Archive: Summer 2012

Archive: Summer 2012

Archive: Summer 2012

Cotton Junction partners to be recognized at “Concert on the Porch”
August 31, 2012

   The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center will recognize Haywood County’s Cotton Junction Trail partners during “Concert on the Porch” Saturday, September 15. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m., with a mini-launch of the trail followed by this month’s concert featuring HCo2, Tyler Goodson and Wildwood Express.
Officials representing Brownsville, Stanton and Haywood County will conduct the ceremony celebrating the launch of the Cotton Junction Trail, a Discover Tennessee Trails and Byways program. The state officially launched the trail in Jackson, Tenn., June 26.
“We want the community to recognize what Haywood County have to offer,” says Center Director Sonia Outlaw-Clark. “Having our own mini-launch gives us an opportunity to introduce the trail to the community and let the partners show off a bit.”
Clark says that many of the partners will set-up around the event area and will be sharing information and giveaways. Among the giveaways are Tripp Country Ham and Helen’s BBQ.
Following the launch ceremony, attendees will enjoy this summer’s last “Concert on the Porch.” HCo2, a classic rock band featuring Nicci Mayberry, Phil Sanders and Andy Cooper, will be the first to perform. Following HCo2 is Jackson guitarist Tyler Goodson. Goodson will perform traditional and contemporary Blues.
Wildwood Express will round out the evening performing the old time stringed music including bluegrass gospel, instrumentals and old time country. Their instruments of choice include the banjo, dulcimer, mandolin, upright bass and guitar.

The band is made up of Grover Westover, of Brownsville, who does vocals and plays guitar. Paul Jackson is from Bells, Tenn., and does vocals and plays mandolin. Gary Spraggins is on the upright bass and is from Alamo, Tenn. Coley and Marilyn Graves are from Bartlett, Tenn.; Coley does vocals, guitar and banjo, while his wife, Marilyn plays the hammered dulcimer. All are members of the Jackson Tennessee Area Plectral Society whose main purpose is the preservation of old time stringed music.
Everyone is invited to this free event. Bring your lawn chairs or blanket and enjoy an evening of music while learning about Haywood County’s points of interest on the Cotton Junction Trail.
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is a tourist information center and home to three regional museums depicting the history and culture of the West Tennessee people. Inside visitors will enjoy an authentic Southern experience while browsing the Cotton, Hatchie River and Music museums. To learn more, visit or call 731-779-9000.
Wildwood Express will perform on the porch of the Sleepy John Estes home during this year’s last “Concert on the Porch” Saturday, September 15, at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m., with a special recognition of Haywood County’s Cotton Junction Trail partners.


Cotton still king in Haywood County but farmers harvesting record corn acres
August 31, 2012

   With about 80% of the corn harvested in Haywood County, it won’t be long before farmers begin turning their attention to the cotton crop. Soybeans won’t be far behind cotton.
Both cotton and corn will set Haywood County records this year, according to Haywood County Farm Services Executive Director John Pearson.
Pearson reported that the 43,000 acres committed to corn last spring in Haywood County is the largest in history. But cotton, long Haywood County’s claim to ag-fame, claims 72,000 acres. “This is twice as much cotton acreage of any other county in the state,” Pearson said.
Harvest Quick Facts
• The corn crop might have “overloaded the capacity” of farmer’s ability to harvest. Pearson predicts the corn harvest would be complete were it not for the record number of acres.
• Dry land corn planted in early March on good soils yielded up to 125 bushels.
• Dry land corn planted in early April on poorer soils yielded down to 50 bushels.
• The irrigated corn (25 percent of the total corn acreage) is in the 220 to 250 average bushel range.
• Officials “hoping” for an average non-irrigated corn yield of around 80 to 100 bushels.
• Although the cotton producers are wishing Isaac’s rain would stay west of Haywood County — this is the most critical time for the soybean crop to receive 1 to 2 inches of rain.
• 42 percent of the 48,000-acre soybean crop is planted behind wheat.
• Drought relief from Isaac will be the difference between an average soybean yield (perhaps 38 bushels) or a typical drought affected soybean yield (perhaps 18 bushels).
• Cotton is showing signs of dry soil conditions by the premature opening of bolls, especially on soil types more susceptible to drought.  It is not uncommon to see some bolls open this time of year, but it is without a doubt more than usual.
• No cotton gins are operating yet, but they are likely to be at full speed around the middle of September.
• Some farmers have started defoliating cotton and it takes about 2 full weeks for the defoliate to complete its work.
• Officials expect cotton yields to be below average. How could they not be in the worst drought here in Haywood County since the 1980’s?
• If grain prices remain high, most predict that next spring farmers may plant less cotton and more corn.


Liquor storeowners could be named by early October
August 23, 2012

   Prospective owners of liquor stores in Brownsville have just three weeks to submit their applications. The application deadline is City Hall’s close of business September 14.
Brownsville has posted the required public notices for the stores. According to the announcement, documents must be submitted in a sealed envelope labeled Application For Package Liquor Sales. Payment of a $500 submission fee must accompany the envelope. The applications will be submitted unopened to the city’s independent agent, Steele, Martin, Jones & Company, a Jackson, Tennessee, accounting firm. The accountants will review the applications and determine if a lottery is needed to select the winners.
Under the city’s rules, up to three liquor stores may be established in Brownsville. Three geographic zones determine where the stores may be located. If there are more than three qualified applicants, the accountants will conduct a random drawing to determine who wins the right to sell intoxicating liquors.
The final determination of liquor storeowners will be conducted October 3 at 1pm at Brownsville’s City Hall.
See Brownsville’s liquor store ordinance HERE


Planners to discuss two significant projects today
August 23, 2012

   Brownsville’s Planning Board will review four building site plans this afternoon. Two of the plans are for church expansions; the other two are for significant business expansions.
Cascade Tissue
The manufacturer has been located in part of the old Kleer-Vu building for more than a decade and wants to add a 13,800 square foot addition.
Brownsville Wellness Center
Board members will review a site plan for a 16,128 square foot new building designed for a wellness center. The planning board’s agenda doesn’t provide much information but the building is to be located next to Dr. Jack Pettigrew’s offices on North Washington. Pettigrew has previously appeared before the city board to talk about a wellness facility that might include physical therapy, a fitness center and even a swimming pool.
Two churches want to expand
Also under review today are expansion plans being submitted by the Jefferson Street Church of Christ and the Lower Salem Missionary Baptist Church. Jefferson Street Church of Christ wants to add 1,470 square feet and the Lower Salem Church plans to add 3,807 square feet.


South side of the square now under construction
August 22, 2012

   Work to complete the downtown renovation continues today. Yesterday and Monday the north side of the square was closed – today the south side. So far workers have been busy tearing up old pavement. Streets and parking lots on the north side, which is now open, are a little rough where the old pavement is gone but the new pavement hasn’t yet been installed.
Note: You can see construction on the square live at Scroll down to the new Brownsville Weather Cam, sponsored by InSouth Bank.

Stanton incumbent alderman says will run; submits write-in papers
August 21, 2012

   Stanton Tennessee – where there is a city election in November – now has enough candidates to fill all of the seats on its city board.
AD Miller, an incumbent, has filed the paperwork necessary to become a write-in candidate. The filing deadline to appear on the ballot passed last week and there weren’t enough candidates to fill all of the seats. The write-in deadline is September 17. Miller is the only sitting alderman that has signaled, so far, any intention of trying to regain his position. Mayor Allan Sterbinsky has filed to run for reelection.
Dwayne Duncan, Ward Smith and Tucker Johnson filed petitions by the filing deadline to run for alderman. Their names will appear on the ballot in November.

City Board sets liquor store rules
August 14, 2012

   By Martha Lyle Ford
The Brownsville Board of Aldermen and Mayor met last night (8.14.12) in their regular monthly meeting. Mayor Jo Matherne and all 4 Aldermen were present.
Package Liquor Sales ordinance approved
The second and final reading of the ordinance establishing regulations and guidelines for package liquor sales in Brownsville passed but not without some dissention by members of the city board.
Aldermen Thomas Averyheart and Carolyn Flagg voted for the measure; Aldermen Leon King and John Simmons voted against it; and Mayor Jo Matherne broke the tie by voting for it.
There were no comments during the public hearing which was held during the meeting and prior to the vote.
Here are some of the highlights of the liquor store rules —
• Three geographical zones have been set in which liquor stores may be located
• The ordinance limits the number of stores to 3
• Applicants must qualify under stringent guidelines, many of which are set by the state.
• If there are more than three qualified applicants, storeowners will be selected by random drawing
• No owner may own or operate more than one store
• No holder of public office or public employee (city, county, state federal) may own or operate a store
• A store must have at least 1,000 square feet of retail floor space
• In addition to sales tax, Brownsville will collect an 8% wholesale tax on the sale of spirits
• The city has set guidelines that heavily restrict the use of outside signs
• The city will “accept all completed applications filed before a closing date to be fixed by it…”
The dates were not discussed last night
Steel, Martin, Jones and Company, an accounting firm in Jackson, was approved by the Board to be the independent agency, which will manage the permit application and selection process.
Board Appointments
A number of appointments were approved to City Boards last night: Lee Berry, Joey Conner and Jere Williamson were appointed to the Joint Economic and Community Development Board
Carolyn Rogers was appointed to the Animal Shelter Board; Joe Barden to the Historic Zoning Commission; Charlie Tripp to the City Beer Board; and Elma Rogers to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Arlisa Armstrong and Robert Morgan-Wilde will serve on the Revolving Loan Committee.
The Board unanimously approved the City’s partnering with Haywood County School system in an application for the GEAR UP Tennessee grant.
GEAR UP – which is short for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs – will be a 7-year grant focusing on the Class of 2018, students that are now in seventh grade.
The program will provide tutoring, workshops, advising, college visits, mentoring and job shadowing opportunities.
If Haywood County School System is awarded the grant, the City will put in $50,000 a year for 7 years. Grant recipients will be notified in early October.
Circus Permit
Alderman Leon King reported that Carson and Barnes Circus from Oklahoma will be in Brownsville at American Legion Field for two performances on September 11. The Brownsville Exchange Club is sponsoring the event, which will feature a tug-of-war between an elephant and City Officials – that’s right – the Mayor, Aldermen and department heads will be facing off in a tug of war with an elephant! The Board approved the permit needed for the event. The last time Brownsville hosted a circus was in 1982.
Mayor Matherne’s report
Work on Downtown streets will begin again next week. Milling and repaving of streets around and leading to Court Square are projected to be completed around Labor Day. As part of the City’s ongoing improvement efforts, the City will host Laura Todd of Collierville’s Main Street program on Tuesday, August 21. This will be the first in a series of Tn Downtown Mentor visits for City officials.
National Night Out and New Cultural Arts Supervisor
Vice Mayor Carolyn Flagg announced that National Night Out in Brownsville has been rescheduled for September 22 at 6 p.m. at East Side School. The event was cancelled last week because of extreme heat.
Mrs. Flagg also announced that Jay Walker has been named Parks and Recreation’s Cultural Arts Supervisor, replacing Betsy Thornton who retired in July.
New police officer
Lieutenant Chuck Willis introduced the Brownsville Police Department’s newest officer, Jaron (Ja RON) Lockridge. Lockridge is a certified officer from Bolivar who has been with the Brownsville force for about 3 weeks. Lockridge brings the number of Brownsville officers to 30.
Willis also read a letter from Friendship Chief of Police Bill Garrett expressing appreciation for the assistance and support provided by Brownsville Police and community during a robbery in May. Chief Garrett was shot during that incident; Brownsville Chief Lea and Lt. Willis were heavily involved in searching for and apprehending the assailant.
Beware of scam says Energy Department
About a dozen or so folks in Brownsville have been taken in on a scam by people posing as representatives of the Energy Department. The Department strongly encourages all residents to not give out personal information to anyone unless you are certain they work for Brownville Utilities.
Lots of Calls
During the month of July, the Fire Department responded to 47 calls – including 13 for grass fires, and 10 for accidents – one of which involved 3 fatalities.
The Police Department received 1,158 calls, arrested 6 adults and 3 juveniles for drug activity, and opened 25 new criminal investigation cases.
And Central Dispatch handled a total of 5,417 calls during July.
West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center
West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center director Sonia Outlaw-Clark reported that there were 2522 visitors to the Center during the month of June. Last week folks from Switzerland, Germany and Australia visited the Center on their way to Memphis for the Elvis Week festivities.
And yet another party was announced … there will be a Tina Turner Revue and Flagg Grove School fundraiser held on September 29 at Carver School. Reserved tables are $200 for 8 people.

Prospective liquor storeowners likely to know the rules today
August 13, 2012

   Today’s the day the Brownsville Board of Mayor and Aldermen consider final passage of the new liquor store rules.
Last month they passed an ordinance on first reading. Today’s vote could finalize the terms by which liquor stores can operate in Brownsville.
A public hearing on the ordinance will precede the vote and members of the public can weigh in.
The proposed rules describe three zones in which stores may operate – how qualified applicants may apply for the stores and limits the number of liquor stores to three. Other parts of the law set out the terms for signage and display space. The city board meets at 5:30.

Stanton political deadline looms – few qualified so far
August 13, 2012

   Thursday – the day-after-tomorrow – the qualifying deadline for the Stanton election passes. So far only two people have qualified to run for the city board.
Incumbent Mayor Allan Sterbinsky has turned in a qualifying petition to run for reelection. Dwayne Duncan has qualified to run for alderman.
None of the incumbent aldermen (Frank Fawcett, AD Miller, Ruffie Jones, Emma Delk) have qualified – or even picked up petitions.
There are others that have signaled they may run for alderman including Ward E. Smith, Tim Ammons and Tucker Johnson.
The qualifying deadline is Thursday, August 16 at noon.

Collierville and Brownsville paired in Main Street program
August 7, 2012

   Brownsville’s Main Street Committee is set to welcome the help of successful Main Street downtown, Collierville, Tennessee. Collierville is located east of Memphis and boasts a vibrant, historic downtown filled with shops, offices and entertainment businesses. Collierville has participated in the Tennessee Main Street program for years.
Tennessee Main Street has paired Brownsville with Collierville in their mentoring program. Collierville’s Laura Todd will serve as the local group’s mentor.
“This is your opportunity to have candid conversations with people who are in the trenches of downtown revitalization,” Main Street officials wrote in a memo sent to Brownsville’s Main Street officials.
Main Street works with communities to provide technical assistance, training and guidance to improve the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of traditional commercial districts. The “Main Street Approach to Revitalization”™ guides communities to develop strong, broad-based local organizations and to create a road map for implementation and management of the revitalization process.

Marlon King prepares for exit – lists accomplishments
August 4, 2012

   As the school year begins today, the system’s leadership continues its transition planning. Director of Schools Marlon King’s last day is August 17. He and Interim Director Teresa Russell are working to pass the torch.
King circulated a memo to the school’s teachers and leadership last weekend listing the accomplishments of the last four years. The memo and list can be found HERE.

Who wants to run Stanton? City board election in November
August 3, 2012

   With the filing deadline less than two weeks away, so far no one has qualified to run for elected office in Stanton.
The Stanton City Board includes the mayor and four aldermen. Every member of the board will be on the ballot in November.
Allan Sterbinsky is the incumbent mayor. He has signaled that he is likely to run for reelection by picking up a petition. Tim Ammons Jr., Ward E. Smith and Dwayne Duncan have picked up qualifying petitions to run for alderman.
Stanton’s other incumbents include — Vice Mayor and Alderman Emma Delk, Aldermen Frank Fawcett, Ruffie Jones and A.D. Miller. By last Friday none of the incumbents have so far picked up qualifying petitions.

Simpson returns to assessor’s office; Vanstory wins school board seat
August 2, 2012

   Dare Simpson reclaimed her job at the assessor’s office Thursday and Greg Vanstory will be the new member of the Haywood County School Board. Both candidates won their County General races by wide margins. The two elected positions were Haywood County’s most talked about races for office so far this year.
Voter turn out for the election was significantly higher than four years ago. About 32% more people cast ballots in total. Nearly half of the participants visited the polls during the early voting season. The unofficial tally reports that 2512 people voted.
The county commission and the road commission also have new elected officials. Janice Rogers ran unopposed for the unexpired term of Janice King. King stepped down from her District 1 position a few months ago. Jack Brummett, a long time member of the highway board, did not run for reelection and George Floyd ran for the seat unopposed.
Other unopposed
• Morris English and Milton Booth reelected to the road commission.
• Allen Currie reelected to the school board.
Unofficial totals of contested races
Assessor of Property
Dare Simpson, 1,020
Tom Averyheart, 786
Joe Ing, 574
Scott Barker, 80
School Board
Greg Vanstory, 333
Freddie Burnette, 161

Stanton Election
August 2, 2012

   While many will turn their political attention to the November election when state house and federal races are sure to be in the news, residents of Stanton will also focus on their city board. All of Stanton’s elected officials will be up for election in November.
Candidates may qualify for elected offices in Stanton through August 16.

District 82 race will draw attention
August 2, 2012

   We learned earlier this year that Haywood County’s representation in the Tennessee House of Representatives would change significantly. Redistricting placed Haywood County in a three county district that includes Crockett, Lauderdale and Haywood. Craig Fitzhugh, a democrat, currently represents the 82nd District.
Fitzhugh isn’t new to Haywood County. The long time legislator has represented Haywood County before and was popular with voters here.
In November, though, Fitzhugh is likely to face a tough challenge for his legislative seat when he faces republican Johnny Edwards. Just two years ago Edwards ran against Fitzhugh and lost by just 285 votes. The 82nd District was appreciably different then, and included Dyer County but not Haywood.
Fayette County Republican Senator Delores Gresham is also seeking reelection in the fall. She’ll face Whiteville democrat Meryl Rice.

Beginning of School Activities for Haywood County Schools – Friday August 3
August 2, 2012

   Curriculum Night will be held on Friday, August 3 from 5 until 7 p.m. at the following schools:
Anderson Early Childhood Center
Haywood Elementary School
East Side Intermediate School
Haywood Middle School
The HHS REACH Academy will have a CURRICULUM FAIR on Friday, August 3, 2012 from 5 until 7 p.m.  at the Sunny Hill Innovative Learning Center.
Haywood High School Freshman Orientation will be on Friday, August 3 from 1:30 until 3:00 p.m. in the gym at Haywood High School.  All freshmen and their parents should attend.

Haywood School scores to be explained today – Teachers report for State of the Schools
July 30, 2012

   Outgoing Director of Schools Dr. Marlon King will make his final State of the Schools address this morning. Schoolteachers, now just one week away from the beginning of another school year, will hear that their work has paid off with higher scores.
King has prepared a Power Point presentation explaining various test scores and how the school system stacks up against other public schools in the state. Tennessee’s highest designation is Exemplary and Haywood Schools missed the mark by just 1/10th of a point.
You can see a PDF version of the report HERE. (Note: very large file, may take several minutes to download, depending on your internet connection.)
TCAP scores in reading and math were dramatically higher in some grades including 3rd, 5th and 6th. Scores fell in the 4th and 8th grade fractionally. Overall the system’s TCAP scores were up 7.4%.
Other measures, including graduation rates were also improved.

Early voting wrapped up – Election Day looms
July 30, 2012

   People rushed to the polls during the last two days of early voting and even caused some short waits for the voting machines. Saturday, the last day in early voting, was the busiest when 141 people visited the election office.
Election Registrar Andrea Smothers said 1083 people cast ballots during the early voting period. The election office has a total of 1203 total ballots so far, when “by-mail” balloting is also counted.
Republicans, in the minority in Haywood County, like the idea of early voting better than Democrats. Republicans cast 581 ballots, 508 Democrats voted and 114 people chose not to vote in the primary elections.
Early voting continues to gain popularity. In August 2008 only 726 people took advantage of the option.

County converting records from paper to digital
July 24, 2012

   Haywood County is converting millions of documents from paper to electronic records. Nearly 5 million pages have already been stored, according to Mayor Franklin Smith.
County storage buildings are packed with volumes and volumes of records ranging from criminal investigations to meeting minutes. Some of the papers have been damaged by water and age prompting county leaders to begin an initiative to permanently store the written history on digital devices.
The county entered into a contract with a Jackson, Tennessee firm to copy pages at a rate of .055 each. Smith says that compares to more recent and more costly contracts, including one the City of Jackson agreed to at .16 per page.
Haywood County has already archived, 2,875,000 pages of records at the jail and sheriff’s department. Circuit Court records have topped 1, 750,000. Additionally, county government leases copy equipment that costs $5,750 monthly to continue the process.
The new system of storage will also make finding and accessing the records easier.

No tax increase budget accepted by county commission
July 24, 2012

   With little discussion, Haywood County Commissioners passed a budget that forecasts spending about $700,000 less this year than last.
The commission met Tuesday night with the primary purpose of passing their 2012/2013 budget.
Taxpayers will be happy because there is no property tax increase. Rural customers of garbage services are already, however, paying $3 more per month. Funding government will require $46,022,995. Government spends the most on education; schools cost about $25.9 million to fund.
All county workers will receive a raise, which varies from department to department. School and road workers will see 2.5% added to their pay, elected officials 1.67% and county general workers will get an $800 annual raise.
The last budget year ended with a surplus. Haywood County grew its various bank accounts $1.5 million than they estimated. At last week’s budget hearing, Smith said he believes, despite budget estimates that there could be deficit spending this year, there’ll be a surplus next June.

Government hands over $25k in recruiting cash
July 24, 2012

   County commissioners authorized Mayor Franklin Smith to write a check to the community’s newest industry. Precision Coils will get $25,000 as promised in a negotiation to help bring them here. The manufacturer is located in an 80,000 square foot building in the industrial park.
Brownsville also provided $25,000 in cash incentive.

Commission to meet an hour earlier
July 24, 2012

   How much difference can an hour make? County commissioners are about to find out. Commissioner Robert Green won the approval of the majority of the commission to move the county commission meeting time from 7pm to 6pm.
Across the years moving the time has been discussed but always failed. Green’s motion passed on a voice vote. At least three commissioners voted no.

State spending money on Haywood megasite development
July 24, 2012

   Millions of dollars are being poured into Tennessee’s only certified industrial megasite. Haywood County Mayor and Megasite Chairman Franklin Smith says design work is underway for the water, wastewater and electrical needs of the tract located near Exit 42.
TVA is busy assessing how they will deliver electricity to the plant. Smith says the utility will likely run lines from Fayette County onto the property.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation is laying plans to reroute sections of Tennessee 222 so that it goes around rather than through the megasite. TDOT is also planning to redesign Exit 42.

Haywood solar farm to get visitor’s center and Exit
July 24, 2012

   Governor Bill Haslam’s new budget includes a visitor’s center for the Solar Farm located near Haywood County’s megasite.
In addition to the visitor’s center, TDOT is planning to remove the old Albright Road Bridge that spans I-40 at the megasite. An exit that allows westbound traffic to access the megasite and visitor’s center is in the immediate plan.

Brownsville and Haywood County could benefit from a new crime fighting team being organized by the US Attorney.
July 24, 2012

   Federal law enforcement officials in Memphis have announced a new unit to fight gang crime all across West Tn. U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton, Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong and other officials are creating a new, multi-agency gang enforcement and investigative unit for Memphis, Shelby County and West Tennessee. They say the unit will fight gang crime “river to river.”

Haywood County Leadership 2012-13 taking applications
July 19, 2012

   The Haywood County Leadership Board of Directors is currently accepting applications for the 2012-2013 Leadership class. The program, which is sponsored by the Brownsville-Haywood County Chamber of Commerce, is designed to heighten the awareness of community leaders, workers and volunteers about the community’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.
Beginning in September, for the next eight months, class members will learn about economic development, law enforcement, local government and infrastructure, healthcare and social services, quality of life, education, and local and state government issues, as well as join more than 200 former Leadership Haywood graduates to work together to make a better Brownsville and Haywood County.
Applications may be picked up at the Chamber of Commerce, and the deadline to submit an application is August 10. The classes generally meet one day per month. Tuition is $400. A $50 deposit is required with the application and will be applied to tuition or refunded if not selected. Upon acceptance to the program, tuition must be paid in full no later than August 23.
For additional information contact the Chamber of Commerce at 731-772-2193, Gem Bell at, Barbara Bond at, or Sarah Levy at Mail application forms to: Brownsville-Haywood County Chamber of Commerce, 121 West Main Street, Brownsville, TN 38012.

New Book The Women of Haywood set for August 12 release
July 19, 2012

   The Women of Haywood, Their Lives, Our Legacy, a new book about four professional African American women in Haywood County, Tennessee, is set for release August 12. A celebration and reception will be held from 3 – 5 p.m., at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville.
Almost 20 years in the making, the collection of four oral history interviews is interspersed with essays from area scholars and reflections from local residents. This is the seventh book by Haywood County native Dr. Cynthia Bond Hopson.
The book is based on interviews with Susie Ella Taylor Ashworth, Nola Walker Bond, Mayme Dell Rives Bowles Dotson and Eva James Davis Rawls. Bond Hopson interviewed these ladies while a doctoral student at Southern Illinois University in the 90s,

“These women used their lives and talents to make us and the world better,” says Bond Hopson. “This book simply tries to chronicle how and what made them great. I think their stories will tickle and bless your heart.”
Nola Walker Bond, an activist/teacher/businesswoman, was killed in a traffic accident in 1998 and Eva Rawls, one of the first African American registered nurses in Brownsville, died earlier this year. Mayme Dotson, who taught first-grade at the Douglass Elementary School for 43 years, lives in Nashville and Susie Ashworth, who retired after 58 years as a beautician, lives in Brownsville.
The book’s foreword was written by Brownsville businesswoman Cynthia Rawls Bond and features essays from Dr. Dorothy Granberry, Dr. Norma J. Burgess and Dr. Jo Zanice Bond, all scholars with Haywood County ties. Other contributors include Elma Bond Rogers, Greta V. Sanders, Laura Pruiett Smith, Dorothy Mann Bond, Louvern Tucker, John Ashworth, Dr. Thomas Averyheart and John M. and Barbara Bond. The book is self-published by Touched By Grace Publications and profits will stay in Haywood County to benefit scholarships, women’s empowerment and historic preservation.
During the reception, Bond Hopson will be signing copies and there will also be an opportunity for guests to make videotaped tributes. The book is approximately 160 pages and will be available in paperback ($24.95) and limited edition hardback ($34.95). Pre-orders may be made by calling 615-449-2858 or by e-mail
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is a tourist information center and three regional museums located just off of Interstate 40 at Exit 56 in Brownsville, Tenn. For more information about the Center, visit

Haywood School Board names Interim Director
July 18, 2012

   In a short meeting, and by unanimous vote of the school board, Teresa Russell was today named Interim Director of Haywood County Schools. Russell’s appointment comes in the wake of last week’s resignation of Dr. Marlon King.
Russell is a veteran employee of the school system having worked as a teacher, principal and for the past four years as King’s deputy director. The board’s motion makes the appointment effective today, although King’s last day isn’t until August 17. School Board Chairman Harold Garrett said King will “transition with the Interim…” He said King is eager to help Russell in her new role. King called the appointment “great.”
Russell told board members she planned “to continue on the path we’re on.” She pointed out improved student testing as proof the school system is on the right path. “I’ll offer stability to the school system and I’m excited about it,” she commented.
Russell’s interim contract will place her pay at an annual rate of $95,000. The contract extends from today through September 14 at which time the board will either extend the interim contract, appoint her as director or place her back into her old job as deputy. Board members did not discuss their procedure for hiring a new permanent director or say how long it would take.
Russell said she would apply for the director’s job.

Finding you in an emergency – 911 is working on improvements
July 17, 2012

   Haywood County 911 is undertaking a program designed to help make sure emergency services can find your address in an emergency. Haywood’s 911 Board has contracted with GeoComm in an effort to verify the address for every habitable structure in Haywood County.  This includes homes and businesses in Brownsville, Stanton and rural areas.
911 Board Chairman Joe Stephens said, “This is just one of the ways we are trying to improve our response times to save lives and better serve the citizens of Haywood County.”
If your address isn’t visible to the surveyors, GeoComm is leaving door hangers asking that you participate in the survey either by logging on to their Internet site or by calling a telephone number.  If the survey isn’t completed, GeoComm’s surveyors will make personal visits to your home or business to obtain the information.
The flyer states, “The information you provide is for official county use only and will absolutely not be used for other purpose.”

County budget planners have good news and bad news
July 17, 2012

   This week Haywood County Commissioners and the public will get their first complete look at the recommendation for county government’s 2012/2013 budget.
A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday night at 7:00.
What they’ll see is a mixed bag of some nearly balanced and some badly out of balance budgets for the next year, and better than expected results from the year just completed.
There is no plan to raise taxes.
Fund balance — or how much money is left over after spending — is one quick measure that helps assess government’s fiscal health.
Here’s a summary of fund balance accounts:
County General
Actual balance end of 2010/2011 (last year): $1,944,967
Expected at the end of 2011/2012 (this year): $2,335,449
Growth in fund balance: $390,482
Expected fund balance June 2013 at the end of the new budget (next June): $2,277,048
Predicted deficit: -$58,401
Highway/Public Works
Actual balance end of 2010/2011 (last year): $2,713,935
Expected at the end of 2011/2012 (this year): $3,153,323
Growth in fund balance: $439,388
Expected fund balance June 2013 at the end of the new budget (next June): $1,672,597
Predicted deficit: -$1,480,726
Actual balance end of 2010/2011(last year): $2,448,344
Expected at the end of 2011/2012 (this year): $2,699,901
Growth in fund balance: $251,557
Expected fund balance June 2013 at the end of the new budget (next June): $2,039,901
Predicted deficit: -$660,000
Debt Service
Actual balance end of 2010/2011 (last year): $2,197,970
Expected at the end of 2011/2012 (this year): $2,653,124
Growth in fund balance: $455,154
Expected fund balance June 2013 June 2013 at the end of the new budget (next June): $2,634,877
Predicted deficit: -$18,247
County government has in the bank $1,5365,581 more than budget makers expected at the end of this fiscal year.
If income and spending goes according to the 2012/2013 plan, government will spend $2,200,572 more than they take in. The county’s largest deficit budget is the county highway department followed by the school board. School officials say their $660,000 budget deficit is largely as a result of cost overruns in the high school renovation project.

Voters are using early voting
July 17, 2012

   Through yesterday 176 people have visited the early voting polling place in Haywood County.
Republicans are out balloting Democrats so far. Ninety-one people have voted in the Republican Primary and 69 in the Democratic Primary. Nineteen people have chosen to vote only in the general election.
Getting ready for the big day
Election Registrar Andrea Smothers said several Election Day polling locations are no longer being used.  They include City Hall, Courthouse, Fire Station #3, Forked Deer, Holly Grove, Sunny Hill, Union Fire Station, Koko, and College Hill Cafeteria.  If the voter is unsure where to vote, please contact election office.
New registration cards
If you are an active voter in Haywood County you’ll be getting mail from the Election Commission. All active voters have been sent a new voter registration card with their polling location on it.  Smothers said the last mailing was delivered to the post office yesterday.

School board meets Wednesday, 11am, to appoint interim
July 16, 2012

   Last week Marlon King announced he’s leaving the Haywood County Board of Education, and this week we’ll start to get some idea about who will lead until a new director is chosen. Perhaps we’ll also gain some insight into the process of selecting a new leader.
The school board will meet in special session Wednesday at 11a.m. The agenda states that members of the board will be asked to select an interim director.
Dr. King has taken a job with the state and will leave in August.
When the school board hired King about four years ago they conducted a lengthy search that included the services of a consultant.

Gospel Stars take the stage for July “Concert on the Porch”
July 14, 2012

   The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center’s summer concert series “Concert on the Porch” continues with a night of gospel music Saturday, July 21. The Gospel Stars and Total Praise return to perform from the porch of the Sleepy John Estes home beginning at 7 p.m.
The Gospel Stars feature local musicians who have been performing across the region since the 1990s. Known for their versions of the old gospel favorites, the group features the talents of M.C. Cliff Jr., Mary Maclin, Felicia Walker, Johnny Bond, Robert Bryant, Deborah and James Curtis, and Jerry Miller.
Returning to open for the Gospel Stars is Total Praise, a group of Brownsville women who began their journey as a gospel group about two year ago. This group includes the vocal talents of Hazel Walker, Sheketa Holmes, Tiffany Tolivar, Keisha Walker, Ti-Anna Wiley and Christy Henderson.
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center presents “Concert on the Porch” June through September on the third Saturday evening of each month and features a different artist and genre each month. For more information about the concert series, call 731-779-9000 or visit The Center is located off of Interstate 40, Exit 56 behind McDonald’s, in Brownsville, Tenn.

The Gospel Stars will be returning to the porch of the Sleepy John Estes home July 21, during the summer concert series “Concert on the Porch.” The concert begins at 7 p.m. and is a free event at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville.

Meet new chamber director today
July 6, 2012

   Renee Moss is the new Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce. And your opportunity to meet her is today.
The chamber is hosting a meet and greets this afternoon between 4:30 and 6:30. There will be a short program at 5:30. Moss takes the job after an extensive search by the chamber’s board.
She replaces Joe Ing who left the job in December 2011.

Election commission getting ready for early voters
July 6, 2012

   Early voting for the August Election starts Friday and the election commission is kicking off the week with their required test of the voting machines. This morning the commission will set, test and seal the machines. The procedure is open to the public and takes place this morning at 9 at the Justice Complex. Early voting begins this Friday for the August election.
You can see a copy of the ballot – and remember this balloting includes a primary election – at or by clicking the “Home” button above and clicking the “Election Information 2012” button at the top of the page.

No fires on the Fourth – firefighters happy
July 5, 2012

   No firework fires last night. Almost a headline from the Brownsville Fire Department this morning. The dry conditions and the Independence Day celebration didn’t match well this year and firemen were braced for fires ignited by sparks – but it didn’t happen. Not a single one.
Local firemen did, however, help Hardeman County firemen yesterday with a large brush fire near our county line.

Southwest wins award for REDI
July 5, 2012

   You’ve heard us talk about Southwest Development District’s REDI program. Now people all over the south are talking about it because it won the Southern Growth Policies Innovator Award for Tennessee.
Haywood County is one of 11 counties and 19 high schools that participate in the REDI program. REDI is responsible for finding $6.5 million in scholarship money for 1284 graduating seniors this year.
The Southern Growth Policies is a coalition of 13 governors from southern states. They bestow their Innovator Award to one program in each state.

Jackson’s liquor store debate interesting to Brownsville policymakers
July 5, 2012

   There’s a debate going on in Jackson about liquor stores that’s worth watching. It’s because the same debate may be conducted here. Brownsville’s preliminary plan is to have three zones in which liquor stores may operate – and limiting the number of stores to three. Jackson has a similar rule in which there are twelve zones and twelve stores. There is a move in Jackson to redraw those lines. Some of Jackson’s liquor store owners say it’s the right thing to do because of shifts in the market – others are crying foul because they paid premiums – in the form of location – to own the zone.
Also key to the liquor store question here is the size of the display area. Right now the proposed rule in Brownsville states it must be 1,800 square feet. Some leaders think the space should be smaller.
The preliminary plans for the boundaries for the three zones have not been drawn. Mayor Jo Matherne said last week she hopes they’ll produce a rule ready for a vote when the city board meets next week.

New police cars on order
July 3, 2012

   Four new police cars will be on Brownsville’s streets soon. The 2012 Chevrolet Impalas will cost $21,995 each. Brownsville bought them via the savings of a “state” contract.
The city board approved the purchase, spending a total of $87,980.

Green Meadows 4th parade is on
July 3, 2012

   Rooks Drive will be the scene of a Fourth of July parade tomorrow. The city board approved a parade permit for the West Brownsville neighborhood known as Green Meadows.
The parade has been an annual even for several years and starts at 10am.

City board writing liquor store regulations
July 2, 2012

   Brownsville leaders are moving quickly to set the rules for the operation of liquor stores here. Brownsville voters approved the legalization of package liquor in June.
During a two-hour discussion Friday, aldermen and the mayor pored over a lengthy draft of the proposed ordinance.
Here are some of the most notable points under discussion:
• Store ownership must be documented. The proposal attempts to prohibit silent partners.
• No retailer “ shall operate …more than one place of business…”
• A licensee may not sell or transfer his license without approval of the city.
• An elected official can’t own a liquor store nor a public employee, “either national, state, city or county.”
• One of the principal owners must manage the store.
• The city will license up to three liquor stores in Brownsville.
• Brownsville’s stores could be required to have at least 1,800 square feet of display space.
• Liquor store “zones” will be established. The zones determine where stores may be located. The draft ordinance reviewed Friday left blank the boundaries of the zones.
• Licensees could be determined by lottery. If there is more than one qualified applicant per zone the applications “shall be submitted to, and collected by, an independent agency hired by the City of Brownsville….” The independent agent will then conduct a “random drawing” to determine the winner of the license.
• Brownsville will impose an inspection fee on each store. The city will collect an 8% fee based on the wholesale cost of the liquor. The fee will be collected by the liquor wholesaler and paid to Brownsville. (In example; For every $1 million worth of liquor purchased by the store, Brownsville gets $80,000.)
• Liquor stores can’t be open on Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day, New Year’s Day, Labor Day, Independence Day or on Sunday.
• The hours of operation will be limited to 8am to 11pm.
• Brownsville’s rules will restrict signage. The rules allow for only one sign, which “makes reference to the fact that the establishment sells alcoholic beverages…”
Elected officials hope to have a final version ready for vote when the city board meets next week

Cotton Junction Tour includes Haywood County
June 27, 2012

   Haywood County is included in the latest initiative from Tennessee Tourism. Yesterday, at an unveiling of the Cotton Junction Tour, Tennessee’s Commissioner of Tourism Susan Whitaker talked about the tourism assets Haywood County brings to the 200-plus mile driving tour.
Included in the Cotton Junction Tour is The Mind Field, The Flagg Grove School and the Delta Heritage Center. The brochure also recommends stops at the Kreme Kastle and Helen’s BBQ.
The announcement of the tour came at a ceremony at Casey Jones Village Providence House.

New Tourism driving tour includes Haywood County
June 26, 2012

   Today in Jackson, state tourism officials are launching a self-guided driving trail that connects small towns in nine West Tennessee counties.
The Cotton Junction Trail starts in Memphis and travels east and north through Carroll, Crockett, Fayette, Gibson, Haywood, Madison, Shelby, Tipton and Weakley counties.
One stop includes Brownsville’s West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center and Flagg Grove School, where singer Tina Turner attended grade school. Casey Jones Village is included as is the Tea Pot collection in Trenton
The trail is the 16th in the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways program.

Grant to improve downtown and Volunteer Park
June 20, 2012

   Mayor Jo Matherne says the city is hopeful we’ll get a grant that can fund additional improvements to downtown and to Volunteer Park. Brownsville agreed this week to buy the interest Haywood County has in a downtown lot where the Emil Tamm building once stood. The city and county bought the lot from a private owner shortly after the building collapsed.
The purchase agreement paves the way for the grant application.
Matherne told us yesterday the grant is for $220,000 and local government will match the fund with another $220,000. The money will fund an elaborate improvement to the tract, located immediately east of the courthouse, that includes a water feature and sitting areas. Some of the money will also be used to pave portions of Volunteer Park.

Young Guns tops in the state – again
June 20, 2012

   The Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s scholastic shooting program grows every year and this year 72 teams from across the state participated in the state championship sporting clays and skeet tournament in Middle Tennessee.
Haywood County fields three teams based on age groups that start in the 6th grade.
The intermediate team, which includes 6th, 7th and 8th graders, won the state championship in both skeet and sporting clays. The team’s Blake Robison was the state’s top shooter in the class and Chase Coulston was state runner-up.
The junior varsity finished second in skeet. Haywood County’s Hunter Campbell was the best shooter in the state.
The varsity squad’s score earned the rank of fifth in the state. Kara Beth Maddox of Brownsville was named captain of the all-state team.

Tennessee Army National Guard ranks among top in “ship rates” for new enlistees
June 18, 2012

   Tennessee Army National Guard officials said this week that at the end of May, Tennessee ranked 5th nationwide in overall “ship rates” for their new enlistees and No. 1 among large states.
Every month the U.S. Army National Guard analyzes how well each state is sticking to original departure dates set for its enlistees in all 54 states and territories. This provides measurable benchmarks to ensure training dollars are efficiently.
According to Lt. Col. Andy Easterly, Commander of the Tennessee Army Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion, the goal is for every new enlistee to depart for Basic Training on time and well prepared — without changes to scheduled start dates.
“At the end of May our ship rate was 94.1%, which ranked us 1st among ‘large states’ and that requires a lot of work from our people,” Easterly said. “It means a lot to these young people to be able to make departure plans and stick to them.”
The Tennessee Army Guard’s Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP) has played a major role in these accomplishments. Easterly said Tennessee has 12 RSP sites across the state averaging 930 recruits at any given time. Each month, “RSP warriors,” as they are called, converge at one of 12 designated armories where they undergo preparation for basic training right up to the point they ship out. They are in a paid status during this pre-basic training.
“It covers everything from how to salute – to facing movements – to marching in formation and everything in between,” Easterly explained. “When these young people leave for Basic, they are incredibly far ahead of others beginning Basic who have no concept of the military.
Almost 300 new Tennessee recruits are set to attend Basic or Advanced training between now and the end of July. That represents a large part of the remaining recruits who haven’t left for training, with 188 reporting by the end of June, followed by 92 more in July. This year, the Tennessee Army National Guard’s recruiting goal is 1,430 new soldiers, with 25 percent of those, veterans.
Soldiers typically complete training with their active-duty counterparts during their first year of service. After initial entry training, they return to their Tennessee units for the rest of their reserve obligation.
“The Tennessee Army National Guard depends heavily on the Volunteer Spirit of Tennessee citizens to meet their goals,” Easterly said, “and that’s why we we’re always one of the top states in the country.”
He said the Tennessee Army Guard will enlist another 500 before October. The age requirements range from 17 to 34 unless the applicant has prior years of service. Standards for enlistment remain high, with at least 90% required to have high school diploma, and 65% of those must score in the upper 50% on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).
Interested applicants should visit their local National Guard Armory, call 1-800-GO-GUARD, or visit

Jackson Career Center And State Rep. Johnny Shaw To Host Madison County Job Fair
June 18, 2012

   The Tennessee Career Center at Jackson and State Representative Johnny Shaw (District-80) are hosting the Madison County Job Fair. The event will be held on Wednesday, June 20, at 10:00 a.m. (CST) at Jackson State Community College Gymnasium, 2046 North Parkway, Jackson.
Some participating employers are West Tennessee Healthcare, Regions Financial Corporation, Goodwill, and the University of Memphis. Job seekers are encouraged to bring copies of their resume and to dress for success. For more information please contact Ron Hammontree at (615) 741-8892.
WHAT: Madison County Job Fair
WHEN: Wednesday, June 20, 2012; 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (CST)
WHERE: Jackson State Community College – Gymnasium; 2046 North Parkway; Jackson, TN 38301 Some Participating Organizations: Primerica, Goodwill, Nationwide Trucking, University of Memphis, West Tennessee Healthcare, Regions Financial Corporation, US Farathane Corporation, Teknor Apex Company

Brownsville Chamber welcomes Moss as new director
June 18, 2012

   The Brownsville-Haywood County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors recently announced the hiring of Renee Moss as its executive director. Moss, a native of McNairy County, comes to the Chamber with a variety of skills and will officially assume her new responsibilities July 2.
“We’re excited to have Renee,” says Chamber President Bob Wallis. “We look forward to working with her and to what all the future holds for our Chamber.”
For the past seven years, Moss has served as curator of the Buford Pusser Home and Museum in Adamsville, Tenn., where she is responsible for day to day operations. She is an active member of the Adamsville Partnership, a professional organization that works with issues such as business development and livability in the community. Moss is the current secretary of the Partnership.
Moss also serves on the McNairy County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and is a graduate of McNairy County Leadership. She is actively involved in the Youth Leadership program, is an official Miss Tennessee Pageant judge and serves on the Board of Directors of the Tourism Association of Southwest Tennessee.
“I am honored by the warm reception I have received from the citizens of Brownsville and Haywood County,” says Moss. “I am looking forward to meeting everyone and working with such a supportive group of individuals.”
The community is invited to a reception welcoming Moss on Monday, July 9, 4:30 -6:30 p.m., at the First South Community Room on West Main. A short program will be presented at 5:30 p.m.

Renee Moss named new chamber director
June 18, 2012

   Brownsville/Haywood County Chamber of Commerce officials say Renee Moss is their choice to lead the Chamber of Commerce as Executive Director. Moss is the curator of the Buford Pusser Home and Museum located in Adamsville, Tennessee.
Chamber President Bob Wallis and a search committee started the hiring process with 16 applicants.
A news release issued this weekend didn’t say when Moss would begin her new job, but chamber officials said they’d like somebody on the staff by July 1.
In addition to her job as curator of the museum, Moss is the secretary of the Adamsville Partnership, a member of the board of directors of the McNairy County Chamber of Commerce and Southwest Tourism and a judge of the Miss Tennessee Pageant. Moss will become a certified Tennessee Tourism Professional in September.
The Haywood County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director position became available when Joe Ing stepped down last December.
Moss has two daughters, Dianna and Tonya.

Haywood County partner in “Cotton Junction Trail”
June 17, 2012

   State unveils new ‘Discover Tennessee Trail & Byway’

Early voting wraps up today
June 12, 2012

   Early voting?
Just over 10% of Brownsville’s 6,000 registered voters had been to the polls through yesterday. The exact number is 623.
Early voting for the June 19 Brownsville Municipal Election ends today at 1 pm.
Election Registrar Andrea Smothers provided the following data:
Total votes cast: 623
Ward 1: 155
Ward 3: 341
All other: 127

Brownsville —property tax will remain unchanged for 2012/13
June 12, 2012

   The Brownsville Board of Aldermen and Mayor met Tuesday in their regular monthly meeting. It was a fairly short agenda … but included some significant news about the coming year’s budget.
2012-13 budget and tax rate
According to Mayor Jo Matherne, there will be no increase in the property tax rate in the coming year. That rate will remain at $1.80 per $100 of assessed value on all real and personal property.
As for the City’s budget, the total general expenditures for 2012-13 for the City will be $10,218,507. The budget document is balanced to the penny with income or available cash. Aldermen unanimously passed a motion to approve the first reading of the proposed budget. There will be a public hearing and second reading of the budget in July.
Grant will help solve water problems
The City has been approved for a $1 million grant from the State of Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development to deal with the City’s storm water drainage issues. The grant will be used to study the current drainage system, develop engineering plans for improving the system, and to begin construction to better deal with the impacts of hard rains and flood conditions.
Haywood County will also receive a million dollar grant. The two governments will collaborate in the 2-3 year project, using the same engineering firm to ensure a seamless assessment and implementation.

BEA to receive water grant
June 11, 2012

   The Brownsville Energy Department report included notice of approval for a $500,000 Fast Track grant to improve the water lines and water flow in the Industrial Park.

County budget makers plodding along with new budget
June 11, 2012

   The county’s budget committee whittled away at the jail budget yesterday. Sheriff Melvin Bond submitted a budget with a request that would have raised jail spending by about $46,000 in the new year. Yesterday, during discussions with county commission budget makers the sheriff agreed to changes in the budget that will require new funding of about $27,000.
Sheriff Bond told he anticipates jail income to be about a half million dollars in 2012/13. The money is generated from board bills paid by the state for inmates that are serving time for felony convictions and are held here instead of state penitentiaries.

Precision Coil gets promised incentive
June 11, 2012

   There are cars on parking lot of Precision Coil — the industrial park’s newest resident. Brownsville and Haywood County governments provided incentives for the Fayette County manufacturer to move here.
This week the city board made good on their promise and unanimously approved passage of an ordinance to provide $25,000 to the Industrial Development Board to be paid to Precision Coils. Precision Coils brought 50 – 75 new jobs to Brownsville.

Ford new member of Brownsville Regional Planning Commission
June 11, 2012

   The Brownsville Regional Planning Commission has a new member; Bob Ford will join the Commission for a four- year term starting in July. John Ashworth and Greg Vanstory were reappointed to the commission. Ford is a wildlife biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and a resident of Ward 4.

City focusing on new industrial park development
June 11, 2012

   Development of the I-40 Advantage Park is making some progress. The future business and industrial park will be located at Windrow Road and the By-Pass. The city and county own the 500+ acre tract.
The most recent progress was a meeting with CSX railroad, which, according to Mayor Matherne, was “highly productive.” CSX has so far refused to build a spur into the new park.

Starla Singleton new head of Dispatch
June 11, 2012

   Central Dispatch director Kyle East gave his final report to the city board this week. He will be leaving his post after two-and-a-half years. Starla Singleton will be the new Central Dispatch Director. In the month of May, Central Dispatch received 1,485 calls – 1,171 of those for the Police Department.

Flagg Grove School attracts lots of visitors
June 11, 2012

   West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center Director Sonia Outlaw-Clark said this week that the Center has received 825 visitors in just 11 days since the Flagg Grove School building was moved onto the Center’s property. The school, which Tina Turner attended as a child, is generating a great deal of interest: Clark was interviewed by an Australian radio station about the move and two Tina Turner fan clubs are planning an event on September 29 to raise funds to help maintain the building.

Other news from the Center
The recent Exit 56 Blues Fest doubled its attendance from last year, hosting an estimated 800 people. And the Center’s Concert on the Porch series kicks off June 16th with live R&B and Rock-A-Billy on the porch of the Sleep John Estes home.

Swimming pool repairs underway — pool to open soon
June 11, 2012

   The public swimming pool is on schedule to open in late June, upon completion of needed repairs. The Parks and Recreation Summer Food Service Program started May 29 and currently has 71 sites operating.
Fourteen employees have been hired for the summer to assist with Parks and Rec programs and activities.

Concert on the Porch kicks off with Music Highway Band
June 9, 2012

   Brownsville continues to keep its musical heritage alive with Concert on the Porch. The summer music series features local and regional artists performing from the porch of the Sleepy John Estes home on the grounds of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center. The first concert of the season is Saturday, June 16, at 7 p.m.. Concerts are presented each month on the third Saturday, June through September, and are free to the public.
Starting off this year’s series is local talent Kelsey Byars. Byars began singing in church when she was only 3 years-old. She is now known for her singing throughout the community; continuing to sing regularly at church, school, weddings, private gatherings and events. Byars placed second in the 2011 Haywood’s Got Talent competition and plays clarinet in the Haywood High School Marching Band. She will perform a variety of rhythm and blues melodies’ when she opens for this year’s first Concert on the Porch at 7 p.m.
Headlining the June 16 concert is Music Highway Band. This band was organized in Jackson, Tenn., in 2001 by Jimmy Stephenson, a longtime rockabilly and country artist. The original trio played many years at the Rockabilly Hall of Fame as the house band. By 2004, the band had added members, become well diversified and was capable of performing many styles of music. In mid-2005, the group became the house band at the Huntingdon Hayride, at the Dixie Carter Performing Arts Center.
Today, the Music Highway Band continues to work many venues in the area and has worked with such legendary artists as Carl Mann and Eddie Bond. Current members of the band are Stan Brunner, Sammy Wood, Jimmy Webb, Donald Carp, Gary Spraggins and Jimmy Stephenson. They will share their special style of rockabilly and country June 16 beginning around 7:45 p.m.
Attendees are invited to bring lawn chairs or blankets for the outdoor concerts, Drinks and snacks will be available for purchase. All proceeds from concessions will go toward the restoration of Flagg Grove School, the childhood school of Tina Turner, that was recently moved to the Center.
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is a tourist information center and home to three regional museums depicting the history and culture of the West Tennessee people. Inside visitors will find the Cotton Museum, the West Tennessee Music Museum and the Hatchie River Museum. To learn more about the Concerts on the Porch, visit or call 731-779-9000.
Headlining this year’s first Concert on the Porch will be the Music Highway Band. The rockabilly and country band from Jackson, Tenn., will perform from the front porch of the Sleepy John Estes home on Saturday, June 16. Concerts are held each third Saturday, June through September, beginning at 7 p.m., on the grounds of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville.

County’s budget process on track
June 1, 2012

   County government’s budget committee met for a little over an hour yesterday reviewing and approving several budgets that are included in the county general portion of the proposed 2012/2013 spending and income package.
Reviewing budgets submitted for county buildings, civil defense, the county mayor, trustee, soil conservation, the Stanton Cannery and veteran’s services, the budget makers left the numbers mostly unchanged although they whittled small numbers in some of the budgets. The spending plans were all submitted with no pay raises for employees except where mandated by law and most were about the same or slightly less than last year.
Next Tuesday the committee plans to reconvene and continue the budget reviews including a budget for the county work house (county farm) which was skipped yesterday.
Commissioners have not closed the door on raises for county workers. They say they will revisit opportunities for pay hikes once they understand the projected overall spending and income.

Decatur county could get surplus Haywood County fire trucks
June 1, 2012

   County commissioners will be asked, when they meet June 18, to donate two decommissioned county fire trucks to Decatur County. The 1970s model trucks were retired when the county replaced them with newer 1980s’ model pumpers bought with grant cash.
Mayor Franklin Smith said the trucks are of no value and fire truck dealers refused to take them in trade. Smith will ask the county commission to donate them “as is” to Decatur County. Smith said cash-strapped Decatur County will use at least one of the trucks in an area along the Tennessee River popular with Haywood Countians.

Flagg Grove School moves to West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center
June 1, 2012

   Flagg Grove School, former subscription school located in Nutbush, Tenn., will travel Highway 19, Tina Turner Highway, Friday, June 1, 2012, on it’s journey to the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center where plans are to restore the structure. Use of the building, once restored, will include interpretive exhibits about early education and former student Tina Turner.
What: Move of the Flagg Grove School from its present location in Nutbush to the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, Tenn.
When: Friday, June 1, 2012, beginning at 10 a.m.
Where: The school will travel a route to include Highway 19, the Gray-Rawls Bypass in Brownsville and Highway 76 South to a new location at Interstate 40, Exit 56, in Brownsville. The school will take its place beside the former home of Bluesman Sleepy John Estes on the grounds of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, 121 Sunny Hill Cove, Brownsville.


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