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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Holly Jolly Parade: Bigger, Better Than Ever

Cottage Grove Fire Department won Best Decorated Float. (McFarlin photos).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-A huge crowd lined the streets of downtown Paris for the 10th annual Holly Jolly Christmas Parade Saturday evening. It was bigger and better than ever, with Channel 5 Meteorologist Lelan Statom and Station Manager (and Henry County Native) Lyn Veazey Plantinga as Grand Marshals of the parade; Ray and Noragene Harding serving as Parade Ambassadors and Paris Elementary School as the spotlight school. And, both Santa and Mrs. Claus were in the parade, along with Rudolph and the elves.
There were 35 entries in the parade this year and parade Winners were:

Clark Griswold Award--Miss Manna’s; Most Christmas Spirit--Dance Studio of Camden; Best Religious Theme--Russwood Baptist Church; Best Decorated Vehicle-- Mary Roth; Best Decorated Float--Cottage Grove Fire Department; Best Marching Group-- Paris Danger Soccer; Best Decorated Golf Cart--Head Start of Harrelson and Rhea Schools.

The parade route was a new, extended one from previous years, which received positive feedback from the public, according to Downtown Paris Association Executive Director Kathy Ray. “People have been wanting a longer parade route,” she said.

Overall, Ray said, “We were just thrilled by the whole festival and parade this year. We were so fortunate to have Lelan and Lyn as Grand Marshals. People were calling out their names along the parade route and making them feel so welcome. We were really happy with the entries and we’ve already had people coming up to us talking about what they have planned for their entries next year.”

The parade was preceded by the annual Christmas festival, during which Statom spoke to a group at White and Associates about weather reporting and his career. The Paris Fire Department made s’mores, trackless train rides were available, and Santa was busy listening to little boys and girls tell him their Christmas wishes.

Lelan Statom talks weather before the parade.

Edison Crouch with his Dad, Dustin, on their way to the parade.

And They’re Off!

Buchanan, Tenn.-Both Santa and Mrs. Claus were on hand this morning to kick off the annual 8-mile Over The River Run at Paris Landing State Park. Runners come from all over the state and region to compete in the race each year. The runners are always escorted across the Ned McWherter bridge by the Paris Landing Fire Department and Santa, while Mrs. Claus supervises, bottom photo. (Shannon McFarlin photos).

PES Getting Its Float Ready

Paris, Tenn.-Paris Elementary School PTO Board Members were hard at work with Principal Chip Gray and a number of PES teachers Friday night to prepare the float for the Holly Jolly Downtown Paris Christmas Parade. Paris Elementary is the spotlight school this year in the parade and the theme of the PES entry is “Paris Elementary, where every child is a gift”. The parade begins at 5 p.m. Saturday and is preceded by the Christmas Festival around the court square, from 3-5 p.m. (Kim Patterson photo).



Martin Police Reaccredited


TACP President Jeff Hughes, Martin Police Chief Don Teal and Martin Police Captain Phillip Fuqua.


Nashville, Tenn.-The Tennessee Law Enforcement Accreditation (TLEA) Program has announced it has granted reaccreditation status to the Martin Police Department.

Martin Police Department successfully accomplished its second award of TLEA accreditation by meeting criteria that measured the professionalism, organizational, and overall readiness in law enforcement policy and procedures. “The standard of excellence that is met through this process is to be admired. We are proud to recognize the hard work of the Martin Police Department, its staff and community leaders,” said TACP President Jeff Hughes.

"The level of dedication to service and commitment to excellence by all of the men and women of this agency in achieving this accreditation is matched only by the service and dedication provided daily to the Martin community. We will continue to meet and exceed these standards and those of our community as we move forward." said Don Teal, Martin Chief of Police.


Friday, December 9, 2016

Reminder: Parade Route Is Different This Year


Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus get ready for the big parade with a big hug. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Paris, Tenn.-Remember, the 10th annual Holly Jolly Downtown Paris Christmas Parade will have a different parade route this year, much longer than in years past. As previously reported, the parade begins at 5 p.m., preceded by the Christmas festival from 3-5 p.m., also downtown.

The route will begin at the First United Methodist Church at N. Poplar Street, then it will move to Ruff Street, then from Ruff Street to Market Street, moving from Market Street south to E. Blythe Street where it will conclude. The parade will not go down Washington Street this year.

This will allow for a larger area for the public to stand and view the parade.

A grandstand also will be set up on the east side of the courthouse lawn, from which trophies will be handed out.


Henry County Trail Of Tears Route To Be Marked


Historical Society President David Webb displays one of the signs to be installed. (McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-A joint project to mark the Trail of Tears’ route through Henry County is nearing completion.

Henry County Historical Society President David Webb announced at Thursday night’s meeting that the 50 road signs marking the Trail of Tears have arrived and are being stored at the county highway department until they are installed.

Webb brought one of the signs to the meeting for members to view. The signs are of different sizes and will be installed along the local route, which moved along Rison Street past what is now the Mt. Zion Baptist Church and then past the former city auditorium turning onto what is now Market Street and beyond through the rest of the county.

Webb emphasized the signs were provided through no cost to the Historical Society and that the project is a joint program involving the Henry County Tourism Authority, the National Historic Trail of Tears project and TDOT, which will be installing the signs.

The only cost to the county is the cost of the hardware and posts needed to install the signs.

“I’m hopeful that in the next few weeks, we’ll see the installation begin in the next few weeks,” Webb said, “and then as the weather warms, we’ll have a dedication ceremony.”

Surrounding counties also are interested in joining with the project to mark the route the Trail of Tears took through their counties. Webb has already spoken with the Palmersville Historical Society in Weakley County and to two different groups in Benton County, with plans to speak in Waverly next.

The Trail of Tears involved a series of forced relocations of Native Americans from their ancestral homes during the administration of President Andrew Jackson. “The one that went through Henry County was the first one without military escort and it’s called the Benge Route,” Webb said.

The ultimate goal, Webb said, is that the public will be able to drive the entire route of the Trail of Tears, from Alabama to Oklahoma.

His research has revealed that the migration that moved through Henry County involved 60 wagons and teams, 480 horses, 1,132 Cherokee and their African-American slaves. Two of the Native-Americans on the Trail of Tears are buried in Weakley Co., he said. “Their graves have been identified,” he said.

Society Member Mike Garner looks over the Trail of Tears map. (McFarlin photo).


Historical Society Turns Donation Of School

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn—After lengthy discussion at Thursday night’s meeting, the Henry County Historical Society decided that the disadvantages would outweigh the pros and voted not to accept the donation of the former Liberty IV School and its grounds.

The county was approached by Owners Phillip and Tammy Pilcher, who have restored the former one-school schoolhouse located near Como. The schoolhouse had been used to store hay and was in extremely bad shape when purchased by the Pilchers several years ago. The couple has spent $60,000 to restore the facility, which now is used for school field trips, reunions and other gatherings.

The schoolhouse is located on two acres and contains original artifacts, including photographs, a couple of desks original to the building, as well as period schoolhouse furniture. It has been renovated with modern plumbing, a kitchen and handicapped ramp.

Historical Society President David Webb admitted he had “mixed feelings” about whether or not to accept the donation. The Pilchers are experiencing health problems and can no longer maintain the building and grounds.

One big advantage, Webb said, is “this would be the first asset of the Henry County Historical Society”, but a big disadvantage is that we would be responsible for the upkeep, repair, cleaning, insurance, and security, along with scheduling the events that are held there and having someone at the facility to oversee the events.

The location of the facility also is a big concern, since it is located way off any beaten path, miles away from any major roadways. “If it was located in the middle of Paris, there would be no question about it, I’d be all for it,” Webb said, “but this location is in a very rural area and does take quite a journey to get there.”

Members echoed his sentiments. Society Treasurer Donna Winchester said, “When you first see it, it takes your breath away. It’s just gorgeous what they’ve done with it, but the location is very bad for us to be able to maintain it.”

Webb said he would notify the Pilchers of the Society’s decision.

Planners Approve Boley Clinic Expansion

Paris, Tenn.-The Paris Municipal Regional Planning Commission Thursday night approved site plans that have been under consideration by the city.

A minor site plan for Michael and Melissa Boley was approved and it will allow for expansion of his veterinary clinic on Memorial Drive. Dr. Boley explained at a previous meeting that the expansion will allow grooming and boarding facilities.

City Economic Development Director Jennifer Morris explained that the facility will include an 800 square foot-covered area at the rear of his existing clinic. The clinic is already undergoing indoor renovations.

The site plan also includes a dumpster pad and screening on the rear of the lot, which Morris said should shield it from neighbors on Fairview Street.

In other business:

The commission approved a preliminary site plan for the proposed new bus garage planned by the Henry County Schools. As explained by Director of Schools Dr. Brian Norton at previous city and school meetings, the new garage will be at the site of the existing garage on the Barton Field grounds.

The proposed garage will be some 15,500 square feet and will include an expansion of parking at the site.

The commission also approved a site plan requested by Charlie Douglas on Mineral Wells Ave. for the plot between the Commercial Bank branch bank and the Kroger shopping center.


Fort Donelson Holiday Closings Announced

Dover, TN – Fort Donelson National Battlefield Superintendent Brian McCutchen has announced that on Christmas Day, Sunday, December 25, 2016, and New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1, 2017, all visitor facilities, offices, and grounds of Fort Donelson National Battlefield will be closed in recognition of the Christmas and New Year’s Day federal holidays.

The park’s temporary visitor orientation center, located in the Stewart County Visitor Center, and the Dover Hotel exhibit room, will be open during normal hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30p.m. on Monday, December 26 and Monday, January 2, as will all park gates and roads.


Mason To Be Graduated From Governor’s Academy

Paris, Tenn.-Grove School Assistant Principal Tim Mason is a participant in the highly-selective Governor’s Academy for School Leadership and will be graduated from the program in December with a celebration at the Governor’s Mansion. The Academy is a unique partnership between the Governor’s office, State Department of Education, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College and local school districts and it involves 20-25 assistant principals from across the state.

Inman Christmas Concerts

Paris, Tenn.-The Inman Middle School Christmas concerts will be held from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, December 13, and the Krider Performing Arts Center (KPAC) in Paris.

The 6th grade chorus will perform at 6 p.m., while the combined 7th-8th grade chorus will perform at 7 p.m. Free to the public.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Fire, Shots Fired Investigated In Martin


Martin, Tenn.-The Martin Police and Fire Departments are investigating a structure fire and shots fired incident which occurred early Wednesday morning.

Officers and firefighters responded to 715 Hyndsver Road in reference to a structure fire at 5:45 a.m.  When officers arrived, they observed an abandoned double wide trailer to be actively on fire. 

Martin Fire Department fought the fire and extinguished it, but it suffered heavy fire and smoke damage.

Officers also made contact with Danny L. Young, 47 of Martin, on the scene.  Young advised officers that prior to his discovery of the fire, he had heard shots outside of his residence.  When he went outside, he discovered that someone had fired four shotgun rounds into the side of his 2000 Nissan Xterra while it was parked in the carport of 715 Hyndsver Rd. and that the trailer was on fire.  Officers did observe three areas on the driver’s side door of the vehicle that had obviously been shot.

This investigation continues by Martin Police Department and Martin Fire Department.  If you have any information, please contact the Martin Police at (731)587-5355 or CrimeStoppers at (731)587-2611.


Lighting Up Downtown For Christmas

Paris, Tenn.-Downtown Paris is aglow with the lights of Christmas. Holiday lights are showcased in the downtown park, where the red leaves of the trees contrast nicely with the warm lights. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Paris Man Wanted On Attempted Murder Charge

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-Paris Police are seeking the public’s help in locating a local man wanted on an attempted first-degree murder charge stemming from an incident in the residential area on East Washington Street.

Paris Police issued a warrant for Gerald E. Dolberry, age 29, of 615 Mandalay Road, Paris. Police Lt. Ricky Watson said this morning that police are still looking for Dolberry.

According to the police report, Dolberry reportedly shot at someone during an altercation at an East Washington St. home. Officers were called to the home Monday morning on a report of a shot fired in the home and that the suspect had left the scene in a black vehicle.

The incident began with a telephone argument and escalated when Dolberry reportedly said he was bringing a gun to settle the problem. When Dolberry arrived at the home, he was ordered off the property.

According to the police report, Dolberry first drew the gun on the victim and when he lowered it, the victim pushed him down the stairs. Dolberry then reportedly fired the gun, missing the man’s leg. The victim was then able to shut the door and Dolberry left the scene.

During the investigation, officers did find a shell casing near the front porch and a bullet that had ricocheted into a neighbor’s home.

Dolberry is described as black, 5’7” and 143 pounds. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the Police Department at 642-2424.


French, Foster Attend Conference


        Randi French                          Kim Foster

Knoxville, Tenn.-Henry County Trustee Randi French and Paris City Manager Kim Foster were two of 20 officials from around the state who attended the Local Government Leadership Program hosted by the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Services’ Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership.

The officials attended a two and a half day program in Knoxville at the invitation of the UT County Technical Assistance Service and the UT Municipal Technical Advisory Service.

The program began in 1991 to provide leaders with tools they need to guide their cities and counties into the future.


UC Police Investigate Fight In Parking Lot

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Union City, Tenn.-A Union City man declined to press charges against the men who he said beat him up in a parking lot in Union City Tuesday night.

Police said the incident reportedly occurred at the County Market Place parking lot at 1700 W. Reelfoot Ave. Police received a call from a woman who said her boyfriend was at Baptist Memorial Hospital’s emergency room after he had been hit in the head by a baseball bat. She described the cars the perpetrators were driving.

Police caught up to one of the cars and found a man from Trenton who said he had been jumped by a group of guys in the parking lot and hit in the head with a bat. The police report indicated he did have a swollen black eye.

Police then went to the ER and found the other victim, who had a small red spot on his forehead. He told police he was trying to help his brother in the fight and got hit but didn’t want to press charges.

Christmas With The Madrigals


Paris, Tenn.-Christmas with the Madrigals will be presented at 7 p.m. Saturday, December 10th at the Krider Performing Arts Center, 650 Volunteer Dr. General Admission is $8 at the door.  

For advance tickets, you can ask any Henry County High School Madrigal or you can get your tickets by calling 731-363-1079 or 731-363-3677. You can also purchase tickets at Boutique Mari Mac and Merle Norman.  


Family Christmas Movie Night

Paris, Tenn.-Paris Landing State Park will present "A Family Christmas Movie Night” from 5-7 p.m. Saturday,  December 10th with the showing of National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation” with Chevy Chase. All ages are welcome to attend.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Gooch Captured After Manhunt

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Dickson, Tenn.-The man who is wanted in multiple counties on multiple charges—beginning with the theft of money from a donation jar in Dickson—has been arrested in Dickson County, the county where it all began earlier this week.

Christopher Aaron Gooch was apprehended near Oakmont Elementary School in Dickson after an off-duty police officer spotted him. During a short pursuit, Gooch rammed two police cars and police said he appeared intoxicated. They said they also found narcotics in his vehicle.

Dickson Police surrounded his vehicle, with all of the officers drawing their guns when they finally caught up with him.

Gooch was initially wanted for stealing a donation jar intended for the family of a burn victim. He and his girlfriend took off from there, with his girlfriend being arrested in McEwen and Gooch reportedly stealing a car.

Gooch then ended up in the Best Western Motel in Camden, where he escaped from a standoff with Camden Police and Benton County Sheriff’s deputies. Sheriff Kenny Christopher told WENK/WTPR Wednesday that officers thought they had him contained, but he punched a hole in the back wall of the room he was in and escaped, stealing a pickup truck belonging to a maid in the process.

The stolen truck was then found on the road and Gooch reportedly stole another vehicle.


Getting Ready For The Parade

Paris, Tenn.-Monique Gray and Tracye Peach light up the Nobel Automotive boat on which NewsChannel 5 Celebrities Lyn Veazey Plantinga and Lelan Statom will ride as Grand Marshals of the 10th annual Holly Jolly Christmas Parade in Downtown Paris. The parade will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday immediately following the Christmas Festival, which begins at 3 p.m. on the court square. (Susan Jones photo).


UC Council Welcomes New Members 

Hailey Re-Elected Mayor

Union City, Tenn.-Union City City Council reorganized Tuesday night, welcoming two new council members elected in November: Randy Barnes and Katy Keathley.

Mayor Terry Hailey was re-elected. Hailey has been a member of council since 1984 and has served as mayor since 1988. Danny Leggett was selected as Mayor Pro-Tem.

Jim Douglas was appointed to serve on the Electric Power Board and appointments were made to various boards and committees.

Outgoing Councilmen Billy Jack Cranford and Bill Harrison were honored for their service on council before the meeting. Hailey said both men had listened to the people and had served the city well.

In other business:

--Council agreed to continue its relationship with Butler Snow to lobby the state on behalf of the city’s interests. The contract is shared with the Chamber of Commerce and Discovery Park of America.

--Faced with a 39 percent increase in medical insurance for employees, council voted to make the change to the state plan which will maintain an affordable insurance plan for employees.


Chimes For Charity Raises $22,136 So Far


By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Union City, Tenn.-The total raised in this year’s Chimes for Charity telethon is $22,136.90, which Volunteer Stacy Hogan said is about $3,000 ahead of what had been raised for the program this time last year.

But, she said, “We’re still a long way from our goal of $55,000.”

The charity plans to deliver around 250 Christmas baskets to the needy: 75 single and 175 family baskets. “But if more donations are not sent, we may have to cut this number,” she said.

The Chimes For Charity Telethon was held two nights on WENK and included live musical entertainment both nights. Sponsored by the Union City Jaycees and Jaycettes, Chimes For Charity is in its 81st year of delivering food baskets to families in need throughout Obion County at Christmas time.

Food basket sorting will be held December 22 and packing will be December 23, both at the Obion County Bus Garage in Troy. Deliveries will be made Saturday, December 24. The Jaycees said volunteers are needed for all three events.

Over The River Run Set Saturday

Santa and Paris Landing Fire Chief Reggie Coles at the 2014 race. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Buchanan, Tenn.-The 8-Mile Over The River Run will be held again this year at Paris Landing State Park and runners from all over the state and region will be in attendance—along with Santa Claus.

Paris Landing Fire Chief Reggie Coles said he spoke with Santa and he will be able to attend again this year and will lead the parade atop the fire truck.

The race begins at 11 a.m. at the Paris Landing Inn parking lot.

The course follows Lodge Road onto Hwy. 79N and across the Ned McWherter Bridge and back again through the park.

The inaugural Over The River Run was held in 2007 and is sponsored by the Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce. Participation has increased every year and has been held in all kinds of weather, including pouring rain. The course is USAT&F certified.



UC Beer Board Takes Action Against Stores

Union City, Tenn.-The Union City Beer Board has taken action against local stores which were found to have sold beer to minors. The Beer Board met Monday and addressed the violations, with representatives of each store present.

The violations stemmed from a series of compliance checks on Monday at area convenience stores for the sale of alcohol to underage persons.

The following actions were taken by the board:

--Phillips 66 located at 2031 West Reelfoot Avenue had its license suspended for 30 days. 

--Pockets Shell located at 1605 West Reelfoot Avenue had its license suspended for 14 days.

--Little General # 22 located at 2129 East Reelfoot Avenue was accessed a $250.00 Civil Penalty.

--Maverick Convenience Store located at 420 East Reelfoot Avenue was accessed a $250.00 Civil Penalty. 

Board Member and Police Chief Perry Barfield, said that he hopes the action taken by the board shows how serious the city takes these infractions. “We encourage all businesses engaged in the sale of beer to take any and all measures possible to eliminate sales to underage individuals”.


Paris Pharmacy Is Robbed Of Narcotics

Paris, Tenn.-Paris Police are investigating the theft of over $32,000 in narcotics stolen from a local pharmacy.

Paris Police were called to Paris Pharmacy at 1025 Mineral Wells Ave. Monday morning after the theft was discovered. An employee noticed the alarm wasn’t on as they entered the building, then began noticing cabinets were open. According to the police report, the employee then noticed the alarm had been pulled from the wall.

According to Patrolman Dereck Greenhill, investigation showed the safe was moved with a dolly and was cut open. $684 in cash was also stolen, including a cache of narcotics including adderall, methadone, concerta, morphine, oxycodone and hydrocodone.


Camden Christmas Activities Set

Camden, Tenn.-There will be plenty of Christmas activities in Camden over the coming days, including the parade, food drive by the sheriff’s office and open houses at the libraries.

The Camden Christmas Parade will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, December 10, with entries moving through downtown Camden.

The Benton County-Camden Chamber of Commerce said there are two rules for the parade this year: no ATVs are to be in it and there are to be no Santas on entries. Chamber officials made a special phone call to the North Pole and the real Santa will be at the parade this year.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office is collecting canned goods, non-perishable items and any toys during the parade for its “Annual Food Drive For The Needy”.

Santa’s Elves will be pushing shopping carts along the parade route to collect the donations. You can also drop items off at the sheriff’s office at 116 S. Rosemary, Camden.

The Benton County Library will be holding a Holiday Open House from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 8 at the Main Library in Camden, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Branch Library in Big Sandy.

There will be snacks, mini tours and your chance to vote for your favorite book-themed Christmas tree on display at the Main Library.


Brier Rose Christmas At Sykes Museum

Dover, Tenn.-The Stewart County Historical Society will be holding its annual Brier Rose Christmas at the W.D. Sykes Museum in Dover every weekend through January 1.

The Museum is full of decorated trees for visitors to view. The museum is open from noon to 5 p.m. on weekends.


Huntingdon Appreciation Breakfast Held

Huntingdon, Tenn.-Huntingdon Mayor Dale Kelley and staff hosted the first annual Ministers Appreciation Breakfast on Saturday. Everyone enjoyed a breakfast of biscuits, gravy, tomatoes, eggs, country ham and homemade sausage, all prepared by the mayor's staff and other volunteers. After the fellowship and meal, an inspirational devotional was given by Brother Jim Humphreys. Preparing the food was Kim Carter, Martha Taylor, Lori Nolen, Randy Crossett, Carlene Kelley, Drake Whitworth, Tresa & Walter Smothers. Mayor Kelley spoke to the group expressing that the fellowship between the leadership of the town and the churches provides a sense of unity which is what our community is all about.  (Walter Smothers photo).


Stewart County Decorating Contest Set

Dover, Tenn.-The Stewart County Chamber of Commerce will be holding a Home and Business Holiday Decorating Contest and entries will be accepted December 16.

Anyone interested in participating can come or mail entries to the Visitor Center at 117 Visitor Center Rd., Dover. 

Judging will be held December 16 and the Chamber asks that homes and businesses entered put on their Christmas lights from 5-9 p.m. that day for judging.  


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Suspect At Large After Standoff In Camden


By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Camden, Tenn.-A man who earlier stole money from a jar intended for a burn victim in Dickson ended up in Camden earlier today, where he eluded a stand-off with Camden Police and the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and is still at large.

Police in Benton County, Dickson County and Humphrey County are looking for Christopher Aaron Gooch, age 36, who stole a truck in Camden and was last seen driving on Hwy. 641 heading south.

Benton County Sheriff Kenny Christopher told WENK/WTPR that Gooch was located in a motel room at the Best Western in Camden earlier today. Gooch and his girlfriend had been wanted for stealing the money out of the donation jar in Dickson County and police arrested her in McEwen, Christopher said.

“The Camden Police Chief got information that he was at the Best Western and had gotten a room under his girlfriend’s name,” Christopher said. Police officers and deputies went to the motel, where a stand-off ensued with the suspect.

Camden Police Chief George Smith spoke with the suspect on the phone, Christopher said, “and we felt we had him contained to the room. Gooch said he wanted five minutes to talk to his mother and he punched a hole in the back wall of his room with a table leg and got out.”
Christopher said he busted a hole under the sick and crawled out of it.

Once out of the room, he stole a maid’s pickup truck and took off again.

Christopher said, “We know he has a weapon. He know he has a shotgun because the maid saw it in the room and saw the ammunition and they were gone when we went into the room.”

Gooch is considered armed and dangerous. He is a white male, brown hair, hazel eyes, 6 ft. 175 pounds. He is driving a 1984 red and white Chevy pickup truck with Tennessee tag 638 HKF.

He is wanted on several charged out of Dickson, Humphreys and Benton Co.

If you see him or the truck, do not approach, call law enforcement. Benton Co. Sheriff’s Office 731-584-4632.


UTM Removed From Probation Status

Former UT Martin Interim Chancellor Bob Smith addresses a university-wide meeting of faculty and staff  to discuss the university’s accreditation last year. (UTM photo).

Martin, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin has received an early Christmas present: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has officially removed the university from probationary status.

UT Martin received notice of the commission’s decision to place the university on a 12-month academic probation in December 2015. The decision was based on the university’s “failure to comply” with five of the 92 accreditation standards. The university remained fully accredited by the commission throughout the probation period, and program-specific accreditations also remained in place and continue.

“While I must congratulate UT Martin on successfully addressing the matters raised by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, I never for a moment doubted that success would be the outcome,” Dr. Joe DiPietro, University of Tennessee president, said. “The UT Martin faculty, staff, students and administration, under the exceptional leadership of Interim Chancellor Bob Smith, committed themselves tirelessly with a Herculean effort and an incredible sense of teamwork to ensure all concerns were resolved, and their hard work has paid off with the return of their full accreditation status. No doubt, I am very proud of their accomplishment."

Since the commission’s decision, UT Martin faculty members, administrators and support staff have made significant changes in the campus atmosphere and documentation surrounding assessment and student outcomes. A long-term plan is in place to ensure the issue does not recur.

A Commission’s team made a site visit to the UT Martin main campus Oct. 4-6, which included a series of meetings and the team’s follow-up report to the commission. The visiting team made no recommendations for further action.

“I’m grateful to our UT Martin faculty and staff for their hard work and persistence in successfully addressing this critical challenge,” said Dr. Bob Smith, who guided the university through the yearlong process leading to the decision. “Our students, alumni and friends showed tremendous confidence in us during the past year, and I’m especially pleased that they are rewarded for standing behind their university.”

Man On Trial Last Week Is Arrested Again

              Joseph Loog

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-A Paris man who was on trial just last week on drug charges is once again in the Henry County Jail after he and four others were arrested Monday on a long list of drug charges.

Joseph Loog, age 39, also known as Joseph Roper, Lone Oak Rd., is being held on $10,000 bond. At his trial last week in Henry County Circuit Court, Loog pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, a plea which halted the trial.

Arrested with him Monday were: Michael Trent, age 25, of 575 Clearview Dr., Paris; Amber Benham, age 20, 571 S. Market St., Paris; and Jessica Cavera, age 20, of 575 Clearview Dr.; and Taboris Jermaine Clemons of Georgia.

The incident began when Paris Police Lt. Ricky Watson stopped a black Malibu on Washington St. in downtown Paris on a violation of the light law. The driver, later identified as Taboris Jermaine Clemons, could not provide any form of identification and gave false information to officers as they were investigating the car, which had temporary plates, according to Watson.

Upon running the identification number, the vehicle came back stolen from Indiana in February 2016, even though its temporary tags were from Georgia.

Watson said officers located two loaded weapons in the vehicle as well and he was placed under arrest for theft of property. Initially, he told officers his name was Joshua Kindale from Brooklyn, N.Y., but was staying at a local motel. Watson said he told officers his proof of identification was at the motel.

Lt. Michael Ramos went to the motel and found Loog and was granted consent to search. Officers found Trent hiding in the bathroom. Watson said Trent had active warrants on him for violation of probation and failure to appear.

Also located were Benham and Cavera, along with meth, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Watson said everyone on the room was arrested since none wanted to claim ownership of the items. Charges include possession of marijuana, possession of meth, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Bond set on Trent is $15,000; Benham and Cavera’s bonds are set at $7,500 each; and Clemons bond was set at $50,000. Watson said a check by dispatch revealed that Clemons has a previous criminal history.

All are to appear in General Sessions Court today.


Festival Of Trees Opens; Winners Announced

Paris, Tenn.-The Festival of Trees was officially opened this morning in downtown Paris and awards were presented to the winners by Downtown Paris Association Executive Director Kathy Ray. Twenty-two creatively-decorated trees are adorning the building at 110 W. Washington St. (former Murray-McKenzie Jewelers) and will be open through December 18.

This year’s winners are: Most Original—Paris-Henry County Arts Council; Best Decorated—first, Friends of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge; second, Paris Board of Public Utilities; third, Commercial Bank and Trust.

Hours for the Festival of Trees are: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Fridays; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Entry fee to visit is $1.


Quota Elves Deliver Christmas Gifts

Paris, Tenn.-The little elves from the Paris Quota Club—otherwise known as Peggy Owen, Janice Teas and DeLaina Green—braved the rain this morning to pack up Christmas gifts to be taken to the Western Mental Health Institute in Boliver. For the local Quota Club, it’s an annual project that provides clothing, personal care items, fruit and snacks for all the residents of the Institute. (Shannon McFarlin photo).


West Tenn Cornhole Tourney Is Saturday

Paris, Tenn.-The West Tennessee's Cream of the Crop Cornhole Tournament will be held on Saturday, December 10th at the Henry County Fairgrounds beginning at 11 am. Two-person team entries cost $100 and a minimum of $1000 will be awarded to the winner. The prize money will based off of entries in the tournament, but the minimum prize is $1,000. You can sign up today at or at the West Tennessee Cornhole Facebook page. Sponsors of the event will get your company name on cornhole boards, radio or print advertisement, or free team entry for events and meal tickets.


Liberty School, Portraits On Agenda

Paris, Tenn.-Members of the Henry County Historical Society will have the chance to view the portrait gallery on the main floor of the Henry County Courthouse when it meets Thursday for the Society’s quarterly meeting. The meeting is set for 6 p.m. in the Chancery Courtroom.


As previously reported by WENK/WTPR, the Society’s portrait project was recently completed and features oil paintings of local citizens who made significant public service contributions to Tennessee and the nation.


President David Webb will update the society on the Trail of Tears signage project through Henry County, and one of the signs will be on display in the courtroom.


Members will consider accepting the donation of the former Liberty IV School and its acreage to the society. The former school building, located on its original site between Henry and Como, was built in 1917 after fire destroyed the previous structure. The school for grades 1 through 8 was closed in 1951. Phillip and Tammy Pilcher purchased the former one-room schoolhouse and surrounding property in 2004, and they began restoration efforts in order to preserve and find new uses for the building. The property is currently owned by the non-profit Liberty IV Community Center Corporation. 
The former school contains meeting space, restrooms, and a full kitchen. It is available for weddings, receptions, field trips, meetings, and class and family reunions. The half museum, half community center contains original desks, books, certificates, and other items from the school donated by former Liberty IV students and others.



All-Star Football Game Set For Friday


Jackson, Tenn.- The West Tennessee All-Star Football Game will feature the best from west Tennessee high schools. Teams are comprised of players nominated by coaches and selected by media members from across West Tennessee (excluding Shelby County). The West Tennessee All-Star Football Game will be held on Friday, December 9th at 7 pm, Liberty Technology Magnet High School, 3470 Ridgecrest Rd., Jackson, TN. 

Tickets to attend the game are $8 per person and may be purchased at the gate. For more information, please contact Leigh Ann Gaines at 731-431-0356. The event is presented by Sports Plus Rehab Centers.

The players from Henry County are:  Blair Robbins and Knox Davis.


UTM Prof To Perform With Mannheim


Martin, Tenn. – A member of the University of Tennessee at Martin faculty will perform with The Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Tour Wednesday in Paducah.

The Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Tour, one of the longest-running tours in the music industry, comes to the Carson Center in Paducah, and Dr. Doug Owens, associate professor of music at the University of Tennessee at Martin, will be on stage with the group.

Mannheim Steamroller’s 32nd Christmas tour includes more than 70 stops across the country from Nov. 15-Dec. 30. As a collective of musicians working under the direction of founder Chip Davis, the group calls independent musicians as needed to complete their ensemble. Owens performed with the group once before in 2014.

The concert will begin at 7:15 p.m., and tickets can be purchased at beginning at $45.

“Main Street Christmas” Is Saturday

Huntingdon, Tenn.-Downtown Huntingdon will be aglow Saturday for its a holiday extravaganza, “Main Street Christmas”, which will include the Christmas tree lighting at 5:15 p.m. and parade at 6:30 p.m.. The day will begin with events at The Dixie and on the court square beginning at 2 p.m. that will include activities inside the building and outside on the court square as well.

Inside: Pictures with Santa by A.Wilson Photography, children nativities and chorus performances on stage, with ticket discounts available to Dixie performances. On Court Square: ISTEA train rides, live nativity with accompanying church choirs singing on the courthouse steps, and Christmas carolers around town.  Street vendors will be set up on the sidewalks and Huntingdon First Pentecostal Church will be giving out hot chocolate. The Clarks Street Missionary Baptist Church will be at the FirstBank community building from 12-6 p.m. with hourly door prizes, a toy and coat drive, and free food and drinks including vegetable soup, chili, hot chocolate, coffee, desserts, and sandwiches.

New time this year: At 5:15 p.m., the town Christmas tree will be lit and include a small ceremony with the community joining together to sing Christmas songsThis event will happen rain or shine and will be located at City Hall on East Main Street.

New event this year: From 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. children’s favorite Characters will be on the court square for meet and greets.

This year the parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. Traffic on the court square will be blocked beginning at 1:00 p.m. until the parade concludes.  


Monday, December 5, 2016

Carlton Gerrell Re-Elected Paris Mayor

Carlton Gerrell is sworn in for his second term by Finance Director Traci Pillow. (McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.- Carlton Gerrell was re-elected as Mayor of the city of Paris at the outset of a busy and lengthy meeting of the Paris City Commission Monday night. Gayle Griffith was re-elected Vice Mayor.

At a short ceremony, City Finance Director Traci Pillow swore in Gerrell and Griffith to their offices, as well as swearing in for fellow commissioners Terry Fuller and Jackie Jones. (Sam Tharpe’s seat was not on the November ballot).

In her finance report, Pillow said there was an increase of 1.56 percent in retail sales for September, compared to September of last year. “And calendar year-to-date, we’re ahead by 2.76 percent,” she said. General Fund revenues were over expenditures by $48,934 in the month of October.

The city issued five business licenses in October. One was due to a classification change for MobileNation, which has a new location. The other four are: Blue Frog Massage Studio; CJ Clothiers; Paris Upholstery and Security Maintenance.

At the request of Police Chief Chuck Elizondo, the commission approved a policy governing racial profiling for the local police department. The purpose of the policy, he said, “is to provide Paris Police Department members with constitutional policing principles that protect citizens from racial profiling and send clear direction to officers that racial profiling is never permitted.”

Commissioners conducted a public hearing on a proposed ordinance governing veterinary clinics in business districts.

The ordinance proposal followed the rezoning request for property located on Memorial Drive to allow Paris Veterinarian Dr. Michael Boley to expand his business. Neighbors attended a prior meeting, objecting to the request, and as the discussion evolved, commissioners decided that the use of a veterinary clinic should have restrictions when adjacent to a residential area. The proposed ordinance will prohibit veterinary clinics adjacent to a residential zone from housing farm animals on the premises.

Dr. Boley plans to expand his business to include boarding and grooming facilities.

Included in the public hearing were a grading site plan from Charlie Douglas for property south of the Commercial Bank’s Mineral Wells branch bank, and the site plan for the planned Henry County Schools bus garage on McAdoo Street.

In other business:

--Commissioners approved first reading on an ordinance to move the regular meeting time from 6 p.m. to 5 p.m. the first Thursday of each month.

--At the request of Police Chief Chuck Elizondo, the commission approved a policy governing racial profiling for the local police department. The purpose of the policy, he said, “is to provide Paris Police Department members with constitutional policing principles that protect citizens from racial profiling and send clear direction to officers that racial profiling is never permitted.”

--Commissioner Jackie Jones reported on a Main Street project program she attended.

Pillow swears in Fuller, Jones and Griffith. (McFarlin photo).

Sheriff’s Office Top Awards Handed Out

Sheriff Belew, Captain Adam Jenkins and Chief Deputy Damon Lowe presented the awards. (McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-The Henry County Sheriff’s Office handed out its top awards at the department’s annual Christmas Party Monday night at the fairgrounds, with Officer of the Year honors going to Deputy David Andrews Jr. in the patrol division and Deputy Thomas Young in corrections.

A huge crowd was on hand for the awards ceremony and ribeye steak dinners cooked up by Chief Deputy Damon Lowe.

Awards were presented by Sheriff Monte Belew, Lowe, Captain Adam Jenkins, Investigator Scott Wyrick and Lt. Steve Dean.

Deputy Bruce Alexander was named School Resource Officer of the Year; John McElroy was named Administrator of the Year; and Lifesaving Awards were presented to Rob Camper, Stacey Bostwick, Blake Jenkins, Lowell Boyd, Brent Coffman and Sgt. Eddie Forrest.

Camper performed the Heimlich Maneuver on a trustee at the jail; Bostwick and Jenkins performed CPR on a woman who couldn’t breathe until the County EMS arrived and Bostwick drove the ambulance to the hospital while the EMS squad worked on the woman in the ambulance; and Boyd, Coffman and Forrest “went the extra mile” to save lives of people in other situations, according to Wyrick.

Merit Awards were presented to Investigator David Doyle, Dispatcher Teana Hale and Deputy John Krezenski and this year’s Above and Beyond Award was presented to School Resource Officer Michelle Brewer for her work collecting clothing and other items for needy families.


10th Annual Parade, Festival Will Be Big 

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-This year’s Holly Jolly Parade will be a big one—with 23 entries so far—but it isn’t the only thing that will be happening in downtown Paris on Saturday.

The Downtown Christmas Festival will be held from 3-5 p.m., with the parade set to begin at 5 p.m.

And there will be lots to do over the two hours: you can eat s’mores made right on the spot by the Paris Fire Department, ride trackless trains, play Christmas golf, and play toss games. Other activities include performances by the Inman Orchestra and Camden Dance Studio, face painting, a Christmas sketch crawl, reading of Christmas stories by Monroe Robbins at Jack’s Java, where there also will be free hot chocolate for children from 3-4 p.m.

Parade Marshals this year will be Channel 5 Meteorologist Lelan Statom and General Manager Lyn Veazey Plantinga, formerly of Paris. While he is here, Statom will conduct a Winter Weather Window at White & Associates on W. Washington St. at 3:45 p.m. The Window will include predictions for Santa, snowfall and school closings.

Ray and Noragene Harding are DPA Ambassadors during the parade and the Paris Elementary School is featured in the parade.

Downtown Paris Association Executive Director Kathy Ray said parade entries will be accepted right up to parade day by call the DPA at  731-653-7274.



Cops, Kids Enjoy Shopping Spree 

Paris, Henry County law enforcement participated in the event. (Chuck Elizondo photos).

Paris, Tenn.-It was a festive occasion Saturday as 225 underprivileged children were taken on a Christmas shopping trip for the annual “Cops And Kids” event, sponsored by Tennessee-Kentucky Lake Lodge 17.

Volunteers for the trip were officers from the Paris Police Department and Henry County Sheriff’s Office, as well as students from the Henry County High School DECA and Criminal Justice Classes, Knights of Columbus and Henry County Schools’ guidance counselors.

According to Paris Police Chief (and FOP President) Chuck Elizondo, the trip began at the high school where the children were teamed with shopping guides and then taken to Wal-Mart for their shopping spree. Each child was allowed to spend $75 on presents. When the children returned to the high school, they received a stuffed animal for the girls and a Matchbox car for the boys, along with other goodies.

Elizondo said, “Thank you Paris and Henry County for all your support. Your generosity made it possible for over 200 children to have a better Christmas.”

Volunteers from the high school posed for a photo before the event.


Art, Music, Dance At Bazaar

Paris, Tenn.-Amber Upton directs the Paris-Henry County Youth Orchestra, top, at Saturday’s Lee Academy For The Arts Christmas Bazaar. A large crowd was on hand all day for the musical performances by young musicians and dancers and the art and handiwork by over 20 local vendors. Other performers included The Dancing Generation Studio, which presented The Nutcracker; Jenifer Paschall’s Studio; Rachel Chadwick’s Studio and the Inman School Singers. In bottom photo, Joe Snow purchases artwork from Ann Stapp, while fellow Artist Cat McGavin sells her works in the background. (Shannon McFarlin photos).


Deputies Charge Second Rustling Suspect

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-A second man is now being held in the Henry County Jail in connection with last week’s cattle rustling/animal abuse case.

Jason Call Kennedy, age 39, of 300 Morris Rd., near Puryear, is being held on $125,000 bond, charged with theft of property. Kennedy is charged with stealing 48 head of cattle from Gary Brame’s farm in Kirksey, Ky.

At a press conference held last week, Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew had announced the arrest of Travis Hale, age 23, of 960 Rose Lane, also near Puryear. Hale was charged with 21 counts of animal cruelty and theft of Brame’s cattle.

At the time of the press conference, Belew said it was anticipated other people would be charged in the case. He said investigators believed there had to be more than just Hale involved in the thefts.

Dozens of dead and dying cattle were found on Hale’s property in what Belew said was a “shocking” case of animal abuse. The dead and starving animals already belonged to Hale before the theft of cattle from Brame. 

Kennedy will appear Tuesday in General Sessions Court.

Hale is still being held in the jail on $125,000 bond.


Chimes For Charity Begins Tonight


By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director


Union City, Tenn.-The Chimes For Charity Telethon begins tonight on WENK Radio and continues through Tuesday night. Sponsored by the Union City Jaycees and Jaycettes, Chimes For Charity is in its 81st year of delivering food baskets to families in need throughout Obion County at Christmas time.


The Telethon will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. each night and will be aired live from First Baptist Church in Union City. Pledges can be called in to WENK by calling 731-885-1240.


Musical entertainment will be presented both nights. On Monday night, the Kare Bear Preschool and Pleasant Valley Preschool will perform. On Tuesday, the Obion County Chorus Kids, the Voices of UCES and the UCES Chorus Kids will perform.

Food basket sorting will be held December 22 and packing will be December 23, both at the Obion County Bus Garage in Troy. Deliveries will be made Saturday, December 24. The Jaycees said volunteers are needed for all three events.



Man Sentenced For Church Thefts

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-The young man who caused panic at two local churches in August has been sentenced to serve four years in state prison on charges of burglary, theft and evading arrest.

Antonio Terell Rulford, age 19, of 812 Memorial Drive, was sentenced by Henry County Circuit Court Judge Donald Parish after he pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary of a vehicle, two counts of evading arrest, criminal attempt to commit burglary and theft.

Rulford was sentenced to two years each on the burglary of a vehicle charges, two years on criminal attempt to commit burglary and 11months and 29 days each on the evading and theft charges.

Rulford has been held in jail since the incident and the remaining jail time was suspended and he was placed on probation for the duration of the sentence.

The incident began when Rulford was spotted taking items from cars in the parking lot at Jones Chapel Baptist Church on India Rd. and then was spotted at Tennessee Valley Community Church on East Wood during the churches’ Sunday services. TVCC was placed on lock down for a period of time and the church was surrounded by local law enforcement.


Guns Stolen From UC Home

Union City, Tenn.—Union City Police are investigating the reported theft of several guns from an unlocked High Street residence Sunday.

According to the police report, the door at 904 High St., was left unlocked by the two residents and when they returned home, all their guns were missing.

The guns include a Camo Remington 870 Supermag 12 guage; Savage 270; Remington Sports 58; two Spanish muskets; and an American tactical AR-15.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Festival Of Trees To Open Tuesday

Paris, Tenn.-Downtown Paris Association Executive Director looks over the W.G. Rhea Public Library tree that is among 22 entries in the upcoming Festival of Trees. The Festival of Trees will be held downtown this year, at 110 W. Washington St. (formerly Murray-McKenzie Jewelers). The Festival of Trees will open on Tuesday, December 6, and this year’s winners will be announced at a Chamber coffee that morning at 8 a.m. The event will go from December 6-18 and its hours are: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Entry fee to visit the Festival of Trees is $1. Staffing is overseen by the DPA and if anyone would like to volunteer, call Ray at 653-7274. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Martin Christmas Parade Is Monday

Martin, Tenn.-The Martin Christmas Parade will be held at 7 p.m. Monday night downtown. The parade is sponsored by the Martin Kiwanis Club and has the theme, “The Miracle On Lindell Street.”

Santa Claus will be escorted by the Martin Fire Department and the parade will travel from University Street onto Lindell Street.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Holly Jolly Grand Marshals Named

Mrs. Claus had a message for everyone at the 2014 parade. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Paris, Tenn.-Two dignitaries from News Channel 5 in Nashville—one with ties to Henry County--have been named the 2016 Holly Jolly, Electric, Christmas Parade Grand Marshals. The parade will be held in downtown Paris on Saturday, December 10.

News Channel 5 Meteorologist Lelan Statom and General Manager Lyn Veazey Plantinga of Paris will glide through the historic downtown at 5 pm. Their families will accompany them in a lighted Christmas boat sponsored by Nobel Automotive of Paris/ 

Locals will remember Plantinga as Tammy Lyn Veazey, a 1984 graduate of Henry County High School. The daughter of the late Eddie Veazey of Cottage Grove and the late Sandy Noble Veazey of Paris, she was a standout at HCHS and is featured on the school’s Speech and Theatre Wall of Fame.

Statom is a familiar face in Henry County. A native of Dyersburg, he has been a guest in local science classes and recently spoke at the Quinn Chapel AME Church Men’s Day. Statom is an Emmy Award winning meteorologist and has been at NewsChannel 5 since 1993. 

 “I am thrilled to be coming home for this parade,” Plantinga said. She who grew up with one foot in Paris, where she resided with her mother and grandparents, Fowler and Corrie Noble. The other foot was firmly planted in Cottage Grove, with her father and grandparents, Bob and Becky Veazey.

 “I had best of both worlds,” she said. “Cottage Grove School was little bitty, but we had great teachers and lots of personal attention. HCHS was a larger school, but I got to travel with the speech team and had tremendous help from teachers who got me ready for college. I stepped into Vandy as well prepared as anyone.” 

The NewsChannel 5 GM said the things that helped her build a career “all began in Henry County. There were lessons with every job I had,” she said, such as the importance of customer service and attention to detail, which she learned at Commercial Bank. When Plantinga waited tables at Carmack’s Fish Barn, she learned that “a restaurant may be off the beaten path, but people will seek out quality.”

While in Paris, Statom will conduct a Winter Weather Window at White & Associates at 3:45 pm during the Downtown Christmas Festival.  The Window will include predictions for Santa, snowfall and school closings. White & Associates and Ridgeway Funeral Home are sponsoring the event.

Brent Hinson
6pm – 12am

van cleef & cartier bracelet

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