Archive: Spring 2010

Archive: Spring 2010

Archive: Spring 2010

Haywood County’s unemployment rate continues to improve
August 26, 2010

Haywood County’s unemployment rate dropped in July by 1.2%. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce released data today reporting that 14.3% of Haywood County’s workers were jobless — in July one year ago 17.2% were without work.

County commissioners all agree on budget
August 24, 2010

Haywood County Commissioners made short the work required to approve county government’s $44 million spending and income package. The county’s budget committee has poured over the numbers for months.

The budget governs county spending from July 1 2010 through June 30, 2011.
All three budgetary resolutions passed unanimously. There was little discussion, probably because most questions had been answered and comments made during a public hearing on the budget last week.

Highlights of the budget include:

  • No tax increase. The property tax rate remains $2.18.
  • Most of the county’s departments complied with Budget Committee Chairman Allen King’s request that they submit budgets 3% lower than the year before.
  • The school system’s budget was fixed at $25,466,000 including the cost of the Central Cafeteria.
  • Operations of the county road department is expected to cost $5,349,714.
  • Funding the jail and county farm operation is projected to require $2,768,801.
  • The total requirement of all county government operations is $44,078,900.
  • County government had an estimated $8,404,141 in its fund balance at the end of June.

County approves flood relief resolution
August 24, 2010

County commissioners have passed the same resolution approved by Brownsville’s government two weeks ago providing property tax relief for some victims of the May 1 flood.

The resolution allows families that had to leave homes they own for an extended time “pro rated property tax relief.”
Those interested in applying for the tax relief may do so at the Assessor of Property’s office. The deadline is September 1.

Commissioners ask for parks grant
August 24, 2010

County commissioners gave leaders permission to apply for a grant that will help fund improvements to a playground in Volunteer Park.
The city and county will provide $22,500 of the $45,000 grant to resurface a playground in the park.

Haywood Master Gardeners announce date for annual Scarecrow Contest

Scarecrow builders get ready. The Haywood County Master Gardeners recently announced that Saturday, October 9, is the date for the 2010 annual competition. Once again, the location of the event will be on the lawn of the Haywood County courthouse in Brownsville, Tenn.
“Each year our entries get bigger and more creative,” says Rita Hathcock, Haywood County Master Gardener Association president. This is the sixth year that the contest is being sponsored by the Master Gardeners. According to Hathcock, over 40 entries are expected.
The historic court square comes to life the week leading up to the contest as scarecrows of all shapes and sizes begin to pop up around the courthouse.

“It’s so much fun to drive around and see what new scarecrow has gone up during the days and week prior to the contest,” adds Hathcock.
There is no entry fee and the contest is open to everyone. You do not have to be a Haywood County resident to participate. Scarecrows can be any size and must be family-friendly and in good taste. They cannot depict a real person. All construction materials must be non-hazardous and each entry must be securely erected and able to withstand inclement weather. Deadline for entering is Monday, October 4.

Participants have until 5 p.m., on the day of the event to erect and make final preparations to their entries. Judging will be in three categories – adult, children, and “Most Creative.” Cash prizes are awarded in the adult and children category.

After the judging, the scarecrows will remain on the courthouse lawn and cash and gift prizes will be awarded to the winners during the Hatchie Fall Fest, October 16.

An award will also be given for “People’s Choice” and will go to the scarecrow with the most popular vote. Attendees on the evening of the competition and at the Hatchie Fall Fest will have an opportunity to cast their vote for this award.

Entry forms are available at various locations in Brownsville, including the Haywood County Extension Office, West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, Chamber of Commerce and online at For more information, call 731-780-5144.

School children love entering the scarecrow contest. This one was entered by a class at Haywood Elementary School in Brownsville. It depicts the school’s mascot. The annual contest is open to everyone and offers cash prizes for winners in the adult and children categories.

Slate of candidates set in Stanton
August 19, 2010

Four incumbent aldermen and one challenger complete the list of city council candidates for the Stanton municipal election set for November 2.

Mayor Allen Sterbinsky will run unopposed.

The qualifying deadline passed Thursday at noon.

Incumbent Aldermen A.D. Miller, Ruffie Jones, Emma Delk and Frank Fawcett are all running for reelection. Veronica Ronnie Polk is also running for alderman. According to Stanton’s charter, the top four vote recipients are elected to Stanton’s town council.

Two other people, Patricia Tyus and Cassandra Rivers, expressed interest in running for alderman. Both picked up petitions but did not file them.

Stanton candidates

Tourism professionals extend education with annual program on Georgia Campus

Sonia Outlaw-Clark, Director of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, Brownsville, Tenn., has completed the first portion of a three-year professional development program that will lead to certification as a Tourism Marketing Professional (TMP).

Outlaw-Clark was one of 232 tourism professionals enrolled at the Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College in July. The week-long program turns the facilities of North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, Ga., into a laboratory to teach tourism marketing each summer.

There is no other professional development program like the STS Marketing College, and it is recognized nationally for its training of tourism leaders. 564 people have earned TMP certification.

“In the tourism industry, TMP certification carries a lot of weight,” said Bill Hardman, president and CEO of the Southeast Tourism Society, a 12-state organization that promotes travel and tourism in the Southeast.

The STS Marketing College began in 1992 to provide continuing education for tourism professionals. Tourism ranks as the first-, second- or third-largest industry in each STS member state. Students come from convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, attractions, hotels and other segments of the tourism industry.

The curriculum covers topics such as family vacation research, special events marketing, media relations and creative advertising. Heritage tourism and community/rural tourism are courses that have attracted special interest in recent years.

“The fundamental concept of STS Marketing College is that the curriculum is practical. What students learn can be put to practice as soon as they get back to their workplaces,” Hardman said.

Twenty-five senior executives in the travel and tourism industry were the volunteer faculty.

The marketing college attracts students from throughout the Southeast and occasionally from other states. This year’s program included students from Texas and Arizona.

“The Southeast Tourism Society is recognized nationwide for the cohesiveness and camaraderie it fosters in the region. No other region has a similar organization. Our marketing college is a major project to build skills and professionalism in the tourism industry,” Hardman said.

STS, created in 1983, is headquartered in Atlanta and has approximately 800 members who represent travel industry businesses, state tourism departments, chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus and travel media. Its activities include cooperative marketing programs, continuing education, professional development and travel industry policy advocacy.

The 12 STS states are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

CAPTION: Sonia Outlaw-Clark, director of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, Tenn., accepts her first year certificate from Southeast Tourism Society President and CEO Bill Hardman. Outlaw-Clark is among 232 other tourism professionals who are participating in the STS Marketing College 3-year program.

Voters in Brownsville and Haywood County sure of their political choices
August 6, 2010

Voters in Brownsville and Haywood County had little problem, decisively, deciding whom they want to run their governments.
City voters, by a significant margin, chose Jo Matherne Mayor of Brownsville in June and, in the August General Election, county government office holders — especially those fulltime positions — were selected by wide margins.

  • Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith was reelected with over 71% of the vote.
  • Voters reelected Sheriff Melvin Bond with over 78% of the vote.
  • Mary Bond Lonon will run the Circuit Court Clerk’s office. Bond-Lonon won with the nod from 61% of the voters.
  • Sonya Castellaw is the new County Clerk. Castellaw will take over the office run for more than 30 years by the retiring Ann Medford. Castellaw won with nearly 71% of voter approval.
  • Register of Deeds Steve Smith won approval from 66% of those casting ballots.
  • All twenty members of the Haywood County Commission were on the ballot. Two commissioners retired. Teddy Waldrop will replace Brad Bishop. Sam Mathes will replace Ed Necaise. Only two incumbent commissioners lost their seats. Ronald Woods was defeated by Jeffery Richmond and Marjorie Vaulx will replace Robert Taylor Campbell.

City’s new department focuses on growth
August 11, 2010

Mayor Jo Matherne has introduced a measure creating a new city department. She also announced whom she has chosen to be its leader.

At yesterday’s city board meeting Mayor Matherne won approval — on first reading — of an ordinance establishing the Department of Planning for the City of Brownsville. A second reading is required to make the new rule official.
The mayor said, “As a result of the approval of this ordinance the city places great importance in formulating and implementing a long term strategic plan to set the course for future growth and development of our community.”
Retired University of Memphis Budget Director Sharon Hayes has been tapped by Matherne to run the Department of Planning. Hayes is currently a member of the Brownsville Planning Board.

There are a number of goals for the Department of Planning. Among them, the new department will focus on Brownsville’s economic development and job opportunities, smart use of land and a safe and inviting environment.
Mayor Matherne says Hayes won’t take her new post until after the second reading of the ordinance has been approved — and that’s not expected until the September meeting of the city board.

The new job is part time and Matherne says it will be funded through the city’s community development budget. No new funds will be needed to fund the position because former community development director Anne Banks has retired and Matherne doesn’t plan to fill the post.

Taylor to retire
August 11, 2010

Jerry Taylor has held the title of City Clerk, with only one brief interruption, for over 40 years but Taylor has notified Mayor Jo Matherne that he wants to retire.

Taylor has been at the forefront of the city’s leadership through a number of administrations and has been instrumental in formulating Brownsville’s budgets.

Mayor Matherne has posted a notice that those interested in the job have until August 20 to apply. Matherne says she is looking for someone with an accounting degree, CPA or substantial accounting experience.

Thompson hired to manage grants
August 11, 2010

Retired Haywood County Schools grant writer Rhonda Thompson is managing Brownsville’s grants. Mayor Jo Matherne said Wednesday that Thompson is managing current grant projects and will coordinate future grant writing.
Thompson, who will work part time, takes over some of the responsibilities of Anne Banks who retired at the end of Mayor Webb Banks’ term.

New budget for Brownsville — balanced — no new taxes
August 11, 2010

Brownsville’s Aldermen have approved the 2010/2011 budget. The income and spending document anticipates the city will spend $12,229.21. Brownsville’s income is balanced with its expenses and the tax rate will remain $1.80.
The budget was drafted by the outgoing Mayor Webb Banks administration and the first reading was approved in July.

More flood relief
August 11, 2010

Property tax relief is available to some homeowners affected by the May 1 flood.
Brownsville’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a resolution allowing homeowners to apply for a wavier that could result in a lower property tax bill.
If the home was damaged by the flood and unfit for occupancy for at least thirty days, the owner could be eligible for prorated taxes.
According to the city board, property taxes for qualifying properties would be waived for the period May 1 through December 31.
Property owners should apply at the Haywood County Assessor of Property’s office by September 1.

West Tennessee Represented at Tourism Marketing College

Anyone in the Tourism Industry will tell you that the competition is tough, and it is growing tougher every year. There are many new, unexplored tourist destinations popping up around the globe, so it is imperative that destinations learn to develop, and thus implement, new and ever-evolving marketing strategies.

Sonia Outlaw-Clark, Executive Director of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center and Lori Nunnery, Executive Director of the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau will be spending a week at the Southeast Tourism Society’s Marketing College the week of July 25 – 30, to attend classes which target methods in which the tourism bureaus may remain competitive.

“West Tennessee is full of fascinating places and it’s so important that we let the rest of the world know what we have, especially here in Brownsville and Haywood County,” says Outlaw-Clark. “That’s why I’m so excited to be participating in this college and learning new and innovative ways to promote our events and attractions.”

The Marketing College takes place in Dahlonega, Georgia, on the campus of the North Georgia College and State University and brings together tourism related professionals from all over the Southeast.

Vendor applications available for 7th Annual Hatchie Fall Fest

BROWNSVILLE, TN (July 26, 2010): Arts and crafts vendors, businesses and organizations are invited to submit their application to participate in this year’s Hatchie Fall Fest Saturday, October 16, in Brownsville, Tenn. Last year over 100 vendors gathered around the court square to sell their merchandise and promote their services. Despite frigid temperatures, attendance at the 2009 festival was estimates at 5,000 with over 7,000 expected at this year’s event.

Vendor spaces are 15’x15’ and available with or without electricity. Opening ceremonies for the festival will begin at 10 a.m. and entertainment and events are planned to last until 8 p.m.

Please note that most food concession spots have been filled. If you are a food vendor who serves an unusual or specialty item, call to confirm that no other vendor will be selling your specific items before submitting an application.

The Hatchie Fall Fest is a family-friendly festival that celebrates the Hatchie River and Brownsville-Haywood County. It includes all day entertainment, contest and tours, car show, arts and crafts vendors and a variety of foods. The event is held annually on the third Saturday in October. Festival admission is free.

To learn more about the Hatchie Fall Fest or to download a vendor application, visit the website at Vendor applications are also available at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, 121 Sunny Hill Cove, behind McDonald’s at I-40 and Exit 56 in Brownsville, Tenn.; or call 731-779-9000 or 731-780-5144.

Hope for Haywood Volunteer Case Managers Needed

The newly-formed Hope for Haywood County Disaster Recovery Services (HHC-DRS) is beginning the process of evaluating and identifying client needs to assist with long-term recovery for our citizens who were affected by the May 1 floods. Volunteer case managers are needed immediately to help with this effort.

The job of the Volunteer Disaster Relief Case Manager is to identify the client’s needs, connect clients to resources and work with the HHC-DRS committee. The case manager’s relationship with a client is that of an advocate and will help the client develop a recovery plan for unmet needs.

Case manager duties will include interviewing clients and helping them prioritize urgent needs. The case manager will also assist the client in completing forms; identify possible sources to help fill gaps and refer clients to other programs or agencies when necessary. Case managers will remain in contact with clients until the needs are met and/or the case is closed.
Training for case managers will be conducted by UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) August 3-4. Those interested in volunteering should contact Emma Covington at 731-772-6062 (please leave a message if no answer).
The last day to register for FEMA assistance is Thursday, August 5.

West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center Welcomes 10,000th Visitor

BROWNSVILLE, TN (July 19, 2010): The Allen Gammon family, of Sachse, Texas, were on vacation and headed to Georgia when they decided to make a stop at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center Friday, July 16. They had no idea that the decision would win them a gift package valued at over $100 and the title of 10,000th visitor.
“We knew we were close earlier in the week,” says center director Sonia Outlaw-Clark. “After that it was just a matter of keeping an eye on the numbers.”

The staff checked the guest register periodically until it was down to the last few. They then began checking off the numbers as guests entered.

When the five members of the Gammon family came in, the staff knew that they were the winners. They quickly notified Outlaw-Clark, who was in a meeting with Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne at the time. Both immediately left their meeting to welcome the family and present them with their gifts.

“The Gammons are a lovely group, who were very impressed with the Center,” says Mayor Matherne. “I’m so glad I was able to be a part of this milestone for the Center.”

The gift bag presented to the family included handcrafted items from the gift shop plus Sleepy John Estes and Alex Harvey CDs and a Tennessee birdhouse. The prize also included brochures and maps of other West Tennessee attractions.
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is located at 121 Sunny Hill Cove, just off I-40 at Exit 56, behind McDonald’s in Brownsville, Tenn. The Center includes tourist information, three museums and the last home of legendary bluesman Sleepy John Estes. Admission is free and plenty of parking is available. Group tours are welcome. For more information, call the center at 731-779-9000, or visit

The Gammon family, from Sachse, Texas, poses with Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne (left) and Center Director Sonia Outlaw-Clark (center) Friday, July 16, 2010. The family was the lucky winners of a gift bag valued at over $100 when they became the 10,000th guest this year to visit the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center.

Matherne elected Mayor of Brownsville
June 15, 2010

Banking and marketing executive Jo Matherne has been elected Mayor of Brownsville. Matherne is new to elected office but touts a 35-year career in management and marketing, primarily in the banking industry.

During her campaign Matherne placed emphasis on the community’s economy. “I want to get all players involved in the future of downtown; I want to engage all interested parties in making Brownsville a destination for tourism,” Matherne said. “I want to pull together the various groups involved in working with our youth, to provide recreational and wholesome activities for them…” Matherne commented.

Matherne has chaired, helped found or served on the boards of a number of Brownsville and Haywood County organizations including Leadership Haywood County, Habitat for Humanity, Reading Railroad, the YMCA, Rotary Club, Arts Council and Haywood Park Community Hospital.

Matherne will begin her four-year term July 13.

USDA’s Outstanding Local Program Awards goes to Brownsville and Haywood County
April 6, 2010

USDA’s Rural Development office has recognized Brownsville and Haywood County as the top spot in Tennessee for the community’s development of business, industrial and livability standards and programs.

The Rural Development Award for Outstanding Local Programs was presented to Mayors Webb Banks and Franklin Smith during a ceremony in Jackson.

The community won the award thanks to a number of initiatives developed here including the 5,000-acre megasite and the multi-million dollar solar farm. The award recognizes other programs including aggressive industrial recruiting incentives, development of the new 480-acre industrial park in Brownsville and the Park of Dreams.

Presenters also mentioned the contributions local governments have made to the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Carl Perkins Center, the local campus of Tennessee Technology Center, affordable housing initiatives, the Stanton Cannery and the Delta Heritage Center.

Elma Ross Public Library to receive $1,500 technology grant

Elma Ross Public Library in Haywood County is receiving grant funds this year of $1,500 to purchase computers and other technology-related equipment. A total of 88 libraries in 64 Tennessee counties will receive grant funds through the program.

Local Librarian Katherine L. Horn said, “The Elma Ross Public Library is very pleased to have received this Library Services and Technology Act Grant so that we can stay current in our technology needs to better serve the people of Haywood County. The grant funds, along with the library’s matching funds, will be used to update a portion of the circulation equipment as well as a children’s computer station.”

“Particularly during tough economic times, it is important that our public libraries have the resources citizens need,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “In many communities across our state, particularly in rural areas, public libraries are the only free source of Internet access people have. And without Internet access, it is more difficult for people to file for unemployment benefits, conduct job searches or become more competitive in the workforce by learning new skills through online training programs.”

I am pleased that Elma Ross Public Library is receiving funding to purchase much needed equipment through this program,” Rep. Jimmy Naifeh said. “It is very important that we continue to provide our local libraries with the support they need to offer excellent services to our citizens.”
“Our world is becoming increasingly technology-oriented,” Sen. Dolores Gresham said. “Having access to a computer is fast becoming a necessity, not a luxury. So I am glad these grants will help make more computers available for public use.”

Staff members at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, which is a division within the Secretary of State’s office, provide advice and assistance to help library officials prepare their grant proposals, including suggestions about what type of equipment to include in their request. In order to qualify for funding, libraries are required to provide money from other sources that at least matches the amounts of their grant requests.

Flood assistance bill to become law
June 23, 2010

Applications for sales tax rebates will be available to flood victims when the proposal to assist flood victims sponsored by State Representative Jimmy Naifeh is signed into law in the coming days.

Under the bill, Tennessee flood victims that qualify for FEMA assistance could buy appliances, building materials and furniture sales tax free through September. The exemptions are capped at $2500 per household.

More information about the rebates may be obtained by calling 800-342-1003.

Mayor Banks makes final appointments
June 10, 2010

Retiring Brownsville Mayor Webb Banks attended his last full city board meeting this week, making three appointments to committees and boards.

Banks appointed Alderman Carolyn Flagg to the Delta Heritage Center Advisory Board. Alderman John Simmons will serve on the Tourism Advisory Board and Geraldine Flagg was appointed to the Housing Authority.

Banks and Vice-Mayor Joe Taylor will retire next month when their terms expire.

New administration likely to decide school funding
June 10, 2010

Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith has asked the Brownsville Board of Mayor and Alderman to help fund repayment of a $3 million bond issue needed for renovations planned for local schools.

County government operates the school system in Haywood County.

Director of Schools Marlon King has a $5.2 million list of school improvements. The county’s budget committee and education committee want $3 million of the work done immediately.

Mayor Smith proposes a financing plan that would have the school board fund annual payments of $100,000, the city $100,000 and county government $52,000. The annual payments would be required for 10 years.

The city board took no action on the request. Mayor Webb Banks and Alderman Joe Taylor’s terms expire next month. Banks said while he will leave behind a draft budget, the next administration would be responsible for the 2010/11 budget.

SBA pouring cash into Haywood County
June 10, 2010

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) continues to accept applications for Federal Disaster Loans for homeowners, renters and businesses in Haywood County. The program comes as a result of the May 1 flood.

The SBA office is located in the Parks and Recreation Building at 100 Boyd Avenue.

Homeowners, renters or businesses that sustained damages from the severe weather, flooding, and tornadoes may submit completed SBA loan application as soon as possible.

To be eligible for an SBA loan you must first register for Disaster Assistance with FEMA by phone at 1 (800) 621- FEMA (3362).

The application deadline is July 6, 2010.

Sheriff Bond to be featured in video
June 10, 2010

Film producer Russ Hollingsworth and Director of the University of Tennessee Knoxville Video and Photography Center Tom Owens were in Brownsville Wednesday shooting video featuring Haywood County Sheriff Melvin Bond.

The video will be used along with footage of other county officials across Tennessee promoting the benefits of the County Technical Advisory Service (CTAS).

Hollingsworth and Owens have been gathering testimonials from people who have used the services. The video will be aired in Nashville during a County Officials Orientation to be held August 23-26.

Bond is a CTAS Certified Public Administrator.
Sheriff Bond has held numerous positions on state boards and has served as chairman of the Tennessee Correction Institute.

Faces with names needs photos
June 4, 2010

A Tennessee woman is on a mission to provide The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund with photos of Tennesseans killed during the Vietnam War.

Judy Gorman King, of White Bluff, Tennessee, has organized the names by county and is asking that anyone with photographs of those on the list contact her or send a photo.

According to King, an education center is being built nearby the Vietnam Memorial in Washington. A display to include the photos of those lost in the war is planned for the center.

King has submitted a list of Haywood Countians including:

William Coleman, Jr., Army
Andrew Currie, Marine
William Alford Ferrell, Army
William Lewis Haak, Marine
Richard Keith Johnson, Army
Larry Adrian Land, Marine
RT Perry, Army
Albert N Wright Jr., Marine
Billy Lee Wright, Army
James Edward Young, Army

King also lists the name of Norman Lane but reports she has Lane’s photo.

King’s contact information is:
Judy Gorman King
PO Box 226
White Bluff, TN 37187

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