Archive: Spring 2013

Archive: Spring 2013

Archive: Spring 2013

Jail inmates to get GED today
May 30, 2013

   They may be in jail, but theyíve still been hitting the books. Sheriff Melvin Bond said five Haywood County Jail inmates will receive their GED diplomas today.
The five prisoners, who are serving time for crimes ranging from sexual offender to second-degree murder and many things in between have been studying for weeks under a program supervised and funded by the Haywood County School Board. Certified schoolteacher Sue Geter teaches the class.
According to Wikipedia, General Educational Development (GED) tests are a group of five subject tests which, when passed, certify that the taker has mastered certain levels of academic skills.
A graduation ceremony, to recognize the achievement, will take place in the general sessions courtroom of the Haywood County Justice Complex today at 9 a.m.
Sheriff Bond says he supports and encourages the class because he believes education can create new opportunity for the inmates once they have served their time. Taking the course sometimes helps inmates reduce their stay in jail. Bond said many more prisoners take the course and often graduate once they have been released.


Are you ready for some birding?
May 30, 2013

   The first ever Hatchie birdfest is set for this weekend. The birdfest kicks off Friday night at 7pm at College Hill Center. Fish & Wildlife Service Biologist Bob Ford will talk about the birds of Haywood County followed by a question and answer session.
There are activities all day Saturday including guided bird watching tours and programs at the Delta Heritage Center. The day ends with a Concert on the Porch at the Center.
See the schedule of events and register at There is no charge for the events.


More people working in April; Haywood unemployment numbers released
May 23, 2013

   Data released Thursday by the Tennessee Department of Workforce Development suggest a few more Haywood Countians were on the job in April than in March. The numbers indicate improvement from a year earlier, too.
All of the counties surrounding Haywood enjoyed a slightly lower unemployment rate except for Madison, which was up slightly and Hardeman, which was unchanged.
Madison: 8.2% (up from 8.1%)
Fayette: 9.5% (down from 9.7%)
Tipton 10.2% (down from 10.7%)
Crockett: 10.5% (down from 11.1%)
Hardeman 11.2% (unchanged from 11.2%)
Haywood 11.3% (down from 11.9%)
Lauderdale 13.5% (down from 14.2%)
All of the county unemployment data can be see by clicking ó


County yes to metro ó Brownsville up next
May 23, 2013

   Approving a charter commission for consolidating governments in Haywood County squeaked by the county commission Monday night by a vote of 11 to 9. All attention turns now to Brownsville where aldermen and the mayor will vote next month.
The next meeting of the Brownsville Board of Mayor and Aldermen is June 11. If Brownsville approves a charter commission then the appointment and funding process will go forward.If Brownsvilleís leaders vote no then the proposal dies unless citizens petition for a the commission ó something many say is likely.


Sobriety Checkpoints Set for Memorial Day Weekend May 24th to May 27th, 2013
May 23, 2013

   The Brownsville Police Department and the Haywood County Sheriffís will be increasing enforcement efforts during the Memorial Day weekend. Sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols will be conducted Friday May 24th ñ Monday May 27th, at three locations within the Brownsville city limits: Highway 76/Anderson Avenue, Bypass and Hatchie St., and Bypass at Highway 19. The checkpoints and saturation patrols will be conducted between 6:00pm ñ 3:00am.
Officers will concentrate their enforcement efforts on removing impaired drivers from the roadways.
Law enforcement will also be enforcing non-compliance with the safety belt law as well as child restraint laws.
The extra patrols are funded by a grant from the Governorís Highway Safety Office.


Funds available for wildlife conservation
May 23, 2013

   NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) ó Federal officials have set aside more than $1 million for Tennessee landowners who help conserve wildlife. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said owners of agricultural and forest land can apply by June 10 for funding under the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program.


Haywood County Commission meeting
May 21, 2013 – Reported by Betsy Reid

    Preliminary actions
The Haywood County Commission met in its regular monthly meeting last night. All 20 commissioners were present. Mayor Franklin Smith called the meeting to order at six pm; he asked for a moment of silence in memory of former County Commissioner Danny Claiborne. He also asked the group to remember ìhonorary chaplainî Walter Brown, who is recuperating in Crestview Nursing Home. Mayor Smith then led the group in prayer. Minutes from the March 18 meeting were approved as presented. The reports from the County Trustee, the Board of Education, and the Highway Commission were approved. The Education, Solid Waste, and Jail Committees had not met since the last Commission meeting. Public Safety Committee chairman Joe Stephens reported little change since the last Commission meeting. Conservation Board chairman Bob Hooper announced that the county swimming pool will open on May 28, and that the Arts Council will sponsor concerts at College Hill in June. Budget Committee chairman Allen King reported that no additional funds would be coming out of the Countyís fund balance.
Board of Equalization nominees Maltimore Bond, Tara Joyner, George Williams, Susan Scott-Wilson, and Rick Bowden were appointed for two-year terms.
Resolution to form a metro charter commission
Item number four on the agenda, resolution authorizing the formation of a charter commission for a metropolitan government, received the most attention of the evening. The item was moved by Commissioner Jerry Smith, and seconded by Commissioner Samuel Mathes Jr. Commissioner King led off the discussion, asking whether the votes of residents of rural Haywood County would be counted separately from those of residents of Brownsville. Mayor Smith replied that the votes would be tallied separately. If the City of Stanton opts into the process, those votes also will be counted separately. Commissioner King expressed concern that they had heard from only one county where the metro government effort failed. Commissioner King asked, among other things, what services would be combined under a metro government. Mayor Smith explained that the charter commission would have nine months to write the charter, and that they will address such questions. Commissioner King commented, that there will be ìno way to knowî what the county would save money on, or what it would spend more money on. When asked about the effect of metro government on the tax rate, Mayor Smith replied that the county will be divided into a general services district and urban services district.
Chairman King further asked what the $50,000 would be spent on. Mayor Smith replied that the money will be spent on expert assistance, expenses incurred by the committee, and legal expenses. No member of the charter commission will be paid for their services. Commissioner King commented that he never has seen a line drawn between the city and the county, but that this vote will draw a line. King then moved to table the motion to appoint a charter commission, until they can hear from counties which have voted against metro government. Commissioner John Gorman seconded the motion. Mayor Smith reminded them that, procedurally, he has to recognize Commissioner King for him to make the tabling motion. Smith also said that if the motion is tabled, it will in essence be killed
The motion to table failed on a roll call vote, 13 to seven. Commissioners voting to table the motion were Allen King, Richard Jameson, Charles Wills, John Gorman, Larry Stanley, Leonard Jones, and Robert Earl Thornton.
Commissioner Bob Hooper said that he would vote no, but if the motion passes he hopes to be appointed to the charter commission. Commissioner King called for a roll call vote on the question. Commissioner Chris Lea said that he planned to vote to give his constituents the opportunity to vote on the issue. Commissioner Leonard Jones stated that he has heard from more people on this issue than on any other issue, and that the most were against the commission. Commissioner Robert Green said that ìfor growth and prosperityî, he was going to support the effort to move forward with the metro conversation. Mayor Smith reminded the commissioners that if either the City of Brownsville or Haywood County fails to approve the charter ó or Stanton if they opt into the processóthe effort will fail. Finally, Mayor Smith said that if the effort fails at either the county or the city level, the issue can be brought to the public by a petition signed by 10% of the number of registered voters who participated in the last governorís raceóin this case, about 600 people.
Discussion ended and a roll call vote was taken. The matter passed; the final tally was eleven commissioners voting for the appointment of the charter commission and nine voting against. Commissioners voting against the charter commission were Allen King, Richard Jameson, Wally Eubanks, John Gorman, Becky Booth, Larry Stanley, Bob Hooper, Leonard Jones, and Robert Earl Thornton.
Resolution to name the baseball complex at Volunteer Park
The next item of business, a resolution to name the baseball complex at Volunteer Park, the A. Franklin Smith Baseball Complex, received only minor discussion, and passed on a voice vote. Resolution authorizing the submission of an application for a litter grant from TDOT and authorizing county mayor to execute litter contract with TDOT.
The resolution authorizing the submission of an application for a litter grant from TDOT and authorizing the county mayor to execute a litter contract with TDOT passed on a voice vote with no discussion.
Final items of business
Updates were given on the construction of a tornado safe space at Haywood Elementary and on the renovation at Stanton Headstart Center.
Budget Committee chairman Allen King presented several amendments to the 2012-13 budget, all of which were approved with little or no discussion. After the Call of Districts, the meeting was adjourned.


HHS Class of 2013 graduates earn $1,831,552
May 20, 2013

   When the Haywood High School Class of 2013 held its graduation Saturday morning, 189 students received diplomas on the L. Z. Hurley Memorial Field. But the big news came on Friday night, when administrators announced that students in this class earned a total of $1,831,552 in scholarships.
On Friday night, the seniors gathered in the HHS gymnasium for the graduation awards ceremony. Class Valedictorians are Amelia Davis, Sarah Lewis, Morgan Marlar, Molly McAdams and Rebecca Pearson, who all earned a 4.0 GPA. The rest of the Top Ten were Kenya Ector (#6), Emily Pilant (#7), Rashad Mann (#8), and Katora Holmes and Hannah Roberts, who tied for ninth place.
Also recognized were members of the Thirty-Plus Club: Connor Coulston, Chris Parker, Amy Davis, Rebecca Pearson, Emily Pilant and Molly McAdams. Each of these students has scored 30 or above on the ACT.
Winning the Joe T. Naylor Award for having the highest ACT score (30) among the boys in the class were Connor Coulston and Chris Parker. Amy Davis and Rebecca Pearson earned the Ed Thompson Award for having the highest ACT score (31) among the girls.
The Outstanding Career-Technical Scholar Award went to Connor Coulston, and the Outstanding REACH Academy Student was Briana Adams. Kadarren Bond and Molly McAdams were recipients of the Marine Distinguished Athlete Award, and the Marine Scholastic Excellence Award went to Rashad Mann and Katora Holmes.
Entering the military are Blake Call, Delvonte Pruitt, Lamarcus Williams, Tyle Cook, Kendal Middlebrooks, Willie Franklin and Anthony Prewitt.
Forty-four graduates earned the Tennessee Scholars distinction. This program is a business-led initiative endorsed by the Tennessee Department of Education, the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Tennessee Business Roundtable, and many other education coalitions across the state. To become Tennessee Scholars, students must complete a rigorous academic and technical course of study that exceeds the minimum requirements for a diploma. Collectively, class members who are Tennessee Scholars, performed nearly 3,520 hours of community service.
HHS Class of 2013 Tennessee Scholars are: Roneshia Alexander, Andrew Baggett, Jamecia Bond, Kadejhaa Bradford, Yaselin Cisneros, Connor Coulston, Kaayla Cunningham, Amelia Davis, Erin Dennis, DeíMarious Douglas, Kenya Ector, Amber Harris, Zhanebria Henderson, Maggie Herron, Aliceson Hobock, Katora Holmes, Matthew Hooper, Jamari Johnson, Taylor Killen, Octavius Lanier, Katie Lewis, Sarah Lewis, Allix Lonon, Montravious Maclin, Rashad Mann, Morgan Marlar, Molly McAdams, Adeana Murphy, Mary Drake Owen, Christopher Parker, Rebecca Pearson, Noryani Perez, Tressa Perez, Josh Perry, Emily Pilant, Calandria Reid, Hannah Roberts, Adrianna Shaw, Andrew Tarkington, Rashawn Walker, Amber Williams, LaMarcus Williams, Marshika Wood and Ciera Woods.
REDI College Access Awards – Estimated Total = $9,100
Our community participates in the REDI College Access Program. At the awards ceremony, Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne and Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith presented the Haywood County-City of Brownsville Scholarships to these students to attend post-secondary institutions for the 2013-2014 academic year: Katie Lewis ñ Jackson State Community College; Aliceson Hobock ñ Jackson State Community College; Maggie Herron ñ University of Memphis, Lambuth; Jessica Maclin ñ Jackson State Community College; Yaselin Cisneros ñ Jackson State Community College; Kenya Ector ñ University of Memphis; Brandy Jones ñ Jackson State Community College; Sheronica Hammond ñ Jackson State Community College; Rhonda Clark ñ Jackson State Community College; Brent Crawford ñ Tennessee Technology Center, Whiteville; Taylor Jones – Tennessee Technology Center, Whiteville; Brittany Bradford ñ University of Memphis; and Traveka Person ñ Jackson State Community College.
College and University Scholarships – $642,452 (4 years)
Twenty-one students earned a total of $642,242 (over 4 years) in college and university scholarships.
HOPE Scholarships — $1,066,000 over 4 years
The State of Tennessee provides HOPE Scholarships (from lottery money) for students who meet certain academic requirements and who will continue their education at a postsecondary school in Tennessee. Sixty-seven seniors meet these academic criteria and are eligible for scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $5,500 per year, pending approval from the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation. Other students may qualify as their application process is completed.
Students who have an ACT score of 29 or higher and who have a grade-point average of 3.75 or higher qualify for the General Assembly Merit Scholarship in addition to the HOPE Scholarship. Five of our graduates ñ Connor Coulston, Sarah Lewis, Morgan Marlar, Rebecca Pearson, and Emily Pilant ñ meet these qualifications and will receive General Assembly Merit Scholarship, pending approval from the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation.
And last but not least, from local groups, organizations, individuals and families, Haywood High School graduates received $114,000 in scholarships.
After the awards ceremony Friday night, HHS Principal Dr. Jerry Pryon spoke to the seniors, ìGraduates, remember, to whom much is given, much is required. Tonight, local individuals and organizations, have come together to give you a great deal of money. All they ask in return is that you work hard to put the money to good use by learning all that you can. If you keep your grades up and remain eligible to renew your college and lottery scholarships for four years, members of the Class of 2013 will leave here tonight with a combined total of $1,831,552 to help further their education over the next 4 years.î


Football stadium being polished up for final march
May 17, 2013

   Plenty of people ó workers and volunteersó are getting set for the Big Day for high school seniors. Haywood Highís graduation is tomorrow. The ceremony, weather permitting, will be held at LZ Hurley Memorial Stadium at 10am.
About 200 students will graduate. Haywood Highís graduates are famous for reeling in hundreds of thousands ó and sometimes millions of dollars in scholarships. The scholarships will be announced Saturday.


Russell presents organizational chart for Haywood Schools
May 15, 2013

   Haywood County School Superintendent Teresa Russell presented announced her executive level organizational chart for 2013-14 school year. She made the presentation Tuesday night at the monthly Haywood County School Board meeting.
Russell created no new positions but changed some titles. Vincent Harvell is the school systemís Chief Financial Officer and he is also serving as the deputy superintendent, the job formerly held by Russell. Art Garrett, serves as Chief Operations Officer and Toni Eubanks is the Chief Talent and Strategy Officer.
To meet the coming changes in education, she has made changes in titles and responsibilities in the curriculum and instruction department to include Common Core Specialists for each school level.
School lunches up a little
Itíll cost students and staff a little more to eat in school cafeterias next year. Nutrition Director Allison Pyron said Tuesday that student lunch prices will be raised to $2 and adults will pay $3.50.


Funding, scholarships and new building project ó Haywood County School Board
May 15, 2013

   Haywood County Schools completed some budget housekeeping this week. Deputy Superintendent/CFO Vincent Harvell reported a number of budget amendments and also reported that the Catherine Colhoun Trust will give six $2,000 scholarships to seniors this year. The balance of the fund as of March 31 is $240,616. The Colhoun Trust started with a $268,000 donation/balance and has provided $178,000 in scholarships over the years.
Harvell also reported this week that renovation construction is on schedule at HHS, and is expected to be complete in August or September.
Another building project ó the Tornado Safe Space at Haywood Elementary ó should be completed by August or September. Funding for a similar structure at Haywood middle school has been approved, and that project should get underway soon.


Metro Government and economic expansion in focus at Brownsville City Board
May 15, 2013

   The topic of Metro government was on the Brownsville City Boardís agenda at its monthly meeting last night. That and reactivation of the Revolving Loan Fund along with department reports resulted in a lengthy meeting. All four aldermen and the Mayor were present.
To begin the meetingís discussion on metro government, Mayor Matherne introduced Teddy Waldrop – Haywood County Commissioner and chair of the recent Metro Government Study Committee ñ who gave an overview of the committeeís work and report. It was the same report presented at the Haywood County Commission meeting in March and the Public Hearing on Metro Government in April.
Mayor Matherne then introduced David Angerer and Ronnie Neil, municipal management consultants with MTAS ñ the University of Tennesseeís Municipal Technical Advisory Service. MTAS staff works with cities across Tennessee to assist in all areas of city management.
Mr. Angerer started his remarks by saying that he wasnít there to be critical of anything that had been done or to criticize anyone. He said, ìWe have helped many cities in West Tennessee write or amend their chartersÖand what you would be undertaking would be a new charter on steroids Ö this would be the biggest vote a city could have in Tennessee.î
Angerer went on to say that no studies that MTAS has reviewed show that metro government necessarily increases government efficiency or is more economical than separate governments. He emphasized that quality of government services should be considered, not just the cost of services. He added, ìWhen you have to find a doctor to do heart surgery on you, you donít necessarily just want the guy who is the cheapest.î
Angerer concluded his remarks by saying ìI wonít say metro government is a bad deal Ö or that it wonít work Ö but you can create a lot of the consolidation you want with inter-local government agreementsÖ. You can do a lot of what you want without going to a metro governmentÖMetro government is like getting married with no chance of divorce Ö once itís done, itís permanent.î
The Haywood County Commission will vote next Monday, May 20th, on whether to establish a Metro Government Charter Commission. If the measure is passed by the County Commission, the City Board will vote on it at its June meeting. If it doesnít pass the County Commission, it can be moved forward by a citizensí petition.
Revolving Loan Fund
The Board voted unanimously to re-activate a local funding program for small businesses which began back in the 1980s. The program — called the Revolving Loan Fund — will be available to for-profit businesses in Brownville for various uses including 1) acquisition of land and/or building, 2) construction or renovation of facilities, 3) machinery or equipment, and 4) professional fees.
The funds cannot be used for 1) working capital, 2) debt consolidation, 3) refinancing, or 4) personal expenses. Mayor Matherne emphasized that these funds are not grants, but rather loans that will be repaid to the City.
NEW Police Officers
Two of the Cityís new police officers were introduced to the Board of Aldermen last night. Officer Lance Chandler is from Bells, lives in Brownsville, and is the son of a veteran Tennessee state trooper.
Officer Adrian Perkins grew up in Memphis, lives in Brownsville, and has family in Brownsville ñ including Sgt. Mitchell Turner and Sgt Ray Turner.
These two officers and Officer Dallas Byrd will complete all of their training ñ including attending the Police Academy — this summer.
Delta Heritage Center director Sonia Outlaw-Clark updated the Board about plans for the Exit 56 Blues Fest Saturday May 25Önoting that this yearís Festival will include a deep-fried barbecue eating contest Ö the winner will be the person who can eat the most deep fired bbq in 10 minutes! She also gave details about the first-ever Hatchie Bird Fest which will be held May 30, June 1 and June 2nd at the Delta Heritage Center and Hatchie Wildlife Refuge. The Bird Fest will include speakers, hikes, music, exhibits and food. City building inspector Jerry McClinton reported that Valley Irrigation has begun on the bypass near Tennessee Tractor.
Slum Clearance officer Rene Hendrix reported that Tom Mann submitted the low bids for demolition work on Robin, Greenwood, McLemore Streets and Grand Avenue. The city will recycle as much of the concrete and bricks from those structures as possible. One new business open Ö another on the way Fast Pace medical care center has opened its facility located in the retail complex on Dupree in front of Wal-Mart.
And a new business is coming to Brownsville that will offer transportation and taxi services. It has been a while since the City had a taxi service and so the taxi Board membership had to be revisedÖ Board members are now Leon King of the City Board, Chuck Willis of the Police Department and Jessie Rosales of the City Clerkís office.
Donít be concerned if you see people wandering around taking pictures of old buildings and such Ö
The City is undertaking a citywide survey to identify buildings with historic, cultural or preservation value. Staff from Phil Thomason & Associates of Nashville will be in Brownsville for the next few weeks, taking pictures of various properties. The work is being funded by a Historical Preservation Grant from the State of Tennessee.
And finally, Relay for Life will be held on the Court Square in Brownsville on Saturday, June 8thÖ the annual Survivorsí Lunch will be held on Thursday, June 6th at Christ Church.


Deep-fried barbecue makes debut at Exit 56 Blues Fest
May 10, 2013

   Do you love barbecue? Have you tried it deep-fried? Attendees to this year’s Exit 56 Blues Fest will get an opportunity to try the bite-sized, deep-fried barbecue nuggets and even compete to see who can eat the most. The Deep-Fried BBQ Eating Championship will take place at 4 p.m., Saturday, May 25, at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville.
Contestants must be at least 18 years of age and will have 10 minutes to eat as many deep-fried barbecue bites as possible. Water and sauce will be plentiful to help wash it down. There is a $5 entry fee and the lucky winner will receive a trophy, t-shirt and prize package. Interested parties are asked to pre-register for the competition by May 23. Complete rules and registration can be found at
Along with great barbecue, festival attendees can spend the afternoon and evening listening to the Blues. Concerts will be performed from the porch of the Sleepy John Estes home and features performers such as Sean “Bad” Apple, Bluesberry Jam Band, Little Boys Blue and headliner TeeDee Young.
Car enthusiasts can cruise-in from 1-3 p.m., to compete for titles such as “Cool Chrome” “Most Likely to Get a Ticket” and 12 other fun titles. There is no entry fee and motorcycles are welcome, too.
Arts and crafts vendors will also be on site throughout the afternoon for those wanting to add a little shopping to the Blues mix. Jewelry, woodwork and paintings are just a few of the items you’ll find.
Admission to the festival is free and open to the public. A complete schedule is available online, or by calling the Delta Heritage Center at 731-779-9000.
About the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is a Tourist Information Center and three regional museums that highlight West Tennessee Cotton, West Tennessee Music and the Hatchie River. Also on the grounds of the Center is the last home of Blues pioneer Sleepy John Estes and the childhood school of Tina Turner. The Center is located at 121 Sunny Hill Cove in Brownsville, Tenn., right off of Interstate 40 at Exit 56. Online at


Main Street data released
May 2, 2013

   Brownsville is one of two dozen towns across Tennessee that participate in the Tennessee Main Street program and the people that run Main Street said in a news release earlier this week that the economic impact has already been significant.
According to the Main Street web site the program has resulted in new businesses, jobs and other improvements. The list includes:
New Jobs ó 617
New Businesses ó 135
Building rehabilitations projects ó 224
Public improvement projects ó 371
New construction projects ó 25
Housing units created ó 28
Number of volunteer hours ó 103,614
The web site claims the private and public investment in the Main Street communities is $89.5 million.


Haywood County metro government public hearing
April 29, 2013 – Reported by Martha Lyle Ford

   Approximately 45 people attended last nightís public hearing on metro government held at the Haywood County Justice Complex. Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith led the hearing. During the hour-long meeting, Smith described the process leading up to the hearing and next steps; he then took questions from the audience.
On February 28, 2013, the Metropolitan Government Study Committee voted 16-10 to recommend that a Charter Commission be formed. The Commission would be charged with writing a charter that would consolidate Haywood County and Brownsville governments into one. Stantonís government could also be included.
Smith explained that on May 20th, the Haywood County Commission will vote on whether to establish a Commission to draft a Charter for Metro government. If the measure passes by a simple majority, then the Brownsville Board of Mayor and Aldermen will vote on the same question at its June meeting.
If both bodies vote to establish a Charter Commission, then Mayor Smith will appoint 10 members and Mayor Matherne will appoint 5 members to the Charter Commission. If Stanton chooses to be part of the metro government process, it would have a person on the Charter Commission who would serve as a consultant but would not have a vote. It then becomes the Charter Commissionís responsibility to draft a document outlining the structure of a new, proposed unified government.
If either the Haywood County Commission OR the Brownsville City Board votes to not establish a Charter Commission, then the matter is defeated, with one exception. A group of citizens could create a petition to establish the Charter Commission. The petition would have to be signed by 10% of the number of voters who voted in the 2010 gubernatorial election. In other words, if 6,000 people voted in Haywood County in the 2010 governorís race, then the citizensí petition to establish a Charter Commission would have to have 600 signatures to succeed.
The 15-member Charter Commission would have 9 months to write a charter for the new metro government. The Haywood County Commission would provide up-to $50,000 for the work of the commission ñ paying for experts to assist in the research and writing of the charter. All Charter Commission meetings would be open to the public.
After the proposed charter is written, the Election Commission would have 90 days to have a referendum election on the proposed charter. For the proposal to become official, the referendum would have to be approved by a majority of voters in the City of Brownsville and by a majority of rural Haywood County voters, and a majority in Stanton, if Stanton chooses to be part of the proposal.
Smith pointed out that, during the entire process, the three existing governments ñ Brownsville City Board, Haywood County Commission, and Stanton City Board ñ would continue to operate.
Comments from the hearing
When asked about the possible success of a referendum, Smith said, ìIn my opinion, if the referendum was held tomorrow, itíd have a good chance of passing in the City (Brownsville) and a small chance in the County (rural Haywood).î
The mayor endorsed a consolidated government. ìIt has served Nashville well for 50 years. And for a county of 18,000 people, one government would work better than three,î Mayor Smith commented. He was referring to Brownsville City government, Haywood County government, and Stanton city government.
When asked about the status of various departments in the proposed metro government, Smith speculated that
Garbage collection would stay the way it is now;
Brownsville Energy and Southwest Electric would each continue as they are;
There would be a unified public works department;
City and County Road maintenance would be consolidated;
There would still be six constitutional officers including the sheriff, who could be the chief law enforcement officer;
There would be a Metro Mayor and Metro Commissioners; the charter would establish the number of Metro Commissioners and the districts.
He pointed out that many City and County services are already consolidated: The schools have been consolidated since 1970; Parks and Recreation is already consolidated; and that the three governments work cooperatively already.
Other Discussion
ïHow would the tax system work? ìThere would be one tax Ö the entire county would be a general service district Ö there would only be a metro tax Ö the rate could be different depending on which services you get based on where you live Ö in the County or in the City,î Smith said.
ï Higher taxes? When asked if there would be a tax increase, Smith said, ìI think taxes would be fairly stable. I think the tax rate acceleration of the County would slow downÖI donít think taxes will go up.î Commissioner Allen King, who is a farmer, said his taxes had gone up significantly in recent years Ö Smith said the Property Assessorís assessment of farmland value doesnít depend on whether thereís metro government or separate governments. He added that under metro government, there would no longer be separate taxes.
ï Charter commission provided direction? Mayor said the Charter Commission would follow guidelines and rules from the State of Tennessee and would be trying to create a charter for a government that would serve the people of the Haywood County. Smith said that if both County and City governments choose to establish a Charter Commission, the Commission would be racially balanced, balanced between rich and poor Ö ìI want it to be reflective of our county Ö we have one of the most diverse counties in the state Ö and Iím proud of that.î
ï Impact on grants available? Smith said he thought it would be a benefit to have metro government because sometimes grants have to be divided three-ways among Brownsville, Stanton and Haywood County. But Brownsville Mayor Matherne pointed out an instance where it had benefitted the governments to be separate Ö each had received a maximum grant amount.
ï Why isnít everybody else doing it? One County Commissioner at the meeting asked why there werenít more than three metro governments in the state Ö He said; ìThere are 95 counties in Tennessee. What makes us think weíre smarter than all those other counties Ö If this is such a great thing, why arenít more counties doing it?î Smith responded that he thought it was probably because people donít like change or giving up their power.
ìI donít know that metro government is the answer Ö but in this day when people want less intrusive government it seems to me like one government for the whole county would be less intrusive than three.î


Metro Government heard today
April 29, 2013

   If youíve been curious about consolidating all of the governments in Haywood County ó or maybe youíve formed an opinion about it already ó tonight is the night for you.
A public hearing on metro-government will begin tonight at 6pm at the justice complex in Brownsville. The session will help you understand more about the work done by the county study committee. Tonightís meeting could be pivotal in the decision county commissioners are about to make about whether there should be next steps.


Haywood birding festival registration and Internet sites now available
April 26, 2013

   The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is hosting a birding festival in Haywood County, TN May 31 through June 2, 2013 and there is new website to help birders prepare.
Speakers are scheduled for both Friday and Saturday nights. Birding hikes (for both beginners and advanced birders) are scheduled over several days and there are other events including activities for children, Saturday afternoon talks, and exhibits. There will be plant sales from local nurseries, and a demonstration from live rehab hawks. A few activities are still tentative, so “like” the festival on Facebook and get updates as events become confirmed. All of the activities are free and open to anyone.
In an effort to ensure quality experiences for all of the hikes, sponsors request pre-registration for hikes. Bird experts will be leading hikes of 8 – 12 people. Some target species that you may be interested in, include good chances for Cerulean Warbler, Swainson’s Warbler, and Mississippi Kite. The Hatchie bottomland hardwood forest is well known for its high density of American Redstarts and Prothonotary Warblers. Many other species will be seen as well.


Got old medicines you need to dump? Saturday is the day
April 24, 2013

   The Haywood County Sheriffís Department and the Brownsville Police Department are participating in the Drug Enforcement Agencyís National Drug Take Back Day.
This Saturday between 10am and 2pm sheriffís deputies will be set up in front of Wal-Mart and police officers will be stationed at the police department downtown to receive prescription medicines that need to be destroyed.
The goal of the project is to provide a means for people to safely discard medicines they no longer need. Officials say it also helps reduce the chance the medicines may be stolen and used illegally.


Emergency vehicles at the high school ó but not to worry
April 23, 2013

   Emergency crews will pile into the Haywood High Parking lot today at about 10am but itís only a drill, according to the Brownsville Police Department. The BPD stages a mock DUI car crash in the high school parking lot every year a few weeks before graduation.
Emergency workers will be ìtreatingî car crash victims in an effort to impress upon the soon-to-be graduates the dangers of driving impaired.


Singing with Soul
April 22, 2013

Singing with Soul might sound a bit clichÈ to some but the phrase appropriately describes the down-home gospel sound of The Como Mamas The three life-long African-American gospel singers have sauntered in from the small Delta town of Como, Mississippi. Their new, critically acclaimed album ìGet an Understandingî features only three instrumentsóthe powerful, raspy voice of Ester Mae Smith, the deep soothing sounds of Angela Taylor, and the energetic, spirited vocals of Della Daniels. Recently featured SXSW 2013(South By SouthWest) music festival in Austin Texas, the group garnered huge audience followings that led to being voted one of the festivalís top 3 acts.
Donít miss this opportunity to hear the spirit and soul of the Delta. The harmonies of the Como Mamas are so powerful, musical accompaniment will not be missed. And neither should this May 5, 3 pm show.
Tickets are available at area Brownsville banks, Livingstonís or from the Arts Council office (731.772.4883).


Brownsville to host “Cancer Queens! A Cancer Prevention Musical Revue”
April 22, 2013

A group of professional health educators will provide a light-hearted approach to a serious subject when they present a cancer prevention musical Saturday, May 4, in Brownsville, Tenn. The performance will begin at 6 p.m., at the Ann Marks Performing Arts Theater. While there is no admission charge for the event, donations will be accepted and will benefit the American Cancer Society.
Known as the Cancer Queens, the group presents ways to improve health and reduce cancer risk through original lyrics and dances to tunes of popular songs. For example, dancing to the tune of Brooks and Dunn’s “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” they encourage audiences to eat fruit and veggies and to go and get their Pap smears” to a parody of the Little Eva song, “Locomotion.” I’m always amazed at the lack of knowledge and awareness of the impact on health that simple lifestyle choices can have,” said Brownsville Relay for Life Chairperson Carolyn Flagg. “The Cancer Queens present that information in a way that is fun and easy to remember. They engage audience members by entertaining them and drawing them into the fun.”
Recognized by the Centers for Disease Control, the Cancer Queens have been bringing their health messages to audiences in churches, schools, women’s organizations and other venues across the state of Tennessee for the last three years. The group is part of the Office of Community Outreach of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, in Nashville.
For more information about Brownsville’s Relay for Life and the Cancer Queen performance, contact Flagg at 731-772-0425.


Historic planners to see Brownsville downtown plan today
April 18, 2013

   Much of downtown Brownsville is in an downtown Historic District governed by city ordinance. Leaders in Brownsville are working to improve and protect historic architecture. The historic planning board will review a professional plan today.
The planning board meets at 4pm at Brownsvilleís city hall and their agenda includes an historic and architectural survey presentation from preservation planning firm, Thomason & Associates.
Mayor Jo Matherne says the work is in accordance with the Brownsville on the Move Plan. We reported last week that the mayor promises low interest loans among incentives for building owners interested in improving and protecting their properties. About Thomason & Associates
According to their web site, Thomason & Associates was founded in 1982. They claim to have completed over 700 preservation projects that include ìfarmsteads in the South to courthouse squares in the Midwest and historic districts in the Northwest.î


Stanton amends beer-selling ordinance and talks consolidated government
April 17, 2013

   Stanton Mayor Allen Sterbinsky said the Stanton Board of Mayor and Alderman will serve as the communityís beer board. The creation of the beer board came at yesterdayís Stanton city council meeting. Stanton has permitted the sale of package beer for a couple of years.
Stantonís leaders are also being briefed about considerations for consolidated government. Yesterday county study committee member Allen King made a presentation to the Stanton Board. Sterbinsky says he is asking various members of the study group to visit with his board based on how they have already voted on the issue. King voted against recommending that any further steps be taken in consolidated government. Sterbinsky says a proponent will also present. Next month the Stanton board will hear metro government information from officials from the Municipal Technical Advisory Service. Stanton aldermen could be asked to vote in June.


Brownsville travels to Muskogee for multicultural exchange
April 15, 2013

   A group from Brownsville traveled to Muskogee, Ok., April 12 – 14, as part of a multicultural exchange between the two cities. The exchange began last September when residents of Muskogee visited for the Tina Turner Celebration.
Brownsville was greeted by Chamber officials and treated to a full weekend of activities, including visiting the USS Batfish submarine, the Azalea Festival and Chili Cook-off, Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, Honor Heights Park and a tour of the city. The highlight of the trip was the Bare Bones Film Festival and the screening of the documentary “From Muskogee to Nutbush: In Search of Tina Turner American Music Icon.”
The film follows Muskogee’s Rising Stars, a group of students participating in the town’s music Spotlight Program, as they traveled to Brownsville and Nutbush to learn more about Anna Mae Bullock and her rise to fame as Tina Turner.
Twelve-year-old Memphis native Emma Webb joined the Brownsville group and provided the entertainment for the opening of the film. She was joined on stage by the same Rising Stars featured in the film. Brownsville scenes include clips from the ribbon cutting of the Flagg Grove School and a tour of Nutbush. Local people are also featured in the film, including Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne and Pam and Joe Stephens.
Brownsville residents will have the opportunity to see the documentary this September during the annual Tina Turner Heritage Celebration.

A group of 17 visited Muskogee, Ok., for tours and the screening of the new documentary “From Muskogee to Nutbush,” April 12-14, 2013. Pictured are (from left, standing) Director of the Muskogee Spotlight Program Michael Anthamatten, Mary Hines, Mayor Jo Matherne, Phyllis and Austin Brown, Sonia Outlaw-Clark, Jean Avery, Muskogee historian Jonita Mullins, Spotlight Program’s Clayton Campbell and Muskogee Chamber President Treasure McKenzie; (from left, kneeling) Paula Webb, Vickie Cooper, Emma Webb, Andy Cooper, Vice Mayor Carolyn Flagg, Peggy Jones and Austin Webb. Not pictured are Joe Stephens and Joseph, A.C. and Rooks Stephens.


Haywood County Metro government meeting set for April 29
April 15, 2013

   Have a question or maybe a comment about consolidating the governments in Haywood County? Mark your calendars for two weeks from today. Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith says April 29 is the date.
Mayor Smith said yesterday he plans on allowing public comment on the proposal during the public hearing. The event comes just before local governments are set to vote on whether to advance the measure with the appointment of a charter commission. County commissioners will be asked to vote in May. If county government seeks a charter, Stanton and Brownsvilleís political leaders are likely to decide in June whether their governments are to be included.
County government started the consolidation discussions by voting unanimously in early 2012 to form a study group. The study committee voted to recommend governments form a charter commission.


Dixie Youth gets grand grand opening ó Smith honored with naming of baseball complex
April 15, 2013

   Volunteer Park was a mob scene Saturday ó a mob of kids and parent who were celebrating the opening of Dixie Youth Baseball. Nearly 200 children age 3 to 12 will participate in youth baseball this year, according to Dixie Youth leader Michael Banks.
Leaders also announced Saturday that the four-field baseball complex will now be named in honor of one of its original developers. Volunteer Parkís baseball development is now known as the A Franklin Smith III Baseball Complex. Smith was among the early proponents of the recreational facility that came to be known as Volunteer Park because of the many people who worked to create it. Smith has helped see the facility is maintained and grown.


Haywood County School Board one of ìDistinctionî
Updated – April 11, 2013

   The Haywood County School Board was recognized at its meeting Tuesday night, April 9, as a Tennessee School Board Association Board of Distinction, highlighting outstanding board performance. Cynthia Glenn, TSBA Delta District Director from Lauderdale County, was on hand to make the presentation. This award, one of TSBAís most prestigious, celebrates the achievements of those boards that have met the challenge of leadership in every area of their board responsibility. Mrs. Glenn said that the Haywood County Board is one of a select few boards that earn this designation. The HCS Board has been a Board of Distinction since 1990.

The Haywood County School Board was recognized as a TSBA Board of Distinction at the meeting on April 9. This prestigious honor celebrates the achievements of those boards that have met the challenge of leadership in every area of their responsibility. Pictured are TSBA Presenter Cynthia Glenn of Lauderdale County, Superintendent Teresa Russell and board members Harold Garrett, Greg Vanstory, Robbie Jarrett-King, Allen Currie and Pearlie Hess.
In other business, board members approved the adoption of reading books for grades K-6.ÜThey also decided to award six $2,000 scholarships to selected HHS seniors from the Catherine Colhoun Scholarship fund that the Haywood County Board of Education manages.
The HHS Step Team, under the direction of teacher Cherie Timberlake, was approved to take a trip to St. Louis, Missouri, then to Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville to participate in a discussion forum regarding transition into college life and getting involved on campus.
Board members approved Five Points Benefits Solution to serve as the Haywood County Schools broker/agent for its benefit plans. They also approved the company US Able to manage the plans.

Scholarships available
School Board members voted to provide six college scholarships. The $2,000 scholarships will be funded from the Catherine Colhoun Scholarship fund.


Two Haywood Countians named Most Influential
April 9, 2013

   Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne and Stantonís Emma Delk were among 20 women named in the Jackson Sunís Sterling Awards. The awards pick West Tennesseeís most influential women.
Delk is the co-director of the Stanton Welcome Center and Library. Delk also served for 26 years as an alderman in Stanton and has been instrumental in community projects there ranging from development of the Farmerís Market to providing free Internet and GED services.
Matherne, the first female mayor of Brownsville, was instrumental in developing Brownsville on the Move. Matherne, among her many accomplishments, has appointed a record number of women and minorities to leadership positions in Brownsville.


More people working in Haywood County ó state data released
March 29, 2013

   County unemployment rates for February 2013, released Thursday, report the unemployment rate decreased in 87 of Tennesseeís 95 counties, increased in five, and stayed the same in three.
Haywood Countyís rate was down fractionally and so was the rate in all of our neighboring counties.
Madison, 8.1%
Fayette County, 10%
Crockett County, 11.6%
Tipton, 11.5%
Haywood, 11.9% down from 12.4% a month earlier
Lauderdale, 13.8%
The entire report is available here:


Brownsville Planners recommend city take in tracts south of I-40
March 29, 2013

   The Brownsville City Board of Mayor and Aldermen will have the final say in an annexation that could take in to Brownsville a potentially important sliver of land near I-40ís Exit 56. The Brownsville Planning Board recommended the annexation during a meeting yesterday at City Hall.
The property is mostly in the southwest corner of the Exit 56 interchange and encompasses 30 acres. Jackson, Tennessee developer David Hunt owns some of the property and has, for several years, promised to build a hotel and restaurant there.
You can see the map of the property and a detailed description HERE
The city board must pass the annexation on two readings for it to become official.
New business for Dupree
Valley Irrigationís plan to build a new building on a lot located of Dupree Street was approved by the planning board yesterday. The business sells farm irrigation systems and is affiliated with John Deer dealer, Tennessee Tractor.
Valley Irrigation will be located between the Haywood County Road Department and the vacant car dealership building. Sources say it is likely construction will begin very soon.
See this week’s Brownsville Planning Commission agenda and the minutes of last month’s Planning Commission meeting by clicking on these links:
Brownsville Agenda and Staff Memo.pdf
Planning Commission Minutes 02-13.pdf


Brownsville on the Move Report released
March 29, 2013

   Brownsville leaders have complied the results of their work in achieving the goals of the Brownsville on the Move initiative. City planners and the historic zoning commission were presented the report at recent meetings.
The compilation lists 15 items government leaders say help accomplish the goals of the plan. The achievements range from winning a Community Excellence Award from Southwest Tennessee Development District to the cityís participation in the school systemís Gear-Up program.
You can read the entire report HERE


Clark Earns ëTravel Marketing Professionalí Certification from Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College
March 22, 2013

   Three-year program recognized nationally for continuing education
ATLANTA, Ga. (March 19, 2012): Sonia Outlaw-Clark, director of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, has earned certification as a ìTravel Marketing Professionalî (TMP) after completing the three-year program of the Southeast Tourism Society (STS) Marketing College.
Clark was one of 47 new TMPs recognized at the STS spring meeting in Atlanta, Ga., Tuesday, March 19. STS Marketing College started in 1992, and 749 people have earned TMP certification. Clark was also recognized and presented a certification in festival and event planning.

(Left photo) Sonia Outlaw-Clark (pictured second from left) is among seven Travel Marketing Professionals who also earned certification as Festival and Events Planner during the spring meeting of the Southeast Tourism Society in Atlanta, Ga., March 19. (Right photo) Southeast Tourism Society President Bill Hardman presents Sonia Outlaw-Clark with her Travel Marketing Professional diploma Tuesday, March 19, at the Southeast Tourism Society Spring Symposium in Atlanta, Ga. Also pictured is Angie Briggs, vice-president of Miles Media, presenting sponsors of STS Marketing College.

The STS Marketing College is a professional development program that for one week each summer turns the facilities of North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, Ga., into a laboratory to teach tourism marketing.
Instructors are working professionals in the travel industry such as convention and visitors bureau executives, public relations practitioners, sales and marketing consultants and research experts.
ìThis is not another program like ours in the country; we are the envy of travel professionals in other regions,î said Bill Hardman, president and chief executive officer of STS.
Tourism ranks as the first, second or third-largest industry in the 12 STS states that stretch from Virginia to Louisiana.
Course topics include special events marketing, media relations, tourism advertising, vacation research, crisis management, heritage tourism and community/rural tourism. After the classroom work, students also must complete a project that relates to their employment.
ìOur curriculum is practical. What students learn can be put to use as soon as they get back to their workplaces,î Hardman said.
The newest group of TMPs also raised enough funds for eight scholarships for future STS Marketing College students.
About Southeast Tourism Society (STS)
Founded in 1983, the Southeast Tourism Society ( promotes and develops tourism in its 12 member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Its headquarters are in Atlanta. The membership includes state travel offices, attractions, hotels, motels, resorts, convention and visitors bureaus, airlines, car rental agencies, newspapers, magazines and other travel-related organizations.

Southwest manager new president WTIA
March 22, 2013

   West Tennessee Industrial Associationís work includes attracting industry and job retention in West Tennessee, and the organization has a new president. Kevin Murphy, general manager of the Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation, is the incoming president. Southwest is headquartered in Brownsville and serves thousands of rural utility customers in central West Tennessee.
Alex Smith, manager of the Humboldt Utility Department, is the associationís new vice president. Jeff Graves, Manager of the Lexington Electric System, has been elected secretary/treasurer.
WTIAís headquarters is in Jackson. Michael Philpot is the executive director.


Randall Taylor Jr., Conservationist of the Year
March 20, 2013

   The 2012 J.B. McAdams Conservationist of the Year award “…has a history of dedication to the conservation of natural resources in Haywood County.” Randall Taylor Jr. won the award at this yearís Soil Conservation Banquet hosted by the local USDA farm services office.
Taylor farms near two thousand acres of cropland that includes cotton, corn, soybeans and wheat. Nearly all of Taylorís farming operations are no-till. He employs over 16 miles of terraces and diversions and over 20 acres of grassed waterways.


Tina Turner graces the cover of German Vogue
March 18, 2013

   Haywood County’s most famous native, Anna Mae Bullock, known worldwide as Tina Turner, is the oldest woman to grace the cover of Vogue Magazine. Turner, who turned 73 in November, is featured on the cover of the April 2013 issue of German Vogue. According to the magazine’s interview, Turner talks about her hometown of Nutbush and the Flagg Grove School project.

“We are so excited that Ms. Turner mentions her involvement with the Flagg Grove School project,” said West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center Director Sonia Outlaw-Clark. “She speaks of the beauty of the farmland around Nutbush and remembers walking to Flagg Grove School with her sister and classmates.”
The school’s restoration project began in June 2012 when the school was donated and moved to the Delta Heritage Center. According to Clark, the project could take up to three years to complete.
Once completed, the school will highlight African-American early education and the legacy of students who attended there. The school was built in 1889 on land donated by Benjamin Flagg, Turner’s great-uncle, making Flagg Grove school not only the school she attended but a part of her family’s legacy. Turner’s involvement with the project will include memorabilia and displays once the building has been restored.
As the project moves forward, it will be dependent on public fundraising efforts. Since the Vogue article appeared, fans have begun making donations through a link on the Center’s website.
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is a tourist information center and home to three regional museums depicting the history and culture of West Tennessee. To learn more or to make a donation to the Flagg Grove School restoration, visit or call 731-779-9000.


Metro government vote ó Brownsville will wait to hear from Haywood County Commissioners
March 17, 2013

   Mayor Jo Matherne said Brownsville Aldermen likely wouldnít vote on taking the next steps toward formation of a metro government until after the Haywood County Commission has spoken. The commissionís vote wonít come for a couple of months, so the cityís position probably wonít be known until June.
The Metro Government Study Committee voted to recommend that a charter commission be formed. A charter commission would author the document by which a consolidated government would operate. To go forward with the charter leaders in Brownsville and Haywood County government must approve. Stanton can opt in or out.
The metro study group was formed at the suggestion of Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith. The county commission unanimously approved the study last year.
Mayor Matherne said she thinks it appropriate the city council consider the matter only after county commissioners have decided if they want to participate in the charter committee.
The county commission will receive the report when they meet Monday night, but Mayor Franklin Smith says they wonít be asked to vote until May. The county commission doesnít meet in April.


Helen is ìQueenî of BBQ
March 17, 2013

   You already knew it, but according to Garden & Gun magazine, Helen Turner is officially the countryís new queen of BBQ. In a blog written a week or so ago, Garden & Gun provides details about how Turner, best known in Brownsville as Helen of Helenís BBQ, boarded a plane and travelled to Charleston, South Carolina for this yearís Wine + Food Festival. There she was crowned queen by the Southern Foodways Alliance.
Helen, heralded as one of the few female pitmasters in the country, had already won the Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award and has been the star of a mini-documentary produced by Southern Foodways.
Helenís BBQ is located on North Washington Street in Brownsville.
Read the Garden & Gun blog at


Brownsville takes action on three measures: Zoning, building code, municipal code in focus
March 13, 2013

   he Brownsville City Board made quick work of a short agenda Tuesday. During their regular monthly meeting, aldermen and the mayor agreed to two ordinances that effect zoning and building codes.
Dupree rezone
City leaders approved the second reading of the ordinance to rezone parts of Dupree Street between East Main and Washington Avenue. According to Mayor Matherne, this ordinance will get the zoning on Dupree in agreement with the actual usage of the properties. It changes the zoning of the houses on Dupree from industrial to residential.
Building Code
The board also adopted the International Building Code for the city. This measure is important for insurance and city rating purposes and for Brownsville to be in sync with the State of Tennesseeís building codes. This was the first reading on the ordinance; the second reading will be at the April City Board meeting.
Municipal Code
The city board updated the City of Brownsvilleís Municipal Code. According to City Clerk Jessica Frye, the latest Brownsville code on file with the stateís Municipal Technical Advisory Service is dated 1983. Changes and additions to the Code passed in the past 30 years are not included in the comprehensive document and, in fact, they are not compiled anywhere.
The resolution approves paying $9300 to MTAS to codify and revise Brownsvilleís ordinances. Frye estimates the process wonít start for another year or more. Once complete, all of Brownsvilleís ordinances will be compiled in one document and accessible on-line.


Cityís new Internet site up and running/public Wi-Fi coming downtown
March 13, 2013

   Brownsvilleís new website is up and running. City Hall has been working on the new, comprehensive site for weeks.
You can find it at It is also accessed at .
Mayor Matherne reports that within a couple of weeks, downtown Brownsville will have a free wireless Internet connection. The antennae will be located on the Courthouse.


Brownsville group to Muskogee for cultural exchange
March 13, 2013

   Delta Heritage Center director Sonia Outlaw-Clark told the Board about plans for a multicultural exchange trip to Muskogee, Oklahoma April 12 ñ 14. The trip will be a follow-up to a visit by Muskogee officials to Brownsville when they were here in September for the Tina Turner Celebration.
In April, a busload of Brownsvillians will visit Muskogee for its Azalea Fest, Barebones Film Festival, and Chili Cook-Off and will present entertainment at each event.


New businesses opening soon in Brownsville
March 13, 2013

   City building inspector Jerry McClinton reported Tuesday that two businesses are in the process of getting buildings ready for opening.
ï Fast Pace Medical Center will open in the former Payless Shoe store space located near Wal Mart.
ï Valley Irrigation will construct a new building on a 6-acre tract on the bypass near Tennessee Tractor. Valley Irrigation is affiliated with Tennessee Tractor.
McClinton says a bank is interested in building a branch on the bypass across the street from Wal-Mart and adjacent to the horse arena. McClinton did not name the bank.


Answer to 4-H camp here may be a while coming
March 12, 2013

   ìThree to sixî location finalist for the UT 4-H camp are likely to be announced sometime in the coming weeks, but probably not by March 18 as previously expected. Mayor Franklin Smith told county budget committee members late Tuesday that 19 communities have submitted proposals and the volume of interest has pushed the first round of decisions back.
ìIf somebody beats us they will have offered UT one heck-of-a deal,î Budget Committee Chairman Allen King commented. King helped present the offer to UT officials.
Haywood County and Brownsville have offered the university a package estimated to be worth nearly $3 million. It includes giving the school all of the acreage in the new industrial park and installing some infrastructure.
Smith said UT trustees arenít expected to make a final decision until November. The project is, so far, unfunded. In 2014 UT will ask the state legislature to fund the project estimated to cost $35 million.


County government poised to take big insurance premium hike
March 12, 2013

   County workers’ health insurance won’t renew until this fall, but county number crunchers are bracing for a big premium increase. County budget manager Larry Livingston said Tuesday that over $400,000 in health insurance claims means the premiums could increase ì30 to 35%.î The countyís insurance premium is ìabout $35,000î monthly.


Metro government vote probably wonít come until May
March 12, 2013

   Whether to proceed to the next step in the formation of a consolidated government here ó a charter commission ó probably wonít be decided until May.
Teddy Waldrop, chairman of the metro study committee commissioned by the county commission about a year ago, made a presentation to the county budget committee Tuesday. The budget committee took no action, deferring to the county commission.
Commissioners will meet next Monday, but Mayor Franklin Smith says they wonít be asked to vote on the study groupís recommendation that a charter commission be formed. Smith said commissioners need to hear Waldropís presentation, read the report and have time for consideration. A public hearing may also be held prior to the commissionís vote.
The Haywood County Commission doesnít meet in April, so a vote on the proposal wonít come until May.
Brownsvilleís Board of Mayor and Alderman must also vote to proceed to a charter commission. Brownsvilleís board hasnít yet heard Waldropís presentation and it is unclear when they will be asked to consider.
Budget committee members ó all of them county commissionersódiscussed the pros and cons of a consolidated government at length Tuesday. The best summation may have come from Joe Stephens who said; ìUntil we have a charter we wonít knowÖî whatís best.


Farm ground owners get ready ó assessments expected to be way up this year
March 12, 2013

   The price of farmland in Haywood County has been going up in recent years, and county tax assessors are noticing it. At a meeting of county commissioners who serve on the budget committee Tuesday, commissioners said theyíre hearing that farm acreage may be assessed at a rate ì36%î higher than in years past. The stateís greenbelt law, which provides certain tax advantages for farmland, provides some tax relief to just over 1.2 million acres in Haywood County.


County’s budget may end year in surplus
March 12, 2013

   With just over 8 months in the year accounted for, Haywood County government has spent less than expected and income has exceeded expectations. County Budget Manager Larry Livingston said Tuesday that he expects the fiscal year to end with surplus funds.


FEMA has approved moving tornado safe space
March 12, 2013

   The tornado safe space at Haywood Elementary School is presently under construction, but a second tornado shelter previously approved has been on hold until recently. The second space had been planned for Sunny Hill School. But school officials, who changed how the Sunny Hill property is used, decided not to build the structure there, instead asking government funders to allow them to move it to Haywood Middle School (formerly the Junior High).
Smith said FEMA has approved the change but the contracts havenít been signed.


Haywood and immediate surrounding counties not in judicial redistricting plan
March 12, 2013

   If a proposed change to judicial districts announced yesterday in Nashville is approved, there will be no changes in Haywood County and the 28th Judicial District in which it resides. Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey suggested changes to 8 judicial districts in Tennessee. Only a handful of counties in rural northwest West Tennessee are included in the proposed redistricting.
Ramsey said reviewing the judicial districts was in order because of population shifts. The last changes were made in 1984.
The 28th Judicial District is comprised of Haywood, Crockett and Gibson Counties. Voters in the three counties decide who will serve as circuit judge, chancellor, pubic defender and district attorney. The next election is in 2014.
Ramsey has suggested changes be made in Lake, Dyer, Obion and Weakley Counties. He has proposed other changes in middle Tennessee.


Judicial District redistricting plan could be unveiled this week
March 11, 2013

   A plan that could change who prosecutes, defends and decides certain judicial cases in Haywood County is scheduled to be released this week. Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, in a mid-February news release, said his office was working on a judicial redistricting plan. Ramsey says the last time the districts were assessed was in 1984. Published reports say Ramsey is set to distribute a map of his recommendations.
The 28th Judicial District includes Haywood, Crockett and Gibson Counties. Circuit Judge Clayburn Peeples, Chancellor George Ellis, District Attorney General Gerry Brown and Public Defender Tom Crider manage cases in Haywood County Circuit Court and Chancery Court. It is unclear if changes are in the offing for Haywood County.
Much like county commissioner or legislative districts, judicial districting depends on population. Ramsey says there have been material shifts in population since the 1984 plan was adopted and that triggered his review.
All of the offices in the judicial district will be on the ballot in 2014. Public defenders, district attorneys, chancellors and circuit judges run for office once every eight years, so if redistricting is to be accomplished before 2022, Ramsey says, it must happen now.
You can see the make up of the judicial districts here


January unemployment rate 7.7 percent
March 8, 2013

   Tennessee Gains 7,600 Jobs From December To January
Tennessee Commissioner of Labor & Workforce Development Karla Davis announced today Tennesseeís unemployment rate for January was 7.7 percent, which increased one tenth of one percentage point from the December revised rate of 7.6 percent. The national unemployment rate for January 2013 was 7.9 percent, and also increased by one tenth of one percent from the previous month.
Economic Summary:
∑ Tennesseeís January unemployment rate is the lowest January rate since 2008.
∑ Over the past year, Tennesseeís unemployment rate declined from 8.2 percent to 7.7 percent.
∑ The number of employed persons (2,891,100) is the highest since December 2007.
∑ Total nonfarm employment increased 7,600 jobs from December to January. Increases occurred in administrative/support/waste services, retail trade, and education/health services.
∑ Total nonfarm employment increased 56,200 jobs from January 2012 to January 2013. Increases occurred in professional/business services, trade/transportation/utilities, leisure/hospitality, and manufacturing.


Sequestration lowers federal unemployment benefits
March 8, 2013

   State unemployment benefits are not affected
The Budget Control Act of 2011, generally known as ìsequestration,î requires budget cuts to many federal programs including the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program. All payments of EUC on or after March 31, 2013, will be reduced by 10.7 percent through September 2013.
The weekly benefits of approximately 30,000 Tennessee claimants currently receiving EUC or transitioning into EUC from Tennessee Unemployment Compensation program will be affected. The stateís unemployment compensation system, generally the first 26 weeks (maximum) of available unemployment benefits, will not be reduced.
Claimants will be notified by mail detailing their reduced benefit amount no later than 3-22-13.
All affected claimants must continue their regular weekly certification as well as satisfy their weekly work search requirement.


Using separation notices benefits Tennessee employers
March 5, 2013

   Notices help jobless attain services and lower need for employer appeals
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development today announced few employers are in compliance with a state rule requiring them to issue separation notices to all workers who become separated from their jobs for any reason. These workers should expect to receive the notices within 24 hours, which are often needed when applying for services like unemployment benefits and food stamps.
“What employers should know is when they donít document separations with these notices, it invites confusion and unnecessary appeals when someone files for unemployment benefits,” said Labor Commissioner Karla Davis.
During the unemployment application process, itís the employerís responsibility to provide the separation form. If the document isnít available and the employer does not reply to a request for information, the department must rely on information provided by the claimant. If an employer doesnít agree with the departmentís initial decision, the employer must file an appeal or run the risk of higher tax rates.
Davis says the answer is partially in the hands of employers. “Employers have vocalized with us their frustration when facing appeals, but using separation notices and responding to requests for information can be steps in avoiding that process.”
Employers can download separation notices online at In April 2012, the department announced an electronic method of responding to unemployment information requests called the Unemployment Insurance State Information Data Exchange System or SIDES, which results in a more accurate claims-filing process. For more information on SIDES visit


Crafters invited to participate in 3rd annual Exit 56 Blues Fest
March 4, 2013

   Calling all arts and crafts vendors. The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is seeking do-it-yourselfers and traditional and non-traditional crafters who create high quality, one-of-kind items to take part in the Exit 56 Blues Fest Arts and Crafts Show May 25, in Brownsville, Tenn.
The show will run from noon to 6 p.m., and is limited to the first 40 applicants. Application deadline is May 1. The location, just off of Interstate 40 at Exit 56, offers crafters a unique opportunity to showcase their talents and wares to visitors traveling through West Tennessee, as well as residents of the region.
This is a non-juried event, but special care will be taken to ensure that a good selection is available without an over abundance of any one particular items.
“The Blues Fest is planned for Memorial Day weekend, which is the first big travel weekend of the year,” says center director Sonia Outlaw-Clark. The event attracted more than 800 attendees last year.
In addition to the Arts and Crafts show, live Blues music will be performed from the porch of the Sleepy John Estes home from noon-10 p.m. A car cruise-in, special exhibits inside the Center and lots of festival foods are also planned for the event.
Crafters may download an application by visiting the Center’s website at and click on the Exit 56 logo. For more information or questions, email, or call the Center at 731-779-9000.


Clark elected to TACVB Board of Directors
March 4, 2013

Sonia Outlaw-Clark, Director of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, has been elected to the Tennessee Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus Board of Directors. Board members were elected by the membership during their annual meeting at the Governorís Conference on Tourism in September 2012 and officially took office January 1, 2013. Clark will serve a three-year term as the West Tennessee representative. Barry Young, Sumner County CVB Director and Brownsville native, was also elected to a two-year term representing Middle Tennessee.
TACVBís board members represent a broad and diverse group of tourism professionals from all areas of the state. Newly elected officers of the Association are Chairman Shelda S. Rees, Chattanooga CVB; Vice-Chair, Kim Bumpas, Visit Knoxville; Secretary Lori Nunnery, Jackson CVB; Treasurer Theresa Harrington, Clarksville-Montgomery County CVB; Immediate Past Chair Rhonda Adams, Dickson County Chamber. Other Board members include Laura Canada, Cookeville-Putnam County (East TN rep); Mark Shore, Williamson County CVB (Middle TN rep); Katy Brown, Oak Ridge CVB; Brenda McCroskey, Sevierville CVB; Calvin Taylor, Memphis CVB; Jennifer Wheatley, Paris-Henry County Chamber; and Melissa Woody, Cleveland-Bradley County Chamber. Affiliate members elected to one-year terms are: Tubby Kubik, Chocklett Press; Craig Richards, Collinson Media; and Mary Steadman, Miles.
ìTACVB is fortunate to have outstanding community leaders willing to volunteer their time and talent to enhance Tennesseeís reputation for hospitality,î said Sheila Leggett, TACVB Executive Director. ìThe importance of tourism in Tennessee cannot be overstated. It is one of Tennesseeís largest industries, and provides billions of dollars of direct economic impact and sales tax revenues annually.î
The Tennessee Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus is a non-profit organization representing the state’s official destination management and marketing organizations. It is dedicated to the advancement of issues and activities deemed to be in the best interest of the Tennessee tourism industry and, specifically, the membership of the organization.


County to sell surplus vehicles at auction Friday
March 4, 2013

   The Haywood County Highway Department and Parks and Recreations will hold an auction at 1306 S. Dupree Ave. on March 8, 2013 at 10:00 A.M.
The following equipment will be auctioned:
2 ñ 2000 Model 6605 John Deere Tractors with flat mowers
1 ñ 1999 Model 8160 New Holland Tractors with boom mower
1 ñ 1996 Model XL 4100 Gradall
1 ñ 1998 Chevrolet 1 ton truck with dump bed
1 ñ 1975 Model 930 Caterpillar loader
1 ñ 1988 Model 2955 John Deere Tractor with boom mower
1 ñ 1994 Model 7840 Ford Tractor with boom mower
1 ñ 1991 Jeep Cherokee SUV
1 ñ 1995 Chevrolet Pickup 1500 4×4
All tractors have cabs and air conditioning
The Highway Department and Parks and Recreations reserve the right to reject any and all bids.


Family Dollar Chain to locate here
March 4, 2013

   City planners reviewed and approved a site plan for a new big-box merchant that wants to open a store in Brownsville. Family Dollar plans to build a store on East Main at Park Avenue.
Family Dollarís new building will be located east of Park Avenue and on the north side of East Main. Back Yard BBQ will be Family Dollarís neighbor. According to city planning notes two houses and outbuildings will be demolished and removed to make way for the building that will occupy, including the parking lot, about 1.35 acres.
In notes to the planning commission, City Planner Sharon Hayes said ìÖthe city plans to work with the developer and BUD for the city to make a street improvementÖin order to enhance traffic flow at the intersection turning right from Main Street onto Park Avenue.î
No construction or opening dates were provided.
Yahoo Finance lists the following information about Family Dollar Stores:
Family Dollar Stores, Inc. operates a chain of self-service retail discount stores primarily for low- and middle-income consumers in the United States. Its merchandise assortment includes consumables, such as household chemicals, paper products, food products, health and beauty aids, hardware and automotive supplies, pet food and supplies, and tobacco; and home products comprising blankets, sheets, towels, housewares, giftware, and home dÈcor products. The company also provides apparel and accessories consisting of menís and womenís clothing products, boyís and girlsí clothing products, infantsí clothing products, shoes, and fashion accessories; and seasonal and electronic products, such as toys, stationery and school supplies, and seasonal goods, as well as personal electronics, including pre-paid cellular phones and services.
It operates a chain of approximately 7,400 general merchandise retail discount stores in 45 states. The company was founded in 1959 and is based in Matthews, North Carolina.
At market close Friday, Family Dollar shares traded for $58.69 on the NYSE, has a market cap of $6.8 billion and enjoys $9.6 billion in annual sales. Family Dollar employees 33000 workers.


Joel Southern Appointed Permanent CEO at Haywood Park Community Hospital
March 4, 2013

   Joel Southern has been named permanent Chief Executive Officer of Haywood Park Community Hospital effective immediately. He has served as interim chief executive officer since August.
ìHaywood Park is an important resource to this community,î said Southern. ìIíve enjoyed working with the medical staff, board and employees of Haywood Park over the past six months and look forward to building upon the groundwork weíve laid together.î

In his previous role as Chief Nursing Officer at Henderson County Community Hospital, Southern contributed to the hospitalís designation as a Joint Commission Top Performer on Key Quality Measures two years in a row. The hospital was also recognized for excellence in inpatient and employee satisfaction as well as outstanding performance on Core Measures. Before that, as CNO at Parkway Medical Center in Decatur, Alabama, the hospital received the ìBest in Valueî award and was accredited by the Society of Chest Pain Centers and as a Bariatric Center of Excellence.
ìJoelís career has been dedicated to achieving the highest standards of quality and providing patients with exceptional service,î said Michael Banks, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Haywood Park Community Hospital. ìHis expertise will only enhance Haywood Parkís reputation of delivering the finest care to the people we serve.î
Southern received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing with concentrations in Hospital and Healthcare Administration from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.


Metro group votes to advance metro government initiative
March 1, 2013

   Members of county governmentís metro government study committee voted Thursday night to recommend that Haywood Countyís government explore writing a charter that could consolidate the governmental operations of Brownsville, Stanton and county government. There are 26 members of the group that have studied both sides of the issue for about a year.
Sixteen committeemen voted to proceed. Nine members of the commission thought the idea of consolidation should be dropped. One committee member has yet to vote, but her vote wonít change the final recommendation.
About a year ago, Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith appointed the group from a cross-section of residents including representatives from Stanton, Brownsville and rural Haywood County.
Interestingly, elected officials on the committee were not universally in agreement.
Voting in favor of the charter commission
John Ashworth
Tom Averyheart (Brownsville Alderman)
Webb Banks (former Brownsville Mayor)
Jim Bell
Freddie Burnette Jr.
Jean Carney
Emma Delk (former Stanton Alderman)
Wally Eubanks (Haywood County Commissioner)
Sharonda Green
Andy Helms
Sam Mathis Jr. (Haywood County Commissioner)
Janice Rogers (Haywood County Commissioner)
Terrance Swift
Keith Zaleski
Teddy Waldrop (chairman and Haywood County Commissioner)
Jerry Wilson (vice-chairman)
Voting not to advance to the charter commission
Jessica Frye (Brownsville City Clerk)
J.P. Hathcock
Mary Jane Hawkins
Jerry Hollingsworth
Allen King (Haywood County Commissioner)
James Morgan (former Haywood County Commissioner)
John Simmons (Brownsville City Alderman)
O.G. Stewart (former Haywood County Commissioner)
Greg Vanstory (City Planning Board and County School Board)
Next steps
Chairman Teddy Waldrop said he would present the committeeís findings to the countyís budget committee March 12 and later to the county commission.
If county commissioners agree to proceed, the next step could be the formation of a charter commission. City governments would also have to agree to be included in the charter group. Eventually, the charter could be put before county voters to decide consolidation.

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