Archive: Winter 2011-2012

Archive: Winter 2011-2012

Archive: Winter 2011-2012

Commission takes no action on tornado space but waits on committees to make more suggestions
February 20, 2012

   Before a gallery of about forty citizens, the Haywood County Commission dispatched their agenda in a brisk one-hour meeting on the evening of President’s Day at the Courthouse.  After some quick standing committee reports and some committee appointments, most of the discussion at the meeting focused on proposals for two tornado safe spaces at Haywood County Schools.
The 6,000 square foot shelters could be located at Haywood Junior High and possibly another at Haywood Elementary School.  Both could double as classroom space.
School’s Kenneth Emerson walked commissioners through the approximately $2.7 million budget for both projects, with each projecting a total cost of about $1.35 million each.

  • 87.5% of the cost would be supplied by federal (75%) and state (12.5%) grants.
  • Consistent with the grant requirements, local government is required to supply the remaining 12.5% or approximately $170,000 per safe space ($340,000 for both), either with actual dollars of the equivalent value of “in kind” services.
  • The projected budget presented by Mr. Emerson added $8,500 per space for modular wall systems to enable division of the spaces into classrooms.  Using these numbers, the local share for each space comes to about $178,500 per safe space, or a total of $357,000 for both.
  • Emerson believes in-kind donations of $132,500 per safe space can be managed ($265,000 for both).
  • Finally, local taxpayer cash outlays come to around $46,000 per space, or $92,000 for both.

The tornado shelters have the strong support of Budget Committee Chairman Allen King. He recommended the sale of some 35 to 45 acres of excess property owned by the school system and adjacent to Sunny Hill School to raise the cash.
The county commission took no action Monday. The county’s budget committee will further explore the local financing and make final recommendations.
Jail healthcare
Jail Committee Chairman Chris Lea reported that three companies will make bids for providing healthcare services to inmates at the jail committee’s upcoming March 7 meeting, and another company will make a proposal for the provision of prescription drugs.
Committee changes
Commissioner Chris Lea has resigned his position on the Conservation Board. Last night he was replaced with the appointment of Commissioner Bob Hooper
In taking the conservation board position, Commissioner Hooper resigned from the planning commission, and he was replaced with Commissioner Sam Mathes.
Education Committee Chairman Richard Jameson noted that Commissioner Robert Green had recently been elected vice-chairman of the education committee, but that due to an oversight he learned that Commissioner Green had never actually been appointed to the education committee. That oversight was corrected Monday evening as Commissioner Green was unanimously appointed by the Commission to serve on the Education Committee.

Brownsville on the Move approved by city board
February 14, 2012

   Valentines Day at City Hall – yesterday – the city board met and, among other business, passed four resolutions.

    • Brownsville has selected Tegrah Engineering to plan and implement sewer projects as part of a 2011 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).
    • Aldermen ratified the purchase of computers and equipment at the Elma Ross Public Library.
    • A third resolution awarded Askew, Hargrave, Harcourt, and Associates a contract to provide architectural and design services for the Brownsville’s participation in the Tennessee Downtowns program sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. The firm’s services will be funded by a  $15,000 grant.
    • Aldermen adopted the Vision Statement and six objectives presented in the Brownsville on the Move Report prepared by the University of Memphis.   “Position Brownsville as West Tennessee’s most desirable city recognized for its natural beauty, rich cultural history, artistic attractions and musical heritage, abundant agriculture, exceptional architecture and unique town square, quality public services, faith-based traditions, and love of learning, with a central location bounded by the scenic Hatchie River – a thriving community where small town values, quality of life, diversity, and entrepreneurial spirit are honored daily.”


      The six objectives include


       1) historic preservation and urban design;


       2) expanding local employment, entrepreneurial, and investment opportunities;


       3) developing a greenway system;


       4) strengthening public education, arts, and culture ;


       5) facilitating infrastructure and way finding systems; and


       6) ensuring quality housing choices and security.


    Fletcher retires

           Mayor Matherne recognized and expressed appreciation for the longstanding community service of Jack Fletcher on the Board of the Brownsville Housing Authority.  Mr. Fletcher recently resigned from the Authority and a replacement will be forthcoming.


      Relay coming downtown

             The annual Relay for Life concluding ceremonies and celebrations will move from the football field to downtown Brownsville for the summer of 2012. Kenny Ellington on behalf of the Haywood County Relay For Life was granted a permit for June 9, with events starting around noon and continuing through the closing ceremonies at nine that evening.


             There will be events for kids, food vendors, music, and other entertainment on Main Street just east of Court Square.  Mr. Ellington noted that changing the location would benefit downtown merchants and also make the event less vulnerable to cancellation due to inclement weather as has occurred in the recent history of the annual event.


        Mayor reports

               In her report, Mayor Matherne announced three upcoming community events.  There will be a joint meeting of the Brownsville, Stanton, and Haywood County planning commissions on Thursday, February 23rd at 5:00 p.m., at the Delta Room at Backyard Barbeque.   St. John’s Baptist Church on Hwy 76 South near Dancyville will host a celebration of the history and significance of the Rawls family on Friday, February 24rth, at 3:00 p.m., sponsored by AT&T.  On Tuesday, February 28th, the annual public employees’ appreciation stew will occur at the City Shop building.


          Utility bills lower, again

                 Ending the meeting with a bit of good news, Mayor Matherne announced that residential electric rates are down 3% effective February first.


          Early Voting Begins; Haywood County Election Commission Reminds Voters to Present Photo ID at the Polls
          February 14, 2012

             Early voting began on Wednesday, February 15, giving registered voters the opportunity to cast ballots for the March 6 Presidential Preference Primary. This is the first statewide election in which voters are required to show photo identification prior to casting their ballots.
          Haywood County Administrator of Elections Andrea Smothers is encouraging voters to take advantage of early voting if they wish.
          “Early voting offers a convenient way for voters to cast their ballots without worrying about making it to the polls on Election Day,” said Smothers. “The added flexibility allows individuals to work voting into their already busy schedules.”
          Early voting will be conducted in the lobby of the Haywood County Courthouse, from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 15 through Tuesday, February 28. You may contact the Haywood County Election Commission office for more information at 772-1760 or by email at
          Voters are reminded that they will need to present a state or federal issued photo ID in order to vote in person, whether during early voting or on Election Day.
          “I thank the county election officials and others who have worked diligently to ensure that voters are aware of the new requirement,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “I am confident that their hard work will make this historic election a success.”
          Examples of acceptable forms of ID, whether current or expired, include driver licenses, U.S. passports, Department of Safety photo ID cards, U.S. military photo IDs and other state or federal government photo ID cards. College student IDs are not acceptable.
          People who forget to bring photo IDs with them to the polls can cast provisional ballots, and then return to their local county election commission office within two business days after the election to present valid photo IDs.
          If you do not have an acceptable form of photo ID or would like more information about the new law, call 1-877-850-4959 or visit the Division of Elections web site at


          School board likes tornado safe space idea — approves funding measure
          February 14, 2012

             The county commission’s education committee and the budget committee have passed resolutions that could mean the construction of between $1 and $1.5 million in tornado safe spaces at schools.
          Last night the school board came on board with the idea, too.
          The county commission committees want the school board to sell about 35 acres of farmland located next to Sunny Hill School.
          Last night the school board passed a resolution aimed at selling the land.
          Leaders believe the sale of the land will be enough to fund the local match — thought to be about $45,000 — for the safe space.
          The resolution states that the “Haywood County Board of Education resolves that this sale of land is contingent upon the Haywood County Government and City of Brownsville, forming an alliance to provide in-kind services for the purpose of building the Tornado Safe Space that will benefit all the citizens of Haywood County and Brownsville, Tennessee; and is contingent upon the approval of the grant application by FEMA and TEMA. If said Alliance is not formed or the grant application not approved, ownership of the property will revert back to the Board of Education.”


          Tornado safe spaces likely at some Haywood County Schools
          February 13, 2012

             The newly expanded Haywood County Commission Budget Committee met Monday for a 90-minute joint session with the county commission’s education committee. The big group of county commissioners worked before a packed conference room of about 25 people who came to watch.
          Most of the discussion focused on proposals for tornado safe spaces at schools with dual use as classrooms, and how to pay for it. Haywood County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marlon King and Director of Finance Vincent Harvell presented separate proposals by two design firms Each proposal contemplates approximately $1.25 million in construction costs for about 6,000 sq.ft. of dual use tornado safe and classroom space at one location. The proposed estimates could apply to projects at Haywood Elementary School and/or at Haywood Junior High School.
          Supt. King said extra space is more urgently needed at the junior high.
          How to pay?
          Federal grant money could cover 75% of the costs, the state 12.5%, and local government 12.5%.
          The local taxpayer share in dollars is estimated to be between $150,000 and $170,000. The local participation can be paid with “in-kind” services rather than actual dollars. One estimate contemplates over $140,000 in in-kind services laying out only about $45,000 in cash.
          Cash could come from surplus land sale
          Budget Committee Chairman Allen King floated the idea of selling the thirty-plus acres of property currently owned by the school system and adjacent to Sunny Hill School.
          Committees liked the idea
          The Budget Committee and the Education Committee unanimously passed identical motions recommending to the county commission they undertake the project, selling the ground and funding the safe space.
          Budget in pretty good shape at mid-year
          County budget advisor Larry Livingston presented an overview of county spending for the first seven months of the fiscal year. The good news is that spending for the county general fund is approximately $160,000 under budget for the first seven months at just over $5 million.
          Headmen reelected
          Budget Committee Chairman Allen King and Vice Chairman Jerry Smith were unanimously reelected to those positions for another term.


          Experienced marketer in charge of megasite sale
          February 7, 2012

             The process of selling Haywood County’s giant industrial park is in its early stages. According to sources close to the megasite board, a Simpsonville, South Carolina, firm, Canup & Associates, has been hired to “market” the 3800-acre industrial tract near I-40’s Exit 42.
          According to his web site, Dr. Buzz Canup’s firm has been involved in a number of megasite deals involving dozens of varying clients.
          Here are some excerpts from his Internet site:
          “….he has been lead consultant working with states and communities to recruit private business and industry to their location … Dr. Canup is the only site location consultant that has managed and directed project implementation for both private industry and for public entities…. Representing the public sector, he was contracted by the State of Mississippi to manage, direct, and implement all of the incentives and commitments the state made to Nissan during the recruitment process. Commitments were initially over $300 million in state, federal, and local funds, and subsequently grew to over $400 million with the announcement of Nissan’s Phase II.”
          The next meeting of the Megasite Authority is March 26 at Jackson State Community College.


          Brownsville planners approve two commercial expansions
          January 26, 2012

             The Brownsville Municipal Regional Planning Commission convened for an hour and forty-five minute meeting yesterday. The Commission approved two construction projects. One was an application by Best One Tire to construct a 16,000 sq. ft. storage building next to the tire store on the bypass. The other is a 20,000 sq. ft. addition to the facility to be occupied by Precision Coils, the company relocating from Somerville to the Industrial Park on Morgan Street in Brownsville.


          City planning board likes Brownsville on The Move
          January 26, 2012

             Commissioners discussed and recommended adoption by the City Board of the Executive Summary of the Brownsville on the Move Comprehensive Development Plan, which contains a vision statement and six long-term major objectives for Brownsville.
          The Vision Statement: “Position Brownsville as West Tennessee’s most desirable city recognized for its natural beauty, rich cultural history, artistic attractions and musical heritage, abundant agriculture, exceptional architecture and unique town square, quality public services, faith-based traditions, and love of learning, with a central location bounded by the scenic Hatchie River – a thriving community where small town values, quality of life, diversity, and entrepreneurial spirit are honored daily.”
          The six objectives involve
          (1) Historic preservation and urban design;
          (2) Local employment, entrepreneurial, and investment opportunities;
          (3) A citywide greenway system;
          (4) Public education, arts, and culture;
          (5) Transportation, infrastructure, and way finding; and
          (6) Quality housing choice and security.
          The twenty five-page summaries are available for review at city hall.


          Chamber announces award winners
          January, 2012

             Ten individuals and companies were honored last night at the annual Brownsville Haywood County Chamber of Commerce awards banquet. Nearly 200 people attended the event at the Brownsville Country Club.
          Winners include:
          Volunteer of the Year — Steve “Bobo” Vanstory.
          Educator of the Year — Mary Jane Williams.
          Ambassador of the Year — Jody Lea.
          Business Recycler of the Year — The Economy Store.
          Industry Recycler of the Year —Teknor Apex Tennessee, Haywood Company.
          Small Business of the Year — Golden Circle Insurance Agency.
          Business of the Year — Sonic Drive In.
          Industry of the Year — Cascades IFC Disposables.
          Woman of the Year — Marcina Harris.
          Man of the Year — Harvey Livingston


          County government studying metro
          January 17, 2012

             The Haywood County Commission breezed through a one-hour meeting Monday night. About thirty people watched as commissioners made committee appointments and minor housekeeping measures. But Mayor Franklin Smith also won approval for two measures that could significantly effect county government.
          Metro committee coming
          At Mayor Smith’s request, commissioners unanimously authorized appointment of a committee to study metro government for Haywood County.
          A metro style government could mean a merger of Brownsville, Stanton and Haywood County governments
          The committee, Smith says, will include people who are in favor and who are against metro government. The mayor wants representation from the Concerned Citizens group on the panel.  He also wants to ensure fairness by including citizens from Brownsville, Stanton, and rural areas.
          Budget committee gets bigger
          The Haywood County Commission Budget Committee is expanded to consist of eight members instead of six.  New members are Commissioners Richard Jameson and Jeffery Richmond. Jameson a veteran of more than 20 years on the commission and Richmond, newly elected in 2010, will join Chairman Allen King, Vice-Chairman Jerry Smith, Joe Stephens, Becky Booth, Leonard Jones, Jr., and Robert Green.
          Other standing committees for the jail, public safety, solid waste, and education remain largely as comprised last year.
          Commission to add ethics committee
          Mayor Smith made appointments to a newly formed Ethics Committee. The groups charge is to receive and consider complaints about public officials.  Members of the five-person group are County Clerk Sonya Castellaw. Tracy Taylor, and Commissioners Sam Mathes, Jr., Jerry Smith, and Kathy Chapman.
          REDI gets a ready from the commission
          The Commission unanimously adopted a resolution supporting the Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Legislative agenda which advocates developing infrastructure at the West Tennessee megasite, funding at current or better levels for Development Districts, growth of the REDI College Access Program, the regional job accelerators, the Digital Factory Technology Initiative, funding for education in Tennessee, and the planning of grant funding for communities that contract planning services with Development Districts.


          Haywood hosts Academic Decathlon
          January 16, 2012

             Both teams Haywood County Schools entered in the Academic Decathlon hosted in Brownsville last weekend placed in the top five. The White team placed 5th, the purple team was 4th.
          Seventeen Haywood High School students participate on the two teams. Team members won twenty-two medals. Reeves Garrett was the highest scorer on the Purple Team and Madison Eubanks was the high scorer on the White Team.
          Both teams earned the right to advance to the regional competition.
          Jamari Johnson — Bronze Medal in Science, Silver Medal in Math, Copper Medal in Art
          Octavius Lanier — Bronze Medal in Science
          Tony Wilbourn — Copper Medal in Math, Copper Medal in Super Quiz
          Morgan Currie — Copper Medal in Math
          Kaitlyn Schwarz — Silver Medal in Math, Bronze Medal in Art, Copper Medal in Economics, Copper Medal in Super Quiz
          Tawana Smith — Bronze Medal in Math, Copper Medal in Super Quiz
          Reeves Garrett — Copper Medal in Math, Copper Medal in Literature, Copper Medal in Super Quiz, Fifth Highest Individual Scorer in the Honors
          Division, Highest Scorer on the Purple Team
          Madison Eubanks — Bronze Medal in Math, Highest Scorer on the White Team
          Jay Clinton — Copper Medal in Super Quiz
          Rashad Mann — Copper Medal in Super Quiz
          Demarcus Coney — Copper Medal in Super Quiz
          Alycia Johns — Copper Medal in Super Quiz
          Jerred Mize — Copper Medal in Super Quiz
          Other HHS team members:  Karla Cisneros, Katora Holmes, Noryani Perez, Demarcus Nixon.


          Haywood and Crockett get new legislative district
          January 14, 2012

             Legislators made it official Friday. Haywood County will become a part of House Legislative District 82. Tipton County and Haywood County will no longer be in the same district and that means a new representative for Haywood County.
          District 82 is comprised of Haywood, Lauderdale and Crockett Counties.
          The only thing redistricting lacks is the governor’s signature, and a spokesman in Bill Haslam’s office said that’s expected.
          Legislative boundary changes were required because of population shifts reported in the 2010 census. There are 132 seats in the Tennessee General Assembly.
          Haywood County remains in the same senatorial district where Fayette County’s Delores Gresham is the incumbent.
          Jimmy Naifeh, once the powerful house speaker, has been Haywood County’s representative for about the last about ten years. Naifeh lives in Covington so the new boundary lines make him ineligible to represent Haywood County. Craig Fitzhugh is the incumbent in Haywood’s new district.
          The changes in the districts won’t become effective until after the November election.
          See the legislative maps here:Legislative Maps


          Crafters invited to participate in the 2nd Annual Exit 56 Blues Fest
          January 14, 2012

             Calling all outside arts and crafters. 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 26, in Brownsville, Tenn.
          The show will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and is limited to the first 50 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 400 attendees in its first year and is expected to grow substantially over the next few years, according to Clark. Planners are already working on how they can increase the festival area to accommodate more activities.
          In addition to the Arts and Crafts show, live Blues music will be performed from the porch of the Sleepy John Estes home from 1-9 p.m. A car cruise-in, special exhibits inside the Center, festival foods and a kid’s area 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.


                 Cookbook author Pamela Whinnery, talks about her Tennessee celebrity cookbook with a festival attendee at the 2010 Exit 56 Blues Fest in Brownsville, Tenn.


            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. The Center is located at 121 Sunny Hill Cove in Brownsville, Tenn., right off of Interstate 40 at Exit 56. Visit


            Brownsville celebrates its Top Ten!
            January 11, 2012

               The City of Brownsville Mayor and Board of Aldermen breezed through a forty-minute meeting in the first assembly of the calendar year at City Hall on Monday afternoon.
            Aldermen and the mayor took care of some budget housekeeping, confirmed two board appointments and announced significant changes that will affect your utility bill.
            Brownsville’s 2011 Top Ten
            As Brownsville is beginning a new calendar year, Mayor Jo Matherne expressed appreciation to the Board of Aldermen, department heads, city employees, and the citizens of Brownsville for moving the city forward with a list of ten achievements in 2011.
            Those included:
            1) Completion of the Court Square Pedestrian Improvement Project;
            2) Development in cooperation with the University of Memphis the “Brownsville on the Move” strategic planning process;
            3) Over $2.4 million in new grant funding to improve sewers, acquire floodplain property, repave streets and sidewalks, equip police, spotlight historic downtown, and plant trees in public areas;
            4) Assisting Marathon Heaters to transfer its manufacturing operations here;
            5) Assisting Precision Coils in moving from Somerville to Brownsville;
            6) Achieving the number one ranking in traffic safety by the Tennessee Lifesavers’ Conference;
            7) The Fire Dept. answering over 500 calls;
            8) Central dispatch managing nearly 24,000 calls;
            9) The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center hosting over 20,000 visitors and three exhibits sponsored by the Tennessee State Museum;
            10) The completion of the extension of utilities across Interstate 40 at Exit 56.
            The two new employers listed in the mayor’s report will provide an estimated 150 new jobs in Brownsville. Mayor Matherne says she wants to expand on accomplishment in 2012 and she’s called a special meeting to kick off the New Year.  There will be a strategic planning work session retreat for the Board of Aldermen on Saturday, January 28, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with focus on the  “Brownsville on the Move” plan.
            Utility bills to drop
            More good news came by way of the Brownsville Energy Authority. The city board learned that average residential electric bills should decrease by about 2 per cent as of the first of January.  Beginning February first, natural gas bills will go down by approximately 11 per cent.
            There was other business
            • On behalf of the NAACP, Rev. O. G. Stewart was granted a permit for a parade planned for January 16’s Dr. Martin Luther King Day parade.
            • The Board passed into law midyear budgetary amendments of approximately  $627,000, with nearly 90% of that sum relating to accounting entries and grants.
            • Bill Lea was confirmed for another four year term on the Brownsville Energy Authority Board
            • Gem Bell will serve on the Elma Ross Public Library Board.


            Jail healthcare saving taxpayer dollars
            January 11, 2012

               About a year in to the county’s attempt at better managing healthcare at the county jail, county commissioners are poised to look at new ideas.
            Though most, including Sheriff Melvin Bond, seem pleased with the job Conmend has been doing, they say they’ll listen to other firms interested in providing the healthcare services.
            The county’s jail committee met yesterday afternoon and discussed healthcare and the jail’s budget.
            While the sheriff has racked up overtime hours running the new jail, his overall budget isn’t badly out of whack. At mid year, the jail budget was just 2% over projections despite the larger than approved personnel cost.
            Last January county commissioners agreed to a $30,000 monthly contract with Conmed, an in-jail healthcare provider. Conmed’s health services include keeping a healthcare worker in the jail 17-hour daily and footing the bill for some out-of-jail healthcare visits. Late in the budget process last year the county added mental health services to Conmed’s responsibilities, upping the cost of the contract to about $400,000 annually.
            Most leaders believe contracting jail healthcare saves taxpayers money by keeping inmates out of more expensive treatment including hospital stays. According to a report from Conmed there hasn’t been a single hospitalization since they took over last spring.
            Still, county leaders say they want to hear from the at least three other firms, including one local, that wants to bid on the service.
            At yesterday’s meeting Mayor Franklin Smith said he’d set a late February date to meet with the prospective healthcare contractors.


            Another manufacturer to locate in Brownsville — more jobs!
            January 10, 2012

               Brownsville is about to get even more jobs.
            This week’s announcement that Precision Coils will move what likely will be about 100 jobs to Brownsville is the community’s second business success inside of a year.
            Mayor Franklin Smith, during a budget committee meeting Tuesday, confirmed that Precision Coils, currently located in Somerville, will be moving its operation to the industrial park in Brownsville.
            Marathon Heaters moved here last year. Marathon bought some of the shuttered Haywood Element assets and moved jobs here from the northeast.
            Many of the existing Precision Coil employees are expected to commute to Brownsville to work, but the company anticipates employing about 26 new people here, bringing its total workforce to about 80 people, according to the mayor.
            Precision Coils manufactures coils for the heating and cooling industry.
            Last year Marathon Heathers moved into the industrial park.
            Both manufacturers said there were many benefits in Brownsville. A main attraction may have been business incentives offered by our two governments.
            Marathon, and now Precision Coils, received a promise of $50,000 in cash from local governments. The money ponied up equally by Brownsville and Haywood County governments and is earmarked to help the businesses with their moves.
            Marathon was apparently attracted to the Haywood Element facility. Haywood Element was in a similar business. And a fairly new building, insiders say, in the industrial park was a big attractor


            Haywood Farmers may qualify for disaster benefits
            January 4, 2012

               Haywood and Crockett County farmers are among farmers in 43 Tennessee counties who may qualify for emergency help from the government.
            The USDA has declared Haywood County a “primary natural disaster area” thanks to last year’s drought and excessive heat.
            Haywood and Fayette Counties are in the designated area. Contiguous counties — under the USDA rules — also qualify for the benefit, meaning all of the counties surrounding Fayette and Haywood County are included.
            The declaration means qualifying farmers may be eligible for low interest loans from USDA.
            See additional information here


            Redrawing the districts — Haywood County changing?
            January 4, 2012

               Will Haywood County’s representation in the state house change this year? That’s a big question right now and we may start to get the answers pretty quickly.
            House Republicans are unveiling their plan for redrawing districts in the 99-member lower chamber of the Tennessee General Assembly. The Tennessee Senate hasn’t made public their suggestions.
            Members of the house plan to talk about their new plan today.
            Because candidates seeking election must meet an April 5 deadline, Republican leaders say they want the redistricting settled quickly.
            Some political observers think there may be substantive changes made to legislative lines that include Haywood County.


            Photo id to vote — really?
            January 4, 2012

               Will you, really, be required to have a photo id when you vote this year? The new law has been big news around Tennessee — and affects every Haywood Countian who wants to visit the polls this year.
            A Nashville lawyer is now saying that the photo ID law could be challenged in a lawsuit.
            Legislative changes in the upcoming session appear to be unlikely despite protests. So a lawsuit challenging the law seems the only way it could be overturned. The law became effective January 1.
            Nashville attorney Gerard Stranch said the law has a disparate effect on minorities. Stranch has suggested a lawsuit is a possibility.


            Haywood Farmer Richard Jameson elected to statewide board
            January 3, 2012

               Haywood County farmer Richard Jameson has been elected to the Tennessee Farmer’s Co-op Board of Directors. He is featured on the cover of the current issue of the Co-op’s newspaper.
            Jameson, who has served on the Haywood County Commission for 22 years, was elected to the co-op board late last year.
            Farming 2350 acres, Jameson has served on the board of Haywood Farmer’s Co-op and Mid-South Farmer’s Co-op. He was elected to a five-year term.


            Unemployment rates continues to decrease in Haywood County
            December 30, 2011

               Tennessee county non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for November 2011, released Thursday, show that the rate decreased in 79 counties, increased in 12 counties, and four counties remained the same.
            Tennessee’s unemployment rate for November fell to 9.1 percent, down from the October revised rate of 9.5.
            Haywood County’s jobless rate ticked down again as it has in recent months. The number of Haywood Countians seeking unemployment help has been decreasing steadily this year.
            The state reports Haywood County’s November rate at 12.2% down from October’s 12.7%. A year ago in November 14.2% of us were without work.
            Our neighbors had good months, too.

                • Madison 9%
                • Tipton 9.3%
                • Crockett 10%
                • Fayette 10.2% (down from 14%)
                • Lauderdale 12.7%

                Lincoln County registered the state’s lowest county unemployment rate at 5.6 percent. Scott County had the state’s highest unemployment rate at 17.6 percent, followed by Obion County at 15.2.


                   For all the state’s unemployment data, click here


            Chamber of Commerce accepting nominations for annual awards
            December 27, 2011

               The Brownsville-Haywood County Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for its annual awards. Chamber members are asked to nominate their choices by January 3, 2012. Awards will be presented at the Annual Membership Banquet January 24.
            Each year the Chamber honors individuals who have contributed greatly to this community. Those awards include Man of the Year, Woman of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Educator of the Year and Business of the year. This year the business categories will be split into three awards; Small Business of the Year, Business of the Year and Industry of the Year.
            Nomination forms can be picked up at the Chamber office, 121 West Main St., or or online by CLICKING HERE.
            For more details, contact the Chamber at 731-772-2193.


            Marlon King received doctorate in education
            December 19, 2011

               Marlon King has received his Phd from Ole Miss. The doctorate degree was conferred December 10. King is Haywood County Schools Superintendent of Education.
            King’s doctoral dissertation reported on third grade student’s reading and literacy. King based much of his data on East Side students here in Brownsville.
            King said, “ Third grade is a critical grade in elementary school. Studies are quite often centered around third grade literacy rate when determining the societal issues…”
            King says his degree and study will “help improve the reading proficiency rate in Haywood County.” King recently introduced the Haywood READS initiative.
            Dr. King has big goals. “I will continue independent studies to draw conclusions that will be vital to helping our county become the fastest improving county with literacy development. This is more than a school system job and I anticipate community engagement.”


            King plans schools reconfiguration
            December 16, 2011

               Director of Schools, Dr. Marlon King, told school board members that he plans a significant reconfiguration of schools for the 2012/2013 school year.
            The centerpiece of his proposal will move regular classrooms from Sunny Hill School and transform the Highway 76 facility to an Innovative Learning Center.
            King plans public hearings on the proposal but has not yet announced dates. Under the plan schools will house grades as follows:

                • Anderson — Pre Kindergarten and Kindergarten
                • Haywood Elementary — 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades
                • East Side — 4th and 5th grades
                • Haywood Junior high School — 6th, 7th, and 8th grades
                • Haywood High will continue with grades 9 through 12

                The Innovative Learning Center at Sunny Hill will house the College and Career Readiness Center, Adult Education, Haywood Multiple Disabilities Center and the Alternative School.


            Christmas basket Radiothon to serve hundreds
            December 16, 2011

            Promised: $25,235. Deposits: More than $27,000
            Volunteers out in force this weekend delivering Christmas baskets for the needy.
            Mayor Franklin Smith has spent more than $27,000 on Christmas gifts that include food for approximately 300 families and toys for 510 children.
            The money came from the Brownsville Radio Christmas Basket Radiothon held December 3. In a little over four hours listeners promised to give $25,235. Bank deposit slips totaled Wednesday revealed more than $27,600 had been given. The fund drive consistently collects more than is pledged.


            Sheriff working on state committee to modernize jail rules
            December 16, 2011

            Haywood County Jail OK
            Changing the rules — rules known in law enforcement parlance as “standards” — for jails is underway in Nashville. And Sheriff Melvin Bond said if the state sheriff’s association gets its way, the changes would help the Haywood County Jail.
            Bond is chairman of the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association’s effort to change jail standards. He is the former chairman of Tennessee Corrections Institute (TCI). It is TCI that the sheriff’s new group is charged with lobbying. And, actually, the sheriff says, the current standards modernization is a joint undertaking of the state’s sheriff’s, the state police chief’s association and TCI.
            Bond is attended a meeting this week in Nashville at which his group met with TCI. He wasn’t specific about rule changes that br>   At this week’s TCI meeting, the panel approved a recommendation by a state jail inspector that the Haywood County Jail be certified.


            Megasite water deal struck
            December 14, 2011

               Mayor Franklin Smith says the Brownsville Energy Authority will be the seller of water to our eventual megasite tenant. In the deal, the county’s rural water district will receive 5% of the sale of the water.
            The wastewater from the megasite must come to Brownsville because of treatment infrastructure and the city’s permits that allow its eventual dumping into streams and rivers.
            The state is expected to supply the funding for the infrastructure estimated to cost $20 million.


            City Board goes after new grant money
            December 13, 2011

               A quick meeting of the Brownsville Board of Mayor and Aldermen this week. Mayor Jo Matherne and aldermen dispatched their entire agenda in a forty-minute meeting late Tuesday afternoon at City Hall.  Budgetary amendments and housekeeping measures were the order of the day.
            Mayor Jo Matherne and the Board unanimously approved a reading on an ordinance amending the 2011 – 2012 Budget for the City of Brownsville to increase expenditures by over $700,000.
            Over  $550,000 of the total concentrated in two areas, with over $443,000 going to community development and over $110,000 allocated to law enforcement.  Those increased expenditures will be paid for with grant money.
            General government expenditures, encompassing a number of areas, involve proposed increases totaling some $52,000; central dispatch spending increased by nearly $8,600; and the rescue squad’s budget will go up by $13,600  ($443,000 + $110,000 + $52,000 + $8,600 + 13,600 =  $704,600).
            On Tuesday evening the City Board also passed a resolution supporting the Regional Economic Development Initiative (“REDI”).  REDI concerns 12 West Tennessee Counties, including Haywood, that have banded together to push a legislative agenda to develop infrastructure at the Megasite, to fund Development Districts, to grow and expand the REDI College Access program, to support the REDI Digital Factory Technology initiative, and to support continued funding for education in Tennessee.
            At the meeting the Board passed a resolution to facilitate acquisition of up to $750,000 in Tennessee Fasttrack Industrial Development Program grant funds for use by Brownsville Energy Authority to   make water system improvements along Morgan Avenue in the Industrial Park. Infrastructural improvements in the water system could facilitate expansion of industry at the park.
            Yet another resolution unanimously approved by the Mayor and City Board will enable the City to acquire via “donation” the dilapidated residence of Christine Taylor at 613 Rawls Street.  The City plans to raze the Taylor building which is in the flood plain. In exchange for the “donation” of her residence, the City agreed to furnish $85,000 in available   Community Development Block Grant Disaster funds for Ms. Taylor to purchase the house located at 705 E. Cooper Street in Brownsville.
            Prior to adjourning with good wishes for the upcoming holidays, the Mayor and Board of Alderman approved approximately $30,000 in Christmas Bonuses for over 120 City employees. Bonuses were calculated using a baseline of approximately 1% of salary, which averages to around $250 for employees serving for at least one year.  Part time employees will receive $50

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