Public concerns over missing road signs throughout county

Amanda Hill Bond
Editor/Publisher

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.

Specifications:
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

<strong>Local Farmer's Market</strong>
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
 

<strong>July 3 deadline for Big South Fork Photo Contest</strong><br> 
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 https://www.nps.gov/biso/planyourvisit/
biso-photo-contest.htm. Entries may be emailed to 
biso_information@nps.gov 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) 
286-7275.

That Big White House

<strong>That Big White House</strong>

Susan R Ray
Writer

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
arbor.
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 http://tnstateparks.com/parks/
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 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 http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/
cordell-hull-birthplace

Nobody Trashes Tennessee” litter campaign launched

Nobody Trashes Tennessee” litter campaign launched


 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: 
www.nobodytrashestennessee.com

Enjoy what Dale Hollow Lake has to offer

Amanda Hill Bond
Publisher-Editor

 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 Firewoodscout.org or Dontmovefirewood.org for
further information.

 

Enjoy what Dale Hollow Lake has to offer
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 http://tnstateparks.com/parks/ 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 http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/cordell-hull-birthplace.
 

Local damage from Saturday’s storm

<strong>Local damage from Saturday’s storm</strong>
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?

<strong>Looking for something sweet to eat?</strong>
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

<strong>Pickett County to benefit from the recent IMPROVE act</strong>
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, 
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 abond@conqueringchd.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

<strong>Pickens indicted in arson case</strong>

 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

<strong>Local bowfisher gets state and world record fish</strong>
TWRA Fishery Biologist Will Collier with Andrew Conner with the 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

<strong>Counterfeit money found at local business</strong>
Counterfeit $20

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

<strong>Location for jail site changed during special called meeting</strong>

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

<strong>Robert Reagan takes first place in BLF bass tournament</strong>
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
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.
 

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