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
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, visit www.TCofTN.org/resourcesIMPROVEact.
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 County. 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 Tennessee. 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
AMANDA HILL BOND Publisher-Editor
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 1-866-236-3276. Please contact me at 931-864-3675 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time that is most convenient for you to donate.
Murderer will spend rest of life in prison
AMANDA HILL BOND Publisher-Editor 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 www.bearwise.info or if there is a situation that requires immediate attention, call local authorities.
Leaving the scene of the accident charges for truck driver
AMANDA HILL BOND Editor/Publisher 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 FYI 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
AMANDA HILL BOND Publisher-Editor
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
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
AMANDA HILL BOND Editor/Publisher
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
AMANDA HILL BOND Publisher-Editor
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
AMANDA HILL BOND PUBLISHER-EDITOR
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?
AMANDA HILL BOND PUBLISHER-EDITOR
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 pickettcountypress.com.
--$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 tnwildlife.org. 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:// www.tn.gov/twra/article/wildlife-rehabilitators-educators. 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
AMANDA HILL BOND Editor/Publisher
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
BILLY G GARRETT 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
AMANDA HILL BOND Publisher-Editor 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
AMANDA HILL BOND Publisher-Editor 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 Publisher/Editor
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 Publisher/Editor
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
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 Publisher-Editor
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.