt on November 29. The Youth Leadership class will be set up at Insouth Bank from 5-7 p.m.
For more information about these or other upcoming events, contact the Brownsville-Haywood County Chamber of Commerce, 731-772-2193, Brownsville Business Association, 731-780-5144, or visit


Election commission meets today
November 15, 2012

   No controversy expected today at a meeting of the Haywood County Election Commission. The 5:30 meeting is set so that election commissioners may certify the November 6 election.
In Haywood County Democrats swept the ticket including reelected state representative Craig Fitzhugh. In Stanton a mostly new city board was seated and reelected Mayor Allan Sterbinsky became Stanton’s first full time mayor.


Brownsville’s board to meet in special session
November 15, 2012

   There is a specially called meeting of the Brownsville City Board called for next week. Aldermen and the mayor will go over budget amendments. The amendments are mostly routine.
The city’s rules require two readings of budget amendments and it’s expected they’ll consider the first reading at the Tuesday noon meeting followed by the second reading at their regular meeting in December.


More business downtown – parking matters
November 14, 2012

   There were rumblings at Tuesday’s city board meeting that downtown parking regulations could return. Alderman Leon King and Police Chief Chris Lea both said they’re hearing complaints about congested parking on the square.
The issue comes as a result of a good problem – new business coming downtown. At least two new businesses have brought increased traffic to the downtown area. Square workers – including downtown business people and courthouse workers – are in the sights of those who are complaining.
The city board took no action, but officials said they would urge courthouse workers and those who are employed by downtown business to park off the square to make more parking accessible to shoppers.
Enforcement of the two-hour parking rule was suspended when most of the courthouse workers moved to the Justice Complex. City officials seemed poised to reinstitute the rules if parking issues persist.


Utility rates up a little
November 14, 2012

   The Brownsville Utility Department has passed along a rate hike given them by electric provider TVA. Electric rates increased 1.25% beginning November 1.


Alderman calls for megasite preparedness
November 14, 2012

   At Tuesday’s city board meeting Alderman Thomas Averyheart publicly asked the question many have been asking privately. “Will Haywood County by prepared for the megasite?” Averyheart recently attended sessions at the Governor’s Conference where state officials assured that sooner than later a tenant for the megasite will be found.
Averyheart focused on educating the workforce for the jobs the megasite will surely bring. “Our children need to be prepared when the jobs come,” Averyheart said. “It’s (megasite) going to develop and it might not totally benefit Haywood County” without proper preparation.
Mayor Jo Matherne added that the city is contributing to Haywood County’s public schools effort by participating with a Brownsville taxpayer match to the Gear Up Grant. The 7-year program’s goal is to see that student’s progress from high school to higher education – either college or trade schools.


Tourism generates $13.46 Million in economic impact for Brownsville and Haywood County
November 12, 2012

    In 2011, tourism generated $13.46 million in economic impact for Brownsville and Haywood County, Tenn. This is a 4 percent increase over the previous year and includes $1.3 million in local and state tax revenue. Haywood County ranks fifth in Southwest Tennessee for direct tourism expenditures.
“From our fire and safety protection to our public education system, our community relies on tourism,” said Sonia Outlaw-Clark, director of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center. “Travel supports not only the 80 travel-dependent workers in Brownsville, it also brought in $580,000 in local sales tax revenues.”
With our location on Interstate 40, travel promotion is an important economic driver for Brownsville and Haywood County. Contributing to these figures is the more than $84,000 collected through the local hotel/motel tax. According to Clark, the hotel/motel tax collected in 2011-12 fiscal year was up .2 percent over the previous year. Visitors to the Delta Heritage Center also increased more than 4 percent during 2011.
“These numbers will continue to increase as we develop our tourism product and give visitors a reason to stay longer,” explains Clark.
The 2011 tourism impact numbers were announced at the Governor’s Tourism Conference held in Sevierville in late September. The economic impact for the state is a record $15.36 billion spent by visitors. The figures represented an increase of 8.7 percent from 2010. This is the first time the state has exceeded $15 billion. It was also the sixth consecutive year that tourism businesses generated more than a billion dollars in state and local sales tax revenue. For the second year in a row, all of Tennessee’s 95 counties saw an increase in direct tourism expenditures.
You can download a PDF version of the 2011 Economic Impact Flyer by clicking HERE.
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is the primary destination marketing organization for Brownsville. For more information, contact Clark at 731-779-9000 or by email at


Stanton will seat mostly new board – fulltime mayor
November 6, 2012

   Three long-time members of the Stanton City Board are giving up their seats with today’s election. Aldermen Ruffie Jones, Frank Fawcett and Emma Delk did not run for reelection. Incumbent Alderman AD Miller almost didn’t run. Miller filed as a write-in candidate when he didn’t make the original filing deadline.
For the first time in history, Stanton will also boast a mayor working full time. This fall the Stanton City Board passed an ordinance making the job fulltime. Allen Sterbinsky is the incumbent mayor and is running without opposition. The job will pay about $31,000 per year.
Running unopposed for aldermen in Stanton are Tucker Johnson, Ward Smith and Dewayne Duncan.


Germantown man may open first liquor store
October 30, 2012

   Mayor Jo Matherne’s “yes” vote broke the tie that yesterday delivered a Certificate of Compliance for what could be Brownville’s first package liquor store. Robert Allen, who lives in Germantown, will open the store at 3796 Anderson Avenue, assuming his application is also accepted by the state.
In a called meeting of the Brownsville Board of Mayor and Aldermen yesterday, Aldermen John Simmons and Leon King voted no. Aldermen Carolyn Flagg and Tom Averyheart voted yes. The city leaders have voted similarly on other alcohol selling matters.
Under the rules for establishment of a liquor store here, applicants must first pass certain guidelines. Among them are zoning requirements and criminal background checks. Mayor Matherne said Allen had passed all of the rules so issuance of the Certificate was appropriate.
Allen told the board this would be his first liquor store. “We’ll be a good provider of income for the city,” Allen told the board. “We’ll run a tight ship — we have seasoned people who will be running this store.”
Allen has experience in business in Brownsville. While he does not operate them now, he told the board he was the investor that bought local convenience stores owned by the Hooper and Stewart families.
“Depending on how long it takes the ABC to act on our application, I hope to be open by Thanksgiving,” Allen said. He said his application is ready to be submitted.


Local crews on the scene in northeast
October 30, 2012

   Rural electricity provider Southwest Electric has sent a nine man crew to help storm ravaged victims in the northeast. The crew departed last weekend and reportedly is in the West Virginia area and could be gone for up to two weeks.


Thousands turn out to vote early
October 30, 2012

   Early voting wraps up Thursday and through Monday 3290 people had cast ballots in Haywood County.
Nearly a million Tennesseans have voted so far.
State election officials said Monday that the tally of votes cast through Saturday for the Nov. 6 general election topped 999,000. That’s about 14,000 more ballots than were cast in the same period in the 2008 presidential election.
Secretary of State Tre Hargett said early voting turnout is outpacing comparable elections. In 2008, about 58 percent of all votes occurred during the early period.
Voters casting absentee ballots by mail must get their applications to the appropriate county election commission by Tuesday.


Brownsville poised to issue first liquor store certification
October 23, 2012

   Mayor Jo Matherne has called a special meeting of the Brownsville City Board of Mayor and Aldermen for early next week. The only item on the agenda is consideration of issuance of a Certificate of Compliance for liquor store hopeful Robert Allen’s Brownsville Package Store.
Brownsville’s government is charged with checking Allen’s background and reviewing other things including zoning compliance for the store he proposes at 3796 Anderson Avenue (Shell station at Exit 56).
Assuming the board blesses Allen’s certificate, his next step will be to apply to the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission for a liquor license.
The board meets Monday at 5pm


School board to talk about insurance costs
October 23, 2012

   It’s not uncommon these days – organizations from business to government call a meeting to talk about insurance rate increases. It’s happening Friday at the Haywood County Board of Education. The school board will meet in a special session at 8:30am Friday to discuss pending hikes in the cost of insurance.


Sheriff investigating thefts
October 23, 2012

   Larry Koonce hadn’t visited his property at 729 Stanley Road in a couple of weeks and when he did yesterday he discovered several things missing. Sheriff Melvin Bond said a Yamaha four-wheeler and two lawn mowers are missing.
At 283 Forked Deer Road Roger Cornatzer reported a 16-foot custom racecar trailer stolen.
On Stanton-Koko Road thieves used a trailer they found in Brenda Sanderlin’s yard to load up and steal – along with the trailer – her zero-turn mower.


More fame for Helen’s BBQ
October 23, 2012

Do you know what a pitmistriss is? They are very rare in North America and even more unusual is a famous pitmistriss – yet one of the most celebrated can be found here in Brownsville. Helen Turner, the CEO and pitmistriss of Helen’s BBQ on North Washington Street, was the winner of the Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium’s Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award. She won because she is a heroine of barbeque.
The award includes production of a documentary style film of Helen and her work. The production has already been completed and debuted at the symposium recently held in Oxford, Mississippi.
Now Helen has been gaining fame in BBQ circles all over the country. Of some significance is the publicity she’s received from John T Edge. Edge is a food writer for the New York Times and for magazines that include Garden and Guns.
Local civic advocate Hayden Hooper contacted Mr. Edge and convinced him to preview the Helen’s BBQ film here in Brownsville. The public will be invited to the show, which has been set for November 18 at College Hill. The get together will be free.
A pitmistriss? You’ve figured it out by now. Right?
You can read more about Helen here: http://ea
Photo by Southern Living Magazine


Over 1000 have already voted
October 23, 2012

   Early voting continues to prove to be popular in Haywood County. Election Registrar Andrea Smothers said yesterday that 1375 people have voted in the first five days. Early voting started last Wednesday.
Today and Thursday early voting polls are open until 6pm. Hours for Monday, Wednesday and Friday are 9am to 1pm. You may vote between 9am and 4pm this coming Saturday.


Mayor says first liquor store certification getting close
October 23, 2012

   A date and time for a specially called meeting of the Brownsville City Board of Mayor and Aldermen may be set as early as today to consider a Certificate of Compliance for one of the three liquor store applicants.
Mayor Jo Matherne said yesterday that the meeting will consider Robert Allen’s application. Allen won the chance to open a store when Courtney Ann Schroeppel said she would not apply. Schroeppel won the lottery for the Zone 3 license but has officially notified the city she is backing out. Allen was the second name drawn in Zone 3 and indicates he will open.
The mayor did not say at what stage the process is for the other two lottery winners, Thomas Russell IV or Joe Moore.


Healthcare officials scam warning
October 23, 2012

   If someone calls you asking for your personal medical information you should be suspicious. It could a scammer seeking to get into your bank account.
The callers claim they work for a company called Safe Guard. The mission, the scam artist states, is to get your information ahead of a medical emergency so it will be on file. For example, they claim if you need an ambulance, the ambulance service would already have the needed data. Local ambulance officials say don’t believe it.
The caller will eventually want your banking information and that’s when they’ll have enough information to steal your money.
If you get a call from Safe Guard, call the police or sheriff’s department.


5th Annual Holiday in Haywood to benefit local charities
October 22 2012

   Those looking for special bargains and unique holiday gift items will have the perfect opportunity during the 5th Annual Holiday in Haywood two-day shopping mart planned for November 9-10, in Brownsville, Tenn. “Holiday in Haywood” will feature over 20 retail and specialty merchants all under one roof and offering a variety of items perfect for your holiday gift giving.
This year the event has temporarily moved to a new location at 100 South Dupree Street. Admission will be charged and proceeds from the event and activities will benefit local charities including the Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, Haywood County Christmas Basket Fund and the Brownsville Unit of the Boys & Girls Club.
“This is a great opportunity for people to get a head start on their holiday shopping while also helping some of our local non-profits,” says Monica Bivens, Holiday in Haywood coordinator.
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. Wildwood Express will entertain shoppers Friday evening and other regional artists will perform throughout the day on Saturday. Santa will be on hand all day Saturday to greet kids and take pictures.
Among the many items for sale will be handmade quilts, 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. There will also be a large selection of personalized gift items.
Admission is $3 per person or the donation of three canned good items. Proceeds will benefit the Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse and the Haywood County Christmas Basket Fund. A $5 fee for pictures with Santa will benefit the Boys and Girls Club, Brownsville Unit.
“Holiday in Haywood” is sponsored annually by the Brownsville Business Association. For more information about the event contact Bivens at 731-772-4042, or visit

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 9-10 in Brownsville.


Statewide hiring initiative to bring paychecks to patriots
October 17, 2012

   TN Career Centers partner with major employers to hire veterans
The Tennessee Department of Labor has joined with Dollar General and several major employers in Tennessee to connect veterans with jobs. The Paychecks for Patriots initiative will include hiring fairs to be held on October 25 in 13 Tennessee Career Centers throughout the state, and will feature local employers interested in putting veterans to work. The Paychecks for Patriots hiring fair in Jackson will be held from 10am to 2pm at 362 Carriage House Drive.
Governor Haslam signed a proclamation announcing October 25th as Paychecks for Patriots Day. The declaration signifies the governor’s support for recently returning veterans as well as those from past campaigns.
“We should never take for granted the freedoms we enjoy here at home because of the service of veterans,” Haslam said. “I am really grateful for our service members and all that they do overseas and back here at home, and I’m happy the state could help by partnering with local employers to find jobs for veterans.”
Jackson’s hiring fair features Corrections Corporation of America, Dollar General, Duro Bag Manufacturing, Lowe’s, Nationwide Trucking, and Office Pride. They will have representatives on-site who will be accepting resumes or referring applicants to online applications. Tennessee Career Centers are equipped with computer workstations to facilitate online applications and job searches through their jobs database at
“Tennessee employers understand the value veterans bring to the work place. Dollar General has hired more than 7,000 veterans in the last two years alone,” said Bob Ravener, Dollar General’s executive vice president and chief people officer. “Through Paychecks for Patriots, we’re seeking to resolve the challenges of unemployment facing our veterans by equipping Tennessee’s military community with the resources to better understand the job opportunities available.”
Several agencies are contributing to the event including Labor and Workforce Development, Economic and Community Development, Military, Veterans Affairs, and the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
“Paychecks for Patriots has pulled together some of Tennessee’s most prominent employers with one goal in mind … to help our veterans find or better their employment,” said Major General Haston. “The Tennessee National Guard is proud to be a part of this landmark project.”
Paychecks for Patriots hiring fairs will concurrently be held in Chattanooga, Clarksville, Columbia, Cookeville, Crossville, Dyersburg, Jackson, Johnson City, Knoxville, Memphis (Poplar Avenue), Nashville (Metro Center), Talbott and Tullahoma.
“Our servicemen and women make sacrifices few would even contemplate to provide freedom and security to the rest of us. When their service comes to an end, the least we can do is make the effort to help them find good, high-paying jobs. This initiative assists not only veterans but our Tennessee employers as well by matching them with some of the highest quality workers available. It’s a win-win and I applaud all involved for bringing this initiative to fruition.” – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey
“Our servicemen and women sacrifice daily to keep us safe here at home and abroad. Providing support to them as they search for employment after their service to this country is important, and I appreciate the Departments of Military and Labor, ESGR, and Dollar General for their work on the ‘Paychecks for Patriots’ event.” – Speaker Beth Harwell
Information on Paychecks for Patriots and participating employers and locations can be found at


Trick or Treat with area merchants October 31
October 17, 2012

   Brownsville and Haywood County merchants invite areas children to “Trick or Treat with Me” on Wednesday, October 31, from 4-7 p.m. The annual event is sponsored by the Brownsville Business Association (BBA) and has become a favorite among children and adults.
The event began in 2008 when BBA members recognized a need for a safer alternative to traditional trick or treating. By remaining open later and offering this service to the children, merchants feel that they are providing a safer environment for the young people of our community.
“The kids still get to experience the excitement of going door-to-door,” explains BBA President Kenny Ellington, “and the parents have the piece of mind of knowing this is a lot safer than visiting homes and neighborhoods they are not familiar with.”
A special “Trick or Trunk” area located on the parking lot of the Brownsville Funeral Home will give local residents an opportunity to participate in the activities, too. Adding to the excitement will be a special fun zone featuring a slide, bouncy house and other treats. Residents interested in participating can contact the Brownsville Funeral Home at 731-772-1551.
“Trick or Treat with Me” is open to children ages 12 and under and each child is encouraged to dress in his or her favorite costume. Parents will recognize participating merchants by the purple and orange “Trick or Treat with Me” poster in windows. Last year over 20 businesses stayed open for this special event.
For more information, or to sign-up your business to participate, contact the BBA at 731-780-5144 or e-mail:
Brownsville merchants participating in this year’s “Trick or Treat with Me” will be posting this sign on their windows and doors. The event is planned for Wednesday, October 31, from 4-7 p.m.


Aqua therapy Pilot gets OK from county commission
October 16, 2012

   A new aqua therapy facility planned for North Washington is likely to enjoy tax incentives from both the city and county. Monday, County Commissioners approved a Payment in Lieu of Tax Plan (Pilot) that will save the developers an estimated $118,886 in county property taxes over ten years. Brownsville’s government approved a similar plan last week.
The PILOTs encourage business develop in Haywood County.
One step is still needed to confirm the tax plan. The Brownsville Haywood County Industrial Development Board must also adopt the plan but is expected to do so.


Tornado safe space plans moving forward
October 15, 2012

   Preliminary work has begun on a tornado shelter planned for Haywood Elementary School. Grant funds are available for the building that will also provide space for six classrooms.
Haywood County prisoners began working clearing and preparing the lot last week. Their work will continue this week, while students are on spring break.
Mayor Franklin Smith said the school system has approved the plans but bids have not yet been let. Lauderdale County Schools are also building a tornado safe space and the two school systems will bid the projects together in hope there will be additional savings.
“We hope there will be local bidders,” Mayor Smith said Monday night.
The schedule projects the facility will be ready by the beginning of the fall 2013 school term.
A grant for another safe space originally for Sunny Hill School has been put on hold. Officials want the shelter built at the Junior High instead. Mayor Smith said grant officials have suggested the request is likely to be approved.


County commissioners approve various projects
October 15, 2012

   The commission met in a brief session at 6pm Monday. Items under consideration —
• Michael Banks was reappointed County Attorney for a two-year term.
• Joyce Pirtle was appointed to the E-911 board replacing the late Kizzie Boyd.
• Commissioners approved leasing four Ford Explorers for the Haywood County Sheriff’s Department. The SUVs will be used as patrol cars. The lease expenditures had previously been approved in the 2012/2013 budget.
• About $10,000 will be spent from the sheriff’s department drug fund on video and audio recording equipment. The equipment will be a “ valuable piece of equipment for every aspect of our work,” Sheriff Melvin Bond said
• An attempt to move county commission meetings start time back an hour to 7:00 p.m. failed by a vote of 5 to 12. Commissioners voted earlier this year to change the time to 6:00 p.m.


Property tax discount deadline extended
October 15, 2012

   Those paying their city and county property taxes early get discounts for prompt pay and the county’s deadline has been extended.
Haywood County Trustee Sonny Howse said Monday that the 2% early payment discount has been moved from the end of October to November 2. The county decided to extend the deadline so that it was the same as that which is offered by Brownsville.
The 1% discount deadline remains November 30.


October 20 set for Brownsville’s Hatchie Fall Fest
October 14, 2012

   Festivalgoers from all over the Mid-South will be in Brownsville, Tenn., Saturday, October 20, for this year’s Hatchie Fall Fest. The event has grown to attract more than 8,000 attendees during the family-friendly celebration that includes kid’s games and activities, cooking and eating contests, live music, arts and crafts and lots of food. The event opens at 10 a.m. and continues through the evening on the town’s historic court square.
New to this year’s festival is the addition of a second sound stage. Musicians from all over the region will perform on the two stages located on the east and south side of the court square.
“We have some wonderful performers lined-up for this year’s festival,” says Sonia Outlaw-Clark, one of the festival volunteers. “We want folks to come out and be able to enjoy their favorite musical styles and two stages give us the option of having a variety of entertainers performing simultaneously.”
This year’s entertainment will include traditional as well as contemporary gospel favorites, along with country, rock, rock-a-billy, blues and rhythm and blues. All music genres will be featured on both stages. Among the entertainers are Beale Street’s own Memphis Jones, The Peacemakers, Blind Red Rooster and more. Taking the stage for the first time will be Haywood Company’s award winning choir Inspired Voices.
Roses Unread, one of West Tennessee’s rising rock band will perform at 7 p.m., on the south stage followed by country artist, and Brownsville native, Mickey Utley at 8 p.m., on the east stage.
Stage performances are also planned for the younger crowd when The Groove Club, Nashville’s “girls in tutus” take the south stage at 1 and 3 p.m. This is an interactive performance that will have the children singing and dancing in the street. Other activities will also be featured throughout the festival area that will be fun and entertaining for the kids.
Along with great music, festivalgoers will enjoy browsing over 100 arts and crafts booths and local merchant sidewalk sales. The Frozen T-shirt Contest is back, as are the Pet Show and Blessing, Cake and Pie Baking and Hot Salsa Eating contests.
The Hatchie Fall Fest is held annually on the third Saturday of October in Brownsville, Tenn.. Admission to the festival is free and open to everyone. For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit

Over 8,000 festivalgoers attend the Hatchie Fall Fest in Brownsville, Tenn., for a day filled with arts and crafts, fun foods, contests and live music. The family-friendly event is planned for October 20 beginning at 10 a.m. Admission is free.


Multi-million dollar therapy center gets incentive, Downtown park gets funding
October 8, 2012

   The Brownsville Board of Aldermen and Mayor met last night in a called meeting. There were schedule conflicts for their regular monthly meeting, which would have been today. Today’s session has been cancelled. At yesterday’s meeting city fathers discussed two significant economic development projects and another for education.
Economic growth incentive
Dr. Jack Pettigrew is considering building a $2.4 million Aqua Therapy Center on North Washington Avenue that will include an indoor pool and offer physical therapy. He is expected to create 10 new jobs. The complex has been in the news for weeks as it made its way through the city’s planning board.
Last night the City Board unanimously approved a tax incentive expected to help move the project forward — granting a 10-year Payment in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) plan.
The PILOT will be managed via the city’s Industrial Development Board. The incentive provides that no city property tax will be paid in 2013 and 2014. In 2015 there will be a 30% payment in lieu of tax, and the payments will increase by 10% each year until 2022 when full payment of taxes will resume.
The Haywood County Commission will consider a similar resolution at its meeting next week.
Downtown grant
The City of Brownsville was recently notified that its grant application was approved and Brownsville will receive $150,000 to develop the Tamm Park at Court Square. The City will match that grant with another $150,000. The Park will be on the lot where the old Tamm Store once stood, on the eastern side of court square.
Schools grant
The Haywood County School system has been approved for the GEARUP grant, cosponsored by city government. The grant is for $643,000. Brownsville will pay $50,000 annually for 7 years. The grant focuses on the class of 2018, who are now seventh graders. Mayor Matherne’s report
The ribbon cutting ceremony for Precision Coils will be held today at 3:30. There will be tours of the plant from 1:30 until time to cut the ribbon. In June the City Board unanimously approved $25,000 to the Industrial Development Board to be paid to Precision Coils to assist in the industry’s relocation from Somerville to Brownsville. Haywood County government also provided $25,000.
Precision Coils is expected to bring 50 – 75 new jobs to Brownsville.
Permits approved — Lots of events coming up
Permits for several upcoming events were discussed and approved. The Hatchie Fall Fest will be held again on Court Square Saturday October… roads will be blocked for that day-long event … important note: West Main will remain open up to the Court House so that people can get to the Election office in the Courthouse for early voting.
That morning, October 20, will be the Marla Angotti run and walk … starting at College Hill and looping around Key Corner, Thomas Street, back up Key Corner, and up College to College Hill. That event is in its 7th year and last year raised $2,700 for St. Jude AND paid for two $750 scholarships for High School seniors.
There’s going to be a new Run/Walk this year …. Not part of Fall Fest but part of the annual Christmas Parade…The hour before the Christmas Parade on December 1, The Carl Perkins Center will sponsor a run/walk as a “warm-up” for the Parade
New Trash Truck
Last month it was new fire trucks … this month it’s a new garbage truck… The City’s planning to buy a garbage truck and has received a bid from Tri-State to sell the City a 2013 model … the truck is valued at $214,000…the City will pay $76,000. The funds have already been budgeted anticipating the need for a new truck.
Lots of Calls
During the month of September, the Brownsville Fire Department responded to 51 calls – including 6 for grass fires, and 1 involving hazardous materials. The number of calls for service to the Brownsville Police Department was 1099, with 82 arrests. The Police Department received a grant for $1900 which will go to buy 4 more bulletproof vests for officers.
Chief of Police Chris Lea reported that the Police Department received a call from the Governor’s Highway Safety Department about a warehouse full of booster seats available for distribution … Brownsville officers went and got them and in an hour and a half issued and installed 124 booster seats to parents of children at Haywood Elementary School.
West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center
West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center director Sonia Outlaw-Clark reported that there were 1715 visitors to the Center during the month of September. She also announced that Haywood County native Alex Harvey will perform at a dinner theatre on October 27 to help raise money for Flagg Grove School restoration.


33rd Annual Tennessee Trash Car Show October 21
October 3, 2012

   The Tennessee Trash Car Show in Brownsville, Tenn., will celebrate its 33rd anniversary Sunday, October 21. The show is one of only a handful 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 and the first Tennessee Trash Car Show was held in 1979. The title “Tennessee Trash” is taken from the old Tennessee Dept. of Tourism song about keeping Tennessee beautiful.
While the actual ‘club’ no longer exists, former members and a few newcomers 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 33 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.

For the past few years, the show has been 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.


Three winners drawn in liquor store lottery
October 3, 2012

   Numbers were drawn and eventually matched to the names of the liquor store applicants this afternoon at Brownsville’s City Hall.
Thomas Russell IV was first in Zone 1, Joe Moore in Zone 2 and Courtney Ann Schroeppel in Zone 3.
A representative attending the lottery said Schroeppel does not intend to proceed with the Zone 3 store. Mayor Jo Matherne said that if the city gets an official notice from Schroeppel, who did not attend the drawing, then the award will go to Robert Allen, whose number/name was drawn second.
Twenty-four applications from want-to-be liquor store owners qualified to participate in today’s lottery.
The order in which the names were drawn could continue to play a role. If applicants are disqualified or choose not to open their stores, then, sequentially, the next name in the drawing wins the opportunity, the importance of which has already been demonstrated with the pending changes anticipated between Schroeppel and Allen.

Daniel Walker, the Jackson accountant charged with verifying the liquor store applications drew names for today’s liquor store lottery.

Names were drawn in the following order. We have included the proposed store name and address
Zone #1
• Thomas Russell IV, Uncorked Wins and Spirits, 156 S Dupree
• Richard Whaley, Jack’s Liquors, 483 North Dupree
• Samuel Tinker Bryant, Brownsville Wine & Spirits, 120 South Dupree
• Robert Allen, Brownsville Package Store, 483 N Dupree
• Samuel Tinker Bryant, Brownsville Wine & Spirits, 120 South Dupree
• Ranjodh Singh Poparai, Brownsville Liquor LLC, #2 Brownsville Shopping Center
• Courtney Ann Schroeppel, Coco’s Wine & Spirits, 483 N Dupree
• Michael McCaslin, Mike’s Fine Wines & Spirits, 483 N Dupree
• Benard David Farber, Big B’s Wine & Spirits, 483 North Dupree
• Samuel Tinker Bryant, Brownsville Wine & Spirits, 120 South Dupree
• Samuel Tinker Bryant, Brownsville Wine & Spirits, 120 South Dupree
Zone #2
• Joe Moore, Anita’s Package Store, 915 Scott Street
• Courtney Ann Schroeppel, Coco’s Wine & Spirits, 1142 N Washington
• Benard David Farber, Big B’s Wine & Spirits, 1142 N Washington
• Richard Whaley, Jack’s Liquors, 1142 N Washington
• Robert Allen, Brownsville Package Store, 1142 N Washington
• Billy S Butler, Corner Liquor & Wine, 2556 N Washington
• Michael McCaslin, Mike’s Fine Wines & Spirits, 1142 N Washington
• Thomas Russell IV, Uncorked Wins and Spirits, 317 West Main
Zone #3
• Courtney Ann Schroeppel, Coco’s Wine & Spirits, 3796 Anderson Ave
• Robert Allen, Brownsville Package Store, 483 North Dupree
• Michael McCaslin, Mike’s Fine Wines & Spirits, 3796 Anderson Ave
• Richard Whaley, Jack’s Liquors, 3796 Anderson
• Benard David Farber, Big B’s Wine & Spirits, 3796 Anderson


Girls invited to compete for “Miss Hatchie” title this weekend
October 2, 2012

   Girls up to age 21 are invited to compete for the title of “Miss Hatchie” during the annual Miss Hatchie Pageant Saturday, October 6, in Brownsville, Tenn. The competition will be held at the Ann Marks Performing Arts Center, 127 North Grand. Competition begins at 10 a.m. Doors will open at 9:15 a.m.
A queen and three alternates will be chosen in each category. Trophies and crowns will be awarded. You do not have to be a resident of Brownsville or Haywood County to participate. This competition is a preliminary for the 2012 West Tennessee Strawberry Festival for ages 6-21; all festival rules apply.
Entries will be taken at the door or contestants can pre-register by downloading an entry form at For more information, contact Melanie Jacocks at 731-780-0828.


Brownsville celebrates Tina Turner September 28-29
September 21, 2012

   Over 200 fans from around the world are expected to converge on Brownsville, Tenn., next week as the community plans to celebrate Tina Turner. Events begin Friday, September 28, 5 p.m., with a special fan reception and ribbon cutting at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center and will continue on Saturday, September 29, with a Tina Turner Tribute Concert at the former Carver High School gymnasium.
Members of the International Tina Turner Fan Club will be honored at a reception beginning at 5 p.m., followed by a special “Fan’s Ribbon Cutting” of the historic Flagg Grove School at 6:30, Friday, Sept. 28. The African-American schoolhouse was recently moved to the Delta Heritage Center where it is being restored and will be used to house memorabilia of its most famous student along with interpretive exhibits depicting the history of the school. Among the special guests for the ribbon cutting is International Fan Club President Elle Denneman, who will be traveling from the Netherlands. The ribbon cutting is a free public event.
“We are excited to meet and host so many of Tina’s fans in her home county,” says Center Director Sonia Outlaw-Clark.” According to Clark, a charter bus is coming from Oklahoma; and other fans from around the world are flying into Memphis to join the celebration.
Fans will get an opportunity to hear a professional tribute show Saturday when the Starr Fisher Band comes to Carver High School, 709 East Jefferson. Carver is the Brownsville high school Turner attended.

Starr Fisher, a former Miss Black Oklahoma, is known for her high energy show focusing on the music of Tina Turner. Also appearing with Fisher will be several young musicians from Muskogee Oklahoma’s Spotlight Program. They are participating in a multi-cultural exchange between the City of Brownsville and Muskogee. The concert begins at 7 p.m. All proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit the Flagg Grove School restoration.
Tickets are available online at Due to limited parking at the concert, attendees are asked to park at the Haywood County Justice Center, 100 South Dupree, where shuttles will be available. For more information, contact the Center at 731-779-9000.


Liquor store applicants named
September 19, 2012

   Ten people have filed 24 applications to operate Brownsville’s three liquor stores. The package stores were made legal during the election in June. The city board capped the maximum number of stores at three.
Mayor Jo Matherne disclosed the names of the applicants Tuesday morning. They include Billy S. Butler, Courtney Ann Schroeppel, Michael McCaslin, Thomas Russell, Joe S. Moore, Ranjodh Singh Poparal, Robert Allen, Richard Whaley, Jr., Samuel T. Bryant and Benard D. Farber. Butler, Moore and Poparal submitted only one application. The others submitted multiple applications allowing them to compete for licenses in more than one zone.
Where will the stores locate?
Equally interesting, perhaps, is the proposed addresses of the stores. Some of the applicants list the same address.
• The most popular locations are 3796 Anderson, 1142 North Washington and 483 North Dupree. These addresses are listed in five of the applications.
• The Anderson Avenue location is right at Exit 56 and near McDonalds.
• The North Washington Address is at the intersection of North Washington and Highway 54 North.
• The North Dupree location is the bypass and the entry to the Industrial Park.
• The second most popular address for the prospective liquor retailers is 120 South Dupree. That’s near the intersection of the bypass and East Main.
The following addresses were listed once in the two-dozen applications.
• Across the street from the Veranda Restaurant, 317 West Main.
• A store could go up across the street from the hospital at 2556 North Washington.
• Dupree Avenue in the Brownsville Shopping Center
• One applicant would like their store in the heart of Scott Street, at 915 Scott. That’s located between West Thomas and Cherry Street near Hirtle.
Competition in every zone
The city’s spirit selling rules split the town into three zones. There are eleven addresses in Zone 1, eight in Zone 2 and five in Zone 3.
Other details
Brownsville’s City Board set rules for store operations that limit the number of alcohol sellers to three. Three geographic zones are described in the rules, and only one store may be located in each zone. An owner cannot own more than one store.
A Jackson, Tennessee, accounting firm is responsible for determining the eligibility of each applicant. Once the list of qualified applicants is determined, and if there is more than one per zone, a lottery will be conducted to determine the winner of the license. The lottery is scheduled for October 3. The City Board is poised to grant the local licenses in a called meeting October 8. Mayor Matherne says the applicants must also pass state alcoholic beverage selling regulations.


Haywood County Commission meeting
September 17, 2012
By Martha Lyle Ford

   Haywood County Commission met last night with 18 members present and two absent. This was the first meeting of the commission since a new meeting time was established; the meeting began at 6:00 and actually concluded before 7:00.
The minutes from the July 24, 2012 meeting were approved.
The following reports were unanimously adopted without discussion: County Mayor’s Trustee’s, Board of Education, and Highway Commission.
Of the 6 standing committees, the Budget committee was the only one which had met and issued a report. (See below).
A lot of standard business…
County Mayor Franklin Smith was re-elected chairman of the Commission by acclamation. Allen King was unanimously re-elected Chairman Pro Temp of the Commission.
Brannon Williams was unanimously elected to a 3-year term on the Library Board, replacing Mrs. Marty Williams whose term has expired.
The financial statements submitted by the county elected and appointed officials were unanimously approved.
A surety bond for the County Property Assessor was unanimously approved. It will expire in 2016.
Something new…
In introducing the next agenda item, County Mayor Franklin Smith said, “In all my years of this, we’ve never done this before …” He was referring to the recommendation by the County Highway Commission that a speed limit of 40 be posted on a county road — Country Club Lane. All county roads – if unposted – have a speed limit of 55 miles per hour. The Commission unanimously approved the recommendation. (Morris English is the new chair of the Haywood County Highway Commission.)
Emergency Management Services presentation
The next item of business was a presentation about the operation of Haywood County Emergency Management Services. The presentation was made by David Smith of Haywood County EMS, Dr. Michael Revelle – County Medical Examiner and Medical Director of EMS, and Jimmy Studdard, Director of Haywood County EMS.
In the presentation, Mr. Smith showed comparisons of EMS in 1990 (the year he joined the department) and 2012. Some highlights:
-In 1990, Haywood EMS had 14 full-time employees with 3 paramedics;
-In 2012, Haywood EMS has 21 full-time employees with 8 paramedics.
-In 1990, EMS received 1,978 calls, an average of 5 calls per shift; in 2012, EMS received 3,713 calls, an average of 10 calls per shift.
Responding to emergencies used to be seen as a “load, go and pray” operation where EMS personnel just loaded the patient into the ambulance and got them to the emergency room as fast as possible, praying the patient would make it.
Now, Mr. Smith said, emergency personnel basically bring an emergency room to the patient; with increased technology, skill, training and equipment, paramedics and EMTs can stabilize and treat – or begin treatment – patients while alerting Emergency Room staff of the status of the patient while in transit.
Having a base for the life flight helicopter, Hospital Wing, in Haywood County is a great advantage for residents, according to the report. In 2011, approximately 90 Haywood County residents were airlifted to area hospitals. It’s an 18 minute flight to Memphis, 7-8 minute flight to Jackson.
Jimmy Studdard will soon celebrate his 40th anniversary as director of Haywood County Emergency Medical Services department.
Adult Basic Education funded
The Commission unanimously approved $24,000 for the county Adult Basic Education program. This was needed to offset a reduction in state funding. The funds will be used to operate the GED program in Stanton and at the County Jail. Last term, 9 inmates graduated from the Jail’s GED program.
Stadium facelift
County Mayor Smith reported that the County is in the process of repairing and painting bleachers on the home side of the football stadium. They haven’t been painted since the mid-1980s. The visitors’ side was completed renovated, including being handicap accessible, in recent years. It was suggested that the home side bleachers be made handicapped accessible in the near future. The renovations are costing approximately $8,000.
Mayor Smith also reported that the County is getting estimates on upgrading the front of Carver High building and the entrance of the Boys and Girls Club located in the building. The County is also addressing termite damage at the College Hill Center.
National Night Out – a community-wide event emphasizing the importance of Neighborhood Watch and communities fighting crime, will be held Saturday evening September 22. There will be vendors, booths, entertainment featuring Alex Harvey, food and giveaways. The free event will be held beside East Side School.
Budget amendments
Budget amendments – in the budgets of the County Clerk, Election Commission, Sheriff’s Department, and Jail Department — were unanimously approved.


Brownsville sifts through two-dozen liquor store applications
September 14, 2012

   When the liquor store application deadline passed this afternoon at 4:30 city hall reported they’d received 24 sealed envelopes. Each envelope contains an application to license a package liquor store in Brownsville; although it seems clear 24 separate would-be storeowners did not submit the applications.
Brownsville officials would not release the names of the applicants Friday saying they don’t know their identity themselves. The procedure required paperwork be submitted in a sealed envelope. City hall workers said as applications came in, they were placed in the office safe and have not been opened.
Sources said it appeared some applicants might have applied for stores in all three zones to increase their odds of winning should the selection process end in a lottery. The city’s ordinance states there can be only three stores and each must be located in a specific geographic zone. If there are multiple qualifying applicants, a lottery will be held to determine who wins the licenses.
City Attorney Michael Banks said Friday that the envelopes will be turned over to a Jackson, Tennessee accounting firm Monday. The accounting firm is charged with reviewing and certifying the documents. Banks, who cautioning that he could not speak for Mayor Jo Matherne, said he expected government will release the names of all of the applicants early next week.
In any event, Brownsville taxpayers are the early winners. The cost of application submission is $500 per application. Two-dozen applications produced $12,000.
Liquor stores were made legal by popular vote in the June city election.


Teresa Russell tapped by school board as director
September 13, 2012

   It seemed clear from the very beginning — just after Marlon King announced in July he’d step down as superintendent of county schools — that Teresa Russell was the all-round favorite to head public schools in Haywood County. Russell was hired by the board as interim director within days of King’s announcement and given a 60-day contract. The interim contract ends tomorrow.
Yesterday, after very little discussion among board members, Russell was granted a two-year contract to serve as superintendent. The board, including new member Greg Vanstory, voted unanimously for Russell.
The new superintendent isn’t new to Haywood County. She is a life-long resident and was most recently the deputy director of schools. She has worked in county schools for decades in various other capacities including as a teacher.
School Board Chairman Harold Garrett said the board could have provided a contract for up to four years. “After discussing this with Mrs. Russell we agree that two years is best for her and best for the board,” Garrett said.
The job pays $95,000 annually.


City Board issues permits/downtown
September 12, 2012
By Martha Lyle Ford

   The Brownsville Board of Aldermen and Mayor met last night (9.11.12) in their regular monthly meeting. Mayor Jo Matherne and all 4 Aldermen were present.
The meeting began with a moment of silence in memory of the victims of 9.11 attacks in 2001. br>   It was a short meeting with no controversial items on the agenda, good news from the Brownsville Police Department, and lots of permits to approve for upcoming events.
Brownsville PD wins big
Brownsville Police Chief Chris Lea reported that, for the third year in a row, the Brownsville Police Department won first place in the Governor’s Highway Safety Award competition. But that’s not all … the top 10 finishers’ names were put in a hat…each one drawn to win a prize of some sort… the Brownsville PD’s prize was a brand-new, fully-loaded Tahoe with a full police package of police equipment, estimated to cost $55,000.
Permits approved — Lots of events coming up
This Friday, September 14, the local chapter of the NAACP will hold a Voter Registration and Get Out the Vote Event on the vacant lot at the corner of Jefferson and McClemore Streets. The event will include voter registration, speakers, and food. br>   September 21st will be Haywood High Homecoming with the traditional parade. The Board approved the request for the parade which will include the usual – cars, pick-up trucks, floats, bands, and marchers. Alderman Simmons emphasized that no candy-throwing will be allowed.
September 30th Brownsville Baptist Church will host its annual Friend Day with bouncy houses, food, petting zoo, pony rides, and more. The Board approved the request to close off the section of Russell Street near the church on that day.
On October 6th, the March of Dines will sponsor a fundraising walk and bike ride, beginning at 7 a.m. at College Hill. The bike event will include 10, 25, and 75 mile courses. The walk will be a loop around the College Hill area. The Board approved the permit for the event.
October 31st First United Methodist Church will host its annual Fall Festival and requested that Jackson Street, in front of the church, be blocked. The request was approved.
Mayor Matherne’s report
The paving work around the Court Square is complete. Tennessee Department of Transportation ended up kicking-in $168,000 for the project.
A ribbon cutting ceremony for Precision Coils will be held Tuesday, October 9 with plant tours. In June the City Board had unanimously approved $25,000 to the Industrial Development Board to be paid to Precision Coils to assist in the industry’s relocation from Somerville to Brownsville. Precision Coils is expected to bring 50 – 75 new jobs to Brownsville.
The half-million dollar Fast Track Grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development is on track to improve the water lines and water flow in the Industrial Park. City officials will have a pre-construction conference this week to discuss next steps in the project.
Go to college … without leaving Haywood County. Through a partnership between the Technology Center in Brownsville and Jackson State Community College, it is now possible to get an Associate’s degree right here in Brownsville. Classes are currently being held this semester and registration for Spring classes will be held in the next few months. The Brownsville-Haywood Chamber of Commerce has been instrumental in making this happen.
National Night Out will be held September 22 at 5:30 at East Side School. The annual event will include 35 vendors, speakers on drug and crime prevention, and entertainment featuring Haywood County’s own Alex Harvey. Other news
Haywood County’s unemployment rate has inched up to 12.3%, and two-tenths percent increase since June.
Brownsville Fire Department has added two new pumper trucks to its fleet.
Lots of Calls
During the month of August, the Brownsville Fire Department responded to 44 calls – including 9 for grass fires, and 8 for accidents and two involving hazardous materials. The number of calls for service to the Brownsville Police Department was up from July with 1,218 calls, with 82 arrests, 12 of them adults arrested for drug activity.
And Central Dispatch handled a total of 1,895 calls in August.
West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center
West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center director Sonia Outlaw-Clark reported that there were 2108 visitors to the Center during the month of August. Also, Flagg Grove School restoration efforts continue with the roof having been repaired and missing clapboard replaced. The Flagg Grove School ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on September 29 followed by a Tina Turner Revue and Flagg Grove School fundraiser held on September 29 at Carver School. Reserved tables are $200 for 8 people.


Brownsville Police win state awards including a brand new car!
September 11, 2012

   The Brownsville Police Department has just won a number of statewide awards — one of which delivers a 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe to the department. The BPD was awarded 1st place in Tennessee in the 26-45 officers category at the Governor’s Highway Safety Office – Tennessee LifeSavers Conference and Law Enforcement Challenge held in Murfreesboro.
The Challenge Program is an incentive/award program designed to award law enforcement agencies for outstanding achievements in highway safety enforcement and education programs.
The BPD received a Sponsorship Award from Emergency Links Matter, which included 300 child safety visor kits. The kits provide emergency information about children and other occupants of a vehicle.
Brownsville Police also participated in the CoMET program which stands for Combined Messaging and Enforcement for Tennessee. CoMET encourages officers to increase traffic safety.
Through the CoMET Program, funding is provided to allow departments to enter into a drawing for a fully outfitted, 2012 police package Chevy Tahoe. Brownsville Police Department was drawn, and Chief Chris Lea chose the winning key that started the vehicle.

The SUV comes equipped with the newest equipment which includes a radar system, camera system, laptop computer, and vehicle lighting and emergency equipment. Three of these vehicles were given to each of the three Tennessee regions.
This is the third year in a row that Brownsville Police Department has received top honors for their involvement, with a 1st place award in 2010, and overall state Grand Champion in 2011.


More accurate 911 maps closer to completion
September 10, 2012

   The local visits for the updated 911 mapping are complete. 911 Chairman Joe Stephens said this weekend that GeoComm had a good response from the door hangers making on-site visits fewer and faster.
Next step is for GeoComm to assimilate all of their data and create the new 911 map for Haywood County.


Busy week for community leaders – Big step at the school board & liquor stores deadline
September 10, 2012

   • Parents and others interested in public education will be watching as the school board meets mid-week to take action on the school system’s top spot. Interim Director Teresa Russell’s contract expires this week.
• Friday, city officials will close the initial application period for liquor store licenses.
• The city board meets tomorrow afternoon at 5:30.
School leadership
The school board meets this week on Wednesday afternoon instead of its regular time Tuesday. The agenda for the 4:30 p.m. Wednesday meeting includes the appointment of an interim director of schools. Teresa Russell is the interim director now. Her contract expires September 14. The reason her initial contract was so short — she started in August — was because of laws regarding the August school board election. The law prevented the old school board — so close to election and possible board member changes — to make a longer term hire. Greg Vanstory was elected to a seat on the school board in August — he’s new to the board. Allen Currie was reelected.
When the school board appointed Russell to the interim position they said three things could happen:
1) She would be reappointed interim until they make a permanent hire.
2) She could be returned to her position as assistant director
3) She could be hired as the new director
Liquor stores
Mayor Jo Matherne said late last week that about a dozen interested liquor storeowners had picked up applications from City Hall. The deadline for submission is 4:30 p.m. this Friday.
The city’s rules allow for three stores in three zones, and all three stores must have different owners. Once the applications are received at City Hall, a Jackson, Tennessee accounting firm will review them. If there are more than three qualified applicants a lottery will be held to determine who will be granted the licenses.
The procedure also requires licensing from the state’s liquor authorities


SWTDD presents Impact Award to Haywood County Mayor
September 5, 2012

(l-r, City Planner Sharon Hayes, Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne, Regional Planner Tom Skehan, and Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith)

   More than 220 people gathered at the Doubletree Hotel in Jackson recently for the Southwest Tennessee Development District’s Annual Board of Directors Meeting and its first ever awards program to recognize individuals and organizations who work cooperatively with SWTDD’s Area Agency on Aging & Disabilities (AAAD) and its Economic & Community Development (ECD) divisions. Winners were selected by way of nominations submitted from throughout the region. Brownsville-Haywood County was recognized in three different areas at the event.
Impact Award
For his untiring efforts to help the elderly and disabled in his county, Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith was presented with SWTDD’s Area Agency on Aging & Disability Impact Award. The purpose of the Impact Award recognizes an individual or organization that has made an observable or measureable impact on the quality of life of older adults by providing leadership in advocacy, public policy change, securing new or additional funding, program development and/or cultural enhancement.
“Mayor Smith has worked diligently for many years to ensure that the elderly and disabled populations in Southwest Tennessee receive services that enable independence and dignity,” said Joe W. Barker, SWTDD executive director. “From being a county mayor, to an executive director at Southwest Human Resource Agency, to serving as the Chairman of the SWTDD Board of Directors, Mayor Smith has advocated not only for his community of Haywood County, but for citizens throughout the region… Mayor Smith is a true statesman with a gentleman’s heart.”
Other AAAD award winners were: Senior Center of the Year: Selmer Senior Center; Partnership of the Year: West Tennessee Legal Services; and Advisory Council Members of the Year: James Pearson of Parkers Crossroads and Bobby Hysmith of Henderson.
Community Excellence Award
The City of Brownsville won SWTDD’s ECD Community Excellence Award for its “Brownsville on the Move” program. The Community Excellence Award recognizes a community project within the SWTDD boundaries that shows initiative, reflects originality, demonstrates a collaborative effort, has long-term positive impact on the community, includes public participation and can easily be scaled or replicated in another community.
“With the Brownsville on the Move program, local officials recognized the need to create a new vision for their community that would set a course for the next 15-20 years and would impact the economic success of their city,” said Barker. “Brownsville leaders contracted with the University of Memphis to generate and analyze a comprehensive plan and enlisted the help of local Planners to assist in their effort. Composed of City leaders and residents, this group defined goals, principles and methodology. The end product was a dynamic, well-documented and detailed blueprint for the future of their city that is based on extensive public input and creative ‘out of the box’ thinking.”
Regional Collaboration Award
Haywood County was also recognized as an important part in the SWTDD Regional Collaboration Award for its participation in the Tri-County College Summit hosted by Dyersburg State Community College. “This collective effort was all about helping the students connect to a college or another form of post secondary education,” said Barker. “The group worked together to host an enormous college fair that included students from the six high schools (400+ students) in the REDI counties of Haywood, Lauderdale, and Tipton Counties, 13 post-secondary institutions from across the State of Tennessee, and the entire 11-county REDI staff. It was of tremendous benefit to the students and has become a catalyst for what will become the new norm with REDI in our region.”
The other two SWTDD ECD awards were the Innovation Award to the Lexington Industrial Development Board for its Virtual Speculative Building Initiative and the Building Block Award to McNairy County for its extensive use of SWTDD services.
“Southwest Tennessee Development District is an organization with a talented and compassionate staff, but it relies heavily on our city and county governments, volunteers and partners to carry out the organization’s mission,” said Joe W. Barker, SWTDD Executive Director. “Tonight’s awards program is a first step in publicly recognizing those who are working to improve the economic climate and quality of life in the SWTDD region. Although only eight awards were presented tonight, there are many other individuals and groups who are working hard for the citizens in this region every day. We look forward to recognizing them in the years to come.”
SWTDD provides services to individuals and governments in the counties of Chester, Decatur, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Madison and McNairy. Also recognized at the event was Parsons’ Mayor Tim David Boaz, the outgoing SWTDD chairman, who passed the leadership gavel to Hardin County Mayor Kevin Davis.
To learn more about the SWTDD, visit or call 731.668.7112.


Registration now open for Creative Community Summits
September 5, 2012

   Registration is now open for the Tennessee Main Street and Tennessee Downtowns
Creative Community Summits to be held in September in Jackson, Franklin and Greeneville. Sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and USDA Rural Development, the summits will focus on innovative solutions and strategies to generate economic growth in rural communities. The summits are free of charge; however, seating is limited.
Please visit to register.
“The Creative Community Summits are a direct response to needs identified during our recent rural development roundtables held across the state,” Bill Hagerty, ECD commissioner, said. “By leveraging the natural assets of our rural communities and helping prepare our rural areas for competing in today’s global economy, we will lay the ground work for future economic growth.”
The Creative Community Summits will be held in three locations across the state:
– Tuesday, Sept. 25 – The NED, Jackson, Tenn.
– Wednesday, Sept. 26 – The Franklin Theatre, Franklin, Tenn.
– Thursday, Sept. 27 – The Niswonger Performing Arts Center, Greeneville, Tenn.
These day-long summits will offer attendees interactive presentations, educational sessions, networking opportunities and access to resources across the state that will encourage businesses and communities to refocus and improve their marketing strategies and turn their business or marketplace into a destination. Topics include “Growing Destination Businesses” with nationally recognized speaker Jon Schallert and “Cultivating Local Heritage Tourism, Arts, Culture and Agriculture to Jump Start a Rural Economy” presented by the National Trust Main Street Center Senior Program Officers Kathy LaPlante and Norma Ramirez de Miess.
“The summits are an excellent opportunity for stakeholders, business leaders and community partners to hear from national experts on what is working for similar communities across the country and learn what communities can do in their own backyards to encourage economic development and growth,” Dan Hawk, ECD Rural Development director, said.
Each summit is free of charge, and lunch is included for the first 200 registrants at each location. Additional lunch tickets may be purchased once the 200 capacity is met. For more information or to register to attend one of the Creative Community Summits, visit

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