Working on new e-edition

 We are working to better serve our readers by creating an e-edition of the PCP. This would be a subscription service and would feature a flip edition of pdf files of the newspaper.

 This page will not be updated until then, and we apologize for the inconvenience.

 If you would like to receive the news in the meantime, we are happy to get you set up with a subscription for the print edition.

Body found after reported house fire


A house fire went unnoticed last Tuesday night in the Travisville 
area. Sadly it resulted in a death.

A neighbor notified the Pickett County Sheriff's Office what looked 
life remnants of a house fire on Wednesday, May 15th around 9 a.m. 
The fire was alleged to have occurred overnight at 660 Eulis Evans 
Road in Pall Mall. The property is located on a secluded dirt road 
within the county.

When deputies arrived, they found that a single-wide mobile home had 
been completely destroyed by fire. Upon investigating the scene, it 
was discovered that a body was located in what was known as the 
living room and kitchen area.

The remains were sent to the state medical examiner and is believed 
to be that of homeowner, 56-year-old Sherry "Dianne" Farmer.

The incident is being investigated by the Pickett County Sheriff's 
Office, with assistance from state Bomb and Arson agents, and agents 
with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Trailer fire woman

Special donation to the Pickett County Sheriff's Office

Greg brown sheriff pic

 Local business Brown Funeral Chapel has donated enough money to help 
the sheriff's office purchase a bulletproof vest.
 Owner Greg Brown recently presented a check in the amount of $814.50 
to Pickett County Sheriff Dana Dowdy.
Pictured above at left is PCSO Administrative Assistant Katy Smith; 
Greg Brown; Sheriff Dana Dowdy.

Pickett County Rabies Clinic May 18

 The Pickett County Rabies Clinic 2019 will be held Saturday, May 18, 2019 from 9-10 a.m. at Moodyville Cash Store and 10:30-11:30 a.m. at PCHS.

 The Pickett Co. Dept. of Health in coalition with Upchurch Animal Clinic and Dr. Upchurch DMV announces the annual rabies vaccination clinic.

 The vaccine will be a one year vaccine at the cost of $6.

 Tennessee Law requires that all dogs and cats over 3 months old have a current rabies vaccination. 

Local man charged with exploitation of minor



 A Pickett County man has been charged with Aggravated Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. In March, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported to local authorities of videos being uploaded containing child pornography. The IP address was traced to 1725 Billy Zachary Road.

 Oscar Garcia a/k/a Gonzalez Garcia, 36, appeared in Pickett County General Sessions for a hearing on Tuesday, May 14th. The case was continued due to the defendant requiring an interpreter. Garcia remains in custody with a $500,000 bond.

 T.C.A. § 39-17-1004 makes it unlawful for a person to knowingly promote, sell, distribute, transport, purchase or exchange material, or possess with the intent to promote, sell, distribute, transport, purchase or exchange material, that includes a minor engaged in sexual activity or simulated sexual activity that is patently offensive based upon standards in the community. Aggravated sexual exploitation is classified as either a Class C or B felony depending on the number of individual items that are sexually exploitative.

 The case is still being investigated by the Pickett County Sheriff's Office and the 13th Judicial District Attorney's Office, with assistance from the Putnam County Sheriff's Office and Cookeville Police Department.

Pickett County K-8 Kindergarten Registration

Students entering kindergarten in the Fall 2019 must be five (5) 
years of age on or before August 15, 2019 and for the 2019-2020 
school year you will need to follow the schedule below:

Students whose last name begins with the letter:

A-H register May 20th from 8:15 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
I-P register May 21st from 8:15 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Q-Z register May 22nd from 8:15 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

The following will need to be brought the day of registration:
•your child must be present to be registered
•your child's social security number/card, immunization/physical 
records, birth certificate and custody papers if appropriate
•Parent must be present proof of Tennessee residency
•registration will take approximately 30 minutes per child as they 
will receive a hearing/vision and speech/language screening and 
reading test.
All parents and students need to enter through the front of the 
building and check in through the office.

Students entering kindergarten in the Fall 2019 must be five (5) 
years of age on or before August 15, 2019 and for the 2019-2020 
school year you will need to follow the schedule below:

Students whose last name begins with the letter:

A-H register May 20th from 8:15 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
I-P register May 21st from 8:15 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Q-Z register May 22nd from 8:15 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

The following will need to be brought the day of registration:
•your child must be present to be registered
•your child's social security number/card, immunization/physical 
records, birth certificate and custody papers if appropriate
•Parent must be present proof of Tennessee residency
•registration will take approximately 30 minutes per child as they 
will receive a hearing/vision and speech/language screening and 
reading test.
All parents and students need to enter through the front of the 
building and check in through the office.


Stanley Paul Cope declined parole

 The Tennessee Board of Parole recently declined parole for Stanley 
Paul Cope and ordered that his next parole hearing shall not be held 
until 2021.

Mr. Cope is presently serving a six-year sentence in the Tennessee 
Department of Correction for aggravated burglary, theft of property 
valued at more than $10,000, conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary 
and conspiracy to commit theft. He was investigated by the Pickett 
County Sheriff’s Department for the burglaries of two homes in the 
Cove Creek Road area of Pickett County.

Assistant District Owen Burnett and a representative from the Pickett 
County Sheriff’s Department both testified at the parole hearing.

Assistant DA Burnett expressed appreciation for the investigation of 
the Pickett County Sheriff’s Department and the criminal courts for 
the sentencing of those involved. Burnett stated that “Mr. Cope chose 
his path with the criminal justice system and this is the result.”

Pickett County Sheriff Dana Dowdy stated that he wanted to thank 
Judge McKenzie and Judge Patterson for their work on these cases and 
that he was pleased that Mr. Cope would continue to be removed from 
Pickett County and remain in custody.

County's first licensed tattoo shop

Kayla tattoo

Are you looking to get a tattoo? Pickett County now has a licensed 
tattoo shop. Slaughter House Tattoo is located at 526 Alleys Ally in 
Pall Mall.
Owner and artist Kayla Johnson can help you with your ink work. Call 
931-213-2614 to set-up your appointment.

Breaking news and local news shared on our facebook page

Pall Mall woman dies after dog attack

Jill peterson fp
(PHOTO: Courtesy of Brown Funeral Chapel)


 It has been a sad situation within our community after an elderly lady died from injuries she sustained after a dog attack.

 The incident occurred Tuesday, February 26th at around 5:00 p.m. A
911 call was made for a "dog bite" at 161 Evans Lane, in Pall Mall. Sheriff Dowdy reported that Bessie "Jill" Peterson, age 88, was the victim. She was airlifted from the scene to Vanderbilt Medical Center, but sadly, passed away shortly after arriving.

 Any details involving the injuries Ms. Peterson sustained from the attack will not be published in the PRESS.

 It has been confirmed by authorities that there were six dogs involved and are believed to belong to a neighbor. However, no official information has been released on the identity of the alleged owner(s). The dogs were later euthanized and were examined by a local veterinarian.

 Due to the investigation of the circumstances which resulted in her death, there is limited official information being released at this time.

 There has been a lot of speculation presented surrounding this horrible incident and we want to provide official information to our readers, but not sensationalize this tragedy.

 A Nashville news station initially released a report stating a "source" had confirmed it had been a pit bull attack, which sparked a breed debate and created controversy on social media. That information was inaccurate, along with the follow-up story that reported the dogs were all German Shepherds.

  While the dog breed shouldn't be the focus of this story, Sheriff Dowdy has stated that the veterinarian report determined each of the dogs as being mixed breed (mutt). While one could have had some type of shepherd mix, none of them had pit bull features.

 It was also reported that authorities had been contacted numerous times regarding the dogs. A records request was made by this newspaper to review the Pickett County Sheriff call logs pertaining to any calls at Evans Lane regarding dogs. Records show that there were a total of five calls regarding dogs that began on July 7, 2016 and the last one being on May 8th, 2018.

 Those calls were made by different individuals for complaints of unidentified dogs barking and approaching people. There was not a reported call noted that any dogs had attacked or bitten an individual.

  Under Tennessee Animal Law (T.C.A. 44-8-408) if a dog running at large causes the death of another: It is a Class D Felony if dog owner exercises reasonable care in attempting to confine or control the dog. It is a Class C Felony if the owner of the dog knew the dangerous nature of the dog and the dog had bitten one or more people that resulted in serious injury prior to the violation.

Pickett County doesn’t have an animal control service to respond and assist law enforcement.

 "This is the first time we have had a death in this manner, so we want to make sure that we investigate this thoroughly," said Sheriff Dowdy. Sheriff Dowdy has requested assistance from the 13th Judicial District Attorney's Office to aid in the investigation.

 “The loss of Ms. Peterson’s life is heartbreaking. We are looking very closely into the circumstances of this incident to determine of there is any criminal responsibility,” said District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway.

2019 Copyright Pickett County Press


Woman dies after dog attack


 Pickett County Sheriff Dana Dowdy has confirmed to the PRESS that an elderly lady has died after being attacked by a pack of dogs.

 The incident occurred yesterday, (Feb. 26th) at around 5:00 p.m. A 911 call was made regarding a dog bite at 161 Evans Lane, in Pall Mall. Sheriff Dowdy stated that Bessie Jill Peterson, age 88, was the victim. She was airlifted from the scene to Vanderbilt Medical Center, but sadly, passed away.

 There were six dogs believed to have been involved that are alleged to belong to a neighbor.

 A Nashville news station released a report stating according to a source, a pit bull had attacked, which is not the case. We wanted to make sure that factual information was being reported to the public as it was available.

 Due to the nature of the situation of circumstances that resulted in her death, there is limited information being released at this time.

 Sheriff Dowdy has requested assistance from the 13th Judicial District Attorney's Office to aid in the investigation.

Town trying to get speed limit reduced on bypass

The Town of Byrdstown Board of Mayor and Aldermen met in regular 
session on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. at Town Hall. Those 
present were Mayor Sam Gibson, Recorder Johnny Sells, Alderman Johnny 
Bilbrey, Alderman Rex Tompkins, Alderwoman Barb Mitchell, Water Plant 
Supervisor Malcolm Harmon, Town Engineer Nathaniel Green, Michelle 
Mitchell, Chamber of Commerce Director Billy Robbins, Robert Young, 
and Alex Kelso.
An agenda was presented and a motion was made by Barb Mitchell to 
adopt the proposed agenda. A second was voiced by Johnny Sells and 
with all members voting aye, the motion carried.
A motion was made by Johnny Bilbrey to approve the minutes of the 
Dec. 10, 2018 regular meeting as written. A second was voiced by Barb 
Mitchell and with all members voting aye the motion carried.
Town Engineer Nathan-iel Green reported that the 2018 CDBG grant was 
A motion was made by Johnny Sells to approve resolution #19-01 which 
approves the Town of Byrdstown to submit an application for a CDBG 
grant for 2019. The grant would be $525,000 and the city match would 
be $65,000 making the total amount to be $590,000. The purpose of the 
grant would be a need for continuing water system rehabilitation. A 
second was voiced by Johnny Bilbrey and with all members voting aye 
the motion carried.
The mayor reported that a sewer pump was down at the pump station 
next to the county garage and needed to be replaced. The mayor also 
presented a quote from L&T Service in the amount of $22,000.
A motion was made by Barb Mitchell to approve the emergency purchase 
of a sewer pump from L&T Service in the amount of $22,000 which 
includes the pump, installation and freight. A second was voiced by 
Johnny Sells and with all members voting aye the motion carried.
A motion was made by Rex Tompkins to approve resolution #19-02 which 
asked the Tennessee Department of Transportation to consider lowering 
the speed limit to 40 MPH on Highway 111 Bypass and to install 
turning lanes throughout. A second was voiced by Barb Mitchell and 
with all members voting aye, the motion carried.
Under General Discussion the mayor reported that on Jan. 18, 2019 at 
1:00 p.m. at town hall there will be a contract completion hearing of 
contract 53789-12011.
The mayor discussed the 2nd quarter of the fiscal year budget. He 
went over expenditures and remaining funds of the different 
departments that make up the budget.
There was a discussion of the improvements to be made on the new 
parking lot being constructed downtown.
With no further business to discuss a motion was made by Barb 
Mitchell to adjourn until the next regular meeting on Feb. 11, at 5 
p.m. at Town Hall. A second was voiced by Johnny Sells and with all 
members voting aye, the meeting adjourned at 5:53 p.m.

Multiple accidents resulting in injuries last week


There were multiple vehicle accidents occurring within an hour of 
each other last Friday, Feb. 1st.
The first accident was on Moodyville Road and was reported at 4 p.m. 
A 2003 Dodge 2500 driven by Aaron Clark, 20, of Byrdstown, was 
traveling West on Highway 325. The preliminary report states that as 
the vehicle was negotiating a curve and it crossed the center line. A 
2002 Chevrolet Tahoe, driven by Michael Roop, 24, of Cookeville was 
struck. The accident caused minor injuries to two of the passengers 
in the Tahoe. Both drivers were noted to have been wearing their 
seatbelts at the time of the crash.
Mr. Clark was charged with Crossing Center Line and No Proof of 
Insurance. Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Toby Beaty investigated 
the accident.
At approximately 4:44 p.m., a three-vehicle accident on Highway 111 
occurred and resulted in several injuries. According to the THP 
Preliminary report, a 2006 Volkswagen Jetta, driven by Haley Dalton, 
18, of Byrdstown, was traveling south and struck a vehicle that was 
stopped to turn left on Hillcrest Drive. A 2000 Pontiac Bonneville, 
driven by Tammy James, 35, of Byrdstown, was hit in the back and came 
to rest in the roadway facing south. After the impact, the Jetta 
traveled into the northbound lane of travel and was struck in the 
front end by a 2015 Volvo Conventional semi, driven by Joel Seda, 28, 
of LaVergne, TN. Both Dalton and James were injured and the report 
stated they were wearing seatbelts. Two juvenile passengers of the 
Pontiac also received injuries as a result of the accident.
Charges were issued to Ms. Dalton for Failure to Exercise Due Care. 
Ms. James was charged with Revoked Drivers License and Child Restraint.
THP Trooper Tyler McCulley investigated the accident.

Overton-Pickett 911 ECD audit

There were no findings in the 2018 independent auditor's report of 
the Overton/Pickett County Emergency Communications District. The 
audit was performed by Dennis E. Jeffers, CPA in Celina, Tennessee.
According to the letter issued to the board of directors, the audit 
was to identify all deficiencies in internal control that might be 
material weaknesses or significant deficiencies. During the audit, 
there were no deficiencies considered to be material weaknesses 
identified in internal control found. However, material weaknesses 
may exist that have not been identified.
The purpose of this report is solely to describe the scope of testing 
internal control and compliance and results of that testing. It is 
not to provide an opinion on the effectiveness of the entity's 
internal control or on compliance. This report is an integral part of 
an audit performed in accordance with Government Auditing Standards 
in considering the entity's internal control and compliance.
The prior finding 2015-002 budget was corrected.

Photographer recently captures Comet 46P/Wirtanen

Photo: Becky Beaty Huddleston

Any astronomy lovers out there?
Comet 46P/Wirtanen was one of three comets discovered by astronomer 
Carl Wirtanen at Lick Observatory in 1948. According to, it 
is also a member of the Jupiter "family" of comets — comets with 
relatively short orbital periods of 20 years or less, with aphelia 
(their farthest point from the sun) near the orbit of Jupiter.
46P/Wirtanen passed very close to the Earth — just 7,199,427 miles 
(11,586,350 kilometers) away in December, that's among the 10 closest 
comet approaches that have occurred since 1950 and the 20th closest 
approach of a comet dating as far back as the ninth century A.D.

Local detective speaks about case studies at Cordell Hull

Rayercik at cordell
Photo: James Purkey

Detective Ralph Mayercik spoke at the Cordell Hull Birthplace last 
Saturday. He has 24 years of experience in law enforcement and is 
trained in death and homicide investigations along with child abuse.
Detective Mayercik was recently featured in two episodes of The Devil 
Speaks, a true crime series on Investigation Discovery where he 
narrated dramatic reenactments of cases he worked while with the 
Rutherford County Sheriff's Department. He discussed those featured 
cases in greater detail and provided guests with an insider's view on 
the process of a murder investigation.
He is currently an SRO detective with the Overton County Sheriff's 

THP receives traffic safety grants for 2019

The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) announced that it will receive 
traffic safety grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration (NHTSA) to provide increased enforcement, public 
awareness campaigns and help to reduce serious injury and fatal 
crashes on state roadways in 2019. The grant funds are distributed 
through the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO).
The THP continues to target seat belt usage across the state. The 
Belts Eliminate Loss Tragedy and Suffering (BELTS) program will 
provide funding to allow state troopers to increase the current seat 
belt usage rate of 88.51%. Statistical data revealed that 
unrestrained fatalities are most likely to occur on Fridays and 
Saturdays. THP received $100,000.00 in grant monies for the BELTS 
Goals of the BELTS Program include:
·Conduct safety belt school zone enforcement blitz in each of the 
eight THP Districts each month;
·Conduct nighttime safety belt saturations.
·Each district will participate in 12 statewide seat belt blitzes 
·Reduce the number of unrestrained drivers in fatal and injury 
crashes by 5%;
·Increase the seat belt usage rate by 2.5%.
“Just Drive” is a new THP distracted driving campaign.  With the 
evolving of new communication technologies, more and more drivers are 
becoming negligent and paying less attention to safe driving. 
Distracted driving encompasses more than just texting while driving.  
Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's 
attention away from the primary task of driving.  “Just Drive” grant 
funds that were provided to the agency in the amount of $100,000.00.
Goals for the “Just Drive” program include:
·Reduce injury crashes where distracted driving was indicated as a 
contributing factor;
·Reduce fatal crashes where distracted driving was indicated as a 
contributing factor;
·Reduce the total number of crashes where distracted driving and 
other hazardous moving violations were noted as a contributing factor.
The “Sober Up TN” program allows the THP to allocate additional hours 
for state troopers to patrol the interstates, conduct sobriety 
checkpoints, perform bar checks, and educate the public on the 
dangers of drinking and driving.
State Troopers have utilized a data-driven approach to address 
alcohol-related crashes by targeting times and locations where these 
types of incidents are most prevalent. Predictive analytics has 
revealed that the majority of impaired driving crashes occur between 
the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m., and a higher rate of alcohol-
related wrecks occurs on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Goals for the “Sober Up TN” program include:
·Increase the number of sobriety checkpoints;
·Enforce DUI and alcohol-related offenses;
·Reduce fatalities where alcohol was indicated as a contributing factor;
·Facilitate community meetings to solicit citizen attendance and 
input and involve local agencies, District Attorney Generals 
Conference, school and court officials and associated stakeholders.
“Sober Up TN” grant funds that were provided to the agency amounted 
to $630,000.00. Both grant programs will end on September 30, 2019.

Top stories of 2018

•Investigation of possible murder of William Rich in Chanute
•Former DAV Commander pleads guilty to stealing funds
•Overton/Pickett Emergency Communications District - No findings in 

•Water supply violations for the Town of Byrdstown
•Pickett County audit results in eight findings
•Lady Bobcats third straight District Champions

•Incident at school causes immediate action by school administration 
and law enforcement
•Kentucky man indicted for murder of William Rich
•Courtney Pritchett named Miss Basketball

•New location for Dollar General
•Pickett County Schools in need of resource
•Questions over spending within the Overton/
Pickett Emergency
Communications District

•Board maintains confidence in 911 Director
•911 Director answers to comptroller questions
•Commission approves agreement for school
resource officers

•Johnnie Alline Keisling is recognized for service
•Veterans memorial
project begins
•TECD Board votes for public hearing in Pickett

•County commissioners approves unbalanced budget
•Luke Bryan visits Dale Hollow Lake and shoots video
•Remembering K-9 Deputy Yuri

•EPA now enforcing glider kit production caps
•TECD votes against
request for Pickett Co. to create a new Emergency Comm. District
•County attorney raises concern regarding
commissioners meetings

•Commissioners approve two tax anticipation notes
•Law enforcement finds meth lab and explosives at Monroe residence
•County spends $750,000 for jail project

•Pickett County receives funds to replace camera equipment
•Steven Stinson arrested for breaking into school office

•Vehicle found overturned in Ringley Creek
•Historical monument found under lake
•Bank donates property to city

•Crouch's Hardware building torn down
•County commissioners vote to explore options of purchasing the 
Regions Bank building
•GNT wins the best
overall float in parade

Breathtaking Tennessee sunset

Misty sunset
God's work is all around us, but sometimes, He shows us something 
special. This amazing sunset was captured by local photographer Misty 

All we have left now are the memories

Picture 034

On Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, an era ended. With the release of a grapple 
from the cab of a crane, what had been the oldest standing structure 
in Byrdstown, dropped to the ground. The building that I had 
remembered throughout my life as Rich Hardware & Home Supply and 
later Crouch’s Hardware, was no more.

  What is uncovered about the hardware store truly boggles the mind. 
Who knew that in its earliest days it began its existence as a one-
story timber frame building? Or that when the mill set up nearby 
cutting the lumber; that this post and frame expansion would continue 
to stand in Byrdstown for another 138 years? How about the second 
floor of the building being held in a separate ownership agreement 
from the ground level? The second floor served the community as the 
seat of the county government until a courthouse could be built. It 
was also a community space hosting dances and formal balls on special 
occasions. It also served two fraternal organizations.

A look back in time...

  It is the late 1870's.  Fourteen years had passed since the Civil 
War ended in these borderlands of Tennessee and Kentucky. Since the 
war ended, it had taken time to get general peace restored, for homes 
and lives to settle into a routine. Talk of forming, a new county 
became an item of common discussion in the community.

  Around 1877, before Byrdstown or Pickett County ever existed, a 
timber frame storefront was built in the community of Olympus in 
Overton County. This established the Miller Brothers Merchandise 
Company. Some men of the immediate area came together with the idea 
to form a Lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons. The Olympus Lodge 
#496 was established August 30, 1877.  Discussions between the Lodge 
and the Miller Brothers got underway to build a larger building that 
could be a shared space. These discussions could have begun around 
1879. A partnership agreement was struck and the Lodge would help 
finance and build an expansion of the existing one-story structure. 
The new building would be owned and occupied by both the store and 
the Lodge. In this agreement, The Lodge owned from the staircase, 
then up to the second floor and that space in its entirety including 
the bell and the belfry at the top on the ridge of the gable roof.

  With a sawmill conveniently established nearby, work began on what 
was called back then the Arch Miller building. This construction 
began in 1880 and continued into 1882 until completion. Buchanan 
Mathaney and Thomas H. Babb were the local contractors on the 
project. Pickett County’s petition to form a county was approved by 
Tennessee’s General Assembly in 1881. Anderson Huddleston property is 
purchased by Pickett County to establish its public square. Soon 
after completing the construction project, Mathaney and Babb went on 
to build the original Pickett County Courthouse (circa 1884-Nov. 
1934). From its completion in 1882 until 1890, the Arch Miller 
Building and more specifically the Lodge Hall upstairs served as the 
location of the court. The ringing of the bell became the signal for 
the convening of each session of the court. Legend has it, that the 
first man sentenced to the state penitentiary from Pickett County was 
sentenced from the Lodge Hall. The crime was stealing corn.

  In 1890, with the move into the courthouse, The Masonic Lodge along 
with another benevolent fraternal order known as the Independent 
Order of Odd Fellows, move into the second story of the Arch Miller 
Building. Around this same time, the Otto Mercantile Company is 
established replacing the Miller Brothers in the storefront section. 
Lansden Robbins is the primary stockholder and general manager, 
Lansden’s brother James H. Robbins was another one of the 
stockholders among others in and around Pickett County. Briefly, the 
building’s basement also served as Lansden’s home. He lived in the 
basement for a time with his wife and four children. The basement of 
the Miller building was divided into five rooms.

James H. Robbins also has a public role as Byrdstown’s Postmaster, 
this being effective April 21, 1914. The post office was relocated to 
the building’s north-facing wall in the back west corner.

Lansden remained the manager of the store until his death on Jan. 
7th, 1915. At which point James assumed the management and operations 
of the store. Eventually, this building would be referred to as the 
Robbins building.

On Dec. 27, 1919, James Robbins purchased the store and inventory 
from the Otto Mercantile Company. On that day, it became J.H. Robbins 
& Sons, general merchandise store. James operated the store for a few 
years by himself until his stepson Jesse Coe returned from working in 
Nashville. Jesse worked for a company that was building homes in 
Flint Michigan. Around 1921 when Jesse’s mother Laura Avo Groce Coe 
Robbins became ill and required assistance, Jesse came back to 
Byrdstown. He decided to stay and bought into J.H. Robbins & Sons 
becoming a junior partner in this going concern.

  In this time, it was not uncommon for barter to be the primary 
exchange for goods. Payment could come in the exchange of goods for 
farm produce. For example, folks would come into the store with corn, 
eggs or chickens to trade for coffee, sugar, maybe an ax handle or 
some other bits and pieces of hardware for your screen door. This was 
a true general store. You could expect to find groceries, clothing, 
and household items. They kept in stock farm machinery, buggy 
attachments, and even caskets. Another unusual service in the general 
store, James Robbins also served as a druggist. James gained a 
special state exemption from advanced pharmaceutical training to do 
so. James’ involvement with the store continued until the time of his 
death on Nov. 2, 1948.

  In James’ last will and testament, dated April 17th, 1947, James 
expresses his wishes for the continued operations of J.H. Robbins & 
Sons, then names Jesse H. Coe as general manager and W.M. Huddleston 
(James’ son in law) as the assistant general manager. James final 
instruction was that “… they give to the customer of this business 
the same courteous reception and treatment that has for many years 
marked its progress. …” The estate with this building and property 
represented a complex set of arrangements with a variety among family 
members in the percentages of their ownership that made up the 
stockholders in the property and business. These arrangements were 
separate from the agreement with the Masons as they still own from 
the stairs along with the entire second floor.

  By 1949, the consolidated ownership of the first floor and the 
contents lock, stock and barrel were Jesse Coe and his sister Elva 
Robbins Huddleston. This partnership remained stable throughout the 
rest of the company’s existence.

  In June of 1963, Jesse and Elva purchased the Masonic Lodge’s 
interest in the building’s second floor along with the lodge’s 
interest in the lot that the property stood. This places ownership of 
the structure and property into the hands of a single organization 
for the first time in what was then the building’s 81 year history. 
Jesse continued to manage J.H. Robbins & Sons until failing health 
caused the closing of the store in 1968.

  A firm in Louisville, Kentucky purchased the entire inventory. In 
1972, the Robbins Building was sold at auction. George W. Rich of 
Moodyville, owner and manager of a general merchandise store in 
Moodyville, takes possession of the Robbins Building and opens Rich 
Hardware & Home Supply. George runs the hardware and supply company 
until 1977. At this time David Crouch, George’s grandson purchases 
the store and stock reopening the store as Crouch’s Hardware. The 
store remained in continuous operations for thirty-three years until 
2010. At this time, the inventory was purchased, then relocated to 
the Pickett Farm Supply store in town. The hardware store closed for 
the last time.

In the summer of 2012, the final effort was made to preserve the 
building. By this time it was beginning to lean, panes of the 
original glass from 1881 had begun to fall from the window’s frames. 
The selection committee from the Tennessee Historic Commission 
overseeing the applications for the National Register of Historic 
Places came to Pickett County. It was determined by the committee 
that although culturally significant to the town's development, the 
building in its present state, was beyond repair and any preservation 

As I write this and consider the source materials, the different 
accounts of the history of Pickett County, I recognize that this is 
an obituary. Time does not stand still for anything under the sun. In 
the book “History and Genealogy of Families in Pickett County”, Wilma 
Coe’s article on the J.H. Robbins General Merchandise Store ends with 
the lines: "Just as the old time general store has virtually passed 
from existence, so too has J.H. Robbins and Sons gone forever. Yet, 
the old store building’s unchanging silhouette remains a landmark of, 
and a silent witness to, the growth and development of Byrdstown."

Now we bid farewell to a building that began before the town existed 
even before Pickett County was formed. The timbers used to build the 
original structure and the post and frame addition were well over two 
hundred years old and could easily have started their lives as 
seedlings before Tennessee was even a state. This structure, 
figuratively speaking, stood watch silently observing our growth and 
progress as a town and a community, a building that served us 
dutifully in many roles. All that shall remain now are the memories 
we will have when we see pictures or in the hearing of the stories of 
those that grew up here and have vivid memories of going there. We 
can never recreate or recover what we have lost.

Board meets, approves water plant filters

The Town of Byrdstown Board of Mayor and Aldermen met in regular 
session on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. at Town Hall.

Those present were Mayor Sam Gibson, Recorder Johnny Sells, Alderman 
Johnny Bilbrey, Alderman Rex Tompkins, Alderwoman Barb Mitchell, 
Water Plant Supervisor Malcolm Harmon, Town Engineer Nathaniel Green, 
Eric Pierce, Chamber of Commerce Director Billy Robbins, and Robert 

An agenda was presented and a motion was made by Barb Mitchell to 
adopt the proposed agenda. A second was voiced by Johnny Bilbrey and 
with all members voting aye the motion carried.

A motion was made by Johnny Sells to approve the minutes of the 
October 8, 2018 regular meeting as written. A second was voiced by 
Rex Tompkins and with all members voting aye the motion carried.

Town Engineer Nathan-iel Green addressed the board of final 
adjustment on the current water rehabilitation project. A motion was 
made by Rex Tompkins to approve change order number 4 on contract 118 
which consists of a reduction in the contract price of $16,956.75 
making the total amount for the project being $452,192.70 approval 
contingent on if Cumberland Pipeline Company comes back to connect 
services between Dogwood Lane and Eagles Cove Road and the 2-inch 
water line on Dogwood Lane to the 8 inch water line on the north side 
of state route 325. A second was voiced by Johnny Sells and with all 
members voting aye the motion carried.

A motion was made by Rex Tompkins to approve the low bid for 74 
filters for the water plant which includes the modules and associated 
items from the Pall Corp. in the amount of $116,214.79 with the city 
to be responsible for installing. A second was voiced by Johnny 
Bilbrey and with all members voting aye the motion carried.

A motion was made by Johnny Sells to accept the highest bids on 
surplus property. The highest bid on the 1999 Chevy S10 pickup was 
from Michael Nicholas. The highest bid on the 1999 Chevy half ton 
pickup, Epson printer, HP printer, and Sharp copier was received from 
Bill Robbins. A second was voiced by Johnny Bilbrey and with all 
members voting aye the motion carried.

A motion was made by Barb Mitchell to approve March 30 & 31, 2019 for 
the spring fishing tourney. A second was voiced by Johnny Bilbrey and 
with all members voting aye the motion carried.

Under General Discussion the water project, and the Christmas parade 
and singing were discussed.

With no further business to discuss a motion was made by Barb 
Mitchell to adjourn until the next regular meeting on December 10, 
2018 at 5:00 p.m. at Town Hall. A second was voiced by Johnny Sells 
and with all members voting aye the meeting adjourned at 5:51 p.m.

Bank donates property to city

Bruce  sam

People's Bank and Trust has recently donated property to the City of
Byrdstown to use for parking.
According to bank president Bruce Elder, pictured at right, things
just worked out at the right time for the bank to purchase the old
Crouch's Hardware building property. The property is adjacent to the
bank. Since the building was beyond repair, it was to be demolished.
Mayor Sam Gibson, at left, helped facilitate the agreement between
the bank and the city.
Demolition began on Monday morning, November 26th and things have
moved very quickly. People's Bank is also covering the expenses for
the demolition.
The building was a key part of the history of our little town.
Efforts to preserve the building over the years were unsuccessful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 In the tradition of Thanksgiving, we’d like to share our thanks and 
best wishes with all of the good folks we know here in the community. 
Your friendship and goodwill have made this a very special year for 
us, and we are grateful for your kind support.
God Bless you all! Happy Thanksgiving!
The Pickett County Press office will be closed Thursday, Nov. 22 and 
Friday, Nov. 23 due to the holiday.
Thanksgiving turkey 18
PHOTO: Misty Griffin

THP to conduct sobriety, driver
license checkpoints November 23rd

 The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting driver license 
roadside safety checkpoints on November 23, at 9 a.m. on Highway 111 
in Pickett County.

 Recognizing the danger presented to the public by unqualified 
drivers, Troopers will concentrate their efforts on vehicles being 
operated by drivers who violate the driver license laws of Tennessee.

 The Tennessee Highway Patrol has found these driver license roadside 
safety checkpoints to be an effective means of enforcing driver 
license laws of Tennessee while ensuring the protection of all 

Local Chamber of Commerce receives ThreeStar grant

Pickett 3 star 18

 The Byrdstown-Pickett County Chamber of Commerce was one of 60 
recipients of the 2018 ThreeStar grant.
Governor Bill Haslam and Tennessee Economic Development District 
Commissioner Bob Rolfe announced which counties would be awarded 
funds in July. Pickett County received $15,000 out of the total 
ThreeStar funds of $955,000.
ThreeStar focuses on best practices in five community areas, 
including jobs and economic development, education and workforce 
development, fiscal strength and efficient government, public safety 
and health.
To be eligible for the grant, the county must meet requirements in 
those five areas and show how the project will move the county 
forward in at least one of those areas.
Each application was also supported by the community's senator and 
representatives in the Tennessee General Assembly.

Historical monument found under lake


In 1971 a book titled Four Steps West was written by author James W. 
Sames III, documenting creation of the boundary line between Virginia 
and North Carolina, and Kentucky and Tennessee, compiling most of his 
findings from the state archives from each state.

In 1990, the Tennessee Association of Professional Surveyors and the 
Kentucky Association of Professional Surveyors formed a committee of 
28 land surveyors from both states called the “Joint State Line 
Committee,” with surveyors involved being volunteers. Their task was 
to relocate as many of the remaining stone monuments as set by the 
final complete survey of the TN/KY line as surveyed in 1859. Before 
this time, the line had only been witnessed by hacked trees, which 
were harvested as the wilderness was settled. The final survey, known 
as the Cox and Peeples survey of 1859, was task to monument the 
entire dividing line between TN/KY with large engraved stones every 
five miles. The task took 43 men, just over 12 months, at a total 
cost of $47,987.07. Mr. S.W. Stanley of Warren Co., KY was contracted 
to prepare and place each stone at a cost of $20 each.

The report to the Governor of KY stated that 63 original large stones 
were set along the TN/KY state line at 5-mile intervals along with 10 
smaller supplement stones. Forty-five of the original 73 were 
recovered between 1990 - 1992 by the committee and a data sheet for 
each stone found was compiled and added to a reprint of the book Four 
Steps West in 1992. Six stones lie in what is now Pickett County and 
only five were recovered by the committee.

In 2005, members of the same committee volunteered yet again to 
reorganize and retrace the remaining monuments, yet this time to 
establish GPS coordinates on each one along with two reference 
monuments so they could be reestablished if they were ever destroyed. 
The technology of GPS at a survey grade was not easily accessible in 
the early 90’s. I was contacted by the committee in 2009, because I 
was a resident of Pickett County and a member of the Tennessee 
Association of Professional Surveyors, to volunteer and was assigned 
the five monuments in Pickett County that remained. In 2012 the 
committee met to summarize our findings, at this time I was appointed 
five more monuments which were not reestablished to the west of 
Pickett County.

My parents, Hurlen and Rae Ann Whittenburg, were my survey crew for 
this project since it was being done voluntarily and on the weekends 
in the dead of winter. The committee never set a deadline for 
finalizing the work due to the fact it was voluntary; therefore we 
typically do one or two each year. This year we did the first one to 
the west of Pickett County and in doing so I made a discovery. The 
original committee may have looked in the wrong location (east of 
Sulphur Creek on Dale Hollow Lake) for the missing monument. Now that 
I had a monument to the east and west of the missing monument I 
thought I would try to recreate its position based on the distance 
from each stone I had found and mapped. The two stones I had located 
were actually 13 miles apart, which left 3 miles of search area. I 
decided to calculate five miles west of Stone #47, to begin my 
search, surprisingly it put me on the boundary line between Pickett 
Co. and Clay Co. which is east of Boys Island on Dale Hollow Lake. So 
then I considered maybe the original U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
maps for the land acquisition of Dale Hollow Lake in 1942 could 
possibly have a location on what is known as Stone #46, which at that 
time would have been in place for 84 years. To my surprise it was 
labeled as clear as day.

Utilizing my survey software I digitized the Corps map and orientated 
it to the stones I had found to try and fine tune its location. Once 
I did I was certain it was underwater at what is known as the Cook 
Pass east of Boys Island. I concluded that what is known as Cook Pass 
is most likely Coop Pass because the landowner at that location was 
Pauline Coop. I wasn’t ready to give up just because it was 
underwater, approximately +/- 30 feet by my calculations, so I 
discussed the entire project and my current findings with local 
business owner and fisherman Mitch Robertson who volunteered to scan 
for the stone if I would furnish him the GPS location I had calculated.

We decided that when the water level dropped from summer pool and the 
temperature was still comfortable, it would be the best time to 
attempt a scan. Mitch found an object on his fish finder that was 
within 20 feet of our calculated location, so we decided a diver 
would be the best way to verify his finding. Tony Waters of Putnam 
Co. Rescue Squad Dive Team came highly recommended and through a 
mutual friend were acquainted. He vacations on Dale Hollow Lake and 
said he had always wanted to find some part of history that no one 
had found diving before.

Nov. 5th at approximately 12:30 Tony finally got his part of history, 
as did myself and Mitch. Using a waterproof camcorder, Tony confirmed 
in less than five minutes of diving what Mitch had found and I had 
calculated. The stone was in 27 feet of water and had not been seen 
since 1943. For the past 160 years it has held its position, and for 
the past 75 years it had not been seen by anyone.

In my career as a surveyor over the past 18 years, I have yet to find 
a monument that old. It was believed to be lost forever, yet 
recovered by a surveyor, a fisherman, and a scuba diver. It is a 
story we will tell for years to come, and most likely, our story, 
will be our only reward for our treasure. In my opinion, those 
stories are worth the effort. They keep us looking for that next 
journey, and inspire younger generations to follow in our footsteps.

Just image what Cox & Peeples would say if you told them that stone 
would one day be under 30 feet of water created by a dam that creates 
electricity for thousands of people, “What the heck is electricity?” 
most likely.

Pickett County Schools Internal School Funds 2018 Audit released

 The 2018 audit has been completed for the Pickett County Schools 
Internal School funds. The audit was conducted by Mitchell Emert & 
Hill, P.C. of Knoxville.

The audit is in accordance with auditing standards in the Government 
Auditing Standards issued by the Comptroller General of the United 
States. The Pickett County Internal School Funds comprises of 
combined and individual balance sheets, statements of revenue, 
expenditures and changes in fund balance as of June 30, 2018. The 
purpose of the report is to audit for internal control and compliance.

In the letter addressed to the Pickett County Board of Education, the 
finding for 2018 was considered to be a significant deficiency. A 
significant deficiency in internal control is less severe than a 
material weakness, yet important enough to merit attention by those 
charged with governance.

Finding Number 2018-001-Segregation of Duties
(uncorrected from prior year)

Condition: A lack of segregation of duties exists in the areas of 
issuing cash receipts, preparing bank deposits, posting accounting 
records, preparing bank reconciliations, preparing checks and 
approving purchases.
Cause: This condition is as a result of the limited number of 
personnel available.
Criteria: Sound internal controls include the division of accounting 
responsibilities to help mitigate the possibility of fraud, 
misappropriation of assets and improper financial reporting.
Effect or potential effect: A lack of segregation of duties could 
result in misappropriation of assets or fraudulent financial reporting.
Recommendation: Accounting duties should be divided among existing 
personnel to ensure proper segregation of duties. The principals 
should consider the cost and benefit of adding additional staff 
members to ensure that proper segregation of duties exists.
Management response: Pickett County Director of Schools Diane Elder-
We concur and will divide the duties among the existing personnel as 
best we can.

It was also noted that repeat finding 2017-002 Financial Oversight-
Pickett County Elementary School was corrected and no longer 
considered to be a significant deficiency.


Agenda for Pickett School Board November 8th Meeting

Work session 5:30 p.m. -
Meeting 6:00 p.m.

Adopt the agenda and approve the minutes from the September 13, 2018 meeting.
Approve changes to following policies.
Second reading.
1.701 School District Planning
1.900 Charter School Authorizing Principles
1.901 Charter School Applications
1.902 Charter School Agreements
1.903 Charter School Oversight
1.904 Charter School Intervention
1.905 Charter School Renewal
1.906 Charter School Revocation
3.212 District Water Testing
4.206 Homebound Instruction
5.802 Qualifications and Duties of the Director of Schools
6.200 Attendance
6.300 Code of Conduct
6.314 Corporal Punishment
Approve changes to following policies.
First reading.
4.700 Testing Programs
Approve General Purpose School budget amendment #1
Approve LEA Compliance 2018-2019
Principal reports
Supervisor's reports
Director's report

Editor's Note: The meeting scheduled for Thursday, October 25th was cancelled due to not having enough members for a quorum. According to Director of Schools Diane Elder, the agenda will be included in the November 8th meeting. 

Pickett County Football team playing to raise money for charity


The Pickett County High School Football team is participating in a charity football classic this Saturday.
The 7th Annual "CAREacter" Star Community Service Football Games will be held Thursday and Saturday at Grace Christian Academy.
The CAREacter Star Community Service Football games are part of the non-profit organization CARE 365, which was founded by former football coach Dave Moore. Some of the core beliefs of the organization are to care unconditionally for others and make a positive difference in the lives of those less fortunate in our communities.
Coach told the PRESS that God had put this vision on his heart many years ago. "You can't have character if you don't care," said Coach Moore.
The games are an opportunity for communities to unite around the great game of high school football to assist families with children who have life-threatening diseases.
There are six high schools participating this year. The teams that are selected are those who don't make the playoffs.
"Every team is a winner and receives a big trophy. This is a win-win game," said Coach Moore.
The funds raised at the games will be donated 100 percent to the East Tennessee Children's Hospital NICU's NAS program. This is a program for infants born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or babies born after being exposed to medications and illicit drugs during pregnancy.
Pickett County plays Unaka at 2:30 Saturday at Grace Christian Academy. Admission is $10. The community is encouraged to attend to help show support for the team and the cause.
For more information on CARE 365, visit

Vehicle found overturned in Ringley Creek

Thompson wreck 11118

 Someone traveling on Billy Zachary Road at Ringley Curve spotted a vehicle on its top in the creek and reported it Friday morning, at 7 a.m.
According to the preliminary report, a 2012 Dodge Caravan was traveling on East Main Street on Highway 325, when it exited the roadway to the left and traveled over an embankment. The creek was shallow, but water was inside of the vehicle.
The driver, Angela Thompson, 45, of Sunset Drive, was found trapped inside by her seatbelt and was extricated. She was transported to Livingston Regional Hospital.
No one has confirmed the exact timeframe of how long the vehicle had been there, but it is believed to have been for several hours.  It had been raining and the temperatures were in low 40's Thursday night and into Friday morning.
Thompson sadly passed away several days later, but it is unknown at this time if the accident contributed to her death.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Toby Beaty is investigating the accident and was assisted at the scene by the Pickett County Sheriff's Office. 

Haunted Trail at Cordell Hull Saturday

 Cordell Hull Birthplace State Historic Park will present their annual 
Haunted Trail Hike Saturday, October 27, 6-9 p.m. Kids of all ages 
will enjoy a short guided nighttime hike along the lantern-lit Bunkum 
Cave Trail. There will be a toasty fire at the trailhead, along with 
refreshments, including hot cider and cookies for everyone and bags 
of candy for the children.

Attention Byrdstown Water Department customers

 The week of October 29th-November 2nd the Byrdstown Water Department 
will be doing a very aggressive flushing program of all waterlines 
that will cause some discoloration along with air and oxygen in the 
lines for a few days.

The flushing will take place throughout the night to have a minimum 
effect on customers. There will be different areas all week 
throughout the night beginning at 8:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m.

King-Reagan team takes first place in Dale Hollow Bass Classic

Bass classic 18 1st

 The 33rd Annual Dale Hollow Bass Classic hosted by Star Point Resort 
was held Oct. 13 and 14.
The event was sponsored by Byrdstown-Pickett Co. Chamber of Commerce 
and Star Point Resort. The following are the winners, prize earnings 
and total weights in the tournament.

1st Place $1966.50 27.50 lb.
Jerry Reagan and JB King of Byrdstown

2nd Place $1552.50 26.55 lb.
Mark Neal and Jeff Neal of Livingston

3rd Place $1242.00 24.85 lb.
Thomas Coomer and Bob Coomer of Albany, KY

4th Place $1035.00 24.55 lb.
Billie Joe Johnson and Robby Johnson of Byrdstown

5th Place $931.50 24.30 lb.
Josh Lockard and Brandon Waller of Somerset, KY

6th Place $828.00 23.75 lb.
Tim Reagan and Rex Reagan of Byrdstown

7th Place $724.50 23.05 lb.
Tony Poore and Willie Piercy of Byrdstown

8th Place $621.00 21.75 lb.
JR Stalcup and Patrick Crawley of Albany

9th Place $517.50 21.20 lb.
Shawn Baldwin of Nicholasville, KY and Travis Baldwin of Saideville,KY

10th Place $414.00 19.40 lb.
Dennis Etheredge and Larry Sparks of Livingston

11th Place $310.50 18.90 lb.
Bobby Smith and Mike Stowers of Jamestown, TN

12th Place $207.00 18.30 lb.
Pat Smith, Burkesville and Adam Huff, Willowshade, KY

Saturday Big Bass Winners
1st $500 5.75 lb.
Lynn A. Davis and Donnie Durban of Somerset

2nd $300 4.45 lb.
Mark Neal and Jeff Neal of Livingston

3rd $200 4.00 lb.
Keith Carr and Ethan Carr of Allons

4th $100 3.95 lb.
Gary Farley and Randy Hunter of Albany
Sunday Big Bass Winners
1st $500 4.70 lb.
Jerry Reagan and JB King of Byrdstown

2nd $300 4.60 lb.
Casey White, Cookeville and Donald Dailey, Mansville, In.

3rd $200 4.30 lb.
Heath Elder of Byrdstown and Joseph Dowdy of Cookeville

4th $100 4.15 lb.
Levi Neathery and Perry Neathery of Albany

County commission appoints various committees at meeting

 The Pickett County Commissioners met in regular session on October 
15th, 2018. The following commissioners were present: Andrew Conner, 
Mitchell Cross, Brad Flowers, Darrell Garrett, Joe Harden, Carter 
Martin, Sheila Moon, Brad Richardson, Jim Richardson, Doug Scroggins 
and Terri Worley. Tony Beaty was absent when the meeting began.
The agenda and minutes from the previous meeting were passed with all 
Tony Beaty entered the meeting.
A motion was made by Darrell Garrett and seconded by Doug Scroggins 
with all ayes to approve the monthly reports as presented for month 
end, cash flow analysis for county general fund, transfer station/
solid waste, debt service, highway department and school federal 
projects. End of month reports are as follows: County General 101-
$424,355.73 (note: that amount includes the loan of $252,148); 
Transfer Station/Solid Waste 116-$22,545.42; Debt Service 151-
$179,188.25; Solid Waste 207-$270,193.71.
Motion by Tony Beaty and seconded by Doug Scroggins to approve 
appointments to various committees as presented. All ayes except 
Andrew Conner who voted nay. There was a discussion on how the 
committee chairmen were to be appointed.
Pickett County Committees 2018-2022
BUDGET-Eddie Holt, Kathy Mitchell, Jimmy Richardson, Sheila Moon, 
Carey B. Garner-Chairman.
TAX & AUDIT-Darrell Garrett, Carter Martin, Tony Beaty, Brad 
Richardson, Sheila Moon-Chairman.
EMS-Carter Martin, Jimmy Richardson, Mitchell Cross, Joe Harden, 
Darrell Garrett, Carey B. Garner.
BUILDING & GROUNDS-Carey Garner, Brad Flowers, Andrew Conner, Brad 
Richardson, Mitchell Cross.
LANDFILL/SOLID WASTE-Terri Worley, Carey B. Garner, Doug Scroggins, 
Mitchell Cross, Carter Martin-Chairman.
FIRE-Garry Garrett, Andrew Conner.
Commissioner; Fred Elder-Community Volunteer; Tony Beaty-
Commissioner; Joe Harden-Commissioner; Dana Dowdy-Sheriff (non-voting 
Carried a motion by Jim Richardson and seconded by Brad Richardson to 
approve the nomination of Malcolm Harmon to be appointed to the E-911 
board to replace Tim Ford. All ayes except Andrew Conner who voted nay.
Passed a motion by Tony Beaty and seconded by Darrell Garrett to 
approve the reading from the Director of Office of Local Finance, 
Sandra Thompson, the approval of the Debt Obligation Notice and the 
note borrowing $252,148.00 from People's Bank & Trust Company for the 
101 General Fund. All ayes. This note must be paid by June 30, 2019.
There was a discussion with no action on the jail, EMS, and Transfer 

County will not continue operating jail


Pickett County Commissioner Andrew Conner addressed the commission 
regarding the jail situation during Monday's meeting. He asked 
Chairman Carey Garner if there had been a solution created on the 
issue. Chairman Garner replied that representatives from the state 
fire marshals had recently visited Pickett County and the jail was 
going to be closed/shut down.
There was a lot of open discussion between members of the community 
and the commission on the jail and justice center for Pickett County, 
however, the focus of this article is that the county is not going to 
be able to continue to operate a jail.
This newspaper asked Chairman Garner to clarify what was meant by 
"shut the jail down".
Chairman Garner stated that when the fire marshals were here, they 
wanted to know the current plans for the jail progress. He said he 
told them that due to the county being broke, the only alternative is 
to shut it down, move prisoners somewhere else until we can do 
something else.
Sheriff Dana Dowdy also clarified that the current jail would become 
a holding facility during the daytime. "A county has to have either a 
jail or holding facility according to state statute,"  said Dowdy.
By changing to a holding facility, there are some stipulations. They 
can't have anyone in the holding cell during the hours it is dark 
outside. According to Sheriff Dowdy, the change will create a lot of 
overtime for deputies due to the time spent transporting inmates. If 
the county becomes a holding facility, it is believed to be that 
there will no longer be a requirement of the fire watch.
A question was posed by Commissioner Conner on what happens if an 
arrest is made and there isn't a county who will take the inmate. 
Sheriff Dowdy explained that it would depend on if they could find a 
judge to allow a bond to be set. If that wasn't possible, there 
wasn't an answer on what would happen in that scenario. It was also 
said that the sheriff's office already has instances where there 
aren't any facilities available for our inmates.
Tony Milsted asked to address Sheriff Dowdy and asked him if he 
wanted the jail. "If you're going to build one, do your homework and 
build a small jail that we can pay for. To get up to times, we need a 
jail, but we need to use our heads if we do one. Right now, I don't 
see how we could afford one if we are broke," said Dowdy.
So where do we go from here? According to Communications Director 
Kevin Walters with the Department of Insurance and Commerce, Pickett 
County is to present a new plan of corrective action by November 1st. 
Sheriff Dowdy and County Executive Carey Garner have told the PRESS 
that they are going to be working together to present a plan to the 
Fire Marshal's Office.
An audio of the county commission meeting can be found at http://, under Pickett County Government.

Results from the Town of Byrdstown 5k/3k Run/Walk

 The Town of Byrdstown 5K/3K Run/Walk was held Saturday, October 13th.

14 & under female
1st Carolann Stockton, Byrdstown
2nd Makenzie Cope, Byrdstown

14 & under male
1st Joseph Stawicki, Nashville
2nd Adam Stawicki, Nashville

15-20 female
1st Maddilyn Arms, Cookeville

15-20 male-no entries

21-30 female
1st Brittney Crowder, Livingston
2nd Lindsey Stonecipher, Albany
3rd Laura Vitatoe, Pall Mall

21-30 male
1st Ryan Stone, Albany
2nd Tony Poore, Byrdstown

31-40 female
1st Rebekah Masiongale, Byrdstown

31-40 male-no entries

41-50 female
1st Donna Riddle, Albany
2nd Kim Stockton, Byrdstown
3rd Jenny Robke, Walton, Ky.

1st Sally Pendergrass, Byrdstown

41-50 male
1st Mike Robke, Walton, Ky.
2nd Eric Stawicki, Nashville
3rd Bryan Arms, Cookeville

51-60 female
1st Linda Young, Byrdstown
2nd Donna Branham, Byrdstown

51-60 male-no entries

61 and up female
1st Kathy Stawicki, Monroe
2nd Cathy Lee, Byrdstown
3rd Brenda Cross, Byrdstown

61 and up male
1st Rick Cross, Byrdstown


Daleholloween set for Oct. 31st

 A community event for Halloween has been scheduled for October 31st. 
The first annual "Daleholloween" will be at the town park, across for 
town hall in Byrdstown from 5-7 p.m.

  This event is to help provide a safe area for trick-or-treating as 
well as providing some Halloween fun. There will be a costume contest 
at 6:30 for children and adults, so get those costumes ready!

 If you would like to sign-up to distribute candy/ goodies, please 
stop by Town Hall or call 864-6215.

Burn permits required October 15-May 15

 The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry is 
observing National Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 7-13) by reminding 
citizens to follow simple safety practices to prevent wildfires. The 
official start of wildfire season in Tennessee is Oct. 15.

 "With the recent and forecasted rain, we expect favorable conditions 
for safe debris burning over the next couple of months," State 
Forester David Arnold said. "However, we shouldn't let our guard 
down. We encourage Tennesseans to remain vigilant and practice safe 
debris burning to prevent wildfires."

 Obtaining a burn permit is free, fast, and simple. If you are burning 
a leaf or brush pile that is smaller than 8 feet by 8 feet in size, 
our online system provides a quick and efficient way to apply. For a 
larger burn, call your local Division of Forestry burn permit phone 
number Mon. through Fri., 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. The online system and 
burn permit phone numbers can be found at

 In Pickett County burning permits are available by phone Monday-
Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. except on holidays by calling 864-3466. 
Permits may be obtained in advance for weekends and holidays. Permits 
will not be issued on days and in locations if it is considered 
unsafe to conduct a debris burn.

 More than 300,000 permits are issued each year, and they are only 
issued when conditions are conducive to safe burning. If you live 
inside city limits, there may be additional restrictions. Check with 
your municipality before you burn.

 For a list of materials that may not be burned, check the Tennessee 
Department of Environment and Conservation's open burning guidelines 

 Burning without a permit is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 
30 days in jail and/or a fine. Wildfires caused by arson are a class 
C felony punishable by 3 to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in 
fines. Anyone with information about suspected arson activity should 
call the state Fire Marshal's Arson Hotline at 1-800-762-3017. The 
hotline is answered 24 hours a day, and you may remain anonymous when 
providing information. Cash awards are offered for information 
leading to an arrest or conviction. To report illegal burning, please 
call 1-888-891-TDEC.

 Visit for additional tips to burn safely and to 
protect your community.

 The Division of Forestry promotes the wise use of forest resources by 
assisting landowners, fighting wildfires, providing quality 
seedlings, monitoring insects and diseases, improving urban forests, 
managing state forests, protecting water quality, and collecting 
forest inventory data. The Division also works to promote primary and 
secondary forest industries to stimulate the state's economy. Visit for more information.

Comptroller's investigative report released concerning Pickett County
Ambulance Service

Pcems sign

 The Office of the Comptroller of the Treasury recently conducted an 
investigation of selected records within the Pickett County Ambulance 
Service. The time period for the investigation was from July 1, 2016 
through May 31, 2018.

 The findings and recommendations were shared and reviewed with 
management prior to the press release of the investigative report.

 The following are the documents released from the Comptroller’s 
investigative report:

Finding 1:
Wireless device assigned to the director had questionable amounts of 
usage-The ambulance service has six Verizon jetpacks issued by the 
county. A jetpack is a device that creates an internet connection 
that can be shared with other devices. The director advised us that 
he kept his assigned device at home and hardly ever used it; however, 
we determined that the director's device/jetpack had the most data 
usage of the six devices. The average data usage for the director's 
device over 10 months through May 2018 was 13.9 GB.

The director advised us that if the device showed data usage then his 
children were the ones using it without his knowledge. The devices 
are on an unlimited data plan; therefore, the usage is not costing 
the county. However, the director's device is not being used for its 
intended governmental purpose.

RECOMMENDATION-The ambulance service should monitor its jetpacks 
usage for reasonableness, and the director should ensure his assigned 
device is used only for county business.

Pickett County Ambulance Service Director Tom Storie-The director 
provided Verizon documentation that two devices/lines ending in 3001 
and 3002 were disconnected on August 3, 2018. One of the devices 
listed on the documentation pertains to the device in the finding.

Finding 2:
The ambulance service did not comply with Pickett County's personnel 
policy regarding compensatory time-Pickett County's personnel policy 
permits employees to accumulate a maximum of 80 hours of compensatory 
time, and the policy does not allow the transfer of accumulated 
compensatory time between employees. We noted that an ambulance 
service employee received compensatory time that was donated from the 
director's accumulated leave balance. This violation of policy was 
addressed by the Pickett County Executive who issued a written 
warning stating that the incident was a misunderstanding of policy 
and has since been corrected.

RECOMMENDATION-The ambulance service should follow Pickett County's 
personnel policy for compensatory time. Pickett County's payroll 
department should review all ambulance service leave activity to 
ensure compliance with the county policy.

MANGEMENT'S RESPONSE-Pickett County Executive Richard Daniel-We were 
provided documentation that shows management dealt with compensatory 
time when it first became a known issue. We were also informed that 
compensatory time requires prior approval and accumnated compensatroy 
time must be taken within a reasonable time.

  The findings and recommendations were also reviewed with the 
district attorney general for the Thirteenth Judicial District.


Pickett County Schools to receive
funds to replace camera equipment

Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) has announced over $1 million in state 
grants for school districts he represents to improve school safety 
and security. These grants include $317,157.77 in Safe School grants, 
which are recurring funds and $762,850 in School Safety and Security 
grants, which are one-time funds. This year the General Assembly 
included $35 million in the 2018/2019 state budget for school safety, 
which Yager supported, following recommendations from Governor 
Haslam’s School Safety Working Group.

“I was glad to support these grants for school safety and am pleased 
that local school districts will benefit from these funds,” said 
Yager. “Our students should be able to learn in an environment where 
they feel safe. The assessment process conducted by law enforcement 
in collaboration with local officials was an efficient way to 
determine the needs of each school district to ensure safety for 

In order to apply for grant funding, local school officials partnered 
with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the 
Department of Education, and local law enforcement to complete safety 
assessments for school facilities and safety procedures. This was the 
first time the state led a comprehensive effort to determine the 
security needs at individual schools. Based on the findings following 
this assessment, all school districts were eligible to apply for two 
grants to receive funding for local safety and security needs.

Additionally, as a result of the working group recommendations, the 
Department of Safety and Homeland Security is working to secure a 
developer to complete a statewide school safety mobile application. 
The application will be designed for use by students, faculty and 
staff to anonymously report concerning or suspicious behavior to 
local law enforcement and school officials.

“I appreciate the work that local officials did to complete the 
application process and work well with the Department of Safety and 
Department of Education to complete the assessments. The safety and 
security of our schools will continue to be a top priority in years 
to come,” added Yager.

The grants for Senate District 12 include:

·Pickett County is receiving $8,110 in recurring funds and $20,270 in 
non-recurring funds to address access control, surveillance, and 
communication as areas of need.

Pickett County Director of Schools Diane Elder told the Press the 
grant money will be used to replace camera equipment at the Pickett 
County K-8.

Multiple water pump failures cause low water levels


A water pump failure at the intake resulted in emergency action by 
the Town of Byrdstown Water and Sewer Department. Citizens were 
contacted by an automatic voice message from the Overton/Pickett 
County 911 to notify everyone of the situations.

There are three intake pumps that help supply us with water. One of 
the pumps went out a few months ago. Bids were accepted and approved 
by the city council in the amount of $40,000 last month to purchase a 
new pump and motor. However, it has not arrived yet.

Ironically, Sunday night, a second pump failed and created a serious 
problem with our water supply. The normal water level for the water 
storage tank is around 24 ft., but was at a very low level of 10 ft. 
by Monday night.

"One pump cannot accommodate our water demand. We were doing 
everything we could to not be without water," said Mayor Sam Gibson.

According to Mayor Gibson, the department acted quickly and contacted 
the state to see about getting a temporary portable pump set up. They 
were able to make contact with a company out of Illinois. They put 
the machine on a truck and it traveled to Byrdstown Monday. It was 
hooked up and pumped throughout the night to get the water supply 
closer to normal levels by Tuesday morning.

The rental for the portable water pump is $1,000 per day. There has 
been an emergency purchase for another water pump but it will be 
weeks before it arrives.

Man arrested for breaking into school offices

A man has been arrested for breaking into the Pickett County Director 
of School office and garage office. According to reports, the offices 
were found in shambles on Sunday. The Pickett County Sheriff's Office 
was contacted to investigate the incident.

The suspect was recognized on the video footage captured by the 
school system. An undisclosed amount of money was stolen and there 
was some property damage.

Steven Joe Stinson, 36, of Byrdstown was arrested and has been 
charged with two counts of burglary, two counts of vandalism and theft.

County has spent $750,000 for jail project


 During the last county commission meeting, it was referenced that 
there was a letter that was sent by County Executive Richard Daniel 
to the commissioners regarding Pickett County Jail and Finance. In 
that letter dated August 29th, Mr. Daniel states that there has been 
approximately $750,000 spent on the jail project. "This money was 
appropriated by the Pickett County Commission with the understanding 
that when the financing for the jail was complete, this money would 
be reimbursed to Pickett County as part of the finance plan for the 
new jail." It was also said that at each commission meeting, 
commissioners were given financial statements showing the total 
spending for each line item and were approved by majority vote.

According to the documents, Mr. Daniel provided in the letter, the 
breakdown that has been provided to this newspaper for the $750,000 
are as follows:
$50,000-Nelson Mullins Riley & SC (legal)
$121,069.50-People's Bank & Trust (property)
$12.27-Town of Byrdstown (property taxes)
$15,500.00-S&P Global Rating (county rating)
$8,000-Beaver Engineering, Inc.
(core drilling of property)
$16,515.00-State of Tennessee
(approval of first set of architect plans)
$539,517-Thomas L. Anderson Architect
(architect services)
Total of $750,613.77

After reviewing the financial records that were presented to the 
county commission in the July meeting, under expenditures for the 
General Fund 101 Budget to Actual account number 91120 
(Administration of Justice Projects) the year to date 2017-18 
expenditures were $700,614. The original budget for that account was 
$323,714 but was amended to $717,129. The first budget amendment #7 
was accounted for and approved in the amount of $110,773 in December 

  While investigating the trail of expenditures and appropriations 
for this specific account, there are issues for concern that have 
been found. The most concerning has been regarding budget amendment 
#16 from the county general fund 101 2017-2018 that was approved in 
May 2018. That amendment was for 46 amounts with a total of 
$705,321.82. At the very end, there is an unassigned line item amount 
of $282,641.77. Every item is supposed to have an account, so what 
was that money used for and why did the commissioners approve an 
incomplete amendment?

By going through the budget and amended budget amounts and matching 
up amendments for the administration of justice project, this 
newspaper has guessed that the $282,641.77 was to fund the 91120 
account. However, there is no official record of that since it was 
without an account number.

The reports that were submitted to the commission in the August 
meeting did not have account number 91120. There has been nothing 
placed in the budget for jail administration project for the FY 

The last two checks (dated Aug. 24, 2018) were written after the 
2017-2018 budget for Nelson Mullins Riley & SC. Since there was 
nothing in the new budget for the jail project, where is that 
appropriation for the expenditure of that $50,000?

The money that we have spent on the jail project so far was said to 
be gone by Mr. Daniel if the new commission didn't move forward with 
the "present" jail plans. This was to due to the finance plan being 
withdrawn for Pickett County. In December 2017, the Municipal Capital 
Markets Group Inc. sent a Non-Binding Engagement Letter for the 
general terms and conditions of financing the new Pickett County Jail 
project. It indicates the county and MCM plan to enter into a lease-
purchase agreement to issue local government public improvement bonds 
through the Industrial Development board of Pickett County in order 
to finance the project. The letter didn't bind the county to proceed 
with the sale of the bonds if an agreement on terms can be reached 
nor obligates the county to compensate MCM. Neither the county nor 
the Industrial Board have entered into a contractual agreement or 
approved the issuance of a bond for this project.

Not only did we have an additional $426,899.77 in increased expenses 
for the jail project, but Pickett County also had approximately a 
million dollars in budget amendments totals for 2017-2018. Meaning, 
the county spent an additional million over the budget which seems to 
have attributed to the current low fund balance.

The county commission recently approved two tax anticipation notes in 
the amount of $300,000 for County General 101 and $50,000 for 116 
Solid Waste. This money is to be used to operate on until the tax 
revenue starts coming in. As of Tuesday, Sept. 25th, the county has 
been approved by the Comptroller's Office of Local and State Finance 
to only borrow $252,148 for the County General 101 fund.

There will be a discussion on the jail situation in Pickett County at 
the next county commission meeting on Monday, October 15th.

Reagan wins BFL tournament

Robertreagan  7k
 Boater Robert Reagan of Byrdstown won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing 
League (BFL) Mountain Division tournament on the Barren River Sunday 
with a two-day cumulative catch of nine bass weighing 30 pounds, 7 
ounces. For his win, Reagan took home $7,329.
Reagan said he caught most of the fish he weighed on a homemade 
football-head jig with a Watermelon Meat-colored Strike King Rage 
Tail Craw trailer in 18 to 20 feet of water.
“I got on a shallow bite early in practice, so I went to the river 
Saturday but only caught one small fish by 1:30 p.m.,” said Reagan, 
who earned his fourth career win in BFL competition. “I ran back down 
to the main lake to the mid-lake area and ran some ledges. I marked 
fish and got four bites by the end of the day and they were the right 
Reagan flipped shallow wood with a green-pumpkin Zoom Speed Craw with 
a 3/8-ounce weight to catch his keeper from the river.
“I returned to the same mid-lake area Sunday and caught two fish from 
a place I’d caught them Saturday, and the other two from ledges I 
hadn’t fished yet,” said Reagan. “I marked them and fished them with 
the same jig – I never laid it down. I lost my “fifth” a couple of 
times Sunday – it just didn’t get into the net.”
Reagan noted that his Lowrance electronics were essential to his win.
“I couldn’t have won without my Lowrance unit – they showed me the 
fish. I idled the ledges and when I‘d see them I’d stop the engine 
and cast in there. It seemed like I could catch them on a first or 
second cast.”

The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point 
standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will 
be entered in the Oct. 25-27 BFL Regional Championship on Lake 
Chickamauga in Dayton, Tennessee. Boaters will compete for a top 
award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and 
$20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-
horsepower Evinrude outboard.

Local church vandalized

Moodyville baptist vandalized

 A recent Facebook post was made by Moodyville Baptist Church Pastor 
Joel Chappell Jr. stating the church had been vandalized over the 

 A somewhat rare purple Crafter guitar was stolen.

 If you have any information on the incident or the location of the 
guitar, please contact the Pickett County Sheriff's Office at 

 "I don't know what it takes for a person to rob a church, but I would 
say they need some prayer," said Pastor Joel.

Why is the county having to borrow money to operate on?

During Monday's county commission meeting, the board approved two tax 
anticipation notes for 101 county general fund and 116 solid waste 
fund. That is because there isn't enough money to cover expenses.
  The question is being investigated by this newspaper as to what has 
happened to our county's finances. Check next week's PRESS for more 
information on this issue.

Commissioners approve two tax anticipation notes

  The Pickett County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on 
Sept. 17th, 2018. This was the first meeting since the new county 
officials took office on Sept. 1st. The following commissioners were 
present: Tony Beaty, Andrew Conner, Mitchell Cross, Brad Flowers, 
Darrell Garrett, Joe Harden, Carter Martin, Sheila Moon, Brad 
Richardson, Jim Richardson, Doug Scroggins and Terri Worley.
Clerk of the Court Robert "Charlie" Lee addressed the commission for 
approval of chairman and vice-chairman of the board of commissioners. 
A motion by Carter Martin was seconded by Darrell Garrett to nominate 
and approve the election of Carey Garner as Chairman and Sheila Moon 
as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Commissioners. All ayes. Sheila Moon 
also voted aye.
The meeting was then turned over to Chairman Garner. The agenda was 
approved with all ayes.
A motion was called to approve the previous months minutes. 
Commissioner Tony Beaty addressed the board and questioned what 
happens if the commission doesn't approve the minutes, does that mean 
the actions are still valid. It was stated that the actions are still 
approved. Motion by Jim Richardson and seconded by Brad Flowers to 
approve the minutes from the Monday, August 20th, 2018 County Court 
Meeting as presented. All ayes except Tony Beaty, Darrell Garrett, 
Joe Harden, Carter Martin, Sheila Moon, and Terri Worley. With 6 ayes 
and 6 nays, Chariman Garner broke the tie with an aye vote.
The monthly reports which include county general, transfer station/
solid waste, debt service, highway department and school federal 
projects were approved with all ayes.
Notary renewals for Debra S. Cummings, Emily Jane King, Donna S. 
Anderson, Christa Lee Tompkins, Catherine A. Smith and Melissa 
Tompkins were approved with all ayes.
A motion by Joe Harden was seconded by Terri Worley to approve budget 
amendments as presented. This was from the request from the circuit 
court clerk to move line item funds in the budget. All ayes.
The newly elected commissioners were presented with election 
Motion by Joe Harden and seconded by Doug Scroggins to approve two 
tax revenue anticipation notes: One tax revenue anticipation note in 
the amount of $300,000 for the 101 General Fund to be borrowed from 
People's Bank & Trust Company. The second tax to be in the amount of 
$50,000 for the 116 Solid Waste (Transfer Station) Fund to be 
borrowed from People's Bank & Trust Company. Both notes to be paid 
back by June 30th, 2019 using property tax revenues. This being 
authorized by the County Commission in Section #6 of the 
Appropriation Resolution FY 2018-2019-1 dated and passed June 18th, 
2018. All ayes.
Approval was made with all ayes to remove Patricia A. Braddock, David 
Harer and Richard D. Daniel from signature cards pertaining to county 
government at People's Bank and Trust Company.
A motion was made and approved by all ayes for the addition of Carey 
B. Garner and Sheila Moon to the signature card for all accounts for 
county government at People's Bank and Trust Company.
Motion by Brad Richardson and seconded by Joe Harden to approve 
signature letters for Debra Cummings and Brenda Cross as signers in 
the absence of County Executive Carey B. Garner as presented. All ayes.
Approval of the contract for new county attorney Amanda Howard was 
made with all ayes.
Motion by Carter Martin and seconded by Terri Worley to approve 
Tompkins Cemetery Circle to be designated as a county road for 
Pickett County and to be added to the list of county roads and be 
maintained by the county road department was made with all ayes.
Commissioner Darrell Garrett addressed the court regarding his 
concerns for the budget and the finding revenue with hotel/motel tax. 
It was suggested that a committee be formed to research the issue.
Newly appointed EMS Director Garry Garrett reported that the 
department has done away with the Assistant Director position. 
Instead, there will be two supervisors who will be working with the 
crews. Also, Paramedic Tim Ford has come back working full-time in 
Pickett County.
Transfer Station Lead Operator Marty Beaty reported that the 
employees are doing all they can to help save money and bring revenue 
for the county by pulling out items to recycle. A 40 lb. load of 
cardboard was going to be ready for recycling soon. He thanked 
Commissioner Jim Richardson for donating a lot of cardboard and 
Carter Martin for assisting in some truck work at the transfer station.
Before the motion to adjourn was made, Commissioner Andrew Conner 
asked Chairman Garner about the picking up on the jail project. He 
asked to have it placed on the agenda for the next meeting. A motion 
was made by Andrew Conner and seconded by Mitchell Cross to continue 
the jail discussion at the next regular county court meeting 
scheduled for October 15th. All ayes. 

A friendship that has lasted over 50 years

Vets farmhouse
Pictured at left are Dale Varnell and Lowell Winningham. PHOTO: Donna Cope


It was 1965 when two soldiers began a friendship that would be 
remembered throughout their lives. Lowell Winningham served in the 
Army 25th Infantry Division when he met Dale Varnell. They served and 
fought together in Vietnam from 1965-1966. Winningham went back to 
Vietnam but without his friend Dale. They lost touch after that.
Family and friends from both Lowell and Dale have stated that over 
the years they would speak of each other often. It was many years ago 
when Dale decided to try and find his long lost friend. Even that 
took several years, but he was able to obtain a phone number for 
Lowell. They reconnected, but it would be many years later until they 
were able to see each other again.
Dale and his wife decided to travel from Manford, Oklahoma to 
Byrdstown. On September 13th, after over 50 years, two long-lost 
friends were reunited. They were able to spend several days together 
at the lake, reminiscing and enjoying each other's company.


Referendum removed from August ballot


 Last week, there were questions posed by this newspaper regarding the 
legality of the referendum that was to be on the August ballot. The 
referendum was to allow Pickett County to become its own emergency 
communications district.

  Pickett County Administrator of Elections Tim Clark reported to the 
PRESS that after he reviewed the article and the questions posed, he 
contacted the attorney with the state election office and Tennessee 
Emergency Communications Board Executive Director Curtis Sutton for 
validation of the referendum.

  Resolution 2017-2018-23 requested that the election commission 
submit the question to the voters by referendum for the August 2018 
general election in accordance with the provision of law. That 
resolution was approved by the Pickett County Commission February 19th.

According to Clark, he was advised that Pickett County was part of an 
existing district and the county didn't have the authority to place 
the referendum on the ballot as indicated on the submitted 
resolution. That authority is given by the Tennessee Emergency 
Communications board as provided in T.C.A. 7-86-310. Therefore, the 
referendum was immediately removed.

  On Thursday, county attorney Andrea Ayers responded to the request 
asking if the county has submitted an official proposal to the TECB 
for the attempts to become a separate emergency communications 
district. She provided what had been done on behalf of the county 
which was only a meeting request. That request was submitted by 
Pickett County Executive Richard Daniel on May 17th asking to be 
placed on the agenda of the next board meeting. "Pickett County would 
appreciate the opportunity to present facts and information that will 
support our request to become an independent 911 District," the 
request stated.

  There has been a special board meeting scheduled for June 15th at 
the request of Pickett County. As reported last week, the county had 
committed to submit a formal petition/proposal to the board by the 
end of the month. According to TECB Executive Director Curtis Sutton, 
as of Tuesday, May 29th they have not received one. "Without a 
proposal, the board can't deliberate and consider the request," said 

  Should the board determine that the creation of a new district is 
in the best interest of the public, the board would hold a public 
hearing within the existing district. Following the hearing, the 
board could then order a referendum be held. The earliest the board 
could take action to order the referendum, following a public 
hearing, would be during the August meeting.

If everything was completed and approved by the August 1st meeting, 
the referendum could possibly be placed on the November ballot.

Rare waterspout on Dale Hollow Lake

Waterspout 201820180531 7127 12a144j
PHOTO: Jessica Scott Wilson
 This has been confirmed by the National Weather Service of Nashville
as being a water spout. According to NWS Meteorologist Krissy Hurley,
these are very rare for our area and are comparable to a gustnado.
 These waterspouts typically don't cause any damage and are not the
same as a tornado. As the storm was approaching Saturday evening, the
outflowing and surface winds along with the geographic layout of the
valley created the perfect condition for this phenomenon to occur.
 There have been around two recorded water spouts for middle Tennessee
in the past 10 years.
 A storm spotter has reported seeing a total of three waterspouts.
 This was truly a unique occurrence for Dale Hollow Lake.

Calves rescued on the lake

Calf on pontoon20180531 15765 zkn0cr
PHOTO: Garry Garrett

 The Pickett County Rescue Squad recently helped retrieve six Holstein
calves that were stranded on the lake. The calves were found by some
fishermen in the Eagles’ Cove area.

 According to Rescue Squad Captain Garry Garrett, it was believed the
cows had made it down the ravine after a storm and couldn't get back
out. They had been down there for several days and were weak and hungry.

 Each 300 lb. calf was roped and carried onto a pontoon where they
were provided some hay to eat. They were eventually returned to the

 The PCRS would like to thank Cody Smith for the assistance in roping
the animals.

Pickett School Board votes to establish a fishing team

 The Pickett County Board of Education met Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 7 
p.m. at the office of the director of schools with the following 
members present: Dorman Beaty, Jr., John Reagan, chairman, Nathan 
Anderson and Jerry Mitchell.
Motion by Dorman Beaty seconded by Jerry Mitchell to adopt the agenda 
and approve the minutes from the April 26, 2018 meeting. All ayes. 
Motion carried.
Motion by Nathan Anderson seconded by John Reagan to give the 
director of schools and principal the authority to establish a 
Pickett County Fishing Team. All ayes. Motion carried.
Motion by Jerry Mitchell seconded by Nathan Anderson to approve that 
the TnReady test results will not be counted in students final grade 
or in any way harm a teachers evaluation for FY 2017-2018. All ayes. 
Motion carried.
Motion by Dorman Beaty seconded by Nathan Anderson for Pickett County 
Schools to recognize National School Rodeo activities as a school 
program. All ayes. Motion carried.
Motion by Jerry Mitchell seconded by Nathan Anderson to adjourn. All 
ayes. Motion carried.

Lightning causes fire

Barn fire 5241820180524 24703 u4kqyi

 A storm on Tuesday, May 15th caused a fire and power outages across 
the county.
According to a witness traveling on Fairview Road, lightning struck a 
hay barn owned by Norman Amonett, containing hundreds of bales of hay 
a little before 7 p.m.
Everything was completely engulfed when volunteer fire department 
members arrived.
The high winds and rain caused multiple trees to be down and also 
broke powerlines leaving around 500 people without power for many hours.
Powerlines were across the road on Eagle's Cove Road below the Oak 
Hill split enabling traffic to go through until early the next morning.
County road crews worked throughout the night to get trees and debris 
cleared off the roadways.

Questions concerning upcoming referendum
to create an emergency communication district


A referendum on the creation of the emergency communications district 
for Pickett County will be on the August ballot. This newspaper has 
questioned the legality of the referendum being placed on the ballot 
at any time before receiving approval from the state as specified by 
state statute.

In April 2017, the Pickett County Commissioners approved with all 
ayes to request the creation of an Emergency Communication District 
for Pickett County by referendum during the May 2018 primary election.

According to Administrator of Elections Tim Clark, a request was made 
by Pickett County Executive Richard Daniel to place the referendum on 
the May ballot. However, in February, the Pickett County Board of 
Commissioners approved to rescind that motion and passed a new one 
that places the referendum during the August 2018 general election. 
The referendum was removed before the official May ballot was created.

In May 2017, Pickett County Executive Richard Daniel went before the 
Tennessee Emergency Communications Board in Nashville. At that time, 
Mr. Daniel presented the board with the intentions for wanting 
Pickett County to become its own emergency communications district. 
"We have no intentions of doing anything detrimental to Overton 
County, we don't want to harm them. But there comes a time when we 
want to take back that responsibility again. It was never meant to be 
a permanent situation," said Daniel.

A board member questioned what was not working for the county. Mr. 
Daniel expressed the need to have local control having dispatchers 
familiar with the roads and area, issues of losing runs to other 
counties through 911 dispatch, and that our EMS has made great 

"We know that we are going to have to put quite a bit into it, we 
understand and we are prepared to do that," said Daniel.

At no time during that discussion did Mr. Daniel indicate a reason 
for Pickett County to want to separate was due to questions regarding 
the Overton-Pickett Emergency Communication district's spending.

Daniel also stated that he was part of the initiation to join the two 
counties in 1998 when he served as Chairman on the 911 board. One of 
those reasons for the joining of the two districts was that Pickett 
County didn't have the means to secure the equipment with a hardened 
room but that would be available when the new jail facility is built.

During that meeting, a board member questioned if things were out of 
order and asked the board attorney to explain the proper process. It 
was explained that there needed to be a resolution passed by the 
county legislative board, which had been done, so next would be 
filing a formal petition with the board. After the petition was 
received it would be placed on the agenda to discuss if the creation 
is in the best interest of the public. If it was determined that the 
petition and separation satisfied all the requirements, then a public 
hearing would be held within the boundaries of the district. After 
all of that, the board then may order a referendum.

An email was sent to Pickett County Executive Richard Daniel and 
County Attorney Andrea Ayers to see if an official proposal had been 
made to the board and if it hadn't, when would it be. There has not 
yet been a response to that request. The same question was asked in 
February when the referendum was supposed to have been on the May 
ballot. Attorney Ayers reported that nothing had been presented at 
that time. This newspaper also asked why it hadn’t been presented 
since it is to be on the ballot and never received an answer.

According to the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board Executive 
Director Curtis Sutton, there has not been a petition presented to 
the board. "We have received a request for a hearing but have not 
received a proposal. We are working to schedule a special meeting in 
June or July. The county has committed that it will submit a proposal 
by the end of the month," said Sutton.

"In the event that the board at the special hearing determines that 
the creation of the new district is in the best interest of the 
public, the board must still hold a public hearing within the service 
area of Overton-Pickett Emergency Communications District pursuant to 
T.C.A. 7-86- 310."

The statute states that "After May 20, 1998, no referendum to allow 
the creation of a new emergency communications district within the 
boundaries on an existing emergency communications district shall 
take place without prior approval by the board. The board may order 
that a referendum be held provided that such action shall not 
threaten the financial integrity or stability or the level or quality 
of 911 service of the existing emergency communications district."

The question was then asked to Executive Director Sutton, what 
happens if all of those requirements are not completed by the general 
election since the referendum is already to be on the ballot? Does it 
matter that the process wasn't adhered to in the proper order? Sutton 
replied, "The statute specifically says no referendum to allow 
creation shall take place without prior approval by the board."

The statute that is on the resolution to create the new district 
refers to T.C.A. 7-86-101 "Emergency Communications District Law" 
which authorizes counties to create an emergency communications 

Since Pickett County is part of an existing district, wouldn't the 
county be legally obligated to follow the statute that says that 
board approval is required?

Why has the county gone ahead and proceeded to place the referendum 
on the ballot without having petitioned nor received approval from 
the board in accordance to state statute?
Is that referendum even valid?

911 Director's answers to comptroller questions

Amanda Hill Bond

During the Overton-Pickett 911 Emergency Communications District 
board meeting Monday, May 7th, Director Chris Masiongale was given an 
opportunity to respond to the questions and concerns brought out in 
the comptroller's report.
  There were many items discussed, and this newspaper has chosen to 
select the issues that were determined as the most important to our 
readers. The questions posed by the report will be listed, followed 
by the explanation summary from Director Masiongale.
Fuel Purchases for director on multiple out-of-state trips in the 
amount of $678.05
-In September the contract for the director's use of the vehicle that 
included and defined that both personal and professional use was 
approved by the board during their regular board meeting. That 
included that any costs for the vehicle were to be considered part of 
the contract. A policy was developed. The Director also explained 
that he took his emergency vehicle anytime his family went out of 
town to be able to leave and get back as soon as possible. The 
Director also submitted mileage for his personal use on his yearly 
taxes. The vehicle has since been sold, per the Director's request.
The district made purchases for items not exclusively used in 
district operations
-The stainless steel tabletop was used for the American Legion who 
was working to remodel a kitchen. The tabletop was bought for them to 
use and in exchange, they provided the district with the facility at 
no cost. In the past, money was paid to rent the facility for large 
-Family members did get paid $100 in 2015 for working after disaster 
assistance was available to citizens that were affected by the ice 
storm. Employees and their children were offered to work on the job 
of going through 800 applications for disaster aid and worked to 
input the information in a database, map and verify residency, and 
that no more than one applicant was applying from a household. The 
time spent on the job was a week and the issue was brought before the 
board and they approved to pay $100 to the family members of the 
-The board approved the use of emergency response items in the amount 
of $3,400 for the director's vehicle. The Director received 
permission by the Overton County Sheriff to use blue lights.
-The Wrangler pants were beige work pants, not jeans that used to be 
mandatory as part of the employee uniform. That has not been a 
requirement nor has the district paid for them in several years.
Transactions that could appear to be conflicts of interest
-The board minutes reflect that they were to speak with legal and 
financial to ensure that the board was not doing anything illegal by 
purchasing a John Deere lawn mower from the Director. The board was 
advised to create a committee to evaluate and form an appropriate 
cost. The mower was sold for $4,000 and a question of fair market 
value was raised by the comptroller. The Director reported that the 
cheapest mower of the same model with even more hours that he could 
find now was priced at $4,000 at Hix Brothers.
-The 1988 gooseneck trailer was donated to the district by the 
Director. Previous to the donation, it had been used to travel all 
over the U.S. for equipment and was being used by the district as 
well as other local agencies. The liability was on the Director for 
the use of the trailer until it was licensed through the district. 
There was repair work of $3,200 that was paid by district funds. A 
few months ago the board accepted the donation of the trailer.
-The Director's brother offered to sell the district a 120 ft tower. 
The estimated cost was around $5,000 in getting the tower removed and 
transported. To purchase a new tower like the one discussed would 
have been $10-$15,000. The Director's brother asked that the district 
ship a front-end loader that he had purchased in Pickett County in 
exchange for him dismantling the tower, loading it on a trailer to 
bring it to Overton County from Indiana. Overton County Executive Ben 
Danner was asked by the Director if that was possible to do. The 
reply was as long as the value is greater than the cost, yes it could 
be done. There was an arrangement of shipping the loader through U-
Ship, but the shipper never responded so there was a refund of only 
90 percent. There was $267.00 that was supposed to be refunded and 
after multiple attempts, it still hasn't been refunded. The 
Director's brother hired a crane, took the tower down, disassembled, 
took it to the manufacturer to ensure the soundness, re-galvanized it 
and put a new base on and delivered it to Tennessee. The total charge 
and amount paid was $3,200 for that tower and the services. The tower 
was later sold to Clay County for $9,999.00, which netted a profit. 
That tower was deemed surplus after another bigger tower, that would 
have a value of $50,000 if it was purchased new, was donated to the 
district. The cost to take that tower down was $5,000.

Purchases of food
totaling $18,700.12

-This was a two year period with the board meeting 6-7 times a year 
and there are approximately 55-60 employee meetings per year. In the 
past, food was always provided for those meetings, but that ceased in 
July 2017. The only food purchases that have been made are for the 
dispatchers and board meetings. However, nothing was provided for the 
May 7th board meeting. The chairman of the board proposed that no 
food be purchased by the district. That issue will be discussed in 
the next board meeting.
-Alcohol was on the receipt of the September 2016 board meeting at 
Pier 42 at Sunset. The Director was not aware that anyone purchased 
alcohol and that this was believed to have been the first instance 
where alcohol was shown on a receipt. The Director thought that it 
was by mistake but it wasn't caught at the time and that it would 
never happen again.
-Sam's Club purchases were used for the district as part of the food 
that was provided for meetings and the center, not for personal benefit.
-The medications that were questioned were brought up by the Director 
to the comptroller investigator to show that they provide medications 
for the employees. The Director reported that a flu outbreak in the 
call center would be devastating. The medications included Advil, 
Aleve, Mucinex, Airborne, Omega 3, Vit C, Cinnamon, DayQuil.

Purchases of

-A  Patriot enclosed trailer was purchased for $3,885. The trailer is 
used for promotional events, to pick up equipment, transport tools 
and used as an aide to haul items to a disaster site. The usage of 
the trailer is available to other local agencies as well. It was 
indicated in the report that the investigator's requested to see the 
trailer but it wasn't on the property and they were unable to verify 
that it was being used by the fire department as explained. The 
Director reported that the trailer was there the first time 
investigators visited and said that Rocky Dial could have verified 
it's useage if he had been asked.
-The ice machine was purchased in 2015 and has had disbursements of 
$4,163 for the cost and maintenance and repair. It is used for 
cookouts, Fall-o-ween, and other public relations events.
-A massage chair was purchased in 2015 for $3,599.95. The Director 
reported that the district wasn't the only one who had a massage 
chair and that the report failed to question the other equipment in 
the room: a treadmill and stationary bicycle. The explanation as to 
why that chair was purchased was that the dispatcher employees have 
three major issues that come as a result of their jobs. 1.-PTSD, 2.-
Carpel Tunnel, 3. Poor Circulation in the lower extremities. The 
board also approved the disbursement of $75,000 for dispatcher's 
consoles to be converted to stands if needed to help aid in reducing 
the issues of carpel tunnel and circulation problems. The massage 
chair is designed to work on hands, feet and legs and also is to give 
the employee an area for quiet space, especially after dealing with a 
call that resulted in a tragedy.
-There were questions regarding a Sandblaster, Drillpress and Air 
Compressor, all of which were reported by the Director as being used 
for equipment of the towers for the district. There was no room to 
store the equipment so it is located and secured in the EMA building 
but is only being used by the district.
-A golf cart that was questioned in the report is used for public 
relations. The money used to purchase the golf cart was from the sale 
of a four-wheeler that was used to map out local trials. The report 
recommendation was that the property of the district is stored on the 
property. The golf cart is located in the rescue squad building in 
the space that is being rented by the district. The Director felt 
that because they are paying for rent at the rescue squad, it is 
considered the district's property.
-The $411.56 portrait that is located in the director's office was 
purchased within the guidelines of the budget the Director was given 
for his office. All the other items had been donated or were yard 
sale items, the Director told the board that if they wanted him to 
reimburse them for the picture, he would do so.
-Many years ago, the board approved Sam's Club and Air Evac 
membership's as part of the employee and board member benefits. The 
Director asked that the board verifies the legality of those benefits.

Purchases of
training classes,
products and
training equipment

-The report questions the expenditures for employee training and 
noted that there was no policy to use district funds to pay for EMT 
or IT classes, books, and supplies. The Director reported that in 
2002, the OPECD board adopted employee policies and procedures which 
makes it a requirement that all dispatchers attend EMT school. The 
state of Tennessee ECD board established funding for education in the 
amount of $20,000 per year for the OPCED. Up until the investigation 
began, there was free training provided for various local agencies 
every month but that has ceased. There is still in-house training for 
employees and the equipment is being used by the district.
-It was recommended that the board should have a policy for employee 
training, training classes, training equipment and supplies and the 
funding related to the training. The Director reported that there was 
one written and approved by the board in December 2017.

Public relation

-The Director reported that from 2010 up to last year, every 
graduating class in Overton and Pickett County has been supported by 
the district. The day of graduation, students were surprised with 
goody bags and the purchases are within the budget that is for public 
relations. There was also goody bags provided to local law 
enforcement for National Night Out. The Director told the board that 
he has not purchased anything for the 2018 graduates.
-Questions on the purchases totaling $3,995.62 for positive promotion 
and 4imprint, Myron Corporation purchases were part of public 
relations and there were OPECD logo's on the items. Those purchases 
were made from July 2015 to August 2017.

Deficiencies in
payments for tower
climbs for family

-The report specifically identified that there were three individuals 
(out of 10) who were paid to climb towers that were family. 1. 
Employee and son of 911 winter workshop board member. That employee 
worked part-time as a dispatcher before becoming a climber. The 
Director said that relationship had nothing to do with his ability to 
provide laboring work. 2. Engaged to district director's daughter. 
The Director said that was incorrect, they were not engaged at the 
time of his employment. He also was working to build fences around 
tower sites and other jobs along with climbing. Since the engagement, 
he has not been employed. 3. Engaged to district employee's daughter. 
The Director said that is also incorrect that they have not been nor 
are engaged. The person in question also is trained in rope rescue 
and is part of the rescue squad. The report states that there is no 
written policy or contract for the climbers. The Director reported 
that the board has an approved policy for the climbers, that they get 
$250 per 24-hour period. He also reported that many of the climbers 
were doing it for no pay until the board approved compensation.

Start off Memorial weekend by donating blood to save a life

Amanda Hill Bond

No one ever wants to hear that there is something wrong with their 
child. When my husband and I had our third child, we overcame a lot 
but we weren't prepared for what awaited us. Our family was forever 
changed the day after our son was born. We learned that he had a 
congenital heart defect that left his heart functioning as half of 
one. We had never known how critical blood products were until then. 
At that time, he had a 50 percent chance of even surviving the first 
surgery. He was only nine days old for that surgery and that was just 
one of three open-heart surgeries he had by age two. He had to have 
blood products throughout that time. Even if they were pulling out an 
arterial line after surgery, they had to have blood products in the 
room ready to be used in case of a bleed. Our family also got to 
donate blood as a direct donation for Chance to be used if needed for 
his last open-heart surgery.
  The surgeries are not a fix, they are only palliative surgeries 
that help give him the best quality of life. Chance is now seven 
years old and lives life to the fullest. You could never tell 
anything was wrong with that kid, he doesn't let his heart defect 
slow him down. Although, he has been known to try to use it as an 
excuse to get out of responsibilities. We are very hopeful for his 
future and we want to help make sure that other people know about 
congenital heart defects. CHD affects approximately 1 in 100 births, 
and there are several people who have been affected that are living 
in our own community. You can find more information about CHD at We also have a Tennessee Chapter to help provide 
support for families.

Because someone cared enough to donate blood, our family is impacted 
to remember to give back. In a time when we often feel powerless, we 
can help be the difference between life and death for someone. The 
Chances for Scarred Little Hearts blood drive is the only American 
Red Cross community blood drive scheduled for Pickett County for 
2018. We do this blood drive in awareness of CHD and in honor of 
Chance. Let's kick off the holiday by helping save a life!!!

The drive will be on Friday, May 25th at the Byrdstown Community 
Center from 3 p.m.-7 p.m.

Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood. An adult 
has approximately 10-12 pints of blood in their body. A baby, 
depending on weight, may have less than 10 ounces which is just over 
a cup. One pint of blood donated means potentially up to three lives 
For eligibility information and to schedule a convenient time to 
donate, go to (enter Byrdstown 19) or call me at 

Board maintains confidence in 911 Director

Amanda Hill Bond

  The Overton-Pickett 911 Emergency Communications District Board Of 
Directors met on Monday night, May 7th. Amid the comptroller's 
questionable expenditure's report, the board heard justifications 
from the director for the issues that were brought up in the report. 
Those members in attendance were: Chairman Stanley Carter, Jr., Vice-
Chairman James Clouse, Treasurer Kevin Collins, Secretary Garry 
Garrett, Keith Ledford, Ralph Robbins, Randall Boswell, Rocky Dial, 
Dr. Mark Pressley, Buster Harmon, Larry Ledford. Absent was Tim Ford 
and Darrell Hoover.

"Before passing any judgment, I wanted to hear what you (Chris) had 
to say about this and I told you I would give you the opportunity at 
this meeting to address anything you wanted to," said Chairman 
Stanely Carter, Jr.

Director Chris Masiongale began with discussing information about the 
district and that he had started working in 1998. The Overton-Pickett 
911 District is the only merged district and the only stand-alone 
district in the state. There are 10 full-time dispatchers and they 
answer around 350,000 calls a year. The district requires that each 
dispatcher be trained as an EMT and also have some law enforcement 

Director Masiongale went over everything brought out in the report 
and provided his explanation for each of the items. Masiongale told 
the board, "I am not aware of any instance where 911 funds were used 
for personal benefit. I have made mistakes but I have brought 
everything to the board. I have not been deceitful, dishonest with 
intent to do anything wrong." He also told the board that not all of 
the employees were contacted by comptroller investigators and that he 
was not aware that anyone declined to meet with agents.

Some of the questionable actions brought out in the report had also 
been ran through legal and state auditors before they had been 
approved by the board. He also presented further documentation for 
several of the questions providing explanations that were not 
included in the report. It was noted that the vehicle that was used 
by Masiongale has been sold, and food purchases for employees has 
been very limited since July 1, 2017.

Masiongale indicated the comptroller's office began asking questions 
and requesting records in March 2015. Since then, many of the 
recommendations of the Comptroller have already been implemented and 
the board and director have been working with financial advisor Scott 
Leduc to help the district be in compliance with the law. When Leduc 
presented information to the board, he included that he thought the 
investigative report was a little one-sided because it was missing a 
few details.

"We're looked at and have been looked at like somehow we've just been 
running this place blindly. We take advice from legal, audit 
findings, and the CPA and we sit down and try to make the best 
decisions with the information we have," said Chairman Carter.

  At the request of Chairman Carter, there was a meeting Friday, May 
4th with the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board Director and 
state finance director. In attendance at that meeting was legal 
counsel Mike Mahn and Scott Leduc and Stanley Carter Jr. Chairman 
Carter expressed the willingness of the board to continue cooperating 
and discussed his suggestions that were to be presented to the board 
at Monday's meeting.

Recommendations were presented to the board by Chairman Carter that 
were to be considered for the next board meeting.
-Lower purchasing limit to $500 and approve all expenditures in 
advance (had been $5,000)
-Hold monthly meetings until further notice (had been meeting 4-5 
times a year)
-Itemized financial information to be sent to board members before 
the meetings (have been getting broad financial information)
-No food or drinks to be purchased by 911
-Adopt nepotism policy prohibiting relatives in the chain of command
-Annual performance review of Director that is tied to the annual 
audit report

Attorney to the board, Mike Mahan, provided the board with a packet 
of policies that have already been adopted or needed to be to make 
them readily available to board members. He also announced at the 
meeting that he was retiring and would continue helping the board 
transition with new counsel.

  The chairman asked that everyone provide a vote of confidence in 
Director Masiongale to decide what path the board would be taking 
moving forward. The confidence vote was that the director is capable 
of doing the job and that the board should keep him. All voted yes 
except Larry Ledford who voted no.

"This is all I've ever known, thank you. I'll do whatever it takes," 
said Masiongale to the board.

After the comptroller's report was released, Pickett County Executive 
Richard Daniel posted on his Re-Elect Richard Daniel Facebook page, 
that he "intended on requesting that all current Overton-Pickett E911 
board members resign, request that the Director be suspended or fired 
immediately and all employees who refused to cooperate with the 
comptroller's investigation as indicated in the audit report be fired 
immediately." He did not attend Monday's meeting.

A more detailed report of each issue that was presented to the board 
by Director Masiongale will be published in next week's PRESS.

Civil War grave marker stolen

Jamessaufleytravisville20180518 16078 1qg4n0y
A Facebook post involving the theft of a Civil War grave marker 
prompted questions by this newspaper. The individual who posted on 
Facebook was offering a $1,000 reward for the recovery or information 
leading to the recovery of the grave marker belonging to James M. 
Pickett County Sheriff Dana Dowdy told the PRESS that the marker was 
reported missing on May 26th, 2017. It was believed that it had been 
missing for up to a year prior to being reported. Unfortunately, 
there were no leads for the investigation. Saufley was the first 
recorded death in Tennessee during the Civil War and the grave was at 
Travisville Cemetery.
If you have any information regarding the missing marker, please 
contact the Pickett County Sheriff's Office 931-864-3210.

Communication memorabilia destroyed in fire

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A 911 call was received on Wednesday at 4:36 p.m. regarding a fire on 
Osco Williams Road in the Chanute community in Pall Mall.
Upon arrival, a wooden multi-level building was engulfed in flames. 
According to owner Robert Huddleston, while he was working on a 
lawnmower, it arced and caught the gas on fire. He reported that he 
tried to extinguish the fire but couldn't get to the fire extinguishers.
As firefighters were battling the blaze, it started burning close to 
the side of the owner's mobile home. It was learned that there was 
still someone inside of the residence who was wheelchair bound and 
that person was moved to a safe location outside.
Other fire department agencies were called to assist due to the 
manpower needed to help contain the fire from spreading the home and 
the lack of water available at the area of the fire.
Two Byrdstown-Pickett County volunteer firefighters were treated at 
the scene because of the fire's intense heat and smoke.
The building along with several vehicles was lost in the fire. Both 
the building and vehicles were filled with communication memorabilia 
and technology equipment, some dating back to the 1940s. Huddleston 
said that he had called Cordell Hull Museum earlier in the day to see 
if they would be interested in creating a post office with telegraph 
equipment but unfortunately, all of that was destroyed. The mobile 
home suffered some heat damage but nothing significant.
Firefighters worked to contain the fire until after 8 p.m.
Fire Chief Robert Bond extended a thank you to the Jamestown and 
Monroe Volunteer Fire Department for providing assistance on the fire.

VECustomers Share Awards

Volunteer Energy Cooperative’s (VEC) VECustomers Share program 
awarded $2,500 in grants to Pickett County organizations in April.
Local groups receiving grants include Byrdstown Middle School 7th & 
8th Grade Science Club ($500.00), Pickett County Soil Conservation 
Club ($750.00), and Byrdstown Senior Center ($1,250.00).
The program, founded in October 2001, has donated more than $6.3 
million to various community-service organizations across VEC’s 17-
county service area.
VECustomers Share is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization 
covering VEC’s 17-county service area. The foundation’s funds come 
from VEC members who have opted to allow VEC to round their electric 
bills up to the next whole dollar. VECustomers Share contributions 
average 50 cents per month per customer. The extra change is pooled 
with that of other members and distributed by the foundation’s board 
of directors, who all serve as volunteers.
Grant applications are available at any Volunteer Energy Cooperative 
Customer Service center, by calling (423) 334-7051, or at

Town of Byrdstown meeting held

The Town of Byrdstown Board of Mayor and Aldermen met in regular 
session on Monday, April 9, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. at Town Hall. Those 
present were Mayor Sam Gibson, Recorder Johnny Sells, Alderman Johnny 
Bilbrey, Alderman Rex Tompkins, Barb Mitchell, Alderwoman,  Town 
Engineer Nathaniel Green, Eric Pierce, Gracie Pierce, Michelle 
Mitchell, Missy Harding, Chamber of Commerce Director Bill Robbins, 
and Anthony Milsted.
An agenda was presented and a motion was made by Johnny Sells to 
adopt the proposed agenda. A second was voiced by Barb Mitchell and 
with all members voting aye the motion carried.
A motion was made by Johnny Bilbrey to approve the minutes of the 
March 12, 2018 regular meeting as written. A second was voiced by Rex 
Tompkins and with all members voting aye the motion carried.
Town Engineer Nathaniel Green reported to the board that the pre 
construction meeting for the new CDBG water system rehab project that 
was held Monday, April 16th, 2018 at 11 a.m. at Town Hall.
Mayor Sam Gibson reported to the council that Johnny Lee was up for 
his 6 months review and recommended approval. A motion was made by 
Johnny Sells to approve the mayor’s recommendation and award employee 
Johnny Lee a $.50 per hour increase that is in compliance with the 
Town’s salary schedule and to be retro back to March 11, 2018. A 
second was voiced by Johnny Bilbrey and will all members voting aye 
the motion carried.
Under General Discussion the mayor gave an update on the Town Park 
bathroom project, as well as trash pickup.
The mayor gave a report on the 3rd quarter budget for the FY 17-18 of 
funds spent and remaining balances.
With no further business to discuss a motion was made by Rex Tompkins 
to adjourn until the next regular meeting on May 14, 2018 at 5:00 
p.m. at Town Hall.  A second was voiced by Barb Mitchell and with all 
members voting aye the meeting adjourned at 5:36 p.m.

Pickett County Schools in need of resource officers


During Monday's county commission meeting, Director of Schools Diane 
Elder addressed the commission for the need of funding for school 
resource officers. "I am asking you tonight to help protect our most 
valued resources. We need funding for one SRO for each school," said 
Elder. According to Elder, Pickett County is one of only two schools 
in the State of Tennessee that doesn’t have school resource officers 
in the schools. The other county without resource officers is Polk.

Elder reported that various counties seem to be split on who provides 
the funding, whether it be school, county, or percentage of both. 
When the school system conducted a recent safety drill, there were 
several issues found at the high school. When there is a lockdown, 
there are five buildings at the high school that have to be included. 
It was also said that the school system has been notified of safety 
grant funds, but the amount is not known yet. That money will be used 
to upgrade safety concerns at the high school.

A motion was made and seconded to hire two SRO, meaning they would be 
employed by the sheriff’s office for the school. County Attorney 
Andrea Ayers then suggested to Elder that there needed to be a 
written proposal to be brought before the commission for the request.

  Chairman Richard Daniel asked if the school could also offer 
assistance on the funding and proceeded to put up county financials 
for further discussion. It was stated that the county had extra money 
to fund the SRO's but they needed help from the school. "I don't see 
any reason why not to do it, and I think the resource has been there 
all along to do it. I don't know why it's not been," said Daniel.

Director Elder confirmed that the schools would be willing to pay a 
portion and would work all that out in a Memorandum of Understanding 
for the proposal.

Educator of 33 years Louann Maxwell asked to speak to the commission 
to encourage them to move forward to protect the kids. In an 
emotional statement, Maxwell told the commission, "We teachers are 
stepping up to do this now. I tell my students, if anything happens, 
I've got their backs. These are my kids, our kids, and the county's 

It was then suggested by the commission that the original motion be 
amended to having the county fund one SRO and the school fund the other.

At that time commissioner, Larry Ledford spoke out in regards to 
bullying in our schools. "You need to do something about the bullying 
in your school because that's where the problem starts," as he spoke 
to the educators in the crowd. Pickett County High School Principal 
Jane Winningham responded to the allegations of nothing being done 
regarding bullying in the school system. Winningham told Ledford, "We 
do take care of bullies and conflicts and try to resolve each of 
those situations. We do address it."

After that, there was a question of whether a motion was needed at 
that point. Director Elder asked the commission to make a motion to 
proceed with the plan to have it on record. Several commissioners 
commented that there didn't need to be a motion for the sheriff and 
school to proceed with a plan.

  Sheriff Dana Dowdy told the commission that he and his deputies are 
in and out of the schools frequently. "We will keep the kids as safe 
as we know how at this point, I want everybody to understand that," 
said Dowdy. He assured everyone that until they get the resource 
officers, they will have as much presence as possible to help provide 
security and peace of mind for not only students, but school 
employees and parents.

  According to Dowdy, the biggest issue is going to be finding 
someone qualified to fill the positions. The state recommends five 
years of law enforcement experience going into an SRO position. The 
SRO has to be certified and also will require additional training 
yearly. Once the SRO's are approved and hired, during school hours 
they will not be used for anything other than working to protect our 

The motion for the county and school to provide funding was 
withdrawn. The plan now is to have Director Elder and Sheriff Dowdy 
create a plan to present it to the commission at the next meeting for 

A tick-ing time bomb

If there was ever a horror movie that deserved to be made, it would 
be a video live-feed on the back of a tick crawling along it’s 
victim. These little parasites have within their gut great potential 
for great harm. Tick-borne diseases are very dangerous for our dogs, 
cats, horses, and people too. And the occurrence is rising.
There are several different ticks that are associated with many 
different diseases. But it’s not the tick that causes the disease, 
it’s the bacteria in their gut that does. They have to attach and 
begin drawing blood before they transmit the bacteria to the victim. 
Knowing the type of tick can help identify the disease. Most common 
clinical signs among all conditions often include fever, lethargy, 
decreased white cells and platelets, arthritic disease, and 
neurologic dysfunction. Lyme Disease, most prevalent worldwide, is 
known for joint pain and endocarditis.
Commonly transmitted by the Eastern/Western Black-legged tick, Brown 
Dog tick, or the Deer Tick, Lyme (as well as Anaplasmosis) can be a 
debilitating infection for many animals, including us humans. Rocky 
Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is transmitted by the American Dog 
Tick, Rocky Mountain Wood Tick, and Lone-Star Tick. These are also 
associated with Tularemia, which is known for whole body pain and 
pain on palpation, in addition to similar spotted-fever signs. 
Ehrlichia is always part of the discussion when anorexia, swollen 
joints, and stiffness are present. Unfortunately, variations of 
Ehrlichia infections are also spread by a slew of different ticks. 
The Lone-Star, Eastern and Western Black-legged and Brown Dog Ticks 
are Ehrlichia carriers. Oh! And don’t think that cats get a free-
ride. Bobcats are natural reservoirs for a tick-borne disease 
referred to as ‘Bobcat Fever’. Fever, dehydration, jaundice, enlarged 
liver, spleen and lymph nodes are consistent signs. These are just a 
handful of ticks out there carrying diseases. Click on the Tick link 
on our Facebook page for more information.
Well, since we’re getting you energized for your next outdoor 
adventure, let’s add a bit more gloom. Here in the Upper Cumberland 
area, there is NEVER a time during the year that is tick-free. Spring 
and fall/winter seasons are bloom times, these nasty varmints can 
ruin your lifestyle any season of year. Keep a prevention on-board 
every month.
Now, before you lose all hope, we do have good news. There are very 
good and cost-effective preventatives available to ease your troubled 
soul. But some are certainly more effective than others. Our advice 
is to call us at Upchurch Animal Clinic and explore your best options 
to protect you pets, and, in some way, you too.

Upcoming events at Cordell Hull

April 21st- Beginning Tatting: Joye Gowan will be teaching the art of 
shuttle tatting at 1:00 p.m. We will make lace using rings and chains 
connected together. We learn the basic stitches and progress into 
more difficult stitches.
We will make lace by creating rings and chains and connecting them 
together. We will learn the basic stitches and the hand techniques 
needed to make lace. Joye is a retired professor, but continues to 
teach part-time. The class cost is $15 per person, which includes all 
supplies needed to begin tatting. There is a limit of 10 people for 
this workshop.

April 21st- Camp O.U.T: Never been camping before? Been camping but 
would like some extra practice? Then this trip is for you! This 
spring you can join Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park in an 
introductory camping course designed to increase your confidence in 
overnight front country camping. With the expertise of State Park 
Rangers you will be guided in the proper way to choose a campsite, 
pitch your tent, build your campfire, and relax on an adventure. We 
understand learning to camp, especially when camping alone, can 
become a daunting task to even think about. That is why Tennessee 
State Parks hosts Introduction to Camping events, so that you and 
your friends and family may enjoy the outdoors and experience an 
adventure under the guidance of Rangers and experienced outdoor 
Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park is traditionally a day use only 
park, so this camping trip will offer you an exclusive opportunity to 
stay at this park overnight! Included in the registration fee is 
everything you need to enjoy the evening including dinner on 
Saturday, breakfast and lunch on Sunday, snacks throughout, campsite 
reservation and gear rental. Camping gear is available to 
participants on a first come, first served basis and you are welcome 
to bring your own gear.
If you need camping gear please email Monique Johnson 
( as soon as possible. We thank you for 
choosing Tennessee State Parks as your camping destination and look 
forward to getting to introduce you to the outdoors through this 
event. This trip is designed for families and beginner campers, but 
everyone is welcome to join. Minors must be accompanied by an adult, 
please, no pets. Registration will close Sunday, April 15th and is 
$35 per person.

April 28th- Irish Céili Dance: A “céili” (kay-lee) is a social 
gathering of any sort, but often includes traditional music and 
dance. On Saturday, April 28th from 1-3 p.m. Katelyn Dunn will be 
teaching céili dances at the park, with live music provided by 
regional Irish band Sigean. Unlike the stage shows like Riverdance or 
competitive Irish dance, which require feats of incredible endurance 
and athleticism, céili dances are just right for more average 
participants. If you can walk, you can enjoy this dance form. 
Admission is only $5 and registration is available by phone or online.
For more information, call the park office at 864-3247.

Child passenger safety checkpoint held

Car seat pic20180419 25760 1tyyc72

The Tennessee Highway Safety Office and the Tennessee Highway Patrol 
conducted a child passenger safety checkpoint last Friday. If you 
didn't get to participate, there is still an opportunity to have your 
child's seat checked.
Pickett County Sheriff's Office employee Katy Smith is a certified 
child passenger safety technician and can help those who are in need 
of her services. "I am willing to work with parents around their 
schedules to make sure that their children are properly restrained," 
said Smith.
There is also assistance available for those who need a child 
passenger seat.
If you would like to make sure that your child is protected correctly 
and would like to set-up an appointment, call Katy at 931-864-3210.

UCHRA awarded energy assistance funds

Community Services Director

UCHRA would like to remind clients of the Upper Cumberland area that 
for a limited time, funds are still available for Regular and Crisis 
LIHEAP. These funds are used to assist clients with a one-time 
payment to their home energy supplier.

LIHEAP is a federally funded program administered by the Tennessee 
Housing Development Agency, designed to assist low income households 
in meeting home energy needs and is intended to supplement energy 
costs for those eligible households. Priority for service is not 
“first come, first served”, rather it is based upon a point system.

Documentation of all household income will be required for the 
application process. This includes check stubs for 8 weeks, or 4 
paystubs if bi-weekly or bi-monthly, Social Security or Pension Award 
letters, or unemployment benefit letters. If self-employed an 
applicant should provide a tax return. Applicants must also provide a 
copy for 12 months of the household’s electric and/or gas bills (if 
residing at current address is less than 12 months, a printout of all 
energy usage at this address is required). Proof of Social Security 
numbers are required for all household members. A valid driver’s 
license or birth certificate is required for the applicant. Some 
additional documentation may also be required to process applications.

Assistance provided to households ranges from $300 - $600 depending 
upon its total points. Once an application has been submitted by a 
household it will be notified by mail within 90 days of the status of 
the application.

Households awarded assistance are required to continue paying their 
energy bills until the awarded payment has been received by its 
designated utility provider, and when benefit is exhausted the 
household will return to paying for the energy costs.

The UCHRA Pickett County office is located at 105 S. Main Street 
(Pickett Co. Community Center, Room #6), Byrdstown, TN and can be 
reached by calling 931-864-6540.

Maxwell wins season opener

Justin maxwell 1st20180409 31466 jjdbsj

Justin Maxwell came away with a big win at the season opener on March 
25th at the historic Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
With qualifying having to be cancelled because of the weather on 
Saturday, the quarter mile drivers had to draw for positions for the 
feature race on Sunday. From that drawing, Justin started in 10th 
position in a field of 12 cars that include two NASCAR licensed 
drivers. With just a few laps in, the #20 was caught up in an 
accident, having to come in to the pits for two new bumpers. 
Restarting at the tail end of the field, Justin passed two cars on 
the first lap and started his drive to the front. Within a few laps, 
Justin found himself in 5th place and with five laps to go he was in 
3rd place. As the first and second place cars tangled, Justin was 
able to move into 1st with three laps to go and held the lead to the 
checkered flag for the victory. The #20 car will be back at Highland 
Rim Speedway on April 14th and  at the fairgrounds on April 21st.
Justin Maxwell Racing would like to thank Ken and Julie Joyce for all 
their support. We would also like to thank our sponsors Sunset 
Marina, Mid-State Construction, Fitzgerald Glider Kits, Keisling 
Insurance, and Uncle Larry. Justin is the son of Billy and Louann 

Pickett K-8 raises over $2,800 for Addie Mae Underhill

Addiemae20180312 27130 1f2expu
Submitted by: PCK8

Just recently the Pickett County K-8 held a bake sale to help a 
little girl named Addie Mae Underhill who is  battling cancer. The 
response from the students, teachers, staff, parents, the community, 
and businesses was phenomenal!

We want to take this time to reach out to each and everyone who 
helped and say, "Thank You! Your support means so much to us in being 
able to help a family in a time of need."

Addie was a former student here at Pickett K-8 and we wanted to do 
something to help. The support team raised over $2,800 and without 
your help this could not have been possible! If you would like to 
follow Addie and keep up to date with her progression, go to Team 
Addie Mae on Facebook.

There are a couple of sites if you would like to help individually: addiemae-973177 and

Thank you for all you do for our children as well as others!

Stay bendy at The Studio

Yoga anyone? Byrdstown's new business The Studio is located on the 
square at 101 Mainstreet and is owned by Registered Yoga Teacher 
Norma Mitchell.
Beginning Yoga is offered Monday-4:30, Wednesday-4:00, Saturday-9:30. 
Mixed Flow Yoga (more advanced) is on Wednesday-5:30.
Whether you are a beginner or are advanced, The Studio can help you 
find your inner and outer strength. You will learn how to focus on 
breathing, to help you relax and let stress go, all while working at 
your own pace to strengthen and stretch your body. The atmosphere is 
tranquil and inspring. Mats and blankets are available free or for 
purchase. Prices for classes are drop-in-$10, or package of 5 classes 
for $45 and 10 classes for $80.
Call 931-445-4170 or check out Facebook Page "Stay Bendy at The 
Studio" to see what class will accommodate you best.

Discrimination suit against county executive dismissed


A ruling has been made in the discrimination suit against Richard D. 
Daniel individually and in his official capacity as county executive. 
The case was heard in Chancery Court by Judge Ron Thurman last 
Friday, February 8th. The hearing  was for a Judgement Summary filed 
by Robyn Williams with Farrar and Bates LLP on behalf of the county. 
That motion was to determine if there was enough evidence to proceed 
with the litigation.

  The lawsuit was filed by David O. Dowdy and Kristy M. Hicks in 
November 2016. Both were employees of the Pickett County Landfill 
before the county commissioners approved to convert the landfill to a 
transfer station. The legal documents allege that Mr. Dowdy who held 
the position of Director and Ms. Hicks who was the secretary believed 
they were laid off due to age discrimination. Gender discrimination 
was also alleged by Ms. Hicks as she had been the only female employee.

  In November 2015, the employees of the landfill were provided with 
notice that they were permanently being laid off. Three new positions 
were available which were baler technician, lead operator, and 
operator.  Mr. Brooks told the judge that Mr. Daniel was concerned 
about Mr. Dowdy's age, and none of the other employees were 
questioned about age or retirement like he was. He also said that Mr. 
Daniel created qualifications to fix it to where neither Dowdy nor 
Hicks could come back. It was age discrimination also because the 
county hired someone younger for the position of lead operator.

  The documents on behalf of the defense site that the county 
conducted the layoffs due to the transfer station requiring fewer 
employees than the landfill. The argument was that based on the fact 
every employee was laid off and the plaintiffs never re-applied for 
the new positions, there was not a case of discrimination. Judge 
Thurman ruled in favor of the defense and dismissed the cases. He 
indicated that his ruling was based on the standard presented by the 
defense with their cited case of Lawrence vs. Chattanooga.

It was also mentioned by the judge several times that had the 
plaintiffs re-applied for the new positions, the argument would be 
stronger.  Mr. Brooks argued in court that the new positions and 
requirements were created so that neither would meet qualifications. 
The documents state that Ms. Hicks did not apply for the new 
positions due to them not being clerical and Mr. Dowdy was unable to 
meet the physical requirements of the job descriptions due to 
sustaining an injury while on the job the day before the layoffs.

  Mr. Books, who is a civil rights attorney, disagreed with the 
Judge's decision and felt that his clients should have the 
opportunity to have their day in court. He told the PRESS that they 
have 30 days after the order is signed and stamped to file with the 
court of appeals if they choose to proceed.

  Mr. Daniel provided no response to the PRESS on any comments 
regarding the outcome.

Petitions and announcements for upcoming election

The following have either filed a petition or announced their 
intentions to be a candidate in the upcoming general election.
Nominating petitions for the May primary must have 25 verified 
signatures and submitted by noon on February 15. The deadline for 
Town of Byrdstown and the school board is by noon on April 5.

County Executive

Carey Garner-R
Johnie Neal-R

County Court Clerk

Charlie Lee-D

County Commissioner
District 1

Tony Beaty-R (verified)
Craig R. Cope-R
David Harer-R (verified)
Tony Milsted-R (verified)
Douglas Scroggins-R

County Commissioner
District 2

Elvis Beaty-R
Mitchell Cross-R
Brad Richardson-R
Jim Richardson-R
Lloyd "Pudge" Shaver-R (verified)
James E.Yates-R
Ginny Mills-I (verified)

County Commissioner
District 3

Joe Harden-R (verified)
Eric S. Thoman-R
Carter Martin-I

County Commissioner
District 4
Tony Breece-R (verified)
Andrew Conner-R
Darrell L Garrett-R
Edward (Eddie) Holt-R
Larry K. Ledford-R
B. Craig Rone-R
Terri (Pierce) Worley-D

County Trustee

Jennifer Anderson-R
Brenda Cross-R


Dana E. Dowdy-R

Circuit Court Clerk

Larry Brown-R (verified)
Danny H. Huddleston-R (verified)
Sarah Storie-D

Register of Deeds
Letha Mullins McCurdy-R (verified)
Randy Pryor-D

Road Superintendent

Jimmy Cope-R (verified)
Jeff Neal-D
Chris Beaty-D

School Board District 3

Junior (Jr.) Beaty-I
Travis Parrott-I


Sam Gibson-I

City Alderman

John L. Bilbrey-I
Barbara Mitchell-I
Rex Tompkins-I


Johnny Sells-I (verified)

TN House
Kelly T. Keisling-R


Generous donation given to Pickett County High School

Computer donation20180209 31570 1u37l26
Photo courtesy of PCHS

 All of us at Pickett County High School would like to extend a 
special “Thank You” to the Fitzgerald Glider Kits Family for the 
generous donation of 208 Chromebook computers to our school, and for 
their continued commitment and support to our students. We are so 
grateful for your selflessness.
We are watching the world around us become more and more dependent on 
technology. To be successful in nearly any career field after high 
school, a person now needs more technological skill and understanding 
than ever before. Before this contribution, Pickett County High 
School was severely limited in our ability to prepare students in the 
area of technological understanding. With the exception of a few 
Chromebooks and only one universally available computer lab, we were 
unable to incorporate technology into the majority of our classes. 
The Fitzgerald Glider Kits Family has expanded the opportunities for 
all students attending Pickett County High School by providing 
chromebooks to all classrooms that are required to participate in 
state testing. This encompasses every student attending Pickett 
County High School.
Our yearly state testing has now transitioned to online formats, and 
we were so worried about how our students were going to manage these 
tests without having had any practice testing on computers. Now we 
can not only prepare them for these tests, but we can also present 
them with so many new ways to learn the required content. We attend 
training every summer that teaches us about a multitude of online and 
technological resources to improve learning and how to engage 
students in new ways. Until now we didn’t have the capacity to 
utilize any of it.
As for our seniors, they may not be tested by the Department of 
Education, but they have reached a point where they are preparing for 
college and technical programs, and those programs all require 
extensive use of technology. Our seniors that are taking dual-
enrollment courses to earn college credit are now learning how to 
manage classes just like they will have to do after high school. They 
are also learning how to complete their online work more easily with 
new computer access.
The Fitzgerald Glider Kits Family has enhanced the future for all 
students attending Pickett County High School.

Candidates pick up
qualifying petitions

 The following have either filed a petition or announced their intentions to be a candidate in the upcoming general election. 
Nominating petitions for the May primary must have 25 verified 
signatures and submitted by noon on February 18th.
The deadline for Town of Byrdstown and the school board is by noon on 
April 5th.

County Executive
Carey Garner-R (verified)
Johnie Neal-R

County Court Clerk
Charlie Lee-D

County Commissioner
District 1
Tony Beaty-R
Craig R. Cope-R
David Harer-R (verified)
Tony Milsted-R (verified)
Douglas Scroggins-R

County Commissioner
District 2
Mitchell Cross-R
Brad Richardson-R
Jim Richardson-R
Lloyd "Pudge" Shaver-R
James E.Yates-R
Ginny Mills-I (verified)

County Commissioner
District 3
Joe Harden-R
Eric S. Thoman-R
Carter Martin-I

County Commissioner
District 4
Tony Breece-R (verified)
Darrell L Garrett-R
Edward (Eddie) Holt-R
Larry K. Ledford-R
B. Craig Rone-R

County Trustee
Jennifer Anderson-R
Brenda Cross-R (verified)

Dana E. Dowdy-R

Circuit Court Clerk
Larry Brown-R (verified)
Danny H. Huddleston-R (verified)
Sarah Storie-D

Register of Deeds
Letha Mullins McCurdy-R (verified)
Randy Pryor-D

Road Superintendent
Jimmy Cope-R (verified)
Jeff Neal-D
Chris Beaty-D

School Board District 3
Junior (Jr.) Beaty-I
Travis Parrott-I

City Alderman
John L. Bilbrey-I
Barbara Mitchell-I
Rex Tompkins-I

Johnny Sells-I

Water supply violations for the Town of Byrdstown

Water plant buster20180202 20452 v73fa0
Plant Supervisor Malcolm "Buster" Harmon explaning the new Chorine Dioxide generator.

A Nashville news station recently reported on multiple utility 
districts in Tennessee regarding drinking water violations. The Town 
of Byrdstown Water Department was included.
The violation specifically referred to haloacetic acid (HAA5). HAA5 
is not a naturally occurring substance but is a group of disinfection 
by-products which are formed from a reaction with chlorine and 
organic compounds in water. Organics are lake litter, bacterias, and 

Byrdstown Mayor Sam Gibson told the PRESS, “we are working close with 
the state to get this issue corrected.”  He said they have 
implemented a new system in the past few months to hopefully improve 
the HAA5 numbers. That system is a Chlorine Dioxide generator that 
treats the water as it comes in from the lake. That is to try and 
reduce the organics before they go through the puification process.
"The longer the organics remain in the system, the more potential for 
a higher HAA5 level," said Byrdstown Water Plant Supervisor Malcolm 
"Buster" Harmon.

  So how do we get our water?
Mayor Gibson invited the PRESS to tour the treatment facility, to see 
first-hand how everything works and to answer questions. The current 
water treatment facility was completed in 2005 on Waterplant Road.
When the raw water comes in from the lake, it goes into a large metal 
basin. At that point, the water ph is measured and adjusted before it 
goes into the containment for the purification process. There are two 
skids of units to purify our water. Each skid has 37 modules which 
have membrane filters to remove containments like blood and viruses. 
Every 10,000 gallons, air, and clean water will create a backwash to 
make sure each filter is optimized for usage. Once the water is 
filtered, it goes into a 100,000 gallon storage tank that is located 
under the facility. At that time, the water is treated with chlorine 
for disinfectant purposes, fluoride, and phosphate to help coat the 
inside of the waterlines so the metals don't break down and go into 
our water.
"If you think of the Flint, MI water situation, they didn't add the 
phosphate," said Harmon.
One room in the water department is set-up like a chemistry and 
scientist lab with all the continuous monitoring and testing that is 
done on the water. But the testing for HAA5 is sent off to a special 
It should also be noted that the annual Town of Byrdstown Water 
Quality report that was published last year, showed a violation of 
HAA5 being at 67 ppb (parts per billion) with the maximum containment 
level of 60 ppb. The MCL is set by the Environmental Protection 
Agency. There was a public notice in the report that stated the 
actual health risks has been identified as 1 out of 10,000 people 
have an increased risk of cancer if they drink 2 liters of water 
exceeding the MCL each day for 70 years.
Harmon said, "There are two areas designated by the state to test for 
the HAA5 for our water system. The one in Cedar Grove had an average 
of .072 and the one for Turkey Ridge was .080 for 2017." Those 
numbers are above the MCL will be averaged for the 2017 report.

The Town of Byrdstown submitted a Corrective Action Plan/Engineering 
report to TDEC in January 2016 which included the implementation of 
the new Chlorine Dioxide generate and also initiate more flushings 
throughout the system to help control the byproduct levels.
There was a $2,000 fine issued by TDEC Division of Water Resources in 
July 2016 and according to Buster Harmon, the state waived a penalty 
that would have been $10,050. That was due to the town showing 
progress on the implementation from the POCA to address and correct 
the issue.
The news report also indicated that Chanute-Pall Mall Water District 
was in violation. They are a customer of the Town of Byrdstown and 
are a water distribution center.
The water quality report for 2017 will be published in March or April 
of the Pickett County Press.
If anyone needs additional information, contact the Byrdstown Water 
Department at 931-864-3859

Commissioner voices concern at meeting


The Pickett County Commissioners approved a new pay scale for 
Emergency Medical Services employees during the meeting last Monday 
County Executive Richard Daniel says that the new pay scale was to 
help make Pickett County EMS more competitive in attracting trained 
personnel for available positions.
Commissioner Eddie Holt voiced his concern during the discussion of 
the motion that he had been presented with some questionable 
information. "Based on the information that I have in this folder, 
the pay scale may not be an issue, it is the administration," said 
Holt.  Chairman Richard Daniel reportedly asked to see the contents 
of the folder and indicated he had never seen any of the information.
The information contained inside the folder was completed by a spouse 
of a former EMS employee and was supposed to be provided to all of 
the commissioners for their review.
Commissioner Holt also reached out to this newspaper regarding the 
matter and said he did not support the new pay scale because he felt 
there should be a further investigation by commissioners on the 
validity of the complaints against the administration. There have 
been three hometown paramedics that have recently left Pickett County 
EMS to seek employment in other counties, and he said he wants to 
gain more insight as to why. "I am not against creating better pay 
for employees, I just wanted to address the concerns that have been 
brought to my attention first," said Holt.
He wasn't the only commissioner who voted no for the new pay scale, 
Carter Martin did as well. Commissioner Martin told the PRESS that 
based on information that was brought out at the meeting by Mr. Holt, 
he wanted the board to address any issues within the administration 
before proceeding to approve a new pay scale.
The new tiered pay scale with longevity pay was made effective 
January 15th and employees will see changes on their next paycheck. 
Based on the information provided by the Pickett County Executive's 
Office, there are 29 EMS employees, with 12 full-time positions. It 
has not been clarified if the new pay scale is all employees or full 

New pay scale passes for EMS employees

 The Pickett County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on 
January 15th, 2018. The following commissioners were present: 
Mitchell Cross, Carey Garner, Darrell Garrett, David Harer, Eddie 
Holt, Colan Huddleston, Larry Ledford, Carter Martin, Brad 
Richardson, Jim Richardson, and Matthew Storie.
The agenda was approved with all ayes along with the December 18th, 
2017 minutes.
Month end and cash flow analysis reports from various county, school 
and highway department funds were approved.
The next item on the agenda was to approve budget amendments. This 
was for the Courtroom security grant in the amount of $26,042 that 
needed to be added to the budget for revenue and expenditure. Motion 
by Mitchell Cross, seconded by Larry Ledford with all ayes.
Notary approval for Laura Brown was made by Darrell Garrett and 
seconded by David Harer with all ayes.
Passed motion by David Harer and seconded by Brad Richardson to 
approve the sale of surplus equipment for a 2009 Ambulance Box.
Motion by Colan Huddleston, seconded by Larry Ledford to approve 
Resolution FY 2017-2018-19 to apply for and accept grant funds for a 
Special Litter Grant through the Tennessee Department of 
Transportation passed with all ayes. This grant is for a maximum of 
$200,000 with no local match requirements to be used to clean up 
illegal roadside dumps, work on enforcement of tarp laws, promote 
recycling in the county and provide litter education.
There was a discussion of sewer lines, ingress, and egress for new 
jail site.
Motion to approve a new EMS payscale was made by Larry Ledford and 
seconded by Mitchell Cross. The motion passed with all ayes except 
Eddie Holt and Carter Martin who voted no.
This pay scale is divided into tiers according to experience in the 
areas of Basic EMT, Advanced EMT, Paramedic, and Critical Care 
Paramedic. There was also a longevity pay of $85 per year of 
employment with those who work with Pickett County.
There was no action for the EMS Report, Transfer Station Report and 
County Building Report.
Next meeting will be Monday, February 19th, 6 p.m. in the community 
room of the Pickett County Library.

Pickett County audit results in eight findings


 The annual financial report for Pickett County Government was released
Monday, Jan. 22nd. The audit was performed by the auditors with
the Tennesee Comptroller of the Treasury.

The audit resulted in eight findings as follows:

Finding 2017-001 (repeat finding)

The solid waste disposal fund had a deficit in unrestricted net
position. The fund had a deficit of $1,917,856 in unrestricted net
position at June 30, 2017. This deficit resulted from the recognition
of a liability of $2,450,591 in the financial statements and costs
associated with closing the county's landfill and monitoring the
landfill for 30 years after its closure.
Recommendation-County officials should develop and implement a plan
that would fund the deficit in unrestricted net position.
Management's response with corrective action plan-Pickett County
Government is in the process of closing the existing Class 1
Landfill. Once closure is completed in 2018, the deficit in the Solid
Waste Disposal Fund will not be an issue. Funds will be allocated for
the 30 year post-closure monitoring period.

Finding 2017-002

Expenditures exceeded appropriations approved by the County
Commission in two of 45 major appropriation categories (the legal
level of control) in the General Fund and in two of ten major
appropriation categories of the Highway/Public Works Fund as follows:
General-Ambulance/ Emergency Medical Services-$38,201 and
Agricultural Extension Services- $6,802.
Highway/Public Works-Highway and Bridge
Recommendation- These deficiencies exist because management failed to
hold spending limits authorized by the county commission, which
resulted in unauthorized expenditures. As per T.C.A. 5-9-401,
expenditures should be held within appropriations approved by the
county commission.
Management's response with corrective action plan (ROAD
SUPERINTENDENT)-Budget amendments were due by June 5th and at the
time that was our best estimate to finish the year. We did
underestimate but will do our best effort to not overspend in any
line items. (COUNTY EXECUTIVE)-The $38,201 is an encumbrance for the
purchase of two ambulances. Pickett County Government issued a
Purchase Order that exceeded the amount appropriated. We failed to
correct the difference in the appropriation and encumbrance with an
amendment. It was an oversight by the Pickett County Executive's
Office and will not be repeated. For years the UT Extension Service
invoiced Pickett County Government in July for services ending June
30 of the previous fiscal year. Due to this billing practice, payment
for services in the previous fiscal year were paid and credited to
the current fiscal year. Five quarterly payments were reflected in
the 2016-17 budget year to correct and resolve the issue.

Finding 2017-003 (repeat finding)
The Highway Department did not reconcile fuel usage logs with amounts
purchased and on hand.
Recommendation-Management should reconcile fuel usage with fuel
purchased on hand.
Management's response with corrective action plan-The Pickett County
Highway Department did install meters to fuel tanks to measure the
gallons pumped and maintained usuage logs, which included the date,
vehicle, employee and the number of gallons dispensed. Bookkeeper
Emily King will use the fuel log to balance with the purchase tickets
and the fuel on hand.

Finding 2017-004 (repeat finding)
Some collections were not deposited within three days as required by
T.C.A. 5-8-207. The clerk did not deposit receipts to the bank
account within three days of collection in 185 of the 426 receipts
Recommendation-All funds should be deposited within three days of
collection as required by state statute.
Management's response and corrective action plan-We do not have
enough people and will try to do better.
Finding 2017-005 (repeat finding)
Execution docket trial balances for circuit and general sessions
courts did not reconcile with general ledger accounts. The trial
balances failed to reconcile with general ledger accounts by $1,543
and $20,637.
Recommendation-The circuit and general sessions courts clerk should
reconcile the trial balance of execution docket cause balances with
general ledger accounts. To comply with state statutes, the clerk
should report and pay to the state Treasurer's Office any unclaimed
funds held for more than one year.
Management's response and corrective action plan-This is the same
money as prior years and am planning to turn excess funds over to
unclaimed property.
Finding 2017-006 (repeat finding)
Multiple employees operated from the same cash drawer. Good internal
controls dictate that each employee have their own cash drawer, start
the day with a standard fixed amount of cash and remove all
employee's receipts at the end of each day. Failure to adhere
increases the risk that a cash shortage may not be detected in a
timely manner.
Recommendation-The circuit and general sessions courts clerk should
assign each employee their own cash drawer.
Management's Response and corrective action plan-There was only one
employee who did most of the receipting. We already have two in place.


Finding 2017-007 (repeat finding)
The circuit and general sessions courts clerk and clerk and master
had not formally documented internal controls.
Recommendation-The circuit and general sessions courts clerk and the
clerk and master should formally document and maintain internal
controls for their office operations as required by T.C.A. 9-18-102(a).
Management's Response and corrective action plan-(CIRCUIT AND GENERAL
SESSIONS COURTS CLERK)-I didn't realize I needed to customize the
sample, I'll fill out the sample for our office. (CLERK AND MASTER)-I  am the only person in the office and have no one else to help
complete the duties of the office. I cannot plan any action to
correct this as I have no help in the office.


Finding 2017-008 (repeat finding)
Duties were not segregated adequately among officials and employees.
Officials and employees responsible for maintaining accounting
records were also involved in receipting, depositing, and/or
disbursing funds.
Recommendation-Officials should segregate duties to the extent
possible using available resources.
Management's response with corrective action plan-(TRUSTEE)-The  Trustee had a Procedures, Computers, Purchasing, Payroll, and
Security Policy fixed up since the Segregation of Duty meeting. When  I was audited last year, I gave a copy of it to the auditor. I was
not notified that it was not sufficient. I have only part-time help
from October through March of each year. This makes it really
difficult to segregate these duties. The Trustee is working on
updating the Segregated Duties of the Trustee's Office. (CIRCUIT AND
GENERAL SESSIONS COURTS CLERK)-There is only one employee in the
office. I will have to check and make sure everything is done, and
sign my name to them. (CLERK AND MASTER)-This could not be corrected
because I am the only person working in the office and I can't do
anything about it.

  The report also indicates several findings from 2016 have been

Finding 2016-002-The Road Superintendent directed county gravel and
rock to be delivered to private property.
Finding 2016-003-The Office had deficiencies in purchasing procedures.
Finding 2016-012-The Road Superintendent had not formally documented
internal controls.
Finding 2016-013-Duties were not segregated adequately.
Finding 2016-005-The Assessor did not manage an adequate program of
sales verifications.
Finding 2016-006-A cash overdraft of $568 existed in Circuit Court at  June 30,2016.
Finding 2016-008-Unclaimed funds were not reported and paid to the
Finding 2016-10-The office had deficiencies in computer system backup
Finding 2016-011-Multiple employees operated from the same cash drawer.
Finding 2016-013 Duties were not segregated adequately.

  The Division of Local Government Audit strongly believes that the
adoption of a central system of accounting, budgeting, and purchasing
is the best practice that would significantly improve accountability
and the quality of services provided to the citizens of Pickett County.

Former DAV Commander pleads guilty to stealing funds

Glenn williams pic20180118 25556 1xlhovf


It has been two years since the former Commander of the Hull York 
Chapter 5 DAV was indicted for theft.
On Wednesday, January 3rd, Glen Williams entered a plea of guilty 
before Judge McKenzie for stealing money from the local veterans 
Williams had been the acting Commander since 2007 before resigning in 
August 2015 after an internal investigation indicated missing funds. 
That information was submitted to the Office of District Attorney 
Bryant Dunaway who began a full investigation. On January 4th, 2016, 
Pickett County Grand Jury returned an indictment of theft over 
$60,000. The charge Williams pled to was amended to theft over $10,000.
As members of the Hull York Chapter sat in the courtroom, Assistant 
District Attorney Owen Burnett read the confession provided by Mr. 
Williams. During that confession, he admitted that he had stolen 
money for personal use from the Honor Guard account and took cash 
over a period of several years.
"There must be punishment and also pentance for what you have done. 
This is your opportunity to make good on what you did," said Judge 
McKenzie to Williams.
  Williams was immediately taken into custody and was sentenced to 
five years with the Tennessee Department of Corrections and 15 years 
probation. He must pay $250 a month for the total years of probation 
providing $45,000 in restitution for the Honor Guard.

Overton/Pickett Emergency Communications District
No findings in audit

 The annual audit of the Overton/Pickett County Emergency
Communications District has shown no findings for the 2017 fiscal year.
The audit was performed by Accountant Dennis E. Jeffers of Oneida.
The audit includes evaluating the appropriateness of accounting
policies being used by the district along with the overall
presentation of financial statements. The audit reports on the
effectiveness of the entity's internal control or compliance in
accordance with Government Auditing Standards.

Revenue for the district primarily comes from local telephone
companies who charge $1.16 per month for 911 access. There is also
wireless communication income from a share of state-collected
revenue. The revenues increased 12.36% as a result of one-time
payments, reimbursements and excess payments from the Tennessee
Emergency Communication Board.
At the end of the 2017 fiscal year, the district had $683,119
invested in capital assets, automobiles, office equipment,
communications and mapping equipment. A great deal of funding has
went into establishing tower sites throughout Overton and Pickett
Counties and computer systems, monitors and digital consoles.
The Overton/Pickett County Emergency Communications District was
established in 2002 as a result of a merger between the two
districts. The purpose of the merger was to improve the response of
emergency services and to provide enhanced 911 services for the two
Prior schedule of findings not implemented by June 30, 2017:
Expenditures exceeded the amount appropriated in the budget.

  Prior findings that have been implemented as of June 30, 2017.
2012-001-Segregation of Duties
District doesn't have sufficient number of employees to segregate the
custodial and accounting functions.
2016-001-Cash Disbursements
Some purchase orders and invoices were not attached to disbursements.

Commodity Distribution rescheduled due to weather

The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) will hold a 
commodities distribution for Pickett County, Wednesday, January 24, 
2018 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Byrdstown Community Center 
from the UCHRA Office, 105 South Main Street, Byrdstown.
Everyone must present a valid UCHRA commodity card in order to 
receive commodities. To sign up or reprint lost commodities cards 
contact your local UCHRA office.
The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency does not discriminate on 
the basis of age, race, sex, color, national origin, religion, or 
disability in admission to, access to, or operations of its programs, 
services or activities.

Petitions for county election

The following petitions have been picked up for the upcoming county 
general election. This includes city and school board.

Pickett County Executive
Carey Garner-Verified
Johnie Neal

County Commission
1st District

Tony Beaty
Craig Cope
David Harer-Verified
Tony Milsted
Douglas Scroggins

County Commission
2nd District

Mitchell Cross
Jim Richardson
Lloyd "Pudge" Shaver
James Yates
Ginny Mills-Verified

County Commission
3rd District

Eric S. Thoman
Carter Martin

County Commission
4th District

Tony Breece
Darrell L. Garrett
Larry Ledford

County Trustee
Jennifer Anderson-Verified
Brenda Cross

Dana E. Dowdy-Verified

Circuit Court Clerk
Larry Brown
Danny H. Huddleston

Register of Deeds
Letha Mullins McCurdy-Verified

Road Superintendent
Jimmy Cope-Verified

School Board 3rd District
Junior (Jr.) Beaty

City Alderman
John L. Bilbrey
Rex Tompkins

City Recorder
Johnny Sells


County Court Clerk
Charlie Lee
Register of Deeds
Randy Pryor
Road Superintendent
Chris Beaty
Circuit Court Clerk
Sarah Storie

The Democratic Caucus will be held February 8th.

Matthew Russell earns Tennessee Highway Patrol badge

Thp matthew russell20180118 24629 1pdmutw

Matthew Russell of Byrdstown was one of fifty cadets who are now 
officially the newest members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP). 
Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally served as the keynote speaker at 
the graduation ceremony at Hermitage Hills Baptist Church.
THP Russell has been assigned to Clay County. Russell is a graduate 
of Pickett County High School. He started his law enforcement career 
in June 2013 working at the Pickett County Sheriff’s Office.
The 50 new state troopers, also known as Cadet Class 118, took their 
oaths of office after completing 19 weeks of intense, physical and 
classroom training. This graduating class will be an asset to the 
department. The cadets bring with them various backgrounds including 
previous law enforcement, experience, military and college experience.
“Congratulations to the trooper cadets graduating,” Colonel Tracy 
Trott said. “In 2016, the Tennessee Highway Patrol was named the top 
state police agency in the nation by the International Association of 
Chiefs of Police (IACP). This honor exemplifies the dedication and 
daily work performed by the men and women of the THP. As I have done 
with previous classes, I challenge this class to continue the 
outstanding service the citizens of Tennessee deserve.”
“Each graduate has earned this incredible honor of being chosen to 
serve as a Tennessee State Trooper,” Commissioner David W. Purkey 
said. “As a former trooper, I know the commitment that is expected 
of our new troopers who are serving our citizens. I congratulate 
Cadet Class 118 on this great accomplishment.”
Trooper Daniel Howard was named the top cadet and presented the 
“Calvin Jenks Memorial Award for Excellence” for his leadership, 
work ethic and academics. The award was named in honor of the late 
Trooper Calvin Jenks who was killed in the line of duty in January 
2007.  Trooper Lael Justice received a $5,000 scholarship from Bethel 
As part of their community service project, Cadet Class 118 
participated in a blood drive with the American Red Cross, a can food 
drive for Second Harvest Foodbank and a toy drive for Toys for Tots. 
Cadet Class 118’s motto is “Endure, Persevere and Overcome.”
  The new graduates begin a field training period lasting 10 weeks.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s 
(www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to serve, secure, and protect the 
people of Tennessee.

Pickett County unemployment at 3.6% for November

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Labor and Workforce 
Development (TDLWD) Commissioner Burns Phillips has announced 
unemployment rates in November remained low across the state and the 
vast majority of Tennessee counties continue to experience rates 
below 5 percent.

Davidson and William-son counties tied for having the lowest unem- 
ployment in the state with rates of 2.5 percent, a slight increase of 
0.3 percentage points compared to October.

Eight of the ten lowest county unemployment rates in November were in 
Middle Tennessee, with Knox and Sevier counties in East Tennessee 
rounding out the list of the top ten lowest rates in the state. All 
counties in the top ten had a rate below 3 percent and unemployment 
rates in 87 Tennessee counties remained under 5 percent in November.

“The economy remains strong in Tennessee, but we are not going to let 
up on our Drive to 55 to ensure our workforce is ready for the 
demands of employers in the years to come,” Haslam said. “And we’re 
keeping our focus on creating a business-friendly environment that 
will continue to attract jobs and make Tennessee the No. 1 state in 
the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

Lauderdale County had the highest unemployment rate in November, at 
5.5 percent, a 0.3 percentage point increase from the previous month. 
Rhea and Bledsoe Counties both had rates of 5.4 percent, which 
represents a 0.1 percentage point increase for Rhea County and a 0.5 
percentage point increase for Bledsoe County.

“While unemployment rates remain near historically low levels in many 
counties, there are still areas that need our assistance,” Phillips 
said. “We are working with other state agencies, like the Department 
of Economic and Community Development, to create jobs and qualified 
workforces in those distressed counties.”

Tennessee’s statewide unemployment rate in November was 3.1 percent – 
two percentage points lower than it was in November 2016 and one 
percentage point lower than the national rate.

The statewide unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted, while the 
county rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique 
that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and 
closing of schools and other recurring seasonal events from an 
economic times series.

Pickett County recorded a 3.6% unemployment rate for November, up 
slightly from October’s rate of 3.4%. Surrounding counties reported 
the following jobless rates for November: Clay County 4.8% (up from 
4.1%); Fentress County 4.1% (up from 3.7%); Overton County 3.7% (up 
from 3.6%); Putnam County 3.3% (up from 2.9%); Scott County 4.3% (up 
from 3.9%).

Cold temperatures creating power outages

Many throughout the county experienced power outages that began early
Tuesday morning. According to Volunteer Energy, the TVA initiated the
emergency local curtailment plan due to the energy demand during the
cold temperatures late Monday night. VEC has been asking for
voluntary reductions of energy from customers to help the system meet
the demand for electricity. That could be as simple as setting
thermostats back a few degrees, making sure lights are turned off.
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day ranked in the top five coldest in
the last 60 years in our area and the cold weather isn't moving out
as quickly as we would like. 

Investigation of possible murder in Chanute


A joint investigation between the Pickett County Sheriff's Office and 
Tennessee Bureau of Investigators is underway for a possible homicide 
of a local man.
On Dec. 30th, William “Wimp” Rich, 63, was found deceased at his 
residence at 3165 Chanute Road.
The circumstances of the manner of death and what was found at the 
scene initiated an investigation.
An autopsy has been performed to determine the specific cause of death.
It is still early in the investigation to speculate or provide 
details involving this case.

A missing headlight leads to drug charges for a local man

Earlier this month Pickett County Deputy Nathon Rigney initiated a 
stop for a missing headlight and was later assisted by Chris Beaty. 
According to the report, the driver of the vehicle traveling south on 
Highway 111 began acting suspiciously during the traffic stop.

Upon searching, deputies found marijuana wrapped in cellophane, a 
silver straw with a white residue, and methamphetamine.

The driver, Gregory Brown, 35, was charged with Possession of 
Schedule II, Possession of Schedule VI, Possession of Drug 
Paraphernalia, and Tampering with Evidence.

Progression on Pickett County Jail/Justice Center


During the December 18th meeting, Pickett County Commissioners were 
presented with the deed for property that is the site of the Jail/
Justice Center. The property is Parcel 014.00 containing 4.09 acres 
and is granted to the Pickett County Industrial Development Board. 
The purchase price was _.
It has been previously reported by this newspaper that the Winningham 
property consisted of two parcels.
The question was posed for this newspaper to answer where in the 
motion to approve the purchase of the "Winningham" property does it 
include the .48 acres because it isn't there. The answer is, where 
does it include the 4.09 acres or any other details of what the 
property is supposed to be? Other than the jail site assessment that 
indicated the two parcels of property to be considered as the 
Winningham property, this newspaper could find nothing in the 
official commission minutes or documents to identify the property 
that includes or removes parcels known as the "Winningham" property.
Verbal discussions of the property were not a factor in the reporting 
as they are not official motions nor records that the commission 
approved or were presented with.
However, the warranty deed that was presented to the commission 
clearly indicates that the .48 acres known as the Richardson property 
is excluded. So with having the proper documentation, we are happy to 
clarify this matter.
The Pickett County Commission approved the mailing of a jail report 
flyer to the citizens of Pickett County.  The flyer addresses ten 
questions and concerns surrounding the jail.
There was also a letter from the Tennessee Department of Commerce and 
Insurance that was presented to the commission for their information 
regarding the state's position on the jail. The letter that was sent 
on November 30th to Pickett County Executive (Mayor) Richard Daniel. 
According to Kevin Walters, Communications Director for TDCI, it was 
issued after a request was made for the state fire marshalls office 
to clarify for county officials regarding the Plan of Corrective 
Action and Fire Watch. It was to address any confusion on the matter.
The letter signed by Director of Codes Enforcement Christopher 
Bainbridge is as follows:
  On March 19, 2015, an inspection of the Pickett County Jail was 
conducted by the Department of Commerce and Insurance, Division of 
Fire Prevention, Codes Enforcement Section. Pickett County was 
notified of the deficiencies found during the inspection. A plan of 
Corrective Action (PCOA) was submitted by county officials and 
approved by the department on January 6th, 2016.
One of the items of the county's POCA was the implementation of a 
fire watch. The department approved the fire watch as a temporary 
means to increase safety at the jail while allowing the jail to 
continue being occupied. The department never allows a fire watch to 
be a permanent solution for code deficiencies. When allowed, a fire 
watch is always a temporary solution until the deficiencies are 
properly corrected.
Furthermore, compliance with the approved POCA shall not be 
considered equivalent to a building which is compliant with state 
adopted fire codes. Temporary measures are by their nature intended 
to be for a limited amount of time only, and therefore, shall not be 
accepted as a permanent solution for the deficiencies. Failure to 
comply with the approved POCA, and failure to continue making 
progress towards the construction of a new jail may result in an 
Order of Removal or Remedy which will likely require that the current 
jail be vacated until the deficiencies in the current jail are 
corrected and remedied.
The department wishes to continue cooperating with county officials 
to resolve these issues and anticipates that progress toward the 
resolution of the deficiencies at the current jail will continue. We 
look forward to receiving updates on the county's progress.
The letter indicates the order of removal could require the current 
jail to be vacated.  The PRESS has previously reported that the 
state's position on removal and closure is only with the jail and the 
upper level.
As it has been presented to the public by county officials that the 
whole courthouse would be padlocked, this letter specifically 
addresses the jail.  It was stated in the August commission meeting 
that the fire marshall's office would not only close jail it would be 
the entire courthouse. This newspaper reached out to Mr. Walters to 
again, clarify regarding the state's position. "The SFMO has never 
told Pickett County that we wanted to close the courthouse. 
Currently, Pickett County is in compliance with the Plan of 
Corrective Action for the jail and there is no need to require that 
the county perform additional requirements," said Walters.
The next phase should include bidding on the construction of the 
proposed jail and justice center. The commission approved a 20-year 
lease to purchase agreement with Municipal Capital Market and a 
resolution not to exceed eight million on all costs for the jail and 
justice center construction.


Memorial marker for Adam Conner

It has been 12 years since David and Elaina Conner lost their son 
Adam after an accidental drowning. Adam was 11 years old.
Recently, the family was honored by having a sign placed on Highway 
111 to memorialize Adam. "Since Adam was involved in politics in both 
Overton and Pickett Counties, the county line seemed like the perfect 
location," said Elaina.
The dedication ceremony was on December 3rd, which would have been 
Adam's 24th birthday. "It is somewhat bittersweet," said Elaina. "I 
am so honored to see a mile stretch of highway named in my son's 
honor, but at the same time, I still grieve for him."
Representative Kelly Keisling approached the family about a memorial 
highway marker in Adam's memory. There were certain steps that would 
have had to be taken to get it finalized but he made it happen. In 
part of that process, they also submitted the official certificate 
naming Adam Tennessee's Youngest Republican that was given to him 
posthumously in 2006.
It took around eight months to get the sign approved and up. There 
was a cost of $300.00 which was taken care of by someone outside of 
the family that was close to Adam.
Shown here, friends and family release 24 balloons at the dedication 
ceremony to signify what would have been Adam's 24th birthday.

Serving the community for 55 years

Jim   bill20171130 13311 1xv6a6t
Jim Hill and Bill Bowden.


I got to capture a special moment a while back and thought it would
be good to use it in recognition of the Pickett County Press's 55th
Anniversary.  The picture is of my father James Hill and Bill Bowden
who is the editor and publisher of the Fentress Courier. It was taken
one Wednesday morning at the Herald-Citizen where the Pickett County
Press is printed. Now, they had no idea that I was taking their
picture, but as I stood there watching them interact, the moment just
seemed so precious to me.

Before dad had his stroke in April 2016, he had been going to pick up
the newspapers on Wednesday and had done so since 1974, even when my
sister Jamie Garrett owned the PRESS. Though he retired in 1999, it
was just something he loved to do and we let him because we knew it
was significant for him to still be a part of the paper in some small

It was difficult for him to not have that role anymore since the
stroke impaired him from driving that distance, so I started asking
him to come with me every week to get the papers. It not only gives
us some time together, but he gets an opportunity to hang out with
old newspaper friends like Bill Bowden and the press guys at the

During our trips, I hear him tell stories of important events that
occurred in the county, things he has covered-both good and bad, and
working hard to get the newspaper out no matter what. In the 55 years
of publication, not once has an issue of the PRESS been missed.
Despite fires, equipment malfunctions, severe weather, or illness,
the news must get printed regardless!

At 30 years old, dad wanted to get out of retail and move back home
to raise his family. He had been living in Dayton, Ohio and was
working as a buyer for the big retail store Cain-Slone. When he
purchased the Pickett County Press in 1974 from Ernie Lawson, he had
done so with the idea that he and his father, Norman Hill would work
together. The Pickett County Press was first published in 1962 and
while Norman never owned it, he worked as the editor up until dad
bought the paper.

My grandfather had a long history of newspaper experience. He
actually started the first Pickett County newspaper in 1939 called
the Pickett County News before having to close it because of WWII
when he enlisted in the Air Force. After his service, he worked in
Oak Ridge at Y12 during the Manhattan Project. He later worked in
newspaper circulation until his retirement from Newspaper Printing
Corporation, which published the Nashville Banner and the Tennessean.

Sadly, seven months after my dad purchased the PRESS and was just
beginning to learn about the newspaper business, my grandfather had a
massive heart attack and died. I know if anyone in the newspaper
business was self-taught, that would be my father.

He will be the first to tell you that I don't always listen to his
advice, but still, I know that his position on a matter is as one
coming from hard knock experience. Dad has taught me that the success
of a newspaper is largely about knowing your community and
understanding what they expect of you.

I am grateful for the hard work and dedication of my grandfather,
father, and sister of what they put into the PRESS before my time as
publisher. It has created a firm foundation of integrity and
knowledge that no degree could ever teach.

The blood, sweat, tears, and ink run deep into the purpose of what
this newspaper represents to this community, and I am proud to be
representing three generations of business that is now 55 years old.

Qualifications for upcoming election

If you are interested in running office, you may pick up petitions at 
the Pickett County Election Office now.
All nominating petitions are due at 12:00 noon on the qualifying 
deadline date. The first day to pick up a nominating petition for the 
May 2018 County Primary was Nov. 17, 2017. Each petition must have at 
least 25 verified signatures. Some important things to remember are:
1. Only registered voters who are eligible to vote for that candidate 
can be counted.
2. Signatures with a post office box number as an address cannot be 
3. Signatures that do not match the signature on our files cannot be 
counted (e.g. a person cannot sign their spouse's name).
4. The address must match the address we have on file (exception: the 
person has moved, but within the same precinct).
For these reasons it is recommended that a candidate get at least 40 
signatures on their petition. Nominating petitions for the May County 
Primary must be turned in no later than 12:00 noon on February 15, 
2018. State law requires the election office to refuse any petitions 
brought in after the noon deadline.
The dates above also apply to Independent candidates seeking election 
to county offices.
If a political party nominates candidates by a method other than a 
primary, a petition is not required. However, that party must submit 
the names of its candidates by the same deadline above.
The first day to pick up petitions for the Town of Byrdstown offices 
and the office of School Board Member is January 5, 2018. The 
deadline to turn in these petitions is 12:00 noon on April 5, 2018. 
These races are nonpartisan.
For a qualifications requirements for each position, go to

The following have picked up petitions:

Letha McCurdy-Register of Deeds
Carey Garner-County Executive
Johnie Neal-County Executive
Jimmy Cope-Road Superintendent
Larry Ledford-County Commission, 4th Dist.
Jennifer Anderson-County Trustee
David Harer-County Commission, 1st Dist.
Ginny Mills-County Commission, 2nd Dist.
Douglas Scroggins-County Commission, 1st Dist.
Tony Beaty-County Commission, 1st Dist.
Darrell L. Garrett-County Commission, 4th Dist.
Danny Huddleston-Circuit Court Clerk
Larry Brown-Circuit Court Clerk
Dana E. Dowdy-Sheriff
Lisa Lee Cross-County Trustee

Parade and Christmas Marketplace this weekend

The Christmas Marketplace will be taking place in the Pickett County 
Library Friday, December 1st from 3-7 p.m. and Saturday, December 2nd 
from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The Christmas Marketplace will begin at 3:00 p.m. 
with 38 local vendors and merchants that will be selling crafts, 
jewelry, sweet treats, quilts, wood crafts and much more. There will 
be free hot dogs, hot chocolate and snacks provided by the City of 
The tree lighting ceremony will start at 6:00 p.m. Friday and there 
will be a live nativity scene, music, carriage rides and Santa. The 
Marketplace will open on Saturday at 9 a.m. with the a magic show 
beginning at 10 a.m., story time and pictures with Santa at 11:30 and 
the Christmas Parade is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. Parade 
winners will be announced in the library at the end of the parade. 
For more information please call the Pickett County Library at 864-6281.

Fatality on Highway 127

A 911 call came in at 2:15 p.m. Tuesday reporting and accident with 
injuries and possible entrapment on 5196 N. York Highway (127).
According to the report, a Mazda Miata was traveling south, and a 
concrete pumper was traveling north. The Miata crossed the center 
lane and the two vehicles collided.
The female passenger of the Miata was flown from the scene. The male 
driver was pronounced dead.
The driver of the concrete pumper semi worked for Reynolds Concrete 
Pumping in Kentucky.
Identities of the individuals involved have not been released.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Neil Matthews with assistance from 
Trooper Darren Butler, Trooper Marty Brown and the Trooper Kyle 
Herren with the C.E.R.T. division are investigating the accident.
Traffic was rerouted due to a portion of 127 being shutdown for 
approximately four hours until the scene was cleared.
 UPDATE: The individuals in the Miata have been identified and Mr. Gary Rains and Mrs. Becky Rains of Pall Mall. The truck driver was Mr. Micheal Pogue of Russellville, KY.
 Traffic was diverted until 8:30 p.m., making it around six hours until the scene was cleared.

New business on the square

The Rustic Roots Boutique is now open and features a variety of 
items. It is owned by Travis Shelton and located at 102 East Main 
Rustic Roots Boutique features silverware jewelry, clothing, bath 
bombs and salts with hidden prizes. They are also offering monogram 
services for the clothing in the store.
The business hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9 
a.m.-5 p.m. Check out their facebook page!

Judge sentences several to serve jail and prison time

Pickett County Criminal Court was held on Wednesday, November 15th 
resulting in prison and jail time for several individuals who 
received drug charges and probation violations. Judge Gary Mckenzie 
issued the following dispositions:
-Jeremy Braswell, 31: Charge with Possession of Methamphetamine-
received 6 years to serve in prison probation violation. Charge of 
Theft more than $2500-received four 4 suspended and consecutive (to 
begin upon release from 6-year sentence).
-Joseph Scott Cope, 33: Charge of Casual Exchange of Schedule III 
Controlled Substance (misdemeanor probation violation)-9 months in 
jail to serve.
-Marcus Howard Crabtree (34 years old): Charge of Delivery of 
Schedule III (probation violation-hold without bond in jail until 
January 9th. Charge of Delivery of Schedule II and III-reset to 
January 9th.
-Jeremy Huddleston, 30: Charge of Burglary (probation violation)-hold 
without bond in jail until January 9th. Charge of sale of Schedule 
III Controlled Substance-reset to January 9th.
-Jesse Kean, 32: Charge of Delivery of Schedule III-reset to January 
9th. Charge of Delivery of Schedule III (2 counts)–hold in jail until 
January 9th.
  -Billy Dean Kennedy, 29: Charge of Delivery of Schedule II (2 
counts)–Concurrent 4 year sentences, 4 years probation, and 148 days 
in jail.
  -Perry Neal, 55: Charge of Delivery of Schedule III-Reset to 
January 9th, hold in jail.
  -Shelley Lynn Patterson, 46: Charge of Delivery of Schedule III (2 
Counts) – Capias issued for failure to appear.
  -Leonard Paul Perdue, 28: Charge of Simple Possession of 
Methamphetamine (probation violation)-Hold without bond in jail until 
January 9th. Charge of Delivery of Methamphetamine and Delivery of 
Counterfeit Methamphetamine–Reset to January 9th.
  -Michael Perdue, 44: Charge of Initiating a Process to Manufacture 
Methamphetamine (probation violation)–Revoked to 10-year sentence in 
-Tamantha Ramirez, 40:  Pled to Simple Possession of Schedule II–11 
months and 29 days supervised probation.
  -Jeremy Williams, 31: Charge of Delivery of Schedule III-hold in 
jail until January 9th.

Kentucky men arrested on drug charges


Two Kentucky men were arrested after Pickett County Deputies
responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle at Gunnels Camp
Ground. The report states that on Monday evening, November 6th,
Deputy James Hammock located the vehicle in question near the boat
ramp and observed three male occupants.
Deputy Hammock noted an odor emitting from the vehicle and a consent to search the vehicle was given by
the driver, who was not charged in the incident. Chief Deputy Steve
Wilber arrived on the scene to assist Deputy Hammock in the search.
Upon the search of the vehicle, a small bag containing a green leafy
substance was found between the front seat. Two small bags of a
crystal substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine was
also found in the possession of Rodney K. Jones, 46, Albany,
Kentucky. Pills believed to be Clonazepam were found in a black bag
that allegedly belonged to Terry B. Ferguson, 37, Albany, KY.
Ferguson was charged with Possession of Schedule IV Controlled
Substance and Possession of Schedule VI Controlled Substance. Rodney
Jones was charged with Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance

Boutique in downtown Byrdstown

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New business Carobella is conveniently located on the Byrdstown 
Square at 101 West Main Street.
Owner Tavia Dowdy is offering a variety of boutique clothing, 
accessories, and jewelry.
She also specializes in Nex Gen nails, nail art, pedicures, and 
manicures. For those who are needing some relaxation or massage 
therapy, Carobella also has a massage therapist available.
Hours are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 931-510-4029 for an 
appointment for nail services or massage.

Fire destroys local auto body business

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The Byrdstown-Pickett County Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched 
to Ron's Body Shop, located at 988 East Main Street Sunday, November 
20th at 11:10 p.m.
The call came after someone drove by the business and saw smoke and 
noticed flames.
Upon arriving to the scene, fire was coming out of the front and back 
of the building and firefighters worked on and off throughout the 
night and until the next day to get the fire extinguished.
  The cause of the fire is unknown and according to the report, is 
being investigated.

Local Lions Club helping community

 When members of the Byrdstown Lions Club learned that someone in the
community needed a wheelchair ramp, they wanted to help. Not only
does the Lions Club provide glasses, but also other community service
projects and needs for individuals.
  This ramp was constructed in one day by the members for Ms. Judy
Sells. The funds for services like this have been donated by
individuals, raffles, VEC Customer Share Grant and money approved by
the Pickett County Commission. 100% of the money raised goes back
into the community.
If you are interested in becoming a member, the group meets the first
Thursday of the month, 6:00 p.m. at the Pickett County Library.
Pictured above are Lions Club Members Jerry Flowers, Carter Martin,
and Micheal Asberry.

Fire destroys barn on North Main

Barn fire 11161720171121 6360 1kg70ee
PHOTO: Bob Saunders

The Byrdstown-Pickett County Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched 
to what was reported as a grass fire Sunday at 525 North Main Street.
Because of a limited view of the location, the caller presumed it to 
be a grass fire.
When firefighters arrived, a barn located behind a residence, owned 
by Malcolm and Deborah Brannum was engulfed in flames. The cause of 
the fire is unknown.

Pickett County unemployed at 3.0% for September

 Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Labor and Workforce 
Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced that in Sept. 2017, 
for the first time ever, below 5 percent in every county across the 
state. This is the second consecutive month rates have declined in 
each of Tennessee’s 95 counties.
September also marked the fourth consecutive month Tennessee 
experienced a historic low statewide unemployment rate. At 3 percent, 
Tennessee has the lowest unemployment in the southeast and the eighth 
lowest rate in the nation.
“With every county seeing unemployment rates below five percent and 
with a record statewide unemployment rate, Tennessee’s fiscal 
strength is clear and the investment in our workforce is paying 
off,” Haslam said. “Employers know that Tennessee is a place where 
they can find skilled workers, so they continue to expand and 
relocate here.”
Williamson County reported Tennessee’s lowest unemployment rate in 
September at 2.1 percent, down from 2.7 percent in August. Davidson 
County recorded the second lowest rate at 2.2 percent, falling from 
2.7 percent the previous month. Rutherford, Cheatham, Wilson and 
Sumner Counties all have a September rate of 2.3 percent, down more 
than 0.5 percent from August.
Pickett County recorded a 3.0% jobless rate for September, down .6 
percentage points from August’s rate of 3.6%. Surrounding counties 
reported the following jobless rates for September: Clay County 
3.6%, down from 4.2%; Fentress County 3.6%, down from 4.4%; Overton 
County 3.2%, down from 3.8%; Putnam County 2.8%, down from 3.6%; and 
Scott County 3.8% (down from 4.8%.
“Many of the most notable decreases in September took place in 
counties with the highest unemployment rates, pointing out the 
economic growth and opportunity in some of Tennessee’s most 
distressed counties,” Phillips said.
This is the fourth time in 2017 unemployment rates have decreased in 
all 95 counties. Rates also dropped in every county during February, 
April and August.
The improved county statistics for September follow the fourth 
consecutive month Tennessee experienced a record low statewide 
unemployment rate, which was 3 percent, down 0.3 percent from August. 
The national unemployment rate also dropped in September to 4.2 percent.
The statewide and national unemployment rates are seasonally 
adjusted, but the county rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a 
statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, 
holidays, opening and closing of schools and other recurring seasonal 
events from an economic time series.
Additional information about Tennessee’s labor statistics, as well 
as job search resources and postings, can be found at

Family loses everything in fire


A local family lost everything in a fire Monday night. A call was
sent out from 911 to the Byrdstown-Pickett Volunteer Fire Department
and the Pickett County Sheriff's Office for a house fire at 110
Lakeview Spur at 8:29 p.m. The home was located in the Sherwood
Shores community and the property was being rented by Jack Drouin.

According to Mr. Drouin, the fire started by accident on a mattress,
and he tried to remove it from the residence but wasn't able to get
the fire contained. There were also two small children in the home,
and everyone was able to get out of the home before the fire spread.

Firefighters quickly arrived to try to get the fire under control the
best they could while dealing with wind and also the lack of having a
fire hydrant close to the scene of the fire. They worked in
synchronization to link up the trucks to keep a constant water supply
for many hours.

During the attempt to remove the mattress in an effort to try to keep
the fire from spreading, Drouin was seriously burned. He was taken by
Pickett County EMS from the scene and was eventually flown to
Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he is being treated for
third-degree burns and possible smoke inhalation damage.

Family members are caring for the young children and the community
has already been pulling together to help provide clothing and other
items needed for the family.

VECustomers Share awards $2,500 in local grants

Volunteer Energy Cooperative’s (VEC) VECustomers Share program 
awarded $2,500 in a grants to Pickett County organizations in October.

Local groups receiving grants include Pickett County Historical & 
Genealogy Society ($1,250) and Friends of Pickett County Library 
Christmas Market ($1,250).

The program, founded in October 2001, has donated more than $6.1 
million to various community-service organizations across VEC’s 17-
county service area.

VECustomers Share is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization 
covering VEC’s 17-county service area. The foundation’s funds come 
from VEC members who have opted to allow VEC to round their electric 
bills up to the next whole dollar.

VECustomers Share contributions average 50 cents per month per 
customer. The extra change is pooled with that of other members and 
distributed by the foundation’s board of directors, who all serve as 
Grant applications are available at any Volunteer Energy Cooperative 
Customer Service center, by calling (423) 334-7051, or at

Overall Halloween parade winner

 Starlynn White was the 1st Grade Winner and the Overall Winner at the 
Pickett K-8 Halloween Parade Tuesday morning. 

Local teacher encouraging students to read

Mr buckman students20171026 18366 rz1r2l

The ability to read plays critical roles in how we navigate through 
A local teacher has taken a different approach as a way to encourage 
his 6th grade students to read more.
Pickett County K-8 English, Language Arts teacher Mitch Buckman, is 
rewarding his top readers with Walmart gift cards.
Every nine weeks, students are in competition to read the most books.
They also have to present a book report on each book that was read.
The students who read the most for this nine weeks were Eli 
Huddleston with seven books, Chloe King with six books, and Lyndon 
Huddleston with five books.

Pickett County native wins bluegrass music award

Sierra ibma20171026 18366 1clefos

A former Pickett County musician was awarded Mandolin Player of the 
year at the International Bluegrass Music Association on September 
28th. Sierra Hull received that honor at the 2017 awards show that 
was held in Raleigh, NC. According to the IBMA website, professional 
members of the IBMA have bestowed honors and awards on individuals 
and organizations making extraordinary contributions to the music 
since 1986.

Commissioners approve change in hours at Pickett Transfer Station

Commissioners approve change in hours at Pickett Transfer Station
Pickett County Commissioners met in regular session on October 16, 
2017. Present and presiding was the honorable Richard Daniel, 
Chairman and Robert Lee Clerk of the Court. Court was called to order 
at 6:00 p.m. by Clerk Lee who turned the meeting over to Chairman 
Daniel. The invocation was given by Jimmy Richardson and the Pledge 
of Allegiance was given by all. The following commissioners were 
present: Mitchell Cross, Cary Garner, Darrell Garrett, David Harer, 
Eddie Holt, Colan Huddleston, Larry Ledford, Carter Martin, Brad 
Richardson, Jim Richardson and Matthew Storie. Tim Ford was absent. 
The following is action taken at the meeting:
Approved a motion by Brad Richardson and seconded by David Harer to 
approve the agenda as amended. All ayes. Motion carried.
Carried a motion by Colan Huddleston and seconded by Mitchell Cross 
to approve the minutes from Monday, September 18, 2017 county court 
meeting and minutes from the Special Called Meeting on October 5, 
2017 as presented. All ayes. Motion carried.
Passed a motion by Jim Richardson and seconded by Larry Ledford to 
approve the following reports as presented:
Month End Report- County General Fund, Transfer Station/Solid Waste, 
Debt Service Fund and Solid Waste
-cash flow analysis: 101 general fund, 116 transfer station/solid 
waste, 151 debt service, 207 solid waste fund
-cash flow analysis from other departments: 131 highway department, 
142 school federal projects
-cash flow analysis; Actual vs Projected from other departments; 142 
school federal projects
-budget to actual report revenues: 101 general fund, 116 transfer 
station/solid waste, 151 debt service, 207 solid waste fund
-budget to actual report expenditures:  101 general fund, 116 
transfer station/solid waste, 151 debt service, 207 solid waste fund
-Clerk & Master report of taxes collected for the month of September 
2017. All ayes. Motion carried.
Approved a motion by Larry Ledford and seconded by Matthew Storie to 
approve budget amendments as presented. All ayes except Carey Garner, 
Eddie Holt and Carter Martin voted nay. Motion carried.
Carried a motion by Eddie Holt and seconded by Darrell Garrett to 
approve notary renewal - Jamie Lynette Guffey. All ayes. Motion carried.
Passed a motion by Colan Huddleston and seconded by Brad Richardson 
to approve Kerry Crockett as the new member of the Regional Library 
Board. All ayes. Motion carried.
Pickett County Attorney Andreas Ayers addressed the Board of 
Approved a motion by Darrell Garrett and seconded by Matthew Storie 
to approve the change of hours at the Pickett County Transfer 
Station: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
with delivery cutoff at 4:30 p.m. each day; Saturdays 7:00 a.m. to 
12:00 p.m. with delivery cut off at 11:30 a.m.; closed on Wednesday. 
All ayes. Motion carried.
Carried a motion by Darrell Garrett and seconded David Harer to 
approve the contract between Pickett County, Tennessee and Government 
Services Agency as presented to the commission. This being a twelve 
month contract. All ayes. Motion carried.
Passed a motion by Darrell Garrett and seconded by Matthew Storie to 
adjourn until the next regular county court meeting scheduled for 
Monday, November 20, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. in the community room of the 
Pickett County Library. All ayes. Motion carried.

Serving the public means....
Maintaining respect and integrity


As I reflect on what the role for the PRESS is for this community,
many things come to mind. A newspaper has a huge responsibility to
the people it serves. It must provide truthful facts about the issues
that arise during the daily operations of this community.
There have been, and always will be, controversial issues that
present themselves during the course of these operations. The main
objective and responsibility of this newspaper, or any media source,
is to provide detailed, truthful facts about these situations to the
citizens it serves. In this case, the citizens of Pickett County
because folks have a right to these facts. The PRESS has no
intention, nor reason, to attempt to bias this information.
Unlike social media, where people posting can sometimes remain
“anonymous or seem untouchable”, the PRESS must maintain its
integrity by being truthful and transparent. It has done so, for the
past 54 years. Actually, we are coming up on our anniversary in
That being said, if an article is written, especially on a heated
topic, it has been investigated thoroughly.  Items researched are
legal opinions and laws, consults with Tennessee Press Service legal
team, reference to manuals (CTAS-county, MTAS-city, TSBA-school),
along with information from various other cited sources.
It is important to look at any issue from every perspective, gather
all the facts, present those facts, and then allow the people of this
county to make an educated decision of their own.
The citizens of this county elect officials to represent them and
their concerns with regards to operation of the county and city
government. That is the way the forefathers intended it to be.
However, there are certain expectations upon these elected officials.
That is to conduct themselves in a professional manner, with the
common goal of what is best for the entire community.
As any public official knows, there are times when he/she is going to
be subjected to detailed questioning in order to provide a better
understanding on the matters at hand.
All people should be addressed with respect, regardless of their
position on the issue. For any public official to present information
in a meeting, while speaking in a condescending tone, or as if the
people are illiterate, is absolutely unacceptable and an insult to
the people of this county.

Dale Hollow Bass Classic Winners

1st place dh tourney20171019 22678 94p763
Photo:James Purkey

The 32nd Annual Dale Hollow Bass Classic hosted by Star Point Resort
was held Oct. 14 and 15. The event is sponsored by the Byrdstown-
Pickett County Chamber of Commerce and Star Point Resort. VIP Sponsor
was Don Franklin of Burkesville.

1st place Jacob Cross of Byrdstown and J.P. Sims of Cookeville, won
$1852.50 and had a total of 33.55 lbs.
2nd place Jerry Delk of Allardt and Tim Jolley of Monroe, $1462.50,
29.95 lbs.
3rd place Gary Sroufe of South Whitley, IN, and Bob Roy of Columbia
City, IN., $1170.00, 24.70 lbs.
4th place David Harris of Cookeville and Chris Thomas of Baxter,
$975.00, 24.35 lbs.
5th place JR Stalcup of Albany and Patrick Crawley of Burkesville,
$877.50, 24.15 lbs.
6th place Mark Neal and Jeff Neal both of Livingston, $780.00, 22.70
7th place Bobby Smith and Mike Stowers both of Jamestown, TN.,
$682.50, 21.60 lbs.
8th place Tim Reagan of Livingston and Lucas Reagan of Byrdstown,
$585.00, 21.10 lbs.
9th place Pat Smith of Burkesville and Adam Huff of Tompkinsville,
KY., $487.50, 20.90 lbs.
10th place Billy Joe Johnson and Robby Johnson both of Byrdstown,
$390.00, 20.35 lbs.
11th place Thomas Coomer of Florence, KY. and Bob Coomer of Albany,
$292.50, 19.90 lbs.
12th place Gary Farley and Randy Hunter both of Albany, $195.00,
19.85 lbs.
100% Big Bass Winners
Saturday: Jacob Cross of Byrdstown and J.P. Sims of Cookeville, $500,
6.60 lbs., Blake Smith and Daniel Abbott of Byrdstown, $300, 5.90
lbs., Mark Neal and Jeff Neal both of Livingston, $200, 5.60 lbs.
Sunday Big Bass Winners:
Gary Sroufe of South Whitley, IN, and Bob Roy of Columbia City, IN.,
$500, 4.75 lbs., Jerry Delk of Allardt and Tim Jolley of Monroe,
$300, 4.30 lbs., Jason Smith of Union, KY. and Jeremy Smith of Toler,
KY., $200, 4.25 lbs.

Memories of Keisling’s Clothing

Keisling bldg20171019 25748 tzoq37

As things are getting prepared for some downtown business 
revitalization as part of the TDEC Enhancement Grant, what has 
appeared underneath the old awning after it was removed has sparked a 
lot of conversation.
According to Mrs. Johnnie A. Keisling, Ralph Keisling and Eugene 
Keisling purchased lots after a fire in 1945. Both Ralph and Eugene 
had come home after serving in WWII and helped build the clothing store.
The store opened in 1947, with three generations owning it: Eugene 
Keisling, Kelly and Janet Keisling and Ralph and Johnnie Alline 
before it closed in 1992.
Keisling recalls, "I remember back when Eugene would give credit to 
families during the fall until their tobacco sold in the winter and 
they could pay. It was a place that provided a lot of different needs 
for the community over the years."
Wouldn't it be nice to keep that name on the building, to serve as a 
reminder of how Keisling’s Clothing served this community for 45 years?

Smith graduates TBI State Academy

Twelve local law enforcement officers from across the state are new 
graduates of the TBI State Academy. Among the graduates was Sergeant/ 
Detective-Narcotics Joshua Smith – Pickett County Sheriff’s Office.

The Academy was created as a professional and specialized training 
ground for Tennessee law enforcement officers who desire the 
opportunity to expand their education and training in the criminal 
justice field. Through the six-week course, attendees learn advanced 
investigative techniques, science and strategy; skills they can take 
back with them and put into practice at their home agencies.

The TBI State Academy was developed with the Tennessee Bureau of 
Investigation’s origin, tradition and mission in mind. Coursework 
included leadership, constitutional law, communications intelligence 
and undercover investigations.
Candidates were nominated by their department heads and selected to 
attend. They were required to have five years of experience as a full-
time commissioned officer of a Tennessee law enforcement agency, show 
excellent character and a professional reputation. They exhibit an 
interest in public service and are committed to remain in law 
enforcement for a minimum of three years after the TBI State Academy 
A graduate of the TBI State Academy has the opportunity to earn 
credits with partner schools Cumberland University and Tennessee 
State University. The Academy runs four days a week for six weeks and 
is held at Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy in Bell Buckle, 
at no cost to attendees.
TBI will begin accepting applications for the 2018 TBI State Academy 
in the spring. For more information about the State Academy, go to 
our website:

County Commissioners approve resolution to purchase property for 
justice/jail center site


 The Pickett County Commissioners met in special session to vote for 
the jail site after the motion to purchase failed at the September 
18th meeting.
Motion by Dave Harer seconded by Colan Huddleston to approve 
Resolution FY 2017-2018-13, a resolution providing the purchase of 
the Winningham property for the jail site through the Industrial 
Board of Pickett County with the county providing the funds to the 
Industrial Board. All ayes except Eddie Holt, Carter Martin, Darrell 
Garrett and Carey Garner who voted no, so the motion passed.
Before the vote, Chairman Richard Daniel provided the commissioners 
with a survey of the property that indicates the property to be 
purchased is 4.09, not the 4.5 acres that he had stated in the 
previous meeting.
"You've got two options as county commissioners, one of them is to 
vote to allow the industrial board to purchase the property, or vote 
it down and let's just do nothing," said Chairman Daniel. Mr. Daniel 
also addressed the board regarding a reason to vote yes, was because 
the land contract made with the Winningham family ran out on October 
There was no discussion on the details of the land contract, and what 
the proposed cost of the said property is to be.

Using talents to help kids at Shriners Hospital

Spencer wilson20171013 13689 uhxytr
Photo: Jessica Scott Wilson
 When a member of the Upper Cumberland Shrine Club noticed on Facebook
how creative a local 10-year-old was getting at creating bracelets,
he asked him if he could make some for the patients at the Shriner's
Hospital in Lexington, KY.

  Spencer Wilson has been creating figures and bracelets since he was
about six years old, according to his mom, Jessica Scott Wilson. When
Spencer was asked to help make the bracelets for the kids at the
hospital, he replied, "well sure." He has already completed about 50
bracelets out of the 100 he has as a goal. Some of them are
customized to have "Shriners" on them.

  "These bracelets will be taken to the new facility for the hospital
in Lexington, where they service orthopedic patients," said UC
Shriner Barry Poore. The Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical
Center participate with many insurance plans, however, all care and
services are provided for patients up to age 18 regardless of the
families' ability to pay.

  For more information on the Shriner's Hospitals, visit

  Thank you, Spencer, even at a young age you have shown us all a
valuable lesson on using our passions or talents to help those in need.

Pickett Sheriff’s Office
to receive $5,000 grant

The Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security (TDOSHS) joins 
the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) to announce the law 
enforcement agencies and partners across Tennessee who will be 
awarded federal grant funds to support local highway safety 
initiatives. Approximately 400 grants exceeding $18 million will be 
distributed statewide from the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration (NHTSA) through the THSO for the 2017-2018 Federal 
Fiscal Year (FFY).
The Pickett County Sheriff’s Office will receive a $5,000 grant to be 
used for high visibility enforcement.
“Highway safety enforcement and education initiatives are critical 
components to preventing highway fatalities,” said Commissioner David 
W. Purkey of the TDOSHS. “We cannot lower statewide fatality numbers 
without strong partnerships within our local communities. That is why 
these funds are so important.”
Every year, traffic safety advocates, non-profit organizations, 
emergency response personnel, law enforcement, District Attorneys’ 
offices, and other state agencies across Tennessee seek funding 
through grant applications offered by the THSO. Applicants who meet 
the required data-driven criteria and highway safety standards are 
awarded grant funds to support the THSO’s mission to reduce traffic 
crashes, injuries and fatalities.

“Our highway safety partners are dedicated men and women who work 
tirelessly to protect Tennessee roadways every day,” said THSO 
Director Vic Donoho. “The THSO grant funding provides essential 
highway safety training and equipment for law enforcement agencies, 
sophisticated crash data collection analysis technology, specialized 
DUI prosecutors, resources for emergency response personnel, and 
educational tools to help improve driver behavior.”

There’s always time
for a selfie...

Lisa beaty20171005 9350 1q79jy2

During the Cordell Hull Day, Bob Tarter with the Natural History 
Educational Company presented several different animals for the crowd 
to learn about.
In this picture, he was wanting to get a selfie with Lisa Beaty and 
her daughter featuring the megabat or fruit bat.
Daughter Eloise didn't seem to be impressed with that situation.
More pictures from the festival can be found on page 9.

Veterans monument to be placed at Welcome Center

Veterans monument to be placed at Welcome Center
The Disabled American Veterans Hull-York Chapter 5 group is accepting 
bids for the Upper Cumberland Veteran's Monument.
The idea to get a monument in Pickett County began several years ago 
and is in phase two of the project.
The Pickett County Commission voted to approve the location of the 
monument to be at the Byrdstown Welcome Center.
The design for the monument was created by a drawing from Jesse 
Linder, who is the son of member Leanne Asberry. During a recent 
D.A.V. meeting, the monument committee approved Linder's design 
concept and proceeded to get an architect to finalize the plans for 
The Upper Cumberland Veteran's Monument will consist of any veteran's 
name from the Upper Cumberland area for a minimum $20 donation. If 
you would like to have a name added to the monument, you can go to 
Byrdstown City Hall to leave the information and a donation. Any 
contractors interested in bidding on the project, please pick up a 
packet from the Welcome Center/ Chamber office during normal hours. 
The bids will be reviewed at the October 14th D.A.V. meeting at 9 a.m.
Pictured are the architectural plans for what the monument will look 
like when finished.

Walk to benefit St. Jude Children's Research hospital

Register for Town of Byrdstown Run/Walk to be held October 14th
The 6th Annual Town of Byrdstown 5K Certified/3K (Non-Certified) Run
Walk benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is just around
the corner. It will be held on Saturday, October 14th in downtown
Registration the day of the
event begins at 8:00 a.m. at Town Hall. That is also the location
where those who have pre-registered will pick up their runner packets.
Early/Pre-registration is $25.00 and includes a t-shirt featuring the
event logo and sponsors for the year. Late registration is $30.00 and
will not include the t-shirt.
Entry forms may be picked up at Town Hall or the Welcome Center in
Byrdstown or can be downloaded online from this link: or email and we
can send a copy by reply.
Byrdstown/Pickett County Chamber of Commerce: or

$525,000 CDBG grant for Byrdstown

State Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) and Representative Kelly 
Keisling (R-Byrdstown) have announced that Byrdstown will receive 
$525,000 for water system rehabilitation through a Community 
Development Block Grant (CDBG).

Yager and Keisling made the announcement after receiving the 
information from the Department of Economic and Community Development 

      “I am pleased to announce that Byrdstown will receive this 
major grant and want to thank our local officials who were 
instrumental in helping secure these funds," said Senator Yager, who 
strongly supported the grant application.

"These funds will assist in vital water system rehabilitation efforts 
which will improve the public health and quality of life for our 

      The funds were allocated under a procedure authorized by the 
Tennessee General Assembly. ECD administers the grant program based 
on priorities set at the local level where community needs are best 

      “Overhauling the water system in Byrdstown is an important step 
in order to ensure that we are able to keep up with and meet the 
demands of our growing population,” said Representative Keisling. “I 
appreciate Commissioner Rolfe for his investment in our community and 
for supporting our residents.”

Pickett County hires law firm to sue distributors of opioids

Commissioners sept. meeting20171005 30164 10c3a5k

The Pickett County Commissioners met in regular session on September 
18, 2017. Members Mitchell Cross, Cary Garner, Darrell Garrett, David 
Harer, Eddie Holt, Colan Huddleston, Larry Ledford, Carter Martin, 
Brad Richardson and Jim Richardson were present. Tim Ford and Matthew 
Storie were absent.
Agenda was amended and approved.
Approval of Richard Daniel to serve as Chairman of the Board of 
Commissioners for FY 2017-2018 was made by Larry Ledford and seconded 
by David Harer. With no other nominations, the motion carried with 
all ayes.
The minutes from the previous month (Monday, August 21, 2017) was 
carried with all ayes.
Motion by Mitchell Cross and seconded by Eddie Holt to approve the 
monthly reports, all ayes.
Eddie Holt made the motion to approve the budget amendments as 
presented, Darrell Garrett seconded the motion with all ayes. 
Amendments as follows:
101FY 2017-2018 #2 County General-$8,700 to decrease appropriation 
balance because UT lowered the county share of agriculture extension 
service for FY 2017/2018.
101FY 2017-2018 #3 County General-$1,691 for the county clerk to 
purchase a new copier with the restricted account fund to be used for 
data processing equipment.
  Notary approvals for Chris Smith and Teresa May Buckner and Notary 
renewals Kathy A. Mitchell and Cheryl Lynn Abbott, motion carried 
with all ayes.
Motion by Eddie Holt and seconded by Larry Ledford to approve 
Resolution FY 2017-2018-12, a resolution in support of the 
reallocation of the oil and gas severance tax in Tennessee where 
instead of getting the current ratio, a county would receive the 
entire amount. The motion was approved with all ayes.
  Approval of Resolution FY 2017-2018-13 to approve the purchase of 
the Winningham property for the jail site through the Industrial 
Board of Pickett County with the county providing the funds to the 
industrial board. All ayes except Carey Garner, Darrell Garrett, 
Eddie Holt and Carter Martin who voted nay. The motion failed and 
there is a special called meeting to address the situation.
Motion by Eddie Holt and seconded by Mitchell Cross to approve 
Resolution FY 2017-2018-14, a resolution to apply for grant funds 
through TDEC for a landfill closure grant passed with all ayes. This 
is a 50/50 matching grant where Pickett County will pay the required 
amount for services relating to the closing of the landfill and then 
be reimbursed 50% of that cost.
Adoption of the TDEC LEP program to provide interpreters, translators 
and other aides and the policy and procedures to ensure persons with 
limited English proficiency have meaningful access and equal 
opportunity in TDEC services, programs, and activities carried with 
all ayes.
Motion by Colan Huddleston and seconded by Eddie Holt to approve to 
request to bid repairs for the Chanute Fire Hall brush truck with all 
ayes. This was the vehicle that was involved in an accident while 
being parked at a residence without authorization.
Motion to table the contract negotiation discussion on contract 
negotiations between Pickett County Government and Government Service 
Agency to October's meeting. All ayes.
The county commissioners voted to hire the law firm of Jessee and 
Jessee to pursue all civil remedies against manufacturers and all 
entities in the chain of distribution and responsible for the opioid 
epidemic pursuant to the representation agreement presented to the 
county commission. The motion passed with all ayes. This lawsuit is 
alleging a public nuisance and that the damage of the county consists 
of the increased cost of healthcare, law enforcement, and education. 
There is not to be an upfront charge for the county's representation.
Approved motion by Carter Martin and seconded by Carey Garner to 
approve Resolution FY 2017-2018-15 making a donation to Byrdstown 
Lion's Club in the amount of $1,000 contingent on the organization 
meeting the criteria of a non-profit organization as stated in the 
resolution. All ayes except for Darrell Garrett who passed. The Lions 
Club is the world's largest service organization. The money given to 
the local organization will help provide services to the community 
and stay in the county.
Tom Storie reported that Pickett County EMS runs are up, no action 
Marty Beaty reported recycling was increasing at the Pickett County 
Transfer Station, no action was taken.
Chairman Daniel shared a letter from TDEC stating that Pickett County 
has achieved the 25% waste reduction and diversion goal and also from 
the Tennessee Comptroller acknowledging the budget is approved.

Concerns regarding county's purchase of jail site


The motion to purchase property selected for the site of the Pickett
County Jail/Justice center failed in last night's county commission

  Resolution FY 2017-2018-13 to approve the purchase of the
Winningham property for a jail site through the Industrial Board of
Pickett County, with the county providing the funds to the Industrial
board did not pass.  The voting was six ayes, except for Carey
Garner, Darrell Garrett, Eddie Holt and Carter Martin, who voted
nay.  Tim Ford and Matthew Storie were absent. Chairman Richard
Daniel said that the "Winningham" property was 4.5 acres, and would
be purchased with the Pickett County Jail funds. There was no other
discussion on the failed motion.

After the meeting, the question of what the property actually
consists of needed to once again be investigated. There are concerns
involving conflicts of interest, and code of ethics by county
commissioners Jimmy L Richardson and his son Brad Richardson for
their vote of yes on that resolution and any matters pertaining to
the property.

  In April, the PRESS reported that the "Winningham" property
consisted of two property parcels- one was .48 acres owned by James
L. Richardson and Johnny Richardson, the other was 3.9 acres owned by
Mrs. Ward Winningham and Elese Winningham.  The published information
was also verified through the jail site assessment study done by
James C Hailey Engineers in March 2016. That study was presented and
approved by the Pickett County Commission that showed the property
acreage is a total of 4.38, including parcels 014.00 and 013.00. This
newspaper reported verbatim that information.
  After that article was published, Pickett County Executive Richard
Daniel asked the "PRESS"  to print a retraction, stating the
information was false about purchasing any Richardson property.
"Pickett County is not buying the .48 acres that belongs to Jimmy
Richardson, the Winningham property was the only property under
consideration. It doesn't matter how many parcels there are," said

  Mr. Daniel also wrote an article in that same newspaper issue
regarding the property possibly being a conflict of interest due to
ownership of the property. He said UTCTAS attorneys indicated that
the purchase of the "Winningham" property by the county, did not
constitute a conflict of interest.

CTAS has been contacted by this newspaper for the details of what
information was provided to determine if the opinion was based on
Conflict of Interest T.C.A. 12-4-101. That statute prohibits anyone
who has a direct financial interest and requires disclosure of
indirect financial interests by public acknowledgment. There is also
Conflict of Interest statute T.C.A. 5-5-102 that pertains to govern
disclosures and abstentions from voting due to conflicts of interest
of members of county legislative bodies.

  In the CTAS Jail needs assessment study in 2016, under the
"Winningham Property", it states, "this property consists of
approximately five acres and is currently owned by a county
commissioner. The purchase of this property from a county
commissioner would be a significant conflict of interest". This
assessment was made by Jim Hart, who is the CTAS Jail Management
Consultant. Mr. Hart told the PRESS that the information was created
from his notes involving a conversation with the County Mayor as they
were at the site.

  The details of each parcel is as follows:
WARRANTY DEED Parcel 013.00

*.48 acres

*Ownership mailing address 1140 Richardson Road, Byrdstown

*GRANTOR-James Lynn Richardson as owner of one-half undivided interest

*GRANTOR-Johnny Ray Richardson as owner of one-half undivided interest

*Assessor of Property appraised land value of $15,200


*3.9 acres

*Ownership mailing address 1140 Richardson Road, Byrdstown

*Mrs. Ward Winningham (deceased) c/o Elese Richardson

*Assessor of Property appraised land and improvement value $105,500.

   If the property belongs to family members of a county
commissioner, that should create an ethical duty to disclose that
fact to the people of Pickett County before providing or abstaining
from a vote on the matter. If a county commissioner has a direct
financial interest in the purchase of property for the jail site,
that would be a violation of the law.

  The PRESS is always willing to print a retraction or correction if
something is inaccurate, after all facts are important. Based on the
information that has been gathered, this newspaper still stands by
what was originally reported to the people regarding the Winningham
property. If anyone would like to see the jail site assessment, jail
needs assessment and architectural design of jail/justice center,
they can be found on our website:

Pickett County beer revenue down drastically

The Tennessee Malt Beverage Association released the figures of 
revenue for June 2017 received by each county and city that permits 
legal sale of beer. Beer tax collections are received from the 17% 
Wholesale Beer Tax as reported by the wholesale distribution, not 
individual outlets.
The revenue for Pickett County For June 2017 is down at $15,107.91 
from 2016 at $26,632.88. 2017 year-to date for Pickett Co. is also 
down at $73,823.28 from 2016 y-t-d at $109,552.00. 

Recent grand jury drug indictments

The Pickett County Grand Jury met on August 15th, 2017 and returned 
81 true bills. Out of the 81, 37 indictments have been served by the 
Pickett County Sheriff's Office.
The drug-related indictments are as follows:
Bobby Dale Anderson (35) Pall Mall: Delivery of Morphine, a Schedule 
II Controlled Substance
Burt Allen Brown (38) Jamestown: Delivery of Buprenorphine, a 
Schedule III Controlled Substance
Robin Craig (56) Byrdstown: Delivery of Oxycodone a Schedule II 
Controlled Substance (2 Counts)
Marcus Howard Crabtree (33) Pall Mall- Delivery of Buprenorphine a 
Schedule III Controlled Substance, Delivery of Methadone a Schedule 
II Controlled Substance
Sharon Cope (57) Byrdstown: Delivery of Oxycodone, a Schedule II 
Controlled Substance (2 counts)
Jessica D Daley (27) Byrdstown- Delivery of Methamphetamine a 
Schedule II Controlled Substance, Delivery of Buprenorphine a 
Schedule III Controlled Substance
Travis Lee Hall (36) Alpine: Delivery of Over 2 Ounces of Marijuana, 
a Schedule IV Controlled Substance (2 Counts)
Jeremy Huddleston  (29) Byrdstown: Delivery of Buprenorphine a 
schedule III Controlled Substance
Jesse Kean (31) Byrdstown: Sale of Buprenorphine a Schedule III 
Controlled Substance (2 Counts)
Billy Dean Kennedy (29) Albany, KY- Delivery of Less than .5 grams of 
Methamphetamine a schedule II Controlled Substance (2 Counts)
Perry Albert Neal (55) Byrdstown- Delivery of Buprenorphine a 
Schedule III Controlled Substance
Angela Megan Pryor (30) Byrdstown: Delivery of Buprenorphine a 
Schedule III Controlled Substance (2 Counts)
Leonard Perdue III (28) Pall Mall: Delivery of Methamphetamine a 
Schedule II Controlled Substance & Delivery of Counterfeit 
Melissa Ann Perdue (40) Pall Mall: Delivery of Buprenorphine a 
Schedule III Controlled Substance (2 Counts)
Tamantha Ramirez (39) Albany, KY-Delivery of Hydrocodone a Schedule 
II Controlled Substance
Charles Schmidt-Eldridge (31) Monroe- Delivery of more than .5 grams 
of Methamphetamine a Schedule II Controlled Substance, Delivery of a 
Counterfeit Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine)
Jeremy A Williams (31) Byrdstown: Delivery of Buprenorphine a 
Schedule III Controlled Substance

Commodity Distribution set for September 19th

Commodity Distribution set for September 19th

The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) will hold a 
commodities distribution for Pickett County, Tuesday, September 19, 
2017 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Byrdstown Community Center 
from the UCHRA Office, 105 South Main Street, Byrdstown.

Everyone must present a valid UCHRA commodity card in order to 
receive commodities. To sign up or reprint lost commodities cards 
contact your local UCHRA office.

The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency does not discriminate on 
the basis of age, race, sex, color, national origin, religion, or 
disability in admission to, access to, or operations of its programs, 
services or activities.

TN Tourism Commissioner and Senator Yager first visit to Sunset Marina after grant announcement

Tom allen 3ayager20170914 18193 q8g7uo
Tom Allen, Sen. Ken Yager and Commissioner Kevin Triplett

Tennessee Department of Tourism Commissioner Kevin Triplett and
Senator Ken Yager made a special visit to Sunset Marina after the
announcement of the Waterways Accessibility for Tennessee Recreation
(WATR) grants last week.
Sunset Marina was one of several local marinas to receive the grant.

The Tennessee General Assembly authorized the Waterways Accessibility
for Tennessee Recreation (WATR) Grant Program in Fiscal Year
2016-2017 to improve and maintain access to Tennessee’s waterways.
A total of 41 applications were received and they were all able to be
awarded with some of the $500,000 grant money," said the Commissioner
The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development administers the WATR
program with the end result being improved services, improved
facilities, and improved experiences for tourists and recreational
boaters using Tennessee’s Waterways.
"We are proud that the Tennessee General Assembly recognizes the
economic impact that Tennessee’s Marinas make to the overall tourism
economy in our state," said Sunset Marina VP and General Manager Tom
  According to Allen, the grant money will be used to make repairs
and improvements to the Marina's infrastructure and floating docks.
Pickett County’s marinas contribute over $150,000.00 per year to
Pickett County in Army Corps' Rental Fees which is over and above the
state and local sales taxes and property taxes paid by marinas.

Allen estimates that Sunset Marina’s economic contribution in State
and Local Sales Taxes, property taxes, and fees paid to the U.S. Army
Corps to be over eight (8) million dollars since beginning operation
in 1994.
He also told the PRESS that Sunset Marina is one of only three
marinas designated as a Cumberland River Basin “Clean Marina” on Dale
Hollow Lake.  This designation recognizes that high standards have
been achieved in areas such as water safety; fuel supply; solid waste
disposal; recycling; hazardous material storage and stormwater

  As if the weather wasn't nice enough to help signify the beauty of
what our lake has to offer, as Commissioner Triplett arrived, two
bald eagles flew over the marina. Oddly enough, as Senator Yager
arrived, a Goodyear Blimp was flying over the lake. While I still
haven't figured out what that blimp was about, I think both of them
have a unique story to tell about their first visits to Sunset Marina
on beautiful Dale Hollow Lake.

Relay For Life raises $33,750

The Relay For Life of Pickett County Committee would like to thank
all the sponsors, participants of our 2017 RFL and everyone who made
purchases or supported the many fund raising events throughout the year.

A special thanks to the Town of Byrdstown and employees for the use
of Town Plaza and setting up the tent. The Relay this year raised
$33,750.00 surpassing our goal of $33,000.00.

All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society for research, cancer
patient program support, education, advocacy, Hope Lodge support,
etc. For more information about the ACS please visit and

Without the support of this community the Relay For Life of Pickett
County would not exist.
Thank you to the RFL teams: Byrdstown First Baptist Church, Williams
Chapel Church, People’s Bank, Moodyville Missionary Baptist Church,
and Conner Family. Byrdstown First Baptist Church team raised the
Most Team Money and Best Camp Site. Williams Chapel Church was
awarded the Most Team Spirit.

Pickett Relay For Life Sept. 9th Event Schedule


2:00 p.m. Team Registration
Survivor Registration

Purchase Balloons for release of Survivors ($1.00) or LED Balloons 
($15.00) Ma & Pa’s Florist

2:30 p.m. Opening Ceremony
Cancer Survivor Celebration Ceremony
Team Recognition
Welcome - Judy Storie
Opening Prayer – Bro. Andy Cope
Presentation of Colors – Hull-York DAV
National Anthem – Kellen Buck

Celebration Ceremony
Survivor Speaker – Mary Rhule
Recognition of Survivors – Janet Huddleston
Special Performance – Kendra West
Survivors Lap (Survivors walk 1st lap)
Balloon Release by Survivors
Caregiver’s Lap (past and present join in 2nd lap)
RFL Teams (join in 3rd lap)
Survivor’s refreshments & registration table provided and hosted by 
the Byrdstown Women’s Club along with a quilt given to a survivor.

3:30 p.m.        Elvis
4:00– 5:00 p.m. Car / Motorcycle Show Registration
4:30– 6:00 p.m.  Car Show
Jail & Bail ($.25 to jail $1.00 to bail / $5 exemption)
4:30 p.m.        Games
                        Dance Aerobics
6:00 p.m.        Auction – Johnny Sells
                Car / Motorcycle Show Winners Announced
6:00– 8:00 p.m.    Jail & Bail
($.25 to jail $1.00 to bail / $5.00 exemption)
7:00 p.m.        PJ Party
8:00 p.m.       Remember / Luminary Ceremony
                        Release of LED Balloons
8:30 p.m.        Lip Sync
9:00 p.m.       Music
9:45 p.m.       Closing Remarks

Recap of Funds Raised
Most Team Spirit
Best Decorated Campsite

“every candle has a name….”
Memory or Honor Luminaria $10.00 each and LED Balloons $15.00 each, 
can be purchased until 7:30 p.m.

Conner Family
Byrdstown First Baptist Church
Moodyville Missionary Baptist Church
People’s Bank
Williams Chapel Church

PCHS football program on two-year probation

Tssaa20170907 12783 15xzj6t

 More information has been learned regarding the incident at a
football game against Zion Christian on 25th.
Pickett County Director of Schools Diane Elder made contact with the
PRESS on Wednesday, August 30th and confirmed there was an incident
but would not release details. "We are working with the TSSAA and
have been conducting an investigation into this unfortunate
situation," said Elder.
The TSSAA issued a letter to Pickett County High School Principal
Jane Winningham on August 31st.
This newspaper has made the decision not to publish the names of the
players identified in the letter and will refer to them as Player 1,
Player 2, and Player 3.
The Pickett County High School administration was asked to thoroughly
investigate the unsportsmanlike incident and report their findings
and any disciplinary action taken to the TSSAA state office. The
following report was submitted:
An unsportsmanlike penalty was called on Player 1 after which an
altercation occurred between the coach and the stated player.
After the altercation began, two players, Player 2 and Player 3, left
the field of play to assist the coach.
One of the managers, pulled the Player 1 away from the coach and
walked towards the field exit.
Parent of Player 1 made her way down the stands, out the gate and
into the infield where she was able to make her way to the sideline
and began an altercation with the coach.
A Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper, who had just finished work and
was in the stands, came over the fence and across the field. Pickett
County Coach O.B. Caudle motioned and yelled for his assistance.
Player 1 returned to the sideline, where Player 2 approached him.
Player 1 pulled Player 2 to the ground while Player 3 attempted to
assist in a break up.
The THP trooper was able to remove parent of Player 1 and Player 1
from the field and the play of the game resumed.
The TSSAA also conducted an investigation into the incident and after
considering the facts, accepted the action to be taken by the Pickett
County Administration. The self-imposed disciplinary actions are as
1. Player 1 has been suspended from all participation in TSSAA
sponsored events for the 2017-2018 school year.
2. Player 2 has been suspended for two games for leaving the field of
play and participating in an altercation with another player.
3. Player 3 has been suspended for one game for leaving the field.
4. Coach O.B. Caudle has been suspended for one game for failure to
maintain control of the team.
5. Parent of Player 1 has been banned from attending all TSSAA
sponsored events for the 2017-2018 school year.
In addition to the actions, the TSSAA also placed the Pickett County
Football program on probation for two calendar years beginning August
31, 2017-August 31, 2019. There will also be a fine of $500 annually
during the probation period. The football program may continue to
participate in regular and postseason contests during the period of
probation. If there are other incidents during this time, TSSAA will
be forced to take further action.
Editors Note: The printed edition of this story had a mistake in the headline, it has been corrected in this story. We apologize for the confusion.

Fire at Coopers Shredding Facility

Cooper fire20170907 14946 x60i5z

Members of the Byrdstown-Pickett County Volunteer Department were 
dispatched to a facility fire at Coopers Recycling Shredding facility 
in Monroe last Thursday, August 30th.
The fire had began a little earlier and crews from Overton County 
were on the scene but for whatever reason, the fire hydrant at the 
property had no water pressure, which made conditions more difficult 
to contain the fire. A request for assistance came in for Pickett 
County at around 1:19 p.m.
According to an employee with Coopers, a vehicle that was in a pile 
behind the shredder machine shorted and caught fire. It isn't 
uncommon for fires to break out at the facility with the vehicles, 
parts and machines, but staff are able to get contained without the 
need for fire department.
Firefighters and employees worked together to get the fire controlled.

Various departments from Upper Cumberland respond to fire

A community joined together and did what they could after a fire
began destroying Winningham's True Value Hardware store in Livingston
last Friday. There were approximately 25 fire departments, including
Pickett County, and other various agencies from all over the Upper
Cumberland that responded to the horrendous fire that raged through
the building.
Sources tell the PRESS that a little after 12:00 p.m., employees from
a nearby business noticed the fire in the back of the warehouse and
one of them quickly went over to let everyone in the store know they
needed to vacate the building immediately.
Shortly after firefighters began surrounding the fire, there was a
mandatory evacuation for the Livingston Square area and traffic was
backed up and detoured
Approximately 131 firefighters worked non-stop through drizzling rain
and high winds on into the night to contain the fire and keep it from
reaching nearby buildings. Two firefighters were treated and released
for medical conditions related to fatigue.
Investigators with the state fire marshall's office, the Tennessee
Bureau of Investigation along with other agencies were at the scene
Tuesday morning to investigate the cause of the fire which is unknown
at this time.
The Winningham family has served Overton and surrounding areas for 
over forty years.
Winningham hardware after20170907 18827 pxloss

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Sobriety Checkpoints Sept. 1st

 The Pickett County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting sobriety 
checkpoints throughout the county on Sept. 1, 2017 to kick off the 
long Labor Day holiday weekend. The checkpoints will take place from 
6:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. and may be located on Hwy. 111, Hwy. 127 
and Hwy. 325. Officers will concentrate their enforcement efforts on 
removing impaired drivers from the roadways of Pickett County.
There were 6,648 known alcohol-related crashes in Tennessee in 2014. 
Individuals that make the irresponsible and dangerous choice to drink 
and drive are risking their license, their freedom, their life and 
the lives of others. The Pickett County Sheriff’s Office is committed 
to keeping the community as well as traveler’s safe and helping them 
arrive safely at their destinations.
Officer overtime for these checkpoints is funded through a grant with 
the Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office.

Commissioners approve resolution for lease agreement for jail

 The Pickett County Commissioners met in regular session on Monday,
August 21st.
The following commissioners were present: Mitchell Cross, Tim Ford,
Carey Garner, Darrell Garrett, David Harer, Eddie Holt, Colan
Huddleston, Larry Ledford, Carter Martin, Brad Richardson and Jim
Richardson. Matthew Storie was absent.
Motion for agenda and minutes from Monday, July 17th were made with
all ayes.
Approval of the monthly and quarterly reports were made by Brad
Richardson and seconded by Mitchell Cross with all ayes.
Notary approval and renewals for Coy Padgett (new), M. Douglas
Garrett (renewal), Paula Jean Hensley (renewal), and Rhonda Elder
(renewal) were carried with all ayes.
Motion by Mitchell Cross and seconded by Larry Ledford to approve
Resolutions FY 2017-2018-7, FY 2017-2018-8, FY 2017-2018-9, FY
2017-2018-10 to apply for grants from TDEC passed with all ayes.
-The FY2017-2018-7 is to apply for Tennessee Department of
Environment and Conservation Grant funds. This grant is for $100,000
with a $10,000 match by Pickett County for updates of the convenience
-The FY2017-2018-8 is to apply for TDEC grant of $50,000, with a
$5,000 match from the county to help increase recycling.
-The FY2017-2018-9 is to apply for TDEC grant of $25,000 with a
$2,500 match to purchase scales and other equipment and improve
material quality.
-The 2017-2018-10 is to apply for TDEC grant of $50,000 with a $5,000
match to purchase recycling equipment.
  The motion to approve Resolution FY 2017-2018-11 was made by Jim
Richardson and seconded by Brad Richardson with all ayes except Carey
Garner, Darrell Garrett, Eddie Holt and Carter Martin who voted nay.
This resolution authorizes a lease agreement with the Industrial
Development Board of Pickett County for a jail and justice center and
to authorize lease payments thereunder in an amount sufficient to pay
the principal and interest of lease revenue bonds to be issued by the
Industrial Development Board in an aggregate amount not to exceed
Motion to approve recommendation from the Pickett County Corrective
Partnership committee were made by David Harer and seconded by Colan
Huddleston passed with all ayes except Carey Garner, Darrell Garrett,
Eddie Holt and Carter Martin who voted nay. This was to approve the
jail plans as presented for the construction of a 54 bed jail,
Justice Center and Sheriff Department that meets or exceeds all state
A motion by Larry Ledford and seconded by David Harer to purchase the
"Winningham Property" was tabled until the next meeting.
Commissioner Darrell Garrett addressed the board on behalf of the
Lions Club asking for a donation from the county. Chairman Richard
Daniel asked for the request to be submitted in writing and to allow
the adequate time for the board to receive it to be able to vote on
the appropriation for the donation.
There was a quick discussion on the Transfer Station report and
county building and community center updates with no action taken.

Jail design, CTAS Jail Needs Assessment and Jail Site Assessment are available for viewing on under Top Stories.

Appalachian Renovation Loan Program available for homeowners

Homeowners in Pickett County may be eligible for funds through the 
Appalachian Renovation Loan Program (ARLP) for repairs or 
improvements to their homes.
ARLP is a program provided through the Tennessee Housing Development 
Agency (THDA) to improve homeownership for residents of Appalachian 
counties. Homeowners of single-family (one-to-four unit) homes in 
Pickett County that require repairs or modifications are eligible to 
Eligible property types include single family 1-4 unit residences or 
manufactured homes (single or double-wide). Commercial properties, 
multifamily properties and properties listed on a state or national 
historic register are ineligible.
The terms of the loan include:
Maximum Loan Amount of $25,000
0% Interest Rate
No monthly payment
5-Year Loan Term
No Prepayment Penalty
Post Purchase Homebuyer Education will be required for all ARLP loans 
and must be completed prior to closing.
Interested applicants may contact the Upper Cumberland Development 
District, the region’s designated ARLP Program Participant. The 
Program Participant will determine if the applicant meets the basic 
loan qualifications and if the repairs or improvements fall within 
THDA’s approved activities. With questions or to apply, contact Tammy 
O’Dell at (931) 476-4102 or by email at
For more information about Appalachian Renovation Loan Program, visit
About UCDD: The Upper Cumberland Development District provides 
regional planning and assistance to the 14-county Upper Cumberland 
region to promote economic growth and community enhancement. Find 
UCDD on the web at and at

Fire Department responds to vehicle fire

Vehicle fire 8241720170824 25036 f8iria

A vehicle fire occurred Friday, August 18th at 210 North Main Street.
Members of the Byrdstown/Pickett County Volunteer Fire Department 
were able to quickly arrive to the scene.
Reports indicate that the Dodge truck, which was on a trailer, was 
being emptied of gas in preparation to be taken to Cooper's for 
recycling when the fire began.
Firefighters were able to get the fire out before it spread to the 
truck that was hauling the vehicle and trailer.
The quick response was due to fire department members being in the 
area when the call came in.

Visitors spend $7.39 million in Pickett County in 2016

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Tourist Development 
Commissioner Kevin Triplett announced today Tennessee tourism’s 
direct domestic and international travel expenditures reached an all-
time record high of $19.3 billion in 2016, up 4.7 percent over the 
previous year, as reported by the U.S. Travel Association.

For the 11th consecutive year, tourism topped $1 billion in state and 
local sales tax revenue, reaching $1.7 billion. That marks a 6.7 
percent increase over 2015, higher than the national growth of travel 
related state tax revenues. Tourism generated 176,500 jobs for 
Tennesseans, a 3.3 percent growth year over year.

“More people from around the world continue to visit Tennessee each 
year,” Haslam said. “The $1.7 billion in sales tax revenue and job 
growth are good news for everyone in Tennessee. The hard work of the 
tourism industry, led by the Department of Tourist Development and 
Tennessee Tourism Committee, continues to produce record results and 
dedication to boost Tennessee’s economy.”

Five counties exceeded one billion in travel expenditures including 
Davidson ($5.996 billion), Shelby ($3.335 billion), Sevier ($2.217 
billion), Hamilton ($1.060 billion), and Knox ($1.056 billion). All 
95 counties saw more than $1 million in direct travel expenditures in 
the economic impact of tourism and 19 counties saw more than $100 

Guests spent a total of $7.39 million in Pickett County in 2016, an 
increase of 3.5% compared to 2015, generating a total of $0.42 
million in state and $1.07 million in local tax revenues, increases 
of 5.4% and 4.1%, respectively. A total of 55 Pickett Countians are 
employed in tourism-related fields.

“The economic impact growth of the tourism industry is a result of 
guests from around the world discovering everything that makes 
Tennessee ‘The Soundtrack of America,’” Commissioner Triplett said. 
“It starts with what we have; the music, history, culture and 
experiences. It is enhanced by how those things are managed. The 
authenticity and Southern hospitality from our communities and 
partners create an environment for our guests in a way not only that 
helps them enjoy their stay but motivates them to return. These 
numbers are a reflection of Tennessee becoming a destination of 
choice. But a critical component of this is they do not include the 
staggering capital investments being made by tourism partners across 
the state to enhance the experience.”

In another record previously announced during National Travel and 
Tourism Week, 110 million people visited the state in 2016, up 4.4 
percent from 2015, as reported by D.K Shifflet & Associates. An 
increase in leisure travelers also led to a jump in overnight stays. 
Tennessee places among the Top 10 travel destinations in the U.S. for 
the third consecutive year and is considered a top retirement 

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development doesn’t achieve these 
numbers alone. In 2011 Gov. Haslam appointed the Tennessee Tourism 
Committee, made up of tourism leaders in both the public and private 
sectors. The Committee is chaired by Colin Reed, Ryman Hospitality 
Properties, Inc. The department also works with local convention and 
visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce and city and county leaders in 
all 95 counties to draw people to the state.
For more information, contact Jill Kilgore, public relations media 
manager for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, at 
615-927-1320 or by email at

Donation for local fire department

Fire dept donation20170824 21034 1dm4mbk
Tony Milsted, pictured at left, presented a check for $610.00 to
Byrdstown Mayor Sam Gibson for the Byrdstown Pickett County Volunteer
Fire Department.
The money was collected from donations given at the dunk tank and
roasted sweet corn venue sponsored by The Rental Station at Dale
Hollow during the 4th of July Town celebration.

Pickett Sheriff uses patrol vehicle to stop pursuit


 On Wednesday, August 23, Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Eddie
Gibson tried to initiate a traffic stop on a vehicle that radar
indicated that was running approximately 103 mph across the Obey
River Bridge.

Trooper Gibson pursued the vehicle southbound on Highway 111 until
the vehicle made an unexpected u-turn and began fleeing northbound on
Highway 111. Trooper Gibson then requested assistance from the
Pickett County Sheriff's Office to aid in attempting to stop the

Sheriff Dowdy and Detective Sgt. Smith began aiding Trooper Gibson in
attempting to stop the vehicle. The vehicle continued northbound on
Highway 111 exceeding speeds of 117 mph. Sheriff Dowdy radioed
Clinton County Sheriff's Office to advise them of the pursuit
entering their county and requesting permission to pursue into their

Sheriff Jim Guffey, officers with the City of Albany Police
Department, and Kentucky State Police responded to attempt to stop
the vehicle. The vehicle evaded officers numerous times, almost
striking officers in the process, and eventually ended up on
Fairgrounds Road in Clinton County, Ky. It was at this time that the
suspect turned around and began coming back into the direction of
Sheriff Dowdy.

Sheriff Dowdy then used his patrol vehicle to attempt to stop the
pursuit from continuing to ensure that no innocent bystanders would
be injured. Dowdy then allowed the vehicle to strike him head-on in
an attempt to disable the suspect’s vehicle. The suspect’s vehicle
was struck in the right side causing it to veer into the ditch and
become incapacitated. The suspect then exited the vehicle and fled
the scene. A female that was in the vehicle was detained and later

The suspect, Andrew Maxfield, 26, of Allons, TN, was later
apprehended and is currently facing charges of driving under the
influence while license suspended-1st offense, speeding 26 mph or
greater, fleeing or evading police 1st degree, reckless driving,
assault 3rd degree on a police officer, wanton endangerment 1st
degree, and failure of non-owner operator to provide insurance.

Charges in Pickett County are pending.

Photos:Courtesy of Clinton County News

Paving bids accepted for additional parking at PCK8

The Pickett County Board of Education met Monday, August 14, 2017 at 
7:00 p.m. at the office of the director of schools with the following 
members present: Dorman Beaty, Jr., John Reagan, Chairman and Nathan 
Anderson. Jerry Mitchell was absent.
Chairman John Reagan asked if anyone wanted to be added to the agenda 
and  Jake and Renee Johnson asked to be placed on the agenda about 
bus transportation for their children.
  The Johnsons addressed the board about the concern for the lack of 
a bus driving up to the dead end on Grandview Drive to pick up their 
children. They are having to pay to have their children to be dropped 
off, a cost of approximately $1,800 a year at a location because the 
bus will not travel to their house. After a discussion, Director 
Diane Elder said she would will fill out request for a bus turnaround 
and contact Pickett County Highway Superintendent Jimmy Cope.
Motion by Nathan Anderson seconded by John Reagan with all ayes to 
accept executive decision to give RC Services/ Coleman the bid to 
seal and stripe parking lots at the high school.
Motion by John Reagan, seconded by Dorman Beaty, Jr. to approve the 
following  policies and delete policy** 4.402 Selection of 
Instructional  Materials as recommended by TSBA - first reading. All 
1.407  School District Records
2.703  Audits
3.202  Emergency Preparedness Plan
3.400  Students Transportation Management
4.210  Credit Recovery
4.301  Interscholastic Athletes
4.402 Selection of Instructional Materials (changed from 
Instructional Supplies)
4.600  Grading System
4.700  Testing Programs
5.200  Separation Practices for Tenured Teachers
5.201  Separation Practices for Non-tenured Teachers
5.203  Recommendations and File Transfers-NEW
5.701 Substitute Teachers
6.505  Students in Foster Care
Motion by Dorman Beaty, Jr. seconded by Nathan Anderson to approve
School Nutrition Civil Rights procedure and Offer Verses Serve 
Policy. This policy addresses compliance with USDA with having poster 
displays up in the school and making sure staff is trained on the 
subject. All ayes.
Motion by Dorman Beaty Jr. seconded by John Reagan with all ayes to 
give the director of schools the authority to open and accept bids 
for paving the parking lot at the Agricultural Learning Center and 
new parking area at the Pickett County K8 School. The new parking for 
the K-8 will be at the top of the road creating approximately 30-40 
parking spaces, along with a walkway that goes from the top of the 
hill down to the flagpole. Chairman Reagan asked if the school was ok 
with funding this project. Director Elder explained there would not 
be an issue, that these projects are being funded by the additional 
$100,000 the school had after closing books.
Motion by Nathan Anderson seconded by John Reagan to approve 
handbooks for the Pickett County High School and the Pickett County 
K8 School for FY 2017-2018. All ayes.
Motion by John Reagan seconded by Nathan Anderson with all ayes to 
approve the Pickett County High School football schedule for FY 
2017-2018 and 2018-2019.
Director Elder then stated that the board needed to go to item one 
which was to adopt the agenda and to approve the June 12th meeting, 
there was no July meeting. Motion was made by Nathan Anderson 
seconded by Dorman Beat, Jr. to adopt the agenda ad approve the 
minutes from the June 12, 2017 meeting.
Discussion with no action on Principal and Supervisor reports.
Due to a schedule conflict, the September Board of Education meeting 
is moved from the 11th, to Thursday, September 14th.

Resurfacing on Highway 111

Road work 8171720170824 16372 10fbqtd

The Tennessee Department of Transportation schedules resurfacing for 
state highways every 12 years.
Portions of Highway 111 in Overton and Pickett County are in the 
process of getting milled and prepared for complete resurfacing.
The section of road work begins north of Big Springs in Overton and 
ends north of Jim Beaty Road in Pickett. The total miles that are 
affected are 6.2 miles.
TDOT Community Relations Officer Jennifer Flynn reported to the 
PRESS, that the project is contracted with Rogers Group Inc. of 
Nashville and is estimated to cost $1,470,00. The completion of the 
road work is estimated to be at the end of September. If you are 
traveling on that section of Highway 111, plan for delays.
Due to the anticipation of heavier traffic throughout Tennessee 
because of the eclipse, road work will also be restricted beginning 
at noon August 18th through noon Tuesday, August 22nd. This is for 
the safety of the workers and to help minimize traffic issues due to 
road construction.

DUI charges involving two county vehicles


 Recently, here have been a few incidents resulting in DUI charges 
involving vehicles owned by Pickett County government.
  The first accident was on Monday, July 31st at around 6 p.m. 
causing a power outage within an area of Pickett County. After the 
power went out, a call came into the Pickett County Sheriff’s Office 
as a possible motor vehicle accident at 1526 Livingston Highway.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Neil Matthews also quickly responded 
to the call. As Trooper Matthews was arriving to the area of the 
possible accident, a tractor trailer truck traveling south on Highway 
111, hit sagging powerlines and ripped a 55 ft. utility pole out of 
the ground. Trooper Toby Beaty also arrived to investigate that part 
of the incident. The truck driver was not injured but the road was 
shut down to allow the lines to be safely removed.
Upon further investigation by Trooper Matthews, the powerlines were 
low because of the utility pole being previously struck and the 
guidewire was clipped causing the pole to lean. While there was no 
vehicle around at that time, it was later determined that a parked 
2007 Dodge Brush Fire truck, belonging to the Byrdstown-Pickett 
County Volunteer Fire Department, had rolled down a hill and struck 
the utility pole.
The Dodge truck had been parked at the residence of Steve Flowers, 
who was a volunteer with the fire department. According to Fire Chief 
Robert Bond, Mr. Flowers had not been authorized to keep the vehicle 
in his possession at his residence. The accident report states that 
Mr. Flowers left the scene and was located sometime later.
  Mr. Flowers was charged with DUI first offense, leaving the scene 
of a crash with no injuries, and immediate notice of a crash. He has 
also been released of his position with the volunteer fire department.
  The other incident occurred in Overton County involving a truck 
used for the county Litter Grant program. The report indicates that a 
call came into the Overton County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, 
August 2nd at around 10:56 a.m. at 4323 Heard Ridge Road in reference 
to a possible two vehicle accident. The responding deputy reported 
that a Nissan car was traveling north on Heard Ridge and came up on a 
2005 Chevy truck that was parked on the wrong side of the road. When 
the driver of the Nissan attempted to go around the vehicle, the 
driver of the truck began to go forward hitting head on. There was 
only minor damages to both vehicles with no injuries to either driver.
  The report states that the deputy noticed the driver of the truck 
was unsteady on his feet, had slurred speech and smelled of alcohol. 
After being unable to perform tasks during the standard field 
sobriety test, Jeremy Huddleston of Byrdstown was charged with DUI.

Drugs found after one vehicle accident

Drug pic 8101720170811 16775 1jvbr0e
Courtesy of Pickett County Sheriff Office

Pickett County deputies recently responded to an accident on Cordell
Hull Memorial Drive that led to the discovery of cocaine and marijuana.
The driver of a Suzuki SUV appeared to have left the roadway and
drove into the yard of a residence on Cordell Hull before hitting an
embankment close to Pryor Road. Robert Banzin, 66, of Washington,
Pennsylvania was transported to Livingston Regional Hospital.
The vehicle was impounded and while deputies conducted an inventory
report, they found approximately nine grams of cocaine, several
ounces of marijuana and other drug paraphernalia.
Banzin was later transported to Cookeville Regional Medical Center
for other medical issues.
The accident is still being investigated by the Pickett County
Sheriff’s Office and charges are currently pending against Banzin.

Juvenile takes school vehicle to break in local liquor store


 A juvenile petition has been filed with the Pickett County General 
Sessions Court on a 17-year-old male from Byrdstown.

 An investigation by the Pickett County Sheriff's Office revealed that 
the individual who was identified by video footage, was seen taking a 
vehicle at the Pickett County Director of Schools office and using it 
to break into Highway 111 Wine and Spirits.

 The suspect took the truck after finding that the keys had been left 
in the white Chevy S-10 that is used by the school. Inside video 
footage of the liquor store captured the individual taking down 
outside cameras and ripping out the cords in an attempt to hide the 
crime. He then used the truck and a rope to attempt to open the front 
door. After that was unsuccessful, the suspect is shown getting a 
chain and was able to pull the doors open.

 Once inside, he took two half gallon bottles of Jack Daniels, then 
fled the building. At some point after breaking into the liquor 
store, he took the stolen truck back to school.

 The deputy noticed there were what appeared to be drag marks from the 
truck to the wooded area by the Director of School office where the 
removed camera and chain were found.

 It is unknown as to what the judge will determine in regards to the 
charges involving the juvenile in this case.

First Day of School

August 7th

127 Yard Sale

2017 highway 127 corridor sale 30th anniversary 289420170804 31295 12iwebk
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the sale, stretching from 5 miles north of Addison, Michigan all the way down to Gadsden, Alabama!
To celebrate this milestone, the chamber of commerce; the official headquarters of the sale, will be having a kick-off celebration on Thursday, August 3rd from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Make plans to stop in!
The US 127 Corridor Sale started in 1987. It now runs from 5 miles north of Addison, MI, south to Chattanooga, then switches to the Lookout Mountain Parkway, continuing to Gadsden, AL for a total of 690 miles! The four day sale always starts on the first Thursday in August making dates for the 30th annual sale to be August 3-6. The sale is very popular, and visitors from several foreign countries have attended.
As written by Dennis Keim, an Editorial Photographer from Huntsville, AL, "It is aptly titled, “The World’s Longest Yard Sale!” Every year individuals clean out their closets and stake out their front yards along the Hwy 127 corridor stretching over 690 miles from Addison, Michigan to Gadsden, Alabama.
The original intent of the sale was to prove the back roads have something to offer, and that the interstate system was not the only mode for travel.
County officials put together a list of attractions along the route in Kentucky and Tennessee. There are over three hundred attractions along the route to provide enjoyment for the family. Whether it is majestic hills, beautiful scenery, river boats, railroads, toe tapping music, arts, crafts, horses, fishing, hiking, bits of Civil War or Indian History, there are many opportunities to enjoy the beauty and culture of the land along the 127 Sale Route.
The Lookout Mountain Parkway Association asked to be included in the sale route a few years after the sale began. The Lookout Mountain Parkway leaves Chattanooga as Highway 58 and becomes several different highway numbers before reaching Gadsden. It is no longer US 127, but is the same great sale. This routing crosses the Northwest corner of Georgia, going into Cloudland. This added another 100 miles to the already existing 350 miles, thus making it 450 miles at that time-- "The World's Longest Yard Sale".
The Fentress County Chamber of Commerce in Jamestown, Tennessee has served as headquarters for the 127 Corridor Sale since 1995. We are centrally located along the route. Fentress County can also claim the origin of the sale. Mike Walker, the County Executive in 1987, came up with the idea of the sale, worked hard to make it happen, and planned for it to be an annual event.
Thousands of people participate in the sale each year as vendors. A front lawn may be turned into a showcase as items are displayed. Off road parking is essential, and many of the homes have this space. Visitors should honor requests of "No Parking" or "No Trespassing" posted by families not participating in the sale--cars can leave deep tire ruts on a soft lawn.
Traffic congestion is part of the annual phenomenon to be endured, but the chance of finding a treasure lures them on. Many visitors plan their vacations around the sale event, with some traveling the entire 690 miles. Others may opt to spend their time in a selected area, and venture off the beaten path to discover the history and charm of the land.
Whatever the mode of travel you may choose, please do expect plenty of traffic. The pace may slow to that of snarled rush hour traffic. It may be bumper to bumper with everyone stretching their neck to see what is on a seller's table or in the front lawn. Do expect sudden stops to occur without warning, and drive carefully and defensively. Enjoy the spot wherever you are, because down the road a few miles may be a space where no vendors are set up and the traffic will move along as usual. You are here to enjoy the sale and most of the other vehicles are too.
Some book hotel rooms a year in advance. A few weeks prior to the sale date, most of the hotel rooms are taken. Bed and Breakfast type lodgings do a brisk business during this sale, with most any type of overnight lodging being filled each night. Southern hospitality has led to couples being taken into private homes because nothing else was available. Some visitors to the sale try to find lodging when and where needed. Some find cancellations, some go up to fifty miles, to the right or left of the sale route, to spend the night. Some even sleep in their car. However, these are considered small inconveniences in light of the excitement of finding the deal of the day and anticipation of a big shopping spree.
A few dislike the snarled traffic associated with the sale, but all must admit, the sale is good for the economy along the corridor route. Locals sell their crafts, accommodations are filled, restaurants are crowded, and those renting vendor spaces also add to the local economy. Those who want to break away from the sale are encouraged to visit the local attractions.
For more information regarding the annual Hwy 127 Corridor Sale visit our website at . Brochures can be obtained by calling 1-800-327-3945.
For more information contact: Fentress County Chamber of Commerce  P.O. Box 1294, Jamestown, TN 38556 Tel: 800-327-3945  Fax: 931-879-6767

Regions Bank to close in October

Regions bank20170731 20559 meewhk

Customers are receiving notice regarding the closing of the Byrdstown 
Branch of Region's Bank located on West Main Street. According to the 
letter given to customers, there was a decision to combine the 
Byrdstown Branch and Cookeville Branch as an effort to invest 
resources where customers use them the most.
If you are a customer and have not yet received a letter, the final 
closing will be on Friday, October 27th at 2 p.m.
If you rent a safe deposit box, please remove your contents by 
October 20th. For more information, call 1-800-592-1958.
The bank has had some name changes over the years, but originally 
began as Pickett Bank and Trust in 1904. In 1988, it changed to Union 
Planters Bank until the merger of Regions in 2004.
"There have been so many memories made serving this community, it is 
a bittersweet moment to see it close,"said Vice President and Branch 
Manager Linda Crouch who has been an employee for the past 45 years.
The employees have been given the opportu

UCHRA awarded energy assistance

Community Services Director

“Good news for citizens of the Upper Cumberland area who are 
struggling to pay their utility bills,” according to Luke Collins, 
UCHRA Executive Director. The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency 
is now taking applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance 
Program (LIHEAP) for the new program year. “With these funds in the 
coming year, UCHRA will be able to provide utility assistance to low 
income households,” he continued.
LIHEAP is a federally funded program administered by the Tennessee 
Housing Development Agency, designed to assist low income households 
in meeting home energy needs and is intended to supplement energy 
costs for those eligible households. Priority for service is not 
“first come, first served;” rather, it is based upon a point system.
Documentation of all household income will be required for the 
application process. This includes paystubs for 8 current weeks if 
paid weekly, four paystubs if paid bi-weekly or bi-monthly, current 
Social Security or Pension Award Letters, or an unemployment benefit 
letter.  If self-employed, an applicant will need to provide a tax 
return for the previous year. Applicants must also provide a copy of 
12 months of the household’s electric and/or gas bills. Proof of all 
Social Security numbers is required for all household members. A 
valid driver’s license or photo ID is required from the applicant 
only. Some additional documentation may also be required to process 
Assistance provided to households ranges from $300 - $600 depending 
upon the applicant’s total points. Once an application has been 
submitted, the applicant will be notified by mail within 90 day of 
the status of their application.
Households awarded assistance are required to continue paying their 
energy bills until the awarded payment has been received by its 
designated utility provider.
The UCHRA Pickett County office is located at 105 S. Main Street 
(Pickett Co. Community Center, Room #6), Byrdstown, TN and can be 
reached by calling 931-864-6540.

No tractor trailer traffic on Caney Creek

The Pickett County Commissioners met in regular session on Monday, 
July 17th at the Pickett County Community Room. All commissioners 
were present at the beginning of the meeting except Matthew Storie.
Motion with all ayes to approve the agenda was made by Colan 
Huddleston and seconded by David Harer.
Matthew Storie entered the meeting.
Larry Ledford made a motion to approve minutes from the Monday, June 
19th county court meeting as presented. There were all ayes except 
Darrell Garrett who passed.
Motion with all ayes by David Harer and seconded by Jim Richardson to 
approve the following reports as presented:
*Month End Report-County General Fund, Transfer Station/Solid Waste, 
Debt Service Fund, and Solid Waste Fund
*Cash Flow Analysis-101 General Fund, 116 Transfer Station/Solid 
Waste, 151 Debt Service, 207 Solid Waste Fund
*Cash Flow Analysis from other departments-131 Highway Department, 
142 School Federal Projects
*Cash Flow Analysis-Actual vs Projected from other Departments: 142 
School Federal Projects
*Budget to Actual Report Revenues-101 General Fund, 116 Transfer 
Station/Solid Waste, 151 Debt Service, 207 Solid Waste Fund
*Budget to Actual Report Expenditures-101 General Fund, 116 Transfers 
Station/Solid Waste Fund, 151 Debt Service Fund, 207 Solid Waste Fund
*Clerk and Master Quarterly Report of taxes collected for the months 
of April, May, and June 2017.
Carried motion by Mitchell Cross and seconded by Brad Richardson to 
approve the budget amendments as presented were all ayes except Carey 
Garner, Eddie Holt and Carter Martin. There were three amendments: 
move unassigned funds to clear out year end, pay for tax collection 
of $30,000, additional cost for CDBG Ambulance Service grant match.
Approved motion for Resolution 2017-2018-5 concerning the CDBG 
Emergency Services Project increasing the local match to cover all 
additional cost for the project was made by Jim Richardson and 
seconded by Mitchell Cross. There were all ayes except Darrell 
Garrett who voted nay.
Resolution 2017-2018-6 to close thru tractor trailer truck traffic on 
Caney Creek Road due to safety risk was approved with all ayes except 
Carey Garner, Darrell Garrett, Eddie Holt and Carter Martin who voted 
nay. This closure is for approximately 3.86 miles and includes other 
counties in Tennessee and in Kentucky. The Resolution is only for the 
area of the road that is in Pickett County.
Motion by Mitchell Cross and seconded by Larry Ledford for roll off 
bed charges were approved with all ayes. The charge will be $50 for 
delivery and $50 for pick-up with a daily charge of $5 while on site. 
A charge of $36.50 per ton on the waste will also be put in place.
Chairman Richard Daniel gave an update on the enhancement grant. This 
is a $50,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic 
Development. A proposed architect design of the downtown area was 
shown. People's Bank and Trust has also agreed to offer special loans 
for the business owners along with this grant. Mr. Daniel reported 
that once the plan is 100 percent complete, there will be a meeting 
with the downtown business owners to decide how the grant will be 
There was a discussion regarding E-911 with a presentation by 
Chairman Daniel. He stated that in order to get 911 back to our 
county, it can't financially hurt Overton County 911, and it has to 
pass by referendum.
EMS Director Tom Storie reported that they are in 94% of collection 
rate compared to last year. The new ambulances should be ready by 
October and they will be 2018 models.
Recyclables and tipping fees are up at the Transfer station according 
to Transfer Station Lead Operator Marty Beaty.
There was discussion with no action of the progress of the county 
buildings and community center along with the S&P Global ratings letter.
Before the meeting was adjourned, Carey Garner asked to address the 
board about the 911 (county) road signs. He stated that Jimmy Cope 
would be willing to see that the signs were put up and maintained if 
the county would purchase the signs and pay for his employees time to 
do the job. Garner asked the court if they would be willing to do 
that. Chairman Daniel asked for that to be in writing and they would 
see what could be done.
The meeting adjourned until the next regular meeting on Monday, 
August 21st.

Pickett County receives $15,000 ThreeStar grant

Last week, Senator Ken Yager announced that Pickett County has been 
awarded the ThreeStar Competitive Grant in the amount of $15,000 from 
the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.
  Participation in the ThreeStar program is based on an annual 
evaluation and activity plan to demonstrate individual readiness. 
Local community leaders and Joint Economic and Community Development 
Boards are encouraged to implement activities that will impact the 
community's competitiveness in a global economy. Pickett County 
Chamber of Commerce Director Billy Robbins has reported that the 
proposed projects submitted on the application were as follows:
•Equipment for Byrdstown/Pickett County Volunteer Fire Department 
•100 radon detector kits, $3,200.
•DAV Veteran Memorial $5,500.
  There were a total of 63 grants awarded out of 75 applications for 
a total of $975,00 in funding.
  "Congratulations to the local officials and Chamber of Commerce who 
secured these grants. I am excited to see the many ways these 
counties utilize these funds," said Yager.

Progress at the community center

Comm center20170720 30017 10u0d9w

The much needed renovation for the Byrdstown Community Center is now 
The county received an energy grant from the Tennessee Department of 
Environment and Conservation in the amount of $129,000 in 2015. That 
grant is being used to help cover costs for new insulation, windows, 
lighting and roof for the building.
According to Pickett County Executive Richard Daniel, the work on the 
building should be finished in the fall.

TWRA reports no boating -related fatalities over long July 4 holiday  weekend

 The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reported there were no 
boating-related fatalities over the 2017 Independence Day holiday 
period from June 30 through July 4.
This year’s holiday period was extended with July 4 falling on a 
Tuesday. More than 10,700 boats were inspected during the five days. 
TWRA boating officers made 20 boating under the influence (BUI) 
arrests. Officers issued 353 citations, and 303 warnings. They also 
assisted 483 boaters.
There were five accidents that were investigated with four injuries, 
two of which were Ocoee River whitewater incidents.
This year, Operation Dry Water (ODW) was held for three days during 
the holiday period. ODW is a national weekend BUI awareness and 
enforcement campaign directed toward reducing alcohol and drug-
related accidents and fatalities. Thirteen of the BUI arrests came 
during the three days.
The TWRA Boating and Law Enforcement Division compiled this year’s 
holiday statistics after receiving reports from the agency’s four 
regions. The July 4 holiday is considered the peak of boating season.

Local family representing Byrdstown on the Today Show

Family nyc20170713 3466 18thvro

 Check out this picture of a local family who was seen on NBC's Today 
Show during their visit to New York City. They were even pictured in 
a selfie by host Hoda Kotb. She handed one of the boys the microphone 
to capture the selfie and also gave them scripts to take home.
Pictured is Les and Barb Reeder, Kayla Reeder, Anthony and Rena 
Scott, Landon and Brayden Scott.

Summer Series Open Barrel Horse Show

Horse show 1720170713 2134 14wtta
Photo: James Purkey

 The Byrdstown Summer Series open barrel horse show that was scheduled 
Saturday, was delayed to Sunday due to the rain. Pictured above is 
nine year old Jalla Rudd on her horse Thunder, who won first in the 
nine and under barrels. She is the daughter of Jared and Jessica Rudd 
from Overton County.

Horse Show here this weekend

 The Byrdstown Summer Series open barrel horse show make-up date for 
the cancelled May 13th date, will be July 8th.

The event is presented by B&W Productions LLC and will be held at the 
Pickett County Horseman's Association. Start times are scheduled but 
subject to change as follows:

4:30-6:00 P.M. (CST)-Exhibition barrels, $5/run
6:00-6:45 P.M.-Exhibition Poles, $5/run
7:00 P.M.-Class #1-2-D Youth Poles, $15; #2-2-D Open Poles (3-D with 
20 or more horses), $20; #3-Pee Wee Poles, $5; #4-3-D Youth Barrels, 
$20; #5-Pee Wee Barrels, $10; #6-4-D Open Barrels, $30, $250 added, 
$500 added with 100 horses.

Equal payout to each of the divisions in each class, 70% jackpot. 
Youth classes are for ages 18 and under as of January, 1, 2017.
There is $1,500 added to the open barrel race at the finals show in 
September. You must run at three of the five shows in the Open to 
qualify to run at the finals. How many horses are run in the open 
barrel race at three shows is however many horses you have qualified 
for. Negative coggins is required!

There are still three shows left before the finals. After the show on 
July 8th, the next one will be July 29th, followed by August 19th.
Gate fee is $4 per person, kids 10 and under are free with a $12 
maximum per vehicle. Cash will only be accepted at the show.

For more information, contact Shawn Wilson 1-606-305-4779 or Will 
Bingham at 1-606-875-9050 and visit website

Good Neighbors Theatre awards its first scholarships

As part of their continuing focus on educating youth about the 
appreciation of the arts, Good Neighbors Theatre has awarded their 
first annual scholarships to two recent area high school graduates. A 
part of the requirements to receive the scholarship was to submit an 
essay on how the arts has influenced the life of the applicant.
The Pickett County winner is Autumn Denney, daughter of Kevin and 
Jenny Denney. Her award was presented at her high school commencement 
on May 19. Debbie Elder, GNT Board Member, made the presentation as 
the GNT representative. Autumn is planning to go to Tennessee Tech, 
having received several other scholarships in addition to this one. 
She has had a lot of formal training in art and has participated in 
plays at Pickett County High School. Her essay described all the ways 
she felt her painting and drawings had been important to her mental 
Keisha Garrett, from Clinton County High School in Albany, Ky., was 
awarded one of the two Good Neighbors Theatre scholarships at the 
school’s awards night on May 18. Angela Sloan, also a GNT Board 
Member, presented the award. Her essay described her experience 
teaching an arts and crafts class to elementary age children at her 
church as part of a course requirement in a dual credit (high school/
college) English class. Keisha was a member of several clubs and 
organizations, a member of the CCHS volleyball team, and worked with 
younger students at Albany Elementary through the 21st Century 
Program. Keisha plans to attend Somerset Community College where she 
has already earned several college hours while in high school. Her 
goal is to become an elementary teacher. She is the daughter of Keith 
and Debra Garrett. 

Town celebration continued despite rain

Frog jumping 1720170706 11090 pd23yk
Photos for the celebration were by James Purkey and Brian Raef.
 The festivities from the Town of Byrdstown’s 4th of July and 
Centennial celebration began with sunshine and lots of events scheduled.
Just as the games were beginning, the weather brought the first of 
two storms.
However, the clouds parted and the night ended with a spectacular 
fireworks show.
Pictured are scenes from Saturday’s Byrdstown Independence 
Celebration including a watermelon eating contest and bullfrog 
jumping contest.

Pickett County jobless at 4.2% for May

Tennessee’s county unemployment rates for May 2017 have decreased in 
94 counties and remained the same in one, according to data released 
by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Preliminary unemployment rates have fallen for both Tennessee and the 
United States. Decreasing by seven-tenths of a percentage point, the 
state rate is 4.0 percent for May.
Pickett County reported a 4.2% jobless rate for May, down .3 from 
April’s rate of 4.5%. Surrounding counties reported the following 
unemployment rates: Clay County 4.0% (down from 4.8%); Fentress 
County 3.7% (down from 4.5%); Scott County 4.2% (down from 5.5%); 
Overton County 3.3% (down from 4.0%) and Putnam County 3.0% (down 
from 3.7%).

Operation Dry Water Weekend 

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will be participating in 
Operation Dry Water, June 30-July 2. Operation Dry Water is a 
national weekend of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) awareness and 
enforcement campaign directed toward reducing alcohol and drug-
related accidents and fatalities.
Operation Dry Water is held the weekend prior to the Independence Day 
(July 4) holiday to give BUI enforcement high visibility during the 
peak boating season. The TWRA is teaming with the U.S. Coast Guard 
and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators 
(NASBLA). Operation Dry Water was started by the NASBLA in 2009.
TWRA boating officers will saturate high traffic areas on reservoirs 
across the state. Along with the use of life jackets and other safety 
practices, officers want boaters to be aware of the effects and 
ramifications of alcohol use. The TWRA will be intensifying efforts 
to detect and apprehend boat operators who are operating under the 
influence of alcohol or drugs.
In 2016 during Operation Dry Water, there were 10 boating under the 
influence (BUI) arrests across the state. TWRA boating officers 
checked more than 4,000 vessels, issued 175 citations, 113 warnings, 
and assisted 94 boaters. There were four injury accidents and three 
property damage accidents reported.
Operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 percent or 
higher is illegal in Tennessee, the same as operating a motor 
vehicle. Penalties may include fines, jail, boat impoundment and the 
loss of boat driving privileges.
Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater 
deaths. Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the effects 
of alcohol, drugs and some medications.
For more information on Operation Dry Water, visit

No tax increase for Pickett County

Commission meeting 6291720170705 27660 10eztmk
Charlie Curtiss, Executive Director with the County Commissioner's Association, addressed the court.
The Pickett County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on 
Monday, June 19th at 6 p.m. All commissioners were present at the 
beginning of the meeting except Tim Ford, Darrell Garrett, and 
Matthew Storie.
First item on the agenda was to approve the agenda and minutes from 
Monday, May 15th county court meeting, all ayes.
Prior to the next motion, Matthew Storie entered the meeting.
Passed motion by Jimmy Richardson and seconded by Brad Richardson 
with all ayes to approve the following reports as presented:
Month End Report-County General Fund, Transfer Station/Solid Waste, 
Debt Service Fund and Solid Waste Fund.
Cash Flow Analysis-101 General Fund, 116 Transfer Station/Solid 
Waste, 151 Debt Service, 207 Solid Waste Fund
Cash Flow Analysis from other departments-131 Highway Department, 142 
School Federal Projects
Cash Flow Analysis-Actual vs. Projected from other Departments: 142 
School Federal Projects
Budget to Actual Report Revenues-101 General Fund, 116 Transfer 
Station/Solid Waste, 151 Debt Service, 207 Solid Waste Fund
Budget to Actual Report Expenditures-101 General Fund, 116 Transfer 
Station/Solid Waste, 151 Debt Service Fund, 207 Solid Waste Fund
Prior to the next motion, Tim Ford entered the meeting.
  Motion by Larry Ledford and seconded by Dave Harer to approve 
budget amendments as presented with all ayes.
Notary approvals for renewals for Lisa Lee Cross, Angela S. Allen and 
James Reed Brown were approved with all ayes.
Charlie Curtiss, Executive Director with the County Commissioner's 
Association, addressed the court. The County Commissioners 
Association promotes and advocates for more efficient county 
government by providing information and educational resources, 
facilitates networking and sharing among county officials.
Carried motion by Mitchell Cross and seconded by Colan Huddleston to 
approve the bid for providing master logging services for the removal 
of trees from the property located at Old Static Road. The county 
awarded the contract to J.B. Stinson in the amount of $3,000. The 
dirt at that property is being used to cover the landfill property. 
All ayes.
Motion to approve the Open Records Policy for Pickett County was made 
by Larry Ledford and seconded by Mitchell Cross with all ayes.
Approval of Resolution 2017-2018-1-A making appropriations for the 
various funds, departments, institutions, offices and agencies of 
Pickett County for the year beginning July 1st, 2017 and ending June 
30th, 2018 was made by Jimmy Richardson and seconded by Dave Harer. 
Motion passed with ayes except Carey Garner, Eddie Holt and Carter 
Martin who voted no.
Passed motion by Dave Harer and seconded by Larry Ledford to approve 
Resolution FY 2017-2018-2-A to fix the tax levy at $1.87 for Pickett 
County for the fiscal year beginning July 1st, 2017 and ending June 
30th, 2018. This tax rate is the same as last year.
Motion by Brad Richardson and seconded by Tim Ford to approve and 
accept the Resolution 2017-2018-3-A making appropriations to Non-
Profit Charitable Organizations of Pickett County, TN for the fiscal 
year beginning July 1, 2017 and ending June 30th, 2018.
Carried motion by Dave Harer and seconded by Colan Huddleston with 
all ayes to approve Resolution 2016-17-22 to authorize Pickett County 
to establish an industrial site and adopt a name for the business 
park. The site shall be known as Riverside Business Park.
Approved motion by Brad Richardson and seconded by Tim Ford to 
approve Resolution 2017-2018-4 to adopt the Pickett County Debt 
Policy for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017 and ending June 30, 
EMS report and Transfer station report were presented with no action 
Meeting adjourned until the next regular county court meeting 
scheduled for Monday, July 17th at 6 p.m. in the community room of 
the library.

Public concerns over missing road signs throughout county

Amanda Hill Bond

After multiple letters to the editor were submitted concerning the 
county road name signs, this newspaper has tried to find some answers 
to the issue. The concern is mainly because emergency assistance 
could be or has been delayed due to not having a sign that provides 
the road name and no one is addressing the problem.

  What official is responsible and would a county be liable for 
failure to put up new road name signs if a person suffers injury 
because an ambulance could not find the person's residence due to the 
lack of road name sign? Attorney General Opinion 95-032 answers that 
question with an opinion that a county could be found liable if the 
installations of such signs is required by law or policy adopted by 
the county. This newspaper could not find any local adopted policy 
addressing this responsibility. The court would have to look to 
whether the county had a duty to erect the missing sign on a 
particular road.

While the Tennessee County Uniform Highway Law makes the county road 
superintendent responsible for signage on county roads, the general 
supervision of the roads remains on the county legislative body. The 
opinion states that county road commissioners, though authorized to 
supervise the roads in their districts, are merely the agents of the 
county to construct and repair. It also indicates that while local 
governmental agencies are encouraged to erect street name signs, it 
does not appear to impose a specific mandatory duty on the county.

  When asked about who's responsibility it was for the road name 
signs to be maintained, Pickett County Road Superintendent Jimmy Cope 
stated, "I have had my lawyer look into this situation specifically, 
and have been advised that the highway department is not responsible 
for installing those name signs. If the county wanted to negotiate a 
plan for the highway department to maintain the street name signs, we 
would be willing to do so."
  There was also contact made with the Tennessee Highway Department 
Association regarding legal responsibility to replace and maintain 
street name signs by a local highway department. Executive Director 
Rodney Carmichael stated, "it is the responsibility of the county 
highway department to install and maintain traffic control signage 
(stop signs, etc.) but not street name signs. The AG Opinion 95-032 
also states there is no way to generalize whether a county road 
superintendent should erect a road sign."

  The PRESS reached out to Pickett County Executive Richard Daniel 
asking if the county had plans for replacing the road name signs. In 
an email by Mr. Daniel, he replied, "the county executive's office is 
not responsible for road signs or for E-911 signs, nor can we define 
the term "E-911" road sign. We would welcome anyone showing or 
providing to us a copy of any state statute that gives road sign 
responsibility to the county executive's office.” After that 
response, all other questions were directed to and answered by County 
Attorney Andrea Ayers. The reference to “E-911 road signs” was used 
in last week’s published letter to the editor.

  So, how did the street name signs get replaced in the past here in 
Pickett County? Pickett County voted for a 911 district in 1990 but 
later merged with Overton County. One of the first priorities was 
making sure each county road was named and properly marked. Donnie 
Matheny was hired and paid by Pickett County Government for that 
responsibility which included submitting the list of signs needed and 
installing the signs himself until he passed away in 2005. After 
that, his wife Becky performed the duties until she resigned in 2015. 
According to the information presented Attorney Andrea Ayers, there 
was never an "official" contract with any individual for submitting 
the list of new or missing road name signs.

  When speaking to Mrs. Matheny about her responsibilities, she said 
that she would spend approximately 13 hours every two months, driving 
around all of the county roads. If there was a sign missing, she 
would contact the highway department to see if road crews had located 
it, and if not, would submit a list of the missing signs to the 
county executive's office. The county would compensate Mrs. Matheny 
and also paid for the signs, posts and brackets.

  Attorney Ayers stated that as far as Mr. Daniel is aware, Mrs. 
Matheny never physically installed road signs and that she used a 
highway department vehicle and highway department fuel to drive 
around and inspect signs. According to Mrs. Matheny, several years 
before she resigned, she had received the help of Pickett County Road 
Superintendent Jimmy Cope to aid in the installation of the signs. 
"The motor in my truck went out and I didn't have anything to use to 
get the signs up. I had been putting a ladder in the back of the 
truck to install the signs and didn't have another vehicle that could 
accommodate that," said Matheny. Both Mrs. Matheny and Mr. Cope 
indicated the highway department began helping install the street 
name signs only after the situation with the truck and was not 
compensated nor obligated.

   Up until 2015, Pickett County was paying for the replacement signs 
($25-30 each), posts and brackets, with a cost of $250 every other 
month for someone to drive around and submit a list, and the highway 
department was helping install. With no one maintaining the road name 
signs since then, there are now numerous signs throughout the county 
that are missing and have been for years.

What do other counties do? Overton County Highway Department does not 
install the road name signs, according to a representative with the 
department, the local county recycling center maintains and installs 
the signs through a grant program. The Fentress County Highway 
Department website states that the highway department installs both 
regulatory and warning signs on county roads and solid waste installs 
street name signs. The county executive is responsible for managing 
the solid waste department.

We can see, there could be grant opportunities available and that 
other highway departments are not responsible for the road name signs 
within their respective districts. Could Pickett County address the 
concerns of the citizens and try to find a solution?

Flag design contest to
commemorate town's centennial

Amanda Bond
Friends of Byrdstown Chairman

During a recent Friends of Byrdstown meeting, the group discussed 
unique ways to celebrate the Town of Byrdstown's Centennial. In 
attendance at that meeting were committee members Sam Gibson, Amanda 
Bond, James Brown, Bill Robbins and Bruce Elder. It was suggested to 
have a contest for a flag design that would be used and formally 
adopted as a city flag.

Individuals can submit up to three entries and there is no entry fee 
to enter. Submit entries to the Town of Byrdstown and the deadline 
will be Friday, July 28th by 4 p.m.

Design must be created on a 3x5 note card.
No digital art, must be hand drawn
Entries must include name, address, phone number, email and a 
description explaining the symbolism of the flag.
It is recommended that the design be based upon the North American 
Vexillogical Association's 5 principles of good design, which are:

1. Keep it simple: The Flag should be so simple that a child can draw 
it from memory.

2. Use meaningful symbolism: The flag's images, colors, or patterns 
should relate to what it symbolizes.

3. Use 2-3 basic colors: Limit the number of colors on the flag to 
three, which contrast well and come from the standard color set.

4. No lettering or seals: Never use writing of any kind or an 
organization's seal.
5. Be distinctive or be related: Avoid duplicating other flags, but 
use similarities to show connection

Judges will pick three to five finalists and the public will then 
judge to determine the winning design via social media. There will 
also be a monetary prize for the winner. Good luck!

Local Farmer's Market

Farmers market 1720170622 13311 1ajaqo6
Courtesy of Byrdstown-Pickett County Chamber of Commerce
Farmers Market open here Thursday, Friday and Saturday

The Pickett County Farmers Market will be open beside the Welcome 
Center located on Hwy. 111 with fresh vegetables Thursday-Saturday.

Trash and propane bids approved at Board of Education meeting

The Pickett County Board of Education met Monday, June 12th, 2017 at 
7 p.m. at the office of the director of schools with the following 
members present: Dorman Beaty Jr., Chairman John Reagan and Nathan 
Anderson. Jerry Mitchell was absent.
A motion by Dorman Beaty, Jr. seconded by Nathan Anderson to adopt 
the agenda and approve the minutes from the May 8th, 2017 meeting 
with all ayes.
Approval with all ayes, to open and accept bid for trash pickup for 
FY 2017-2018 by Dorman Beaty Jr. and seconded by Nathan Anderson to 
the only bid submitted: Larry Brown in the amount of $750.00.
Carried a motion by John Reagan seconded by Dorman Beaty Jr. to open 
and accept bid for propane for FY 2017-2018 from Tri-County Propane 
for .988 per gallon with all ayes.
Motion to adjourn by Nathan Anderson and seconded by John Reagan with 
all ayes.

July 3 deadline for Big South Fork Photo Contest

Yahoo falls small file20170622 7322 kky7l
Courtesy of National Park Service
The National Park Service would like to remind everyone that the 
deadline for submitting entries for the 2017 Big South Fork 
photography contest is July 3.
Images may show wildlife, plant life, natural landscapes, historic 
areas, weather, or people interacting with nature within the 
boundaries of Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.  All 
photographs, except those submitted in the artistic category, should 
accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared.
Photographs may be submitted into one of seven categories:
•Action/Adventure -- Photographs of people participating in 
recreational activities
•Artistic -- Artistic compositions in nature, both natural and 
manipulated in post processing
•Cultural -- Photographs that illustrate historic or culturally 
significant structures
•Flora & Fauna -- Animals in their natural habitat, including close-
ups of invertebrates, or plants in their natural habitat, including 
close-ups of flowers, fungi, lichen, and algae
•Youth -- Entries in any category by photographers under 18 years of age
•Kentucky Landscapes -- Expansive and dramatic views of the land and 
its features within the Kentucky park boundaries
•Tennessee Landscapes -- Expansive and dramatic views of the land and 
its features within the Tennessee park boundaries.
Entries will be judged on technical excellence, originality, 
creativity, visual impact, and artistic merit.  Judges’ decisions are 
final. Selected images will be printed for an exhibition at Bandy 
Creek Visitor Center that will open on Saturday, September 2, 2017. 
Selected images may also be displayed on the internet and other venues.
The contest is open to all photographers, except NPS employees and 
their immediate families and household members. Each person may only 
submit two photos into the competition. All photos must be in a 
digital format.  Entries must be received no later than the close of 
business Monday, July 3, 2017. Each entry must be accompanied by a 
completed entry form with all information clearly filled out.  Entry 
forms may be downloaded from
biso-photo-contest.htm. Entries may be emailed to or hand-delivered or mailed to the park 
headquarters at Big South Fork NRRA, 4564 Leatherwood Road, Oneida, 
Tennessee 37841, Attn: Photo Contest. For more information on the Big 
South Fork National River and Recreation Area, please call (423) 

That Big White House

Gib house20170622 7715 rp9wgn
Susan R Ray

I’ve driven by the big white house a thousand times. And one day, I
stopped. The owner, Gib Taylor, had issued an invitation. “So you
finally got here to see your great-grandparents homeplace,” he said
and smiled and offered his hand to shake mine.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t a good family history student when I could
have asked my mother questions. Almost twenty years after Mom’s death
I questioned her sister, Aunt Doris, about the white house close to
my grandparents’ home. Aunt Doris said, “You mean Grandpa and Grandma
Bertram’s house?” I frowned and her husband, Uncle Hugh, chuckled.
“That big white house? It’s the Sam Bertram house?” I asked. I’d
heard stories about my great-grandparents’ house. “I thought the Sam
Bertram house was gone. How could I not know that was the house?”
Uncle Hugh shook his head, laughed, and said, “You didn’t listen.”
The truth hurt.
The house sits on Livingston Highway in Byrdstown, Tennessee, and was
built in the early 1900s by my great-grandfather, Samuel Bertram and
two of his sons, one my Papa. The road in front of it was dirt. Aunt
Doris remembered the house as an enchanted place. There was a grape
arbor on one side yard and rose bushes on the other. Behind the house
was an old spring where moss grew.
Sam and Sarah Bertram’s home was a gathering place for their children
and grandchildren. Family celebrations were held around the long
table right beside the kitchen. After meals, the men swapped stories
on the front porch, and the women washed dishes and then visited in
the front parlor. And family pictures were made in front of the grape
According to Aunt Doris, the family gathered for special events, like
watching the circus travel on the muddy road. Elephants walking in a
line. Lions and tigers in big cages pulled by horses.
After my grandparents married, the newlyweds lived in this house.
Upstairs in the biggest bedroom. So on my visit, I was eager to see
the house, and Gib, who’d lived there since 2001, had planned my
visit. He had mowed paths to the barn and water well.
“Here’s the barn. Probably been here since your great-grandpa kept
horses in it,” Gib said. No picture could capture the smell of this
century old barn. The feel of the animals that once slept in the
stalls. The well where my great-grandparents lowered a bucket and
brought it back up filled with water. The concrete box that held
water in the 1930s.
Inside the house, Gib led me through each room. “You may not want to
go upstairs. The steps are tricky.” I tiptoed on the narrow steps.
The wide hallway is where my great-grandmother shelved books for a
neighborhood lending library.
I found the biggest bedroom. “This is the room I wanted to see,” I
said. “My grandparents’ room. My mother was born here in 1918.”
So now I drive by and am thankful for this house. Its stories. Its
owner, who welcomed me.

Upcoming events at Cordell Hull State Park

Friday, June 9th
11:00 a.m.-
Children's Games
Join Ranger Monique to learn about games that children would have 
played during the 1700 and 1800s. We also get to play each game. We 
will meet at the log cabin.

2:00 p.m.-
Let's Make Butter
Join Ranger Monique to learn about churning butter. We also make and 
sample butter made that day! We will meet at the log cabin.

Saturday, June 10th
10:00  a.m.- Cave Hike
Join Interpretative Ranger, Josh, for a hike to Bunkum Cave. Make 
sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water. We will meet at 
the trailhead.

1:00 p.m.- Animal Pelts
Join Interpretative Ranger Josh to see some cool animal pelts, 
skulls, and scat!  We will talk about each animal and how people used 
them in the past.  We will meet at the picnic tables behind the museum.

Sunday, June 11th
1:00 p.m.-
Vintage Baseball
Join us for an afternoon of old timey baseball.  If you would like to 
learn about how we used to play America's pastime, you just need to 
meet us in the field behind the museum.  We will talk about the rules 
and play a quick game.

3:00 p.m.- Log Cabin and Period Garden Tour
   Join Interpretative Ranger Josh to tour of log cabin and see the 
gardens.  We talk about the history of cabins in the area and what 
life was like in the 1870s.
Beginning Knitting for Children
  Cordell Hull will be offering a 4-part series of classes on June 
13, 15, 20, and 22nd at 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday and 
Thursday. The children will learn the basics steps of knitting and we 
will learn how to cast on, knit, purl, and cast off. Each day, they 
will work on their knitting project with a instructor. This class is 
for children ages 8 and older. All supplies will be provided for each 
student. The fee is $10 per child and we will meet at the park 
office. You can register online at

Watercolor Painting:  Summer Landscape
Join us Wednesday, June 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to learn and 
practice watercolor techniques and styles with Sue Duncan. Children 
need to 12 years and older to participate.  Supplies are included. 
The fee is $20 per person. You can register online at http://

Beginning Tatting
Join us Saturday, June 17 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. to learn the 
art of shuttle tatting. Christina Wilkins will teach us how to make 
lace using rings and chains connected together. We will learn the 
basic stitches and progress into more difficult stitches. All 
supplies will be provided.  The fee is $10 per person.

You can register online at

Nobody Trashes Tennessee” litter campaign launched

Nobodytrashestennessee billboard20170609 14683 1i608et

 The Tennessee Department of Transportation has launched a new litter 
prevention campaign to help keep trash off Tennessee roadways. The 
“Nobody Trashes Tennessee” campaign will soon be seen on billboards 
and commercials, as well as educational programs and anti-litter 
promotional items.

“From the Great Smoky Mountain region, to the Mississippi River, and 
every stretch of roadway in between, litter on our highways takes 
away from Tennessee’s natural beauty,” TDOT Commissioner John Schroer 
said. “It’s not only an eyesore, but it costs TDOT more than $15 
million a year to clean up.”

A 2016 field study of litter along TDOT rights-of-way found that, 
though roadside trash is down 53 percent since 2006, there are still 
an estimated 100 million pieces of trash on Tennessee roadways 
(“Visible Litter Study,” nFront Consulting, October 2016).

Littering, whether deliberate or unintentional, is punishable under 
Tennessee law, and it can cost offenders $50 to $3,000 in fines.

The “Nobody Trashes Tennessee” campaign is based on rigorous research 
conducted in 2016, including the Visible Litter Study, which found 
that though littering is down, it’s still a big problem. Research 
indicates 30 percent of the state’s litter is “deliberate” – meaning 
trash is tossed right out of vehicle windows.

Another statewide study, “Litter Attitudes and Behaviors” (Baselice & 
Associates, April 2016), found out who is littering in Tennessee. 
Somewhat surprisingly, the market research indicated a slight skew 
toward females ages 16 to 34. Subsequent focus groups confirmed 
females indeed litter, but that males also contribute to the problem.

“The good news is the research showed that nine out of 10 Tennesseans 
are more likely to properly dispose of their trash after learning 
about the statewide litter problem,” Commissioner Schroer added. “We 
believe this new campaign can make a difference and potentially save 
highway maintenance funds for other needed road projects.”

For more information about the “Nobody Trashes Tennessee” campaign 
and to view the first Public Service Announcement, visit:

Enjoy what Dale Hollow Lake has to offer

Amanda Hill Bond

 If you are looking for a beautiful place to boat, fish, swim, or
camp, Dale Hollow Lake has what you looking for.

 According to the US Army Corps of Engineers, there are fifteen
commercial marinas, situated at various locations on the lake. There
are also multiple US Corps of Engineer boating access areas in this
area that are free to use: Gunnels Camp, Plank Yard, Wolf River
Bridge, and Jones Chapel.
It is important that all who are enjoying our beautiful lake, wear
life jackets, refrain from drinking and boating, and are familiar
with boating regulations.
Dale Hollow Lake resides in both the states of Tennessee and
Kentucky, so be aware of your location and what the state boating
regulations for each state are.

 Since construction, there have been 136 drownings on Dale Hollow Lake
with zero wearing life jackets. The local Obey River Day use contains
the largest sand beach on Dale Hollow. There are no lifeguards
present and swimming is at one's own risk.

 There is a Life Jacket Loaner Program for those who don't have a life
jacket. You can sign for a loaner infant, child, youth or adult
jacket for the day or the weekend. For more information, contact the
Obey River Campground and Day Use Area at (931) 864-6388.

 There are two developed Corps camping grounds in Pickett County. Cove
Creek has 10 campsites with tent pad, picnic table and fire ring or
grill; vault toilet, parking and launch ramp. The Obey River
Campground has 131 campsites. The camping area contains level sites
with water and electric hookup and tent sites without hookups;
showers, dump station, launch ramp, parking and playground.
Why travel away for vacation when we have paradise right here in our
own little town.

 Firewood Alert: Dale Hollow Lake is included as a firewood quarantine
area. When camping or picnicking at this recreation area, purchase
your firewood from a vendor who sells certified heat-treated
firewood. Don't bring firewood from home. To help prevent the spread
of the Emerald ash borer and other forest pests, the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers is prohibiting firewood that is non certified heat-
treated firewood. Visit or for
further information.

Purkey lake 220170609 14683 13z0g7i
Photo: James Purkey

Fiber optic availability coming to city customers

Areas in the City of Byrdstown will soon have the opportunity to
receive service through fiber-optic cables. Twin Lakes Telephone
Cooperative has been upgrading its delivery method from copper to a fiber-optic network for the past several years.
Twin Lakes Telephone Cooperative Fiber to the Home Broadband Project
won the $16.1 million loan and $16.1 million grant in 2010 to help
provide advanced broadband services to Byrdstown.
There has already been work to change customers to fiber-optics
within the county.  "We project by the end of August, we can start
cutting the lines over for the city customers. This process will take
some time,  we can only cut over approximately two to three customers
a day," said Twin Lakes Telephone Service Foreman Al McLerran.

Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park upcoming events

 Saturday, June 3rd,10:00  a.m.-National Trails Day Hike
 Join Interpretative Ranger, Josh, for a hike to Bunkum Cave. Make sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water.  We will meet at the trailhead.

11:00 a.m.- Log Cabin and Period Garden Tour
   Join Ranger Monique for an early morning tour of log cabin and
garden. We talk about the history of cabins in the area and what life was like in the 1870s.

1:00 p.m.- Speaker Series
    Dr. Michael Birdwell will talk about Tennessee's role in World
War I and it's importance. Dr. Birdwell has written several articles
and books about Tennessee's history and is a professor of History at Tennessee Tech.

2:30 p.m.-Energy Efficiency Tips
   Join Interpretative Ranger, Josh, to learn about some simple ways
to conserve energy around the house including energy efficient and environmentally conscious practices. We will meet at the Park office.

3:30 p.m.-Children’s Games
    Join Ranger Monique to learn about games that children would have played during the 1700 and 1800s.  We also get to play each game. We will meet at the log cabin.

Sunday, June 4th 1:00 p.m.-Vintage Baseball
Join us for an afternoon of old timey baseball. If you would like to
learn about how we used to play America's pastime, you just need to meet us in the field behind the museum. We will talk about the rules and play a quick game.
Beginning Knitting for Children
Cordell Hull will be offering a four-part series of classes on June 
13, 15, 20, and 22nd at 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m on Tuesday and 
Thursday. The children will learn the basic steps of knitting and we 
will learn how to cast on, knit, purl, and cast off. Each day, they 
will work on their knitting project with an instructor. This class is 
for children ages 8 and older. All supplies will be provided for each student. The fee is $10 per child and we will meet at the park office.  You can register online at about/cordell-hull-birthplace

Watercolor Painting Summer Landscape
Join us Wednesday, June 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to learn and practice watercolor techniques and styles with Sue Duncan. Children need to be 12 years and older to participate. Supplies are included. 
The fee is $20 per person. You can register online at http://
tnstateparks. com/parks/about/cordell-hull-birthplace

Beginning Tatting
Join us Saturday, June 17 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. to learn the 
art of shuttle tatting.  Christina Wilkins will teach us how to make 
lace using rings and chains connected together.  We will learn the 
basic stitches and progress into more difficult stitches.  All 
supplies will be provided.  The fee is $10 per person.  You can 
register online at

Local damage from Saturday’s storm

May 17 storm damage20170601 26844 n9tkxe
Pictured is a tree that was uprooted at the home of Angie Beaty Davis in Pall Mall.

 The Upper Cumberland area got hit hard with damaging straight line
winds after Saturday’s storms.
The damage in Putnam County was significant as officials with the
National Weather Service verified up to 95 mph straight line winds
broke utility poles, uprooted trees and caused structural damage.
Some residents in Putnam were without power for days, and the
difficulty was due to the damage being so wide spread and affecting
both local and TVA powerlines.
Luckily in Pickett County, Volunteer Energy Cooperative reported that
only 94 customers were without power and there wasn't much structural
damage reported.
Pickett County Highway Department crews worked for two days to clear
trees from roadways that were throughout the county.
Pictured above is a tree that was uprooted at the home of Angie Beaty
Davis in Pall Mall.

Looking for something sweet to eat?

Lakeside sno20170524 6415 f1xa3k
Tisha Brewington offering a yummy treat.

 Lakeside Sno is serving a variety of flavors in shaved ice and hand-
dipped ice cream. Drive thru service is available or you can park and
walk up to get your treat. Lakeside Sno is owned by Joe and Tisha Brewington. Hours are Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and 1 p.m.-8 p.m. on Sunday. They are located off of Highway 111 on Frisco Lane north of Sunset Marina.

Pickett County to benefit from the recent IMPROVE act

Road projects guy20170524 14479 mb2375
Greg Drinnen with Transportation Coalition of Tennessee discussing what impact Pickett County could have with the IMPROVE Act.

 The Transportation Coalition of Tennessee recently provided details 
for the IMPROVE Act Projects and how they could affect each of the 95 
counties in Tennessee. The passage of Governor Bill Haslam's IMPROVE 
act in April, creates needed funding for roads and bridges in the 
state. The increase to gas and diesel user fees is supposed to help 
ease the burden of Tennessee tax payers by also getting funds from 
the out-of-state truckers and tourists.
 According to the press release, the IMPROVE Act cuts more than $500 
million in taxes annually at its full implementation and nearly $300 
million in taxes in 2018. The tax cuts include a $113 million  reduction in business taxes on manufacturers and a 20 percent decrease in the sales tax on groceries, which equals $125 million for 
all Tennesseans.
 Transportation Coalition of Tennessee Advisory Council Gary Drinnen 
reported that the specific revenue totals for Pickett County Highway Department could be an additional $6,691,752 over the next 15 years.  County and city governments will receive the money from the additional gas and diesel revenue as well. The estimates for the city 
of Byrdstown for the 15 year time frame is $113,593.
 Every county will share some of the 962 TDOT funded projects. While 
Pickett County does not have any current projects, there is a  $10,000,000 multi-county project. The safety and spot improvement project is for US 127 (SR-28) (S. York Hwy) from north of Jamestown 
to SR-111 for 19.21 miles.
 The Transportation Coalition of Tennessee was created to educate the 
public and state legislators as it seeks to increase of and reform in 
Tennessee's transportation fees. Participants in the coalition 
include businesses, citizens, community leaders, public officials and 
organizations that are interested in continuing Tennessee's 
transportation infrastructure for the long haul.
 For more information on the projects across Tennessee's 95 counties, 

THP to conduct sobriety and license checkpoints this weekend

 The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting driver license 
roadside checkpoints on May 26, 2017 at 5:00 on Hwy. 111 in Pickett 
 Recognizing the danger presented to the public by unqualified 
drivers, troopers will concentrate their efforts on vehicles being 
operated by drivers who would violate the driver license laws of 
 The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting Sobriety Checkpoints  on May 27, at 10:30 p.m. on Hwy. 111 in Pickett County.
 Recognizing the danger presented to the public by intoxicated 
drivers, troopers concentrate their efforts on vehicles being 
operated by intoxicated drivers who would violate the driving under the influence laws of Tennessee.
 The Tennessee Highway Patrol has found these checkpoints to be an  effective means of enforcing the driving driving under the influence laws of Tennessee while ensuring the protection of all motorists.

Blood drive on May 26th


 There will be a Chances for Scarred Little Hearts community blood 
drive in honor of my son Chance in awareness of Congenital Heart 
Defects on Friday, May 26th from 3 p.m.-8 p.m. at the Pickett County 
Agriculture building at the high school. This is the only American 
Red Cross community blood drive for the year scheduled at this time.
  Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood. 
Included in that number are numerous cancer patients and the tiniest 
of recipients, newborn babies. An adult has approximately 10-12 pints 
of blood in their body. A baby, depending on weight, may have less 
than 10 ounces which is just over a cup. It is sobering to see the 
tiny vials of blood transfused into a baby or child.
  I have seen my son Chance, who was born with a congenital heart 
defect and has half a heart, receive many of those small vials. If 
Chance hadn't had the blood available beforehand for his open-heart 
surgeries, he could not have survived. I know that there are so many 
of us who have received blood or know someone who has during their 
lives. It is a reminder of the importance of blood being donated, 
processed and in the hospital before it is needed. One pint of blood 
donated means up to three lives saved.
  If you have any specific questions regarding eligibility, contact 
the American Red Cross Donor and Client Support Center at 
   Please contact me at 931-864-3675 or email 
to schedule a time that is most convenient for you to donate.

Murderer will spend rest of life in prison

 Joshua Pyles appeared before Criminal Court Judge David Patterson in 
Putnam County last Friday, May 12th and pled guilty to two counts of 
premeditated first degree murder and one count of especially 
aggravated robbery. This plea had been agreeable by both the District 
Attorney and the defense which meant the family would not have to 
endure a trial.
 It has been almost three years since a Pickett County family was 
forever left devastated with the murder of a father and son. The 
effects of this shocking act not only left questions of why for the 
family, but to our whole community.
It started in the early morning hours of July 30th, 2014 after a call 
was made by a citizen to the Pickett County Sheriff's Office who was 
concerned. The concern was that the lights were on at the business 
known as the Sugar Shack and that was an unusual observation for that 
time of day. When the sheriff's deputy responded to the call, the 
bodies of Danny Dowdy, 58, and Cody Dowdy, 22, were discovered.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was notified and quickly 
arrived on the scene to process and investigate what appeared to be a 
double homicide. At 8 p.m. that night at the scene where family and 
friends of the victims had gathered, Pickett County Sheriff Dana 
Dowdy along with former DA Randy York identified Joshua Pyles as the 
person who was being charged for the murders.
  According to the signed confession made by Pyles during an 
interview by the TBI taken on July 30th, he was looking to rob a 
place that would help solve his money problems between him and his 
girlfriend. He chose the Sugar Shack in Static and went in as a 
customer where he remained for about seven hours. Once the customers 
had left, Pyles went to his vehicle, changed his shirt and went back 
in and ordered a beer just before closing. That is when he pulled a 
gun and shot Danny first, then shot Cody. Pyles stated he didn't want 
them to suffer, so he shot them a second time before taking the money 
from the register and leaving.
 It is still unknown as to the motive of why Pyles chose to end two 
lives for $400. The horrific murders were also caught on video, and 
the video along with crime scene photos, were used in court on Friday 
with testimony from TBI Special Agents Steve Huntley and Billy Miller.
During the hearing, widow and mother to the victims Pauletta Dowdy 
read an emotional statement asking why he chose the Sugar Shack and 
why didn't he just ask for the money. She also thanked everyone who 
was involved in prosecuting the case and also family and friends for 
their support.
 Pyles has received a life sentence in prison for the murders and also 
an 18 year sentence for the especially aggravated robbery and will 
not be eligible for parole for 70 years, which would make him over 
100 years old.
 District Attorney Bryant Dunaway and Assistant District Attorney Owen 
Burnett prosecuted Pyles with the primary investigation being 
conducted by the Pickett County Sheriff's Office and the TBI.
 The senseless murders of two people of our community will forever be 
felt. While nothing can completely ease the pain of grief, our hearts 
and prayers are always with the Dowdy family as they continue to get 
through each day without their loved ones.

Black bears sighted in city

 As black bear sightings have been more frequent among residential areas and even on the local school grounds, it is important to know some bear basics. Bears are more frequently crossing into our backyards and creating dangerous situations for both people and the bears. When bears have easy access to non-natural foods like garbage, pet food, bird seed etc., they become habituated to people. They lose 
their fear of humans and ignore their traditional diet, a fed bear is a dead bear!

 Bears can sprint up to 35 miles per hour and climb 100 feet up a tree within 30 seconds. A typical male can weigh between 130-500 pounds, a female can weigh between 90-350 pounds.
 NEVER feed or approach a bear! Always secure any type of foods or garbage in bear resistant containers. Feed pets portion size that can easily be consumed during each meal. Don't feed birds between April and January when bears are more active. Keep grills and smokers clean and stored indoors when not in use. If you see a bear make sure it is aware of your presence by yelling or making noises, this should frighten the bear and encourage it to leave.

 To learn more, go to or if there is a situation 
that requires immediate attention, call local authorities.

Leaving the scene of the accident charges for truck driver

 An accident on Highway 111 at the Overton/Pickett line left two   people injured after a tractor trailer driver had fallen asleep due
to driving in excess of what federal regulation allows.
At around 8:43 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2nd, a Kenworth tractor trailer driven by Ronnie K. Bell, 65, of Monticello, Ky. was traveling north
on Highway 111. The Kenworth exited the roadway to the right and hit several state signs before re-entering the roadway and striking the Toyota on the passenger side.
 The two occupants in the car were transported to Livingston Regional Hospital. Pickett County deputies were able to get a description of the semi truck by witnesses of the accident and Bell was pulled over at a local gas station.
 After performing a commercial inspection, Ronnie Bell was cited for leaving the scene of an injury crash, immediate notice of crash,
failure to maintain lane of travel, failure to exercise due care and
driving beyond 14 hours in a commercial vehicle.
 Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Toby Beaty was the primary
investigator of the accident and was assisted by Trooper Darren Butler.

County Commission approves lease to purchase option to fund Pickett County Justice Center

 Pickett County Commissioners met in regular session on April 17, 2017. Present and presiding was the honorable Richard Daniel, Chairman and Robert Lee Clerk of the Court. Court was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Clerk Lee who turned the meeting over to Chairman Daniel. The invocation was given by Jim Richardson and the Pledge of Allegiance was given by all. The following commissioners were present: Mitchell Cross, Carey Garner, Darrell Garrett, David Harer, Eddie Holt, Colan Huddleston, Larry Ledford, Brad Richardson, Jim 
Richardson. The following commissioners were absent: Tim Ford, Carter Martin and Matthew Storie.
 Approved a motion by Brad Richardson and seconded by Mitchell Cross to approve the agenda as presented. All ayes. Motion carried.
 Carried a motion by Jim Richardson and seconded by Colan Huddleston to approve the minutes from Monday, March 20, 2017 county court meeting as presented. All ayes. Motion carried.
 Passed a motion by Colan Huddleston and seconded by Larry Ledford to approve monthly reports as presented:
Cash flow analysis: 101 general fund, 116 transfer station/solid 
waste, 151 debt service, 207 solid waste fund
Cash flow analysis from other departments: 131 highway department, 142 school federal projects
Cash flow analysis; Actual vs Projected from other departments; 142 school federal projects
Budget to actual report revenues: 101 general fund, 116 transfer 
station/solid waste, 151 debt service, 207 solid waste fund
Budget to actual report expenditures:  101 general fund, 116 transfer station/ solid waste, 151 debt service, 207 solid waste fund, Jennifer Anderson, Trustee's Tax Report and Release of Taxes Byrdstown-Pickett County Volunteer Fire Department quarterly activity and membership roster, Clerk & Masters Quarterly report of taxes collected for the month of January, February and March 2017 All ayes. Motion carried.
 Approved a motion by Larry Ledford and seconded by David Harer to approve budget amendments as presented. All ayes. Motion carried.
 Carried a motion by Darrell Garrett and seconded by Mitchell Cross to approve notaries: William Leroy Sapp (new) and Annamarie Masiongale (renewal) and Nikki T. Groce (renewal). All ayes. Motion carried.
 Passed a motion by Larry Ledford and seconded by Jim Richardson to approve the discussion on Caney Creek Road that was tabled at the previous months meeting. All ayes. Motion carried.
 This is a resolution to approve the closing Caney Creek Road to 
through truck traffic and the road posted as such. No action taken.
 Approved a motion by Eddie Holt and seconded by Colan Huddleston to approve Resolution 2016-2017-14 a resolution requesting to apply for the Litter Grant Funds from TDOT for the fiscal year 2017-2018. All ayes. Motion carried.
 Carried a motion by Larry Ledford and seconded by Mitchell Cross to approve resolution 2016-2017-15 a resolution requesting the creation of an Emergency Communications District for Pickett County and to request a referendum on he question of the creation of an Emergency Communications District for Pickett County to be added to the May 2018 General Election Ballot. All ayes. Motion carried.
 Carried a motion by Mitchell Cross and seconded by David Harer to approve and accept the Recycling Equipment Grant Bid for recycling equipment to be used at the Transfer Station. This bid from Plum Waste Container consisting of EZ 20 Trailer and 6-18 cu yd roll off containers costing $47,252.00. All ayes. Motion carried.
 Passed a motion by Larry Ledford and seconded by Jim Richardson to approve and accept the construction bid for the Clean Tennessee Energy Grant renovations at the Byrdstown Community Center. The county hereby approves Turner Roofing Company as the low bidder for construction work at the Byrdstown Community Center at the bid price 
of $98,800.00 for the new roof. All ayes. Motion carried.
 Approved a motion by Mitchell Cross and seconded by Brad Richardson to approve and accept the Equipment Bid for the lease of equipment needed for the closure of the Pickett County Landfill located at 3065 Gibb Moles Road. The county hereby approves Thompson Machinery as the low bidder or the equipment lease for the landfill closure project at the bid price of $8100.00 per month for dozer, $6900.00 per month for excavator and $5600.00 per month for compactor. All ayes. Motion carried.
 Carried a motion by Carey Garner and seconded by Mitchell Cross to approve that Pickett County goes with Municipal Capital Markets for the funds for the Pickett County Justice Center. This being a lease to purchase over a 20 year term. All ayes except Darrell Garrett and Eddie Holt voted nay. Motion carried.
EMS Report
Transfer Station
County Building Report & Community Center update
Sales Tax Revenue handout
Prisoner Housing update
Passed a motion by Darrell Garrett and seconded by Brad Richardson to adjourn until the next regular county court meeting scheduled for Monday, May 15, 2017 at 6 p.m. in the Pickett County Library Community Room. All ayes. Motion carried.

Another lawsuit for the county has been filed


 A lawsuit against Pickett County and Caleb Sells has been filed in Pickett County Circuit Court. The documents show that it was received by Pickett County Circuit Court Clerk Larry Brown on April 13, 2017.
 The complaint is that plaintiff Lloyd Shaver was bumped by Mr. Sells on or about May 19th, 2016 causing him to fall and suffer physical injuries. It also states that Pickett County knowingly maintained an unsafe condition at its facility which was the proximate cause of Mr. Shaver's fall and consequential injuries.
 The plaintiff is asking the court to find that the defendants were negligent and find that Mr. Caleb Sells intentionally pushed him and to award $300,000 in compensatory damages.
 Mr. Shaver is being resented by Melanie Lane of Romer Lane and Howard.
Editors Note: The printed edition of the PRESS's article failed to mention that the incident occurred at the Pickett County Transfer Station and that Caleb Sells is the former lead operator of that facility.


Pickens indicted in arson case

Chad pickens20170517 25390 1rcdwlm
 According to a TBI press release a joint investigation has resulted
in an indictment for an Overton County man in connection to an
ongoing arson case in Pickett County.

 On December 19th, at the request of 13th District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway, TBI Special Agents joined investigators from Tennessee Fire Investigative Services and the Pickett County
Sheriff’s Office in the investigation into a suspicious residential
fire on Dec. 14th at a home at 637 North Main Street in Byrdstown.
 During the course of the investigation, authorities developed
information that led to Chad Pickens (DOB 3-24-77) as the individual responsible for the crime.

 On Monday, April 24, the Pickett County Grand Jury returned an
indictment, charging the Allons man with one count of Arson.
Authorities served Pickens with the arson capias at the Fentress
County Jail, where, at the time of this release, he remained
incarcerated on an unrelated charge.

Local bowfisher gets state and world record fish

Conner sucker fish20170517 25393 qmn6es
TWRA Fishery Biologist Will Collier with Andrew Conner with the record fish.

 When Andrew Conner went bowfishing last week, he never imagined that 
he was going to be a record holder.

 On Tuesday, April 18th, he and some friends were bowfishing on Obey 
River when they noticed something monstrous in the water.

 "I was wading in the water, shot the fish and really didn't think 
much else about it as I continued fishing," said Andrew.

 It was then while he was gathering up the fish that he recognized it 
wasn't a typical size for the type of fish it was believed to have 
been. After weighing it, by curiosity, he looked up the state record 
for the River Red Horse sucker fish and was shocked to see that what 
he had was bigger than not only the state record but the Bowfishing 
Association of America's World record.

 He contacted local Tennessee Wildlife Resource Association Officer 
Craig Norris who recommended getting official confirmation of species 
and weight.

 On Thursday, April 20th, TWRA Fishery Biologist Will Collier was able to validate that Conner had in fact caught himself a record holder.

 Conner's fish was recorded by the TWRA as weighing 13 lbs. and 9 oz., 
The previous world record was reported as being 12 lbs. and 29 oz.

 He has plans of mounting the fish and possibly creating a replica that could be placed somewhere local.

Mayor reports zone flow water
meters should be online at meeting


 The Town of Byrdstown Board of Mayor and Aldermen met in regular session on Monday, April 10, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. at Town Hall.  Those present were Mayor Sam Gibson, Recorder Johnny Sells, Alderwoman Barb Mitchell, Alderman Johnny Bilbrey, Alderman Rex Tompkins, Eric 
Pierce, Michelle Mitchell, Chamber of Commerce Director Bill Robbins, Robert Young, Anthony Milsted, Water Plant Supervisor Malcolm Harmon, Town Engineer Nathaniel Green, and County Executive Richard Daniel.
 An agenda was presented and a motion was made by Johnny Bilbrey to adopt the proposed agenda. A second was voiced by Johnny Sells and with all members voting aye the motion carried.
A motion was made by Barb Mitchell to approve the minutes of the March 13, 2017 regular as written. A second was voiced by Rex Tompkins and with all members voting aye the motion carried.
 Town Engineer Nathaniel Green informed the board that the bathroom project for the park across from Town Hall is okay to bid and bids will be open on May 8, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at Town Hall.
The mayor reported that all zone flow water meters should be online this week that will be a great help in finding water leaks within the system.
 Water Plant Supervisor Malcolm Harmon addressed the board about ways to improve the final water quality leaving the water plant to comply with upcoming and ongoing environmental standards.
 Pickett County Executive Richard Daniel discussed recycling and the impact this has on the landfills. He also discussed at looking into getting a natural gas line to the new jail, and the county is looking at a grant to help revitalize the downtown area.
 Under General Discussion the mayor informed the board that the bed and racks are being installed on the new trash truck and will be ready to start picking up trash on May 2, 2017.
 The mayor presents the 3rd quarter budget and gave a breakdown of the money spent and the remaining balance in each department.

Counterfeit money found at local business

Counterfeit 2020170420 2806 1kfcelx
Counterfeit $20

 A counterfeit $20 was discovered at a local business over the weekend.  According to Pickett County Sheriff Dana Dowdy, the money was reported as suspicious and it was confirmed that the bill was in fact a counterfeit. It is unknown who paid with the money or if they 
were knowledgeable of the situation. Unfortunately, the business owner cannot receive a replacement bill and lost money with the change that was given for the transaction.
  There haven't been any other reports, but Sheriff Dowdy encourages 
local business owners to always be aware and to check for the UV sensitive strip on bills printed later than 1996, and use counterfeit 
detection pens. The detection pens will turn black on the money if it 
is not genuine currency.
  The Secret Service has been notified to investigate the incident. 
If anyone has any information regarding counterfeit money, contact 
the Pickett County Sheriff's Office at 931-864-3210.

Location for jail site changed during special called meeting

Winningham property20170413 29705 k5r9w5

 The Pickett County Commissioners met in a special called meeting on April 6th regarding the jail. Since it was a special called meeting, the only item that could be discussed was the jail.
 The motion that was needed came after a motion to change jail site location failed during the March 20th regular meeting. The motion to amend the previous motion from the August 15th, 2016 meeting, changing the proposed site location for the new Justice Center/Jail project from the Byrdstown Community Center to Winningham Property on West Main Street.

 This newspaper had a concern regarding that motion on August 15th because the official motion did not include establishing the jail site and reported the commission did not approve jail site and it will be brought back for vote. While there was discussion by the
corrective partnership to recommend using the community center as a location for the jail prior to the vote, the actual verbiage of the motion was to approve “recommendations from the county corrective partnership committee to approve Tom Anderson Architecture and Design for the Architectural Design of the jail construction project."

 County Attorney Andrea Ayers reviewed the motion and determined it was sufficient to establish the jail location and the process continued to use the community center as the site. The argument this newspaper expressed, was that while the commissioners had knowledge of the community center being recommended as the jail site along with architectural firm, the actual motion that was read for the vote, didn't reflect any official record of the community center being established as the site.
However, the motion during the special called meeting on Monday, was clear to the public and specific to amend previous motion for Justice Center/Jail project from the Byrdstown Community Center to the Winningham Property on West Main Street in Byrdstown. All commissioners voted aye except Darrell Garrett, Eddie Holt and Carter Martin who voted nay.

 Now that the county has approved a new location for the proposed Justice Center/Jail, the next step will be for the board to approve the purchase of the site. During the meeting Commissioner Carey Garner asked if there was a cost analysis for the new location. Chairman Richard Daniel stated there would be no way to know until it was bid and designed for the location.
There was a concern for conflict of interest involving the property
and a county commissioner. County Executive Richard Daniel says that a CTAS legal opinion on the matter and that the purchase of the Winningham property by Pickett County did not constitute a conflict of interest.

 According to Tennessee Property Data, the property that was offered as Winningham property has two property parcels. One is listed as being 3.9 acres owned by Mrs. Ward Winningham and Elese Winningham and another is .48 is owned by James L. Richardson and Johnny Richardson.

Does Pickett County have to build a jail?


 The topic of discussion has been heating up as to why Pickett County needs to build a jail. With all of the information that has been given, the PRESS wanted to find out what the state's position was in regards to the jail situation.

 In 2015, the state Fire Marshal's office conducted an inspection of the jail, that was built in 1935, and found it did not have the 
required fire alarm system, lack of exits, improper gas appliances, obstructed egress.

 A Plan of Corrective Action by the county that was to be approved by the Fire Marshal’s Office by January 5th, 2016 or there would be the possibility of the state taking action.
 The POCA was as follows:
1. The jail would not house more than six inmates, any additional 
inmate would be housed in other counties.
2. A feasibility study for a new jail would be completed and a plan 
to build a new jail in place within 190 days.
3. Current jail would be on "fire watch" with sheriff office 
personnel conducting checks every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day and keep a log of all fire watch activities.

 That POCA was submitted in January 2016 and was approved by the state. In that letter, it indicated that the Pickett County 
Government realizes that a failure to follow this plan will result in 
the Fire Marshal's Office closing the jail.

  The Pickett County Corrective Partnership was created to address all aspects for a new jail. During the first meeting in January, Bob Bass from the Tennessee Correction Institute explained the situation for needing a jail and offered guidance and options for what routes could be followed. He stated during that meeting, that he felt like if the county did what the Fire Marshal was requiring and complied, they would not shut anything down at that time.

 A feasibility study was completed by CTAS at no cost to the county. That study suggested housing consideration for the new jail plan for 36 male bed, and 18 female beds, a total of 54.
There were site feasibility studies done for several potential areas that were recommended by the Pickett County Corrective Partnership for a jail/justice center location. The plan was to use the community center as the site which was going to be saving the county money by using an existing structure. However, the cost of relocating the current offices and area for the community center were going to be substantial. The Pickett County Corrective Partnership committee suggested a new site be recommended for the jail and presented it to the county commission on March 20. That motion failed.

 There was a special called meeting April 6th on the facts concerning the jail and why Pickett County has to build a jail. Before that meeting date, a letter dated April 3rd, 2017 was sent to Pickett County Executive Richard Daniel stating if the approved POCA was not implemented or adhered to, the department may take action. This action may result in the department seeing an order of remedy or removal. That included an order to evacuate the building until the deficiencies are remedied at the existing facility or a new jail is constructed. These actions are the same as what could have occurred when the mandates were placed on the jail and it was required that Pickett County submit a POCA.

 A motion was approved to change the location of the proposed jail site from the Byrdstown Community Center to property on West Main Street. The current building of the courthouse is not ADA compliant and the state has serious concerns for the safety of the inmates and jail employees. So what exactly would that mean if the state issued an order to evacuate the building as indicated in the letter? Pickett County Executive Richard Daniel, and county commission chairman, stated in the special called meeting that the evacuation would include the "whole building or courthouse.” That would mean the county offices that are within the building would be included in that evacuation.

 This newspaper has requested a clarification of what exactly was 
meant by the wording in the letter of "evacuation of the building" 
from Tennessee Department of Commerce's Communication Director Kevin Walters. "The jail is the only structure at issue. The second floor will need to be vacated while the building's deficiencies affecting the health and safety of the building's occupants are addressed. The first floor should be unaffected," said Walters.

 It was also revealed in the special called meeting, that the Pickett 
County Sheriff's Office had over 200 warrants that hadn't been 
served, and there are currently no beds in the state for females and it would be close to Memphis to send a male prisoner.
According to County Executive Richard Daniel, a jail could be built 
and maintained without increasing taxes, and there are several loan and lease options available. There are still a lot of questions that are unknown regarding the cost of a jail/justice center for Pickett County. But the state has shown the willingness to cooperate with county officials throughout the process and would be available if requested at meetings but haven't been at this time.

 A copy of the full CTAS Feasibility study along with each site 
feasibility study can be found on

--$140,000 yearly cost for fire watch
--$129,153 PCSO Housing Budget 2016-17
--$120,452.30 paid for housing YTD
--$35,000 PCSO Medical Budget 2016-17
--$81,658.14 paid for medical YTD
--$35-$50 cost per day for outside inmate housing

 CTAS reported that the cost estimate to do the fire watch is $140,000 a year.
 The budget for the sheriff's office housing was originally 
$100,000.00 and amended to $129,153, so far for the fiscal year to date of April 7th, the amount spent is $120,452.30 with several more months left. The medical budget was $35,000 for fiscal year 2016/17, as of April 7th, a total of $81,658.14 has been spent.

 The estimated cost to house inmate per day is $35-$50, but doesn't include any medical expenses, or other expenses associated with housing prisoners in other counties.

Pickett County reports decrease in beer tax

 The Tennessee Malt Beverage Association released the figures of
revenue for October 2016 received by each county and city that
permits legal sale of beer. Beer tax collections are received from
the 17% Wholesale Beer Tax as reported by the wholesale distribution, not individual outlets.

 The revenue for Pickett County in October 2016 was $14,968.22, down from Oct. 2015 at $16,853.83. Year-to-date 2016 was $1,181,087.82, which is slightly down in 2015 $194,462.54.
Overton County’s revenue for Oct. 2016 was up $9,569.68 from 2015 at $9,216.35. Y-T-D 2016 was at $106,1914.01 and 2015 at $104,851.30. October 2016 revenue for Putnam County dropped to $16,160.95 from 2015 at $19,016.50. Year-to-date 2016 was also down at $193,344.40 and 2015 y-t-d was $200,252.65. Clay County Oct. 2016 revenue was at $11,879.67 which was down from 2015 at $15,881.72, y-t-d 2016 $181,023.74 and y-t-d 2015 for Clay at $190,975.79. The revenue for Oct. 2016 in Fentress County was $18,807.21, 2015 $19,275.93. Year-to-date 2016 at $193,974.07 y-t-d 2015 at $195,266.65.

Amendment motion fails that changes jail site from community center

 Pickett County Commissioners met in regular session on March 20, 2017. Present and presiding was the honorable Richard Daniel, Chairman and Robert Lee Clerk of the Court. Court was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Clerk Lee who turned the meeting over to Chairman Daniel. The invocation was given by Jimmy Richardson and the Pledge of Allegiance was given by all.

  All commissioners were present except Mitchell Cross, Brad Richardson and Matthew Storie were absent.

 The following is from the submitted county commission meeting minutes:
 Approved a motion by David Harer and seconded by Jimmy Richardson to approve the agenda as presented. All ayes. Motion carried.
 Carried a motion by Colan Huddleston and seconded by Tim Ford to approve the minutes from Monday, February 20, 2017 county court meeting as presented. All ayes. Motion carried.
 Passed a motion by Eddie Holt and seconded by Carey Garner to approve monthly reports as presented:
month end report: county general fund, transfer station/solid waste, debt service fund and solid waste fund
cash flow analysis: 101 general fund, 116 transfer station/solid 
waste, 151 debt service, 207 solid waste fund
cash flow analysis from other departments: 131 highway department, 142 school federal projects
cash flow analysis; Actual vs Projected from other departments; 142 school federal project budget to actual report revenues: 101 general fund, 116 transfer station/solid waste, 151 debt service, 207 solid waste fund budget to actual report expenditures:  101 general fund, 116 transfer station/solid waste, 151 debt service, 207 solid waste fund. All ayes. Motion carried.
 Budget Calendar for FY2017-2018 presented to the Pickett County Board of Commissioners.
 Approved a motion by Darrell Garrett and seconded by Carter Martin to approve notaries - Russell S. Smith-new and William Glee Gibson-renewal. All ayes. Motion carried.
 Approve Resolution FY2016-2017-11 NO ACTION TAKEN
 Carried a motion by Carter Martin and seconded by Carey Garner to approve to table any action on Caney Creek Road closure for heavy trucks until the next meeting.
 Passed a motion by Colan Huddleston and seconded by Larry Ledford to approve Resolution FY 2016-2017-12 a resolution to approve the application of the TNECD Asset Enhancement Grant at a 95-5% match. All ayes. Motion carried.
 Passed a motion by David Harer and seconded by Jimmy Richardson to approve Resolution 2016-2017-13 a resolution accepting the CDBF Emergency Service Program Bids for equipment. The county hereby approves Stryker EMS as low bidder for two(2) power cots and Stryker EMS as the low bidder for two (2) cot loading systems. All ayes. Motion carried.
 Approved a motion Carter Martin and seconded by David Harer to approve the bid $25,500.00 submitted by Ben Crabtree on 3/17/2017 for the purchases of the property located at 300 South Main St., Byrdstown. All ayes. Motion carried.
 Pickett County Corrective Partnership Committee Meeting update was provided.
 Motion by Larry Ledford and seconded by David Harer to amend the previous motion by Larry Ledford from August 15, 2016 meeting, changing the proposed site location for the new justice center/jail project from the Byrdstown Community Center to the Winningham property on West Main St., Byrdstown. All ayes, except Darrell Garrett, Carey Garner, Eddie Holt and Carter Martin who voted nay. Motion failed.
EMS Report
Transfer Station Report
County Building report & Community Center Update
FYI - Sales Tax Revenue-handout, Prisoner housing update
 Carried a motion by Colan Huddleston and seconded by Darrell Garrett to adjourn until the next regular count court meeting scheduled for Monday, April 17, 2017 at 6 p.m. in the Pickett County Library Community Room. All ayes. Motion carried.

Local deputies graduate from
law enforcement academy

 Two Pickett County deputies have graduated from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy and are now certified law enforcement officers.

 Deputies Nathon Rigney and Taylor Storie began their journey to the academy with the reported tradition of getting their heads shaved by Sheriff Dana E. Dowdy the night before the 12 week academy. The course the deputies completed was the basic police school course that provides technical and tactical expertise in addition to the ethical and professional standards of law enforcement necessary for success.

 Each graduate received a degree of both technical and tactical
proficiency to function on the streets as well as in the criminal and civil courts of our state. The recent class had over 80 graduates who represented various police department, sheriff offices and state agencies.

 The TLETA has trained over 19,000 cadets during the Basic Police
School classes and over 53,000 students during its more than 1,700 specialized schools.

According to Sheriff Dowdy, both Deputy Rigney and Storie were hired with the Pickett County Sheriff's Office in spring of 2016. Pickett County currently has 10 full time officers.

Increase in illegal removal of wildlife in spring

 Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) officials notice an
increase in illegal removal of wildlife each spring. Not only is
taking wildlife from nature unlawful, it can have harmful effects on humans, pets and overall wildlife populations. Animals most often taken include squirrels, fawns, turtles and even baby raccoons. Sometimes the intent is to care for a seemingly abandoned animal. Other times, it is simply out of the selfish intent of making the animal a pet.
 Removing any wild animal without proper permitting is illegal and it is most often to the detriment of wildlife. Negative effects on
humans and pets include the transmittal of parasites, bacteria such as salmonella, fungi and other wildlife diseases. Additionally, pets can pass these things to wildlife making it impossible for an animal to be returned to the wild.
 “We’ve seen an increase in these cases and it makes us angry. Our mission is to protect wildlife and laws are in place not only for the protection of humans, but also animals. Someone from the general public doesn’t know about wildlife disease or behavior and they’re causing dangerous situations,” stated Joe McSpadden, Hamilton County Wildlife Officer.
 Moving wildlife or taking it into a home can even affect overall
wildlife populations. One animal significantly affected is the
Eastern box turtle. “Turtles are long-lived, slow to reproduce
animals. Removing just one can impact the population of an area. Distressed turtle populations take much longer to recover than other faster breeding animals,” stated Chris Simpson, Region III Wildlife Diversity Biologist. Additionally, some wildlife also have breeding site fidelity, meaning they will not reproduce unless they are in the area where they were born or typically reproduce.
If someone finds an obviously sick or injured wild animal they should contact a wildlife rehabilitator or call TWRA. TWRA maintains a list by county of rehabilitators that can be found at
 Individuals that find what they believe to be an orphaned animal
should leave the animal alone. The vast majority of the time, mothers collect their young. Even animals that have apparently fallen from a nest or tree are most often cared for by their mothers. In addition, laws forbid the movement of wildlife. A property owner that traps a nuisance animal cannot move the wild animal to another location. This law is in place to keep wildlife disease from spreading to unaffected populations.
Should someone know of an individual removing wildlife or harboring wildlife illegally, they should call their regional TWRA office.
 “There is absolutely no reason for anyone to have a wild animal in their home,” stated wildlife officer McSpadden. “Please help us with our mission and leave wildlife where it belongs.”
 For more information regarding wildlife rehabilitators visit: http:// The mission of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is to preserve, conserve, manage, protect, and enhance the fish and wildlife of the state and their habitats for the use, benefit, and enjoyment of the citizens of Tennessee and its visitors. The Agency will foster the safe use of the state’s waters through a program of law enforcement, education, and access.

Loss of eaglet from eagle cam


 The third eaglet from the Dale Hollow Eagle Cam died last Thursday causing a lot of upset as to why human intervention wasn't possible.
 The older eaglet (DH1) was seen multiple times attacking the smaller one (DH3), which wasn't growing and thriving as the others.
 People were outraged that no one was going into the nest to save the baby eagle, but federal law prevents that from occurring and it is physically impossible due to the location of the nest.
 The camera is located in a tree trunk that is not close to the nest
and any human intervention attempts would likely result in the damage of the nest or endanger the four eagles remaining.

 The chat on the youtube coverage of the eagle cam had to be suspended due to the nature of the conversations that began before the eaglet died.
 It was reported that in 2014, these same adults raised three eaglets and successfully fledgling the nest, so it leaves only speculation as to why the older eaglet kept attacking it.
 While no one wanted to see the loss of the eaglet, however we must remember that this camera is to observe nature in its natural environment, and not intervene.

Local youth attend annual Tennessee 4-H Congress

Pickett County Agent/Director

 For the 70th year, 4-H members from across Tennessee gathered to participate in Tennessee 4-H Congress. The annual event, which took place March 19-22, gave 4-H'ers the opportunity to learn about the day-to-day functioning of state government by assuming the roles of state representatives and senators.
 Approximately 375 high-school-age 4-H’ers from all over the state met to become legislators and form a “junior” state Congress. The event helps youth better understand government and the legislative process and how they can be a part of this citizenship experience in order to make a difference. They were given an opportunity to debate and vote on youth-oriented bills in the House and Senate Chambers. In addition to learning about government and their state capitol, delegates competed in public speaking, poster and essay contests.
 In addition to project competition and learning about state 
government, a number of other activities included the Tennessee 4-H Congress Pageant, a luncheon on the General Jackson Showboat, the election of the 2018 Tennessee 4-H Congress officers, the inaugural ball and a service-learning project. Delegates also met with Senator Ken Yager and Representative Kelly Keisling.
 The 2017 Tennessee 4-H Congress service project challenged delegates to collect items to benefit military service men and women who are currently deployed.
 Representing Pickett County at the 2017 Tennessee 4-H Congress were Luis Bautista, Andrea Beaty, Madison Beaty, Jason Garrett, Will Garrett, Jacob Hinds, and Garrett Thompson.
 The group and the UT Extension Pickett County office would like to say thank you to all sponsors and donors that made the trip possible.

Pickett County Sheriff's Office receives re-certification

Dana Dowdy and his department received notification this week that they have been re certified for data submission for the
Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System Program.
 This is a statewide program through the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation where agencies submit data that is used to compile the Crime in Tennessee publication and the FBI's Crime in the US report.
 Last year, the TBI reported that Pickett County was one of three departments in the state that were not certified and in compliance with submitting mandatory online crime data. It was learned that Pickett County actually had been de certified since 2013. It was required that Pickett County go back beginning of May 2015 to the current year at that time, and submit corrected data
by December 2016.
 A re-audit was performed and Pickett County is now TIBRS certified and has successfully submitted three consecutive months of data with an accepted error rate.

Dale Hollow Spring
Bass Classic Winners

The 3rd Annual Byrdstown-Pickett County Dale Hollow
Spring Bass Classic hosted by Sunset Marina was
held March 18 and 19.
1st Tim Reagan & Rod Huff, 34.55 lbs., $1800.00
2nd Matt Chiodi & Tommy Glass, 33.20 lbs., $1600.00
3rd Joe Haunert & Bill Haunert, 31.75 lbs., $1400.00
4th Robert Reagan & Lucas Reagan, 31.00 lbs., $1200.00
5th Chris Halfacre & James Harris, 30.85 lbs., $1000.00
6th Patrick Crawley & J.R. Stalcup, 30.50 lbs., $800.00
7th Perry Neatherly & Levi Neatherly, 30.40 lbs., $700.00
8th Kyle Jolley & Gilbert Jolley, 29.80 lbs., $600.00
9th Andrew Haunert & Alex Straubing, 28.85 lbs., $500.00
10th James Wade & Payton Wade, 27.95 lbs., $400.00
11th David Harris & Chris Thomas, 27.40 lbs., $300.00
12th Billy Joe Johnson & Robby Johnson, 27.25 lbs., $200
Big Fish Saturday
1st Perry Neatherly & Levi Neatherly, 6.35 lbs., $500.00
2nd Patrick Crawley & J.R. Stalcup, 5.65 lbs., $400.00
3rd David Harris & Chris Thomas, 5.30 lbs., $300.00
Big Fish Sunday
1st J.B. King & Kevin King, 5.50 lbs., $500.00
2nd David Harris & Chris Thomas, 5.35 lbs., $400.00
3rd Joe Haunert & Bill Haunert, 4.75 lbs., $300.00
72 boats were entered into the tournament, a total of
1027.90 lbs. of bass were weighed in over the weekend.

Free trash pickup coming
soon for city residents

The City of Byrdstown will be providing free trash pick-up for city residents beginning May 2nd.
So how is this being paid for?
The cost to provide this service was estimated by Mayor Sam Gibson to be around $40,000 initially and then around $12,000 a year to maintain. The biggest cost was $35,000 to purchase a 2017 IsuzuNPR truck chassis, plus an additional $4,000 to add a dump bed and rails.
That $40,000 was covered by the additional revenue that brought in for the 2016-17 year.
The money to help cover the cost to maintain will be coming from the 8% liquor inspection fee.
This fee is actually more like a tax that is paid each time the local liquor store purchases inventory from a vendor. Since January, the city has collected around $7,000 from the inspection fee.
According to Mayor Gibson, the trash pick-up service will not require additional
employees. There are 180-190 homes located within the city limits that will be eligible for the trash pick-up.
City residents can stop by Town Hall to sign up

School board discusses band program with music teacher at work session

Amanda Hill Bond

 The Pickett County School Board met on Monday, March 13th, with all board members present.
 The work session began at 6:39 p.m., and discussions were made about what is on the agenda for the regular meeting scheduled immediately after. The first item was involving policy 6.411 for Student Wellness and the second was textbook adoptions for Agriculture. Since it was the second reading for policy 6.411, there wasn't much discussion. Instruction and Curriculum Supervisor Randy Garrett presented the board in detail the specifics for the textbook adoptions for Agriculture, what was recommended for the board to approve.
It was also during the work session when Director Diane Elder asked Pickett County Music Teacher and Band Director Ryan Aldridge if he wanted to go ahead and speak to the board for questions the board would like to ask. At that time, the PRESS requested that the discussion also be done during the meeting so it could be official, since this was just a work session. While work sessions are subject to open records laws, if there is no vote taken, there isn't a requirement by law for the board to record discussions. However, according to the Pickett County School Board Policy 1.406 regarding minutes, it should be recorded in the minutes of the names of those addressing the board and the purpose of their remarks  and include a brief account of those items discussed, and whether or not any motions were made regarding those items.
 Board member Jr. Beaty asked Mr. Aldridge what the board could do to help improve the band program or encourage more participation. Mr. Aldridge said that one problem was trying to keep the turnover each year and keeping students involved past 8th grade. There are currently 17 students in band, with one senior Neil Storie who is auditioning soon for a music scholarship at Tennessee Tech. It was suggested by Director Elder and board member Jr. Beaty that Mr. Aldridge present some more information to the board at the next meeting.
 There was discussion regarding the timing of the next meeting with the budget needing to be submitted 45 days prior to being passed by the county commission, the date was changed by the Director to Monday, April 24th.
 The regularly scheduled meeting began at 7:00, and Chairman John Reagan asked if anyone in attendance who isn't on the present agenda and would like to be placed on it. The addition of the band discussion and decision to have it brought back to the board was not included on the agenda.
 Motion by Nathan Anderson and seconded by Jr. Beaty to adopt the agenda and minutes from the February 13th, 2017, meeting was carried with all ayes. The second reading of the Student Wellness policy 6.411 was approved with all ayes. Motion to approve textbook adoptions for Agriculture was made by Nathan Anderson and John Reagan, with all ayes.
 PCHS Principal Jane Winningham reported that the senior trip will be kicking is off next week and there are around 36-38 students who will be attending. Due to one of the teachers not being able to help chaperone the trip, Principal Winningham asked a parent of one of the
students to fill in. The TN Promise meeting was rescheduled due to school being out, parents don't have to attend. The information is on the website. There will be prom dresses and accessories set up for those students who would need help with cost of dresses at the Ag building on April 8th. There are around 35 dresses that have been provided by a few members of the community. Report cards will be coming out Monday, April 20th.
 PCK8 Principal Kenny Tompkins reported that report cards will now be distributed on Wednesday, March 22nd and Parent/Teacher Conference is Thursday, March 23rd. Teachers are getting the students ready for testing in April.
 Technology Supervisor Debbie Elder said that, both schools are
getting a virtual headset and computer, through a program. There will be a permanent set-up for this equipment at each school.
School Nutrition Supervisor Lisa Cummings informed the board of a meeting they could attend that will discuss a new Smart Snacks
program that will be implemented next school year.
 The meeting was adjourned at 7:11 with the next meeting rescheduled to Monday, April 24th, work session at 6:30 p.m., meeting at 7:00 p.m.

Pickett County Schools close due to illness

Amanda Hill Bond

 Once again, Pickett County Schools are having to close because of sickness. There was an announcement Monday, March 13th that school would be closed for the remainder of the week, with a high amount of students and staff being absent. The flu seems to have made a comeback since the last time school was out for sickness in February. 
 The symptoms most are reporting fatigue, nausea, and high fevers.
 To help keep the spread of the flu and other germs, stay at home if you are feeling sick or have a fever. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Vitamin C is the biggest immune booster, so daily intake is vital because our bodies don't make it. Other vitamins to help with immune system are Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E.

 If you are sick, get plenty of rest and drink as much water or non-
caffeinated drinks to keep hydrated. Caffeine is a diuretic so you 
might want to stay way from it.
 There's also nothing like some hot chicken noodle soup to help get you on the path to recovery.

Robert Reagan takes first place in BLF bass tournament

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Robert Reagan has his third career win on DHL. PHOTO: STAR POINT MARINA
Local angler Robert Reagan of Byrdstown weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds, 7 ounces, last Saturday to win the first T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mountain Division event of 2017 on Dale Hollow Lake presented by Navionics. Forhis win, Reagan was awarded $7,298.
 “I started off the day throwing a green-pumpkin-colored custom jig,” said Reagan, who earned his third career-win on Dale Hollow Lake in  BFL competition. “I focused on mid-lake transition banks that had chunk rock. I caught a smallmouth and two largemouth bass before the wind really picked up.”
 Reagan said that around 9:30 a.m. he switched to a ½-ounce Strike King spinnerbait. He said he continued running chunk rock banks and was up able to catch three more largemouth.
  “I was sitting in 25 to 30 feet of water, but the bass were up
shallower,” said Reagan. “They were stationed where the bluff walls turned into flats. I worked the lures to about 4 to 8 feet, which seemed to be the magic depth.”
 Reagan said his heaviest catches came toward the end of the day.
“I finished off my day with the jig in more stained water,” said
Reagan. “I put my two biggest bass in the boat by 1 p.m., which was a great way to wrap things up.”
 One of Reagan’s bass – a 5-pound, 14-ouncer – was the heaviest
weighed in at the event. The catch earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $680.

  Jo Lesak wins 17th Annual Pig Tournament at Forbus

 Mr. Eddie Anderson, owner of Forbus General Store, presented Jo Lesak of Byrdstown with the 17th Annual Championship Pig Tournament plaque after her win on Feb. 25th. Jo and Pat Sells were tied after five hours of competition between some 60+ players.
 In the final playoff, Jo came out victorious. Lessons for teenagers are planned for later this year with a teen tournament to follow.
 For rules of the game, stop by the store or go to the Fentress County Chamber of Commerce website.


Funeral services held for Neal

 Chancellor Vernon Neal died Friday evening March 3, 2017 at
Cookeville Regional Medical Center.
Funeral services were held for retired Chancellor Vernon Neal, 85, of Cookeville at First Baptist Church March 7 at 11 a.m.
 In 1962, Judge Neal ran his first political race as Direct
Representative of Putnam County, now known as state House of
Representatives. During two terms as representative, he sponsored legislation permitting counties to elect school board members and road supervisor, strengthened laws that made it more difficult for public figures to mishandle public funds and supported area training for the mentally and physically disabled.
 In 1966, Representative Neal became State Senator, representing the 14th State Senate District. During his final term, Senator Neal was appointed by the Lieutenant Governor to the State Calendar Committee, which mandates resolutions allowed to move forward to the senate floor, he served as secretary of the state education committee, member of the judiciary committee and general welfare and environment committee. Senator Neal sponsored
legislation requiring all newborns to be screened for PKU for
prevention of mental disability and with his colleague Representative Tommy Burks, acquired state funding for Burgess Falls State Park and expansion of Tennessee Technological University including Tucker Stadium, Hooper Eblen Center and Bryant Fine Arts. At the conclusion of this state service, Senator Neal was honored by the “Friends of Education” and during the dinner, TTU President Roaden stated “Senator Neal’s leadership can be described as being a committed states man with faith in our future.” Dr. Roaden further stated, “One of the mountains in the Upper Cumberland should be named Mt. Vernon.”
 In 1980, retired State Senator Neal was elected as Chancellor of the 13th Judicial District and served in this capacity for 25 years. He quoted, “I’d like to think I made a difference in people’s lives.”
During Chancellor Neal’s tenure, he was estimated to have heard over 35,000 cases. In an interview at the time of his retirement,
Chancellor Neal stated, “We are blessed with outstanding lawyers in the 13th Judicial District, and I believe they compare with lawyers anywhere in the state; good lawyers make a judge’s job so much easier.”

Fatality on Billy Zachary Road

Amanda Hill Bond

 After several years of no fatalities in Pickett County, a Pall Mall
man died in an accident last Saturday night.
 At around 9:40 p.m., authorities were notified of an accident on
Billy Zachary Road off of Highway 325 (Moodyville Road).
 The accident report indicates that a 2007 Chevy car driven by Phillip Upchurch, 55, of Pall Mall, was traveling north when it left the roadway and struck a tree.
 Upchurch was not wearing his seatbelt and died at the scene from the injuries he sustained.
 The accident is being investigated by Tennessee Highway Patrol
Trooper Neil Matthews.
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