Archive: Winter 2011

Archive: Winter 2011

Archive: Winter 2011

Haywood High School Academic Decathlon team places third in state competition

At the 26th annual Tennessee Academic Decathlon competition, the Haywood High School team earned fifteen individual medals, two plaques, and the third place trophy. Students competed in ten academic disciplines at Austin Peay State University, February 18-19, 2011, and every HHS team member won at least one medal.
Five HHS students won speech medals and were invited to perform their prepared speeches in the prestigious Speech Showcase.

Individual medalists were:

• Kaitlyn Schwarz – Copper medals in Essay, Speech, Economics
Bronze medal in Math
Silver medal in Art

• Reeves Garrett — Copper medal in Art
Bronze medal in Essay
Silver medal in Speech

• Nijaa Murray — Gold medal in Speech

• Taylor Primrose — Copper medal in Speech

• Madison Eubanks — Bronze medal in Speech

• Morgan Currie — Silver medal in Math

• Karla Cisneros — Copper medals in Music and Literature

• Jay Clinton — Copper medal in Super Quiz.

Kaitlyn Schwarz and Reeves Garrett also received plaques as the fifth-highest overall scorers in their divisions. The highest scorer for the HHS team was Reeves Garrett.

This year’s competition focused on the Great Depression. The Super Quiz topic was geology, particularly those aspects related to the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.

Placing first in the competition was Madison Academic Magnet High School of Jackson. This school will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, in April for the national competition. Competing online in the large school division nationally will be Mt. Juliet High School. Chester County High School placed second overall and will compete nationally online in the medium school division. Two teams from Obion County Central High School placed fourth and fifth. Also competing were teams from Liberty Technology Magnet High School in Jackson, and Seymour High School from Seymour, Tennessee.

Coaches for the Haywood High School team are John Thomas and Glynn Bridgewater. Joining the group at the event in Clarksville on Saturday was HHS Principal Dorothy Bond.
New Justice Complex will feature added security
February 23, 2011

Additional labor for security will help operate the new Criminal Justice Complex. The Haywood County Commission approved the funding this week.

The new security force, based on total weekly hours, will amount to three full time officers.

Sheriff Melvin Bond requested appropriation for two full time POST certified officers to be stationed as bailiffs at the new center. Additionally, he sought funding for four part time employees to cover a five-day week. The part-timers will be stationed at the entrance to the new center where all visitors will be required to pass through a metal detector.

Because current Tennessee law requires court security officers to be POST certified, new employees must receive pay as mandated by state law. The starting salary for a POST certified officer is $28,066 per year plus benefits.

Conmed to provide healthcare for jail inmates
February 23, 2011

County Mayor Franklin Smith told the county commission that last Thursday he signed a contract with Conmed Healthcare Management to provide medical care to Haywood County inmates for $360,360 per year.

The contract, approved last month by the county commission, means a healthcare professional will be in the county jail about 17 hours daily.

New proposal could lower cost for Haywood County jail inmate healthcare
February 15, 2011

New information has stalled a plan to sign a contract for healthcare services at the county jail. At a meeting of the county’s budget committee Monday, a county commissioner who voted against the contract presented information that could save the county hundreds of thousands of dollars.

At the January 18 meeting of the Haywood County Commission, members voted 17 to 3 to authorize County Mayor Franklin Smith to enter into a contract for $360,360 per year – $30,030 per month – with Conmed Healthcare Management to provide healthcare services for county jail prisoners.

The vote came on the heels of a year in which the County spent over $307,000 in healthcare costs.

Commissioner Bob Hooper, one of the three who voted against the Conmed proposal in January, addressed the committee saying he believed there is a less expensive alternative. Nurse Practitioner Rene Terrelle and registered nurse Sherie McKnight attended the meeting at Hooper’s guest and said they can provide the service for less money.

Terrelle and McKnight currently provide healthcare services at jails in Obion, Lake, and Gibson counties. Terrelle stated that as a two-person team, they visit jails in each of these counties two days weekly and spend three to six hours at each. They are on call 24 /7, and they shop for best pricing on pharmaceuticals for the counties they serve. She told the Committee she is licensed, bonded, and insured.

Ms. Terrelle stated that Lake County averages about 40 inmates; Obion County just over 100 ; and Gibson County 200. Current monthly charges for her services to these counties are approximately $3,500 for Lake County, $4,500 for Obion County, and $6,000 for Gibson County, exclusive of actual costs for drugs.

Mayor Franklin Smith stated that even though the Commission had authorized him to do so, he had not yet entered into any binding agreement with Conmed. Mayor Smith noted that for the issue of inmate healthcare to be resubmitted to the Haywood County Commission, procedures required that any new proposal must be made by one of the 17 commissioners previously voting for the contract with Conmed.

New workers may be needed at Haywood County Justice Complex
February 15, 2011

Sheriff Melvin Bond has requested funding for additional courtroom and building security personnel at the soon to be opened Haywood County Criminal Justice Center.

The request is for two full time certified officers as bailiffs, along with the equivalent of one full time person to monitor citizens going into the facility through the metal detectors at the main entrance.

Commissioners Robert Green and Leonard Jones, Jr. questioned Sheriff Bond about the proposal, which is in conflict with previous assurances there would be no need for additional personnel at the new Center. Commissioner Green noted the need to show budgetary restraint.

Presently, security at the Haywood County Courthouse consists of one full time and one part time officer.

The committee took no action on the sheriff’s request. Budget Committee Chairman Allen King asked Sheriff Bond to provide additional information about the need for more workers.


Brownsville to seek half-million dollar sewer grant
February 9, 2011

The City board passed three resolutions pertaining to funding and implementation of sewer projects in south Brownsville. The resolutions authorize the Mayor to apply for $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development in order to continue improvements in the sewer system in the south part of Brownsville. If successful in obtaining the grant, the City will employ the engineering firm of Gresham, Smith & Partners for consultation and implementation of the work. The same firm was used for similar work last year.

Snow storms increase work for Brownsville public works
February 9, 2011

Public Works Director Bobby Mayer’s crews have worked long hours this year due to an unusually high number of snows. That will likely continue at least for the next few days.

There were three snows in January, one already in February, and a significant fifth snow is expected today, February 9th. The volume of storm water runoff from rains and snows has been significant , and drainage has been adversely impacted by beaver dams in drainage areas and creeks. Mayer reported the removal of at least ten beaver dams this week.

Mayor Jo Matherne commended the street crews for doing a stellar job keeping Brownsville roads passable during and following these winter storms.

Call volume large for Brownsville Haywood County Central Dispatch
February 9, 2011

For January, Central Dispatch received 357 emergency management calls, 216 calls for the sheriff’s department, 1,173 calls to the police department, and 50 calls to the Fire Department.

The office handled approximately 25,000 total calls in 2010, for an average of 65 to 70 calls per day.

Chief Chris Lea — Crime down in Brownsville in 2010
February 9, 2011

Brownsville Police Chief Chris Lea reported that overall statistics reflect a decrease in crime in Brownsville for 2010
Robberies, burglaries, homicides, and assaults were all down over 20% from the previous year.

One area reflecting an increase in activity is the investigation and management of cases. An increase from 2 to 5 (addition of 3) officers in the criminal investigation division in 2010 resulted in a case closure rate of 76.5%, up from just 23% a year ago when there was less staffing.

Injury and non-injury related car crashes also went down in Brownsville in 2010 as total crashes of 147 reflect a reduction of 48% from 2009. Chief Lea attributes some of the improved numbers to the attainment of almost $ 113,000 in various agency grants to provide additional personnel, upgrade equipment, and provide education and prevention programs.

Laptop computers are now in every patrol vehicle.

Finally, Chief Lea commended Alderman Carolyn Flagg for Ward 2’s Neighborhood Watch program. As evidence that neighborhood watch programs work, Chief Lea noted that not a single crime was reported in Ward 2 in January of this year.
Flagg’s group will be holding a public meeting this Thursday, February 11, in the Delta Room at Backyard Barbeque at 1800 East Main

FEMA to provide more than half-million dollars to buy Brownsville flood damaged properties
February 9, 2011

The City of Brownsville may purchase up to 16 properties already identified and damaged by the May 1, 2010 flood . Eligible properties must be in the flood plain, must have suffered over 50% damage in value as a result of the flood, and must fit within the city’s flood management plan. Brownsville’s City government must agree per FEMA regulations to own the property in perpetuity and never use it for residential purposes.

The purchase price will be the fair market value of the properties just prior to the flood. There will be a meeting on Thursday, February 17, at 5:30 P.M. at City Hall to discuss the program, and all interested parties may attend.

Brownsville City Board to meet later in March
February 9, 2011

Because many City officials will be attending the Tennessee Municipal League legislative conference on March 7 and 8 next month. The Mayor and Board of Aldermen moved their regularly scheduled meeting one week forward to Tuesday, March 15, 2011, at 5:30 P.M at City Hall. There will also be a called meeting on Tuesday, March 29, 2011, at 5:30 P.M. at City Hall for a second hearing and vote on the proposed expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary for Brownsville.

Tomcat Jerry Bradford signs with Bethel University

Haywood High School senior Tomcat Jerry Bradford received a full athletic scholarship and signed on the dotted line on February 2 to play football with Bethel University. Jerry played left guard and defensive end for the Tomcats. He holds a 3.1 GPA and says he will major in computer science at Bethel. Joining him at the signing were (seated, from left) Bethel Coach Willie Fells, Jerry Bradford, Sr., Jerry, Annette Bradford and Bethel Coach Chancy DePriest; (standing) HHS Coach Tim Stratton, Tomcat Athletic Director Jim Frazier, HHS Principal Dorothy Bond and HHS Coach Tim Seymour.


Housekeeping measures occupied much of the first meeting of the new year for the Brownsville Municipal – Regional Planning Commission. Greg Vanstory was elected Secretary to replace Sharon Hays, who rotated from the Commission to take a position on the staff of the City of Brownsville. To reflect the expanded regional outlook of the Commission, the bylaws were amended to require 10 instead of the previous 8 members on the board. Eight members must continue to be city residents while the two new positions are to be occupied by residents of the City of Brownsville’s Planning Region.

The Commission unanimously voted to recommend approval by the City Board of Alderman of an expanded Urban Growth Boundary proposed by Mr. Tom Skehan, Community Principal Planner for the West Tennessee Region of the State Dept. of Economic and Community Development. Approval of inclusion of the land encompassed by the boundary will facilitate regulation of zoning and subdivision regulations to monitor growth currently just outside the city limits. While there are no current plans to annex these areas to the City of Brownsville, adoption of the new Urban Growth Boundary would streamline annexation should the City decide to do so in the future. Without the Urban Growth Boundary, any proposed annexation would have to occur via referendum, whereas with the adopted Boundary annexation could occur on vote by the Mayor and City Board of Aldermen.

There will be a meeting at City Hall on Saturday, February 5, commencing at 10:00 A.M. to discuss Brownsville’s Comprehensive Plan. Students and faculty from the University of Memphis who have worked on the plan will be in attendance , as well as participating planning board commissioners. The meeting is open to the public. Students working on the project will consider industrial development, downtown development, historic preservation, as well as other matters.

During Thursday’s meeting , the Commission recommended the rezoning from residential to commercial of one piece of property. Mr. James Clark has purchased the property at 1451 East Main across from Golden Circle Tire to establish a new location for a Farmers Insurance Agency.
Finally, the Commission voted to condemn property located at 940 Scott Street and remove the existing decayed residence there.

Haywood hosts academic decathlon
January 24, 2011

Haywood High School was again this year the host school for the West Tennessee Regional Academic Decathlon competition held here Saturday.

The HHS Academic Decathlon team competed with teams from Obion County Central High School, Chester County High School, Madison Academic Magnet High School, and Liberty Technology Magnet High School.

HHS placed 3rd overall, received 14 individual medals, won 3rd place in the Super Quiz, and had two team members who scored in the top 5 in their division. For the 26th year in a row the Haywood High decathletes advanced to statewide competition.

The state academic decathlon will be held at Austin Peay University February 18-19. Coaches for the Haywood High School team are John Thomas and Glynn Bridgewater.

Teachers of the year announced
January 24, 2011

Selected by their peers, the names of leading teachers in the Haywood County School system have just been announced.

The following teachers earn Teacher of the Year status:

Anderson Early Childhood Center — Suzie May
Haywood Elementary School — Susan Evans
East Side Elementary School — Leslie Essary
Sunny Hill School — Mandy Bell
Haywood Junior High School — Holly Pipkin
Haywood High School — Delois Dailey

Haywood County to apply for flood relief grant
January 19, 2011

With passage of three resolutions, the Haywood County Commission authorized Mayor Franklin Smith to apply for $1 million in Community Development Block Grant funds in response to damage caused by tornadoes here in 2008 and floods last year.

The mayor hopes to work with The West Tennessee River Basin Authority, engineers Askew, Hargraves, and Harcourt, and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to develop a comprehensive plan so that damage from future flooding can be minimized.

Brownsville and Haywood County suffered significant damage due to the flooding that occurred May 1 of last year in addition to that caused by the 2008 winds. If awarded, some of the monies may also be used to purchase updated weather warning and monitoring equipment. The $1 million county grant application mirrors the same grant the City of Brownsville agreed to pursue last week.

Conmed Healthcare to administer healthcare at Haywood County Jail
January 19, 2011

Haywood County Commissioners were full of questions regarding a proposed 16-month contract with Conmed Healthcare Management to provide medical care and the dispensation of prescription drugs to inmates at the Haywood County jail. The contract requires taxpayers ante up more than $30,000 monthly to fund the $360,360 annual contract.

Conmed’s charges don’t include providing the medicines. Presently, county government buys medicines from Super D at a cost averaging around $3,000 every month.

Mayor Franklin Smith urged approval of the contract so that new procedures for the administration of inmate healthcare will be in place at the commencement of operations at the new criminal justice complex. The center is expected to open March 1.

Under the contract, a healthcare professional will be in the jail 16 hours everyday. The staff includes visits by a Nurse Practitioner 8 hours weekly, a registered nurse for 40 hours each week, and licensed practical nurses (LPN’s) for 72 hours per week. These services contrast with the two hours of service currently provided by a nurse practitioner 3 days each week.

After much discussion and endorsement by Budget Committee Chairman Allen King, commissioners voted 17 to 3 in favor of entering into the contract. Commissioners Teddy Waldrop, John Gorman, Jr., and Bob Hooper voted no.

King advocated a review after the first six months. The contract includes provisions for cancellation.

Conmed is a for profit publicly traded company.

Rouse and Neal appointed to Haywood County jobs
January 19, 2011

Commissioners unanimously voted to appoint William King to serve the remainder of the unexpired term of the Reverend Rick Rouse on the Planning Commission. Rev Rouse passed away in December.

Commissioners also appointed Clinton Neal as Interim County Farm Superintendent. He’ll be paid $800 monthly through June 3o. Neal already serves in the capacity of Director of Solid Waste Management for Haywood County. The appointment comes on the heals of the retirement of County Farm Superintendent Terry Parks.

Three Star status awarded to Haywood County
January 19, 2011

Chamber of Commerce Director Joe Ing presented Mayor Franklin Smith and the County Commission a certificate recognizing the county’s achievement as a Three Star County in Tennessee for 2010. The Three Star program is administered by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and involves a number of initiatives, including strategic planning for infrastructure at potential industrial sites, sustaining businesses at I – 40 exits, taking action for at risk children, and enhancing healthcare accessibility.

Haywood County will again participate in the program in 2011. Mayor Smith noted that Haywood County is one of very few in Tennessee where both the county government and county seat have obtained Three Star Certification. He stated that the achievement of this status by both Haywood County and the City of Brownsville makes the area stand out in a positive way and provides an advantage of distinction when talking to potential industrial and business recruits.

Brownsville to apply for disaster recovery funds
January 11, 2011

The January meeting of the City of Brownsville Mayor and Board of Aldermen focused on disaster relief and prevention in the wake of the May 1, 2010 flood. The city will apply for $1 million Community Development Block Grant. The engineering firm of Askew, Hargraves & Harcourt will assist in the application for the grant and implementation if awarded.

Tuesday’s action is part of a comprehensive flood control plan for Brownsville, which will result in taking steps for prevention and minimizing of flood damage in the future.

“Ground zero” for the engineering firm’s work, according to Mayor Jo Matherne, is defined as the Nixon and Sugar Creek areas.

Twenty-two affected counties may apply for an available $72 million, and the mayor believes Brownsville’s chances of obtaining $1 million are good. The city will coordinate efforts with Haywood County, which is also applying for similar funding relating to flood control.

Brownsville to acquire flood damaged properties
January 11, 2011

City of Brownsville officials are in the process of evaluating properties damaged by the May 2010 flood that may be eligible for purchase under Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guidelines. Eligible properties must be in the flood plain, be part of a City development plan, and be damaged by the 2010 flood by over 50 percent in value. Once the city determines eligible properties and purchases them, existing structures will be demolished and no further buildings can be erected there.

While the deadline for identifying properties is March 31, Alderman Leon King noted that this is a lengthy, detailed process that will take an extended period of time before purchases are actually made.

NAACP sponsors parade on Martin Luther King Day
January 11. 2011

The City Board approved a request by the local chapter of the NAACP to conduct a parade in Brownsville on Monday, January 17, 2011. The parade will begin at the Carver Dunbar Museum on East Jefferson and end there after a route through town.

NAACP officials are sponsoring the parade as part of the festivities celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center to hold banquet
January 11, 2011

Sonia Outlaw, Director of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, plans a banquet for 2010 volunteers for the Center on Friday, January 15. Volunteers donated 488 hours of time during the past year.

During 2010, over 20,000 visitors from all 50 states and 30 countries visited the Center, which is located just off Exit 56 at Interstate 40.

Collection of Brownsville taxes ahead of schedule
January 11, 2011

City Clerk Jessica Frye reports that over $2 million in tax revenue was received by the end of December, which is the half way point in Brownsville’s fiscal year. This money represents over half of the budgeted tax income for 2010 – 2011, making collections ahead of schedule at this time.

Statewide Jewish History and Culture is Focus of Exhibit Opening January 27 at Delta Heritage Center

Brownsville, Tenn. — January 10, 2011 – The story of Jewish immigration to Tennessee and how they embraced the culture they found here is documented in a traveling exhibit opening January 27, at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, Tenn.

Bagels & Barbeque: The Jewish Experience in Tennessee begins with the saga of early Jewish settlers emigrating from Europe, where most faced religious persecution. A few came to upper East Tennessee in the 1770s, and to Middle Tennessee by the 1820s. By 1870, groups in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga had purchased land for cemeteries—a first concern of new Jewish communities—and founded congregations for worship.

Chronicling the life of Jewish families during the Civil War and Reconstruction, the exhibit focuses on the historic contributions during this period. Stories of interest include the beginnings of one of America’s most respected newspaper empires, which began when 20 year-old Adolph Ochs, son of Julius and Bertha from Knoxville, bought The Chattanooga Times in 1878. In 1896, he added The New York Times to what is still today a family-controlled enterprise.

Stories of the huge wave of immigrants, who arrived between 1880 and 1924, who were fleeing anti-Semitic laws and mob violence, are followed by those of Tennessee Jews during World War II. More than 1,000 Tennessee Jews served their country in the armed forces.

As the young left to seek their fortunes after the war, Tennessee’s Jewish population declined to less than 17,000 in 1960. The Civil Rights era raised ongoing challenges for Tennessee Jews. The Nashville Jewish Community Center was dynamited in 1958, while a Chattanooga synagogue was destroyed in 1977.

Bagels & Barbeque also documents the recent influence of the Jewish community in Tennessee. Tennessee has seen an influx from around the nation of Jewish health and music industry professionals, university professors, executives, artists, and their extended families.

Scholars from across the state of Tennessee provided the research for the exhibit, along with noted authorities on Jewish history from other locations. The exhibition has been organized, designed and produced by the staff of the Tennessee State Museum. It was first shown at the Tennessee State Museum in December 2007. It is now traveling to other museums across the state.

In 1867, Temple Adas Israel, the Reformed Jewish temple in Brownsville began in the home of Jacob and Karoline Felsenthal. In 1882, when the congregation grew too large to meet in a home, a wooden temple was built. Today it is recognized as the oldest Temple of continuous service in the state. This rich local Jewish history will be highlighted as a special companion to the state exhibit.

The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, a Visitor Information Center and Museum, is located off of Interstate 40, Exit 56, behind McDonald’s, at 121 Sunny Hill Cove in Brownsville, Tenn. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday; 1 to 5 p.m., on Sunday; and is free to the public. To learn more about the museum, visit

Bagels & Barbeque: The Jewish Experience in Tennessee is a joint project of the Tennessee State Museum in collaboration with the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, Jewish Community Federation of Greater Chattanooga, Knoxville Jewish Alliance, and Memphis Jewish Federation, with the participation of other Jewish communities around the state. The exhibit’s statewide tour is supported in part by a grant from Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Holocaust Survivors’ Crate — Tennessee State Museum collection,
Gift of Rodney Rosenblum.

Holy Smokers team at Anshei Sphard-Beth El Emeth Synagogue’s annual Kosher BBQ Contest and Festival in Memphis — Courtesy Anshei Sphard-Beth El Emeth, Memphis

Delta Heritage Center welcomes first visitor of 2011

Chuck Matthews, of Brownsville, was surprised by a camera flash when he walked into the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center Saturday, January 1. His New Year’s Day visit earned him the honor of being the first visitor of the year. Along with the recognition, he also received a University of Tennessee birdhouse. Pictured with Matthews are staff members Mary Hines (left) and Peggy Jones.

Sharon Hayes appointed to Higher Education Commission
December 22, 2010

Brownsville’s new city planner has been appointed to Tennessee’s Higher Education Commission. Sharon Hayes, who recently retired from the University of Memphis, received the appointment from Governor Phil Bredesen.

Hayes’ term runs until June of 2015.

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) was created in 1967 by the Tennessee General Assembly for the purpose of coordinating and supporting the efforts of post-secondary institutions in the State of Tennessee. One of its statutory requirements is to create a master plan for the development of public higher education in Tennessee.

Tomcats’ new coach brings history of winning to Haywood
December 21, 2010

Slade Calhoun is the new head coach for the Haywood High School Tomcats. In a press release issued late Monday night, Director of Schools Marlon King said Calhoun was selected from a pool of nearly 50 applicants.

Coach Calhoun will become the Tomcats’ 20th head coach and will be the headman for the 100th anniversary of Tomcat football next fall.
Calhoun played high school football at Mt. Vernon, Kentucky from 1993 though 1996 and later coached there. For the last three years he has been an assistant at Brighton High School located in Tipton County.

With an undergraduate degree in History, Calhoun also brings to Haywood High a Masters Degree in Educational Theory and Practice.
Director King says Calhoun will not only be the head coach for the Tomcats but will also be responsible for the “entire football program.” His title is Director of Football Operations for the county school system.

Marlon King handpicked a committee to select and recruit the new coach. The selection group included Robert Rooks, Greg Vanstory, Allen King, Allen Currie, Jim Frazier and Director King.

At Brighton Calhoun was the defensive coordinator, receiver’s and strength coach. Calhoun writes in his resume that during his time at Brighton the team has “shattered every offensive school record and led the state in scoring.” Brighton was the 13 AAA state champions in 2009.

Marlon King has high expectations for Calhoun. “We are excited to have Coach Calhoun as a part of Haywood County Schools and are confident, considering his background and experience, that he will add great value to our rich football tradition in Haywood County,” King said.

Coach Calhoun’s resume

Brownsville to change health insurance for workers
December 15, 2010

Facing an increase in annual cost of 24%, Brownsville officials have decided to change the health insurance coverage for city workers. The change means significant savings to taxpayers and little consequence to workers.

Blue Cross of Tennessee underwrites the city’s health insurance. Taxpayers pay the entire cost of individual coverage and pay half of family coverage.

Mayor Jo Matherne reported to city board members that while Blue Cross will continue to be the city’s insurance company, workers will now be covered by a different coverage option provided by Blue Cross. The change means workers will have fewer choices for healthcare providers. Mayor Matherne says she polled city workers and found the changes “will have very little negative impact.” The out of pocket costs for workers will remain the same.

The change, Matherne said, means only a 4% increase in annual costs.

No more paychecks for Brownsville workers
December 15, 2010

Beginning in 2011 Brownsville’s employees and elected officials will get their pay via direct deposit. Aldermen passed a resolution supporting Mayor Jo Matherne’s wishes that the payroll system be changed.

“Every two weeks we have 160 to 170 paychecks laying around…” Matherne said. She said the new system is an “efficiency move” and will also be more secure for workers.

Brownsville provides Christmas bonus
December 15, 2010

Every full time city worker who has been on the job at least a year will get a taxpayer funded Christmas bonus of $240.76. Those working less than one year will receive a check based on months of service. Part time workers will get $50.
A system established many years ago will continue under the Jo Matherne administration. The bonus dollars are calculated as 10% of one month’s payroll. Each employee gets an equal share. The Christmas bonus is included in the city’s budget and means a payout of $29,373.

UT Martin classes coming to Brownsville
December 15, 2010

Remember the UT Martin survey local leaders were asking you complete? Many of us did and it has paid off.

The University of Tennessee will offer three college courses here beginning in the spring. Courses in math, English and history will be provided. Mayor Jo Matherne said the program will be taught in classrooms at Haywood High School.

Bob Moses reappointed to Brownsville Housing Authority
December 15, 2010

City board members agreed to reappoint Bob Moses to the Brownsville Housing Authority Board of Directors. Moses has served on the board for many years and currently is the board’s chairman.

Brownsville utility customers will pay less
December 15, 2010

The Brownsville Energy Authority has decreased the rate for electricity. Beginning December 1 the BEA passed along a 3% decrease in electric charges resulting from a decrease in cost by provider Tennessee Valley Authority.

Brownsville tapped for Tennessee Downtown project
December 10, 2010

Twelve Tennessee communities — Brownsville included — have been chosen to participate in Tennessee Downtowns, a competitive community improvement program designed to revitalize traditional commercial districts. Other cities include McKenzie, Henderson, Athens, Linden, Red Boiling Springs, Smithville, Centerville, Lewisburg, Mountain City, Rockwood and Pikeville.
A paragraph from the Downtowns Internet site provides insight into the project:

“…. Tennessee Downtowns, designed to help communities fully understand what it takes to embark on a comprehensive revitalization effort for their downtown. Using the time tested National Main Street Center’s “Main Street Four-Point Approach to Downtown Revitalization ®,” this 18-month adventure will take the selected downtowns and their steering committees through the steps of launching a downtown revitalization effort.”

“The ultimate goal is sustainable revitalization and historic preservation,” Chief City Planner Sharon Hayes said Thursday. Hayes said representatives of Tennessee Economic and Community Development will conduct introductory meetings with the selected communities within the next two weeks.

Haywood High renovation wins approval
December 10, 2010

It took Haywood County Commissioners less than an hour Thursday to approve a school fix-up project that will cost $4,421,000. Haywood High School will get a new heating and air system and the athletic and science department and music room will be overhauled.

The county commission met in special session Thursday night — the schools issue the only items on the agenda.
Budget Committee Chairman Allan King said, “…we’re going to fix the high school…when we walk out it will be finished — done.” But it will take some time. Leaders say replacement of the heat and air will be done over two summers. Most of the work will be done while students are on summer break.

Haywood High Principal Dorothy Bond said the renovations would make the school the “pride of Haywood County.”

Paying for the overhaul will be accomplished with what amounts to two loans.

The school board will apply for a $1 million no interest loan and make the required payments from its budget. The balance of the project will be paid from a bond issuance requiring a 20-year payback managed by the county commission.

Brownsville Radio’s Christmas Basket project raises nearly $30,000
Silver anniversary
December 6, 2010

Pledges topped the goal set for Brownsville’s annual Christmas Basket fund. The project, sponsored by Brownsville Radio (WTBG-FM) and County Mayor Franklin Smith, was celebrating its 25th anniversary with last Friday’s five-hour broadcast. Organizers had set a goal of $25,000 but by the end of the show listeners had pledged $26,719.

A pledge called into the radio station early Monday morning drove the total to $29,319. “Bill Connelly from West Side Church of Christ called a little after 6 a.m. to say the church had raised $2,600 for the fund,” Brownsville Radio’s Carlton Veirs reported Monday.

The Brownsville Radio Christmas Basket Radiothon began in December 1986 when Veirs and then-morning radio host Paul Jackson decided to see if listeners would give a few dollars to the needy. Exceeding their expectations, they decided to make the Radiothon an annual event. The local Jaycees had been conducting an annual campaign but the organization was defunct. Franklin Smith, a former Jaycee and county executive, joined the cause and has helped raise money and manages the logistics of buying and delivering. Jackson returns each year to co-host the show.

More than 300 Christmas baskets will likely be funded with this year’s donations.

Brownsville Radio listeners have contributed an estimated half million dollars during the 25 year history.

Delivery is scheduled for December 18. All of the groceries and toys will be organized at the Brownsville Utility Department’s gas warehouse located on Anderson Avenue. Volunteers who would like to help deliver are urged to arrive by 9 a.m.

School renovation one step closer
December 1, 2010

Officials at the Haywood County Board of Education offices are like busy preparing a loan application they hope will help pay for a planned $4.45 million renovation at Haywood High School.

The school board met in special session Tuesday afternoon and approved making the loan application. The loan is available from the Tennessee Department of Education and will be repaid, interest free, over a ten-year period.

The state has only a limited amount of money available in its loan pool. The Haywood County application will be in competition with others from across the state.

County Commission to meet
On the same subject, Mayor Franklin Smith has called a special meeting of the county commission for December 9. The agenda calls for consideration of the renovation plans at the high school, the school’s loan application and also whether to fund the balance of the project.

The county’s budget and education committees have voted to recommend the school’s plan and the issuance of bonds to pay the difference between the $1 million loan and the total $4.45 million expenditure. The bonds will be repaid over 20 years.

Brownsville square renovation on track
December 2, 2010

Mayor Jo Matherne says that Brownsville remains on track to see major renovations to downtown sometime in the very near future.

The talk about a makeover for the square has been going on for years but real progress has been made in the past few weeks, according to Matherne.

Rose Construction Company of Covington won the bidding. The project will pay Rose $553,000.

Mayor Matherne says the bid package has been sent to the Tennessee Department of Transportation for their approval. She expects work to start sometime after the first of the year.

Tomcat football coach selection closer
December 2, 2010

So how close are we to hearing who will be the new head football coach for the HHS Tomcats?

Director of Schools Marlon King said the search committee has met a number of times and has a final meeting scheduled for next Tuesday. The recruiters have poured over about 50 applications coming from as far away as New York and Florida.

King says the committee has reduced the pool to a handful they believe are worthy of further discussion.

Interviews for the new coach are set for December 11 and 18.

Joint funding arrangement will fix high school
November 23, 2010

A called meeting of the Haywood County Commission could come within the next week or so to discuss a schools funding plan. In a joint meeting with the school board Monday, the county commission’s education and budget committees unanimously voted to provide $4.45 million to make repairs at the high school.

The school’s renovation will extend beyond the central heat and air system, which was the focus of earlier discussions. Under the plan approved Monday, the HVAC system will be replaced but renovations to the athletic department, music room locker area and science departments will also be made.

The list of repairs funded under the measure is a “total package” for the high school according to Mayor Franklin Smith. Under earlier proposals the heating and air systems would have been replaced but other renovations would have been revisited later. School Board Chairman Harold Garrett said “I really like the idea of doing it all at one time.”

The estimated cost of the planned renovations at the high school:

HVAC: $2,376,000
Renovations within classrooms: $750,000
Renovation of the music room and locker area: $700,000
Renovation of the athletic department: $330,000
Renovation of the science department: $265,000

BBA announces 2010 Holiday Decorating Contest

BROWNSVILLE, TN (November 15, 2010): Local businesses are invited to help light the way for Santa and the holiday season with window displays and lighting in this year’s Holiday Decorating Contest, sponsored by the Brownsville Business Association (BBA).

“Our town always looks so festive during the holidays,” says Kent Moore, BBA president, “and our storefronts are the perfect place for us to convey warm wishes and share in the joy of the season.”

The contest is open to all Brownsville and Haywood County businesses and you do not have to be a BBA member to enter. Cash prizes will be awarded for first ($100), second ($75) and third place ($50). Entry forms are available at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, 121 Sunny Hill Cove, or online at

Entries must be received by Monday, November 29, and judging will take place Thursday, December 2. Winners will be announced at 6 p.m., Saturday, December 4, before the Christmas Parade.

For more information about the contest or the BBA, call 731-780-5144.

Schools/government putting heads together on improvements
November 16, 2010

County commissioners have asked for a joint meeting between the Haywood County School Board and the commission’s education and budget committees. The purpose of the session is to settle funding questions for a multi-million dollar improvement to the high school. And time is of the essence — a loan application must be submitted by its December 15 deadline.

School system administrators — led by Director of Schools Marlon King — say the aging central heat and air system at the high school must be replaced. The system is nearly 40 years old and is in bad repair. School officials say a new system will also lower utility bills. The lowest bid the school system has received is nearly $2.4 million.

A federal loan program can provide up to $1 million of the funds and is available with no interest charges. The loan must be repaid over ten years. County commissioners nor the school board have said where the balance of the funds might be found and no one has agreed on where cash will come from to repay the loan.

A date for the joint meeting was not set Monday night.

Cemetery located on County Farm
November 16, 2010

A “pauper’s” cemetery that few knew existed became the focus of a portion of the protest against providing taxpayer owned land to the proposed meatpacking plant. Mayor Franklin Smith says experts have now located 27 graves but he admits there may be many more.

The cemetery is unmarked and no accurate records were kept. Smith says he thinks burials may have started there as early as 1868. One record indicates the last burial might have taken place in 1945.

Smith says the plan is to mark the boundaries of the burial plot and see that there is “no further desecration of graves.” The cemetery apparently will not affect development of the meatpacking plant.

Lower utilities will result from electrical retrofit
November 16, 2010

Stimulus money provided the county will be used to help replace lighting in eleven county owned buildings. The county commission approved spending $89,000 from local government bank accounts — matching a $100,000 stipend from the federal government.

The new lights will lower energy usage and utility bills according to experts.

Scheduled for renovation are buildings and offices that include the courthouse, county agent, health department, College Hill Center, College Hill Headstart, Carver High School, Department of Human Services, library, solid waste department, parks and recreation and the highway department.

Solar farm zone passes final muster
November 16, 2010

Local regulatory hurdles for the Solar Farm were overcome Monday when county commissioners passed a resolution changing the zoning map.
Construction of the $40 million installation could start within a few weeks.

Dancyville slated for new store
November 16, 2010

A zoning change in Stanton may mean a new store and restaurant. County Commissioners approved a zoning map change for the tract that once was home to the Dancyville Gin.

Mayor Franklin Smith says he understands developers will build a store on the “footprint” of the old gin that may also include a restaurant.

Tornado “safe” space money received
November 16, 2010

About 80% of a half-million dollar grant that added infrastructure to the new criminal justice complex has been received. Updating county commissioners on the progress of the criminal justice complex, Mayor Franklin Smith said he expects the county will be paid an additional $100,000.

The so-called “safe space” is a large hallway where about 500 people could gather during dangerous weather. The structure is built to provide protection from the most severe tornados.

The jail section of the complex and dispatch offices are built to the same standards.

Parks department get awards
November 16, 2010

The Brownsville/Haywood County Parks and Recreation Department has won the Tennessee Parks and Recreation Association’s President’s Cup Award. It’s the highest award presented by the statewide association.

Nancy Cates is the director.

The department also won the Four-Star New Facility award for the new skateboard park and the Park of Dreams. The Park of Dreams committee’s effort in raising private money for the Park of Dreams also resulted in TPRA’s annual Benefactor Award.

Woodmen selling building
November 10, 2010

There have been dances there — and family gatherings. Political hopefuls have used it and so have preachers. Generations have known it simple as “the WOW building” and the Woodmen of the World have convinced local leaders to buy their building.

The City Board agreed to split the $19,000 price tag with county government and put Parks and Recreation in charge of the East Main Street building. The often-used meeting space will be leased— as it is now—on a day-to-day and customer-to-customer basis. Mayor Jo Matherne says it is likely government can win grants to make improvements.

The building was constructed in 1956 on property owned by Brownsville.

County government hasn’t yet taken up the issue but likely will at their meeting next week.

Alderman John Simmons was the lone dissenter. Simmons expressed concern about the asking price saying “we ought to offer them a dollar” for it.

Aldermen agree to three “important” planning initiatives
November 10, 2010

Mayor Jo Matherne, in her first few months in office, has made clear her approach to economic growth and it includes research, planning and participation in programs aimed at revitalization.

Aldermen agreed to three projects Tuesday.

Tennessee Downtowns
Tennessee Downtowns is a program hatched by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. The plan was created to “guide communities through an 18-month process to develop direction for the revitalization of their downtown commercial area.”
Mayor Jo Matherne said the process will help “access opportunities and threats to revitalization.”

Brownsville’s participation is not assured. The EOCD is deciding which towns to include based on competitive applications.

Strategic Development Plan
Aldermen and the mayor agreed to pay the University of Memphis $39,000 for the second phase of a study started last year. U of M and local leaders are calling it a strategic development plan and will provide Brownsville with “the information and focus necessary to move forward for the next several years.” The results are expected to include guidance for economic and livability improvement.

Graduate students and faculty in the City and Regional Planning and the Special Projects Studio class will undertake the work next spring.

Two more planners
Aldermen and the mayor unanimously approved a resolution adding two new members to the Brownsville Planning Commission. Mayor Jo Matherne raised the number of board members to ten to help diversify and bring additional ideas to the board.

Firefighters promoted
November 10, 2010

Fire Chief Mark Foster has promoted two long-time firemen and hired a new worker. James Waldrop was promoted from lieutenant to captain and Robbie Cates from firefighter to lieutenant.

Luke Warren has been hired as a firefighter.

Honorees at the Brownsville/Haywood County Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards banquet include (back row) Fox Smith, Smith Lumber Company, Business/Industry of the year; Melvin Bond, Man of the Year and P.J. Angotti, Educator of the Year. Pictured on the front row are Nancy Cates, Woman of the Year; Ann Jones, Chamber Ambassador of the Year and John Gallaspy, Volunteer of the Year.

Haywood County sure of Naifeh
November 3, 2010

Jimmy Naifeh, first elected to the state house of representatives in the early 70’s was reelected, thanks mostly to the efforts of Haywood County voters. Naifeh carried Haywood County by a wide margin, but lost in Tipton County.

Republican Jim Hardin got only 39.46% of the balloting in Haywood County while Naifeh gathered support from 60.54% of voters.
Haywood Countians were contrarians when it came to the Governor’s race and US Congress. Roy Herron squeaked out a few more votes than Stephen Fincher, but Fincher won the House seat being left vacant by John Tanner. Bill Haslam lost in Haywood County but easily won election as Tennessee’s 49th Governor.

Unofficial results in Haywood County
Tennessee House of Representatives
Jimmy Naifeh: 3,212
Jim Hardin: 2.094

United States House of Representatives
Stephen Fincher: 2,524
Roy Herron: 2,708

Bill Haslam: 2,462
Mike McWherter: 2,853

Stanton status quo
November 3, 2010

Mayor Allen Sterbinsky was all but assured of another term as the Mayor of Stanton — he ran unopposed in yesterday’s election — but he couldn’t be sure that his board of aldermen wouldn’t change.

Just under 500 people voted in Stanton and returned Sterbinsky and all of the incumbent aldermen. Alderman A.D. Miller received the most votes followed by Emma Delk. Vernoica Ronnie Polk, the only person on the ballot who was not an incumbent alderman, received 66 votes.

Mayor of Stanton
Allen Sterbinsky: 134

Alderman, Town of Stanton
Emma Delk: 118
Frank Fawcett: 78
Ruffie Jones: 101
A.D. Miller: 119
Veronica Ronnie Polk: 66

Right to Hunt and Fish
November 3, 2010

Ask most any Haywood Countian — and most any Tennesseean — about their right to hunt and fish and they’ll tell you it’s important. A proposed constitutional amendment was heavily favored by Haywood County voters yesterday. Yes votes comprised 94.13% of the balloting in Haywood County.

Constitutional amendment
Yes: 4,233
No: 264

Festival of Trees to benefit Carl Perkins Center

The Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse will host its first annual Festival of Trees November 17-20, at College Hill Center.
Local businesses, groups, schools and individuals are invited to enter trees depicting a holiday theme or a theme related to their organization. Deadline to enter is November 1. Entry forms may be picked up at the Carl Perkins Center, 130 Boyd Avenue, or call 731-772-8378.

A special Gala event is planned for the first showing of the trees on Tuesday, November 16. This event will be by ticket only ($10). Several trees will be auctioned at this time, but will remain on display for the public showing.

The trees will be open for free public viewing beginning Wednesday, November 17, through Saturday, November 20 between the hours of 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. each day. The public is invited to vote for their favorites by dropping a dollar into the ballot box associated with that tree.

The tree that raises the most money will be chosen the winner of the festival and awarded a prize. All proceeds will go to the Haywood County Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse.

To reserve a spot for your tree or to purchase tickets for the Gala event, please contact the Center at 731-772-8378 or e-mail:


February 7, 2011

Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne, the Board of Aldermen, and the Brownsville Regional Planning Commission, are asking local citizens to help guide the growth and development of Brownsville over the next decade. This is an opportunity for all citizens to shape their shared future.

The first “Brownsville On The Move” community input meeting will be held on Saturday, February 19, 2011, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon, at the National Guard Armory, 221 Morgan Street. This meeting is one of a series of community input opportunities occurring over the next 6 months in Brownsville.

Residents are encouraged to come prepared to discuss not only the positive aspects the City can build on, but also discuss issues that might hinder future progress. The meeting will include small group exercises designed to gather detailed input from each attendee. Everyone is welcome.

The City of Brownsville is working in partnership with the University of Memphis City and Regional Planning Department to create a citizen-based comprehensive document that will guide future development of economic, cultural and social initiatives issues. Overall goals for enhancing quality of life and economic prosperity will address current and future projects like Downtown Revitalization/Main Street, Business and Industrial Growth, Gateway Improvements, Neighborhood Preservation, the Hatchie River Corridor, and many others.

Mayor Jo Matherne explained that community input is vital in shaping the future of the City. “Brownsville on the Move isn’t about writing a growth plan, then putting it on the shelf. It is a great opportunity for your voice to be heard, and to take ownership in the future direction of Brownsville. The journey we’re starting on as a community is one that we all need to walk. Taking that first step together is so important.”

For More information on this event and future related events, contact:
Sharon Hayes, City Planner, 731.772.1212 or
UofM Contact: Steve Redding

Haywood County solar farm construction could start immediately
February 3, 2011

The United States Department of Energy has given the green light to the Haywood County Solar Farm.

The DOE, according to Mayor Franklin Smith, reported the installation has passed all of its environmental tests. The news means preparation and construction can begin. Smith says the DOE approval was the last hurdle for the 20-acre array that will be the largest solar installation in the southeast.

Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development has also completed its environmental review of the solar array and found it complies with its regulations.

Under the Volunteer State Solar Initiative, $31 million in federal stimulus funds will be used for the power plant. The University of Tennessee is managing development, and Chattanooga-based Signal Energy will design and build it.

The project is to be located near Albright Road on I-40. The solar farm will include a visitor’s center employing an unspecified number of worker and be in view of I-40.

No date has been set for groundbreaking, but Mayor Smith indicates it will be very soon.

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