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Saturday, April 18, 2015 

Chancellor Search Discussed At Open Forum

UT President Joe DiPietro fields questions at forum. (UTM photo).

Martin, Tenn. — University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro told an audience Thursday that an interim UT Martin chancellor could be named before the university’s May 2 commencement. Members of his staff joined DiPietro as he discussed the current and future status of the chancellor’s position during a 1 p.m. open forum in UT Martin’s Watkins Auditorium. The forum was open to the university and community.

Dr. Tom Rakes, university chancellor since 2007, announced Monday that he is stepping down from the position and will return to teaching effective May 31.

DiPietro thanked Rakes and his wife, Dr. Glenda Rakes (education professor), for their service and acknowledged the uncertainly that comes with leadership change. “This wasn’t something that came to light in an immediate sense from the standpoint of process, but instead it was a decision Tom made,” he said. The president said talks are underway with several individuals about the interim appointment. He reported “significant interest” in the position but has conditions under which candidates will be considered.

“One, I feel it’s very important, whoever takes the interim role, that they do not want to pursue the job permanently,” he said, adding, “I need somebody in this role who’s not a caretaker but instead who’s going to actively be engaged in managing this university. There are things that need to be done.” Declining enrollment is among DiPietro’s concerns for UT Martin, and he expects the interim chancellor to find ways to reverse this trend.

“We’re looking for somebody in the interim role, as well as the permanent role, who really believes in shared governance,” he said. “Martin has an incredible track record of (shared governance).” He gave the example of the faculty senate’s having “a seat at the chancellor’s cabinet,” which is rare at other universities, and the interim chancellor needs to respect this Martin tradition.

“We need an individual who has plenty of experience … and has managed hopefully through some of the issues you all face,” he said. The person selected for the interim position could expect to serve for up to a year as the search for a permanent chancellor proceeds.

DiPietro said a national search will be conducted, and he is not opposed to internal candidates applying for the permanent position. He plans an inclusive search committee that involves faculty, staff, students, a UT Board of Trustees member and a community representative.

“It will be an open process when we get to the campus phase of the search, and it’ll occur in two steps,” he explained. Hotel or fly-in interviews will be the first step to determine which persons will be brought to campus for public interviews, which could begin in the fall. However, DiPietro would not commit to a search timetable, wanting first to have the interim chancellor in place and the campus functioning smoothly before campus interviews begin.

A decision on whether to use a search firm has not been made. He invited nominations for both the interim and permanent positions and asked that nominations for the interim position be made within the next week.

DiPietro then answered questions from the audience, one asking about student involvement in the search process. He said that student representation on the search committee could come either from the Student Government Association or a student member of the UT Board of Trustees, but either way, students will have a voice in the search.

Pedestrian Struck By Car in Martin

Martin, Tenn.-A female pedestrian was struck by a car on the University of Tennessee at Martin campus Friday. The juvenile driver was cited and the victim was transported to Volunteer Community Hospital for treatment.

Martin Police officers responded to 538 University St. and found the victim lying on the grass with a leg injury but conscious.

The juvenile driver did stop to render aid. The juvenile was cited for failure to yield and no insurance. She was released to her guardian.

LBL Field Trip Grant Deadline Nears

Golden Pond, Ky. – Educators interested in planning a field trip to experience the Land Between The Lakes outdoor classroom should apply for an Educational Field Trip Grant by April 30, 2015. Information about Field Trip Grants can be found on the Friends of Land Between The Lakes website, 

The Educational Field Trip Grant is available to public school districts within 100 miles of Land Between The Lakes. The grant assists schools in covering costs for transportation, facility admission fees, program costs, and dorm rental during the 2015-2016 school years. Grant amounts awarded depend on school matching funds, number of students, and number of planned programs.

Land Between The Lakes’ programs support Kentucky’s and Tennessee’s State K-12 Curriculum guidelines for science, arts and humanities, and social studies. “Our programs offer students a hands-on experience to connect with nature,” according to Richard Lomax, Environmental Education Specialist. “A field trip to Land Between The Lakes helps students gain a better understanding of science and history in an outdoor classroom. We make learning fun! It’s an experience they’ll always remember.”

The U.S. Forest Service, Friends of Land Between The Lakes, Bicentennial Volunteers, and Calloway County Homemakers sponsor the school grant program. For more information about the Educational Field Trip Grant, visit or call 270-924-2091. Results of selected recipients will be posted online by June 30, 2015.

Martin PD Investigates Rash Of Car Burglaries

Martin, Tenn.-The Martin Police Department is seeking the community’s help in stopping the rash of car burglaries that have plagued the city since the beginning of the year. 

Since February 2nd Martin Police have investigated 21 car burglaries at various locations across the city. Individuals are entering vehicles parked in public locations, driveways, and along city streets, stealing personal items left in vehicles.

Martin Police ask all residents when they leave their vehicles please lock them up and take any and all valuable items out of the vehicle. Also if you see anyone suspicious in your neighborhood or someone looking in vehicles try to get a description of the individual and call police immediately. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

World’s Biggest Fish Fry Begins Saturday

Fun on the midway at the carnival from the 2014 fish fry. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-It’s that time again. Time for catfish, hush puppies, catfish races, carnival rides and parades: both a grand parade and a small fry parade.

The 62nd annual World’s Biggest Fish Fry begins Saturday with three events: the Hushpuppy Dash 5K at 8 a.m. at Henry County High School; the horse and mule farm pull at 10 a.m. at the fairgrounds; and the demolition derby at 7 p.m., also at the fairgrounds.

Other highlights during the week: the free street dance will be held from 7-9 p.m. Monday, April 20 in downtown Paris with the Ray Lewis Band; the carnival begins Tuesday at 5 p.m.; the fish tent opens Wednesday at 5 p.m.; the grand parade will be held at 10 a.m. Friday down East Wood St.; the small fry parade is at 10 a.m. Saturday downtown with the catfish races at 10:30 p.m. downtown.

Hostess Princess Grace Hassell will throw out the first hush puppy at 5 p.m. Wednesday to officially open the fish tent.

This year, the fish fry souvenir booklet was dedicated to Bobby Milam and the grand marshal of the parade this year is Summer Crockett Moore.

Here is this year's schedule:

Saturday, April 18, 2015

8 a.m. (register 7 a.m.) 5k Hushpuppy Dash - entry fee $20 or $15 preregister HCHS

10 a.m. Horse & Mule Farm Pull - weigh in at 7 a.m. Fairgrounds $5

7 p.m. Demolition Derby Entry Fee $40 Gate Admission $10 6-10 $5 under 5 free Fairgrounds

Monday, April 20, 2015

7 -9 p.m. Kick-off/Street Dance - FREE Ray Lewis Band Downtown

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

5 - 11 p.m. Carnival - Belle City Fairgrounds

7 - 10 p.m. Country Dance - $5 Commonwealth Fairgrounds

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

5-9 p.m. Fish Tent - Adult $12 Children 6-12 $8 ALL YOU CAN EAT Sponsored by Holley Credit Union Fairgrounds

5 - 11 p.m. Carnival - Belle City Fairgrounds

7 -9 p.m. Christian Concert - $5 People of the Earth Fairgrounds

Thursday, April 23, 2015

5 - 8:30 p.m. Arts & Crafts Show Fairgrounds

5 -9 p.m. Fish Tent - Adult $12 Children 6-12 $8 ALL YOU CAN EAT Sponsored by Holley Credit Union Fairgrounds

5 -11 p.m. Carnival - Belle City Fairgrounds

7:30 p.m. IPRA Rodeo Family Night $5 sponsored by AT & T Fairgrounds

Friday, April 24, 2015

10 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. Arts & Crafts Show Fairgrounds

10 a.m. Grand Parade Sponsored By Boyd's, Street Dynamics, Merrison's, One Stepp Tire & Automotive, Eagle Buildings and Mid-South Family Classifieds East Wood St

11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fish Tent - Adult $12 Children 6-12 $8 ALL YOU CAN EAT Sponsored by Holley Credit Union Fairgrounds

11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Carnival - Belle City Fairgrounds

5 p.m. - midnight Carnival - Belle City Fairgrounds

7:30 p.m. IPRA Rodeo - $10 adult/$8 child Sponsored by Revel Logging, LLC Fairgrounds

Saturday, April 25, 2015

10 a.m. Small Fry Parade Downtown

10 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. Arts & Crafts Show Fairgrounds

10:30 a.m. Catfish Races Downtown

11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Jr Fishing Rodeo - free Williams Lake

11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Carnival - Belle City Fairgrounds

5 p.m. - midnight Carnival - Belle City Fairgrounds

11 a.m. -9 p.m. Fish Tent - Adult $12 Children 6-12 $8 ALL YOU CAN EAT Sponsored by Holley Credit Union Fairgrounds

7:30 p.m. IPRA Rodeo - $10 adult/$8 child Sponsored by Revel Logging, LLC Fairgrounds

Sunday, April 26, 2015

1-6 p.m. Carnival - Belle City Fairgrounds


Jammin’ For A Cure Moved To High School

Paris, Tenn.-Due to the potential weather incoming this weekend, Jammin’ for a Cure will be hosted at Henry County High School in the Main Gym, according to Henry County High School Patriots Band Director Mike Nelson. It will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 18.

“Please invite all your friends and family to attend the event and support Relay for Life,“ he said. “The Relay for Life Junior Committee will be selling drinks, snacks, apparel, and luminaries to honor or remember a loved one who has been in the fight to battle cancer.”

The Junior Relay Team is teaming up with the HCHS music department and will be performing musical selections by:

The HCHS Madrigals
Concert Band
Percussion Ensemble
Jazz Ensemble
Clarinet Quartet
Saxophone Quartet
And the All County Middle School Jazz Band

There will be guest speakers, good food, and music. 

Reminder: Free Dump Day Is Saturday

Paris, Tenn.- The Paris Henry County Landfill will hold a free dumping day from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday April 18th.

Brush, demolition debris, and yard trimmings must be separated from solid waste. No construction waste, household garbage or tires will be accepted.

No admittance after 3 pm. All vehicles must have the contents securely covered and secured. For questions call the Landfill at 644-1737.

Refuge Program : “What’s That Animal Track?” Is Saturday

Springville, Tenn.-Are you fascinated by nature’s creatures and wondered what animal was recently here? Wish you were better at reading animal sign? Then join us for this month’s Refuge Discovery Series as we take a closer look at “What’s That Animal Track?“ at 1 p.m. Saturday April 18 at the new Refuge Visitor Center at 1371 Wildlife Drive, Springville.

Actually the program will look into more than just animal track identificatio...n and will focus on reading animal signs in general. Ranger Joan Stevens will be discussing animal sign including tracks, scat, rubs, scrapes, chews, nests and more. Participants will then get to practice their new knowledge with a short “animal sign safari” around the refuge grounds interpreting the signs of our local animals. Participants will also be invited to make an plaster cast of a local animal track to keep as a souvenir of their trip to the refuge.

The Refuge Discovery Series is a monthly free program held at the refuge that attempts to connect people with nature. For more information about upcoming Refuge Discovery Series programs or about the refuge in general, please call the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters at 731-642-2091 or see the website at or on facebook at

UC Police Investigate Assault

Union City, Tenn.-Union City Police are investigating an incident in which a Union City man was assaulted with bricks and a bird bath.

Police found the victim on the front porch at 620 Martin Luther King Dr., bleeding profusely and holding a rag to his face to stop the bleeding. He would not tell officers what had happened except to say that two or three men had assaulted him.

Following the blood trail, officers determined the assault began at an open garage at 624 Martin Luther King Dr. and he ran to his cousin’s house for help. He refused treatment from the fire department ambulance but did go to the emergency room in a private vehicle.

Officers found bricks and a metal bird bath along the blood trail and observed that his cousin’s windows also were broken.


Thursday, April 16, 2015 

Hostess Princess Court Visits State Capitol

Nashville, Tenn.-As they always do, the World’s Biggest Fish Fry Hostess Princess and her Court had a good time ‘on the hill’ when they visited Nashville this week. During their visit, they spent time with Rep. Tim Wirgau, above, and toured the sights at the capitol. The 62nd annual World’s Biggest Fish Fry is from April 18-April 26 and the fish fry kicks off West Tennessee festival scenery. Also pictured are WBFF Officers Patrick Cooper, Stephanie Cooper and Lisa Stone. (Tim Wirgau photo).

Special Olympics Go On Despite Weather

Paris, Tenn.-Because of the rainy weather Wednesday, the annual Special Olympics event was moved indoors to the Henry County High School. Because of the limited space and the large crowd of students, parents and community members who always attend to root on the athletes, the event was held in shifts. (HCHS photo).

Three Area Firefighters To Graduate From Academy
Firefighters Represented From Paris, Martin

State Fire Academy Fallen Firefighters Memorial.

Bell Buckle, Tenn. – Twenty firefighter recruits from eight fire departments across Tennessee--including two fire departments in our area--will graduate at 9 a.m. April 17, from the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy (TFSCEA).

Locally, graduates include Craig Barrow from the Paris Fire Department and Josh Wilson and Daniel Myers from the Martin Fire Department. Barrow began in Paris about a year ago and Wilson and Myers are new recruits.

Friday’s graduating class is the 33rd to complete the Recruit Firefighter class since TFSCEA opened in its Bedford County location in 2001.These students have performed a variety of training exercises such as victim rescue, hazardous fuel spills and multiple live fire simulations.
In addition to classroom training situations, this class faced weather challenges due to February’s winter storm. While the hazardous winter weather forced students to miss a week of classroom and drill field practice, they ultimately completed courses and homework assignments using online tools and monitoring from instructors. They later moved to the drill field to demonstrate to the instructors what they had learn while off campus.

Fire departments represented in the graduating class include:
Humboldt Fire Department Lebanon Fire Department
Loudon Fire Department Manchester Fire Department
Martin Fire Department Paris Fire Department
Smyrna Fire Department Williamson County Rescue Squad

The 20-person class contains one “open enrollee” student. This student is not presently affiliated with a fire department but is planning a career in the fire and emergency services field.

A representative from the Shelbyville-Bedford County Chamber of Commerce will make a presentation of a “Challenge Coin” to each graduating student during the graduation ceremony.

Cottage Grove Looks Ahead To Freedom Fest 

Dan and Betty Paschall enjoy the parade at a previous Freedom Festival. (Shannon 
McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Cottage Grove, Tenn.-The Cottage Grove Legislative Council learned Tuesday night that paperwork for the upcoming annual Freedom Festival has been completed. Council Member John Weiher said he has completed the paperwork from the Tennessee River Resort Act (TRRA) which helps with financing the festival.

As always, the festival will be held on the 4th of July and includes a parade. The Great River Road band will perform this year.

“City of Cottage Grove” logo t-shirts are now available for purchase at the Boyd’s store in Cottage Grove. 

Vice Mayor Matthew McClure suggested the city display the former bank’s surplus property at the Freedom Festival auction for interested buyers to see.

There was no update on the Habitat for Humanity project. Weiher reported needing a site location confirmation on the information kiosks.

McClure is still working on the street light progress. McClure and Council Member David Jackson will be working on the remodeling details for the move of city hall into the Cottage Grove school building classroom. Jackson gave an update on the security alarm with a projected cost of $250.

Weiher also gave a suggestion of a tail gate party and movie event to be tied in with the recycling revenue with a tentative date of May 23. A tail gate decorating contest was discussed. More details will be discussed at the next meeting.

Shelley Lane presented the council with a property purchase request for land around her home on Locust Street. No action was taken at that time.

Matthew McClure is getting bids on sidewalk repairs for the Ball residence.

David Jackson will be contacting a contractor for a city hall roof leak estimate.

The council requested a statement of current insurance coverage for any city hall building insurance in force now. A motion was presented by David Jackson and seconded by John Weiher to approve an insurance bid for the new location.

Don’t Forget The Permit When You Burn

Nashville – The recent winter storms were hard on Tennessee’s landscape. Heavy ice brought down limbs and trees across the state. Brush pile burning is one of the best ways for landowners to clean up woody debris from the storms. 

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry is reminding citizens that outdoor burning requires a permit through May 15. 

“Burning woody debris from the ice storms is an efficient way of getting rid of such material,” State Forester Jere Jeter said. “However, it is very important that citizens be safe when conducting a debris burn. Obtaining a burn permit in advance of outdoor burning is our way of making a landowner aware of when, where, and how it is safe to burn.”

If you are burning a leaf or brush pile that is smaller than 8 feet by 8 feet in size, log on to to secure a permit. 
For a larger burn, apply for a permit by calling your local Division of Forestry burn permit phone number Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Phone numbers can be found by visiting

Burn permits are free. Residents should check with their city and county government for any local restrictions.
Once you have obtained a burn permit, remember these tips: 
Develop a bare-soil perimeter around the fire. 
Notify neighbors and local fire departments in advance. 
Have a leaf rake and access to water for fire control. 
Be aware that wind can blow the fire in the wrong direction. 
Stay with the fire until it is extinguished. It is illegal to leave an open fire unattended.

In 2014, debris fires that got out of control were the leading cause of wildfires in Tennessee, burning 5,366 acres statewide.
Burning debris without a permit is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine and jail time.
Arson was the second leading cause of wildfires last year but accounted for the most acreage damaged, with 7,800 acres burned. Wildland arson is a class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Anyone with information about suspected arson activity should call the state Fire Marshal’s Arson Hotline toll-free at 1-800-762-3017.

For tips on safe debris-burning practices, fire prevention and home protection, visit 
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry works to conserve, protect and enhance forests that cover half the state and provide jobs, timber, clean water, wildlife habitat and recreation. Visit for more information.

UC Woman Arrested For Aggravated Assault

Union City, Tenn.-A Union City woman was arrested for aggravated assault after she cut her husband with box cutters Wednesday. According to the police report, her husband pulled into their home at 811 W. Reelfoot Ave. and the wife began to cut his tires and when he tried to grab her hand she cut him.

Arrested was Aletha Morris of that same address. The victim was taken to the emergency room for treatment.

Carroll County ISO Rating Improves

Huntingdon, Tenn.-Owners of real estate in rural areas of  Carroll County should experience a reduction in the cost of their homeowners’ insurance following significant improvement in the ISO rating for the Carroll County fire department.

Carroll County Mayor Kenny McBride and County Fire Chief Terry Bradshaw announced the good news to area insurance agents at the Carroll County Office Complex. Carroll County will move to a new ISO rating June 1, benefiting the insurance rating of properties within five miles of a rural fire station and within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant or ‘dry’ hydrant, they said.

McKenzie Hospital Acquires Medical Clinic Departments

McKenzie, Tenn.-In a move mirroring what has been happening in the Henry and Obion County medical communities, the McKenzie Regional Hospital has acquired the diagnostic imaging and sleep laboratory departments of a local physician practice, the McKenzie Medical Center, on April 1.

McKenzie Medical Center will continue as a medical clinic, while the McKenzie Regional hospital will expand its services to the tri-county area. The new department will be named McKenzie Regional Hospital Outpatient Diagnostic Center and is located at 205 Hospital Drive behind the hospital.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Union City Man Charged With Embezzlement

Union City, Tenn.-A Union City man has been arrested on embezzlement charges from a local business.

Union City Police arrested Jeremy McCadney, 611 Lilac St. and he was transported to the Obion County Jail.

An investigation determined that McCadney had been ‘sweet hearting’ items at the store for six months. According to the police report, he had been scanning items, then voiding them so that the amount on the register did not equal the amount of merchandise the customer leaves the store with.

Police said the amount is yet undetermined but will be over $500.

UTM Chancellor Position Discussed During Open Forum April 16th

MARTIN, Tenn. — An open forum to discuss the current and future status of the chancellor’s position at The University of Tennessee at Martin will be held at 1 p.m., Thursday, April 16, in Watkins Auditorium located in the Boling University Center. University officials will join UT President Joe DiPietro as he offers an update and answers questions about the position’s status in the coming weeks and months.

Dr. Tom Rakes, UT Martin chancellor since 2007, announced Monday that he will step down from the position and return to teaching effective May 31.

The open forum is expected to last about an hour. University students, faculty and staff and the public are invited to attend.

Union City High School Named Top School By ACT

Union City, Tenn. - Officials at the ACT corporation informed Union City High School that it is the top school in the state of Tennessee.

Five criteria was used by ACT that cover students in grades eight through 12. This honor means that Union City High School is the top school in the state for college recruiter readiness.

Principal Wes Kennedy made the announcement to the Union City School board on Monday night.

Union City has 21 students who have scored 30 or higher on the ACT this year. UCHS will now compete with 29 other schools for national high school of the year.

Cottage Grove Looks Ahead To Freedom Fest

Cottage Grove, Tenn.-The Cottage Grove Legislative Council learned Tuesday night that paperwork for the upcoming annual Freedom Festival has been completed. Council Member John Weiher said he has completed the paperwork from the Tennessee River Resort Act (TRRA) which helps with financing the festival.

As always, the festival will be held on the 4th of July and includes a parade. The Great River Road band will perform this year.

“City of Cottage Grove” logo t-shirts are now available for purchase at the Boyd’s store in Cottage Grove. 

Vice Mayor Matthew McClure suggested the city display the former bank’s surplus property at the Freedom Festival auction for interested buyers to see.

There was no update on the Habitat for Humanity project. Weiher reported needing a site location confirmation on the information kiosks.

McClure is still working on the street light progress. McClure and Council Member David Jackson will be working on the remodeling details for the move of city hall into the Cottage Grove school building classroom. Jackson gave an update on the security alarm with a projected cost of $250.

Weiher also gave a suggestion of a tail gate party and movie event to be tied in with the recycling revenue with a tentative date of May 23. A tail gate decorating contest was discussed. More details will be discussed at the next meeting.

Shelley Lane presented the council with a property purchase request for land around her home on Locust Street. No action was taken at that time.

Matthew McClure is getting bids on sidewalk repairs for the Ball residence.

David Jackson will be contacting a contractor for a city hall roof leak estimate.

The council requested a statement of current insurance coverage for any city hall building insurance in force now. A motion was presented by David Jackson and seconded by John Weiher to approve an insurance bid for the new location.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Davis Is Sentenced Following Plea

Paris, Tenn. – Circuit Judge Donald Parish dismissed the jury Tuesday morning following a plea of no contest to the charge of aggravated assault by the defendant Walter Davis in Henry County Circuit Court.

On Monday night, Davis entered the no contest plea after the jury had already been empanelled and after opening statements by the attorneys and some testimony was presented.

Following his plea, Davis was sentenced to three years to be served on supervised probation.

Proceedings came to halt Monday afternoon when episodes of potential misconduct involving inappropriate witness behavior in violation of court rules came to light.

Following hearings to determine the extent of the violations, the District Attorney General Matt Stowe and Neil Thompson, the lawyer for Mr. Davis, reached a plea bargain.

Bethel Commemorates Sexual Assault Month 

McKenzie, Tenn. – Bethel University has been holding several events during April that commemorate Sexual Assault Month. 

Students and organizations are taking part in the Clothesline Project. The Clothesline Project (CLP) is a program started on Cape Cod, MA, in 1990 to address the issue of violence against women. It is a vehicle for women affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt. They then hang the shirt on a clothesline to be viewed by others as testimony to the problem of violence against women. With the support of many, it has since spread world-wide. Students and organizations painted t-shirts for the school’s own project.

The students also made banners with handprints of participating students as part of a domestic violence campaign known as “These Hands Aren’t Made for Hurting.”

Cook Named Employee Of Year


Martin, Tenn.-Hamilton-Ryker has named Ronnie Cook of Greenfield as its 2014 Employee of the Year.

Hamilton-Ryker President Kelly McCreight said, “Trustworthy and honest are two words that describe Ronnie.”

Cook has worked for the company for 15 years, beginning as a staffing coordinator. He was recently promoted to Regional Director of several west Tennessee offices, including Martin, Paris, McKenzie, Union City and Mayfield.

Kids' Events At Obion County Library

Union City, Tenn.-This week is National Library Week and the Obion County Library has two events for kids lined up.

On Wednesday, Kids' Craft will be from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Kids will plant seeds in a coffee can, decorate it and take it home and make a bird's nest snack.

On Thursday, the American Girl Club will meet from 3:30-4:30 p.m. for ages 6-12. Bring you American Girl doll for a study of her country with snacks and crafts. Each month the club will meet. $3 for supply fee.

Space is limited for both. Call 885-7000 for reservations.

Fit Fest Is Saturday


Union City, Tenn.-The Obion County Fit Fest will be held from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. this Saturday, April 18, at the Obion Co. Fairgrounds.

The event will include a live band, pedal cars, community walk, bounce house, Zumba, BMI screenings, and refreshments.

The event is sponsored by the UT Extension Service and Obion Co. Health Department.

Monday, April 13, 2015 

Henry County Jury Trial Underway

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-A jury trial is underway this week in Henry County Circuit Court for Walter Davis of Springville, charged in a 2012 stabbing.

The jury was seated and opening statements began in the early afternoon on Monday for the trial, which is being heard by Circuit Court Judge Donald Parish. The trial is expected to last two or three days.

Davis was arrested in November of 2012 and charged with aggravated assault following an incident at his Lakeview Manor home in Springville.

According to the original police report, Davis and another man were involved in an altercation during which the victim was stabbed three times and required hospitalization at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Sheriff’s investigators said the afternoon began at the Big Sandy ball game and the parties left for drinks at Davis’ home and the two argued. After the stabbing, a car carrying the victim was stopped by Paris Police in the city limits and the victim was found to be suffering from stab wounds to his abdomen and side and a gash to his head. The victim was transported to Vanderbilt and survived.

The state is being represented by District Attorney Matt Stowe. Davis is represented by Huntingdon Attorney Neil Thompson of Springville.

UTM Chancellor To Step Down

Martin, Tenn. — Dr. Tom Rakes, University of Tennessee at Martin chancellor since 2007, will step down from his position and return to teaching, effective May 31 of this year. 

Rakes held various administrative positions during his 23-year tenure at the University of Memphis through 1995. He came to UT Martin in 2002 from the University of Louisiana at Monroe where he was provost and vice president for academic affairs and interim president. 

Rakes came to UT Martin to serve as vice chancellor for academic affairs and professor of educational studies. He was named provost in 2005, followed by his election as chancellor two years later by the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees.

The university has registered notable growth during his administration in online enrollment and the completion of over $100 million in capital and maintenance projects. Academic successes by students and student-athletes both in competition and in the classroom also marked his time at UT Martin. 

“The university is solid financially, and the main campus infrastructure and extended-campus centers are in excellent condition,” Rakes said. “I am proud to have been a part of this university. I believe this is an exciting time for UT Martin and look forward to seeing the campus move forward under new leadership.”

UT System President Joe DiPietro described Rakes’ service as chancellor as a time of major milestones.
“His leadership was key to the outstanding success UT Martin had in the system-wide, $1 billion Campaign for Tennessee, in which UT Martin became the first UT campus to meet its campaign goal, $43 million, and continued its fundraising success until the campaign’s official conclusion in 2011 with a total of $57,254,633 raised for UT Martin. 

Watkins Wins New Car At Golf Tourney

Paris, Tenn.-Kevin Watkins won a new car from Joe Mahan Ford by hitting a hole-in-one during the Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce's golf tournament at the Tennessean golf course. (Chamber photo).


Gibson Electric Rates Will Not Increase In 2015

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Trenton, Tenn. — Gibson Electric Membership Corporation CEO Dan Rodamaker has announced that the utility will not increase its distribution rates in 2015. He said the utility’s $3.5 M substation project in Woodland Mills will help the cooperative meet members’ long-range capacity needs and maintain a high level of service.

Rodamaker made the announcement at the Gibson EMC’s 79th Annual Members’ meeting at Obion County Central High School in Troy.

Rodamaker said, “Part of the reason we have been able to hold your distribution rates steady since 2009 is that we’ve had a growing and repeating flow of revenue from our fiber optic middle mile transport business. It also has provided a communications system connection between our member service centers and our substations, and it has enabled electronic meter reading.”

“All of this has strengthened our ability to operate more efficiently, manage controllable costs, and provide better and more reliable service.,” he said. “We’re continually looking for ways we can improve service,”  

Board Chairman Steve Sanders told the crowd, “As a member, you not only have access to electricity, but you also are a part-owner and you have a voice in the co-op’s operation through the trustees you elect.”

Rodamaker congratulated Gibson EMC’s employees for earning a “91” rating on the American Customer Satisfaction Index or ACSI, a system used nationally to rate performance and customer satisfaction among electric energy providers. Rodamaker explained that Gibson EMC’s 91 rating is nine points higher than the average of 82 for other Touchstone Energy Cooperatives for the same time period and it is 16 points ahead of the national utility industry average. 

He said that Gibson EMC was even recognized at the 2014 Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association Annual Meeting for having the highest ACSI score of a large utility in the country. “We have a great group of employees,” he said, “but we also recognize that you, our members, gave us this favorable rating. We are honored and more committed than ever to providing you with the reliable, affordable, safe and friendly service you deserve.”

The featured performers, Kimberlie Helton and Eric Wood, entertained the crowd with a repertoire classic country and rock music. Members were served free barbecue and hot dog dinners, toured exhibits and participated in the business meeting.

This year’s scholarship winners in the short story contest: Hannah Ervin, Lake County High School; Annima Jones, South Fulton High School; Scott Shepard, Crockett County High School; and Austin Cloyd, Peabody High School.

Tickets On Sale For “April In Paris” 

Charles Hopkins of The Toggery readies his booth. (DPA photo).

Paris, Tenn.-Tickets are on sale for Friday‘s “April in Paris” fashion event and luncheon at the Paris Country Club. The event benefit’s the Downtown Paris Association (DPA).

The show and luncheon feature local models in popular spring fashions from downtown women’s clothing boutiques including Maggies, Off the Square, and Boutique Mari Mac, as well as men’s fashions from The Toggery. 

While fashion is the drawing card, this is a selling event, according to DPA Executive Director Kathy Ray. Several members will have booths featuring gifts, accessories and personal services, including The Iron Place, Jack Jones Flowers and Gifts, The Travel Agency, Jaspe’ Salon, The Felix and more. Fashion sponsors will also have booths featuring their merchandise for sale.  There will also be ten door prizes awarded during the luncheon.

With plenty of hearty dining options, Ray encouraged men to make this a fun lunch date and freshen up their wardrobes, too. Guests may choose two of the following: a cup of soup, a wedge salad, a house salad, a Cesar salad, grilled chicken sandwich, a chicken quesadilla or a hot ham and cheese sandwich with coffee or tea. The Paris Country Club will offer wine and bar selections at an additional cost. 

Tickets to “April in Paris” are $15 per person and may be purchased from participating DPA members, the Downtown Paris Association, 203 N. Fentress Street or by emailing or calling 731-653-PARIS (7274).

UC Business Robbed

Union City, Tenn.-An auto dealership in Union City was broken into last week and cash taken from the cash drawer.

According to the police report, Mid-Town Motors at 2118 W. Reelfoot was broken into and $1,300 was stolen from the office area. According to the report, entry was made through a sliding glass bay door.

Essay, Art Contest Winners Announced

Contest winners are announced at Heritage Center Sunday. (Gaines Hedges photo).

Paris, Tenn.-A large crowd was on hand Sunday afternoon for the announcement of the winners of the History Essay Arts Contest at the Paris-Henry County Heritage Center. The winners’ essays and art works will be on display at the center through April 28.

Essay Winners grade 6 - 8 were: first place, Anna Minor, grade 6 at Inman, “Continuing The Tradition; second place Drew Culbrath, grade 7 at Lakewood, “Dr. E.W. Grove”; third place Kashaina Nucum, grade 6 at Inman, “Henry County Courthouse-Heart of Paris” and Honorable Mention to Callie Hart, grade 6 at Inman, “World’s Biggest Fish Fry.”

 Art Winners for grades 3-5: first Seth Allen Battoe, grade 5 at Paris Elementary; second Jessica Knott, grade 3 at PES; third, Allyson Morton, grade 3 PES. Honorable Mentions to: Shane Austin Rogers, Hannah Lorene Wofford, Emma Mae Caldwell, Allison Skye Williams, Neely Clay Clendenin, Avery Grace Bean, Roman Allen Pierce, Emma Jane Murphy and Dre Hepner.

Art winners grades 6-8: first place Meg Gardner, 7th grade Lakewood. Second place to Hannah Nicole Hutson, 8th grade Lakewood, 3rd Place tie to Billie R. Lassiter, 8th grader at Lakewood and Pamela Breanne Lowe, 8th grader at Henry. 

Honorable Mentions went to to Katelyn Rose Buie, 6th grade Lakewood, Trevor Alexander Frisch, 7th grade Inman, Alexis Jordon Bostick, 6th grade Inman, Natalie Hope Clark, 8th grade at Lakewood, Graci Beth Ellis, 8th grade Lakewood, Wesley Papaleo, grade 7 at Inman, Ivy Wang, grade 6 at Inman, and Adam Millete, 7th grade at Lakewood.

Art winner for grades 9 – 12 was Dylan Patrum, a 9th grader at E.W. Grove School.

Civil Penalties Assessed Against Solicitor

Secretary of State Tre Hargett
Nashville, Tennessee – Secretary of State Tre Hargett has announced civil penalties totaling $57,500 have been imposed on an Arkansas-based solicitor who wrongly represented multiple Tennessee law enforcement organizations. 

An anonymous tip sparked a year-long investigation showing, Gaylon Boshears of Little Rock, Ark., illegally operated the soliciting organization “Southern Sports & Events Marketing” across Tennessee. Boshears is also tied to “Arkansas Sports & Events Marketing” and “East Coast Marketing Group.” 

The Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming found that Boshears, his organizations or agents working on his behalf, violated the Tennessee Charitable Solicitations Act by not registering as a solicitor, failing to file proper notices or financial reports and not producing documents requested by the Division. 

“It is crucial that professional solicitors follow the law when raising money for non-profits in Tennessee. Proper disclosure ensures transparency,” said Secretary Tre Hargett. “Failure to abide by these rules means donations from hardworking Tennesseans may not end up where they were intended.” 

Investigators found Southern Sports & Events Marketing engaged in at least seven unapproved charitable solicitation campaigns. 

Boshears conducted two solicitations for the Hendon-McClanahan Lodge #54 of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) based in Murfreesboro, Tenn. One was to promote and produce a basketball game between FOP members and Tennessee Titans Alumni at Siegel High School on November 8, 2014. The other event, “Titans Alumni Flag Football,” happened in 2013.

Boshears’ organizations held fundraising campaigns for the Columbia Police Explorers of Columbia, Tenn. between 2011 and 2014 called “Titans Flag Football,” “Comedy Magic Show” and “Comedy Hypnotic Show.” 

Southern Sports & Events Marketing also held an event called “Titans Alumni Basketball” for the LaVergne Fraternal Order of Police of LaVergne, Tenn. in 2014. 
It is important to note the Hendon-McClanahan Lodge #54 of the Fraternal Order of Police, Columbia Police Explorers and LaVergne Fraternal Order of Police did nothing wrong in the hiring of Boshears or his organizations as professional fundraisers. 

Boshears has previously paid a civil penalty assessed for similar practices, and could have represented other law enforcement organizations across the state.

Anyone with information about this or other cases should contact the Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming at (615) 741-2555 or 1-800-861-7393. 

Paducah Man Arrested On Possession Charge

Union City, Tenn.-Union City police arrested a Paducah man Saturday and charged him with possession of marijuana. 

Chedwick Brown was arrested at the Nash Street Ball Courts where he was found with a mason jar with 28.3 grams of marijuana next to him. $1,731.25 also was seized as drug proceeds.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Artist Showcase Winners Announced
Paschall Pottery Piece Wins Best Of Show

William Hickerson looks over the painting by Dan Knowles while judging the showcase Saturday morning. Knowles' painting "The Puppet Master" won Best of Show. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-Martin Paschall’s pottery piece, “Donut Vase” was named Best in Show of this year’s Paris-Henry County Arts Council Artists Showcase at a Sunday reception that kicked off the showcase that will be on display at the W.G. Rhea Library until the first part of May.

The showcase is sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Dennis Wieck. Music at the reception was performed by Arts Council Member Larry Conger

The judge for the showcase was William Hickerson, executive director of the West Tennessee Regional Art Center in Humboldt.

The full list of winners is:

Pottery 3/D: First place, Justin Pierpoint for Crotalus Horridus; Second Robyn Neubauer for serving tray; and Honorable Mention Justin Pierpoint for Garden Explorer.

Drawing: First and Second Place, Michael McClure.

Mixed Media: First Doreen Bates.

Oil/Acrylic: First Ann Stapp for Till Cows Come Home:; Second Donna Revelee for Rocky’s Perch and Honorable Mention Dan Knowles for Puppet Master.

Watercolor: First Becky Hedges for Grandma Saved The Buttons; Second Filiz Griffin for The San Blas Maiden and Honorable Mention Filiz Griffin for Reenactment

Fiber Arts: First Doreen Bates for For Quilting Out Loud; Second Elaine Conger Smokey Mountain Dreams and Honorable Mention Jane Baars for Painted Desert.

Youth: First and Second Place Jesse Wells. Honorable Mention Julia Hendricks.

Another Victory For Lady Patriots Softball

Murray, Ky.-The Henry County High School Softball Team has scored another big victory, winning the Murray High School Spring Break Bash tournament.

Connor Boley Signs With Bethel

Connor Boley, seated front, with his parents, grandparents and siblings. (Photo submitted by Michael Boley).

Paris, Tenn.-Henry County High School Senior Connor Boley signed a letter of intent to attend Bethel University on a basketball scholarship Friday.

On the HCHS basketball team, he averaged 14.4 points per game and eight rebounds. He averaged 40% from the 3 point shot, and 75% from the free throw line and he had over 900 career points. He was the only four-year letterman as a senior, starting games from even his freshman year.

Boley earned a 3.8 GPA and was a member of the National Honors Society for two years, was as a Boys State representative, and senior class officer.

At Bethel, he will be majoring in pre-veterinary medicine.

Boley is the son of Michael and Melissa Boley.

Percussion Master Class Offered

Martin, Tenn. Dr. Andy Smith, assistant director of Indiana Universitys bateria, will present a master class for percussionists from 2-3 p.m., April 15, in the Percussion Rehearsal Hall at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Smith will emphasize Afro-Brazilian rhythms in contemporary samba-jazz and lead a discussion on how African-derived rhythm concepts work in contemporary music. He will also focus on the transference of skills between genres for the total percussionist. Attendees will gain practical knowledge applicable to music performance and composition for any genre or skill level.

Smith earned a doctoral degree in music from Indiana University. In addition to his regular teaching duties, Smith also serves as a percussion instructor for the Tennessee Governors School for the Arts, hosted at Middle Tennessee State University.

The master class is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. Julie Hill, associate professor of music, at 731-881-7418 or by email at

Saturday, April 11, 2015 

Discovery Park Founder Robert Kirkland Dies
Entrepreneur, Philanthropist

Union City, Tenn.-Robert Kirkland, founder of Discovery Park of America, philanthropist and the owner-operator of the Kirkland’s chain of stores, died this morning at his home.

Discovery Park Marketing Director Mary Nita Bondourant said today, “It is with sadness in our hearts that we announce that Discovery Park of America’s founder, Robert Kirkland passed away this morning at 7:15 in his home.”

Discovery Park CEO Jim Rippy said, “Today marks a very sad day as I lose a life-long friend, Robert Kirkland. We have been friends for as long as I remember and I will miss him. Robert has been a great friend to me, to this community and to this region. We have him to thank for many wonderful things that have happened in this area.” 

A Celebration-of-Life will be held at Discovery Park of America on Wednesday, April 15th. 

Discovery Park will close on Wednesday to the general public. Visitation with the family is from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and the Celebration of Life Service will begin at 2, with remarks from lifelong friend Jim Rippy and several family members. There will be no additional ceremonies after the Celebration at Discovery Park. 

Arrangements are being taken care of by White-Ranson in Union City.  

Mr. Kirkland’s family has requested that all memorials be made to Discovery Park of America’s Education Department for scholarships for children who might not be able to afford to come to the park. 

Kirkland was born in 1938 in Newberry, S.C., but Union City has been home since he was a year old. Kirkland grew up the son of retailers who owned and operated a Ben Franklin five and dime store for three decades, stretching from the 1940s to the 1970s. Kirkland helped out around his parents’ store in Union City, and at an early age developed a keen business sense that would guide his future career.

A triple-threat athlete Union City High School, excelling in basketball, football and track, Robert Kirkland was elected student body president his senior year and graduated in 1956. He enrolled at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and for the next four years studied accounting, business and economics.

Kirkland married his wife, Jenny, in 1965. 

The couple operated the Ben Franklin store in Nashville until he learned about an opportunity to acquire a local John Simmons retail store, which sold gifts and home décor items. Partnering with his cousin Carl Kirkland, Robert opened two more stores in Tennessee and then expanded to North Carolina. Eventually the chain grew to 13 stores in the Southeast and the company was rebranded as Kirkland’s.

Despite their success in Nashville, Robert and Jenny missed Union City and in 1971 moved back home for good. Robert continued to perfect his business model, traveling the globe on purchasing trips to determine future trends in retail markets, and the fast-growing Kirkland’s chain expanded to 300 stores.

During this period, Robert formed CBK Ltd., with his cousin Carl. The company sold gift items and home décor throughout the United States and around the world, all shipped from a Union City distribution center. 

Robert continued to broaden his business portfolio and began including real estate, embarking on an increasingly successful series of commercial property acquisitions and sales. By the late 1990s, he and Jenny decided that the time had come to step back a bit, sell their business holdings and concentrate on philanthropic efforts.

Establishing the Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Foundation, the couple focused their energy on improving conditions for young people in their Obion County community in Northwest Tennessee.

They funded the Promethean Foundation, which provides free daycare services for at-risk children from birth to age five in Obion County. And the couple partnered with local high schools and the Union City Rotary Club to provide funding for eight students each year to travel to Europe and explore new cultures and languages. Robert and Jenny also continue to invest in numerous programs to benefit the young people in their community.

Midway through the first decade of the 21st Century, the Kirklands began discussing a vision for a large-scale project that would bring the world to Union City. Donating more than $100 million to transform this vision into reality, Robert worked with the world’s leading architects and designers to create Discovery Park of America. A generous endowment ensures that the facility will have sufficient operating and expansion funds in perpetuity.

Opened in 2013, the interactive learning facility offers an extraordinary glimpse of the history of the world, from the Paleozoic Era to modern day space travel. Sprawling over 50 acres, the site is home to a three-level Discovery Center, a log cabin village, an early 20th Century town and magnificent landscaping.

During its inaugural year, Discovery Park of America has welcomed more than 300,000 guests from across America and around the world. The facility continues to add new exhibits and features a series of traveling exhibits and special programs throughout the year.

Tennessee Mules Honored In State Online Exhibit

As Columbia, Tennessee celebrates Mule Day, let us remember the Paris Mule Days. This photo was taken in 1939 on the court square.

Nashville, Tenn.-They have served in war zones across the globe, including the Boer War in Africa at the turn of the 20th Century to World War I in the 1910s. In World War I alone, their losses numbered in the tens of thousands. And wherever they have served, they are regarded as sure footed, sturdy and hard working.

They are Tennessee mules - and they have been highly valued during wartime throughout much of our country's history.

Through April 12, more than 200,000 people are expected to visit Columbia for the Maury County town's annual Mule Day celebration. While much of the focus will be on the important role mules have played in Tennessee agriculture, their wartime contributions are noteworthy as well.

Thanks to their hardiness and adaptability, mules have played a role in American military conflicts for decades. In the Civil War, for example, a mule-drawn wagon train was credited with resupplying Union troops at the Battle of Gettysburg, possibly preventing the troops from suffering a devastating defeat in one of the conflict's key battles.

Columbia's mules were so prized that the British army purchased many of them for the Boer War and World War I.

As for the stereotype about mules being stubborn, that's open for debate. Some of the animals' defenders say the horse-donkey hybrids just have an innate sense of self-preservation that keeps them from taking undue risks or working past their capacity.

You can learn more about mules, military and civilian, by visiting the "Got Mules?" online exhibit at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. The exhibit documents the history of mules in America dating all the way back to Christopher Columbus. It can be found online at

"Columbia's Mule Day is one of Tennessee's great events," Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. "Mules have been a big part of our history, serving important roles in farming, the military and cultural life. I encourage people who want to learn more about mules and the part they have played in our history to check out the State Library and Archives' online exhibit."

Neese Speaks To UTM Awards Banquet

Martin, Tenn.-NewsChannel 5 Meteorologist Charlie Neese spoke to the UTM Communications Awards Banquet Thursday. Ashleigh Burton of Fulton won the WENK/WTPR award. (Brent Hinson photo).

Giving Back To Military Warriors

Paris, Tenn.-Master Dinh, who teaches Tae Kwan Do at Quest Fitness in Murray, has donated his presentation stipend for this year’s Save A Heart Day at Grove to the Military Warrior War Foundation. In photo, Grove Principal Sam Tharpe and Vice Principal Michele Webb present the stipend to Christian Dinh and his team. (Jeannie Johnson photo).

Friday, April 10, 2015 

Save A Heart Day At Grove

Air Evac Flight Paramedic Brandon Ferguson shows a company helicopter to students. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Paris, Tenn.-Students at Grove School in Paris learned a lot and seemed to be having fun doing it at the “Save a Heart Day” held all day Thursday.

Students rotated through several stations that were set up throughout the school campus. The stations were designed to teach them about heart health and health-related topics, including exercise, drugs and alcohol, distracted driving, teen pregnancy and abstinence. Students also had the opportunity to be certified in CPR.

Air Evac from Martin was on hand with one of its helicopters and students were able to tour the chopper and learn first-hand about the Air Evac operation from Pilot Dan Abbott of Camden, Flight Paramedic Brandon Ferguson of Murray, Flight Nurse Randy Rushing of Medina and Program Director Mark Pierce of Paris.

Christian Dinh, who teaches Tae Kwan Do at Quest Fitness in Murray, taught the basics of the martial art to both students and teachers. Tony Black of the Jackson Parks and Recreation spoke about teen’s choices with drugs and alcohol.

Henry County EMS Director Twila Rose (seated in ambulance) tells students about the local ambulance service (McFarlin photo).

Christian Dinh shows students the basics of Tae Kwan Do. (McFarlin photo).

Henry County Native To Oversee Channel 5

Nashville, Tenn.-A Henry County native has been promoted to Vice President and General Manager of NewsChannel 5 in Nashville.

Lyn Veazy Plantinga of Cottage Grove has been station manager and her promotion is effective immediately.

Platinga has taken over from longtime Channel 5 general manager Debbie Turner, who was recently named Vice President of TV operations at E.W. Scripps and will oversee the company’s 33 stations in the United States.

E.W. Scripps has merged its operations with Journal Communications, which owns NewsChannel 5. According to The Nashville Post, the two companies also spun out their newspaper assets into a new publicly traded company, Journal Media Group.

Plantinga had been station manager at Channel 5 since 2006, before which she was national sales manager and assistant news director.

In a statement, Scripps officials said Plantinga helped develop NewsChannel 5’s nationally acclaimed investigative unit, which recently won its second Peabody Award.  

Off-Duty Jailer Subdues Suspect Stealing His Vehicle

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Union City, Tenn.-When an off-duty Fulton County Jailer saw his vehicle being stolen in Union City, he did the only thing he could think to do. He jumped into the vehicle, subdued the culprit and handcuffed him.

Unfortunately, he could not subdue the suspect before they ran into a tree.

Michael Thompson of 717 Lilac St., Union City, was arrested for theft and placed in the Obion County Jail.

According to the police report, officers were dispatched to Sign Depot at 235 Westgate on a report of an auto theft in progress Thursday afternoon. When they arrived, they found Thompson already seated on the asphalt in handcuffs.

Jailer Ricky Parnell told officers he had gone into the business and left his SUV unlocked. While in the business, he saw his SUV pulling out of its parking spot. He rushed outside and jumped into the vehicle, which struck a tree, damaging the passenger side.

According to the report, Thompson admitted trying to steal the vehicle.

UTM Remains One Of Safest State Campuses

Martin, Tenn. — The 2014 Crime on Campus report released in March by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation shows that the University of Tennessee at Martin remains among the safest four-year public universities in the state. 

UT Martin was among the safest universities for group A crimes per 1,000-campus population. Group A crimes are more serious and include assault, burglary, drug-related offenses, sex offenses and homicide. For index crimes, which include violent offenses against persons, UT Martin ranked lowest per 1,000-campus population.

Additionally, for group A and index crimes committed, the university’s Department of Public Safety had the highest clearance rates for cases solved. The statistics also show that UT Martin had the least number of reported offenses among four-year Tennessee Board of Regents and UT institutions.

“Campus safety is everyone’s concern, and I am pleased that the results of ongoing efforts to maintain a safe campus environment are reflected in this report,” said Dr. Tom Rakes, UT Martin chancellor. “Our Department of Public Safety does an excellent job of educating our university community about crime awareness and safety.”

Scott Robbins, UT Martin director of public safety, attributes the positive report to the people associated with the university and who live in the region. 

“Good people live and work at the university and in the Martin community,” Robbins said. “It’s these people who help us maintain a safe learning environment for our students, employees and visitors.”

Republican Party Plant Sale

Paris, Tenn.-The Henry County Republican Party will be holding a plant sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Foundation Bank at the corner of Wood St. and Volunteer Dr.

Questions can be directed to Betsy Phillips, Secretary of Paris/Henry County Republican Women at 731-336-4090 or at or Rebecca Griffey, President of Paris/Henry County Republican Women, at 731-407-8181 or at 

Former LeBonheur Employee Arrested For Fraud

Memphis, Tenn.– Special Agents in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit have obtained indictments for a former hospital employee accused of using patient identities and forging physician signatures to commit TennCare fraud.

After receiving information from TennCare’s Office of Inspector General, TBI Special Agents began investigating Fannie M. Randolph in November 2013. During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information that on multiple occasions from December 2012 through September 2013, Randolph, while an employee of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital’s Emergency Room, used patient information to illegally obtain controlled substances and in some instances, utilized the TennCare benefits of the patients to pay for the fraudulent prescriptions. Additionally, Agents developed information that Randolph forged the signatures of physicians to obtain prescription medications. When the allegations surfaced in 2013, the hospital notified TennCare and terminated Randolph’s employment.

On Tuesday, the Shelby County Grand Jury returned indictments for the 52-year-old Bartlett woman, charging her with eight counts of Identity Theft and six counts of TennCare Fraud. On Thursday, Randolph turned herself into the Shelby County Jail, and was subsequently released after posting bond.

Thursday, April 9, 2015 

Proposed Heliports Raise Concerns For Planners

City Fire Marshal Greg Andrews, right, presents information on possible fire regulations involving heliports. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.--In an effort to be proactive, the Paris Municipal Regional Planning Commission Thursday night began the process of developing regulations governing the construction of heliports within the city limits.

Two air ambulance companies--Air Evac and Vanderbilt Lifeflight--are planning to locate headquarters in Henry County.

Air Evac opened its temporary headquarters at Henry County Airport on Wednesday and Air Evac officials have said they are actively seeking a permanent headquarters in the Paris city limits.

Henry County Medical Center has indicated it intends to contract with Lifeflight for a local headquarters and hospital officials have eyed the open field along Kelley Drive behind the hospital (adjacent to the Cancer Center and Culley Clinic) as its locations.

Richard Walters and his wife attended the meeting to voice their concerns about Lifeflight locating its headquarters in their neighborhood. Paris Fire Marshal Greg Andrews also attend to address fire regulations and concerns.

City Attorney Fred McLean presented a power point presentation which raised issues that the planning commission will need to consider: flight paths to and from the air ambulance headquarters, what plans are for growth, whether fuel will be stored there, how big of an area will be needed and what will be located there, size of aircrafts to be used, how big the touchdown pads and lift-off areas will be, lighting that will be used, the general layout of the helipad, wind indicators, drainage concerns, how much turbulence would be generated in the take off and landing, etc. etc.

Both McLean and City Development Director Jennifer Morris said the city right now has no regulations governing heliports at all.

McLean noted that right now the planning commission has more questions than answers to address and that neither Air Evac nor Vanderbilt Lifeflight have presented any information to the planning commission.

Likewise, he said, the hospital board has not contacted the city officially with its plans.

“Neither company has come to us with what they’re planning and it would be nice if they would,” McLean said. “We need answers, like, ‘Are they going to store fuel on the premises and be that close to residences?’ Other key concerns would concern the ‘rotor wash’ or the downward flow of air, which can affect nearby pedestrian traffic, dumpsters, portable equipment or other items that are nearby that can be thrown large distances, he said. “And that would bring up liability concerns for us,” McLean said.

Morris said the city needs to find a model ordinance dealing with the same situation “that we can tweak”. She also said several of the heliports the city has heard of are located in industrial areas away from residential areas.

McLean emphasized, “We do not want to slow down either one of these operations, but we don’t want to be hasty, either”.

Walters said, “Why don’t they just go to the airport--everything is already out there. This just sounds like an inside deal just to get Vandy in here.”

Assistant City Manager Kim Foster said, “Whatever we do, we have to realize that what we decide today will affect us ten years from now.”

Morris said she will bring something for the planning commission to consider by its next meeting.

In other business, the commission unanimously approved revisions to the sign ordinance that will be presented to the city commission at its next meeting. She noted a public hearing will be held by the city on the revisions before anything is approved.

Honoring A Firefighter

A tribute to late Firefighter Ricky Owen was set up on Veterans' Drive. (Tyler Cox photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-The Paris and Springville Fire Department’s ladder trucks were set up on Veterans’ Drive today to honor the late Ricky Owen as Owen’s funeral procession passed underneath. An American flag was placed atop the ladder trucks.

Lt. Brandon Bell of the Paris Fire Department said the display “was a way for us to pay our respects, to make it nice for him and his family.”

Owen, age 46, died on Monday. He was a captain with the Springville Volunteer Fire Department and served on the Henry County Rescue Squad.

A large contingent of Henry County firefighters, rescue squad members and law enforcement officers were in attendance at his funeral, held at Ridgeway Funeral Home. Many firefighters accompanied the funeral procession to the Poplar Grove Cemetery in Springville.

USDA Home Loan Program Reaches Record High
First State Bank Honored

Officials with USDA Rural Development and First State Bank gather for presentation.

Union City, Tenn. — USDA Rural Development announced today that the agency's home loan guarantee program reached a record high in Tennessee as private lenders used the program to help 6,700 families and individuals buy a home in rural areas in fiscal year 2014. The total private/public investment topped $817 million dollars in Tennessee leading the nation in Guaranteed Loan production.

First State Bank was recognized today as a “Top Lender” for 2014. “Our top ten lenders accounted for 46 percent of the total dollars obligated in FY 14,” according to Housing Program Director for Tennessee Don Harris. “First State Bank is a valued partner with USDA Rural Development and has been a consistent top performer in Guaranteed Rural Housing (GRH) loan production for several years.”

"Homeownership builds strong communities," Harris said. "Our private lending partners have done an outstanding job using this program to increase the number of affordable loans they can make for families across the state."

The Guaranteed Rural Housing Loan program offers 100 percent financing with no mortgage insurance premium required at highly competitive rates. The program is basically self-funded and allows private sector lenders to make more loans to qualified buyers providing eligible applicants with the financial assistance to obtain adequate housing in rural areas. Existing Guaranteed or RD Direct loan borrowers may refinance their homes under the GRH loan program as well and may provide an opportunity to obtain a lower interest rate.

Homeowners looking to alleviate unsafe conditions, make repairs, or add needed space may be eligible for a RD home-repair loan. The interest rate on these loans is fixed at one-percent and payments may be spread over as much as 20 years to keep the monthly payments affordable.

Visit USDA online at

Gibson County Man Indicted For Violent Burglary

Trenton, Tenn.-Special Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have obtained indictments for a Gibson County man accused in connection to a violent burglary at a home in Trenton. 

On January 17th, at the request of 28th District Attorney General Garry Brown, TBI Special Agents began investigating a burglary that occurred the same day at a home on Twin Creek Road in Trenton. 

During the course of the investigation, Agents, working alongside investigators from the Gibson County Sheriff’s Department, developed information that Justin Schriener and Autumn White-Smith broke into the victim’s home and attempted to rob him at knifepoint. A struggle ensued, during which the victim sustained multiple stab wounds from which he has since recovered.

On Monday, the Gibson County Grand Jury returned indictments for Schriener, charging the 31-year-old Trenton man with one count of Especially Aggravated Burglary, one count of Attempted Especially Aggravated Robbery, and one count of Tampering with Evidence. Authorities in Gibson County previously charged White-Smith with Accessory After the Fact and Tampering with Evidence. Schriener is currently incarcerated in Kentucky on unrelated charges. 

Don Teal Named Martin Police Chief

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Martin, Tenn.-Long-time Martin Police Captain Don Teal has been named the new police chief for the city of Martin.

Teal was promoted to the office Wednesday night and will begin serving as chief on Monday.

Teal has been with the Martin Police Department for 32 years--spending his entire career with the department. 

He said to WENK/WTPR this morning, “It’s an honor and a privilege to serve the community. I’m very proud. I want to say to the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen how appreciative I am of the trust and confidence they have place in me, but also the confidence they have in the training and experience in their own department that they named a new chief from within the department.”

Teal will replace long-time Chief David Moore, who has been with the department for 26 years. Moore earlier announced his pending retirement to pursue a private sector career.

Several Events Set For Child Abuse Prevention Month

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Paris-Henry County office of the Carl Perkins Center for Child Abuse Prevention will be holding several events.  

Director Catherine Herrera said, “This is a nationwide effort to bring about awareness regarding child safety.  Our county is, unfortunately, not immune to the horrors of child abuse.  We have fielded, along with law enforcement and DCS,  over 110 cases of severe abuse in our county alone in 2014.“

Herrera said, “The mission of the Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse is to provide support to families in prevention and dealing with child abuse in West Tennessee and to help both parents and children meet practical needs of preserving and improving the quality of family life.”
This year's theme is "Super Heroes”, she said. “We are asking the community to be an everyday super hero to protect children from harm:  sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect and drug exposure.  We have several events already scheduled and would so appreciate your help in bringing about awareness because that is the best way to curb abuse.

Several events will be held this month:

April 7 will be Stewards of Children training for DCS workers.  Stewards of Children is a prevention training program that teaches adults how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.  The program is designed for organization that serve youth and for individuals concerned about the safety of children.  It is the only nationally distributed, evidence-based program proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child protective factors.  This will be at 9 a.m at the center at 204 N. Brewer Street.

April 10  An appreciation luncheon at the Chancery Court on the Square from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  This is to show our appreciation for all the law enforcement, child protective service workers, city and county officials, court staff and volunteers. Mayor Brent Greer will be there to read a proclamation regarding child abuse prevention month.
April 16  Stewards Training for teachers and school staff at the center from 4-6:30 P.M.  It provides two continuing education credits.

April 25 Second Annual Carl Perkins Center-Tosh Farms Crappie Tournament at Paris Landing marina.  The weigh in will be held until 4 p.m. with hooks coming out of the water at 3 p.mYou can email the center at for an application or call 731-513-0574.
April 27 Stewards Training for the public, and this will also provide two continuing education credits which would benefit day cares, social workers, nurses, law enforcement and emergency services.  This will be at the Center at 6 pm

April 30—Showing of The Legend of the Knights produced/directed by Brett Culp.  This is a documentary about real life every day super heroes.  The Comic Guy will have a display with refreshments.  This is open to the public.
Every Friday in April we will be wearing our Child Abuse Prevention t-shirts and hope to get businesses involved so people will take notice.  Individuals and businesses can order t-shirts through the Center office and orders will be delivered to our office.  We even have a special one for teachers! Even if community members don’t have a t-shirt, they are encouraged to wear blue every Friday in April.

Union City Man Attacked
Union City, Tenn.-Union City Police are investigating the assault of a 24-year-old Union City man who was taken by private vehicle to the local emergency room.

According to the police report, the victim “was obviously in severe pain” with abrasions to the head, side and shoulder. He also suffered from bruised ribs.

The victim told police he had been jumped by several individuals at the intersection of 5th and Church Streets and was struck in the face and hit with what could have been a 2 x 4.

Pickle Ball To Be Offered

Paris, Tenn.-Something new will be happening at the Paris Parks and Recreation Department: Pickle Ball.

Pickle Ball is a sport similar to tennis, but on a smaller scale, according to Parks Director Tony Lawrence.

The new sport will be offered locally beginning April 21 at the Atkins-Porter gym from 9-11 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday mornings. The gym is located at the corner of Highland and Walnut Streets in Paris.

Any questions about playing contact Lawrence at 644-2517 or email Mary Barr at

Paris To Be Featured On CBS Morning Show

Paris, Tenn.-Paris, Tennessee, will be featured on the CBS News Saturday morning, April 11.

Peter Greenberg, the Travel Editor for CBS News will host a segment called “April in Paris” sometime between 8 and 10 am. It will feature different cities named Paris across the United States. 

The Downtown Paris Association office was contacted about the upcoming program to let it know that Paris Tennessee was selected to be one of the Paris’s featured during the segment. 

DPA Executive Director Kathy Ray said, “It is always exciting to share information about this wonderful community. I am so proud that we are among the Paris’ chosen for the program.”

Helicopter Rides At Discovery Park

Union City, Tenn.-Have you always wanted to ride in a Helicopter? Now is your chance. Helicopter rides over Discovery Park of America will be available from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, April 11.

There are a limited number of tickets, so call 731-885-5455 to purchase yours. 

Animal Shelter To Expand Hours

Paris, Tenn.-The city of Paris has announced that the Paris-Henry County Animal Shelter has expanded its hours.

Assistant City Manager Kim Foster said the shelter now will be open on Saturdays and during the lunch hour on week days.

Beginning Saturday, April 11, the animal shelter will open from 11 am until 3 pm. Also, beginning Monday, April 13, the shelter will be open Monday through Friday 11:30 am until 5 pm.

“We are pleased to now be offering Saturday hours, as well as being open during the lunch hour at the animal shelter to try to better accommodate the working public,” Foster said.  

The shelter is located at 445 Recycling Drive.

Artist Showcase Reception Is Sunday

Paris, Tenn.-The reception and awards event for the 30th Artists Show Case is this Sunday, April 12th, from 2-4pm at the W.G. Rhea Library. 

The showcase is sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Dennis Wieck. Music will be performed by Arts Council Member Larry Conger and light finger foods and punch will be served. Free and open to the public.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 

Air Evac Base In Henry County Base Opens Today

Paris, Tenn.-Air Evac Lifeteam is increasing its coverage in Tennessee with a new base that opened today in Henry County. The temporary base is located at the Henry County Airport.

Air Evac officials said the new base will ensure even more residents in the region will have access to lifesaving medical care.  

Air Evac Lifeteam is the nation’s largest independently owned and operated air medical service, and its crews provide on-the-scene medical care, rapid medical transport, and transfers between medical facilities. An Air Evac Lifeteam crew, which includes a registered nurse, paramedic and pilot, is on call at each base 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Air Evac Lifeteam President Seth Myers said he is excited to serve Henry County and surrounding residents.

“The Henry County base, along with our bases in Waverly and Martin, Tenn., and Mayfield, Ky., give area residents access to a higher level of care,” Myers said. “Henry County residents now have four bases in a 35-mile radius of Paris.”

Mark Pierce, program director for the Waverly and Henry County bases, said he has been overwhelmed by the support Air Evac has received.

“We’ve received so much help from Henry County Mayor Brent Greer and Airport Manager Don Davenport,” Pierce said. “The employees of Henry County Medical Center, HCMC EMS, sheriff’s department, police department, fire department, the Paris Henry County Rescue Squad and 911 Dispatch have been so supportive.”

Pierce said that citizens of Paris and Henry County have a tremendous resource when it comes to their healthcare needs.

“Henry County Medical Center and Henry County Medical Center EMS provide excellent care and service, and we hope to complement that with our newest Tennessee base,” he said. 

Henry County Mayor Brent Greer said is thankful Air Evac decided to establish a base in Henry County.

“Our citizens and patients of Henry County Medical Center will truly benefit by Air Evac’s commitment to further enhance the level of healthcare and emergency services in our community,” Greer said.

Don Davenport, Henry County Airport manager, said he is glad to have Air Evac in Henry County.

“I am a member, and this is a great service to the community,” Davenport said. “We’re glad to have them locally.”

Although membership is not required, Air Evac members who are flown for a life or limb-threatening illness or injury have no out-of-pocket expenses beyond what is covered by insurance. There are currently more than 21,000 members in Henry and surrounding counties. Membership in the AirMedCare Network, of which Air Evac Lifeteam is a part, is just $65 per household per year. For more information about becoming a member, please visit, or call 1-800-793-0010.  

Air Evac Lifeteam currently operates 118 bases in 15 states. For more information, please visit,or  like us on Facebook. 

The Majestic Bald Eagle

Big Sandy, Tenn.-Bald Eagle sightings are becoming more and more prevalent in our area, with nesting areas at Paris Landing State Park and Fort Donelson National Battlefield Park, among others. Charlie Allen of Paris spotted this Bald Eagle near Big Sandy on a recent day.

Trial Date Set For Paris Man On Impersonation Charge

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Union City, Tenn.-A trial date has been set in Obion County Circuit Court for a Paris man charged with impersonating an attorney.

Ramiah Tamah McDougall, age 32, was indicted by an Obion County Grand Jury on a charge of impersonation of a licensed professional following an incident at the Obion County Courthouse in October of 2014.

McDougall is a familiar face at area courthouses. Henry County Court officials have complained previously he has been impersonating an attorney locally, as have officials at other area county courthouses.

In Henry County, McDougall has a lengthy criminal record which includes assault, domestic violence, resisting arrest and drug possession.

The Obion County jury trial is set to begin June 29. Previously, Circuit Court Judge Jeff Parham denied McDougall’s motion for a change of venue.

According to court records, McDougall presented himself as an attorney and was representing an Obion County jail inmate in General Sessions Court. Court officials were suspicious of him since he was unfamiliar to court personnel and after questioning, he was arrested.

Revisions to the Obion County Courthouse security were made following the incident since McDougall was passed through the security checkpoint.

Orange County Chopper Bike At Discovery Park 

Discovery Park CEO Jim Rippy with the Guthries. (Discovery Park photo).

Union City, Tenn.-Have you ever wanted to see one of the one-of-a-kind specialty motorcycles made by Orange County Choppers?

Now is your chance. The newest addition to the Discovery Park Transportation Gallery is a SONIC bike on loan from Penny and Al Guthrie from Dyersburg. The motorcycle will be on display at Discovery Park indefinitely.

Discovery Park of America is a museum, park and garden located in Union City, Tennessee. The park sits on 50 acres of land off of Everett Boulevard, Union City.

UC Council Authorizes Lawsuit

Union City, Tenn.-Union City City Council has authorized a lawsuit against Bruce Green Builder Contractors and American Safety Casualty Insurance Co. as a result of defects in the new Carey Counseling Center located in the Cloys Industrial Park.

At Tuesday night’s council meeting, it was reported that efforts to resolve the problems with the new building have proved futile and the lawsuit is being filed as a last resort. The litigation will be heard in Obion County Chancery Court.

Council also agreed to continue participation in the 27th Judicial Drug Task Force.

In other news:

--The city hired two animal control officers Amanda Hayslett, a former employee of the Reelfoot Animal Clinic and Tim Wilson, a breeder and kennel owner who has experience in animal control at Dyersburg. The two are now operated the animal shelter.

Jason D. Williams To Perform

 Union City, Tenn.-Entertainer Jason D. Williams will perform at the Union City Civic Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 11.

Tickets are $20 and are available at Lanzer’s Printing in Union City or at the door. For more information see

Sheep Shearing At The Homeplace

Golden Pond, Ky. – The Homeplace 1850’s Farm at Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area will host a day dedicated to working with wool on Saturday, April 11, from 10 am-4 pm. 

Invited artist, Gary Larson, will give the Homeplace sheep their first “haircut” of the year, 1850’s style.

“The sheep are ready to shed their wool from the past year and that means new fleeces to wash, tease, card, spin, and dye, “ according to Cindy Earls, Lead Interpreter at the 

Homeplace. “We will show each step it takes to process our sheep's raw wool into yarn, which we can knit or weave into clothing. Visitors get hands-on helping with every task.”

Programs are ongoing from 10am to 4pm and are included with regular admission to the Homeplace: Ages 13 and up $5; Ages 5-12 $3; Ages 4 and under are free.

Charges Pending Against UC Driver

Union City, Tenn.-Charges are pending against a Union City driver who was found unconscious in her vehicle after losing control of her SUV and landing in the front yard and driveway of a private residence.

Laura Williams, age 30, of 537 Nash St. was transported to the Baptist Memorial Hospital Friday after the accident.

According to the Union City police report, officers were called to 1121 S. Third St. on a report of an accident. They found Williams sprawled half out of the passenger side door of her vehicle, face down on the seat and unconscious.

Officers found a partially-full bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey, prescription medications and a small amount of marijuana in her vehicle.

Charges are pending awaiting the outcome of blood tests.

MSU President To Be Installed Friday

Murray, Ky. — Dr. Robert O. Davies will be officially installed as the 13th president of Murray State University (MSU) during an investiture ceremony on Friday, April 10, at 2 p.m. on campus in Lovett Auditorium. Everyone is invited to attend the event.

Traditionally, an investiture ceremony directs attention to the mission of the university and its ongoing importance to society while affording a new president the opportunity to present a personal vision for the institution.

The investiture features university representatives, government officials, including Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, and delegates from other universities.

Davies began his official duties at the university on July 14, 2014. Prior to that, he had served as the president of Eastern Oregon University in La Grande.

Following the investiture ceremony, a reception will be held in Pogue Library’s Wells T. Lovett Grand Reading Room. Everyone is invited to attend both the investiture and the reception. For those who cannot attend, the investiture will be streamed live online at
More information can be found online at

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 

Helping Hand Distributes $309,640 To 75 Organizations

Butch Powers accepts a check on behalf of Henry County Boy Scouts Troop 80 from Helping Hand President Susan Hayes, as Secretary Mary Kate Ridgeway looks on. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-There were a lot of happy people at Monday night’s annual Helping Hand organizational meeting, as checks totalling $309,640 were handed out to representatives of 75 organizations.

As Helping Hand President Susan Hayes said, the best way to fill up a room is to distribute checks and the meeting room at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology was full.

The money is raised each year at the Helping Hand Radio Auction during the months of January through February to benefit local organizations in the categories of health and well being, youth, education, community improvement, emergency funds, safety, and the county’s volunteer fire departments.

The top five organizations raising funds at the 2015 auction were honoured with plaques: First United Methodist Church, $30,948; First Baptist Church, $28,338; Tennessee Valley Community Church, $20,234; Security Bank, $12,735; and Henry County Educators, $7,669.

The top five communities raising funds also were honoured: Pleasant Hill community, $20,858; Cottage Grove community, $11,441; Whitlock, $8,331; Clifty, $6,231; and VanDyke/Routon, $4,696.

Hayes told the crowd at the meeting, “Each one of you is important to Helping Hand because you’re part of the organizations that benefit Helping Hand. And there isn’t anybody in Henry County that doesn’t benefit from Helping Hand.”

She said, “It’s all about a lot of early mornings and late nights. But it’s exciting and I love it each year. Every year I think Henry County can’t do it again, but every year Henry County comes through.”

Treasurer Susan Bell noted that this year’s auction was plagued by a lot of bad weather, including severe snow and ice storms “but we didn’t miss a day. We were all there every day.”

Three new board members were elected to the Helping Hand board: Gloria Madison, Hut Stigall and Andy Collins.

The Helping Hand Radio Auction is broadcast daily each year on WTPR.

Faye Turner of Pleasant Hill community accepts a plaque from Treasurer Susan Bell. Pleasant Hill raised more money for Helping Hand that any other community. (McFarlin photo).

Carroll County Jailer Investigated

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Huntingdon, Tenn. -- A Carroll County Jailer has been fired as the sheriff’s office and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are investigating a possible excessive use of force involving an inmate.

TBI Public Affairs Officer Josh DeVine confirmed this morning to WENK/WTPR that it  has launched an investigation at the request of District Attorney Matt Stowe.

DeVine said, “It’s not possible for us to release specifics of the investigation at this time. All I can say now is that we were asked by District Attorney Matt Stowe to begin an investigation two weeks ago on an incident involving an assault against an inmate.”

Carroll County Sheriff Andy Dickson confirmed his office is investigating the incident. Dickson would not release the jailer’s name but did say he has been fired.

DeVine also declined to release the jailer’s name. 

The inmate in question is Demetri Partee and he was originally jailed on drug charges. Partee is now being held in the Gibson County Jail.

He reportedly was injured when he was tazed while being restrained.

Owner Of Damaged Pier Offers $1000 Reward

Paris, Tenn.- The owner of a wood pier dock in the Country Junction area is offering a $1,000 reward for help in finding the party who damaged it.

According to a press release issued by the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, the incident occurred March 7 or 8, resulting in someone striking the dock, causing extensive damage.

The owners are offering the reward to whoever gives information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.

Call the Henry County Sheriff's Office with any information at 642-1672 or the Henry County Hotline at 642-0929. 

PES To Hold Cookout, Bake Sale

Paris, Tenn.-Paris Elementary School will be holding its bake sale and spring cookout on Friday, April 10, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Parents are invited come to the cookout to enjoy lunch with your child, and pick up a great baked goodie for dessert. The public is also invited to attend. 
The bake sale will be set up in the school gym. The event is sponsored by the Parent Teacher Organization.

"Save A Heart Day" Reset For Thursday 

Paris, Tenn.-The “Save a Heart Day” that was postponed due to a winter storm in February will be held all day Thursday at Grove School in Paris.
Students will rotate through several stations designed to teach them about heart health. 
One station that has been added to the rotation since February is one on heart-related emergencies led by Air Evac. Weather-permitting students will have the opportunity to view an Air Evac helicopter up close, along with an ambulance.
Students also will have the opportunity to be certified in CPR, learn about distracted driving, teen pregnancy and abstinence, exercise and drugs and alcohol.

Kids’ Fishing Rodeo Set Saturday 

Buchanan, Tenn.-A kids’ fishing rodeo will be held Saturday, April 11, at Paris Landing State Park Marina. The rodeo is presented by Crappie USA and Cabela's King Kat Trail.  

Sign-ups are from 8 a.m.-9 a.m. with the tournament from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. It is for children 12 & under and all participants will be eligible to win one of six $1000 scholarships. Winners will be drawn a the Crappie USA Classic. Please bring your favorite fishing pole and live bait is allowed. 

Tickets Still Available For “Les Miz”

McKenzie, Tenn.– Tickets are still available for the Bethel University Renaissance Theatre Program’s presentation of “Les Miserables,” one of the most highly acclaimed musicals of all time. “Les Miserables” will take the stage of the Dixie Carter Performing Arts and Academic Enrichment Center beginning this Friday, April 10 at 7 p.m. There will also be a 2 p.m. performance on Saturday, April 11. Some tickets are still available for both shows, and they can be purchased for $15 each on the Dixie website at Two additional performances will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, April 17-18. Tickets can be purchased for these nights as well. For more information contact the Dixie Box Office at 731-986-2100. 

Winner of over 100 international awards and seen by over 65 million people worldwide, “Les Misérables” is an epic and uplifting story about the survival of the human spirit. The true modern classic is based on Victor Hugo’s novel and features one of the most memorable scores of all time. This enormous production will also boast intricate costumes, elaborate sets, and an astonishing cast and crew. 

Reminder-Scam Alert Meet Is Thursday

Paris, Tenn.-Reminder: the Scam Alert educational program will be held Thursday, April 9 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Henry County Fairgrounds' Enoch Building. 

This program is to inform the public of deceitful scams in our region. Learn the indicators of a scam and what to do if you have been targeted by scammers. 

The program is sponsored by the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, FBI, Chamber and McDonald’s. The program is free to the public but registration is encouraged. 

Breakfast sandwiches will be provided by McDonald's at 10 a.m. Please call the Chamber of Commerce to register at 731-642-3431 or email

Chamber Golf Tourney

Paris, Tenn.- The Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce will host its annual golf tournament on Friday, April 10 at The Tennessean Golf Course located at 900 Olde Tennessee Trail. 

Lunch will be served at 11 a.m and tee off will be at noon. Please call the Chamber for more information or email 

Monday, April 6, 2015 

Hank Williams Biopic Closer To Release
Cherry Jones Featured In Movie

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

New York City, New York-Sony Pictures Classics has acquired the worldwide rights to “I Saw The Light”, the biopic on the life of Hank Williams.

The movie should be of special interest to people in West Tennessee, however, since three of the people involved in the film or with Williams’ life have deep roots in Henry County. Actress Cherry Jones is featured as Hank Williams’ mother; Singer Rodney Crowell, who is Executive Music Producer for the film has family roots in the Buchanan area; and Hank Williams Jr. lives in the Buchanan area.

The movie stars Tom Hiddleston has the country legend and Elizabeth Olsen plays his wife, Audrey Mae.

When the casting of Cherry Jones in the movie was announced several months ago, Jones told WENK/WTPR that it is a “teeny tiny role” that was filmed in Louisiana.

To channel Williams’ iconic sound, Hiddleston spent a month at Crowell’s home in Nashville.

On his Facebook page, Crowell said, “During the month of September 2014, our house in Tennessee became the base camp for Tom Hiddleston’s steady transformation into Hank Williams. I’d been hired by a film company — whose vision of shining a gritty light on the life and times of Hank Williams piqued my interest no end — to produce the music and assist their leading man in finding his way into the heart of one of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time.”
No release date for the picture has been set, although it is expected to be released in 2015.

Cannon Named Assistant State Director 

Nashville, Tenn.- USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Goode has named Harriet Cannon as the Assistant to the State Director. Cannon will serve in the Tennessee State Office and manage the Administrative Programs Division.

Cannon is a familiar face to many in our area. During her 32 years of service with USDA Rural Development, Cannon has served in a number of West Tennessee posts. She is leaving the Agency’s Union City Office where she served as Area Director for the past 5 years. Cannon served as Area Director in the Covington and Jackson Offices prior to her stint in Northwest Tennessee.

"Harriet brings a wealth of hands-on experience to her new management role,"  Goode said. "Having worked in offices across the state, she has a good grasp of how to meet the needs of our customers and staff."

A strong community volunteer, Cannon served on the Exchange Club - Carl Perkins Child Abuse Prevention Center’s Board of Directors as President for two terms and chaired their major fundraising event for 6 years. In addition, she served in leadership positions for the Covington Exchange Club, and currently serves on the Dyersburg State Community College (DSCC) Advisory Board and Annual Fund Campaign and the Advisory Board for the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) in Covington. 

A resident of Covington, Tennessee, Cannon is married to Lenard Cannon. They have two children, daughter Caroline, a nursing major at UT Martin and a son Jon Michael, a senior at Covington High School.

For more information on USDA Rural Development programs available in Tennessee contact the Tennessee State Office at 615-783-1300, or 800-342-3149. Visit us online at

Fort Donelson To Ring Bells

Dover, Tenn.-In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the surrender by Confederate General Robert E Lee to U.S. General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomatox Court House, Fort Donelson will ring bells on Thursday, April 9.

Bells will be rung for four minutes at 2:15 p.m. from the Dover Hotel, where Grant received the surrender of Fort Donelson on February 16, 1862.

Local churches and others are invited to join in the bell-ringing.

Koestner To Speak On College Sexual Assaults

McKenzie, Tenn. – Katherine Koestner, a national expert on student safety and wellness issues, will speak at Bethel University Wednesday night, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Crisp Arena. 

The event, sponsored by the school’s Department of Housing and Student Life, is part of a month-long celebration to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. The event is free and open to the public, and high school students as well as church youth and adult groups are encouraged to attend. 

Koestner has presented to more than one million students in the U.S. As the first victim of date rape to speak out nationally and publically about her experience at The College of William and Mary, she appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine in June of 1991. HBO made a movie about her story in 1993. 

She has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Geraldo, NBC Nightly News, CNBC Talk Live, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Later Today, CNN, Entertainment Tonight, MTV, Lifetime Television, Italian TV, The Jane Whitney Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, and dozens of other news programs. She has given interviews for the Washington Post, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Journal of Higher Education, and countless other national and regional publications. 

UTM Offers Community Shredding Event

Martin, Tenn. – The Jackson Police Department will sponsor a community-wide shredding event for sensitive documents from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., April 10, between the Boling University Center and the Paul Meek Library on the University of Tennessee at Martin campus. 

“Believe it or not, people will go through your garbage and steal your personal identifiers and set up credit cards and other accounts. So those types of documents need to be destroyed and disposed of securely,” said Sergeant Sipes, investigator, Jackson Police Department Identity Crimes Unit.

UT Martin students, faculty, staff and community members are welcome to bring any documents they would like to have shredded and disposed of securely. 

For more information, contact the UT Martin Office of Public Safety at 731-881-7777. 

Vasquez To Deliver Waterfield Lecture

Murray, Ky. — The 38th annual Harry Lee Waterfield Distinguished Lecture in Public Affairs at Murray State University will feature Dr. John Vasquez of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as the speaker.

Vasquez will give his presentation, “Liberals, Neo-Conservatives and Democratic Peace: A Critique and an Alternative for American Foreign Policy,” on Wednesday, April 8, at 7 p.m. in the Curris Center Ballroom. Admission is free and MSU students, faculty and staff, as well as community members are invited to attend.

Vasquez earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Syracuse University, and a Th.M. and A.B. from Boston University. He has been the Thomas B. Mackie Scholar in International Relations and professor of political science at the university since 2005, teaching courses in international relations, international conflict and crisis diplomacy.
The Harry Lee Waterfield Distinguished Lecture in Public Affairs at MSU is hosted by the department of political science and sociology. For more information on the lecture, call 270.809.2661.

Landfill To Hold Free Dump Day

Paris, Tenn.-The Paris-Henry County Landfill will hold a free dumping day on Saturday, April 18. Brush, demolition waste and yard trimmings must be separated from solid waste. No construction waste, household garbage or tires will be accepted.

The landfill will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  There will be no admittance into the landfill after 3:00 p.m.

All vehicles shall have the contents securely covered, tarped, chained, roped or otherwise secured or confined.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the Landfill at 644-1737.

Sunday, April 5, 2015 



UTM To Present “Language Of The Soul”

Martin, Tenn. – Students in the University of Tennessee at Martin K-12 dance education licensure program will present their spring ensemble performance, “Language of the Soul,” at 8 p.m., April 9-10, in the Fine Arts Building’s Harriet Fulton Theatre. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students. Children 12 years and younger are free.

This performance will feature new student choreography. Student choreographers include Leslie Howard, a senior from Saulsbury; Corey Smith, a senior from Dyersburg; Bria Evans, a senior from Antioch; Jenna York, a junior from Dickson; Erin Windham, a sophomore from Nolensville; Emily Summerville, a sophomore from Wingo, Ky.; D’Angelous  Stevenson, a senior from Memphis; Ciera Fielding, a junior from Jackson; and Jayla Brown, a sophomore from Memphis. 

Reshonda Batts, a senior from Memphis, and Fielding will perform new solo choreography created by Sarah McCormick, assistant professor of dance. 

All the students are dance education majors except for Howard, who is a dance minor, and Summerville, who is earning a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies. The K-12 dance education licensure program is part of the Department of Visual and Theatre Arts.

Tickets may be purchased at the door. For more information, contact McCormick at 731-881-7335 or by email at

Reminder: Helping Hand Meeting Is Monday

Paris, Tenn.-The Helping Hand Radio Auction annual meeting will be held at 7 p.m. April 6 at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology on S. Wilson St. in Paris. 

Checks from this year’s auction will be distributed at the meeting. Checks will be handed out to 75 local organizations. 

As usual, the top fundraising communities and organizations will be honoured. This year, three new board members will be elected.

Persons attending are asked to park in the rear of the building.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Up Close With The Lunar Eclipse

Paris, Tenn.-One of our readers Bobby Battles shared with us this photo of this morning's lunar eclipse. He said it was taken around 6 a.m. this morning from Paris.

Dye The Easter Eggs, But Don’t Handle The Chicks

Nashville – Those Easter baskets are often filled with candy and colorful eggs. However, there is one type of gift you should avoid during the holiday—baby chicks and ducklings.

Live poultry commonly carry Salmonella germs. When humans handle the birds, the bacteria can spread. Exposure to Salmonella commonly causes extreme abdominal upset. In severe cases, the illness can be fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 400 people die each year with acute salmonellosis.

Children, the elderly, and people with other health conditions are most susceptible to a severe reaction.

“Live poultry may have Salmonella germs in their droppings and on their bodies even when they appear healthy and clean,” Tennessee Department of Health Epidemiologist Tim Jones, MD said. “Those germs can also get on cages, coops, feed and water dishes and other items where the birds live and roam and can be found on the hands, shoes and clothing of people who handle the birds or work or play around them. We recommend families leave handling of live poultry to people trained in their appropriate care.”

This is the time of year when chicks and ducklings arrive at local feed and farm stores. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Department of Health aim to educate customers on the risks of handling poultry, as well as the long-term commitment required for proper animal care.

“We're working with feed suppliers and businesses to ensure the safety of the animals and people who may come in contact with them,” State Veterinarian Dr. Charles Hatcher said. “Our goal is to support backyard flocks and youth poultry projects like the 4-H Chick Chain while also informing the consumer.”

Do not let children younger than five, elderly persons, or people with weak immune systems handle chicks, ducklings or other live poultry. If you do come into contact with a bird, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after.


TBI Training Academies Taking Applications

Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is taking applications for two separate training academies, one of which is being offered for the first time, to college students.

The Criminal Justice Academy is a valuable one-week learning experience geared toward college juniors and seniors who are interested in a career in criminal justice or forensic science. The Academy will be held during the summer of each year, and will be offered at no cost to those who are accepted. The Criminal Justice Academy will have an emphasis on acquainting students with all facets of Bureau activities, and how this integrates within the State’s criminal justice system. Students will have the chance to process mock crime scenes and participate in mock court scenarios. For students who are considering a career as a TBI Special Agent, this program will afford them the opportunity to correlate their classroom studies with the career-related experiences from the Academy.

College students in Tennessee interested in applying for the Criminal Justice Academy can find the eligibility requirements and application form on the TBI website at

There is no cost for the training, food or lodging. Applications for the Criminal Justice Academy are being accepted through April 30, 2015.

Applications are also being accepted for the 2015 TBI Leadership Academy. This Academy is geared toward individuals who already have at least five years of law enforcement experience, including supervisory experience, who are interested in developing management and leadership skills. The training, meals and lodging are offered at no cost to participants. The two-week course is hosted at the Tennessee Fire and Codes Academy in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, and is held in September. Applications for the Criminal Justice Academy are being accepted through June 30, and are available on the TBI website at

The Training Division within the TBI conducts classes for more than 8,500 members of Tennessee law enforcement every year. These topics range from Fingerprinting, Child Sex Abuse, Prescription Fraud, Death Investigations and Methamphetamine 101. The Division also spearheads the TBI Basic Criminal Investigation School which is attended by all Special Agents as well as members of the Tennessee Department of Correction, Tennessee Department of Safety, Tennessee Bomb and Arson, Tennessee Department of Revenue, and District Attorneys General.


UTM Offers Advanced Photo Class

Martin, Tenn. The University of Tennessee at Martin Office of Extended Campus and Online Studies will offer an advanced photography course on the fundamentals of composition from 6:30-9 p.m. on Tuesdays, April 14-28, on the UT Martin Campus.

This course in advanced digital photography will give participants a broader understanding of advanced composition and exposure. Students will learn concepts that professional photographers use to achieve creative and eye-catching shots, including the use of different lenses, filters and critical focus techniques.

Dr. Tom Gallien will instruct the course. To view examples of Galliens work, visit his website at

The registration fee is $99 per student. For more information about the course please visit or call the Office of Extended Campus and Online Studies at 731-881-7082.

Friday, April 3, 2015 

Ashland City Man Named To TBI Top Ten

Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has a new addition to the state’s Top Ten Most Wanted list, Bobby Eugene Blaylock of Ashland City.

Bobby Blaylock is wanted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office on charges of Rape and Violation of the Sex Offender Registry. On April 3rd, Blaylock physically and sexually assaulted his victim multiple times before fleeing the area in a sto...len 1997 green Ford Expedition with Tennessee license plate 783 PZW.

Blaylock, 39, is a white male with green eyes. He is bald, is 5 feet 10 and weighs 185 pounds. Blaylock has tattoos on both arms and on his chest. Both of his ears are pierced. He was originally convicted of Aggravated Liberties of a Child in the state of Kansas. Blaylock should be considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Bobby Eugene Blaylock is urged to call the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND (1-800-824-3463). There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Another Sure Sign Of Spring

Paris, Tenn.-Another sure sign of spring--at least for the people of Paris--occurred this week when city personnel turned on the downtown water fountain. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

35 Counties To Receive Federal Assistance
Obion County On The List 

Nashville, Tenn.-Obion County is one of 35 Tennessee counties that will receive federal assistance from the effects of the winter storm that hit the state in February. The storm took 30 lives and caused widespread damage.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam announced the federal assistance today. “This deadly and devastating storm required a comprehensive and coordinated response from many, and this federal assistance will hopefully provide some relief to these counties that are trying to recover and rebuild,” Haslam said. 

The following counties are included in the declaration: Anderson, Bedford, Bledsoe, Blount, Campbell, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, Fentress, Giles, Grainger, Grundy, Hamblen, Hancock, Hardeman, Jefferson, Knox, Lawrence, Loudon, Marshall, McMinn, McNairy, Meigs, Monroe, Moore, Morgan, Obion, Overton, Putnam, Roane, Scott, Sevier, Van Buren, Warren and White.

The presidential disaster declaration has a designation of DR-4211 and will allow government entities and certain private non-profits in the declared counties to apply for reimbursement of specific expenses related to disaster response and recovery, under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance Program. 

State and local governments and electrical utilities spent more than $30.4 million in their response and recovery actions before, during and after the winter storm. 

The federal assistance will allow eligible entities in the designated counties to receive a 75 percent reimbursement for costs related to debris removal, emergency protective measures, and rebuilding and repairing roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, utilities and recreational facilities.

UTM To Hold 5K Color Dash April 11

Runners in the 2014 Color Dash cross the finish line. (UTM photo).
Martin, Tenn. – The second annual 5k Color Dash and Fun Run will take place at 9 a.m., April 11, beginning in front of the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center on the University of Tennessee at Martin campus. 

A color run is a unique event in which bystanders spray participants with colored powder. Runners are encouraged to wear white clothing to capture the powder design as a keepsake. 

The run is hosted by the UT Martin S.H.A.P.E. Club and the Martin Housing Authority. Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. the day of the race and costs $25 per person. The first 150 registered runners will receive a 2015 race T-shirt. Proceeds will benefit the Martin Housing Authority’s after-school programs. 

Overall and age division awards will be presented, as well as a series of door prizes following the race. Those interested may register online at by searching for events in the Martin area.

HCHS Speech Team Showcase Set

The HCHS Speech Team will present a showcase of this year’s district winners, including the first place one act play The Boys Next Door in the school theater on Tues, April 7 at 7:00 pm. District winners who will perform include Imari Thompson, Griffin Paschall, James Matthew Wyatt, Noah Hulbert, Charlie Raymer, Holly Peavy, and Haley Northington.

Following a brief intermission the One Act play cast of 9 actors will recreate their first place performance of Tom Griffin’s heartwarming comedy/drama that centers around the story of 4 mentally handicapped men living under the supervision of an earnest, but “burned out” young social worker. Cast members not already mentioned include Sydney Wyatt, Julianna Culley, Davis Caperton, and Scott Gerrell. Together they all remind us that the handicapped, like the rest of us, want only to love, laugh, and find some purpose in life, however long or short it may be.

Admission for the evening is $5 at the door. Proceeds will help to pay expenses for the Tennessee High School Speech and Drama League state tournament in Knoxville on April 17-18. 

Legislative Breakfast Set

Paris, Tenn.-The Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce will be holding a Legislative Breakfast at 7 a.m. Friday, April 10, at the Lee Academy for the Arts lunchroom.

Featured speakers are Rep. Tim Wirgau and Sen. John Stevens. 

RSVP by noon Tuesday, April 7 by contacting Kayla Simpson at or 642-3431.

Cost of breakfast is $10.

April Is Henry County Vaccination Month 

Paris, Tenn.-For dog and cat lovers, April is the month for discounted rabies vaccination in Henry County.

All county animal clinics will participate and the cost is $6 plus the $1.50 license fee per dog and per cat. All clinics are held at each animal clinic. The special rate is effective the entire month through April 30.

Dogs three months of age and cats six months of age are required to be vaccinated.
Participating animal clinics and hours:

The Animal Doctor, 224 Memorial Dr., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 642-3123.
Lakeway Animal Clinic, 2701 E. Wood St., 8 a.m. -5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays, 644-9933.

Mineral Wells Animal Clinic, 1116 Volunteer Dr., 7 a.m.-5 p.m. (closed noon to 1) Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays, 642-5699.

Paris Veterinary Clinic, 2101 E. Wood St., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-noon, 642-2263.

LBL Spring Break Events 

Golden Pond, Ky.– Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area offers a variety of family-friendly programs for all ages at Woodlands Nature Station on weekdays during most of the spring breaks in the area. Spring Break programs will be offered at 2pm, March 11-April 12. Nature Station is open 10am-5pm Wednesday-Sunday, March and November and 7 days, April-October. 

These programs offer families up-close encounters with animals such as snakes, turkeys, owls, and turtles. Many of the Nature Station’s weekend programs during this time period will also be geared towards families with children. 

“Come out and enjoy Nature Station’s wildlife programs and outdoor activities,” said Aviva Yasgur, Naturalist at the Nature Station. “These programs offer family outdoor adventure while providing valuable learning experiences.”

Purchase an LBL Fun Card this spring for discounted general admissions to our day-use facilities. Fun Cards with 10 visits cost $35 and can be used at Nature Station, Homeplace, and Golden Pond Planetarium in any combination of visits. Check out the calendar of events to learn about programs happening throughout the year at Nature Station and across Land Between The Lakes. Follow Nature Station on Twitter @LBLNature.

No Child Public Hearing Set

Paris, Tenn.-A public hearing relating to the design, planning, and implementation of four federal programs under the Elementary Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) is set at 4:30 p.m. Thursday on April 9, in the Grove Tower Building conference room prior to the Henry County Board of Education meeting. 

The hearing is open to all school personnel and parents of students in Henry County Schools.

Comments may be made on Title I – Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged; Title II, Part A – Improving Teacher Quality; Title III – English Language Acquisition/Language Enhancement/Academic Achievement; and Title VI, Part B, Subpart 2 – Rural and Low-Income School (RLIS). 

The district parent involvement plan will also be discussed. The plan is posted on the Central Office bulletin board and can also be found on the Henry County School System website, Click on Our District, Departments, Federal Projects, Parent Involvement Plan.

For further information, contact Dr. Susan Burton, Federal Programs Director, Henry County Schools, at 642-3101.

UTM Offers Adult Financial Ed Class

Martin, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin Office of Extended Campus and Online Studies will offer an adult financial education class from 6-9 p.m., April 14 and 16, on the UT Martin campus. 

The course is recommended for adults ages 45 to 70. Participants will explore basic issues facing pre-retirees and learn how to build a solid financial base, reduce risk and help preserve their estates. 

The registration fee is $59 per pair; registrants may bring a spouse or a guest. Registered pairs will receive one 135-page workbook containing financial concepts and topical worksheets. 

For more information, please visit…/courses/general/finance.php or call the Office of Extended Campus and Online Studies at 731-881-7082.

Thursday, April 2, 2015 

Four Candidates So Far For City Seat 

City Manager Carl Holder (second from left) gives his last report as City Manager. Holder is retiring May 1. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director 

Paris, Tenn.-Meeting Thursday night, the Paris City Commission set a deadline of April 15 by which interested citizens must provide formal letters of interest in serving on the city commission to replace Robert Sleadd, who resigned last month to accept a job in Texas.

To date, four persons have expressed interest in serving: David Webb, Catherine Herrera, Joshua Greer and Jacquelyn Jones. 

Webb is a teacher at Henry County High School and is a Henry County Commissioner. Herrera is director of the local Carl Perkins Center for Prevention of Child Abuse. Joshua Greer is director of the Henry County Prevention Coalition and a local teacher. Jones is retired and recently moved back to Paris.

Webb and Herrera were present at the meeting. 

Mayor Carlton Gerrell said after the deadline is reached, a public meeting will be held with all the candidates. “We’ll ask questions and get to know them better and then make a decision on a replacement,” he said.

City Manager Carl Holder was attending his last official commission meeting as city manager. His retirement will be effective May 1 and the city will be holding a reception for him that day.

In the meantime, several people thanked Holder for his service to the city, including George Combs, Paris Board of Public Utilities General Manager John Etheridge, and Gerrell.

Holder will be replaced by City Finance Director Kim Foster.

Holder presented the commission with a long list of items that will be financed with revenue from the local option sales tax monies over the next three years. The sales tax was approved by voters last month.

With revenues of $670,000, first year priorities include $200,000 to rebuild fund balance; $15,000 for updates to Fire Department equipment; $175,000 for street repair; $60,000 for new softball bathroom at McNeill Park; $165,000 for street sweeper; $20,000 for animal shelter expansion; $60,000 for personnel issues to meet state salary standards. 

Holder noted specifically the “tremendously outdated bathrooms” at McNeill, which he called “an embarrassment, frankly”, and the need for expansion at the animal shelter, which he said is extremely overcrowded with animals.

Holder recommended $12,500 for a six-month contract with the Downtown Paris Association to create and operate a Paris Promotion Program and $32,500 for more street repairs and health care costs.

Holder said the Paris Promotion Program would not just promote downtown, but the entire city of Paris. 

Year 2 priorities for $690,000 follow pretty much the same type of expenditures, with more street repairs, parks improvements, salary updates, DPA contract, and repair of public works buildings on the list.

Year 3 priorities for $715,000 are the same, with more street, sidewalk, bridge repair, Civic Center and KPAC upgrades, garage equipment upgrades, city infrastructure and parks improvements also on the list.

Gerrell said the priority list will be addressed during the city budget process. Gerrell thanked the voters for approving the sales tax option.

In other business:

--The commission approved bids for solid waste disposal. For disposal only the low bid was Republic (formerly Barker Brothers) at 24.31 per ton.  The low bidder for operation of the transfer station and disposal was Freedom Waste, the city’s current vendor, at $31.76 per ton.

Holder said, “We have constructed a proposed offset budget of $87,700 as the cost of us operating the transfer station.” Holder presented a long list of considerations for staying with the city’s current vendor, Freedom Waste. Top reason is the city’s comfort level with Freedom Waste and “after evaluating the monetary difference in relation to all the other variables we recommend that we continue to operate as is with Freedom Waste as the vendor, with a contract to operate our transfer station,” Holder said.

Joe Buchanan of Freedom Waste said, “I want to thank you for past five years of working with city and we’re looking forward to next five years of working with you.”

--At the request of Etheridge, the commission approved the application process for revolving loans and CDBG funds to help finance the planned construction of a phase one of the $4.1M water treatment plant to replace the 65-year-old facility that is currently in use.

Etheridge said BPU has been working a year and a half on “finding the least expensive way to finance this. We’re very concerned about the impact on our citizens and I feel we’ve been very successful in achieving the least expensive method.”

The water plant “is still putting out quality water, but we’re finding it increasingly difficult” with the current facility, he said.

--Herrera presented a plaque of appreciation to the commission for its service to the Carl Perkins center.

--Gerrell thanked the members of Henry County Leadership in attendance at the meeting.

--Commissioners welcomed Brother Otto Duncan back to the community. The former Quinn Chapel AME preacher has been working for the past few years in New Orleans.

Paris Retail Sales Figures Strong

Paris, Tenn.-In her report to the Paris City Commission Thursday night, Finance Director Kim Foster said, “I was very pleasantly surprised to see that January 2015 retail sales figures exceeded January 2014 by 7.05%.  I anticipated a strong number since we have continued to experience positive growth over the last 14 months, but I didn’t really expect to see such a significant improvement over the previous year.”

February was the last month to pay 2014 property tax without penalty or interest.  “As expected, we received an influx of cash in the form of property tax payments," Foster said. "In fact, we received 35.8% of our billed property tax during the month of February.  This influx of cash has pushed us into the black for the fiscal year, although not to the extent we would like.  Unplanned events, like the recent snows, will be a strain on our budget.  Department heads are being diligent to watch their budgets and do what they can to minimize expenditures."

Spring Is Springing Out All Over

Paris, Tenn.-The home of Ray and Noragene Harding is framed by the flowering trees planted on the lawn of the Atkins-Porter Recreation Center across the street on Walnut St. in Paris. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

4.0 Earthquake Hits Our Area

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director 

Steele, Missouri--Did you feel it?

According to the United States Geological Survey, a 4.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Mid South at 10:51 p.m. Wednesday. The epicenter was just outside Steele, Missouri, in the Bootheel.

The preliminary magnitude rolling tremor was felt throughout our area. According to the USGS website, 577 responses from persons who felt the tremor had been received as of 8:30 a.m. this morning. The responses came from Paris, Obion, Union City, McKenzie, Dover, Huntingdon, Atwood and other area locations and as far away as Memphis and Walls, Miss. Many of the responses came from Dyersburg, where the tremor was felt significantly.

There are no reports of damage.

The New Madrid Fault Line, which runs under our area, has been active the past few years with several small quakes, including four in Dyer and Obion Counties. 

In June 2014 a 2.9 quake struck northwest of Dyersburg. A 3.1 mag quake also hit April 4, 2014 about 12 miles north of Dyersburg on Dyer/Obion County line. A month earlier on March 18, 2014, a 2.6 magnitude quake hit in the same area.

A 3.3 quake was also recorded Aug. 12, 2013 five miles west of Obion, or about 15 miles north of Dyersburg.

A magnitude 2.3 quake was also recorded 50 miles west of Memphis in Trumann, Ark., on July 17, 2013. 

Air Methods Enters Into Partnership With Vanderbilt Lifeflight

Denver, Colo.– Air Methods Corporation, a global leader in air medical transportation, announced today that it entered into a partnership with Vanderbilt University to acquire certain assets utilized in connection with the Vanderbilt LifeFlight Program, including medical equipment and three Airbus Helicopters EC-145 aircraft, as well as a 10-year agreement restructuring the program under Air Methods’ Alternative Delivery Service Model. 

Vanderbilt LifeFlight currently provides hospital-based emergency air medical transport services throughout Tennessee and Southern Kentucky, with remote helicopter bases in Lebanon, Tullahoma, Clarksville, Smyrna and Mt. Pleasant, Tenn. Soon, a sixth base will open in Henry County, Tenn. LifeFlight also operates a fixed-wing aircraft (airplane) base at Nashville International Airport. 

Under the Alternative Delivery Service Model, Air Methods will provide aviation, fuel, maintenance, aircraft, dispatch, billing and EMS licensure. Vanderbilt will continue to provide all medical staffing, patient care and clinical services for Vanderbilt LifeFlight. The program will continue to operate under the Vanderbilt LifeFlight branding. 

Mike Allen, Air Methods’ president of domestic air medical services, said “Air Methods and Vanderbilt LifeFlight have a strong partnership and track record of delivering high quality service to communities across Tennessee and the region. In this new service model, we will continue in our mission to give more tomorrows by providing the highest quality, around-the-clock service in partnership with Vanderbilt University and the exemplary patient care that has been their hallmark.” 

“We look forward to continuing Vanderbilt LifeFlight’s commitment to excellence in patient care and patient safety with our longtime partner and industry leader,” according to Stephan Russ, M.D., associate professor of Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and associate chief of staff for Vanderbilt University Hospital. 

“Vanderbilt LifeFlight has been delivering industry leading medical care as a community asset since 1984, and we trust that this opportunity will strengthen the access, reach and viability of the program for many more years to come.” 

Air Methods Corporation ( is the global leader in air medical transportation. The Air Medical Services Division is the largest provider of air medical transport services in the United States. The United Rotorcraft Division specializes in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology. The Tourism Division is comprised of Sundance Helicopters, Inc. and Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, which provides helicopter tours and charter flights in the Las Vegas/Grand Canyon region and Hawaii, respectively. Air Methods’ fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features over 450 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. 

RV Park, Marina To Locate At Carroll Recreation Lake

Huntingdon, Tenn.-The Carroll County Watershed Authority has authorized the issuance of bonds to finance the costs of a grant for the construction of a Recreational Vehicle Park on the grounds of the Carroll County 1000 Acre Recreation Lake.

The bonds are interest-bearing revenue bond not to exceed $250,000 and will finance a portion of the costs of the Local Parks and Recreation Fund (LPRF) grant.
The Authority also approved hiring Community Development Partners as consultants for the project for $30,000, and hired A2H Engineering for provide landscaping and engineering.
The project will also include a fueling station and marina.
The RV Park will be located on the Highway 70 side of the dam.

McKenzie Woman Shot By Sheriff With Non-Lethal Weapon 

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director 

McKenzie, Tenn.-McKenzie police charged a woman with three counts of aggravated assault following an incident in which police say she lured them to her home for the purpose of having the police officers shoot and kill her.

In the process of disarming the woman, she was shot by Carroll County Sheriff Andy Dickson with a non-lethal type of weapon and taken to McKenzie Regional Hospital, where she received both medical and psychological treatment.

Arrested was Vivian Munoz of 380 Connie Allen Rd.

According to the police report, Munoz and another female were arguing at the home when Munoz called 911, telling them the other occupant of the home had weapons and was threatening her.
When officers arrived, they found Munoz in an upstairs bedroom with a handgun. When she exited the room, she had a .357-caliber handgun in her hand and refused to lay it down as the officers ordered.

As officers talked to her, Dickson arrived at the scene with a British made non-lethal handgun. As Munoz began praying and pointing the gun in the direction of the officers, Dickson shot her three times. 

She was transported to the hospital and treated and released, with minor injuries. 
Dickson told The McKenzie Banner that the department received three of the non-lethal guns free of charge and expects to receive 35 new ones this week, for each of the patrol officers. He said the only cost is shipping at $370.

Paschall Honored On Retirement

Paris, Tenn.-Paris Mayor Carlton Gerrell presented a proclamation to Animal Control Officer Phillip Paschall upon his retirement from the city at a reception in Paschall’s honor.He has worked with the Animal Shelter since 1992. According to the proclamation, “as Animal Control Officer Phillip executed his duties diligently and with great care and consideration for shelter patrons and especially the animals under his care”.  (City of Paris photo).

UTM Radio Station Receives Platinum Award 

From left, Chuck Hammer; Dr. Richard Robinson, associate professor of communications and WUTM faculty advisor; and Blake Stevens, all conference attendees, are pictured left to right.

Martin, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin’s campus radio station – WUTM 90.3 FM “The Hawk” – received its fifth consecutive platinum award at the 75th annual Intercollegiate Broadcasting System International Conference, held in New York City.

The platinum award is the highest peer-reviewed designation for overall broadcast excellence at the college level. All areas of the station are considered when selecting this distinction, including education, engineering, faculty oversight, management, music, news, production, programming, promotions, public affairs, public relations, sports, traffic, training and underwriting. WUTM was also a national finalist for “Best College Radio Station (under 10,000 students enrolled),” which the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System reports as the most competitive category each year. 

The station and its staff were national finalists in eight categories and brought home three awards. WUTM Program Director Chuck Hammer, a junior from Martin, and Quinton Stevens, a senior from Bernie, Mo., won first place in the baseball play-by-play competition for their submission “UT Martin vs. Missouri State baseball.” Blake Stevens, a senior from Brighton; and Sydney LaFreniere, a senior from Oak Ridge, both took home first place for best news director and best production director, respectively. 

April Is Homeschooler's Month At LBL 

Golden Pond, Ky. – April is Homeschooler’s Month across Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area. LBL invites homeschooling families to use Land Between The Lakes as their outdoor classroom this spring. 

Pick up an “Explorers Passport” at Homeplace, Nature Station, or Golden Pond Planetarium. Take the passport to each attraction and complete activities to earn an official Explorer Patch and Certificate. 

Staff-led programs for homeschoolers will be offered at 1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Nature Station and at 1pm on Wednesdays at the Homeplace. Be sure to attend one of our daily Planetarium shows offered on the hour between 10am and 4pm.

Throughout the month, take advantage of unique learning opportunities, hands-on exploration activities, and take-home materials available at Nature Station, Homeplace, and Golden Pond Planetarium. Be sure to come to Homeschooler’s Day at the Homeplace on Friday, April 10, Homeschooler’s Day at Nature Station on Friday, April 24, and Astronomy Day at the Planetarium on Saturday, April 25.

Organic Farmers Offered Reimbursement 

Nashville, Tenn.—Tennessee farmers who grow organic crops and have become USDA certified can now qualify for a cost share reimbursement for the costs of their certification.

Certified organic producers can apply to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture for a 75 percent cost share up to a maximum of $750 to help defray costs related to receiving and maintaining organic certification, including inspection costs. Organic operations that have achieved certification since October 1, 2014 meet the time qualification to seek reimbursement, as do organic operations that become certified between now and September 30, 2015.

Organic certification typically costs small farm producers between $600 and $1,000 annually. Costs increase based on product and sales volume. 

"Total organic product sales by farms and ranches in the United States continue to grow every year, increasing by 83 percent between 2007 and 2012," TDA marketing specialist Amy Tavalin said. "The latest USDA census results show the continued interest in organic agriculture among consumers, producers and businesses.”

“When we respond to consumer interest with programs that help our farmers participate more competitively in these trends, everyone benefits,” Tavalin said. “Farms increase their incomes, their rural communities thrive because of it, and Tennesseans get greater access to the fresh, local products they want.”

“Certification is seed our organic farmers can sow right now to help them strengthen their marketing options and get the biggest financial yield out of what they produce.” 

For more information about USDA organic certification and cost share reimbursement, visit….
You can also contact Amy Tavalin at (615) 837-5163 or email

April Blood Drives 

Jackson, Tenn.-The following are April blood drives by Lifeline Blood Services to be held in our area:

April 2 Henry County Battle of The Badges Blood Drive at First United Methodist Church, Paris, from 12-6 p.m.
Cash Saver, Huntingdon, 1-6 p.m.
April 7 Gibson County Courthouse, Trenton, 12-5:30 p.m.
April 13 E.W. James, Martin, 12-6 p.m.
April 14 Dyersburg Mall, 12-6 p.m.
April 15 U. T. Martin, Parsons, 12-6 p.m.
April 16 Dyersburg Electric, 12-6 p.m.
Dyersburg Intermediate School, 12-6 p.m.
April 27 Healthquest, Union City, 12-7 p.m.
April 30 Dyersburg Primary School, 12-6 p.m.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 

UTM Students Take Third In Aero Design Competition

From left: Alex Taylor, a senior from Cleveland, Tenn.; Dr. Sterrett; Eric Wilson, a senior from Martin; Jared Miller, a junior from Dickson; Brad Jones, a senior from Lexington; Cory Bullard, a senior from Booneville, Miss.; Michael Dawson, a senior from Henderson; Jan Brotherton, a senior from Hollow Rock; and Gauri Patel, a junior from Humboldt.  

Martin, Tenn. – Eight engineering students from the University of Tennessee at Martin participated in the SAE Aero Design East competition, held March 13-15 in Lakeland, Fla. 

The team placed third overall, as well as third in the “technological report” and “closest to target” categories. UT Martin was also the highest-ranked American team.

Students participating were: Alex Taylor, a senior from Cleveland, Tenn.; Eric Wilson, a senior from Martin; Jared Miller, a junior from Dickson; Brad Jones, a senior from Lexington; Cory Bullard, a senior from Booneville, Miss.; Michael Dawson, a senior from Henderson; Jan Brotherton, a senior from Hollow Rock; and Gauri Patel, a junior from Humboldt. Dawson is an electrical engineering major while the other students are mechanical engineering majors. Miller and Patel are projected to serve as team leaders in the 2016 competition in Fort Worth, Texas. 

The competition, sponsored by SAE International, is designed to expose graduate and undergraduate engineering students to real-life challenges encountered in the work environment. The event is divided into three classes – regular, advanced and micro – and emphasizes not only product design, but written and oral communication skills as well. Seventy-two teams from nine countries participated in this year’s event.

The UT Martin team competed in the advanced class, which requires students to integrate aeronautical, mechanical, electrical and computer engineering to achieve a pre-determined goal. 

This year, teams were required to design and build an eight-pound aircraft capable of carrying 15 pounds of static weight and a three-pound “humanitarian package,” which was then dropped into a target zone using video feed and telemetry.

“Our team was one of only a few who did not have an aerospace engineering program at their institution, and we still blew many of the aerospace programs out of the water,” said Dr. Doug Sterrett, professor of engineering and team pilot. “I am incredibly proud of their hard work and dedication. The students had to develop their own unique design, and they had one of the best flying aircraft there.”


Easter Bunny Arriving By Helicopter At Egg Hunt 

Union City, Tenn.-Discovery Park of America will host an Easter egg hunt Saturday, April 4. The event will be held on the Great Lawn at the park.
The Easter bunny will arrive by helicopter at 1:30 p.m. Several age divisions for the hunts will be offered: age three and under at 2:30 p.m.; age 4-6 at 3 p.m. and age 7 through 10 at 3:30 p.m.
To find out more, call 885-5455 or at

Easter Egg Hunt At Paris Landing

Buchanan, Tenn.-Paris Landing State Park will host its annual Easter egg hunt at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 4.

Hundreds of goodies will be spread out on the grass by the Paris Landing picnic area for children ages 2-12.

The event is free and sponsored by Paris Landing State Park and the Paris Landing Volunteer Fire Department.
Quota Easter Bake Sale 

Paris, Tenn.-The Paris Quota Club will hold its annual Easter Bake Sale from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 4, at Commercial Bank Branch at 1045 Mineral Wells Ave.

The club will have an assortment of unique treats for Easter. It will benefit the Quota Scholarship Fund

Hoof Beats Dinner & Auction 

Original art work by Ann Stapp
to be auctioned off.

Paris, Tenn.-The Hoof Beats of Hope Dinner and Auction will be held Saturday, April 4, at the Enoch Building at the Henry County Fairgrounds.

The dinner will be served at 5 p.m. and the menu is ribeye steak, salad, baked potato, roll, dessert and drink. 

Tickets may be purchased from Hoof Beats staff and volunteers. Tickets are $20.

The silent auction will begin at 5 p.m. and conclude at 6:45. The live auction will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are not required to attend the auctions.  

PML Relay Presents Jimmy Church Band

Paris, Tenn.-The PML Relay for Life team will be hosting the popular Jimmy Church Band at an event Saturday, April 4, at the Paris Convention Center. The event begins at 8 p.m. and goes until midnight.

Tickets are $20 and BYOB. For ticket info or more information, call or visit the PML front office at 75 County Home Rd., 642-7398 ext. 221 or after 4 p.m. 336-0314.

Secretary Of State Office Closed Good Friday

Nashville, Tennessee –– The Secretary of State's Office will be closed on Friday, April 3, 2015 in observance of the Good Friday holiday. The closure impacts all divisions of the Department of State, including the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA).

TSLA will reopen for normal business hours, 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., on Saturday, April 4. All other divisions will resume normal business hours on Monday, April 6.

HCHS Jazz Ensemble Earns Superior Rating

Paris, Tenn.-The Henry County High School Jazz Ensemble earned a Superior Rating at the 2015 Jamey Aebersold Jazz Festival held at Murray State University Saturday. The students worked with jazz educators from across the country in a clinic, had sectionals with Murray State jazz students, attended an improvisation workshop with renown jazz educator Jamey Aebersold, and performed a concert that evening in historic Lovett Auditorium.

Crosswind Church Easter Egg Hunt

Union City, Tenn.-Crosswind Church in Union City will host its annual Community Easter Egg Hunt Saturday, April 4. The event will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the church on Barham Rd.

Free food, bounce houses, prizes and more. Everyone is welcome. To find out more, go to

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

First Citizens National Bank Demolition Begins

                            --Photo by Amy Keathley

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Union City, Tenn.-Demolition of the landmark First Citizens National Bank building in downtown Union City began Monday, a process that should take some five weeks.

First Citizens National, which has headquarters in Dyersburg, plans to build a new bank at that location.

Northwest Regional Bank President Joe Ward said from Dyersburg this morning that the demolition itself will be a major undertaking. “This will be quite a process,” he said. “They’re telling us it will take at least five weeks, weather-permitting. There will be over 400 loads of demolition debris hauled off by the time they’re done.”

Once the bank receives the all-clear to begin construction on the site, Ward said, “The construction phase should take from 18-24 months. We’re hoping that it will be closer to the 18 months.”

The bank building is a historic fixture of downtown Union City, having been the site of the city’s Salant and Salant shirt factory for many years.

Ward said the new bank will be a one-story 5,500 square foot building “that will fit in with the downtown architecture very well.” He said there will be plenty of green space on the lot, as well as a drive-through.

“We’re going to be bringing fantastic technology to the new location,” Ward said. “It will be an excellent addition.”

Bank customers will be utilizing a temporary mobile bank set up at 215 W. Lee St. behind the post office while the construction is ongoing, Ward said. The bank’s drive-through also will remain open during the process.

TVA Visitor Center Opens At Kentucky Dam

Knoxville, Tenn. – With the arrival of spring, the Tennessee Valley Authority will be opening visitor centers on Saturday, April 4, on the reservations of its first dam, its tallest dam, its longest dam and a dam it inherited at its inception.

This will be a seasonal opening for the centers at TVA’s tallest dam, Fontana, which towers 480 feet and forms part of the Appalachian Trail, near Bryson City, N.C.; and TVA’s first dam, Norris, completed in 1936 along with a planned community that became a national model, near Knoxville.

TVA’s third seasonal visitor center is located at Kentucky Dam and is open April through November. Kentucky Dam is the longest dam in the TVA system at more than 8,800 feet and forms the largest reservoir in the eastern United States, stretching 184 miles.
A fourth center is new to Wilson Dam in Muscle Shoals, Ala., and will have daytime staffing. Display panels near the power plant describe the struggle between private and public power interests for ownership of the Shoals facilities, which TVA inherited when the corporation was created in 1933.

A fifth visitor center at the Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Plant remains closed during maintenance at the generating plant, but volunteers will be available to answer questions at Laurel Point, a recreation area open year-around near the upper reservoir.
All five facilities offer information about TVA history, how TVA operates its electric system and how TVA manages the Tennessee River and its tributaries.

The centers have maps, videos, displays and written information about TVA and the construction of each particular site. TVA retirees serve as guides to answer questions about TVA, the history of the facilities and the surrounding areas.

Fontana Dam, located off N.C. Highway 28 near the Tennessee border, is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through October. 

Norris Dam, located off Interstate 75, Exit 122 north of Knoxville, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday through November. 

Raccoon Mountain/Laurel Point, located off Raccoon Mountain Road near U.S. Highway 64/72 west of Chattanooga, is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. 

Kentucky Dam, located off U.S. Highway 62 east coming from Paducah, Ky., or west from Clarksville, Tenn., operates 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in April and November; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., from May through October. 

Wilson Dam, located off Reservation Road in Muscle Shoals, is accessible year-around with daytime staffing.

The centers close for major holidays and in times of severe weather.

Chamber Coffee At JC Educational Supply

Paris, Tenn.-Dan Jackson, owner of JC Educational and Office Supply, welcomed everyone to his East Wood Street location in Paris today for the Paris-Henry County Chamber Coffee, where he gave away prizes. Winners included Jennifer Hayden, Hamilton-Ryker, Tommy Wimberley, White and Associates, and Tony Lawrence, (right) Paris Parks and Recreation. (Chamber photo).

UC Police Investigate Vandalisms

Union City, Tenn.-Union City Police are investigating attempted thefts and vandalisms at the A & H Quick Stop truck stop at 2031 Reelfoot Ave. over the last few days.

According to the police reports, vandalism was reported to a 53’ trailer that had been left at the parking lot from Friday through Monday morning. The hasp was cut off of the trailer.

Another incident occurred to a trailer that had been left at the lot from Saturday through Monday. According to the report, the trailer was damaged during an attempted break-in.

The perpetrators were unable to get into either trailer and nothing was stolen.

Patriots Concert Band Earns Superiors

The concert band performs. (Photo by Sherry Hutchison).

Paris, Tenn.-The Henry County High School Marching Patriots Concert Band earned superior ratings across the board at the Regional Concert Festival held at Liberty Tech in Jackson. 

The students performed two songs and sight reading for the judges. The students only had five minutes to look at the music before sight reading it for the judges. Henry County earned Superior (highest) ratings across the board and qualified for State Concert Festival. 

The State Concert Festival will be held April 23 in Smyrna.


Bloodmobile To Visit Paris Thursday 

Paris, Tenn.-Lifeline Bloodmobile will be at First United Methodist Church in downtown Paris from noon-6 pm. Thursday, April 3. There is a critical need for O positve and B negative. 

This will be the Battle of the Badges so give blood for your favorite law enforcement or fire department. 

The Bloodmobile needs 100 donors since we missed giving last month, due to the weather. 

Donors also can register to win a country ham. Bring your picture ID please.

Tie Dye Run Is Saturday

Paris, Tenn.-The Henry County Prevention Coalition will host a 5K Tye Dye Run for Prevention on Saturday, April 4 at Memorial Park in Paris. Please contact Erica Rawls if you need any information at 731-336-2250 or

Sign Up For Chamber Golf Tourney

Paris, Tenn.-The Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Membership Appreciation Golf Tournament on Friday, April 10 at The Tennessean Golf Course located at 900 Olde Tennessee Trail. 

Lunch will be served at 11 a.m and tee off will be at noon. Please call the Chamber for more information or email 

Monday, March 30, 2015 

Air Evac Maintains Henry County Presence

Flight Nurse Jamie Evans of Obion with the Bell 206 Long-Ranger in Paris on Saturday. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-Air Evac is actively searching for a permanent location for a local headquarters close to the Henry County Medical Center but in the meantime will be maintaining its local presence, according to Air Evac Program Director Mark Pierce of Paris.

Pierce was one member of a crew of Air Evac staff that landed adjacent to the World’s Biggest Fish Fry headquarters Saturday morning for its opening. Air Evac is one of the fish fry’s new sponsors this year.

Air Evac personnel will be helping to serve fish at the fish tent on Saturday, April 25, and the company is sponsoring the Junior Fishing Rodeo and gate sponsor for the IPRA Rodeo.

As WENK/WTPR reported last week, Air Evac will be locating temporarily at the Henry County Airport and Pierce said, “The airport has been very welcoming to us. The airport is a little out of the way, though, and we’d like someplace closer to the hospital.”

Air Evac will be holding a grand opening when a permanent location is found, Pierce said. He said Air Evac also may hold an open house while they are still at the airport, also.

The Air Evac helicopter that was flown to the grand opening is a Bell 206 Long-Ranger, which Flight Nurse Jamie Evans of Obion said is similar to the helicopter that the company will be using in Henry County.

Several people took the opportunity to get an up close and personal look at the helicopter while he was in Paris.

Air Evac, which is headquartered in Martin, has been serving a large number of customers in Henry County for several years. The company had approached the Henry County Medical Center board will the prospect of locating a base at the hospital. After hearing presentations from Air Evac and Vanderbilt Lifeflight, the hospital board selected Vanderbilt to locate on the grounds of the hospital.

Evans shows the helicopter's interior (McFarlin photo).

Fire Damages Cars In Union City

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director
Union City, Tenn.-The Union City Fire Department and Union City Police are investigating an incident early this morning in which several cars were damaged by fire on Church St.

A Fire Department spokesman said this morning his department was called to a housing development at 1538 E. Church St. at 3:47 a.m. on a report of a car fire. When the fire department arrived, the car was fully involved and the fire was threatening nearby residences and other cars.

When firefighters arrived, they found the passenger side door of the 1996 Grand Prix open. The spokesman said the fire originated in the passenger side and items were reported missing from the vehicle.

The fire also damaged three other vehicles which were parked nearby.

Goodwill Expanding Its Hours 

Union City, Tenn.-Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee is extending business hours at all 34 of its retail stores, including those in Jackson, Lexington and Union City. 

The change will occur on April 1, when stores will begin opening at 8 a.m. — one hour earlier than in the past. 

New store hours will be 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Sunday.

The sale of donated items in the retail stores operated by Goodwill Industries funds the not-for-profit’s mission of providing employment and training opportunities to people struggling to find or keep jobs.

Lady Pats Win Zaxby’s Tourney

Clarksville, Tenn.-The Henry County Lady Patriots Softball Team is the 2015 Champions of the Zaxby’s Classic Tournament in Clarksville.

The Lady Pats beat Montgomery Central in the championship game by a score of 3 to 1. 

The Lady Pats were operating on all cylinders during the tournament, with six wins and no losses. 

According to Shannon Osbron, the Lady Pats beat Hume Fogg by 9 to 3; beat Todd County, Ky., by 7 to 1 on the first day of the tournament. The team played four games Saturday, beating McEwen 11 to 0, Kenwood by 4 to 3 and Stewart County by 12 to 0.

Julie Medlock pitched three games and Celie Hudson pitched the other three games. Gracie Osbron hit a two-run homer against Kenwood. Celie Hudson had 13 RBIs for the weekend and Gracie Osbron had 11 RBIs.

Hannah Gwaltney hit a game-winning sack fly against Kenwood that allowed Olivia Cate Brogdon to score the game-winning run.

Glow In Dark Easter Egg Hunt Thursday

Paris, Tenn.-The W.G. Rhea Library is Paris is hosting a Glow In The Dark Easter Egg Hunt at 7 p.m. Thursday night. The event is free for youngsters age 11 to 18.

Bring an Easter basket or bag and flashlight with you. Prizes include a Kindle, cash and coupons.

The library is located at 400 W. Washington St.

Sunday, March 29, 2015 

South Fulton Student To Receive MSU Certificate

Blake Hopkins, center, with co-workers. (MSU photo).

Murray, Ky. — Murray State University (MSU) will be the first Kentucky university to have a student of the Supported Higher Education Program (SHEP) program receive a certificate in May. SHEP is an opportunity for adults with intellectual disabilities to attend higher education programs without a regular high school diploma.

It allows students with intellectual disabilities to apply for Pell Grants, Federal Work Study and Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) money while attending higher education universities like Murray State.

Blake Hopkins, 22, from South Fulton, Tenn., was the first student in the program at MSU and will be the first to receive a certificate in May.

While at Murray, Hopkins has enjoyed the overall college experience including his Bible studies with the on-campus Intervarsity program and eating lunch in the Curris Center Thoroughbred Room with Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority members. Hopkins is currently taking classes two days a week and is living out his dream working at the MSU Wellness Center on Mondays and Wednesdays, after having an internship there. Hopkins also had an internship at the Murray-Calloway County Hospital Wellness Center and the Family Fitness Center in Murray. In addition, Hopkins has presented on his experience with the CCE program at a state conference.

The initiative at Murray State is called the College to Career Experience (CCE). It allows students to take 6-7 credit hours of selected courses each semester and to choose a field of study based on their interests using the College to Career Experience program. The Kentucky Department of Vocational Rehabilitation also provides funding assistance for the CCE. Sharon Arant is the CCE coordinator at Murray State University. She has received social mentors, tutors and job coaches through the adolescent, career and special education (ACS) department to assist the CCE students.

For more information on the program, contact Sharon Arant at, Pam Matlock at or Cindy Clemson at


Writing Project Accepting Applications

Martin, Tenn. – The West Tennessee Writing Project is accepting applications for the 22nd Invitational Summer Institute, to be held on the University of Tennessee at Martin campus from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday-Thursday, June 1-11. A mandatory orientation will be held on May 9.

The institute is designed to help current teachers find innovative ways to meet standards, learn to apply differentiated instruction, give both teacher-driven and student-driven assessments, and develop critical thinking in students. Chosen applicants will participate in teaching demonstrations, discussions and reading, as well as afternoon writing workshops.

Twelve participants will be selected through an application and interview process. Teachers from all subject areas, grades K-12, are invited to apply. Applications must be received before April 27. All teachers will participate in 52 hours of professional development and will receive 5.2 continuing education units through UT Martin.

Participation in the institute is paid for by a grant from the National Writing Project. Lodging is available on campus in student residence halls, paid for by individual participants. The rate for on-campus lodging is $12 per night.

Applications are available for download from Interested parties may also contact Dr. David Carithers, WTWP director and associate professor of English, at 731-881-7290 or by email at

Saturday, March 28, 2015 

Book Dedicated To Milam; Moore Is Grand Marshal

An emotional Bobby Milam thanks everyone for the honor, as Lisa Stone of the Jaycees looks on. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-This year’s World’s Biggest Fish Fry souvenir book is dedicated to Bobby Milam and the grand marshal of this year’s grand parade will be Paris Native and New York City Actress Summer Crockett Moore.

The announcements were made this morning at the official opening of the World’s Biggest Fish Fry headquarters on E. Wood St. and a large crowd of city and county officials and the public was on hand. The 62nd annual Fish Fry will be held April 18-26.

Air Evac, one of the new Fish Fry sponsors, landed a helicopter near the headquarters and several members of the crew attended the opening. 

Milam is a familiar face to anyone who has attended the Fish Fry or the Henry County Fair and many other local activities. He and his family live in the Elkhorn community and he is the Chairman of the County Road Board, Vice-President of the Henry County Farm Bureau board, a long-time fair board member and is active with the Extension Service and local FFA.

In reading the book dedication, Loria Plunk said, “Bobby is no stranger to Fish Fry as he started frying fish with his Dad, Bob Milam, when he was 21 and stayed with it for about 25 years. He is a friend to the Jaycees and we could not have asked for a better person to dedicate our book to than Bobby Milam.”

An emotional Milam said, “You don’t know how much this means to me. There are so many people who are more deserving in Henry County, but not any who are more appreciative of this honor.”

Milam spoke about his wife, Donna, children Sarah Rowlett, and Russell Milam, and his parents Bob and Ina Milam of Buchanan. “This is my home. This is where I wanted to raise my kids. It’s where I was raised. I had opportunities to leave over the years, but I never will. Henry County is my home.”

His parents, Milam said, “are the best examples of how parents should be. They taught me how to work and they taught me how to love and if you know how to do those things, you can make it in this world.”

Summer Crockett Moore moved to New York City after high school and is an award-winning actress and producer. With her production company, she had produced various theater and film projects, including plays and films. 

Most recently, she is lead producer and one of the female leading actors on the upcoming feature film “I Do I Do”, starring Whoopi Goldberg, Dick Cavett, Eric Roberts and Cathy Moriarty. She also is the team lead on the upcoming family film “Miss Liberty” set to shoot in late 2015 in Tennessee.

Her parents are Larry and Sandra Moore of Paris and her grandparents were Paul and Olivia Crockett.

Chairman of the Fish Fry this year is Patrick Cooper. Also on hand for the opening was Hostess Princess Grace Hassell and her court Addi Cate, Brooke Johnson, Madison Lovelace and Haley Birmingham.

Milam's daughter, Sarah Milam Rowlett and his wife, Donna, watch as he accepts the book dedication. (McFarlin photo).

Hostess Princess Grace Hassell and her court do the honors for the ribbon-cutting. (McFarlin photo).

UTM Radio, Newspaper Staff Win Awards

From left, Blake Stevens, a senior from Brighton; Sheila Scott, a senior from Kenton; (middle row) Ashleigh Burton, a junior from South Fulton; Lyndsey Hayslett, a junior from Union City; (back row) Chance Farmer, a senior from Union City; Toshya Leonard, a senior from Cordova; and Justin Glover, a sophomore from Hermitage. All the students are communications majors. (UTM photo).

Martin, Tenn. – Staff members from the University of Tennessee at Martin’s student-run radio station, WUTM 90.3 FM “The Hawk,” and campus newspaper, “The Pacer,” attended the Southeast Journalism Conference, Feb. 26-28, in Atlanta, Ga. WUTM was named the best college radio station in the South for 2014. This is the fifth time the station has won this award since 2007.

Students participated in on-site competitions in a variety of categories, including television and radio reporting, hard news and feature writing, and layout design. Ashleigh Burton, a junior from South Fulton, won first place in the radio news reporting competition, and Blake Stevens, a senior from Brighton, brought home second place for television news anchoring. Burton is the production director and Stevens is the news director for WUTM.

Students also submitted entries to the “Best of the South” competition in November 2014, the winners of which were announced during the conference banquet. The awards are listed below.

WUTM staff members:
· Best radio hard news reporter, first place: Tori Seng, a junior from Union City;
· Best radio news feature reporter, fifth place: Sydney LaFreniere, a senior from Oak Ridge;
· Best radio journalist, sixth place: Stevens.
The radio station also won second place for best college audio news program, or “podcast,” and was named the Best College Radio Station in the South for 2014.

The Pacer staff members:
· Best news-editorial artist/illustrator, second place: Joey Plunk, a sophomore from Bells;
· Best feature writer, third place (tie): Sheila Scott, a senior from Kenton;
· Best newspaper page layout designer, ninth place: Ashley Marshall, a senior from Union City.
The newspaper also placed second in the best college website competition and eighth in both the best college magazine and best college newspaper categories.

For more information, contact Robinson at 731-881-7555 or, or Parrish at 731-881-7558 or

Quota Welcomes Lamb As New Member

Paris, Tenn.-Andrea Lamb, Branch Manager at Commercial Bank & Trust Company on Mineral Wells Ave. in Paris, was installed as a new member of the Paris Quota Club this week. She is sponsored by Jane Sinnema.

New Officers will be installed at the April 22 meeting: President Stephanie Tayloe; President-Elect Donna Winders; Vice-President Cheryl Wilson; Recording Secretary Carman Wright; Corresponding Secretary Peggy Owen; Treasurer Pat Bailey; Assistant Treasurer Beverly Wood; Directors Janice Teas, Jackie Jones, Mary Kathryn Moore, Sharon Hale and Brenda Hosford.

Members voted for Quotarian of the Year, which also will be announced at the April 22nd meeting.

The Easter Bake Sale will be from 8am noon on Saturday, April 4, at Mineral Wells Branch of Commercial Bank & Trust Company.

Friday, March 27, 2015 

Biggs Found Guilty Of 2nd Degree Attempted Murder

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-After deliberating for some three hours, a Henry County Circuit Court jury found Guy Biggs, formerly of Buchanan, guilty of a lesser charge of attempted second degree murder. Along with his conviction, Biggs was fined $25,000.

Biggs will be sentenced by Judge Donald Parish on May 8.

Biggs had been accused of criminal attempt of first degree murder of a Paris man in April of 2014. Biggs and his wife, Joyce Biggs, were both charged with attempted first-degree murder and filing false reports in a bizarre incident that began in their Swan Bay home.

The couple had initially claimed that Jason Owen had entered their home, tried to kidnap Joyce and had shot Guy Biggs in the process.

The Henry County Sheriff’s Office initially charged Owen in the case, but as the investigation progressed, the Biggs’ claims began to unravel, according to Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew at the time. Charges against Owen were then dropped and the Biggs couple was charged instead.

Charges against Joyce Biggs are still pending.

Testimony during the four-day trial was heard from Guy and Joyce Biggs, Owen, and several law enforcement personnel including Sheriff’s Investigator David Doyle and a number of TBI agents.

The versions of what transpired that day in the Swan Bay home as testified to by the Biggs’ couple and Owen were widely divergent.

After closing statements from Defense Attorney Mike Ainley and Assistant District Attorney Paul Hessing Jr. this morning, the jury began deliberating at 1:15 p.m. Their verdict was announced at 4:22 p.m. The jury consisted of nine women and three men.

Planting Trees Across Paris

Paris, Tenn.-The city of Paris participated in the “Plant 50,000 Trees Across Tennessee” program sponsored by the Tennessee Environmental Council this week. Over 100 trees were planted in Paris parks, including the Atkins-Porter Dog Park and Eiffel Tower Park. In photo are Joel Crosno, Kenny Boyd and Darren Webb. A tree giveaway is schedulef for today (Friday) from 10 a.m. to noon at the Paris Civic Center parking lot. (City of Paris photo).

Unemployment Decreases In All 95 Counties

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Nashville, Tenn.-Unemployment in Tennessee decreased in all of its 95 counties in February, according to figures released by the State Department of Labor and Workforce Development. That is in sharp contrast to January, which unemployment increased in all 95 counties.

Statewide, Tennessee’s preliminary unemployment rate for February was 6.6 percent, compared with 6.7 in January.

Closer to home, counties in our local area showed marked decreases from the previous month.

The two counties with the lowest unemployment in February in our area were Henry County, with 7.9 percent, compared to 9.3 percent in January; and Weakley Co., at 7.5 percent, compared with 8.4 percent the previous month.

Obion County was at 9.2 percent in February, compared with 10.3 percent in January. Benton County unemployment in February was 8.7 percent, as compared to 10 percent in January. Carroll County was 9.6 percent, compared to 11.3 percent the previous month. Stewart County was at 9.1 percent, compared to 9.3 percent and Gibson Co. was at 8.4 percent, compared to 9.3 percent in January.

Carroll County is still on the state’s list of top ten unemployment rates.

Statewide, Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate in February at 4.8 percent, down from 5.4 percent in January.  

HCMC To Receive $1.2M In Medicare Funds

Paris, Tenn.-Henry County Medical Center should be receiving some $1.2M in Medicaid/TennCare funds within the next few weeks.

HCMC Tom Gee told board members at its regular meeting Thursday night that the hospital’s request for additional reimbursement on cost reports for the 2010-2011 years was approved. This has been in the works for several years now,” he said.

Gee also updated the board on the future of Insure Tennessee, noting there has been “little or not movement” in the legislature. “The legislators continue to submit legislation to try and dismantle the Affordable Care Act and even Tenncare. If these pass, hospitals will be further hurt financially.” 

A glitch has arisen even before the Vanderbilt Medical Center Lifeflight locates headquarters on the grounds of the Henry County Medical Center. 

Gee told board members complaints have been received from Dr. Lance Culley and the Cancer Center, which are located adjacent to the proposed site for the helicopter base. Their complaints relate to possible noise and air turbulence, Gee said.

“We are checking with any city zoning issue and looking at alternatives where we might relocate a base,” Gee said.

In other business:

--Gee said hospital administration will be meeting with the hospital contract committee to discuss the hospital acquiring the building where Dr. Eugene Gulish has a medical clinic and the possibility of taking over management of that practice.

--Gee informed the board that construction on the operating room expansion will begin April 13.

Houston County Man Charged With Arson

Nashville, Tenn. – Investigators with the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) Bomb and Arson Unit announce the arrest of a Houston County man on two counts of arson.

Franklin Rye, 42, was arrested on March 23 and now faces two counts of arson related to two fires he set at the same abandoned house in Houston County.

Investigators discovered Rye had attempted to burn an abandoned home first in October 2014 prior to a scheduled auction of the house and land. Rye set a fire in a barrel on the house’s back porch. After the sale of the house and property, agents found that Rye again tried to set the house on fire by entering the house and lighting a fire with some garbage inside the house.

No one was injured in either fire. The house has been vacant for many years.

“Arson is a crime, even if a fire is started in an empty home or building, and there are no injuries in a fire,” according to Deputy Commissioner for Fire Prevention Gary West.

The SFMO wants the public’s help in reporting suspected arsons. The Arson Hot Line (1-800-762-3017) is a phone line dedicated to receiving information about suspicious and incendiary fires. The phone is answered 24 hours a day and callers can remain anonymous when providing information.
Cash awards are offered for information leading to an arrest or conviction.

Henry County Holy Week Schedule 

Paris, Tenn.-Henry County Noonday Holy Week Services will be held from noon to 1 p.m. daily March 30-April 3.This year First Christian Church will be the host church. 

Area clergy will discuss the last words of Jesus Christ, followed by a brief lunch each day.

Monday – Rob Martin, FUMC
“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” – Luke 23:34
Tuesday – Simone Travis, Church of the Living God
“Dear woman, here is your son.” – John 19:26
Wednesday – John Dandridge, Quinn Chapel AME
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – Mark 15:34
Thursday – Beth Dobyns, Interim Regional Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Tennessee (we will handle lunch this day)
“I am thirsty.” - John 19:28
Friday – Kris Rusin, Holy Cross 
“It is finished!” – John 19:30

Hamfest Is Set For Saturday 

Union City, Tenn.-The 2015 “Ides of March” Hamfest for area ham radio operators will be held Saturday at the Tennessee National Guard Armory in Union City.
The Hamfest will begin at 8 a.m. and is sponsored by the Reelfoot Amateur Radio Club. The Armory is located at 2017 E. Reelfoot Ave.

Hamfest is open to the public and a test can be taken to become a ham radio operator. Food and drinks are available and vendors will be on site.

More information can be found at

Bethel To Perform “Les Mis”

McKenzie, Tenn.-The Bethel University Renaissance Theatre Program will tackle one of the one of the most highly acclaimed musicals of all time “Les Miserables.” The production will be performed both on the Bethel campus in McKenzie and at The Dixie Carter Performing Arts Center in Huntingdon.

This enormous production will boast intricate costumes, elaborate sets, and most importantly, a talented cast and crew, according to Renaissance Executive Director Matthew Holt.

“This is one of the largest and most well known productions our program has ever tackled,” Holt said. “Our staff is doing a remarkable job at organizing and bringing to life a production of this magnitude.”

Les Miserables will take the stage of  The Dixie Friday April 10th at 7 p.m.; Saturday April 11th at 2: pm; Friday April 17th at 7 p.m. and Saturday April 18th at 7 pm. 

There will be a special “Bethel Only” performance on Thursday April 9th for Bethel Faculty, Staff and Students. Tickets for the Bethel Performance on April 9th can be reserved by emailing or calling the Renaissance office (731) 352-6980. Tickets for this production are $15 and can be purchased on the Dixie website For more information contact the Dixie Box Office at (731) 986-2100.

Three Arrested For Reckless Burning

Gibson County, Tenn. –The State Fire Marshal’s Office Bomb and Arson Unit announce that two juveniles and a teenager pleaded guilty earlier this month to reckless burning charges related to a fire at a Gibson County home.

On February 16, 2015, the two juveniles and a 19-year-old named Dakota Smith said they started a bonfire to keep warm while sledding near an abandoned house at 132 Gibson Cemetery Road in Gibson County. The trio later told investigators they believed the fire had been extinguished when they left the scene. However, a fire heavily damaged the house, which was near the site of the bonfire.

The juveniles pleaded guilty on March 16, 2015 to reckless burning and were sentenced to six months’ probation, mandatory attendance at a fire safety class, completion of 40 hours community service for a fire department and must pay restitution to the victim.
Smith, who is a Humboldt County resident, also entered a guilty plea March 18 as part of a similar plea agreement.

“Carelessness with fire can have serious repercussions,” according to Gary West, deputy commissioner of the Fire Prevention Division, Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. “The best way to avoid an outdoor accident involving a fire is to not start a fire.” 

Thursday, March 26, 2015 

Air Evac Temporary Headquarters At Henry County Airport

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-Air Evac announced today it will temporarily locate its Henry County headquarters at Henry County Airport. 

Air Evac Public Relations Specialist Shelly Schneider said they are not ready to announce the exact date that the local headquarters will be operational. Air Evac officials already had announced it would open in April.

For several years, Air Evac has served the local community with headquarters in Martin and recently Henry County Medical Center contracted with Vanderbilt Lifeflight to locate a headquarters on the hospital grounds.

Last week, Air Evac told WENK/WTPR it will continue to be a strong presence in Henry County and provided membership information. Air Evac President Seth Myers said, “We opened our first base 17 years ago; when the Paris base opens in April it will join the regional Air Evac Lifeteam bases in Martin and Waverly in Tennessee, and Mayfield, Kentucky, to give you unprecedented air medical service should you need it.”

Myers said Air Evac is also strongly supported by St. Thomas Hospital, Jackson-Madison Co. General and Skyline Medical Center. amd two out of three patients flown out of Henry County are going to hospitals supporting Air Evac Lifeteam.

Closing Arguments To Be Presented Friday In Biggs Trial
Loud Noise Prompts Mistrial Request

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-It was another long--and interesting--day for the Henry County Circuit Court jury in the trial of Guy Biggs, charged with attempted first-degree murder and filing a false report.

Both the state and defense rested their case Thursday afternoon and closing arguments will begin first thing Friday morning.

The courtroom was rattled in the morning by an extremely loud noise which prompted Assistant District Attorney Paul Hessing to request a mistrial.

The loud noise--which prompted several in the courtroom to duck and law enforcement officers to begin security measures--turned out to be the chair of one of the defense attorneys which had collapsed.

Judge Donald Parish immediately called for a recess. Upon return to open court, Hessing asked for the mistrial, citing the “metallic sound, close to the sound of a gunshot” that had occurred while Biggs’ wife, Joyce, was on the stand.

Hessing noted Joyce Biggs had testified she was in fear shortly before the loud noise. “The noise, coupled with her prior testimony of fear…I don’t know what affect that will have on her demeanor when she returns to the stand,” Hessing said.

Hessing also noted the affect the noise might have on the jury. “It could have a very real affect on the trial.”

Defense Attorney Mike Ainley said he did not believe the mistrial request was warranted and Judge Parish agreed, noting, “I’m confident in my instructions to the jury.”

Biggs is accused of trying to kill a romantic rival in a bizarre incident last year. Biggs and his wife had initially claimed that Jason Owen of Paris had entered their home at 100 Swan Bay, and tried to kidnap Joyce Biggs and shot Guy Biggs.

The Henry County Sheriff’s Office initially charged Owen in the case, but as the investigation progressed, the Biggs’ claims began to unravel, according to Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew at the time. Charges against Owen were then dropped and the Biggs couple was charged instead.

The jury heard testimony from Owen on Wednesday. On Thursday, they heard testimony from both Guy and Joyce Biggs. The accounts by the three witnesses varied in key areas.

After closing arguments are presented Friday morning, the case will go to the jury for its verdict.

Houston County Audit Shows Continuing Problems

Erin, Tenn.-The Tennessee Comptroller’s annual audit of Houston County government contains 13 findings describing weaknesses and deficiencies across several county offices. Seven of the findings also appeared in the previous year’s audit and have not been corrected.

For the seventh year in a row, Houston County funds required material audit adjustments for financial statements to be materially correct at year-end. This year the adjustment totaled $1,073,505 in the General Debt Service Fund. The recurring nature of this finding indicates that management is either unwilling or unable to address the deficiency.

The audit also revealed a $4,453.33 cash shortage in the General Purpose School Fund. This shortage was caused by the actions of a former payroll clerk who issued herself extra checks, and failed to withhold the proper amount of money from her income as ordered by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The Board of Education has already recovered some of this amount. This finding has been reviewed with the district attorney general.

Other findings in the audit report include expenditures exceeding appropriations, accounting deficiencies, multiple employees operating from the same cash drawer in the County Clerk and Clerk and Master’s Offices, and a failure to separate money handling responsibilities in several offices. 

“More than half of the findings in this report were also highlighted in 2013,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “I call on Houston County government leaders and its Audit Committee to address the financial practices, internal control and other noncompliance issues reported in this annual audit.” 

To view the audit online, go to:
If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at (800) 232-5454, or file a report online at: Follow us on twitter: @TNCOT

Four Arrested In Large Meth Bust

    Robert Hopper Jr.               Larry Dotson                            Dana Miller
Union City, Tenn.-Four people were arrested--three of them from the local area--after officers with the 27th Judicial Drug Task Force interrupted a meth sale transaction between the parties near Sharp Ferry and Elbridge-Obion Rd. in Obion County Monday night.

Officers found three and a half pounds of meth being transferred at the time of the arrest and $52,000 was seized.

Obion Co. Sheriff Jerry Vastbinder said the amount of meth seized was the largest he has seen, with an approximate street value of at least $250,000.

Arrested from the local area were: Robert Hopper Jr., age 40, Fulton; Larry Dotson, age 34 of Hornbeak, and Dana Miller, 43, of Trimble. Also arrested was Edward Henry, 33, Joiner, Arkansas.

Hopper, Dotson and Miller were charged with conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with intent to resale and Henry charged with conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with the intent to manufacture, deliver or sale.

A $1M bond was set for Hopper, whose court case on a previous meth arrest in Union City was pending at the time of this new arrest. General Sessions Court Judge Jimmy Smith revoked his previous bond.

Bonds of $500,000 each were set for Dotson, Henry and Miller.

UTM Students Help At South Fulton Clinic

Joyce Washington, adjunct instructor, UT Martin Department of Management, Marketing and Information Systems, speaks to a crowd of students interested in volunteer opportunities with the Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center in South Fulton. 

Martin, Tenn. – Twenty students from the University of Tennessee at Martin have partnered with the Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center in South Fulton to provide a variety of services not otherwise available to the all-volunteer establishment.

Students will be working with the center to develop fundraising strategy and create print materials and presentations to solicit financial donors and additional involvement from area medical providers. Students will also be providing the center with marketing and branding support, as well as public relations materials. 
The Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center is a Christian-based ministry providing primary medical care to the working uninsured in Weakley and Obion counties in Tennessee and Fulton and Hickman counties in Kentucky. The center has no paid staff and all health-care providers offer their services free of charge. 

“Health care is critical to the future of any community. It is at the core of success for the population of the community, from students to the workforce,” according to Joyce Washington, adjunct instructor, UT Martin Department of Management, Marketing and Information Systems. “Good Samaritan’s work is about providing access to wellness and health care for those who otherwise couldn’t afford it.” Washington is overseeing the student volunteer efforts. 

Others interested in participating in this effort can contact Washington at 731-636-0220 or by email at 

Funding Available For USDA Housing

Union City, Tenn— Funding is now available for all Rural Development Housing Programs. The Union City Area Office serves Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Henry, Lake, Obion and Weakley counties. Many individuals have a dream of someday owning their own home. USDA Rural Development is able to help make that dream a reality for many families in rural Tennessee. 

Through the USDA Rural Development Single Family Housing Direct Loan program, applicants may obtain 100% financing to purchase a home. The current interest rate is 3% which is on a fixed 33-year term. Some buyers may qualify for payment assistance that may reduce the effective interest rate to as low as one percent – thus reducing the monthly payment. Often, the monthly payment is lower for a homeowner than the amount that they may be paying for rent.

The purpose of the loan is to provide financing at reasonable rates and terms with no down payment. Eligible applicants may purchase an existing dwelling, purchase a site and construct a dwelling, or purchase a newly constructed dwelling. Eligibility criteria for this program must be met and includes such requirements as meeting the income guidelines, have good credit history, be a U.S. citizen and have repayment ability for the home that they wish to purchase. Those interested in the program should contact the USDA Rural Development Office in Union City for information on the eligibility and application process, and to submit an application.

“Many in our rural communities are unaware that USDA Rural Development is also able to assist those individuals who already own their homes with needed home repairs,” according to USDA Rural Area Director Harriett Cannon. The Home Repair program is a loan program with a one percent annual interest rate designed to help the owner remove health and safety hazards and to make essential repairs. Most repairs completed under the program are for roof, siding, window and door replacement, electrical repairs, furnace and air conditioning replacement and other repairs needed to keep the home livable. To qualify for the program, applicants must own and occupy the home and have an income within Rural Development guidelines. The program application paperwork is relatively simple for applicants with no initial cost involved. Those interested in the repair program are encouraged to contact the USDA Rural Development Office in Union City for specifics on the eligibility criteria.

Two Brush Fires Extinguished

Buchanan, Tenn.-The Paris Landing Volunteer Fire Department extinguished two brush fires last night.

Fire Chief Reggie Coles said the first occurred around 7 p.m. in the woods near Earl’s Boat World on Highway 79N. Four trucks and 14 firefighters were on the scene for an hour, he said.

Upon returning to the Fire Station a passerby stopped and said there was another brush fire in the woods on Hamilton Road off of West Antioch Road. Paris Landing units responded and found the second fire in the woods at that location. 

Firefighters were on that scene for  approximately 45 minutes. The cause of both incidents is undetermined at this time. No injuries or dollar loss was reported.

Free Trees Available 

Paris, Tenn.-The city of Paris has announced that free trees will be available to the public Friday at the Paris Civic Center parking lot, from 10 a.m. until noon. Seedlings of oaks, sumac and elderberry and others will be available.

Henry County Pre-Kindergarten Enrollment

Paris, Tenn.-Henry County School System is accepting applications for Pre-K enrollment for children to attend the 2015-2016 programs from April 7-9. If your child will be 4 years old by August 15, 2015, you may complete an application during registration days.


Harrelson Elementary School
143 Country Club Road
Puryear, TN 38251
(731) 247-3152
Deanna Robinson, Teacher

Henry Elementary School
937 Pioneer Road
Henry, TN 38231
(731) 243-7114
Maureen Boyd, Teacher

Lakewood Elementary School
6745-A Hwy. 79 N
Buchanan, TN 38222
(731) 644-1600
Christy Hendricks, Teacher

H. C. Board of Education
217 Grove Blvd.
Paris, TN 38242
(731) 642-3101
Susan Burton, Coordinator

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Key Players Testify In Biggs' Trial

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-Wednesday was a long day at the Henry County Circuit Court trial of Guy Biggs, formerly of Buchanan, accused of criminal attempt at first-degree murder and filing a false report.

Biggs is on trial for his part in a bizarre incident which occurred in April of 2014 in which he and his wife, Joyce, were accused of luring Jason Owen of Paris to their Buchanan home where they reportedly intended to kill him.

The couple initially claimed to sheriff’s deputies that Owen had entered their home and tried to kidnap Joyce Biggs and shot Guy Biggs.

The trial Wednesday lasted until around 5:45 p.m. and included testimony from Owen and Joyce Biggs about what transpired the day of the incident, from their viewpoints. Joyce Biggs was still on the stand when court recessed and will resume testimony Thursday morning.

The jury also heard testimony from several law enforcement witnesses, including Henry County Sheriff’s Office Investigator David Doyle and members of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) forensic science unit Dr. Laura Ann Boos, Kevin Warner, David Holver and Jay Russell Davis II.

Doyle testified that Guy Biggs was concealed behind a partition when Owen entered the Biggs’ home and Joyce Biggs was seated in a chair in front of the partition.

All the TBI agents testified to evidence which they analyzed and their findings. 

Representing the state is Assistant District Attorney Paul Hessing Jr. Representing Guy Biggs is Paris Attorney Mike Ainley.

Court officials expect that Guy Biggs may be testifying in his own behalf during the trial, which may last three to four days.

Biggs Trial Is Underway 

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director 

Paris, Tenn.-The trial for a man accused of trying to kill a romantic rival in a bizarre incident last year is underway in Henry County Circuit Court.

Guy Biggs, who formerly lived on Swan Bay in the Buchanan area, is charged with criminal attempt of first degree murder of a Paris man. Biggs has been held at the Henry County Jail without bond since his bond was revoked.

The trial for Biggs began Tuesday, with the jury seated before the lunch break. Circuit Court Donald Parish is presiding. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney David Hessing Jr. of Paris. Representing Biggs is Paris Attorney Mike Ainley.

Court officials said the trial is expected to last three days. 

Biggs and his wife Joyce Biggs were both charged with the crime and for filing a false report in the incident which occurred in April of 2014. 

The couple had initially claimed that Jason Owen had entered their home at 100 Swan Bay, and tried to kidnap Joyce Biggs and shot Guy Biggs.

The Henry County Sheriff’s Office initially charged Owen in the case, but as the investigation progressed, the Biggs’ claims began to unravel, according to Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew at the time. Charges against Owen were then dropped and the Biggs couple was charged instead.

Testimony will continue today from law enforcement, including Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) agents.

WBFF Headquarters Opens Saturday

Paris, Tenn.-It’s that time of year again. Time to think about fish and hush puppies and all that goes with it.

The World’s Biggest Fish Fry Headquarters grand opening will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 28. The headquarters is at 1330 East Wood St.

As always, the announcements of the book dedication and the identity of the grand marshal for the 62nd annual grand parade will be made.

Ribbon-cutting and coffee will be provided by the Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce and new corporate sponsors have been added for this year’s event, which is always held the last full week of April.

Wilkins Hired As Obion Central Coach

Union City, Tenn.-David Wilkins has been hired as the new girls’ basketball coach at Obion County Central High School and you could say that basketball is in his blood.

Wilkins was the head coach at Lakewood Middle School in Henry County for four years and coached at LaVergne High School.

His father Mitch is the girls’ coach at Gibson County, his brother John is the coach for the McKenzie High School boys’ program and his brother Mark is an assistant boys coach at Beech High School.

Wilkins signed an intent to hire form Tuesday morning at Obion County Central and was selected from 25 applicants.

Helping Hand Annual Meeting Set 

Paris, Tenn.-The Helping Hand Radio Auction annual meeting will be held at 7 p.m. April 6 at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology on S. Wilson St. in Paris. 
Checks from this year’s auction will be distributed at the meeting. Checks will be handed out to 75 local organizations. 
As usual, the top fundraising communities and organizations will be honoured. This year, three new board members will be elected.
Persons attending are asked to park in the rear of the building.

UTM Photo Class Offered At Lee Academy

Martin, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin Office of Extended Campus and Online Studies will offer an advanced digital photography course from 6–9 p.m., Tuesdays, April 7-28, at the Robert E. Lee Academy for the Arts in Paris. 

This course in advanced digital photography is designed to follow-up the basic digital photography course, but is open to anyone familiar with digital camera operations and basic photography skills. Students will learn the advanced camera skills of a double single-lens reflex camera (also called a digital DSLR) and other digital cameras. Students will be encouraged to capture creative imaging techniques in landscape, wildlife, portrait and close-up photography. Exercises in both low-light and nighttime photography will be held. Roger Hughes, course instructor, will critique the images and provide feedback for each student. 

Hughes is a retired special agent of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, criminal and drug investigation divisions. He studied fine art imaging at the University of Tennessee, Rocky Mountain School of Photography. Limited samples of his work can be viewed at 

Each participant should bring a digital camera, operations manual and tripod. The registration fee is $125 per person. 

For more information, visit or call the Office of Extended Campus and Online Studies at 731-881-7082.

Murray PD Arrests Three On Weapons Charges

Murray, Ky.-Early Tuesday morning, Murray Police officers were dispatched to a convenience store in Murray in response to a van that had been parked on the lot for an unusually long time. 
Upon investigating the van, three individuals were discovered inside: Melodee Johnson, 55 of Sedalia, Michael Brinn, 28, of Mayfield, and James Stovall, 28 of Mayfield. 
A defaced firearm was recovered from the vehicle. All three were charged with Possession of a Handgun by a Convicted Felon. Stovall was also charged with Operating on a Suspended License. All three were lodged at the Calloway County Jail.

Boy Scout Pancake Breakfast

Puryear, Tenn.-Boy Scout Troup 226 in Puryear will hold a pancake breakfast Saturday from 7-11 a.m. at the Puryear Baptist Church, 10060 Highway 641.

The breakfast will include all you can eat pancakes, sausage and beverage of coffee, milk or orange juice. Cost of $7 for adults, $3 for children under five.

Proceeds benefit the scout troup and its activities.

Swimming Lesson Sign-Ups

Paris, Tenn.-Swimming lessons will be held at the Paris Civic Center during April and May and sign-up sheets are at the front desk. The lessons are conducted by the American Red Cross.

Level One classes for April are held April 13-17 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. with cost of $35 per child.

Level Two classes are held April 13-17 from 6:45-7:35 p.m. and cost is $35.

Swim lessons in May will be held May 18-22.

For more information contact Liz Burton at 731-363-5212 or Hannah Mallard at 731-336-0654. The swimming lessons are available for ages 4-12 only. 

Area Students Perform In Lyric Opera

Martin, Tenn. – Hearts will break, fortunes will be told and verdicts will be given in the University of Tennessee at Martin’s 2015 lyric opera theatre production, “Two Couples-Two Comical Love Stories,” held at 7:30 p.m., March 27 and 28, in the Harriet Fulton Theatre in the Fine Arts Building. 

Two operas will be presented featuring modern-day conflicts in the lives of college students. Both operas will be performed in English. They are “Bastien and Bastienne” by Mozart and “Trial By Jury” by Gilbert and Sullivan.

The principal cast is as follows: 
· Bastien – Grant Cacy, a sophomore from Lakeland;
· Bastienne – Bridget Huenefeld, a sophomore from Antioch (March 27 cast) and Johna Jackson, a junior from Madison (March 28 cast);
· Colas the psychic – Darius Taylor, a sophomore from Jackson;
· Angelina – Hilliary Lemons, a senior from Newbern (March 27 cast) and Jacie Pride, a junior from Brentwood (March 28 cast);
· Edwin – John Warner, a freshman from Union City;
· The Judge – Wesley Sliger, a freshman from Martin.

Other cast members include Mary Beth Chandler, a freshman from Kenton; Evan Dumser, a freshman from Martin; Kristal Jones, a senior from Finger; Asha Moody, a senior from Pulaski; Alex Moore, a freshman from Ashland City; and Hector Ramirez, a freshman from Fulton, Ky. All the students are either vocal or instrumental music majors. 
Admission is $5 for adults; children under 12 may enter free. Tickets can be purchased at the door prior to the show. 
For more information, contact Dr. Amy Yeung, professor of music, at 731-881-7408 or by email at

Bethel Recital Hour Is Friday

McKenzie, Tenn.– The Bethel University Department of Music will host a Recital Hour at noon this Friday, March 27 in the L.J. Turner Recital Hall in the Marrs-Stockton Music Building. Students and faculty will present prepared musical pieces. The event is free and open to the public.

On Tuesday, March 31, The Department of Music will present the Bethel University Singers and Chamber Choir in concert at First United Methodist Church at 16 McTyeire Street in McKenzie. The concert, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m.
For more information about either event, contact Dr. Keith Herris at

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 

Water Rate Increases To Help Finance Treatment Plant

Electrical Department Director Cole Edwards, right, shows the new BPU warehouse to board members. From left, Butch Powers, Board Attorney Steve Greer, Terry Fuller, Ralph Anderson and David Flowers (Shannon McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.- The Paris Board of Public Utilities Tuesay approved a new water rate schedule for customers that is needed to help finance a new water treatment plant for the utility district.

Tuesday’s meeting was held at the newly-constructed BPU warehouse on Hwy. 218. Electric Department Cole Edwards took the board on a tour of the facility after the meeting. The new facility includes a large warehouse, training room and offices. Edwards said some landscaping and asphalt work is still needed before completion.

The new water rate schedule, according to Assistant General Manager Terry Wimberley, will be much simpler. “We’re moving from a more complicated rate schedule to a more simple schedule. The new rate will have a base charge and a flat rate that makes things simpler in our office and simpler for our customers to follow.”

The current treatment plant has been in operation since 1950 and, Wimberley said, “The technology has not changed since then. We have had no upgrades since then. We’ve just added capacity.” Even though the water treatment plant has been in operation since 1950, he said, the building that the plant is in is even older than that.

Board Member Ralph Anderson said, “I don’t like rate increases but I think we’re facing something inevitable here. It’s either now or later and the more you keep putting it off, the more it’s going to cost. My main concern is that we can provide good safe drinking water to practically to everyone in Henry County.”

Board Member Terry Fuller--who also is a member of the Paris City Commission--said, “I started beating this drum when I was on the board before six years ago. We just have to do it. We have a dinosaur here that’s going to be extinct someday.” 

The new rate schedule is effective July 1. According to figures distributed at the meeting, the base charge begins at $9.85 inside the city of Paris at a cost per 1,000 gallons of $2. In 2016, the base charge inside the city increases to $11 with a cost per 1,000 gallons of $2.25 and in 2016, it increases to $12 and $2.50.

Construction of the new water plant will be performed in three phases. Funding reported available through the State Revolving Loan is $3,450,000, with a total potential for funds through grants that have been applied for of $4,150,400.

In other business:

--The board approved a contract with Jacobs Engineering for installing a new water line for the new McCartney Produce building being constructed at the city industrial park. County Alliance CEO David Hamilton negotiated a fast track project with the state in which the state has verbally agreed to pay $385,000 for the project. 

The new ten inch water line was necessary for McCartney’s new sprinkler system, but BPU General Manager John Etheridge said the water lines will enhance existing infrastructure “and help the city industrial park as a whole”.

 Murray PD Arrests Three On Weapons Charges

Murray, Ky.-Early Tuesday morning, Murray Police officers were dispatched to a convenience store in Murray in response to a van that had been parked on the lot for an unusually long time. 

Upon investigating the van, three individuals were discovered inside: Melodee Johnson, 55 of Sedalia, Michael Brinn, 28, of Mayfield, and James Stovall, 28 of Mayfield. 

A defaced firearm was recovered from the vehicle. All three were charged with Possession of a Handgun by a Convicted Felon. Stovall was also charged with Operating on a Suspended License. All three were lodged at the Calloway County Jail.

Rockabilly Festival Coming To Discovery Park

Union City, Tenn.-   Discovery Park of America has been selected as one of the venues in West Tennessee which will be hosting a series of International Riders and Rockabilly Music and Cultural Festivals this summer.

The announcement was made Monday at a press conference in Jackson.

Discovery Park of America and Abernathy’s are teaming up to bring Rockabilly to Northwest Tennessee the fourth weekend of July. Discovery Park will be joining venues in Jackson, Brownsville and Ripley to provide activities throughout West Tennessee during the month of July featuring music, history, culture and food.

Discovery Park will host the fourth in the series. Rockabilly will come alive in Union City July 24th and 25th as Discovery Park and Abernathy’s provide music, food and fun for everyone, with special events and activities for bikers.  

Event Director Rick Adams said, “We hope everyone comes hungry, as there will be a giant fish fry, hot dog stands, beer tents and dessert trucks available at Discovery Park throughout the weekend! Admission is free, so everyone can bring their own bag chair and come out to the park and enjoy the music, even if they don’t want to eat.”

The series of festivals begins in Jackson July 3 - 5, moves to Ripley July 9 – 11, heads to Brownsville July 16 - 19 and finishes up in Union City July 24 and 25.  

Discovery Park of America is a 50-acre park that has changed the landscape of Northwest, Tennessee.  The park features a majestic and artfully designed iconic building called Discovery Center housing 70,000 square feet of exhibits focused on space, science, military, history and fun.  Entrepreneur and philanthropist Robert Kirkland and his wife Jenny donated more than 142 million dollars to build and provide operating capital for Discovery Park.  To find out more about the park, visit the website at and for more information about the regional festivals, visit  

“Whispering Bill” Returns To The Dixie Saturday 

Huntingdon, Tenn. – Famed songwriter and entertainer “Whispering Bill” Anderson returns to The Dixie Carter Performing Arts & Academic Enrichment Center this Saturday, March 28 for the Dixie Live Concert Series songwriters show.

A member of the Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame, Anderson is one of the most awarded songwriters in the history of country music, a million-selling recording artist many times over, television game show host, network soap opera star, spokesman for a nationwide restaurant chain, and a consummate onstage performer. 

His compositions have been recorded by artists as diverse as Ray Price, Porter Wagoner, James Brown, Debbie Reynolds, Lawrence Welk, Dean Martin, and Aretha Franklin, and his success has covered more than five decades.

“Bill Anderson making his return to The Dixie is like having an old friend come back to visit,” according to Lori Neal Nolen, Executive Director of The Dixie Carter Performing Arts & Academic Enrichment Center. “We are excited that he is joining us this year for our annual songwriters show. With all the hits he has written, you will get to hear firsthand the stories behind those and many more.”

The show begins at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person and are available at The Dixie box office in downtown Huntingdon, by calling 731-986-2100, and online at

“Scam Alert” Registration Open

Paris, Tenn. -Registration is open now for a “Scam Alert” program to be presented in April by the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce and McDonald’s.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, April 9 at the Henry County Fairgrounds Enoch Building. McDonald’s will serve breakfast sandwiches at 10 a.m.

The educational program is to inform the public of deceitful scams in our region. Learn the indicators of a scam and what to do if you have been targeted by scammers. 

The program is free to the public, but registration is encouraged. Sign up for the program by calling the Paris-Henry Co. Chamber of Commerce at 731-642-3431.

TBI: Campus Crime Decreasing

Nashville, Tenn.-The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released to the public its 2014 ‘Crime on Campus’ report. Despite recent high profile incidents, the study shows that crime reported by Tennessee colleges has decreased.

The annual study compiles information submitted to TBI by the state’s colleges and universities through the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS).
Among the report’s findings:
· Overall, crime reported by Tennessee colleges and universities decreased by 6.3% from 2013 to 2014.
· Reported incidents of Burglary decreased by 34.1% from 2013 to 2014
· Reported Fraud Offenses increased 19% over 2013’s study.
· The reported incidents of Rape increased from 26 in 2013 to 46 in 2014.
· DUI offenses reported by Tennessee’s colleges and universities decreased by 34.9% between 2013 and 2014.
As always, the TBI strongly discourages the comparison of one institution’s statistics to another. The factors impacting crime vary from community to community and rudimentary comparisons will most likely result in inaccurate and generalized conclusions of the relative safety of one campus over another.
The full 2014 ‘Crime on Campus’ report, along with similar studies dating back to 2001, is available online for review at

Children’s Language Classes Offered

Martin, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin Office of Extended Campus and Online Studies will offer a linguakidz class from 9 a.m.–2 p.m., April 2, on the UT Martin campus. 

Students will participate in a language course focused on discovering new vocabulary in French and Spanish. Linguakidz is offered to children ages six to 12 and includes four hours of language instruction and lunch. 

The registration fee is $35 per student, plus a $10 supply fee paid on the day of the class. For more information, please visit or call the Office of Extended Campus and Online Studies at 731-881-7082.

Monday, March 23, 2015 

Hardee’s Is Shaping Up

Paris, Tenn.-Construction of the Hardee’s on Mineral Wells Ave. is moving right along, with the signature star and color scheme now visible on the outside walls of the restaurant. With construction down for a few days during the recent ice and snow storms, workers have been making up for lost time lately, working seven days a week on the project. The new Hardee’s is located on the lot which most recently housed Swifty’s gas station. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Search Underway For New Commissioner

Paris, Tenn.-The Paris City Commission is faced with the task of replacing Commissioner Robert Sleadd, who recently resigned due to accepting a new position in Arlington, Texas, and has begun a search for a replacement.

The City Charter does not stipulate a process for replacing a commissioner other than selection by the remaining four members of a person who is qualified to stand for election during a regular election.

Paris Mayor Carlton Gerrell said, “I have been contacted by a few individuals, but we want the process to be transparent.  Therefore, we are requesting interested individuals to submit Letters of Intent, to the Commission, creating a pool of potential candidates.”

The letter of interest, according to City Manager Carl Holder, “should be no more than one page summarizing your relevant accomplishments, stating your interest in serving and why you believe you would be a good Commissioner.”

Letters of Interest should be forwarded to: Letter of Interest, P.O. Box 970, Paris, TN  38242, by mail only.

“Please do not hand them to a Commissioner or myself or any other official”, Holder said. 

Huge Turnout For Irish Day Celebration

Erin, Tenn.-The town of Erin was a vision of green Saturday for the 53rd annual Irish Day Celebration. The celebration featured leprechauns of all sizes, shamrocks everywhere, plenty of activities and a huge parade filled with floats, school bands, bagpipers and men wearing kilts, such as in this photo by Jean Owens.

February Unemployment Decreases

Nashville, Tenn.-Tennessee Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced today the Tennessee preliminary unemployment rate for February was 6.6 percent, one-tenths of one percentage point lower than the January revised rate of 6.7 percent. The U.S. preliminary rate for February was 5.5 percent, down two-tenths of one percentage point from the prior month.

Economic Summary
Over the past year, Tennessee's unemployment rate increased from 6.5 percent to 6.6 percent while the national rate decreased from 6.7 percent to 5.5 percent. 
Total nonfarm employment decreased 800 jobs from January to February. The largest decreases occurred in administrative/support/waste services, accommodation/food services, and local government. 

Over the year, nonfarm employment increased 60,400 jobs. The largest increases occurred in trade/transportation/utilities, professional/business services, and manufacturing.

HCHS Winter Guard Places Second 

Paris, Tenn.-The Henry County High School Winter Guard Varsity team competed on Saturday March 21, at East Hamilton Middle School in Ooltewah, Tenn. (near Chattanooga) and placed second in their class. Coming up next for the Winter Guard is the SCGC Championships on March 28. From left are Winter Guard members Felicity Davis, Olivia Wilson, Shelby McMurray and Megan Milliken. (Photo provided by Sherry Hutchison).

Special Olympics 5K Race Results

Martin, Tenn. – The Special Olympics Unity 5K Race was held on Saturday, March 21st in Martin. It included participants from the upper West Tennessee area.

The mission of Area 7 Special Olympics Tennessee is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.  Full participation is granted to every athlete regardless of his or her economic circumstances.  

Winners were: 
18 & Under Female - Taylor Hoffman, 38:30
18 & Under Male - Cole Justice, 26:46
18-25 Female - Amy Reddick, 32:19; Courtney Friedrich,39:51; Cristal Jones, 53:07
18-25 Male - Jake Wilson, 30:45; Zach Rogoswki, 32:20
26-35 Female - Felicia Mann, 27:34; Kelly Richardson, 31:49
26-35 Male - Chuck Wheelis, 22:22; Tom Kirk, 30:00; Julius Blackburn, 51:08
46-55 Female - Myra Hoffman, 44:24
46-55 Male - Darrell Blaylock, 29;09; Andy Sliger, 31:52

Overall Male: Chuck Wheelis, 22:22
Overall Female: Felicia Mann 27:34

Special Olympics of Upper West Tennessee appreciate the donations and support from the following sponsors of the event:  UTM SHAPE Club, The Sideline, Martin Kiwanis Club, Monograms & More, Kenton Chevrolet, St. John’s Community Services, Woodmen of the World Martin 291, Dr. Tom Gallien, Scott Taylor State Farm, Farm Bureau Insurance Martin, Westan Insurance Group, Fuller Partners Realty, The Color Shop, Edward Jones Martin, Martin Walmart, and EW James Union City.

Ravioli Supper To Benefit Tomorrow’s Hope

Paris, Tenn.-The Knights of Columbus are holding a ravioli lunch and dinner Thursday, March 26, at the Holy Cross Catholic Church at 1210 East Wood St., Paris.

Lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and dinner will be served from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The menu includes ravioli with homemade sauce, salad, drink and dessert for $9 per adult; $20 per family; and children under five years old eat free. 

The event will benefit the Tomorrow’s Hope Clinic in Paris.

Henry County GOP Election Is Thursday

Paris, Tenn.-The Henry County GOP will hold its reorganization election in accordance with the bylaws of the State Party at 7 p.m. Thursday March 26 at the Henry County Courthouse. Officers will be next two years will be elected.

GOP Chair Kert Blackwood said participants will need to arrive early--6 p.m. is recommended--in order to be checked through the voter verification process. 

Henry County Elections Director Darrin Thompson will be checking voter rolls via computer during the process.

Shoe Collection Drive Underway

Paris, Tenn.-Tomorrow’s Hope Clinic is conducting a shoe collection drive now through May 29.

Tomorrow’s Hope will earn funds based on the number of pairs collected. Anyone can help by donating gently worn, used or new shoes at the clinic at 211 N. Brewer St., in Paris.

Hardwoods Scenic Trail Closed This Week

Golden Pond, Ky. – The Central Hardwoods Scenic Trail will be closed to the public Monday, March 23 through Friday, March 27. The trail will re-open Saturday, March 28. Central Hardwoods Scenic Trail runs parallel with US68/KY80 across Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area.

“We will be holding a training workshop for Forest Service employees around our region,” said Kyle Varel, Trails Manager at Land Between The Lakes. “For the safety of our visitors, we will be trying to address as many hazards along the trail as possible.”

All trailheads will be signed and barricaded during this week. The trails staff at Land Between The Lakes apologizes for any inconvenience during this time.  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

UTM Offers Affordable Music Lessons For Community

Martin, Tenn. – The Community Music Academy, sponsored by the University of Tennessee at Martin Department of Music, offers affordable voice and instrumental music lessons for all ages.

Participants may choose to receive instruction from apprentice teachers (select, accomplished music students) or master teachers (UT Martin faculty members). Lessons with an apprentice teacher are $15 for a half-hour and $25 for a full hour. Lessons with a master teacher are $25 for a half-hour and $40 for a full hour.

Lessons are available in voice, guitar, upright or electric bass, percussion, woodwinds and brass instruments. The Community Music Academy provides an opportunity for private instruction as students prepare for All-West auditions, solo and ensemble contests, and college auditions. All participants are welcome, regardless of age or experience level. All lessons are taught in the Fine Arts Building, located at 16 Mt. Pelia Road on the northwest corner of the UT Martin campus.

Enrollment is ongoing. For more information or to enroll, visit or email The academy can also be found on Facebook under “UTM community music academy.”


Premera Blue Cross Hacked; Consumers Told Take Steps

Nashville, Tenn. –The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) is alerting Tennessee consumers to take precautions now to protect their personal information after a cyber attack on health-benefits company Premera Blue Cross was disclosed earlier this week.

The Premera Blue Cross hacking attack affected numerous individuals and companies in our area.

The company estimated that 11 million U.S. consumers could potentially be affected by the cyber breach, including more than 16,000 insurance consumers in Tennessee.

Federal law enforcement authorities are in the midst of investigating the cyber attack.

TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak wants Tennessee insurance consumers to protect themselves from possible identity theft and fraud that could occur after the breach.

“We urge insurance consumers who may have been affected to change their passwords, check their credit reports and monitor all accounts that contain sensitive personal information,” McPeak said. “Our insurance regulators are closely monitoring the situation and receiving regular updates about the status of the investigation.”

The attack may have compromised members’ information, which could include names, date of birth, email addresses, addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, member identification numbers, bank account information, and claims information, including clinical information.

Consumers who believe they have been affected by the breach can receive a free two-year membership in credit monitoring and identity theft protection through the company.

Premera will begin informing affected customers via postal mail if they have been affected.

If you believe you may have been impacted and have not received a letter by April 20, 2015, you should call 800-768-5817.

Saturday, March 21, 2015 

Celebrating Integration At Murray State

Murray, Ky. — In the summer of 1955, the first black student enrolled at Murray State University. Mary Ford Holland made history. A yearlong celebration is taking place to celebrate trailblazers, including Holland, who represent the beginning of hope, endeavor and achievement for black students at the Murray State University.

The celebration includes alumni joining the rest of the campus for well-established events, updating their contact information with the university and returning to Murray State in July for a different approach to Homecoming. The summer Homecoming event features a reception and meet and greet on Friday, July 4. On Saturday, participants can take advantage of all of the Murray Freedom Fest events, including a Freedom Fest Parade, Ice Cream Festival, BBQ on the Square, Beer Garden, games and more. Saturday evening join MSU alumni for a BBQ dinner at the Easley Alumni Center and the best seats in the house for the fireworks display beginning at 9 p.m. 

The year of honoring the heritage of black alumni of Murray State also offers the opportunity for graduates to begin making their contributions to the “60 for 60” campaign to support student scholarships, black alumni future events and more.

For more information on the events and to register, go online at and click on “2015 Black Alumni Reunion” under the events tab or call 1.800.758.8510.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Air Evac Outlines Membership Info

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Martin, Tenn.--Air Evac President Seth Myers said today residents of Henry County and surrounding communities have the right to choose their air medical provider.

“Recently, another company announced an agreement to base a single helicopter at Henry County Medical Center,” Myers said. “According to federal law, one air medical provider cannot unilaterally honor the membership of another, which could lead to tens of thousands of dollars out of your pocket.”

Henry Countians have voiced concerns recently now that Vanderbilt Lifeflight is locating a headquarters on the grounds of Henry County Medical Center (HCMC). Hundreds of Henry Countians already had Air Evac memberships and have been wondering how recent developments will affect them.

Air Evac had approached the HCMC board some months ago with a proposal to locate a headquarters at the hospital. In the end, however, the hospital board favored the Lifeflight proposal over Air Evac.

Air Evac officials said they are locating a headquarters in Henry County, but are not ready to announce where it will be yet.

In a press release, Myers said Air Evac Lifeteam Members in Henry County and the surrounding communities “know their membership comes with peace of mind.”

Myers said an Air Evac Lifeteam membership means residents have access to the highest quality medical care and financial peace of mind. “Household memberships are just $65 per year, and if an Air Evac member is flown for a life or limb-threatening emergency, they have no out-of-pocket costs,” he said.

 Air Evac is also strongly supported by St. Thomas Hospital, Jackson-Madison Co. General and Skyline Medical Center, he said.  Myers said two out of three patients flown out of Henry County are going to hospitals supporting Air Evac Lifeteam.

“Medical professionals will determine if you need an air ambulance, but you need to ask for Air Evac Lifeteam, ensuring that you get the full benefits of your membership,” he said. 

Air Evac members, Myers said, may voice their choice three ways:  
· In the Hospital:  Tell your physician and staff that you are an Air Evac Lifeteam member.
· Family & Friends.  Tell them about Air Evac Lifeteam so they can speak for you if you can’t.
· Emergencies.  If you are able, tell the emergency responders you are an Air Evac member, and have your membership sticker clearly visible on your vehicle.

“Hopefully, you’ll never need Air Evac,” Myers said. “But if you do, our community presence is strong and getting stronger.  We opened our first base 17 years ago; when the Paris base opens in April it will join the regional Air Evac Lifeteam bases in Martin and Waverly in Tennessee, and Mayfield, Kentucky, to give you unprecedented air medical service should you need it.” 

Myers added that Air Evac’s four helicopters mean that regardless of patient flights, training or maintenance, patients will have access to definitive healthcare in their time of need – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Air Evac Lifeteam members are part of the AirMedCare Network, which includes more than 220 medical helicopters across 28 states, including 12 in Tennessee, 15 in Kentucky, five in Alabama, four in Mississippi and nine in Arkansas.

For more information about becoming an Air Evac Lifeteam member, please visit, or call one of our Membership Services representatives at 

About Air Evac Lifeteam
Air Evac Lifeteam, an air medical service, provides rapid access to definitive health care for those who live in medically underserved areas. Flight crews, consisting of a pilot, flight nurse and flight paramedic, are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to the scene of an emergency, or provide transportation between medical facilities. Air Evac Lifeteam currently operates 117 bases in 15 states. For more information, please visit, or like us on Facebook. 

About AirMedCare
Air Evac Lifeteam is a membership-supported air ambulance service that is part of the AirMedCare Network. AirMedCare is America’s largest air medical transport membership network, providing emergency access to the highest levels of care for its 1.5 million subscribers. The AirMedCare Network combines the membership programs of four leading air ambulance operators: Air Evac Lifeteam, EagleMed, REACH, and Med-Trans Corporation. For more information about memberships, visit

Vanderbilt LifeFlight Membership Drive Underway

A Lifeflight helicopter landed in downtown Paris earlier this week just prior to the county commission meeting. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-A membership drive is underway over the next several weeks to give residents of Henry County and beyond an opportunity to learn about the membership program that will be offered by Vanderbilt LifeFlight, which is basing a headquarters at Henry County Medical Center.

Air Evac, which is headquartered in Martin, also will be establishing a helicopter base in Henry County but is not yet ready to announce the location of the base or other details.

According to a press release issued by LifeFlight, it is partnered with Air Methods Corporation, which it described as “the global leader in air medical transporation.” The EC-135 helicopter will be based at the hospital in Paris.

The Vanderbilt LifeFlight helicopter has an average flight time of 35 minutes to Nashville from Henry County, and 23 minutes to Jackson, Tenn., according to the press release. The helicopter will transport a patient the appropriate tertiary care facility. 

“Air Methods is proud to serve Henry County and its neighboring communities,” David Bowman, Air Methods regional business director, said.  “Through our OmniAdvantage membership program, the residents of Henry County and surrounding counties will have the security of knowing that their family, including the individual, is covered if transported via an Air Methods’ air ambulance, at no additional transport cost.”

There are quite a number of variables that make up the cost of an air medical transport, but the single largest consideration is the cost of 24 hour availability to include salaries, aircraft, scheduled maintenance, medical equipment, insurance, facilities, training, dispatch/communications, and administrative overhead. These costs are by and large fixed in nature and a portion of which must be allocated to each flight. Each flight also consumes fuel, medical supplies, and additional parts/maintenance. Most insurance plans cover air transport.  

Memberships are honored by any Air Methods program or partner throughout the United States, including Vanderbilt LifeFlight.  

The OmniAdvantage membership plan costs $49 annually, providing coverage to the member, their spouse/partner, dependent children under the age of 26, and dependent live-in and insured adults. A special annual rate of $39 is provided to AAA members and groups of 10 or more.  

Air Methods is offering prorated OmniAdvantage membership for any current members of a competing membership program.  Due to federal regulations, Air Methods cannot honor another company’s membership plan. However, membership is not required to utilize Air Methods services, and an individual may have memberships with both companies.

Bowman added, “Our prorated offer means that if a resident already paid $65 for a competing membership program. Take, for example, there are six months left on that membership; the member would be offered an OmniAdvantage plan for $25 for six months and the member would then have two memberships for the remaining six months.”

For more information call OmniAdvantage membership services toll free number at 855-877-2518 or visit .

Here are some frequently asked questions:

When will the helicopter be operational?
The helicopter will be operational this summer, June 2015.

Where will the helicopter be located?
The new base will be on the grounds at Henry County Medical Center.

Will you only transport to Vanderbilt?
No. Vanderbilt LifeFlight operates as a community asset and will transport patients to the closest most appropriate facility.  

Do you offer a membership?
Yes. The OmniAdvantage membership plan costs $49 annually, providing coverage to the member, their spouse/partner, dependent children under the age of 26, and dependent adults that live with them and are insured. A special annual rate of $39 is provided to AAA members and groups of 10 or more.  

Air Methods will offer a prorated OmniAdvantage plan for current members of a competing membership program.  For example: A membership fee of $50 has been paid. There are six months left on that membership. The member would be offered an OmniAdvantage membership for $25 for six months. The member would have two memberships for the remaining six months.

For more information call Omni Advantage membership services toll free number at 855-877-2518 or visit .

Does the OmniAdvantage program cover Air Methods Corporation transports even if I am traveling?

Air Methods serves 48 states across the country. OmniAdvantage memberships applies anywhere that Air Methods Corporation operates, if there is a suitable aircraft and crew available to perform the transport, a physician or other qualified medical professional orders the transport and flying conditions are acceptable.   

What if I don’t have a membership? Will I still be transported?
You do not have to have a membership to utilize air medical services.  Air medical transports are emergent in nature, and we do not screen our transports in advance to ascertain whether a patient is a member. Our mission is to safely transport patients while providing excellent care, regardless of insurance status.

I have a lifetime membership with another company. Will you honor that?
Please call OmniAdvantage membership services toll free number at 855-877-2518. Business hours are 6:00am to 4:30pm PST (8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. CST)

Can I have a membership with two different companies?

McCartney Produce Begins Construction In Industrial Park

Paris, Tenn.-McCartney Produce is officially announcing the construction of a new facility in the City of Paris Industrial Park. 

With an initial investment estimated at $7.8 million, McCartney will build a new 52,000 square feet state-of-the-art distribution facility.  McCartney has a workforce of approximately 100 at its current facility in Paris that they have operated out of since 1953. There have been several expansions throughout the years.  

The new facility is expected to be operational during the 4th quarter 2015 or early 2016.  McCartney Produce distributes fresh produce and related commodities throughout the southeast within a 400 mile radius of Paris. 

 “We are excited for the opportunity to work with Paris and Henry County to expand our operations, increase our workforce, and continue to support our local community. “ according to Jeff Perkins and Joe Porter, on behalf of the owners of McCartney Produce.

Site work is currently under way for the new facility located off Culley Drive in Paris.  The facility is being constructed by ARCO National Construction Company out of St. Louis, Missouri.

Henry County Mayor Brent Greer said, “We are extremely pleased that one of our great local industries has decided to expand their footprint in our community through their $7.8 million investment in their new facility in the City of Paris Industrial Park. They have been and will continue to be excellent corporate citizens for Paris and Henry County.”

McCartney Produce Company opened for business in 1947 as a small produce wholesaler delivering to independent grocers and small restaurants.  Their initial delivery area included only two states, Tennessee and Kentucky.  Today, McCartney Produce services a broad spectrum of customers that include single location independents to regional and national chain foodservice and retail customers from their distribution facility in Paris, Tennessee.

Paris Mayor Carlton Gerrell said, “I am excited that we could assist an established company to maintain their valuable presence in our community. McCartney Produce represents the values that are good for Paris and Henry County. We look forward to their continued growth, expansion and job creation for years to come.”

 The Paris City Commission and Henry County Commission have already approved an incentive plan of tax abatements as well as monies for infrastructure development to assist McCartney Produce in the development of their new facility in Paris. 

Grove Art Show On Display

Paris, Tenn.- E.W. Grove’s 5th annual Art Show will be on display at the school library from March 18 through April 17. 

This year’s show includes 47 entries in four categories: 3-D, paint, drawing, and multimedia.

According to Librarian Amanda Mason, parents are welcome to visit the library to view the artworks during school hours.

The students in the Artist in Training program have worked hard setting up the entire show and getting it ready for viewing. Artists in Training is an after school group of students who pursue the arts and are exposed to a variety of media through the use of guest art teachers. The group was developed and led by Mason.

Instructors in the program include Greg Chandler, Tuva Stephens, Donna Revelee, Dennis Graham, and the Henry County Wood Carvers, who have volunteered their time to teach the students throughout the school year. 

First Bank of Paris will sponsor the prize money of $300 at the awards show which is set for next week. 

Hydrant Flushing Next Week

Paris, Tenn.-The Paris Board of Public Utilities will be flushing fire hydrants during the week of March 23.  BPU Assistant General Manager Terry Wimberley said, “Our customers could possibly experience air in water lines or discoloration in the water.  Please check for discoloration of water prior to doing laundry.  If these conditions occur, run water through a faucet for several minutes.  The water should return to normal in a short amount of time.”

If problems continue, please feel free to contact Wimberley at 642-1322, ext. 149.  

Father/Son Baseball Clinic Set

Paris, Tenn.-The 2015 Patriot Baseball Father/Son Clinic will be held from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, April 4, at the Henry County High School Baseball Field. 

Cost is $45 ($25 for each additional son).

Forms can be printed out here:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Counce Announces Retirement As Patriots' Coach

Coach Counce with one of the Patriots' state trophies. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-An emotional James Counce announced his retirement as coach of the Henry County High School Patriots’ Football Team this morning, effective today.

Counce told WENK/WTPR that, “I love this place. I love the kids and we’ve had a lot of success. But we all come to the point in time when things just have to come to an end. I wish it didn’t. But it’s time to turn over the reins to another generation.”

Counce informed the football team and coaching staff in a tearful announcement this morning. “There were tears and everyone seemed as upset as I was. But all things must come to an end.”

Counce, who is 65, has led the Patriots to two State 5A Championships, in 2011 and 2013, and was at the helm of a very successful football program in Henry Co.

He has coached at Dyersburg and Camden school districts, also.

Counce said he will be living in Dyersburg with his wife as he retires.

He turned over the reins to his son, James Counce Jr., who is an assistant coach for the Patriots.

“As much as I love this school, love the people and the kids,” Counce said, “it’s just time.”

Masquerade Theater Presents Godspell

Union City, Tenn.-Union City Masquerade Theater will present Godspell March 20-22 and March 27-29 at the historic Capital Theater in Downtown Union City.

Friday and Saturday night performances will be at 7:30 and Sunday performances will be at 2 p.m.. Tickets are on sale online for $10 each.

Tickets will also be available to purchase before the performance at the door. This musical will be under the direction of Melanie Hollis and Allison Butner.


Benefit Concert For Reelfoot Ministries

Mayfield, Ky.-The 8th annual Music Fest, a benefit for Reelfoot Rural Ministries, will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 22 at Mayfield First United Methodist Church.

The church is at 214 8th St., Mayfield.

The event will feature “We Were There”, a cantata for Holy Week. The cantata will be performed by choirs and praise teams from Benton First UMC, Broadway UMC, Clinton First UMC, Concord UMC, Lone Oak UMC, Mayfield First UMC, Reidland UMC and Trinity (McCracken) UMCs, as well as a combined mass choir, under the direction of Patty Fejes of Paducah.

Donations will be accepted through a love offering, with ALL proceeds for Reelfoot Rural Ministries, located in Obion, a ministry of the Memphis Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Refreshments will follow.

Argument Over Pool Game Draws Arrest

Martin, Tenn.-A Martin man was arrested for aggravated assault after reportedly hitting another man with a pool cue during an altercation in a bar Tuesday.

Arrested was Logan Boggis, age 21. According to the police report, Boggis was in the upstairs portion of the bar Stables in Martin when an argument developed over how long a pool game was taking.

Boggis reportedly hit the other man with the pool cue and the victim was taken to Volunteer Community Hospital.

Benefit To Help Mason’s Chapel

Murray, Ky.-A benefit concert for the fired-damaged Mason’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Hazel will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 21 at Lovett Auditorium on the Murray State University campus.

Mason’s Chapel was heavily damaged in an arson fire a few months ago and the benefit will help the church renovate, repair and rebuild the church.

Fraudulent Income Tax Claim Filed

Union City, Tenn.-A Union City woman reported someone has used her personal information to file a fraudulent income tax claim in her name.

The woman reported the incident to Union City Police, explaining that she filed an income tax statement with a local company with no problem. But a couple days later, the company called her to report that someone else had already filed one in her name.

The woman said she does not know who filed it or where, but said she believes her personal information was compromised when her insurance company was hacked. She said she already reported the problem to the IRS, which told her to file a local police report.

Free Teen Movie Night Friday

Paris, Tenn.-The W.G. Rhea Public Library in Paris will host free teen movie night from 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 20. The movie "Annie" will be featured.

Popcorn will be provided. Bring your own drink to the show.

Simple Possession Arrest Outside Bar

Martin, Tenn.-A Lexington, Tenn. Man was arrested on a simple possession charge outside of a bar in Martin Tuesday night.

Martin Police smelled the odor of marijuana coming from a car in which Jordan Parker, age 20, was sitting in the parking lot of the Slide and Ride bar on N. Lindell St. According to the police report, Parker admitted smoking marijuana and gave consent to search.

Officers found a bag of marijuana inside the car.

Bethel University to Host Open House This Saturday

McKenzie, Tenn.-Potential traditional undergraduate students can get a good idea of what Bethel University is all about this Saturday, March 21, by attending an Open House hosted by the Bethel University College of Arts and Sciences Office of Enrollment Services. Held on the McKenzie campus, the Open House will allow students to tour the campus and to meet with campus representatives. Additionally, students will get the chance to interact with current Bethel University students.

The tentative schedule includes registration at 8 a.m., in the Vera Low Center for Student Enrichment; an 8:45 welcome followed by a Wildcat Fair, campus tours and then lunch. Closing remarks will be at 12:45.

One special event for this particular Open House will be an opportunity to see Bethel's Renaissance Performing Arts Group present "Easter with Renaissance." This is an optional part of the Open House event. Tickets are free, but Open House participants and their guests must RSVP to get these tickets.

Those who wish to attend the March 21 Open House are encouraged to contact Bethel’s Office of Enrollment Services either by phone at 731-352-4030 or by e-mail at

"Easter With Renaissance" This Weekend

McKenzie, Tenn.-- Bethel University invites you to “Easter with Renaissance” this weekend, Friday March 20 at 7 p.m. and Saturday March 21 at 2 p.m. This event will feature all aspects of the Renaissance Program. Join us at the Bouldin Auditorium in the Dickey Fine Arts Building on campus for this incredible concert.

“Easter is a special time for everyone at our office,” according to Matthew Holt, Executive Director of Renaissance. “We are looking forward to this event, but are most excited about what it represents: a celebration of what God has done for us.“

Tickets are $10 for Adults and $5 for Children 12 and under. To reserve tickets at will call, contact the Renaissance Office at (731) 352-6980 or email us at Tickets are available at the Renaissance Office located at 28 Lee Avenue on the square in McKenzie, Tenn., from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Turkey Bay Area To Reopen Friday

Golden Pond, Ky.– Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Area, at Land Between The Lakes, will re-open Friday, March 20, at 12 noon. Turkey Bay was closed following two major snow events in February. Soil conditions have greatly improved, allowing the area to re-open to the public.

Turkey Bay staff reminds users to “Call Before You Haul” to check current trail conditions at 270-924-2000 then follow prompts, or check online at under Alerts.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 

California Man Arrested In Bank Shooting

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Humboldt, Tenn. -- A California man is in custody, charged with federal charges of attempted bank robbery and the shooting of a bank employee in at the BancorpSouth bank in Humboldt. The victim was forced at gunpoint from her home and was shot three times and is in stable condition at a Memphis hospital.

Dominic Shawn Williams, age 39, is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and use of a firearm while committing a felony.

Federal Bureau of Investigation officials as well as officials with the Humboldt Police Department and Gibson County Sheriff’s Office appeared at a news conference this afternoon and provided a timeline of the robbery attempt and arrest.

According to FBI officials, Williams forced the victim into her car at her home and forced her to drive to the bank just before 8 a.m. today.

At gunpoint, Williams tried to force her to open the bank vault, but the victim was unable to do so. That is when he shot her three times, then shot out a window in the side of the bank and climbed out of it and into a yard.

Williams was apprehended a short time later by Humboldt Police Chief Rob Ellis after neighbors spotted him in their yards.

Williams will be tried in federal court in Jackson.

Woman Arrested For DUI After Hitting Sheriff's Car

Mayfield, KY – The Kentucky State Police arrested a Hickory woman for DUI after she drove her minivan into Graves County Sheriff Dewayne Redmon’s cruiser in Mayfield on Tuesday.

Valda McClain, age 65, was traveling south on US 45 and failed to stop at the intersection, colliding into the sheriff’s marked cruiser. Moderate damage was caused to both vehicles and no injuries were reported.

McClain was arrested for Operating a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol/ Drugs 1st Offense, Failure of Owner To Maintain Required Insurance 1st Offense, and License to be in Possession. McClain was lodged in the Graves County Jail. The investigation continues by Trooper Johnson Gordon.

ABC Nutrition Accused Of Unauthorized Disbursements
Disbursements Total $732,702

Camden, Tenn.-An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has revealed serious concerns related to ABC Nutrition Program, Inc. (ABC) in Camden, Tennessee. ABC is a non-profit organization that administers federal grant funds received from the Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) for the Child and Adult Care Food Program on behalf of 216 daycare homes and 120 daycare centers in ...Tennessee.

Comptroller investigators found that ABC had unauthorized disbursements of $732,702.91 between October 2008 and September 2014. Of that amount, $605,978.69 was used to provide bonuses and extra pay to the managers and employees of ABC. ABC is led by Chief Executive Officer Vivian Parker, and her daughters, Director of Daycare Centers Lisa Carter, and Director of Daycare Homes Tracy Coady.

Investigators also found $27,185.56 was spent on unauthorized construction and improvements to Vivian Parker’s home. The offices for ABC are located in the basement of Parker’s home. Additional unauthorized administrative disbursements totaled $99,538.66 for fiscal year 2014. None of these expenses were approved by DHS.
On February 19, 2015 the Benton County Grand Jury indicted Vivian Parker, Lisa Carter and Tracy Coady on one count of theft of property over $250,000, and one count of theft of property over $60,000.

Comptroller investigators also raised concerns about ABC’s purchasing procedures, travel policies and management oversight. Additionally, investigators noted several of the problems resulted from a lack of oversight by DHS.

“The results of this investigation are extremely troubling,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars have been misspent by this organization over a five year period. This underscores the importance of effective program monitoring and oversight.”

To view the investigation online, go to:
If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at (800) 232-5454, or file a report online at: Follow us on twitter @TNCOT
Media contact: John Dunn, Public Information Officer, (615) 401-7755 or

Fuqua, Cisco Honored By Benton County

Benton County Sheriff Kenny Christopher, right, presents Deputy Wayne Fuqua and Cisco, with certificates of appreciation. Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew is at left. (HCSO photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-The tracking team of Henry County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Wayne Fuqua and his K9 Cisco were honoured by Benton County Sheriff Kenny Christopher for their help with several recent searches.

Christopher presented the pair with certificates of appreciation for their help tracking down fugitives and for helping to recover an elderly Alzheimer’s patient who had wandered off.

Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew said Fuqua and Cisco’s work on the search for the elderly woman “possibly helped save her life. It was during the extremely cold weather we were having.”

The certificates “are Kenny Christopher’s way of saying thanks to our sheriff’s office for helping provide assistance to them.”

Belew noted Fuqua and Cisco are popular with other law enforcement agencies because Cisco, a bloodhound, does such a good job of tracking.  

Ghassemi Named Secretary of State Communications Director

Nashville, Tenn.-Adam Ghassemi has been hired as the new Director of Communications for the Office of Secretary of State. 

Ghassemi, a Memphis native, has an eleven-year career reporting for television stations throughout the United States. Most recently he worked with WTVF-TV in Nashville. 

Hewill now serve as the general media contact for any issues relating to Secretary of State Tre Hargett, and his office divisions, including Administrative Procedures, Business Services, Elections, Charitable Solicitations & Gaming as well as Publications. 

Blake Fontenay, the office’s former communications director, will assume a new role as coordinator of the Tri-Star Chronicles project. In that capacity, Blake will continue to handle traditional and social media and work on special projects for the Tennessee State Library and Archives. He will also direct a new enterprise in which the State Library and Archives will record the life stories of Tennesseans who have had significant impacts on the state’s history. These histories will be published in text and video formats on the department’s website. 

Dyersburg Railway Worker Critically Injured

Fulton, Ky.-A Canadian National Railway conductor from Dyersburg was severely injured Sunday when he was crushed by a rail car in a switching accident on the tracks in Fulton, KY.

William Moses, age 42, was airlifted to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, where he remains in critical condition. 

Moses was injured in the accident which occurred around 3:30 p.m. in Fulton. Moses is married and has two children ages 15 and five. 

When the accident occurred Moses was working as a conductor for the CN Railway (Illinois Central).

HC Schools Teacher Named To State Commission

Nashville, Tenn.-A teacher in the Henry County Schools district has been hired to a state commission.

Tennessee House of Representatives Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) has appointed Lauren Nash of Cottage Grove to the State Textbook Commission. Nash has been a first grade teacher at Harrelson Elementary School in Puryear, Tennessee for the past seven years. The appointment was confirmed unanimously by the House and the Senate via a resolution.

“Lauren is in the classroom every single day shaping young minds, and has a unique perspective on what tools are necessary to ensure they are getting the very best education,” according to Speaker Harwell. “Having served in several leadership positions as an educator, she is uniquely qualified and will be an important voice on the State Textbook Commission.”

The State Textbook Commission was revamped in 2014 to include appointees from both the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor. The changes also included more public input throughout the review process. The 10 member commission recommends textbook selections to the State Board of Education, with local schools systems choosing textbooks from the state’s official list.

“I want to congratulate Lauren for being appointed to serve on the State Textbook Commission, and I’m proud that our region will have a strong representative,”  Representative Tim Wirgau (R-Buchanan) said, who carried House Joint Resolution 79 through the legislative process. This is a very important issue, and I look forward to Lauren’s input as a Henry County educator.”

Lauren Nash graduated from Henry County High School, and went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude from Murray State University. She received her Master’s in Special Education from Murray State in 2011, and the same year was awarded the prestigious “Teacher of the Year” award from the Henry County Educators Association.

Taste Of Zion: Good Food And A Good Cause 

Paris, Tenn.-”A Taste Of Zion 2015: A Soul Food Experience” on Sunday afternoon will feature the best in soul food from the best local cooks and also will be for a good cause.
The event will be held from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, March 22, at the Central Services building. A good will offering will be taken. All proceeds go to the family of fire victim Shanetta Phelps.
Menu includes: Baked Chicken and Dressing, Fried Chicken Neck Bones, Pig Feet, Chitterlings, Oxtails, Fried Rabbit, Rabbit Stew, BBQ Rabbit , Chicken Dumplings, Beef Brisket, Spaghetti, Baked Ham, and all the trimmings. Plus various kinds of desserts.

Horseshoes For Hope Is Thursday

Paris, Tenn.-The annual Horseshoes For Hope fundraiser, postponed a few weeks ago because of weather, will be held from 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at First United Methodist Church in Paris.

For $10, you get an open-faced horseshoe sandwich, dessert and drink.

Proceeds will benefit both Hoofbeats of Hope and the REAL Hope Youth Center.

Meth Found During Traffic Stop

Murray, Ky.-Two Murray residents were arrested after meth was found in their car during a traffic stop.

Murray Police officers made a traffic stop at approximately 1:40 a.m. Tuesday on South 16th Street in Murray. Present in the vehicle were Bradley Warner, 27 and Rachael Self, 25, both of Murray. 

During the traffic stop, officers observed controlled substances in the vehicle, and detained them. Warner was charged with Resisting Arrest and Tampering with Physical Evidence. Self was charged with Possession of Controlled Substance 1st Degree (Methamphetamine), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Failure to Wear Seat Belts. Both were transported to the Calloway County Jail

Hiring Event Set Thursday

Paris, Tenn.-Hamilton-Ryker will host a hiring event from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at the Tennessee Career Center in Paris at the Central Services Building. There will be multiple industrial positions available with pay rates ranging from $8-$10 an hour based on experience.

Bring your resume, photo ID, social security card and come dressed ready to be interviewed.

Taste Of Weakley, Obion Counties Is Saturday 

Dresden, Tenn.-The 11th annual Taste of Weakley and Obion Counties will be held Saturday night, March 21, at the National Guard Armory on Highway 22  in Dresden.

The night will feature great food from local restaurants along with silent and live auctions. Tickets are $35. Proceeds benefit the Carl Perkins Center.

Alumni Game Set For Saturday Night

Troy, Tenn.-United Way of Obion County will host an alumni basketball game between Obion County and Union City Saturday night at Obion County Central in Troy. There will be both a women’s and men’s games. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for 18 and under.

Tickets available at the door the day of the event or by calling 445-2981. For more information, go to

Emergency Systems To Be Tested Today

Washington—The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with state and tribal emergency managers and state broadcasting associations, will conduct a test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. The test will begin at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and will last approximately one minute.

“The goal of the test is to assess the operational readiness and effectiveness of the EAS to deliver a national emergency test message to radio, television and cable providers who broadcast lifesaving alerts and emergency information to the public,” said Damon Penn, Assistant Administrator of FEMA’s National Continuity Programs. “The only way to demonstrate the resilience of the system’s infrastructure is through comprehensive testing to ensure that members of tribes, and the residents of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, receive alerts when an emergency occurs.”

The test will be seen and heard over radio and television in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, similar to regular monthly testing of the EAS conducted by state officials and broadcasters. The test message will be nearly identical to the regular monthly tests of the EAS normally heard by public. Only the word “national” will be added to the test message: “This is a national test of the Emergency Alert System. This is only a test...”

The test is designed to have limited impact on the public, with only minor disruptions of radio and television programs that normally occur when broadcasters regularly test EAS in their area. Broadcasters and cable operators’ participation in the test is completely voluntary. There is no Federal Communications Commission regulatory liability for stations that choose not to participate.

In 2007, FEMA began modernizing the nation’s public alert and warning system by integrating new technologies into existing alert systems. The new system is known to broadcasters and local alerting officials as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System or IPAWS. IPAWS connects public safety officials, such as emergency managers, police and fire departments, to multiple communications channels to send alerts to warn when a disaster happens. For more information, please visit

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 

Sales Tax Increase Is Approved At Special Election

Henry County Elections Director Darrin Thompson and Technician Jerry Bailey look over equipment at tonight's election. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-With an extremely low turnout, the local option sales tax increase was approved at today’s special election by a margin of 75.25 percent for and 24.75 percent against.

Voter turnout for the special election was 8.04 percent, with 854 voters turning out on election day and 960 participating in early voting. Total number of voters was 1, 814. That’s out of 20,000 eligible voters in Henry County.

The sales tax increase of one-half percent was approved in all 13 precincts in Henry County.

The final tally paralleled the early voting totals which were 74.48 percent for and 25.52 percent against.

PSSD Accepts Resignations From Two Board Members 
Klutts, Cowan Tapped As Replacements

Board President Richard Edwards, middle, presents a plaque to Kim Foster upon her resignation as Board Member Bill Jelks looks on. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director 

Paris, Tenn.-The Paris Special Schools District (PSSD) board of education accepted with regreat two resignations from long-time board members and looked ahead to appointments of two new members. Board President Richard Edwards said he was ready to recommend two board appointments at the April meeting.

Resignations were accepted from Kim Foster, who will become Paris City Manager in May and Robert Sleadd, who has accepted a job in Texas. 

Foster’s resignation is effective March 21 and Sleadd’s is effective April 1. Edwards presented a plaque to Foster. Sleadd was not present at the meeting to accept his.

Edwards said the resignations were a part of the meeting he had not looked forward to. “We’re losing two great board members and both have been great for our school district.”

Sleadd was absent from the meeting and Edwards read his letter of resignation, in which Sleadd thanked all the teachers and staff of the district “for all you do for our kids”. Sleadd resigned earlier from the Paris City Commission and reportedly will resign from the county school board after graduation.

Edwards said when Sleadd ran for the other two boards “people asked me about that--would that work for a person to be on two school board and I told them if there was anybody that could make it work with no problem, it was Robert Sleadd and it has worked in every sense of the way.”

In accepting Foster’s resignation, Edwards said, “It would be great if you could keep both of your positions (as new City Manager and on the school board).” 

Foster’s letter said she “never worked with a more cohesive, single-minded group of individuals. I’ve enjoyed working every moment with you all.” Foster said she was sorry to have to resign but knew the system is in good hands.

Losing two members the same night is tough, Edwards said, noting he will be requesting appointment at the April meeting of Harry Cowan and Missy Klutts to replace them. 

Cowan was at the meeting and Edwards said, “Harry is no stranger to the PSSD. His wife worked here for 33 years.”

Klutts is the wife of Paris Patrolman Jordan Klutts and they have students in the system.

Both Cowan and Klutts “have a true interest in serving. I feel good about both of these.”

In other business, the board recognized Spelling Bee Winners Amelia Hart of Paris Elementary School and Kester Nucum of Inman Middle School.

Talking Things Over

Paris, Tenn.-Former Henry County EMS Director Mike Shankle, middle, talks things over with Paris Police Chief Chuck Elizondo and Henry County Emergency Management Agency Director Ron Watkins before Monday night’s 911 board meeting. Shankle was honoured by the board for a lifetime of service to the county. Shankle is recovering from a bone marrow transplant. The full story was posted Monday. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Murray Juvenile Reported Missing

Murray, Ky.-The Murray Police Department is seeking information regarding a juvenile reported missing from the Murray area since the weekend. 

Harmony Owen, age 15, of Murray was last seen on Saturday, March 14, at approximately 9 p.m. in Murray. 

Owen is approximately 5’2” tall, weighs approximately 90 pounds, has blonde hair and green eyes. Owen may be in the Memphis or Paducah area. 

Foul play is not suspected at this time. Anyone with information regarding Harmony Owen’s whereabouts is asked to call the Murray Police Department at (270)753-1621.

Best Of Show At Photo Showcase

Paris, Tenn.-Michael Grace received this year’s Best Of Show honors at the annual Paris-Henry County Arts Council Photo Showcase for his photo “The Storm”. The complete list of winners was posted on Monday. (Jean Owens photo).

TVA Clearing LBL Rights Of Way 

Golden Pond, Ky. – The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) contractor clearing electrical transmission line right-of-ways in Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area will be entering the Wranglers Campground area in Trigg County, Kentucky this week. 

The TVA contractor began the project in the Neville Bay area and is slowly moving north, removing overgrowth that has encroached upon the area beneath the electrical lines. When completed, approximately 75 feet from the center on each side of electrical transmission lines will be cleared to help protect the lines from falling trees. Overgrowth will be removed along approximately 31 miles of electrical transmission lines in Land Between The Lakes.
Land Between The Lakes management asks visitors to take extra safety precautions traveling roads and trails that may cross under the electrical transmission lines during this time period. If you will be camping and/or riding at Wranglers Campground, be sure to stop by the gatehouse to see if any trails cross through the work area.

For more information regarding TVA and their maintenance on power line right-of-ways, log on to their website at

Punch & Paint Offered At Discovery Park

Art instructor Marti Doss explains the mechanics of painting to two young students. (DPA photo).

Union City, Tenn.- Discovery Park of America is adding a new class to its lineup.  

Beginning Saturday, March 21st the park will be offering “Punch & Paint,” for anyone age six and up.   Chris Gunlefinger, Assistant Director of Education is responsible for developing classes for Discovery Park members and guests.  He said that the monthly Wine and Paint Class called “The Art Vine” has been extremely popular.  “Most months the wine and paint class is sold-out, which is why we decided to offer another paint class,” Gunlefinger said. “The class will be offered in the afternoon and we will serve small snacks and punch, so that younger people can attend, as well.”.

The first Punch & Paint will be held from 2:30 until 4:30 in the Life Enrichment Center at Discovery Park.  Tickets are on sale now at the ticket counter or by calling, and are limited to the first 24 people who sign up.  This class is offered to anyone age six and up.  The first picture will be entitled, “A View of the West,” and is a landscape picture.   In addition to snacks and punch, all paint and supplies will be provided, and participants can take their finished artwork home.  

The cost of the paint class is $30 for anyone with an annual membership pass to Discovery Park and $35 for non-members.  

In addition to the new monthly punch and paint class, the monthly wine and paint classes, clay classes and many animal education classes, Discovery Park has plans for helicopter rides, singer songwriter events, the second annual cardboard boat regatta, visits from PBS characters, Civil War Days, a Car & Bike show, concerts, WWII Living History weekend, a BBQ cook-off, a chili cook-off, an air show, a beer fest, a wine tasting, a special Alvin York exhibit, a Polar Express event, Santa, an expanded Christmas exhibit and a New Year’s Eve gala, to name a few.  The complete calendar of events for 2015 is now available on the website.  

Discovery Park is located at 830 Everett Blvd. in Union City, TN.  You can see the 2015 Calendar of Events and find out more about the park by visiting the website at .  The park is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and is a unique blend of history, science, architecture, art and fun.  

Fitness Expo and Wildcat Expo Postponed
McKenzie, Tenn. – Due to extensive inclement weather, The Bethel University Fitness Expo and Wildcat Fitness Classic, which were originally scheduled for March 27 and 28, have been postponed until further notice. Unexpected school closings from the winter storms earlier this year have made drastic changes to all organizations on campus for scheduled events. 

“This decision to postpone our events wasn’t made without careful discussions,” said club advisor Christopher Ray. “We offer our most sincere apologies, but we feel it is better at this time for our organization and for the community to postpone both events. The fitness society hopes the community will continue to support our organization as it aims to bring future quality events to the community in the months to come.” 

Any businesses that had previously contacted the Fitness Society regarding the events will be notified immediately, according to Ray. Current plans are underway for these events to take place during the 2015-2016 school year.  

For questions, please contact Christopher Ray at or at 731-352-6744. 

Cop Impersonator Arrested

Mayfield, Ky.-Graves County Sheriff Dewayne Redmon reports that a Mayfield man was arrested at approximately 12:18 a.m. Sunday morning for impersonating a peace officer and falsely reporting an incident. 

The arrest came after Billy Grooms called Graves County Dispatch to report an incident. Grooms, 65 of Mayfield, called and said that his dog had located some drugs at Fristoe’s Grocery and that he wanted an officer at that location. A deputy was dispatched to the call. Upon his arrival, the deputy spoke with Grooms. Grooms provided the deputy with the operator’s license of another gentleman, which Grooms had detained. Grooms then said that his dog had walked around this subject’s vehicle and had smelled something, which Grooms apparently thought was illegal. 

He said he then obtained the operator’s license of the man in the driver’s seat of the vehicle and called dispatch. Mr Grooms was dressed in a jacket, shirt & hat that indicated that he was a law enforcement officer. 

The deputy then spoke with the operator of the other vehicle. He said Grooms had portrayed himself as a police officer with 40 years of experience. He said Grooms walked his dog past his vehicle & said the dog smelled something. He said Grooms then came to him and demanded his license and said he was a law enforcement officer with 40 years experience. He said Grooms then went to a white van that was parked on the lot and called someone. 

He said he noticed that Grooms had a gun in the vehicle. The story of the operator was confirmed by the two passengers he had in his vehicle. The white van that Grooms was in was lettered with the words K9 Unit Stay Back and had stars on it. Grooms claimed to be an employee of Graves County Jail. Graves County Jailer Haley denied that the subject was an employee. Mr Grooms was arrested for impersonating a peace officer & falsely reporting an incident.

Monday, March 16, 2015 

Getting A Close Look At Vanderbilt Life Flight
Air Evac To Locate Headquarters in HC, Too

A Life Flight helicopter landed at city park in downtown Paris so that county 
commissioners could take a close look before tonight's meeting. (Shannon McFarlin photo).
By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-The Henry County Commissioners got an up close and personal look at a Vanderbilt Life Flight helicopter before Monday night’s commission meeting. Life Flight will be locating a headquarters in the county, on the grounds of Henry County Medical Center (HCMC).

Personnel with Life Flight landed one of the fleet’s helicopters at the city park at the corner of Wood and Market Streets so that the commissioners could tour it and talk with staff before the meeting.

Once the meeting began, two representatives from Air Evac, which has headquarters in Martin, informed the commission that their company is planning a base in Henry County, as well.

Air Evac approached HCMC initially with the idea of locating a headquarters at the hospital, but after the hospital board heard a presentation from Life Flight, they contracted with the Vanderbilt organization.

Mark Pierce and Glynn Mooney of Air Evac said they are in the process of purchasing a location in Henry Co. “We’re in the early stages”, Pierce said.

Mooney emphasized that Air Evac will continue serving its 4,000-plus customers from Henry County even after Life Flight locates here.

With only two no votes, the commission voted to change its meeting times to 5 p.m. The commission has met at 7 p.m. the third Thursday of each month for several years.

Following a presentation by County Elections Director Darrin Thompson, the commission agreed to participate in a “convenient voting center” pilot program for 2016. Under the plan, voters could cast ballots at any polling place in Henry Co. that was convenient for them. 

“This applies to election days only,” Thompson said, “not early voting. They will be allowed to vote at any polling location inside the county.”

The elections commission also is looking at combining the polling places in District 5 (high school and technical school) and find a more suitable location that doesn’t have the parking limitations.

Two other counties in the state are looking at the opportunity, Thompson said, “and this will be a great opportunity for Henry County to again be leaders in the state.”

In other business:

--The commission endorsed an effort by the New Johnsonville community to keep jobs at the power plant there. County Mayor Brent Greer said the coal-fired part of the plant will be closed in 2015, which will mean a great loss of jobs, including of many people in Henry County.

“We’re joining them to encourage the TVA to look at possible gas generation out of that plant,” Greer said. “It will certainly save some, but not all, of the jobs.”

Mike Shankle Honored By 911 Board

Paris Police Chief Chuck Elizondo reads the resolution honoring Mike Shankle, right. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-Former Henry County Ambulance Service Director Mike Shankle--who is recovering following a bone marrow transplant several months ago--was honored at the Henry County 911 meeting Monday night. Shankle had not appeared at a 911 board meeting for several months.

Shankle was presented with a resolution honoring his lengthy service to Henry County. Shankle’s wife and family members were on hand for the presentation.

The resolution noted that Paris and Henry County have “benefited immeasurably” from Shankle’s guidance and expressed the “high esteem” the 911 board and program feels for Shankle.

911 Director Mark Archer said, “The 911 program wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for Mike. We’re considered one of the best 911 programs in the state and it’s because of Mike.”

An emotional Shankle thanked everyone for the honor and said, “I appreciate this so much. I always liked working with this board. We have an ideal 911 system here.

Board Chairman John Etheridge said, “You are so deserving of all the nice things said about you. Public service has been such an important part of your life.”

In other business:

--The board heard a presentation of the Smart911 program, which allows citizens to provide essential information to 911 about their homes, families, and pets such as allergies, medical information, home layout, number of people living in the home and their names, etc. Citizens can provide as much or as little information on their residences as they want.

Residents enter information online that the 911 program and dispatchers would need to know to handle emergencies for them. Information is entered once the citizens’ phones are registered into the system.

Citizens can even put photos of their pets into the system.

The information also would help with wellness checks by police since citizens can also provide information on protection orders they might have placed on ex-spouses or others, thus helping with safety of officers.

--Archer distributed a map of the new ESN 150 which covers the Henry area which includes both Henry and Carroll Counties. “This was a kind of confused area,” Archer said, “and this solves the problem.”

A meeting was held with Henry Co. Sheriff Monte Belew and Carroll Co. Sheriff on the new ESN and Archer said the new boundaries are already programmed in “and the next step is to get the frequencies into the radios and then we’ll be done.”

Record Number Participate In Big Bass Bash

Anglers set out on Day Two of the tournament. (Big Bass Bash photo).

Buchanan, Tenn.-Nearly 300 collegiate anglers--a record number--participated in the weekend’s annual Big Bass Bash at Paris Landing State Park in search of the behemoth bass of Kentucky Lake.

And one collegiate fisherman found one. Winner of the tournament was Corban Rood of Tusculum College, with a 8.58 lb. bass.

As the first Cabela’s Collegiate Bass Fishing Series event of the season, the college anglers had high hopes of catching big bass despite the brutal rain and fog conditions starting off the first morning of the Big Bass Bash.

The single fish won Rood $300 in Ranger Boats Wear, a pair of Costa Sunglasses, and a $200 Gift Card to Cabela’s for the Session 2 weigh-in, along with an additional $1,000 Gift Card to Cabela’s for the overall Day One Big Bass.  

Placing second was Sam Carris of Tennessee Tech with a 7.78 pound bass and third was Mike Corbishley of East Carolina State with a 7.53 pound bass.

Others in the Top Ten were:
4. University of Wisconsin, Steven’s Point – Justin Lundborg – 6.77lbs
5. Columbia State Community College – Ben Bates – 6.60lbs
6. University of North Alabama – Ryan Darracott – 6.50lbs
7. Kansas State University – Graham Howard – 6.48lbs
8. University of Alabama Birmingham – Wesley Minor – 6.26lbs
9. University of Louisiana Monroe – Slade Daniel -6.23lbs
10. University of Evansville – Lee Knies – 5.91lbs

PSSD To Accept Two Resignations

Paris, Tenn.-When it meets on Tuesday night, the Paris Special Schools District (PSSD) board of education will be accepting resignations from two board members. 

Assistant Paris City Manager Kim Foster said she will be resigning, pending her job change to City Manager when Carl Holder retires from the position in May.

Board Member Robert Sleadd also is resigning from the board. He has moved to Texas for a job change. Sleadd already resigned from the Paris City Commission. He also is a member of the Henry County Schools board of education and will reportedly resign from that board after graduation.

The PSSD board meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the board office, instead of the usual time of 6:30 p.m.

Lifting Voices In Song

Paris, Tenn.-A large crowd was on hand for the weekend’s performances of Broadway at Lee, an annual musical theatre production at the Lee Academy for the Arts. This year’s event benefited the Paris-Henry County Heritage Center and featured two performances by local musicians and vocalists. The production was directed by Peggy Williams. In photo, from left, Andrea McFarland, Bill Williams, Kim Lee, Josh Knott, Rachel Chadwick, Doug Braden and Leland Jones lift their voices in song. (Jean Owens photo).

Shots Fired At Paris Bar

Paris, Tenn.-Paris Police are investigating a report of shots fired at a Paris bar early Sunday morning.

According to Chief Chuck Elizondo, a fight broke out at 218 West Wood St., involving “a lot of screaming and hollering in the business.” The fight occurred around 2 a.m.

A bullet casing and one live round were found at the business. Details of the incident are sketchy and more information may be forthcoming.

No arrests were made.

MIA Seating Secures $16M Financing For UC Facility

 Union City, Tenn. – Made in America Seating Corporation, a manufacturer of ergonomic office seating, announced it has secured nearly $16 million in financing through a loan from SunTrust Bank and New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) equity from SunTrust Community Capital and National New Markets Fund. MIA Seating is part of 9to5 Seating Corp.

The deal represents a significant step towards the company’s goal of investing $39.5 million in its Union City, Tennessee operations. The funding allows for the purchase and installation of equipment and machinery, retrofitting its 100,000-square-foot building and adding 32,000 square feet of office space.  

Made in America Seating’s facility is designed as a vertically-integrated manufacturing center, utilizing state-of-the-art technology that makes domestic production more cost effective. By manufacturing in the United States, Made in America Seating will also be able to respond more quickly to customer needs and improve product quality and lead times. The company is in the process of installing equipment and has begun limited production and trial shipments. The first major shipment from the facility is expected in July 2015. 

“Union City is ideally located near 70 percent of our key markets,” said Darius Mir, CEO of Made in America Seating. “This and other factors, such as rising international transportation costs, are making it possible for us to move jobs back to the United States. The recent financing we received takes us one step closer to a full production schedule and hiring more people.”

“We are proud to work with Made in America Seating so they can open their new facility and bring well-paying manufacturing jobs to Union City,” said Eric Rosen, New Markets Tax Credit program director at SunTrust Community Capital. “The New Markets Tax Credit program is an ideal vehicle for companies like Made in America Seating that are investing in communities that stand to benefit greatly from the infusion of capital.”

Over the next five years, Made in America Seating plans to add more than 500 new jobs. In addition, by 2016 the company expects to begin construction on 200,000 square feet of additional space and install more equipment. Made in America Seating is an affiliate of 9to5 Seating, which operates three manufacturing facilities and has been a leader in the office furniture industry since 1982.
About Made in America Seating
Founded in 2013, Made in America Seating is a vertically-integrated, ergonomic office seating manufacturer. An affiliate of 9to5 Seating, Made in America Seating uses state-of-the-art technology to design high-quality, efficiently-manufactured products priced to compete with the import market. Made in America Seating’s flagship manufacturing center in Union City, Tennessee positions it close to key distribution centers of its major national retail customers. For more information, visit 

Sales Tax Election Day Is Tuesday 
Only 957 Voted During Early Voting

Paris, Tenn.-Henry County voters who have not already voted early--and that would be most of them--will have the opportunity to vote Tuesday at a special election on whether to increase the county’s local option sales tax.

During the early voting period which began February 25 and ended March 12, a measley 957 voters cast their ballots on the issue. And that’s out of 20,000 eligible voters in Henry County.

The issue on the ballot is whether to increase the county’s sales tax by one-half percent. There have been numerous presentations by Paris City Mayor Carlton Gerrell, County Mayor Brent Greer and other officials on the sales tax issue, why the money is needed, how it would be spent and the ramifications if it is not passed.

Man Steals From Tip Jar

Union City, Tenn.-A man was seen on surveillance camera taking money from the tip jar at a Union City sushi bar on Friday.

According to the police report, a heavy-set white male wearing a blue jacket and ball cap was shown on video taking the tip jar into the men’s room at Oya House at 1700 W. Reelfoot Ave. 

When he left the men’s room, he left the tip jar and took the money. There was $10 in tips in the jar.

Michael Grace Wins Best in Show At Showcase

Volunteer Jean Owens admires a photo on display at the showcase Saturday morning while photographers were setting up their works at the library. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Paris, Tenn.-Michael Grace was awarded Best In Show for his photograph “The Storm” in this year’s Photo Showcase sponsored by the Paris-Henry County Arts Council. Dozens of local photographers are displaying their works in the showcase, which will be on display until April 2 at the W.G. Rhea Library.

Awards were handed out to the winners at a reception Sunday at the library. This year’s winners are:

Best in Show Michael Grace The Storm 
Downtown Paris:
1st: Beverly Hicks Square Times 
2nd: Christy Casey Shoes 
Honorable Mention: DP Karen Geary MMM…Ice Cream 

1st: Michael Grace The Storm 
2nd: Wendy Leach Jane's Morning 
Honorable Mention: Jane Baars There is always a way 

1st: Jane Baars San Marcos 
2nd:  Christy Casey St. Joe Lead Mine 
Honorable Mention: Architectural Judith Putnam Hark 

1st: Dell Ezell Allegiance 
2nd: Jenny Wood Fishing Buddies 
Honorable Mention: Susan Corbin Diggin in for the win 

1st: Teresa Townley Rolling Thunder 
2nd: Vickie Miller Need for Seed 
Honorable Mention: Judith Putnam Rare Dutch Chimney Storks 

1st:  Melodie Cunningham Electric 
2nd: Susan Corbin Summer on the Rocks 
Honorable Mention: Mary Claxton Ice Flower

UTM Percussion Event At Union City

UT Martin percussion students perform during the 2014 Tennessee Soybean Festival

Martin, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin percussion studio will host a “World Bizarre” event from 7-9 p.m., March 20, at the Soleil Garden Center in Union City. The admission fee is $10 and includes dinner and a beverage.

This event is a night of entertainment from around the world, complete with food, drink and door prize drawings. Door prize tickets are $1 each.

The Soleil Garden Center is located at 2317 Nailing Drive in Union City. All proceeds benefit the UT Martin percussion studio.

For more information, contact Dr. Julie Hill, associate professor of music and director of percussion studies, at 731-881-7418 or by email at

Wildlife Refuge Areas To Reopen Today

Springville, Tenn.-The seasonally closed roads and bays at the Tennessee and Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge will re-open as of Monday, March 16th. These areas have been closed during winter to lessen disturbance to wintering waterfowl on both these refuges. 

This is the time when the crappie start biting and it is a great time to go fishing on the refuge. Fishermen are encouraged to obtain a fishing regulations brochure available online at or Brochures are also available at the Refuge headquarters at 1371 Wildlife Drive in Springville; or at Cross Creeks Refuge office at 643 Wildlife Road in Dover, at information kiosks located at both refuge offices; at the V.L. Childs Observation Deck; at the main entrance to the Duck River Bottoms area; and at the main entrance to the Busseltown Unit; or in area bait and tackle stores. This brochure has information not only about the use of the refuge, but maps of both refuges that point out the locations of boat ramps and water control structures.

For those that enjoy birding and observing wildlife, there are many opportunities available at both refuges, such as Cross Creeks and the Blue Goose Boulevard Wildlife Drive in New Johnsonville. 

Another good location to view wildlife is at the back patio of the new visitor center which offers excellent views of wildlife overlooking a gorgeous bay of Kentucky Lake. With mounted spotting scopes and staff or volunteer guides nearby, many people find this a great place to start on the refuge. The visitor center is open 8-4 Monday – Saturday and features a state of the art wildlife exhibits. Entrance to the visitor center is free. The visitor center is located at 1371 Wildlife Drive in Springville. 

The V.L. Childs Observation Deck is located just one mile from the visitor center and is a favorite place to view wildlife anytime of the year. Many people start at the visitor center, visit the V.L. Childs Observation Deck and continue to view wildlife as they drive through the refuge towards Swayne Point. Also located near the visitor center is the 2.5 mile Britton Ford hiking trail which leads visitors through a forested area of the refuge.

On the Big Sandy Peninsula, just north of the town of Big Sandy, the Bennett’s Creek Observation Deck is fully accessible. This 120 foot boardwalk leading to a raised observation deck overlooks a bay of Kentucky Lake and two refuge impoundments. Sitting on this deck listening to the ducks chatter offers a peaceful moment that’s hard to beat. Near the deck is the 1.1 mile Chickasaw National Recreation Trail, a great trail to view a diversity of habitats, see the ruins of an old grist mill and walk through the remains of a homestead site of long ago. 

Even though a good number of the waterfowl have left us, there are still plenty coming through to experience. And as they return north, soon the summer migratory birds will come. These birds include the shorebirds and neotropical migratory songbirds such as the indigo bunting, prothonotary warbler, white-eyed vireos, orchard orioles, yellow-billed cuckoos and wood thrushes. Oh what a wonderful time to come visit the refuge!
The refuge manager invites the public to take pleasure in the refuge, but remember to obey all regulations and help make it a safe and litter-free place for all to enjoy. For more information about where to visit or refuge programs, call 731-642-2091.

Hickman Man Arrested After Stabbing

Union City, Tenn.-A Hickman, Ky., man was arrested on aggravated assault charges in Union City after he stabbed his friend during an argument.

Christopher Addy of 1701 King St., Hickman, was arrested. According to the police report, Addy, the victim and two other men were riding around Union City when they got into an argument. They stopped the car at 1203 E. Main St., got out and Addy stabbed the victim in the hand.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Breakfast For Babies Raises More Than Ever

Henry County Trustee Randi French waits on Paris Police Chief Chuck Elizondo and retired Paris Officer Keith Hopkins and his wife, Pat. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-The annual Breakfast For Babies fundraiser raised more money than any previous year Saturday morning with a whopping $2,400. The annual event, which features local celebrity waiters, raises money for the March of Dimes and is held at Ann and Dave’s Kitchen in the Lakeway IGA shopping center.

Bernice Holt of the Henry County March of Dimes said Saturday afternoon she was “just tickled” at the amount raised. “I've been sitting here going over the numbers and going over them again and I just couldn’t believe it,” she said.

Holt said this year’s turnout was especially good and said the volunteer waiters--which included many county and city officials--did good jobs that garnered big tips.
Holt has the distinction of raising more money each year for the local March of Dimes than any one.

Henry County Circuit Court Clerk Mike Wilson checks on his wife, Cheryl and her mother Jane Warren, and their friend Aaron Dolberry. (McFarlin photo).

Martin Woman Killed In Accident This Morning

Martin, Tenn.-A 23-year-old Martin woman was killed in a one-vehicle accident early Sunday morning.

Whitley Southerland was found unresponsive in her vehicle on Parham Rd. by the Martin Police Department around 3:30 a.m. today.

According to the press release, officers received a call that a vehicle had left the roadway on Parham Rd. and struck a tree. When officers arrived on the scene they found Southerland in the vehicle.

According to the initial investigation victim was traveling northbound on Parham Rd. in a 2007 Nissan Murano when the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree.

Martin Police along with Martin Fire/EMS responded to the scene.

Investigators are attempting to reconstruct the accident and the investigation is ongoing.

LBL Offers Spring Break Programs

Golden Pond, Ky. – Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area offers a variety of family-friendly programs for all ages at Woodlands Nature Station on weekdays during most of the spring breaks in the area. 

Spring Break programs will be offered at 2 pm, March 11-April 12. Nature Station is open 10am-5pm Wednesday-Sunday, March and November and seven days, April-October. 
These programs offer families up-close encounters with animals such as snakes, turkeys, owls, and turtles. Many of the Nature Station’s weekend programs during this time period will also be geared towards families with children. 

Purchase an LBL Fun Card this spring for discounted general admissions to our day-use facilities. Fun Cards with 10 visits cost $35 and can be used at Nature Station, Homeplace, and Golden Pond Planetarium in any combination of visits. Check out the calendar of events to learn about programs happening throughout the year at Nature Station and across Land Between The Lakes. 

Quota, Library To Host Women’s Tea

Paris, Tenn.-A Professional Women’s Tea, sponsored by The Quota Club and The W. G. Rhea Public Library, will be held at the home of Quota President, Stephanie Tayloe, 902 Dunlap Street, Paris, TN, from 4-6 p.m. Friday, March 20. 

This is an opportunity to network, make new friends and open new doors.

At this week’s Quota Club meeting, members filled plastic Easter Eggs with candy and these will be sent to patients at Western State Mental Health Institute in Bolivar.

The Easter Bake Sale will be from 8am – noon on Saturday, April 4, at the Mineral Wells Branch of Commercial Bank & Trust Company. Proceeds go to the club’s scholarship fund.
Scholarship applications are due to the scholarship committee on April 8. Scholarships are available for high school seniors and also students continuing their college education. Forms are available at Moody Realty, the Counselor’s Office at Henry County High School and on the school website.

The next meeting on March 25th will be an in-house auction.
Andrea Lamb, Mineral Wells Branch Manager for Commercial Bank & Trust Co, was a guest at the meeting. Those celebrating March Quota anniversaries are: Wanda McCord – 15 years; Martha McFadden – 31 years; Martha Smith – 33 years; Beverly Wood – 36 years and Donna Winders – 3 years; for a total of 118 years of service to Quota.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Union City Falls To Memphis Mitchell At Title Game

Murfreesboro, Tenn.-The Union City Golden Tornadoes’ dream season came to an end tonight with a defeat of the state championship at the hands of Memphis Mitchell. The score was 69-39.

Union City was vying for its sixth state boys’ championship. The two teams were battling for the Class 1A title.

Union City was ranked at the top of the AP Top 10 all season, while Memphis Mitchell was ranked No. 2 all season.

And The Walls Came Tumbling Down

Paris, Tenn.-Paris City Manager Carl Holder (in red) and City Building Inspector Mike Brown watch as the Wallin building on West Wood St. was demolished Saturday morning. The building was used for years as storage for the separate Wallin Hardware building and had been in a state of disrepair for years when the back end collapsed last week. A private contractor performed the delicate work of bringing down the building without damaging adjoining structures. City workers are clearing the bricks and rubbish from the site, which will be used as a parking lot for the foreseeable future. Bottom photo, a large cloud of dust erupts as the back end of the structure was brought down. (Shannon McFarlin photos).

Down On The (Roach) Farm

Union City, Tenn.-How many knew that once upon a time, there was a roach farm in Union City? In the photo, Oscar Beckham tends to his roach farm at 509 N. First St., in 1939. (West Tennessee Historical Society photo).

West Tennessee Special Olympics Set

Martin, Tenn. – The Unity 5K and 1K Fun Run is an event that is hosted by Special Olympics Upper West Tennessee to be held in Martin, Tenn. on March 21. This race is an opportunity to bring the community together and knock down barriers and to give the opportunity to bring awareness to the campaign “Spread the Word to End the Word.”

Individuals with and without disabilities will be participating in the Unity 5K together for a common goal. The “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign brings awareness to the hurtful use of derogatory language and the hurt it causes. The campaign asks people to pledge to stop using the word “retard(ed)” as a slur. The use of the “r” word is offensive and hurtful, according to organizers.

The Unity 5K will help raise awareness of the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign and encourage participants to treat everyone, all the time, with respect. Visit to learn more and to take the pledge to stop using the “r” word.

There is a $20 registration fee and those who want to participate can register online at Just click on the Unity 5K link in the upper right hand corner. Registration forms can also be picked up from The Sidelines in Martin, Tenn. The proceeds from this event will provide support for Special Olympics of Upper West Tennessee that includes Weakley, Obion, Lake, and Henry counties. 

The mission of Area 7 Special Olympics Tennessee is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The experience gives participants continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. Full participation is granted to every athlete regardless of his or her economic circumstances.  

Two Arrested For Meth Possession In Huntingdon

Huntingdon, Tenn.-Christopher D. Smith, age 35, and Tonya K. Swafford, age 32, both of Huntingdon, were arrested Thursday and charged with two counts of of Possession of a Schedule II controlled substance (methamphetamine and hydrocodone) with the Intent to Deliver or Sell.

Both were also charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Smith and Swafford are being held in the Carroll County Jail with bond set at $100,000 and $75,000 respectively. 

The arrests were made after a drug investigation by Huntingdon Investigator Joey Hedge in which it was determined that drugs were being sold out of the residence occupied by Smith and Swafford. 

A search warrant for the residence, which is located at 10320 Lexington St. in Huntingdon, was obtained by Investigator Hedge and executed on the referenced date by Officers of the Huntingdon Police Department and the Carroll County Sheriff's Dept along with the Sheriffs Dept. K-9. 

Approximately 32 grams of methamphetamine, hydrocodone pills, drug paraphernalia and $1815.00 in cash were seized in the course of executing the warrant.

KSP Arrests Murray Man For Trafficking

Murray, Ky.– Kentucky State Police arrested Magdi N. Mandil, 28 of Murray, on Thursday after receiving a tip that Mandil was trafficking in illegal drugs from his residence. 

After a two week investigation, KSP charged Mandil with Possession of a Controlled Substance 1st Degree, 1st Offense (methamphetamine), Trafficking in Marijuana 1st Offense (less than 8 ounces), Possession of a Controlled Substance 2nd Degree (anabolic steroid), Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd Degree (drug unspecified), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Mandil was lodged in the Calloway County Jail.

The Kentucky State Police was assisted by the Murray Police Department and Calloway County Sheriff’s Department. The Investigation continues by Trooper Eric West. 

Registration For West Tenn. Small Business Conference

Martin, Tenn. – The West Tennessee Small Business Conference, originally scheduled for Feb. 19, will now be held from 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m., March 24, at the First United Methodist Church in Jackson. The conference fee is $75 per person. If five or more representatives from the same business attend, the cost is $65 per person. Registration fees include continental breakfast, lunch and all seminar materials. 

The conference theme is “Growing Your Business in Small Town America”. Michael Angelo Caruso, communications consultant, is this year’s keynote speaker.
Caruso is a professional speaker and communications consultant to companies and organizations all over the world. More information can be found at 

The complete conference schedule is as follows:
· 7:30 a.m. – Registration and breakfast (sponsored by Chick-fil-a)
· 8 – Welcome from Chancellor Tom Rakes, UT Martin; Mayor Jerry Gist, city of Jackson; Mayor Jimmy Harris, Madison County
· 8:15 – Keynote speaker: Caruso, “Effective Leadership – Getting People to do Stuff”
· 9:05-9:45 – Concurrent sessions: “Show Me the Money: Business Plans/Strategic Planning” by Austin Baker, founder and CEO, HRO Partners, Memphis; “Survival vs. The Giants: The 3 R’s – Recruit, Revive and Retain” by Grant Edwards and John Francisco, owners/operators, Chick-fil-a
· 9:45-10 – Break (booth time)
· 10:05-10:45 – Concurrent sessions: “Networking and Marketing (including social media)” by Angela Wallace, director of marketing, YMCA, Memphis and mid-south; “How do we Measure Success?” by John Francisco, owner/operator, Chick-fil-a
· 10:45-11:30 – Concurrent sessions: “Be a Winner: Learn how to Negotiate” by Caruso; “Managing Generational Differences,” a panel discussion led by Cary Vaughn, Love Worth Finding Ministries, panel moderator
· 11:30 – Booth time and networking
· 11:50 – Lunch (sponsored and catered by Chick-fil-a); Luncheon speaker: Ernest Gibson, executive, Chick-fil-a
· 1 p.m. – Optional activity

Advance registration is required by March 19. Participants may register online at, by fax to 731-881-7019, by email to Virginia Grimes, WestStar program coordinator, at, or by mail to WestStar, UT Martin, 321 Administration Building, Martin, TN, 38238. Checks should be made payable to WestStar. Please include the name, business name, complete address and phone number of all persons for whom you are registering.

The First United Methodist Church is located at 200 S. Church Street in Jackson.
For more information, visit the website above or contact Grimes at 731-881-7298.

Friday, March 13, 2015 

Golden Tornadoes Play At State Saturday

Murfreesboro, Tenn.-The Union City Golden Tornadoes will be playing for the state 1A basketball championship at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The Golden Tornadoes will be playing Memphis Mitchell.

The game can be seen online at EPlusTV6 out of Jackson.

The Golden Tornadoes beat Loretto Friday 55-40 in the semi-finals.

Unemployment Increases In All 95 Counties

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Nashville, Tenn.-The state of Tennessee’s latest unemployment statistics show a grim picture, with unemployment increasing in all 95 counties in January.

Carroll County, with an umployment rate of 11.3 percent, is still on the state’s top ten unemployment list. Carroll County is ranked 91st. The county’s unemployment rate increased considerably, with its rate in December at 9.7 percent.

Henry County’s unemployment also rose considerably, from 7.8 percent in December to 9.3 percent in January. 

Other counties in our area showed increases of one percentage point. In Obion County, unemployment was at 10.3 percent in January, an increase from 9.3 percent; Benton County was 10 percent in January, up from 9 percent; Stewart Co. was at 9.9 percent in January, up from 8.4 percent; Weakley Co. 8.5 percent, up from 7.4 percent and Gibson County, 9.3 percent, up from 8.4 percent.

Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate in January at 5.4 percent, up from 4.7 percent in December.  

Tennessee’s preliminary unemployment rate for January was 6.7 percent, one-tenth of one percentage point higher than the December revised rate of 6.6 percent. The U.S. preliminary rate for January was 5.7 percent, also rising one-tenth of one percentage point from the prior month.

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

Tickets On Sale For Atlanta Pops

Huntingdon, Tenn.-Tickets are on sale now for the performance of the Atlanta Pops Orchestra at The Dixie Carter Performing Arts Center. The performance is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 21. 

The program is “Pops and Songs of the South” and it will feature classic Pops tunes by Cole Porter, Andrew Lloyd Weber and Johnny Mercer and a musical journey through the South with popular melodies and songs from Tennessee and the Deep South to the Bayou.

The Pops Orchestra is celebrating its 70th anniversary and is the premier provider of live popular orchestra music programming for the state of Georgia.

Tickets are $25 each and are available at The Dixie box office in downtown Huntingdon, 731-986-2100 and online at Dixie

St. Patricks’ Day Luncheon Is Tuesday

Paris, Tenn.-The annual St. Patrick’s Day luncheon will be held Tuesday, March 17, at First Christian Church, 101 S. Poplar St. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and includes the Irish baked potato bar, Shamrock garden salad and Leprechaun desserts. 

Cost is $10, dine in or carry out. Proceeds benefit local missions.

City Of Martin St. Patrick's Parade Is Tuesday

 Martin, Tenn.-The city of Martin will hold its 4th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 17 downtown. Organizers are inviting everyone to join the fun-filled family event.

There is no entry fee to participate. To find out more, call 731431-8156.

Tickets On Sale For “Dancin’ And Desserts”

Paris, Tenn.-Tickets are on sale now for the “Dancin’ and Desserts” fundraiser March 21 for the Henry County High School Marching Patriots. 

The event will feature delicious treats, great music and dancing and performances by The Chill Tonics, HCHS Jazz Ensemble, Paris-Henry County Middle School Jazz Ensemble, and Martin Paschall.

Tickets are available at Beasley Antenna, Boutique Marimac, and W. G. Rhea Public Library: $12 at the door, $10 in advance

Tables of eight can be reserved by calling Susie at 731-707-8534. Seating is limited.

Storm Spotter Class

Union City, Tenn.-The National Weather Service will hold a storm spotter training class at the Obion County Public Library at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at the Obion County Public Library.

The class will last two hours and features slides, videos and a quiz. It is completely free of charge and all class materials are provided. To find out more, call the library at 885-7000.

Thursday, March 12, 2015  

School Board Learns All About HCHS

Blair Chadwick directs The Madrigals at the outset of the school board meeting. (Shannon McFarlin photos)

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-Meeting for its monthly meeting at Henry County High School, the Henry County Schools board of education learned about all that Henry County High School has to offer, with presentations from the Student Council and Lisa Fitzsimmons, who is one of the directors of the Patriot XL program that has started this year. Amanda Mason is the Patriot XL director at Grove School.

Funded by a grant, Patriot XL is Henry County’s 21st C Community Learning Center. It provides extra learning opportunities before and after school for students in a variety of areas, including tutoring, study sessions at the library with internet access, homework help, research, group projects, study groups, and ACT prep.

Special activities include Patriot Deputy Dog with which the schools partner with the Henry County Sheriff’s Office animal shelter, sign language, art lessons, Patriot Pinterest, tap dance, orchestra, mad scientist, guitar lessons, outdoor education, fitness, artist in training.

Teacher Suzan Wolski said the aim of Deputy Dogs is to promote adoptions of dogs at the animal shelter by socializing the dogs so they are more adoptable. The program also conducts fundraisers to promote donations to the shelter.

At the presentation was Deputy John McElroy and Rebel. McElroy has been instrumental in Deputy Dogs also.

The grant is for three years and Fitzsimmons said, “There’s something for everyone” in the program.

Members of Student Council also spoke about extracurricular activities offered at the high school and the dual credit opportunities available through the University of Tennessee at Martin and Austin Peay.

Board members were entertained by The Madrigals and the high school improv group “Unscripted”. Snacks were prepared by students from the high school.

In other business:

--The board approved first reading of a student records policy that will incorporate all the district policies involving student records. Dr. Brian Norton said the new policy is at the behest of the Tennessee Department of Education.

--The board presented a certificate to the Family Resource Center, which was recognized by the Paris-Henry Co. Chamber of Commerce as a Volunteer Site of the month.

Deputy John McElroy and Rebel with Teacher Suzan Wolski talk about the Deputy Dogs program.

Sheriff Belew Helps Grove Celebrate PI Day With Pie In Face

Sheriff Belew got a pie in the face--and more. (Kristen Robbins photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-Yes, that’s Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew helping the students at Grove School celebrate PI Day--with a pie in the face. And down the front of his the process.

National PI Day is Saturday, but the students at Grove celebrated a little early, on Thursday.

According to Kristen Robbins, “Our students entered their names into a drawing to be able to "PI" their math teachers. Each of our six math teachers got a pie in the face by one of their students.”

Students also were able to purchase tickets for a drawing to be able to “PI” both Belew and Principal Sam Tharpe, Robbins said. That money will be donated to Plus Endowment.


Wallin Property To Be Demolished Saturday

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-The Wallin Building on West Wood Street in Paris will be demolished on Saturday and Paris City officials are asking the public to avoid the area.

As WENK/WTPR reported last week, the back end of the Wallin property collapsed and the city has blocked off the alleys behind the building for public safety.

The building was owned by the late E.C. Wallin and was used by him to store merchandise for Wallin Hardware on the court square in Paris. After Wallin died last year, the property was tied up in estate issues and has several liens against it.

Assistant Paris City Manager Kim Foster said Thursday morning that the city will be demolishing the property on Saturday and will be blocking off at least one lane of traffic. “We’d like to caution the public to avoid that area as much as possible while the work is taking place,” she said.

Goodwill Drive Conducted In FirstBank Branches

Jackson, Tenn. — Sixteen FirstBank branches around middle and west Tennessee are conducting a donation drive for Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee to benefit its mission of providing employment and training opportunities for people struggling to find a job.

The drive will last throughout the month of March. Bank employees, customers and the community are encouraged to participate by bringing their donations of gently used clothing, shoes, housewares and other goods into the bank, where clearly marked bins will be set up to receive them.

“FirstBank is very involved in our communities and always take the opportunity to give back when we can,” said Jordan Waldron, FirstBank’s vice president of marketing and public relations, explaining why the bank chose to hold a Goodwill donation drive. “Our goal is to fill as many bins as we can. We know that every little bit helps and makes a difference.”

Participating branches in West Tennessee include:
126 Highway 641 North and 21 N. Forest Ave. in Camden
28915 Broad St. in Hollow Rock
15 University Parkway in Jackson
450 Tennessee Ave. South in Parsons

More information about the FirstBank Goodwill drive can be obtained by contacting Jordan Waldron, FirstBank’s vice president of marketing and public relations, at (615) 248-9761 or More information about Goodwill corporate donation drives is available at Companies can set up a drive by calling (800) 545-9231.   

Farmers Bank Merges With Foundation Bank  

McKenzie, Tenn.-The Farmers Bank of Woodland will merge with Foundation Bank, a division of McKenzie Banking Co. Foundation Bank has offices in McKenzie, Paris, Paris Landing, Jackson and Obion.

Chad P. Wilson is president of McKenzie Banking Co./Foundation Bank and is featured on WENK/WTPR with financial advice every other week.

The Farmers Bank of Woodland has served the Woodland Mills area of Obion Co. for 105 years.

UC To Play In State Championship Today

Mufreesboro, Tenn.-The Union City Golden Tornadoes are in Murfreesboro for the boy’s state high school basketball tournament today.

They meet Hampton this morning at 11:30 a.m. in the quarterfinals of the Class IA tournament.

UC fans will remember Hampton defeated Union City in the state championship game in 1960 when basketball was not classified.

Hampton is in Carter Co. in East Tennessee near Elizabethon. The Golden Tornadoes have won five state championships in boys basketball in recent years.

Martin Man Arrested After Crashing Into Pole

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Martin, Tenn.-A Martin man was charged with several offenses after his pickup truck struck a utility pole and he left the scene of the accident.

Arrested was Jeremiah Bond, age 25. He was charged with DUI first offense, vandalism, striking fixtures on a highway, violation of implied consent and no insurance.

The passenger in his vehicle, Ibrahem Aladal, was injured and was transported by private vehicle to Volunteer Community Hospital.

Martin Police Patrolman Kenny Workman and Sgt. John Miller were called to Oakland St. Wednesday night on a report that a pickup truck had struck a pole and fled the scene. They found the truck in a nearby parking lot and found the front end heavily damaged, windshield busted and blood all over the windshield and passenger seat.

After speaking to witnesses, it was confirmed who the driver and passenger were and officers found both. The passenger was suffering from lacerations on his forehead but refused treatment at the scene and was taken to the hospital by private vehicle.

Officers found Bond unsteady on his feet, smelling of alcohol and unable to speak. He refused to submit to a blood test or take sobriety tests. Upon a warrant signed by Judge Tommy Moore, a blood sample was taken and sent to the TBI lab.

According to the police report, damage to the pole was $2500, while the accident also caused damage to city signs and mailboxes.

TDOT Launches Pothole Repair Plan

Nashville, Tenn. – A series of brutal winter storms followed by heavy rainfall amounts have created an abundance of potholes along Tennessee’s interstates and state highways. With warmer temperatures in the forecast over the coming days, TDOT is launching a massive effort using all available manpower to repair the damaged areas as quickly as possible.

Multiple 5-6 man crews in each of TDOT’s four regions will be patching potholes over the coming days and weeks. Cold mix asphalt is currently being used for repairs. As weather allows, these crews will be making every attempt to use hot mix asphalt which results in a more permanent repair. Full scale paving will be necessary in many locations. Some crews will be assigned to interstates while others will focus on state routes.  

Please note – inclement weather, emergency repairs or incidents may disrupt daily schedules. TDOT does not count potholes, keep a tally of how many potholes have been repaired or the cost of repairs per pothole. These repairs are part of normal highway maintenance operations. 

For the next few weeks, daily pothole patching schedules for each region will be posted at

Motorists should be prepared for short term traffic delays during these repair operations. While every effort will be made to perform repairs during off-peak travel times (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. weekdays), some lane closures may extend into the late afternoon, evening, and weekends. We ask drivers to be patient and to watch out for TDOT crews on interstates and state highways.

Motorists can alert TDOT to potholes via email at or by phone at 1-877-SmartWay. 

Obion County Schools Special Meet

Union City, Tenn.-The Obion County Schools board of education will hold a special meeting at 7 a.m. Friday at the board office.

Agenda items are making up snow days and making up time lost for support staff due to the recent inclement weather.

The meeting is open to the public.

Stewart Co. Granted Waiver on Make-Up Days

Dover, Tenn.-Stewart County Schools has been granted a request to waive 3 instructional days by the Commissioner of Education, Candice McQueen. Students will need to make up one day on Friday, March 20. Students will have a full week of Spring Break beginning March 30 and will go through Friday, April 3.

Henry County Dems To Meet 

Paris, Tenn.-The Henry County Democratic Women will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at Paris City Hall. Glenda Carter, West TN Vice President for the Tennessee Federation of Women will be the speaker.
A meeting of the county democratic party will follow at 7 p.m.

Rhea Library To Offer Computer Class

Paris, Tenn.-The W. G. Rhea Public Library in Paris will hold a computer class on Microsoft Office Basics from 5-7 p.m. March 18 at the library. Only seven places available . Must call 642-1702 to reserve a place.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 

Obion Co. Jail Inmate Dies

Union City, Tenn.-A female inmate being housed at the Obion County Jail died Tuesday night.

According to Sheriff Jerry Vastbinder, the woman was 60-years-old and was a federal inmate from Brownsville. Vastbinder said she was being held for other authorities and had been at the local jail since February 25.

The inmate was reportedly fine around 9:25 p.m. when jailers checked on her, but was discovered unconscious a short time later, he said.

She was transported first to Baptist Memorial Hospital in Union City and County Medical Examiner Dr. Kirk Stone ruled the cause of death as “natural causes”. She has since been transported to Memphis and the county is awaiting official verification of cause of death from the State Medical Examiner’s Office.

The inmate had been arrested on charges of prescription abuse and had a history of medical problems, according to the sheriff.

Willis Announces Retirement From NFL

Patrick Willis announces his retirement at news
conference. (Photo courtesy of Mark Purdy, San Jose 
Mercury News)

San Francisco, Calif.-Patrick Willis, linebacker with the San Francisco 49ers, announced his retirement from the NFL Tuesday at the age of 30. Willis is from Bruceton, Tenn.

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon that was aired on national television, Willis said continued injuries have kept him from playing at the elite level he has demanded of himself.

Willis retires from professional football after eight seasons with the 49ers that saw him reach seven Pro Bowls. 

At the press conference, Willis said, “You’ve seen me break my hand on Sunday, have surgery on Monday and play on Thursday with a cast on,” Willis said. “But there’s something about these feet. And those are what made me who I am. They had you all saying, ‘Wow, where’d he come from?’
“I know I no longer have it in these feet to go out there and give you guys that kind of ‘Wow.’”

Willis returns to Bruceton each year to organize football camps for youngsters.

Obion County Joins Lawsuit Against UC

Union City, Tenn.-The Obion County Commission voted Monday to join the lawsuit that the Obion County Schools board of education filed against the city of Union City over some $250,000 in local liquor taxes that the county claims the city owes its school system.

The city of Union City has maintained that since it owns its own school system, not a special school district, that it doesn’t owe the money to the county.

The vote to join the lawsuit was 15 to 5 with most of the commissioners who live in Union City voting against the motion. Commissioner Allen Nohsey, who served as Union City City Judge, actually seconded the motion to sue the city.

Commissioners Richard Arnold, Jim Bondurant, Norma Fowler, Dwayne Hensley and Sam Sinclair voted against the resolution to sue the city.

Tennessee's "Freedom Summer" On Display At UTM 

Jerry Surette (right), campaign participant, discusses voter registration policies with a family on their porch (June 1964, digital print).

Martin, Tenn. – A photographic exhibit titled “The Other Freedom Summer: An Exhibit of Nick Lawrence’s Images of Fayette County, Tennessee, Voter Registration Drive, June-August 1964” is on display at the University of Tennessee at Martin’s J. Houston Gordon Museum, housed within the Paul Meek Library, through May 31.

The 1964 Mississippi Summer Project, also known as the Freedom Summer, is well-known in historical contexts. However, another voter registration campaign was held that same year in Fayette County. This photographic exhibit chronicles that event, when dozens of students from Cornell University traveled through Fayette County to encourage minority adults to register to vote in the upcoming election. That year, more than 68 percent of Fayette County’s population was black, but this majority accounted for less than seven percent of registered voters. 

One of the participants was recent college graduate Nick Lawrence, a photographer from Cornell University. Lawrence documented the lives and daily routines of the citizens he encountered. Thirty-five of his images are included in the exhibit, documenting the hard-working rural poor and their resolve to advance their right to vote. 

For more information, contact Samuel Richardson, chief archivist and museum curator, or Karen Elmore, senior library assistant of special collections, at 731-881-7094 or online at

CG Approves New City Hall Location, Vice Mayor

Cottage Grove, Tenn.-The Cottage Grove City Council Tuesday signed a lease agreement to temporarily house city hall in a classroom at the Cottage Grove School and appointed Matthew McClure as vice mayor.

Councilman David Jackson presented the lease agreement for the temporary city hall office to be moved into the Cottage Grove School. A motion was made by Matthew McClure and seconded by John Weiher to accept the lease agreement. Moving arrangements will be made at a later date.

Melinda Thatcher was appointed Mayor last month after the resignation of Mayor Mike Waddey, who moved out of the area. McClure was appointed as vice mayor last night.

Council voted to send delinquent tax letters to property owners.  

Thatcher appointed  Jackson, John Weiher, Treasurer Carolyn Kaminski and herself to the 2015/2016 Financial Budget committee.

LBL Board Members Needed

Golden Pond, Ky.– Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area seeks new members to fill vacancies on the Land Between The Lakes Advisory Board. Individuals interested in being appointed to this Board need to submit a resume, and include a cover letter that addresses their qualifications for providing advice on environmental education efforts at Land Between The Lakes and their willingness to help promote public participation in the planning processes for land and resource management. A background check will be conducted.

For more information and to obtain required forms, interested individuals can contact Linda Taylor by phone at 270-924-2002, email at, or by postal mail at Land Between The Lakes, 100 Van Morgan Drive, Golden Pond, KY 42211. Forms are also available online at Cover letter, resume, and completed AD-755 form must be received by Thursday, March 19, 2015. Details may be found in the official letter.

The Land Between The Lakes Advisory Board functions solely as an advisory body in compliance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. As prescribed in the Land Between The Lakes Protection Act of 1998 (section 501), the Advisory Board is comprised of 17 members. Members advise the National Recreation Area on environmental education efforts and promoting public participation in the planning processes for land and resource management.

Large Scale Meth Operation Interrupted 

McCracken County, Ky.-A multi-agency investigation involving the Kentucky State Police, McCracken County Sheriff’s department, Marshall County Sheriff’s department and ATF has lead to the disruption of a large scale methamphetamine operation in McCracken County. After several days of covert investigation, a traffic stop was conducted on a vehicle near Exit 11 in McCracken County. During a probable cause search of the vehicle, approximately 1.5 pounds of crystal methamphetamine was located along with a loaded 9 MM semi-automatic handgun. 

The investigation revealed that the drugs and handgun belonged to 49-year-old Cary Moss of Marshall County, a passenger in the vehicle. Moss was taken into custody and charged with 2 counts of trafficking in methamphetamine more than 2 grams 1st offense, convicted felon in possession of a handgun and carrying a concealed deadly weapon. He was lodged in the McCracken County jail and the investigation is ongoing.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 

City Ramifications Of Sales Tax Issue Presented
Sleadd Resignation Announced

Bobby Travallian, standing, presented a petition against rezoning property on Hillcrest Dr. to the commission. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-At Tuesday night’s meeting of the Paris City Commission City Manager Carl Holder reviewed the impact that both passage and failure of the local option sales tax would have on the city of Paris.

Mayor Carlton Gerrell also announced that newly-elected Commissioner Robert Sleadd and his family are moving to Texas and Sleadd is resigning from his position. Sleadd also is a member of the Paris Special Schools District board and the Henry County Schools board and is expected to resign those positions, too.

Gerrell said he was sorry to see Sleadd resign and noted,  “Their gain is our loss.” Gerrell said the commissioners will be seeking to appoint someone to the position.

Early voting is underway for the sales tax and will continue through March 12. Election day is March 17. 

Holder said passage of the sales tax would allow the city to rebuild its fund balance, replace and purchase needed equipment in public works and public safety, finance city infrastructure projects, such as sidewalk repair and installation of new street lights, improved drainage, and finance improvements to city parks, construction of an addition to the animal shelter ($20,000) and city hall renovations ($400,000). 

Passage also would allow greater potential for regular revenue growth, Holder said:

FY 16 $675,000 (4% growth rate)
FY 17 $690,000 (2.5% growth rate)
FY 18 $710,000 (2.5% growth rate)
FY 19 $725,000 (2.5% growth rate)
FY 20 $745,000 (2.5% growth rate)

Failure of the tax, he said, would require the city to consider several actions, such as cutting personnel and benefits, including vacation leave, longevity bonuses, deductibles, limiting travel and sick leave. Holder said the city also would be required to review its policies on mutual aid in the fire and police departments. 

Personnel cuts would involve reducing staff by five full-time employees, he said.

The end result of all of that would be a reduction in staff morale, Holder said, and a negative impact in other areas.

“Budget reductions to this point have required us to maintain a basic level of operations not allowing for the City to stay current with many improvements in service capacity unless mandated by the State,” Holder said. “We have deferred maintenance and basic infrastructure improvements to the point of being counterproductive.”

The proposed reductions, Holder said, will incrementally lower the capabilities of emergency services by personnel reductions.  The potential lack of participation in the SRO Program would prove very unpopular.

“Personnel reductions in Parks and Civic Center will be unpopular and self-defeating,“ Holder said. “Benefit reductions will have a demoralizing effect on a good work force already underpaid, even by rural West Tennessee standards.”

Restricting travel and education to mandatory only, will severely limit educational opportunities for employees to stay current in their fields, he said.

“In summary,” Holder said, “elimination of positions, loss of benefits, will demoralize the work force as well as incrementally impact operational effectiveness. Cutting back on popular service areas or citizen perceived needs will have a detrimental impact on supportive citizens who value the levels of service provided by the City.”

In other business:

--City Commission approved a recommendation from the planning commission to reject a rezoning request from Dan Hassell for property at East Wood St. and Hillcrest Drive. He requested the property be rezoned from residential to commercial, resulting in the appearance of a large crowd opposing that action at last month’s planning commission meeting.

--The commission approved a certificate of compliance for Marty Lewis to renew his license for Loft Wines and Spirits located at 2315 East Wood Street, Paris, Tenn.

--Downtown Paris Association representatives Kathy Ray, Gaines Hedges and Charles Hopkins presented Holder with a gift of a clock to commemorate his upcoming retirement.

Plans Still Underway To Demolish Wallin Property

The area around the collapse is blocked off to the public. (McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-As WENK/WTPR reported last week, the back of the Wallin Building on W. Wood St. has collapsed and Paris City Manager Carl Holder announced at Tuesday’s commission meeting that the Wallin family is willing “to quick claim it to us.” 

The building was owned by the late E.C. Wallin and was used for storage for the Wallin Hardware business on the court square. 

Plans are to demolish the property “and maybe turn into parking for downtown use,” Holder said.

City Attorney Fred McLean reminded the commission that there are both state and IRS liens on property “so that limits our ability to get property. We need a written contract before we can begin taking the building down.”

The city has blocked off the property to the public.

Foster Optimistic About Retail Sales

Paris, Tenn.-At Tuesday’s Paris City Commission meeting, City Finance Director Kim Foster said, “We finished calendar year 2014 4.37% ahead of 2013 retail sales.  We also finished 2.34% ahead of 2012, and have now recorded 13 straight months of positive growth.  I am optimistic about our retail sales, but as we begin a new calendar year, don’t forget we will be comparing 2014 against a strong year.”

“Revenues continue to lag behind expenditures in the General Fund.  This especially concerns me since we are in Property Tax “season” and should be making up some of our previous shortfall.  Liquor taxes continue to slip.  Fiscal year to date liquor taxes are 9.5% behind the same time frame in the previous fiscal year.  They are down 24.15% as compared to the same time frame two years ago.”

“On a side note, we will be purchasing salt to replace part of what we have used in the past week.  We were able to get it on the State contract price which is good, but unfortunately we have very little money left in our budget for salt.  Additionally, the weather has caused considerable wear to our streets and pothole patching will be another strain to our budget.”

Big Bass Bash Is This Weekend
265 To Participate

Buchanan, Tenn.-Cabela’s Collegiate Big Bass Bash will return to Kentucky Lake March 13th-15th.  As the final day to register for the Cabela's Collegiate Big Bass Bash Presented by Berkley came to a close, record registration numbers were announced. 

Over 265 college anglers are spending their spring break at the event and are traveling from states as far away as Colorado, Michigan, and a total of twenty four states across the nation.

  “It’s exciting to come back to Kentucky Lake and Paris, TN for the Cabela’s Collegiate Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley,” according to Wade Middleton, the Association of Collegiate Anglers Director and President of CarecoTV.  “This year’s event will be the largest that we’ve ever had in our history  here.  We have collegiate anglers from over twenty-four states choosing to come to Kentucky Lake and Paris, TN during their spring break and go fishing while representing their school’s bass fishing team.”

The event will be held at Paris Landing Marina at Kentucky Lake. The two day tournament will consist of eight hourly weigh-ins and will be giving away over $20,000 in prizes. We look forward to seeing all college anglers at the event, ready to compete and brave the elements.

Last year local universities Bethel and Murray State brought home two of the top three spots and are anxious to compete again. Prizes will be awarded to the ten heaviest bass weighed during each of the eight weigh-in sessions, the overall heaviest bass for each day and overall heaviest bass for the tournament. The tournament will be televised on NBC Sports Network, Pursuit Channel, World Fishing Network, and other regional networks.

 “We are excited to continue to host the Cabela’s Collegiate Big Bass Bash event out of Paris Landing on Kentucky Lake,” Henry CountyAlliance CEO David Hamilton said.“This event draws anglers from many colleges and universities and provides an opportunity for these young anglers to experience fishing on one of the nation’s top lakes for bass fishing,” Hamilton added.

Partial funding of the Cabela’s Collegiate Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley was provided by the Henry County Tourism Authority.

For more information about the Cabela's Collegiate Bass Fishing Series, please visit and on Facebook at

Kayak Tourney At Kentucky Lake This Weekend

Buchanan, Tenn.-Anglers from across the United States will be gathering on Kentucky Lake this weekend as part of both the Big Bass Bash for Collegiate Angler and the 2015 Kayak Bass Fishing Open Series. 

The two day tournament will be held Friday and Saturday and allow fishermen to submit their top two fish from day one and their top three fish from day two.  The overall top five fish will be crowned the champion.

 “I couldn’t be more excited about hosting the Kayak Bass Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake,” Tournament Organizer Chad Hoover said.  “When we looked for an ideal place to host the biggest kayak bass fishing tournament in the country and the Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship for 2016, Kentucky Lake was the clear choice.”

Kayaks give anglers unique access to areas that many other anglers, both powerboat as well as bank-walkers, rarely fish. KBF has declared that all publicly accessible waters within a 50-mile radius of Paris Landing State Park are eligible to be fished in for this tournament.  

As of March 7th 148 anglers had registered and numbers are expected to continue to grow. These anglers will compete for over $7,000 for 1st Place and $14,000 in Manufacturers' Money with $2,500 Big Bass Pot, a Wilderness Systems ATAK Prize package and a trip to Ray Scott's Trophy Bass Retreats up for grabs.

 “This is the first Kayak bass tournament we have hosted on Kentucky Lake and we look forward to having these Kayak anglers visit our area,” according to David Hamilton, CEO of the Henry County Alliance.  “The kayak event isn’t your normal fishing tournament, but it is one of the fastest growing fishing tournaments across the U.S.,” Hamilton added.

  Partial funding of the Kayak Bass Fishing Open Series was provided by the Henry County Tourism Authority.

  For additional information on Kayak Bass Fishing, visit or for more information on this weekend’s event.

Exotic Animals At Discovery Park 

Union City, Tenn.-   It’s not every day that you can see a Pot-Bellied pig, a Burmese python or a Cane toad.  But if you head to Discovery Park of America on March 14th or March 21st the opportunity will be all yours.  

The Natural History Educational Company of the Midsouth (NHECM) is presenting “Exotic & Invasive,” a class focused on the impact exotic (non-native) animals have on the habitat of our native animals.  NHECM provides entertaining and educational wildlife programming for hundreds of schools and organizations throughout the Southeast.  “We are thrilled to have NHECM at Discovery Park of America,” according to Aquarium & Wildlife Coordinator, Kacey Putz.  “Our animal programs are extremely popular, and this one will be exceptional.” 

The cost for attending “Exotic & Invasive” is $3.50 (plus tax) for members and $4.50 (plus tax) plus park admission for non-members.  Tickets are available online, at the ticket counter or by calling the park at 731-885-5455. 

“We have a limited amount of space in our classroom, so we are encouraging everyone to get their ticket early to ensure a spot,” Putz said.  The programs will be held in the Reelfoot Room inside Discovery Center both days. 

In addition to animal education classes the park offers many historical and unique exhibits as well as educational and entertaining attractions.  Discovery Park of America offers monthly wine and paint classes, clay classes and animal education classes.  Park officials say that Discovery Park has plans for helicopter rides, singer-songwriter events, the second annual cardboard boat regatta, visits from PBS characters, a Car & Bike show, concerts, a BBQ cook-off, a chili cook-off, an air show, a beer fest, wine tasting events, a special Alvin York exhibit, a Polar Express event, Santa and an expanded Christmas exhibit in 2015.  The complete calendar is now available on the website.

Discovery Park is located at 830 Everett Blvd. in Union City, TN.  To find out more about “Exotic & Invasive”, The Chamber, the Titanic or the park, you can visit the website at .  The park is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and is a unique blend of history, science, architecture, art and fun.  

Registration Open For Shamrock Shuffle 5K 
Benefits Wounded Warriors

Martin, Tenn. – The Shamrock Shuffle for Soldiers and Students 5k will be held at 9 a.m., March 21, to benefit the Wounded Warriors Project and the University of Tennessee at Martin Reading Clinic. The run will begin at The Sideline on Oxford Street and entry is $20 per person, which includes a t-shirt. T-shirts can be purchased separately for $15.

The Wounded Warrior Project assists soldiers living with physical and mental health conditions caused by military service and provides support to their family members and caregivers. The UT Martin Reading Clinic works to improve the reading skills of local K-12 students and is largely funded by local donations.

All ages are invited to participate. The run is hosted by UT Martin business students as part of a service-learning project. 

Registration is available online at by searching events in the Martin area. For more information, contact Kiara Champion at

Chocolate Lovers Take Note

Union City, Tenn.-An event sure to please chocolate lovers will be held Thursday evening at The Gallery Showroom in Union City with the Obion County Chamber of Commerce holds Business After Hours.

Small business vendors will be competing to see who has the best chocolate delight. H’ors d’oeuvres and drinks will be served.

The event will be held from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, March 12, at The Gallery Showroom, 1403 S. First St.

Henry County GOP To Meet 

Paris, Tenn.-This Thursday March 12th 2015 at 7 p.m. is the date for the twice postponed Feb. meeting of the Henry County GOP.

The meeting will be in the Chancery Court room of the Henry County Courthouse.

As stated previously Jerry Williams from Lynchburg, Tn., founder of Tennessee Action Council, will be the speaker for this meeting.  

Pre-K and Kindergarten Registration

Union City, Tenn.-Pre K and Kindergarten registration at Black Oak, Hillcrest, Lake Road, Ridgemont, and South Fulton Elementary Schools has been rescheduled to Friday, March 20th from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For further information, contact Vikki Hayslett or Diane Terry at the Obion County Board of Education Office.

Area Blood Drives In March

Jackson, Tenn.-The following are dates and locations for Lifeline Bloodmobile blood drives for March:

Monday, March 9
The Highlands, Dyersburg, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
E.W. James, Martin, 12-6 p.m.
Monday, March 16
McKenzie Healthcare and Rehab CTR., 11:30 – 4:30 
Southside Church of Christ, Dresden,12-6 p.m.

Monday, March 23 
Healthquest, Union City, 12-7 p.m.

Monday, March 9, 2015 

Dresden High Student Killed In Wreck

Sharon, Tenn.-A Dresden High School Sophomore died Monday morning in a wreck in Sharon after he hit a patch of ice while driving to school.

According to the report from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Bobby Goodman, age 16, of Sidonia, was killed in a single-vehicle accident when the pickup truck he was driving left the roadway, overturned and caught fire.  

The accident happened around 6:50 a.m. Monday on Lower Sharon Road south of Dresden.

Fulton Woman Arrested With Crystal Meth

Dresden, Tenn.-A Fulton, Ky. Woman was arrested in Weakley County on narcotics charges after a traffic stop found $11,000 of crystal meth in her car.

Arrested was Johnna Kay Clark, 53, 35209 State Route 94E, Fulton, charged with possession of meth, possession of marijuana and possession of prescription pills and violation of the light law.

While working on narcotic information in the Mt. Pelia area, investigators from the sheriff’s office came into contact with a 2011 Ford Fusion driving on Littrel Rd. after dark with no tail lights.

Following a traffic stop and with consent to search, investigators found four ounces of crystal meth, less than an ounce of marijuana and several prescription pills. Captain Randall McGowan said street value of the crystal meth is around $11,000. The sheriff’s office seized $469 cash and the vehicle.

Clark was released after posting bond for $25,000.

The Last Of The Snow? Let's Hope

Paris, Tenn.-With the last of last week’s snowfall still on the ground Sunday, Maplewood Cemetery in Paris was especially picturesque. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Jackson State To Locate Campus In Dresden

Aerial photo of Weakley Co. Learning Center, site of new campus. (City of Dresden photo).

Dresden, Tenn.-Dresden Mayor Jeff Washburn has announced that the Weakley County Adult Learning Center has been chosen as the site of the Jackson State Community College-Dresden Campus.

Washburn said classes to obtain a two-year associate degree will be offered by the college starting in the fall of 2015. 

He said the Learning Center will be renovated to prepare the facility to house the Jackson State classrooms. At least two classes offered by the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAP)-McKenzie campus also will be offered at the Dresden facility.

The Weakley County Learning Center is located off of Highway 22 in Dresden.

UC Man Found Suffering From Hypothermia

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director 

Union City, Tenn.-A Union City man was treated for severe hypothermia and possible frostbite after he was found in a barn where he apparently sought shelter while trying to walk to work Thursday night.

Larry Wynn, age 43, of 1210 Section Line Rd., left for work late the night before, walking to Tyson Foods. His wife notified the Union City Police when he didn’t return home the following morning.

His wife called Tyson Foods and was told her husband had not shown up for work. She walked through the field that Wynn normally took to walk to work and could not find him in the deep snow.

The Union City Police, Obion County Sheriff’s Office and County Rescue Squad searched the area on four-wheelers. Wynn was found by Deputy Jared Willcutt in the barn, suffering from severe hypothermia and possible frostbite. He was transported to Baptist Memorial Hospital, where he was in stable condition.

Runway For A Cure Set For Friday

Paris, Tenn.-The annual Runway for a Cure Fashion Show and Silent Auction will be held Friday, March 13, 2015, at Krider Performing Arts Center. 

This event previews the latest spring fashions from local area boutiques including Boutique Marimac, Queens of Paris, Off The Square and Sunshine Boutique from Camden, Tenn. 

Local “celebrities” are featured as models as well as the guest emcee each year. Event Co-Chair Tracey Beasley said, “We are excited to announce Michelle Atkins
as Guest Emcee for this year’s event!”.

Each year the Runway for a Cure Committee selects two cancer survivors as Honorary Co-Chairs to feature in the event. This year’s honorary co-chairs are Amber Lacy and Elizabeth Cronin. Lacy and Cronin will be honored during the evening as well as participate in the fashion show. 

Event Co-Chair Dana Allen said, “Amber and Elizabeth each represent hope, strength and courage. Although each of them are beautiful young ladies, each has faced and fought a battle greater than most can imagine. Our hope is to honor their courage and share their stories with our community.” 

Tickets for Runway for a Cure are $10 each and will be available at the door the night of the event. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Friday, March 13th . 

Several area vendors will be featured as well as a silent auction. All proceeds from Runway for a Cure benefit Relay for Life of Henry County.

UC Man Arrested For Car Theft, Evading

Union City, Tenn.-A Union City man was arrested and charged with theft of a car, evading police and possible of drug paraphernalia Sunday.

Arrested was Chris Eskew of 513 Nash St. 

According to the Union City Police, the incident began when Eskew stole a friend’s car, car keys and cell phone. While police were searching for him, his mother called the victim and returned the items and told her where to locate the car.

While police were assisting motorists whose vehicles were stuck in snow, they found Eskew in a vehicle. He tried to run away and fell in the snow. Police found a crack pipe in his possession.

UTM Students Attend Model Congress

Martin, Tenn. – Five students from the University of Tennessee at Martin participated in the first annual National Model Congress Conference, Feb. 26-28, at the Grand Hyatt Washington in Washington, D.C. The students represented real-world senators in writing, amending and passing bills through Senate committees and on the Senate floor.

Participants attended workshops and mock committee meetings, acting as their represented senators. The model Congress passed more than 20 bills using the Senate’s unique rules of order and debate. 

Mark Maloney, a senior communications major from South Fulton, received an Honorable Senator Award; and Marabeth Kennedy, a sophomore political science major from Franklin, and John Domanski, a junior political science major from Bon Aqua, both received Outstanding Senator Awards. Domanski served the Congress representing Senate minority leader Harry Reid (D) from Nevada. The UT Martin delegation received an Outstanding Delegation Award, the highest group recognition available.

The UT Martin students were joined by nine other delegations, including a group from Union University. Dr. Anderson Starling, assistant professor, UT Martin Department of Accounting, Finance, Economics and Political Science, accompanied the student participants. The other participating students were Rikki Erwin, a freshman communications major from Brighton, and Elizabeth Sanders, a senior family and consumer science major from Smithville.

For more information, contact Starling at or by phone at 731-881-7226.

UC Store Victimized By Quick Change Scheme

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director  

Union City, Tenn.-The Pocket’s convenience reported to Union City Police that one of its clerks had been the victim of a quick change scheme that cost the store $100.

According to the police report, other Pocket’s stores in the area have also been victimized by the same man, who police are still seeking.

Union City Police said the incident occurred in mid-February, but that the Pocket’s manager at 1605 W. Reelfoot said she did not report it to police earlier because she was waiting to hear from the corporate office to tell her how to proceed.

She told police at least two other Pocket’s stores in the area reported the same man had done the same thing at their stores. 

Southern Woman’s Diary To Be Discussed Thursday

Dover, Tenn.- Fort Donelson National Battlefield and the Stewart County Arts & Heritage Council will host the March 12 discussion of the newly-released book, Diary of Nannie Haskins Williams: A Southern Woman’s Story of Rebellion & Reconstruction, 1863-1890.  The free program begins at 6pm at the Stewart County Visitor Center, 117 Visitor Center Lane, with a book signing to follow. 

Nannie Haskins Williams was a teenager during the Civil War and her diary recounts her feelings about the war, and the changes it brought to Middle Tennessee and to her own life.  Two of the book’s editors, Dr. Ellen Kanervo, Director of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Arts and Heritage Development Council, and historian/instructor Phyllis Smith, will lead the discussion.

Members of the Stewart County Arts and Heritage Council will provide light refreshments.  For more information, contact Carolyn Darke at 931-232-6253 or the national park at 931-232-5445.

Fort Donelson National Battlefield protects and preserves the remains of the Civil War fort, earthworks, national cemetery, and historic Dover Hotel. For more information, please visit the website: 

Optimist Club Spaghetti Day Thursday

Paris, Tenn.-The Paris Optimist Spaghetti Lunch and Dinner will be held from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. Thursday, March 12 at First United Methodist Church in Paris. All proceeds go to the “Buddy Program”.

Tickets are $8 each, eat in or carry out (children under 6 years old eat free). Meal is spaghetti, roll, dessert and drink. To place large orders (5+), place Monday before for pickup at a designated time. 

Please call Mooney Appraisal, 642-5779, or Bill Williams, 642-5915.

Sunday, March 8, 2015 

Woman Suffering From Hypothermia Found In Woods

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-A woman found partially clothed in the woods near Hobby Rd. was airlifted to Vanderbilt Medical Center suffering from hypothermia and the Henry County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.

Sheriff Monte Belew said the victim is a 38-year-old woman who recently moved to a residence on Reynoldsburg Rd. 

Belew said the sheriff’s office was called to the area around 5 p.m. Saturday after a friend of the victim’s knocked on a neighbor’s door to report a woman was in the woods.

Deputies, Henry County Ambulance Service personnel and citizens searched the woods and found the victim. “She wasn’t properly dressed and was suffering from hypothermia,” Belew said.

There is no reason to suspect foul play at this time, but Belew emphasized that the incident is still under investigation.

Paris Firefighters Save Homeowner’s Cat

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.- Paris Firefighters were able to save the owner’s cat during a fire call at 703 Ogburn St. Sunday afternoon. The homeowner was not home when the fire started. The home sustained a considerable amount of smoke damage.

The Paris Fire Department was called to the residence around 4:30 p.m. by neighbors who noticed smoke billowing out of the home. 

Assistant Fire Chief Chuck Wade said smoke was coming out of the windows when they arrived. “We think it started in the area by the stove,” Wade said.

The house is owned by Shirley Diggs.

HC, PSSD Open Monday

Paris, Tenn.-Henry County Schools and Paris Special Schools District will be open Monday and following their regular schedules.

Henry County Schools have been closed more than open the last two weeks, due to weather conditions. Director of Schools Sam Miles said, "We will be open Monday, thank goodness."

Big Sandy Student Wins Regional Spelling Bee
Inman Student Is Runner-Up

Jackson, Tenn.---A Big Sandy School sixth--grader is heading to Washington, D.C. for the Scripps National Spelling Bee after she won the West Tennessee Regional Spelling Bee Saturday.

Annalise Wade survived 27 rounds and won with the word “simultaneously”. The national spelling bee is held in May.
The final three contestants include Kester Nucum, of Inman Middle School in Paris; Mouhamed Gaye of Northeast Middle School in Jackson and Wade. In round 24, all three contestants missed their words — orrery, muzak and effete.

By Scripps rules, Nucum and Gaye were brought back into competition after Wade's misspelling. Wade survived three more rounds to win the bee.

Wade’s mother is Kerrie Wade.

Union University, a sponsor of the West Tennessee Regional Spelling Bee, will pay for Wade and one chaperone to attend the national spelling bee.

Waiting For The Boys Of Summer

Paris, Tenn.-The baseball fields at McNeill Park in Paris Saturday morning, just waiting for the boys of summer to arrive. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Lake Barkley Bridge Closed To Traffic

Canton, Ky.-The US 68/KY80 Lake Barkley Bridge at Canton in Trigg County is closed to traffic after being struck by a coal barge at approximately 4:30 a.m Sunday.

WKDZ in Cadiz is reporting that according to the US Coast Guard Louisville Operations Center, the Motor Vessel Marrietta Hines was heading upstream with 15 loaded coal barges when the tow struck a pier on the bridge at Cumberland River mile point 63.1. The second barge on the stern or right side of the tow struck the pier. One coal barge in the tow started taking on water as a result of the impact. The tow boat has moved the damaged barge to shallow water near the bridge.

The Coast Guard asked that the bridge be closed pending a safety inspection of the pier. A Kentucky Transportation Cabinet certified bridge inspector has been dispatched to check the structure and should be on site shortly.

Snow-Covered Fort Donelson

Dover, Tenn.--Fort Donelson covered in a blanket of snow, looking a lot like it did for February, 1862, battle there. With plowing and sunshine helping, the visitor’s center and roadways through the park are now open. (Doug Richardson photo).

Spring Musicale Set

Martin, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin’s epsilon iota chapter of the Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity will present their spring musicale performance at 5 p.m., March 13, in the Blankenship Recital Hall of the Fine Arts Building.

Performances will include both vocal and instrumental presentations by a variety of soloists and small groups. The Sigma Alpha Iota choir will also perform traditional pieces titled “SAI Garden” and “The Rainbow.” Faculty members Dr. Christa Frye, adjunct instructor of music, and Dr. Liz Aleksander, assistant professor of music, will join the student ensemble.

For more information, contact Bridget Huenefeld, chapter program director, at

Saturday, March 7, 2015 

Remember To Spring Forward

Daylight saving time 2015 will begin on Sunday, March 8 at 2 a.m. In other words, So, spring your clocks forward an hour when you go to bed tonight.

And, as always, it’s a good time to change the batteries in the smoke alarms in our homes.

Late Season Cold Spell Boosts TVA Power Demand

Knoxville, Tenn. – March appears to be coming in like a lion rather than a lamb as another mass of cold air targets the Tennessee Valley from Wednesday into Friday.

The Tennessee Valley Authority and local power companies are already working to make sure generation and transmission resources are operating at top efficiency to meet the increased need for electricity.

“Although the temperatures don’t appear to be dropping as low as we saw during the cold snaps in January and February, we still expect a much higher demand for power than we typically see in the first week of March,” said Jacinda Woodward, senior vice president of TVA Transmission and Power Supply. “As we take steps to ensure our system is ready, consumers can also take steps that can save them money on upcoming power bills.”

It doesn’t take drastic action or personal discomfort to save power. Simply turning down the thermostat a single degree can save up to 3 percent on future power bills.

Other quick, common sense tips that consumers can take to lower their electric bill can be found on TVA’s EnergyRight Solutions website and include:

Keeping curtains open on clear days on the south side of the house, and closed on the north side, to allow the sun to help warm your home, 
Closing fireplace dampers when not in use to prevent warm air from escaping out of your chimney 

Using slippers or area rugs to keep your feet warm if you have hardwood or tile floors rather than turning up your heating system.

While on the EnergyRight website, homeowners can also check out the new eScore program, a partnership between TVA and your local power provider to combine expert advice with rebates on installed improvements and provide an impactful way to reduce utility bills in every season.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.

Kentucky Man Charged With Attempt Murder Of Officer

Mayfield, Ky.-A Paducah man is lodged in the Graves County Jail this morning after he was arrested in Mayfield and charged with attempted murder of a police office and a long list of other charges.

Noah Hill, 21, is charged with attempting to run over a Graves County deputy, resisting arrest, fleeing, aggravated DUI, disregarding stop signs, disregarding signals, reckless driving, and possessing an open alcoholic beverage.

Hill drove through Mayfield around 10:30 p.m. Friday at a high rate of speed and ignored directions given to him by the Graves Co. Sheriff Office. In the course of the incident, he almost ran over the deputy. Kentucky State Police Trooper Anthony Harrison finally caught up with Hill, who collided into a snow bank and fled on foot. When Harrison caught up with him, Hill resisted arrest and was tasered.

UTM Offers New Master's Education Programs

Martin, Tenn. -Students seeking a master’s degree in education from the University of Tennessee at Martin will have two new majors and one new interdisciplinary concentration to choose from, beginning in the fall 2015 semester. Graduate students will be able to focus their studies on either student affairs and college counseling or addictions counseling, or can work toward earning a library information specialist PreK-12 license. 

The specialization in student affairs and college counseling will prepare individuals to work in college counseling centers, financial aid, minority affairs and other student affairs services in higher education settings. This degree will help university professionals manage individual student needs within changing college environments by focusing on the development of the student as they grow in a collegiate setting.

The specialization in addictions counseling will prepare counselors to work in a wide range of addiction counseling, treatment and prevention programs, as well as in mental health counseling settings. The successful completion of coursework, post-graduate experiential requirements and state licensure exams will lead to careers as Tennessee licensed professional counselors and alcohol and drug abuse counselors.

The library information specialist PreK-12 concentration is designed to give individuals the necessary training to earn a degree or endorsement as a school library information specialist. In the state of Tennessee, individuals must have a teaching license and pass the required coursework and Praxis exams to qualify as a library information specialist. The initial licensure K-12 program will offer a major in teaching plus the necessary endorsement for individuals who need a teaching license. Licensed teachers can enroll in the degree program and/or the endorsement-only option through the interdisciplinary major.

For more information on admissions requirements for these and other education graduate programs, contact Kimberly Page at 731-881-7128 or by email at 

Henry County Youth Baseball Sign-Ups

Paris, Tenn.-Reminder: Henry County Youth Baseball will have sign-ups at the Paris Civic Center today (Saturday, March 7) from 8 a.m.- 12 p.m. 

Also, due to recent inclement weather, online sign-ups for Henry County Youth Baseball have been extended through Wednesday, March 11 AND players may sign up at Lakeway IGA Monday, March 9 - Wednesday, March 11. Sign-ups will be closed to all except ages 13-15 as of Wednesday. 

Discovery Park To Reopen Today

Union City, Tenn.-Discovery Park of America will reopen Saturday, March 7.

MSU To Resume Normal Operations Today

Murray, Ky. — Murray State University will open at 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 7, 2015. Regional campuses will follow the action announced by the local community college. Normal operations for the university will resume on Monday, March 9, 2015.

Staff should report as normal on Saturday, March 7, 2015. All announcements, including updates, will be listed on the Weather Notification page at
The university community is urged to take care and adhere to the National Weather Service advisories and take the necessary safety precautions. If traveling, call 511 for road conditions in Kentucky.

March 7, 2015 and March 8, 2015 will have regular operating hours.

Friday, March 6, 2015 

Just Waiting For Spring

Paris, Tenn.-A lonely snow-covered swing at a house on Richland St. seems to be pining for spring. And aren’t we all? (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Roadways Continue To Be Hazardous
Paris City Hall Opens, UC Stays Closed

Snow blanketing the Henry County Courthouse
during Thursday night's storm.J.C. Ramos photo

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris and Union City, Tenn.-Road conditions in our area continue to be hazardous and law enforcement is asking motorists to stay off the roadways as much as possible.

The snow and ice that melted Thursday afternoon froze again overnight as temperatures plunged to zero and below. 

In Paris, Police Chief Chuck Elizondo said, “The road conditions are extremely slick and hazardous. Do not travel unless absolutely necessary. Paris Public Works, T.D.O.T and Henry County Highway Department Crews are working to clear all roadways. Because of the ice base and 8 inch plus accumulation, it has been difficult. Hopefully the 40 degree temperature and sunny forecast will help clear them by this afternoon.”
Paris City Hall is open for business today and Assistant City Manager Kim Foster said the Civic Center and landfill are open today. However, the landfill will be closed to the public Saturday.

The Paris City Commission meeting that had been scheduled for Thursday night has been rescheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, she said.

Henry County Mayor Brent Greer announced yesterday that county government offices would continue to be closed through Friday, as did Henry County Circuit Court Clerk Mike Wilson.

In Obion County, county government offices are closed and County Mayor Bennie McGuire on Thursday declared an emergency in the county at the request of Emergency Management Agency Director Danny Jowers. 

The Union City municipal building remains closed today.

Across the state line in Kentucky, roads continue to be especially hazardous as parts of 1-24 and the Purchase Parkway in west Kentucky continue to be shut down by accidents and massive traffic pile-ups.

At Fort Donelson National Military Park in Dover, tour routes through the park continue to be closed.

Photo Showcase Postponed

Paris, Tenn.-Due to snow and ice, the Paris-Henry County Arts Council will be postponing the annual Photo Showcase until next week end, March 14-15th. Director Kat Tolley said, "We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause."

Snowy Magnolias

Paris, Tenn.-Magnolia trees in Whitehall Circle in Paris seemed take on a dream-like quality at the height of Thursday’s massive snowfall. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Gibson EMC Tax Dollars Benefit NW Tenn

Trenton, Tenn. — Gibson Electric Membership Corporation recently paid $1,165,943 in 2014 ad valorem taxes to the eight Northwest Tennessee towns and counties it serves. The amount of taxes paid was based on the assessed value of Gibson EMC’s infrastructure, including buildings, substations, transformers, poles and lines. 

Gibson EMC paid $277,940 in ad valorem taxes to Obion County.

Gibson EMC President and CEO Dan Rodamaker said that the cooperative’s board of trustees and employees work hard to provide exceptional electric service, but view their job as much broader than that. 

“We want to do everything we can to improve the quality of life for our members,” Rodamaker said. “And we’re glad that Gibson EMC’s tax dollars benefit our communities and our members.” 

Gibson EMC is an electric cooperative, owned and operated by its 35,000 members. The cooperative’s 2,800 miles of electric line stretch across Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Haywood, Lake, Lauderdale, Madison and Obion counties. 

BPU Warns Of Offer

Paris, Tenn.-Paris Board of Public Utilities (BPU) Assistant General Manager Terry Wimberley said area residents are receiving a mail offer to purchase insurance to pay for water line replacement at their home.  

“For a small monthly fee, the company offers to cover the replacement cost of a failed water line between the house and the meter,” Wimberley said. 
Board of Public Utilities is in no way connected to this offer or this company.  BPU is not promoting the offer.  BPU reminds its customers that water line replacement does not happen often and that homeowners should approach this offer with some amount of caution.”

Ladies Of Lee Concert Tuesday

Paris, Tenn.-The Ladies of Lee will present a concert of hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church of Paris at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 10. The Ladies are a 50-voice auditioned ensemble from Lee University in Cleveland, TN. The concert is part of their Spring Tour. Free admission; a free-will offering will be taken. 

Two Job Fairs Set Next Week

Union City, Tenn.-Two job fairs will be held early next week in Union City.

Manpower will be holding a job fair from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday at the Tennessee Career Center, 204 S. 2nd St., Union City. A variety of positions are available. If you cannot attend, you can apply online at

Hamilton-Ryker will be holding a hiring event from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday at 1430 S. First St., Union City. Bring your ID, Social Security card or birth certificate and resume and dress for success.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 

It's Lonely Out There

Union City, Tenn.-Downtown Union City looked deserted today following the massive snowstorm that hit our area. At the request of Obion County Emergency Management Director Danny Jowers, County Mayor Bennie McGuire declared a state of emergency in the county earlier today. (Photo by Chris Williams).

Henry County Government Offices Closed Friday

Paris, Tenn.-Henry County Mayor Brent Greer has announced Henry County General Government offices will remain closed through Friday due to winter weather. Local Law Enforcement and emergency management officials are reporting some roads have improved today, however with the refreeze tonight, roads will become hazardous tonight into tomorrow.

Closures include the County Courthouse, Courthouse Annex, General Sessions Court, Recycling Center, and Central Community Bldg. Persons scheduled for court should call to reschedule. County officials to resume normal operation on Monday.

Mayor Greer wishes to remind residents to continue to use extreme caution on our roads. Snow will remain at least till Saturday when temperatures are expected to climb back above freezing.

Henry County Courts Closed Friday

Paris, Tenn. – Due to the inclement weather conditions all General Sessions Criminal Court scheduled for Thursday, March 5, 2015 is cancelled and the Circuit, General Sessions & Juvenile Court Clerk’s Offices are closed.

Circuit Court Clerk Mike Wilson said, "Those who had cases scheduled AND are represented by an attorney should check with their attorney for the new rescheduled date.  Those who are representing themselves without legal counsel will be reset for next week on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 9:00 a.m., which is the next regular criminal court date."

All cases involving traffic tickets and citations from local police, sheriff and Tennessee Highway Patrol (Troopers) will be rescheduled for the issuing officer’s next scheduled court date.  Please call the court office to learn of the new rescheduled date on the next open business day.

 Any new arrests occurring this week will be scheduled for arraignment on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 9:00 a.m., the next regular General Sessions Court Criminal date.

Please call the court office for further information, (731) 642-0461 on the next open business day.

Breakfast For Babies Postponed

Paris, Tenn.-This Saturday's Breakfast For Babies fundraiser for the March of Dimes will be postponed until Saturday, March 14. It will be held at Ann and Dave's Kitchen in Paris.

Emergency Declared In Obion County

Union City, Tenn.-Obion County Mayor Bennie McGuire has declared a state of emergency in Obion County.

County Emergency Management Director Danny Jowers issued the following statement: “At my request Mayor McGuire has declared a state of emergency for Obion County. What this simply means is that we are strongly discouraging travel unless it is a dire emergency. This also helps the county in obtaining state assistance in medical services and transportation needs. Stay safe stay home and enjoy your day and I think within 10:days we will see a major flip in our weather pattern.”

Henry County Schools Closed Friday

Paris, Tenn.-Henry County Schools will be closed Friday, according to Director of Schools Sam Miles.

Beautiful But Treacherous Winter Wonderland

The "Spanish House"--also known as "the Gardner place" by old-timers--on Ogburn Street in Paris makes a pretty picture in the snow. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

by Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Direcctor 

Union City and Paris, Tenn.-Our area received a blanket of overnight snow measuring from 8-12 inches, creating extremely hazardous driving conditions and prompting closing of all area schools, government offices and many businesses. Events and meetings that had been scheduled for today and tonight have been cancelled across the area, including tonight's Paris city commission meeting and today's visit to Paris by the Lifeline Bloodmobile.

The snow arrived after one inch of ice had already coated everything in the area.

The massive snowstorm is causing state-wide problems, too, with the Tennessee Department of Safety announced early this morning that all state offices are closed today.

In Stewart County, an ambulance became stuck in the snow on an emergency call early this morning. In Henry and Obion Counties, roadways were treacherous but relatively quiet. 

Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew said, “Things actually were pretty quiet here last night. We had a lot of cars in ditches and one semi-tractor accident, but most everyone stayed off the roads.”

The Henry County Sheriff’s Office will be cooking lunch today at the county fairgrounds for all the city and county employees who have had to work especially hard during the storm. Belew said a bigger get-together to thank all the city and county employees will be held later. “This is just a little lunch we’re doing for everybody today,” he said.

In Obion County, the dispatcher at the sheriff’s office said, “We had a lot of cars being abandoned on the roadways because they couldn’t get the tow trucks to where they were.”  

Area law enforcement officials are cautioning motorists to stay off the roadways as much as possible. Conditions are forecast to worsen as the evening approaches, with a wind chill warning to be in effect overnight. Temperatures are expected to be from zero to -5 overnight, which will cause roadways and driveways to freeze.

Stewart County Sheriff's Office cruisers in the height of the storm. (Stewart Co. Sheriff's Office photo).

HC Sheriff's Office To Cook For Workers

Paris, Tenn.-The Henry County Sheriff's Office will provide lunch today for county and city employees who have been working hard in the snow storm. The sheriff's office employees will be grilling at the county fairgrounds over lunch.

Belew said the sheriff's office had planned a bigger get-together for all city and county employees who have worked during recent storms and will be scheduling that later.

HCMC Announces Several Closings

Paris, TN – The Henry County Medical Center has announced several closings today.

The Diagnostic Center has announced it will be closed today, Thursday, March 5.

If you are scheduled for a test at the HCMC Diagnostic Center, please call our scheduling line at 731-644-8486 option 1 to reschedule. We apologize for the inconvenience but want everyone to be safe during this inclement weather

Additional closings for today, Thursday, March 5, include the following:
Eagle Creek Clinic – (731) 407-7013
Signature OB/GYN – Dr. Lakisha Crigler - (731) 644-8214
Paris Women’s Center – Dr. Dennis Wieck – (731) 644-8225
Innovative Orthopedics – Dr. Mark Cutright - (731) 644-8304
Paris Mental Health – Dr. Robert Hamm - (731) 644-8441

Please check out our Facebook Pages for additional information and updated closures. You can also check out our other social media outlets and our website at

TSSAA Games Postponed

All TSSAA state basketball tournament games scheduled for today have been postponed due to extremely hazardous road conditions. Today’s schedule will resume tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. in order to allow extra time to for road conditions to improve in the morning.

Scheduled for Friday, March 6th:

12:30 pm – Class A Quarterfinal – Clarkrange v. Houston Co.

5:15 pm -Class AA Quarterfinal – Elizabethton v. Westview

Paris City Government Closed

Paris, Tenn.-Paris City Hall and non-essential city offices are closed today, according to Assistant City Manager Kim Foster.
Paris Mayor Carlton Gerrell said tonight's meeting of the Paris City Commission is cancelled. He said no date has been set to reschedule.

Obion County, UC Government Closed

Union City, Tenn.-Obion County government offices and the Union City municipal building and government offices are closed today.

Lifeline Visit To Paris Cancelled 

Paris, Tenn.-From Mary Kate Ridgeway of Lifeline Bloodmobile: "Just a note from Henry County Lifeline Blood Board and West Tenn Regional Blood Center that Lifeline in Henry County is Cancelled today. 
As of now, it cannot be rescheduled due to the schedule being full at this point. Stay in and stay safe. The need for blood continues throughout our region."

Security Bank Closed Today 

Paris, Tenn.-From Laurie Russell of Security Bank::"All branches of Security Bank - Paris, will be closed today March 5, 2015 due to inclement weather. If you have an urgent question/issue, please email customer service at: As always, we appreciate your business and apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause. We look forward to being able to assist you tomorrow morning."

All State Offices Closed

Nashville, Tenn.-From the Tennessee Department of Safety: "Due to hazardous winter weather conditions across Tennessee, all state offices are CLOSED Thursday, March 5. This includes all state driver services centers. Please use extreme caution if you have to travel today."

Henry County Government Offices Closed Today

Paris, Tenn.-Henry County Mayor Brent Greer has announced Henry County General Government offices will be closed today due to winter weather. This includes the County Courthouse, Courthouse Annex, General Sessions Court, Recycling Center, and Central Community Bldg. Persons scheduled for court should call to reschedule. An announcement will be made later when offices will reopen.

Mayor Greer is urging residents to stay home i...f possible and off the roadways. Snow will remain at least till Saturday when temperatures are expected to climb back above freezing.

Henry County received approx 8-9 inches snow on top of 1-2 inches sleet over the night. Roads remain hazardous. Wind chills will remain bitter cold close to zero. No major power issues reported. Emergency Management officials will continue to monitor conditions.

Stewart County Government Offices Closed Today

Dover, Tenn.-Stewart County government officials have announced that all county offices and city of Dover offices are closed today. Stewart County law enforcement officials are cautioning everyone to stay off roadways. Roads are so hazardous that a county ambulance was stuck in snow on an emergency call early this morning.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 

HC Government To Announce Possible Closure Thursday A.M.

Paris, Tenn.-Henry County Emergency Management Director Ron Watkins has issued the following announcement: "Due to the winter weather storm event, Henry County Government including the Courthouse, Courthouse Annex, Central Community Building, Recycling Center and General Sessions Court, will make an announcement at 6:00 a.m. Thursday morning regarding closure of County Offices or alternate hours. We encourage everyone to check with local media sources Thursday morning for status updates."

Meanwhile, Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew said the sheriff's office is working five wrecks as of 5 p.m. and he cautioned everyone to stay off the roads tonight. "It's only going to get worse," he said.

City To Demolish Wallin Building After Back Wall Collapses

The back wall collapsed overnight. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-The back wall of the Wallin Building at 214 W. Wood St. in downtown Paris collapsed overnight. 

The city of Paris has blocked off the area and alleyways around the collapse. The back wall had already partially collapsed several months ago. The building is located a half block from the court square.

Paris City Manager Carl Holder said the city will be demolishing the building in the near future.  

The late E.C. Wallin had used the building for storage of his merchandise from his Wallin Hardware Store on the court square. 

Holder said after Wallin died, the building has been “legally tied up in estate issues and has liens against it. The city was trying to work through that, but now that this has happened, we’ll be tearing it down in the interests of public safety and deal with the legal ramifications later.”

The alleyways surrounding the building are closed off. (McFarlin photo).

101.7 FM At 2 Percent Normal Power

WENK/WTPR President and General Manager Terry Hailey issued a statement this morning: “ We appreciate very much the many calls we have received with regard to not being able to hear our 101.7FM station.   It is operating at about 2% of its normal power, meaning that it only gets out about 4 or 5 miles from its transmitter at Standing Rock in Stewart County.   

"We are working to restore it to full power but that hasn’t been easy.  Add to that our engineer Brad Hosford suffered a stroke last Thursday as he dealt with this.   Brad is doing better but won’t be able to return for a while.   We have other engineers working on the problem.   

"In the meantime, I would remind you that exactly the same program can be heard at AM710.   I still love AM radio and this might be a chance for you to listen to it as well.   So, just tune to WTPR at 710 on AM and enjoy the same thing exactly.   It operates from 6AM till 8PM  daily.   You can also find the same programming by going to and clicking “listen Live”…or you can find it at Tune in Radio as well.   Sorry for the inconvenience and we really do appreciate your concern.”

Henry County/Kentucky Lake Promoted on Krappie Kings TV

Paris, Tenn.-Kentucky Lake and Henry County will be featured on an episode of Krappie Kings TV this Saturday, March 7.  The show, which features Extreme Angler Karl Kolonka, will air on the Sportsman Channel –DirecTV and Dish Networks - this Saturday at 7:30 a.m. CST.

The Host, Karl Kolonka, known for his brilliant, bigger than life persona on EXTREME ANGLER TV, which is celebrating 14 years on TV, came up with the idea for this exciting new television series entitled Krappie Kings TV.  In each episode we join Karl as he travels to a favorite fishing destination and hooks up with some of North America’s renowned crappie experts and characters who will share their secrets for catching bigger than life slaps.
 In the Henry County/Kentucky Lake production, Karl teams up with area crappie and StrikeKing Pro Angler Tim Blackley from Hornbeak, Tennessee.  A frequent visitor to Kentucky Lake, Blackley and his co-angler Jackie Vancleave, fish in many of the national crappie tournaments, finishing in fourth place out of 220 boats in the Crappie Master Classic held on Truman Lake.

 “With Krappie Kings TV being filmed on Kentucky Lake out of Paris Landing, this show will promote our beautiful area and Kentucky Lake to millions of household subscribers on the Sportsman Channel and World Fishing Network,” according to David Hamilton, CEO of the Henry County Alliance.  Fishtale Lodge and Meo Mios will also be featured on the show.

 Partial funding of the Krappie Kings TV show was provided by The Henry County Tourism Authority.

Citizen’s Police Academy Seeks Applicants

Paris, Tenn.-The Paris Police Department and the Henry County Sheriff’s Department are now accepting applications for the 2015 Citizen’s Police Academy. Applications will be accepted until March 20, or until the class is filled.

This year’s academy will meet each Tuesday from 6-9 p.m. The first class will meet March 24, at the Henry County Sheriff’s Department and the final class will be Tuesday, May 12. 

The Citizen’s Police Academy offers a chance for citizens who live and work in Paris and Henry County to experience a firsthand view of the operations of our two departments. Graduates are not certified as a police officers but will have a better understanding of what police officers face every day. Instruction will include topics on the use of force, undercover drug operations, K-9 units, patrol units and dispatching.

Applications may be picked up at the Paris Police Department, 100 North Caldwell Street, or the Henry Country Sheriff’s Department, 210 Forrest Heights Road in Paris.
If you would like more information, contact Lt. Tom Lankford at 731-642-2424.

Tickets On Sale For Broadway At Lee

Paris, Tenn.-Tickets are on sale for Broadway at Lee, an annual musical theatre production at Lee Academy for the Arts. This year's event benefits the Paris-Henry County Heritage Center.

Two performances are scheduled with a dinner show at 6 pm., March 14, and a matinee with dessert at 3 pm, March 15. Tickets for the dinner performance are $25 and the matinee $15. The location is the Lunchroom at Lee Academy.

Since there are only 100 tickets available for each seating, those interested need to act promptly.

Tickets are on sale at The Iron Place, 115 N. Poplar Street, Jack Jones Flowers and Gifts, 118 N. Market Street, and Merison's 202 Memorial Drive. Or patrons can call the Heritage Center at 642-1030 and speak to Norma Steele, director, or leave a message.

The production, which features talented local musicians and vocalists, is directed by Peggy Williams. 2015 marks the 4th time this group has given back to their community with an outstanding production

Martin Police Respond to Aggravated Assault

Martin, Tenn.-Officers of the Martin Police Department responded to an aggravated assault late Tuesday night.

Around 9:30 pm officers received a call from East Heights Drive in reference to a domestic disturbance in which a male subject had brandished a handgun.

Officers spoke with two adult females and one female juvenile who stated 21-year-old Dalton Crutchfield came to the residence to speak with one of the victims. Crutchfield and one of the victims became involved in a verbal altercation which then became physical. Crutchfield then brandished a handgun and pointed it at all three victims.

Crutchfield left the premises and the victims called police.

Officers from Martin P.D. and the Weakley County Sheriff’s Office arrested Crutchfield later in the night at his residence.

He is being charged with three counts of aggravated assault and is being held in the Weakley County Detention Center.

“Breakfast For Babies” Is Saturday

Paris, Tenn.-Local celebrity waiters and waitresses will be working hard Saturday morning at ”Breakfast For Babies”, the annual fundraiser for the March of Dimes.

The fundraiser is held from 6-11 a.m. Saturday, March 7, at Ann and Dave’s Kitchen on East Wood St. in Paris.

Photo Showcase Opens Sunday With Reception

Paris, Tenn.-The 23rd annual Photo Showcase opens Saturday at the W.G. Rhea Public Library in Paris with a reception from 2-4 p.m. The awards presentation will be held and it is open to the public.

The showcase will be displayed at the library through March.

Photographers in the contest will be setting up their works on Saturday morning in the library.

Tickets on sale For Wine And Paint Class 

Union City, Tenn.-   Have you ever wanted to paint a peacock?  Do you wonder if you have hidden artistic talent?  Do you enjoy doing something new and fun?  If you answered any of the above questions with a “yes,” the Wine and Paint class offered at Discovery Park of America might be just for you!  

Each month Discovery Park offers a paint class called “The Art Vine” in the Learning Enrichment Room (LEC) just off the Cafe in the lobby of Discovery Center.   Each month participants experiment with paint and canvas and paint a unique picture under the direction of art instructor, Hillary Holt.  This month the group will be painting a peacock.  

“These classes are a lot of fun and typically sell-out before the day of the class,” said Chris Gunlefinger in the Education Department at Discovery Park.

Each participant takes their picture home with them at the end of the class.  Class price includes all paint supplies, snacks and two glasses of wine.  Members pay $35 and non-members pay $40 for the experience. 

The next class is March 13th from 6:30 to 8:30 in the LEC room at Discovery Park.  Tickets are on sale now at the ticket counter, online or by calling 731-885-5455.  Space is limited and tickets are sold on a first come, first served bases.  

Winders Speaks To Quota 

Paris, Tenn.-Stephanie Winders, Coordinated School Health Supervisor for Henry County Schools was the guest speaker at the recent Paris Quota Club meeting. She has worked with the Board since 1993. She explained her duties and what her department does for the school system. 

She said there are eight components to Coordinated School Health in Tennessee schools: Physical Education; Health Services; Counseling, Psychological and Social Services; Nutrition Services; Healthy School Environment; Health Promotion for Staff; Family/Community Involvement and Health Education.

Each school has a Healthy School Team and there is Advisory Council that oversees all activities. Henry County has a nurse in each school and 97% of students that visit the nurse’s office return to the classroom.

They provided 160 weekend backpacks last year. They provide hearing, vision, dental and scoliosis screenings in grades K-9. They have community support when performing screenings. Winders said that students are required to have 4.5 minutes of physical education during each block which equals 90 minutes per week.

The Easter Bonnet Bake Sale will be on Saturday, April 4th at Mineral Wells Branch of Commercial Bank and Trust Company. In March, Quota will help the library with a tea for business and professional women in our community.

Leisa Wimberley, who is employed by Paris Housing Authority, was installed as a new member.

MSU Concert Choir Performs Sunday 

Murray, Ky. — The Murray State University Concert Choir will present its spring concert on Sunday afternoon, March 8, at 3:30 p.m. in historic Lovett Auditorium on the campus of Murray State University.

The concert will open with three hymns, arranged or composed by American composers. 

Dr. Bradley Almquist, director of choral activities at Murray State, is the conductor of the Concert Choir. The concert is free and the public is invited to attend.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015  

Paris Businessman Charged with Tax Evasion

Nashville, Tenn. - The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and arrest of Dharmesh Patel for tax evasion, theft over $10,000 and forgery, according to a press release from the State Revenue Department.

Patel, 36, surrendered to officials at the Henry County courthouse in Paris, Tenn. on Monday. Patel posted the bond for $20,000. Patel owns J.B. Express Mart on Hwy. 218.

On Monday, Patel was indicted by a Henry County Grand Jury on 18 Class E felony counts of tax evasion, one Class C felony count of theft of property and one Class C felony count of forgery.

The indictments charged Patel with failure to remit $16,482.67 in sales tax due to the state. The indictments also charge that Patel filed false sales tax returns from January 2012 through June 2013.

"The Department of Revenue promotes voluntary taxpayer compliance by educating taxpayers, aggressively pursuing criminal sanctions and demanding accountability when taxpayers engage in fraudulent activity," Revenue Commissioner Richard Roberts said. "This investigation underscores the Department's ongoing efforts to enforce Tennessee's tax laws."

If convicted, Patel could be sentenced up to two years in the state penitentiary and fined up to $3,000 for each count of sales tax evasion. He could also be sentenced up to six years and fined up to $10,000 for each count of theft over $10,000 and forgery.

The Department pursued the criminal case in cooperation with District Attorney Matt Stowe’s office. Citizens who suspect violations of Tennessee's revenue laws should call the toll-free tax fraud hot line at (800) FRAUDTX (372-8389).

The Department of Revenue is responsible for the administration of state tax laws and motor vehicle title and registration laws and the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The Department collects about 87 percent of total state revenue. During the 2014 fiscal year, it collected $11.8 billion in state taxes and fees and more than $2.3 billion in taxes and fees for local governments. To learn more about the Department, visit

FFA Strawberry Pick-Up Date Moved

Paris, Tenn.-The Henry County High School FFA Strawberry Sale pick-up date has been moved to March 10th from 3:30-7 pm at the HCHS Ag Shop.

Any questions, call Laura Moss at 731-336-8304.

Horseshoes For Hope Postponed 

Paris, Tenn.-The Horseshoes for Hope fundraiser scheduled for Thursday, March 5, has been postponed until Thursday March 19, due to the expected ice/snow/sleet. It is a fundraiser for REAL Hope Youth Center and Hoofbeats of Hope.

Downtown Paris Association Executive Director Kathy Ray said, “If you have already purchased your ticket, please hold onto it until the 19th. Please everyone stay safe and off the roads.”

Carter Indicted On First-Degree Murder Charge
Others Indicted For Aggravated Robbery, Child Rape

             Toby Carter                                                Victor Octavius Atkins

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-Meeting all day Monday, a Henry County Grand Jury issued 25 indictments on a wide variety of offenses, the most serious of which included first-degree murder, aggravated robbery and rape of a child. 

Twenty-six cases in all were presented to the grand jury, with one ‘no true bill’ issued, meaning no indictment was issued in that case. As usual, most of the indictments were issued for cases involving drug use.

Indicted on the first-degree murder charge was Toby Carter, 38, of 383 Russwood, Buchanan. Carter was arrested in September of 2014 by the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and charged in the death of 80-year-old Bobby Dozier of Clarksville. 

Dozier’s body was found on Old Tennessee Trail Rd. He had been staying in a family vacation home in New Concord, Ky., at the time of his death.

Carter is being held in the Henry County Jail on $1M bond.

Victor Octavius Atkins, age 22, Warren St., Paris, was charged with aggravated robbery. Atkins was arrested following the robbery of the Little General/Marathon station on N. Market St. in August of 2014. According to the indictment, Atkins displayed a gun and placed the store clerk in fear in the course of the robbery.

Donald Terry Sanders, age 53, 3765 Vale Rd., Mansfield, indicted on one count of rape of a child and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. The child is between the age of 3-13.

Other indictments issued:

--Conner Jeter, charged with two counts of aggravated assault. He is accused of assaulting a male and a female with a knife on Christmas Day, 2014.

--Dalton Jones, charged with aggravated assault. He is accused of threatening to run over a female victim with a motor vehicle in November 2014.

--Wendell Dean Poore, Jr., charged with aggravated burglary. He is accused of breaking into a home in December.

           Donald Terry Sanders

No-Smoking Policy Adopted At Murray State 

Murray, Ky. — To create a healthier environment for the Murray State University (MSU) community, MSU is joining universities across the country in becoming what is commonly referred to as “tobacco-free.” The university’s board of regents approved a tobacco policy presented by Dr. Bob Davies, Murray State president, at its quarterly meeting today. The tobacco policy officially goes into effect on Aug. 5.

During its December 2014 meeting, the board voted that the university would become “smoke- and tobacco-free,” while creating exemptions for research, cultural, theatrical, religious and other uses. The board of regents delegated the responsibility for drafting a policy to Davies with an implementation to occur during the 2015 calendar year. To assist him in this effort, Davies empaneled a committee to provide advice in formation of the policy, with input from the campus community, and its ultimate implementation. 
The tobacco policy applies to all faculty, staff, students and visitors to Murray State University and its regional campuses in Henderson, Hopkinsville (Fort Campbell), Madisonville and Paducah.

“Murray State University is pleased to be joining over 1,514 campuses nationwide in an effort to create a more healthy environment for all who live, work and visit our campuses,” Davies said. “The development of this policy depended greatly on feedback and contributions from numerous groups on campus. We wanted to ensure that members of the Murray State community had the opportunity to share their ideas and concerns. I specifically thank the Tobacco Policy Steering Committee for the time and energy dedicated to this process. We will now begin the very important work of communicating the policy and continually educating our campuses on the healthy outcomes of eliminating tobacco use.”

The personal use of all tobacco products will be prohibited on property that is owned, operated, leased, occupied or controlled by the university when the policy goes into full effect in August — that also includes vehicles on university property. Tobacco products not only include cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and unlit tobacco such as snuff or dip, etc., but also nicotine-containing products such as e-cigarettes. A small number of exceptions to the policy on tobacco use do exist; for example, an approved, controlled research project.
Murray State is poised to assist employees and students who want to cease using tobacco products. 

Employees have prescription options available to them through the university’s insurance plan, and cessation classes will be offered for students, faculty and staff.
To begin the transition toward the implementation of the tobacco policy on campus, some recommendations will go into effect on March 15. 

The university will follow LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification procedures with the specification that there will be no smoking within 25 feet of building openings and major air intake vents. Additionally, the Zen Garden, located between the Doyle Fine Arts Center and Lovett Auditorium, will specifically be deemed a tobacco-free zone so that all members of the university can enjoy the beauty of the area.

Additional information on Murray State’s tobacco policy can be found online at

New Opening Schedule For LBL

Golden Pond, Ky. – The recently predicted winter weather event due to hit our area mid-week, has prompted Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area to push back the season opening of campgrounds and facilities for the safety of our guests.

The Elk & Bison Prairie will re-open Tuesday, March 3. The following attractions and facilities previously scheduled to open for the season March 4, will now re-open Wednesday, March 11, weather permitting:

North and South Welcome Stations 
Woodlands Nature Station and Homeplace 1850’s Farm 
Developed Campgrounds – Energy, Hillman Ferry, Piney, and Wranglers
Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area will remain closed until weather and soil conditions greatly improve.

Many side roads were not treated following the previous winter weather event and are still ice and snow packed. Please drive slowly and use caution when driving through the area.
Updates and additional information can be found online at, or by calling 270-924-2000 or 800-525-7077. You may also follow Land Between The Lakes on Twitter @LBLScreechOwl or @LandBtwnLakes for updates.

Obion School Board Approves Easement

Union City, Tenn.-Meeting in regular session Monday night, the Obion County Schools board of education granted an easement for the town of Troy. Granted was a permanent and perpetual 20-foot-wide public utility easement for the purpose of installing a waterline near the Troy water tank.

In other business during the mostly routine session, the board approved first readings of several policy changes requested by the Tennessee School Boards Association involving staff-community relations, textbook adoption committees, extended contracts, supervision and employment.

The board approved a bid from Rogers Heating and Air for $55,875 for five classroom HVAC upgrades at South Fulton Middle and High School. The board solicited bids for the project, but only received one bid.

The board also approved an overnight field trip for the OCCHS band for the All-State Band Clinic in Memphis in April.

National Guard Armory Open House Is Saturday 

Paris, Tenn.-The National Guard Armory in Paris will be holding an open house recruitment day from 1-3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7. The armory is located at 285 County Home Rd.
The activities will be held on the grounds of the armory and includes free drinks, food and giveaways. Equipment will be on the grounds for the public to view.
For more information, call James Dougherty at 644-7370.

"Spring Forward In Victory" Set

Paris, Tenn.-All women are invited to ”Spring Forward In Victory” at Point Pleasant Baptist Church, 13700 Hwy. 79, Buchanan, from 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 6. Registration and the buffet start at 5 p.m.

Sandy Louden will be the speaker and Sandy Clary will be the musical guest.

For more information call 641-6450.

Monday, March 2, 2015 

Three Arrested During Two Raids In Martin


                    Christina Stepp                                    Courtney Thomas

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Martin, Tenn.-Three Martin residents were arrested and large amounts of marijuana were seized following the execution of two search warrants Friday by Weakley County law enforcement officials. Cash and a weapon also were seized.

Arrested were: Kelvin Antwon Turner, age 32; Courtney Thomas, age 28; and Christina Stepp, age 35.

Captain Randall McGowan of the Weakley County Sheriff’s Office said deputies from the Weakley County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by the Martin Police, served two search warrants at Lakeview Circle. Teams of officers from both departments served the warrants on two different residences at the same time.

In Lakeview Circle Apartment no. 42, an estimated one pound of marijuana was recovered, along with a .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol and $500 cash. Arrested there were Turner and Thomas. Turner is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to resell and Thomas is charged with possession with intent and unlawful possession of a firearm.

In Lakeview Circle Apartment no. 54, an estimated two pounds of marijuana was recovered and Stepp was arrested and charged with possession with intent.

                         Kelvin Turner

Barry James Named President Of E.W. James
Company No Longer Pursuing Sale Of Stores

Union City, Tenn.– E.W. James and Sons Supermarkets announced today that Barry James has been appointed president of the company, effective immediately. The company also announced it is no longer pursuing a sale of the company. E.W. James operates stores in Union City, Paris, McKenzie, Huntingdon, Martin, Ripley, Waynesboro, Dresden and Troy.

James, who is the grandson of the company’s founder E.W. James, brings more than 30 years of industry experience to his new role at the company. With this announcement, company officials and the James family will no longer pursue a sale of the company and renew their commitment to remaining one of the leading local grocers in the 10 markets where the company currently operates in northwest Tennessee and southwest Kentucky.

“As a family-oriented company, I am pleased to welcome Barry back to E.W. James as part of our senior management team,” said Lee Ann James, CEO of E.W. James and Sons Supermarkets. “Like others in our family, Barry started his career working for E.W. James and built his foundation in retail grocery by understanding the importance of providing customers with the freshest produce, meats, and bakery products. Barry used this experience to become a proven leader with a strong track record in our highly competitive and ever-changing industry.”

“My grandfather started E.W. James with the belief that the success of the company depends upon our ability to treat employees and customers as if they are a part of the James family,” according to Barry James.

Mr. James continued, “I realize our dedicated employees and loyal customers have faced a lot of uncertainties during recent years, but I want to ensure them that I am truly committed to the continuation of this tradition where customer service and satisfaction are our number one priority. E.W. James is here to stay, and I will work hard every day to gain their support so our company will remain one of the leading grocers in the communities we serve throughout northwest Tennessee and southwest Kentucky.”

“My grandfather always said ‘The sale is not final until the meal is enjoyed.’ This concept embodies my future outlook for E.W. James, and I encourage everyone to visit one of our stores and see why we want to earn your business and make you part of our family at E.W. James,” Mr. James said.

In his new role as president of the company, Mr. James will be responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of 13 grocery stores (8 E.W. James stores, three Save-A-Lot stores and two Cash Saver stores) in 10 communities. He will also lead efforts to grow the company by reinvesting in the grocery stores for all markets.

Ms. James said, “We are very fortunate to have Barry assume the role of president of E.W. James, given his dedication, experience and proven leadership. He truly embodies the spirit and essence of what has made E.W. James one of the leading grocers in our region, and I believe our grandfather would be proud to know he is part of the team that will shepherd our company into the future.”

Paris Man Killed In Accident

Paris, Tenn.-A 50-year-old Paris man was killed in a one-vehicle accident Sunday afternoon on Hwy. 69S.

Benjamin C. Colley, age 50, of Paris, was killed after his car struck a tree on the side of the roadway.

The accident was investigated by Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Jeremy Byars. According to the patrol’s report, Colley was travelling southbound on Hwy. 69 when he was trying to negotiate a curve to the left and drove off the right side of the road. He then tried to reenter the roadway and his vehicle rotated clockwise. His vehicle then drove off the right side of the road and struck a tree.

MSU Seeks Funds For MSU Jazz Orchestra Recording
First-Ever “Crowdfunding” Project

Murray, Ky. —Murray State University is launching its first-ever crowdfunding initiative, “Be Bold, Support the Blue & Gold,” in support of the MSU Jazz Orchestra. 

To date, there has never been a recording issued by the jazz orchestra. The crowdfunding project is seeking to correct that by raising enough money to make a recording possible. Crowdfunding donors make their contributions online, giving to projects they consider worthy and donating amounts with which they are comfortable.

For the students in the MSU Jazz Orchestra, participating in the actual recording process is of incredible value, Dr. Todd Hill of Paris, associate professor of music and director of the group, said. “It’s one thing to talk about the way it’s done. It’s another thing to actually do it,” he explained. “And a recording is a great way to show what our students are gaining here while we let people across the country know about our outstanding university and how at Murray State we train our student musicians to be both performers and educators.”

Hill said, “These kids work. Hard. They practice outside of class. They get together on their own and work out musical problems. I love facilitating rehearsals where the students are so fully engaged and are making constructive criticisms and suggestions to one another. They are truly like a family and represent Murray State University in a beautiful and meaningful way.”

Tina Bernot, interim executive director of development said, “Our crowdfunding platform will be run internally off of our MSU alumni website so that we have the control to process all gifts through the office of development and deposit funds directly into the MSU Foundation, thereby eliminating any third parties. We feel it is important to our donors that all dollars come directly to Murray State.”

The “Be Bold, Support the Blue & Gold” crowdfunding campaign will be shared through social media and email and driven by online giving. Donors can help Murray State make history by making a gift to the campaign through the university’s crowdfunding site at The campaign will only last for 30 days, so time is limited in which to make a donation.

Tickets On Sale For "Motown In Motion"

Huntingdon, Tenn.-The Dixie Carter Performing Arts Center will host Motown in Motion at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7. Hailing from the Motor City, Eisenhower Dance will present a visual salute to the tunes that made Motown Records famous--the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, The Miracles, Michael Jackson, and others. 

This performance and residency activities are funded in part by the Dance Touring Initiative grant provided by South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. There will be several surprise performances by community members during the performance.

Tickets are  $15 plus tax. Motown in Motion is part of this year’s Dixie Dance Festival happening March 5-7th. Eisenhower Dance Company is presenting the performance as well as facilitating several dance classes and residency programs throughout the week. 

Events for the festival in March include two School Time Performances of Mini Motown in Motion for children, schools and families on Friday, March 6 at 9 and 11 a.m. There are still some seats left for this so please contact the box office to reserve. 

The Dixie will also hold dance classes for Carroll Academy, St. John’s Community Services, P.E. and Health Educators in our area as well as Master classes for dance students during the residency program. 

Of special note is a Chair Dance class conducted by Karen Balzer, Artistic Director of the Jackson Purchase Dance Company. We invite anyone who is in a wheelchair, has limited mobility or who works with those with limited mobility to attend this free class, please RSVP to The Dixie.  

Horseshoes For Hope Fundraiser Set For Thursday

Paris, Tenn.-The second annual Horseshoes for Hope fundraiser will be held from 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday, March 5, at the First United Methodist Church Christian Life Center in Paris.

Horseshoes are a tasty concoction made of cheeseburgers and fries that will be served at the event, which is a fundraiser for REAL Hope Youth Center and Hoof Beats of Hope.

To learn more call 731-333-1320.

Downtown Paris Scavenger Hunt Is Tuesday 

Paris, Tenn. - Henry County Medical Center Women’s Health Advisory Council and the Downtown Paris Association will be hosting a scavenger hunt for health and wellness in downtown Paris on Tuesday, March 3.

The event involves an afternoon of shopping, health education, food, fun and entertainment.

From 4 to 5 p.m. shoppers can visit local DPA retailers with your “X Marks the Spot” scavenger hunt card and you will be eligible for prizes including gifts from six of the local retailers and a $100 VISA gift card from Henry County Medical Center. 

From 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. the Johnson Agency on the court square will be the site of entertainment, a reception by Cindy’s Catering, goodie bags and prizes.

The event is free, but scavenger hunt cards are limited. They can be picked up in advance at the following locations: Boutique Mari Mac, Butler & Harbor, Jack’s Java, Maggies, My Favorite Things, Off the Square and Henry County Medical Center Pink Petal Gift Shop. 

For more information, you may contact Kathy Ray at 653 – 7274.

UC Business Vandalized

Union City, Tenn.-A Union City business was vandalized overnight Thursday. Union City Police were called to Joann’s Fashions at 130 S. First St. on a report that the front window had been broken.

Employees said when they arrived for work, they saw a beer bottle on the ground in front of the window and then noticed the window broken. Cost of the window is $1,000.

Sunday, March 1, 2015 

Henry County Schools In Session Monday
PSSD Also To Be In Session

Paris, Tenn.-For the first time in two weeks, the Henry County Schools district WILL be in session Monday, barring any other weather-related events.

Director of Schools Sam Miles said most roads in the county district are passable, although a few still are ice-covered in places. He said bus routes will be run upon bus driver discretion.

The Paris Special Schools District also will be in session.

Something New At Discovery Park 

Union City, Tenn.-There’s always something new at Discovery Park of America in Union City. The latest addition is this display that once stood in front of Central Grammar School of Union City. Built in 1936 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) on the grounds of the former Central School, it was home to grades one-six. Different combinations of grades were later offered, and the school was eventually closed in 2002. These structures were donated by the City of Union City in 2013. (DPA photo).

New LBL Reopening Schedule 

Golden Pond, Ky. – With cooperation of the weather, the Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area was able to reopen the Golden Pond Visitor Center and Planetarium on Thursday. 

Wranglers Campground will re-open Wednesday, March 4, weather permitting.

Due to the recent winter weather event, the following attractions and facilities previously scheduled to open for the season March 1, will now open Wednesday, March 4:
North and South Welcome Stations 
Woodlands Nature Station and Homeplace 1850’s Farm 
Developed Campgrounds – Energy, Hillman Ferry, and Piney
Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area and the Elk & Bison Prairie will remain closed at this time.

Land Between The Lakes’ main roads are mostly clear of ice and snow thanks to the efforts of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). Many side roads have not been treated and are still ice and snow packed. Please drive slowly and use caution when driving through the area.

Henry County Youth Baseball Signups
Paris, Tenn.-Sign-ups for all t-ball and baseball players ages 4 - 15 (as of May 1, 2015) will be February 28 and March 7 from 8 a.m. - 12 noon. at the Paris Civic Center.

Wedding Planning Course Offered 

Martin, Tenn. – A certified wedding and event planning course will be offered from 6-8:30 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, March 10-April 30, on the main UT Martin campus. 
The registration fee is $995 per person and is offered through the University of Tennessee at Martin Office of Extended Campus and Online Studies, partnered with Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute.

This course teaches the fundamentals of planning, orchestrating and delivering social events, including weddings, baby showers and anniversary or birthday parties. Participants will be introduced to concise formulas for detailing the personal and professional aspects of any social event.

For more information, contact the UT Martin Office of Extended Campus and Online Studies at 731-771-7082 or register online at

Saturday, February 28, 2015 

Urgent Need For Negative Type Blood 

Jackson, Tenn.-Supplies of all Blood Types are low and LIFELINE Blood Services is experiencing a critical need for blood types O negative, A negative and B negative, and O positive. 

Recent weather conditions with ice and snow have forced multiple blood drive cancellations and LIFELINE Blood Services was not able to collect the amount of blood needed during the last two weeks. 

To prevent a significant shortage and possible delay in surgical procedures, we must collect enough blood this week to supply West Tennessee hospital patients! All eligible blood donors urged to give blood this week when the LIFELINE Bloodmobile visits.

The Bloodmobile will be in Henry County from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday, March 5 at First United Methodist Church.

Union City Named Tennessee's 9th-Safest City 

Charlotte, N.C. -, a consumer-centric insurance
marketplace, recently conducted a study to find the safest Tennessee cities
from severe weather threats- and Union City ranked #9.

To find the safest cities, analysts at used a
variety of storm data points to create total score for 51 Tennessee cities
with populations greater than 10,000. Analysts used the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration storm events database to factor in occurrences of
tornadoes, hail and lightning in each area. The total score also took into
account the National Flood Insurance Program's Community Rating System. Data
sources were only available at the county level. Cities were assigned points
based on the information for the county in which the city is predominately

Union City ranked #9 on the list due to having low average occurrences of
tornado events.

The full report can be viewed here.

Murray Police Charge Four With Criminal Syndicate Charges
Murray, Ky.-Following an investigation in cooperation with local retail store security, Murray Police Department investigators have filed charges on four individuals for shoplifting and fraudulently returning merchandise. 

Helen N. Austin, 19, of Mayfield, Joseph Delaney, 21, of Murray, Frances C. Lee, 19, of New Concord, and Causha Wilkey, 22 of Geneva NE were involved in the thefts. Lee is charged with one count of Theft by Deception Under $500, seven counts of Theft by Unlawful Taking Under $500, and one count of Engaging in Organized Crime-Criminal Syndicate. Austin is charged with three counts of Theft by Deception Under $500, three counts of Theft by Unlawful Taking Under $500, and one count of Engaging in Organized Crime-Criminal Syndicate. Wilkey is charged with three counts of Theft by Deception Under $500, three counts of Theft by Unlawful Taking Under $500, and one count of Engaging in Organized Crime-Criminal Syndicate. Delaney is charged with one count of Theft by Deception Under $500, one count of Theft by Unlawful Taking Under $500, and one count of Engaging in Organized Crime-Criminal Syndicate. All four were arrested and lodged at the Calloway County Jail. 

Friday, February 27, 2015 

Mother Nature Not Done Yet

Paris, Tenn.-Mother Nature isn’t done with us yet. An early-morning snowfall enveloped Henry County in another blanket of snow, prompting the Paris Special Schools District to cancel school as the school buses were ready to leave for their morning routes. Henry County Schools already had been cancelled for today. In photo, another layer of snow made for a picturesque scene in Whitehall Circle around 6:30 a.m. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Charges Dismissed In Henry County Fatality

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-The State of Tennessee has dismissed charges against a Paris woman who was arrested for DUI after her vehicle struck and killed a Benton County motorcyclist last summer.

Suzanne Fowlkes, 56, of Paris, was arrested for DUI first offense following an accident on May 4, 2014, in which her vehicle struck two motorcycles. Killed in the accident was Michael Wall, age 39 of Eva.

The case was heard Wednesday in Henry County General Sessions Court by Weakley County Judge Thomas L. Moore, who was appointed as a special judge in the matter.

District Attorney Tommy Thomas was appointed as Special Prosecutor. Thomas is the District Attorney General for Obion and Weakley Counties.

According to an audio tape of the proceedings in Henry County General Sessions Court, District Attorney Thomas said the state moved to dismiss the charges based on the evidence presented.

According to Thomas, a surveillance video showed that Fowlkes was attempting to turn onto Hwy. 79 and stopped, “looking both left and right“. He said Fowlkes pulled out in front of the motorcycles, which were “travelling at an excessive rate of speed”. He also said that Fowlkes’ vision was impaired by the sun.

He noted that Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Jason Mounts had interviewed Fowlkes at the scene and she told him she had taken an Ambien the night before. “Based on that,” Thomas said, she was charged with DUI.

Fowlkes blood was drawn and sent away for testing. Those tests showed no alcohol present and “a small amount of the active ingredient of Ambien”, Thomas said.

Based on all of that, Thomas said, the state moved to dismiss the charge. Judge Moore accepted the state’s dismissal.

Wall was wearing a helmet and Fowlkes was wearing her seat belt at the time of the accident.

Vanderbilt LifeFlight To Locate At HCMC

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-Following a vote Thursday night by the Henry County Medical Center board of trustees, Vanderbilt Life Flight will be building an air ambulance operation on the hospital grounds.

The vote was split 3-2 and followed presentations by both Vanderbilt Life Flight and Air Evac, both of which were interested in locating on the HCMC grounds. Air Evac, which already has area headquarters in Martin, made a presentation last month.

HCMC Administrator Tom Gee said it appeared the board members voted to go with Vanderbilt Life Flight over Air Evac because of the information contained in the presentations and input from the medical staff.

“I think what they heard in the Vanderbilt presentation and the input from our medical staff regarding the quality of the Vanderbilt Life Flight operation is probably what swayed the votes,” Gee said.

According to its website, Vanderbilt Life Flight has transported more than 33,000 patients to hospitals in Nashville and destinations around the world. It is Tennessee’s largest not-for-profit air medical transport program, providing service via six helicopters (five bases and one helicopter serves as backup), one fixed wing aircraft (airplane) and four ground ambulances. It has kept an accident-free safety record since its inception in 1984.

Life Flight transports to all Nashville hospitals and has immediate access to the region's only Level I Trauma Center, Burn Center and Children's Hospital, all at Vanderbilt.
Life Flight is a key part of a trauma system that includes pre-hospital care, definitive care, rehabilitation and injury prevention. 

According to Life Flight’s presentation, it plans to spend $10 M which will locate a headquarters and helicopter at the local hospital.

Gee said Life Flight will locate its headquarters on the HCMC campus and will be staffed “around the clock. They’ll be ready to go in a moment’s notice.”

Gee: Health Care Situation Nears Critical Stage

Paris, Tenn.-Also at Thursday night’s meeting of the Henry County Medical Center board of trustees, Administrator Tom Gee said the health care situation is reaching a critical stage with small rural hospitals closing recently, including four in west Tennessee.

Gee noted Governor Bill Haslam’s Insure Tennessee failed to get out of committee in the state legislature last week. The legislature has been taking heavy criticism “from many different fronts and through the media”, he said, noting there appears to be some effort to salvage some sort of health care legislation in the upcoming session “but it is unclear what might be happening behind the scenes.”

“It is very depressing to hospitals, especially those of us in rural areas. Methodist Fayette County hospital announced its closure this past week,” Gee said. “That makes four west Tennessee hospitals plus one in Fulton, Ky., and one in West Memphis, Ark., that have closed this year. I have never heard of that many closures in one region in my forty plus years in healthcare.”

Plans to move forward with both the operating room expansion and Lake Haven geropsych unit for geriatric care are delayed. Due to the older building, the cost of the operating room project “has come in significantly over our planned budget.”

Gee said the hospital is showing a “bonanza year in physician recruitment”, with several doctors, including one from Paris, who will begin practicing in Henry County.

The hospital has commitments from two hospitalists who will join by the summer. Dr, Mengistu Yemane of Manchester, Ky., will be the new hospitalist director beginning in June and Dr. Bill Smith from Fulton Ky., will be the second hospitalist. Dr. Smith is joining following the closure of the Fulton hospital.

Gee said Dr. John Beddies, originally of Paris, will be returning with his family to join Kentucky Lake Urology. Gee said the hospital will begin managing Kentucky Lake Urology and will be employing both Dr. Beddies and Dr. Joe Mobley III. Dr. Joe Mobley Jr. will remain as an independent contractor in the practice as he nears retirement.

Gee also said the hospital is exploring how it can assist Dr. Lindsey Foust, also originally from Paris, in starting a podiatry practice in Paris. She currently is in practice in Louisville.

The hospital continues to seek candidates in OB and psychiatry. Gee said the hospital also is in discussion with one other existing practice about taking over the management of its operations and will bring that information to the board in the near future.

Holt, Harris Work Against Traffic Cameras 

                Rep. Andy Holt                                       Senator Lee Harris

Nashville, Tenn.-- Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, and newly-elected Senator Lee Harris, D-Memphis, have joined in a bipartisan effort to outlaw traffic cameras in Tennessee. Rep. Holt made a lot of headlines a few weeks ago when he spoke out strongly against the use of the cameras and now Senator Harris has joined with his effort.

Rep. Holt noted how unlikely of allies the two men appear. “Senator Lee Harris and I would seem like total polar opposites politically. He's from the big city of Memphis; I'm from a small town in rural Tennessee; He's a Democrat, I'm a Republican; He's black, I'm white; He's in the Senate, I'm in the House. Unfortunately, many would draw a seemingly logical conclusion that we don't like each other-- that we would seek to oppose and discredit one another. Given the national political environment, it is an easy assumption to make,” Holt said.

However, nothing could be further from the truth, Holt said. “Actually, in the few short weeks I have spent with Senator Harris, I have grown to love and respect him. He is brave, bold, responsible, and exactly what the people of Memphis need in a Democratic State Senator. While Senator Harris and I may not find common ground on many policy issues, we are linking arms on a huge issue for many Tennesseans; outlawing traffic cameras in the Volunteer State.”

Sen. Harris was the first Senator to co-sponsor of the "Tennessee Freedom From Traffic Cameras Act", Holt said, noting that “Sen. Harris will undoubtedly be attacked by his city officials, but his resolve to stand for Tennesseans will never be forgotten by me. Democrats and Republicans can work together for the greater good of Tennessee, and I pray we see more of this.”

Holt called the presence of traffic cameras “a festering wound to the free and sovereign people of this state.”

Holt attacked the arguments for the use of traffic cameras: “They generate revenue for the city: Since when did your constitutional rights have a price-tag? Did I mention that the vast majority of revenue is sent to out-of-state companies running the cameras, which has resulted in millions of dollars leaving Tennessee's economy?,” he said.

He also noted the argument that the cameras reduce accidents: “The only studies and data that show this outcome are funded by the cities and companies making millions of dollars off of the cameras, making such studies and data inherently biased. In fact, non-bias, independent studies show that traffic cameras actually increase accidents,” he said.

Rehabbed Bald Eagle To Be Released

Tiptonville, Tenn.-A newly rehabilitated juvenile Bald Eagle will be released into the wild at 1 p.m. Saturday, February 28 at the Reelfoot Lake State Park Visitor Center.

Tennessee State Parks Regional Naturalist David Haggard said, “This is one of the most exciting and rewarding aspects of our park ranger job.” 

The public is invited.

Obion Central High Coach Resigns Under Fire 

Union City, Tenn.-Obion County Central High School head girls basketball coach Lyle LaRue resigned under fire after a meeting with school officials.

WENK/WTPR Sports Analyst Mike Hutchens said this is the third coaching change at Obion County Central in five months. Head Football Coach Kevin Goltra was fired and Softball Coach Tommy Victory also resigned.

Obion County Central Athletic Director Craig Rogers said school officials decided “to go in a different direction” and were acting in the best interests of the program.

LaRue had been the coach for six years.

Rogers said the school will begin searching for a replacement immediately.

South Fulton Man Jailed On Multiple Charges

Fulton, Ky.-A South Fulton, Tenn., man is being held in the Fulton County Detention Center on a long list of charges following an incident in Fulton, Ky. Wednesday afternoon.

Danny Ray Wilson, age 50, is charged as a fugitive from justice (with three outstanding warrants from Obion County), theft of a vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident, arson of a vehicle, fleeing and evading in the first degree, tampering with evidence, threatening in third degree, receiving stolen property and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.

The incident began when Fulton Police had a report of a suspicious person hitchhiking on the Purchase Parkway. Officers located Wilson and he fled, throwing a loaded pistol in the pond adjacent to the former Terry Petty dealership.

UTM Volleyball Coach Resigns

Martin, Tenn. – Darrin McClure, who served as the University of Tennessee at Martin’s head volleyball coach since 2008, has resigned to accept the same position at Union University.

Julia Noe, who recently completed her fourth season as a Skyhawk assistant, will serve as acting head coach while the university begins a national search process to hire a new coach.

“I would like to personally thank Coach McClure for his many years of service to the UT Martin volleyball program,” Skyhawk athletics director Julio Freire said. “He conducted the program with the highest degree of integrity and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

A 2006 UT Martin graduate, McClure posted a 72-146 record in seven seasons at the helm of the Skyhawk program, including a 38-84 mark in Ohio Valley Conference play. He guided UT Martin to three OVC Tournament appearances, advancing all the way to the league’s championship match in 2011, the same year he was named OVC Coach of the Year. In his first season (2008), he led the program to the OVC Tournament for the first time in six years while he also made a tournament appearance in 2012.

McClure, who also served as an assistant coach at UT Martin from 2005-06, coached five All-OVC performers and the only American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American in program history. His team also earned the AVCA Team Academic Award for four straight seasons (2011-14) and had all 14 players on the Honor Roll last fall.

“UT Martin will always be special to me,” McClure said. “I am thankful for the opportunity I was given here and will forever be grateful for those that helped make it possible. I am sorry to leave an exceptional group of young ladies, managers and assistant coach Julia Noe but wish for nothing but continued success for the UT Martin volleyball program.”

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Winding Down After Hard Work 

Paris, Tenn.-Volunteers Gayle Griffith and Hut Stigall talk things over Wednesday as things wind down on the last day of the 2015 Helping Hand Radio Auction. The unofficial total raised during the two-month auction was $306,878, with thousands more expected to be donated before the tally is official. The full story on the auction’s last day was published Wednesday. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Bobo Suspect Died In Florida 

Decatur, Tenn. -- Authorities have confirmed the key witness in the Holly Bobo kidnapping and murder case who was reported to have committed suicide earlier this week was found dead in Florida.

The attorney for Shayne Austin of Decatur County told the media earlier this week that his client had committed suicide, but declined to say where.

Authorities have now confirmed that Austin died in a motel room in Bartow, Florida, but said no suicide note was found.

Austin was considered a key witness because he was said to have spent the entire day with Zach Adams on the day that Bobo was kidnapped and had confessed privately that he took part in the crime.

Adams, also of Decatur County, was the first person to be arrested for his part in the case. Bobo was kidnapped from her Parsons home in 2011 and her skull was found last year.

Austin last year had signed an immunity agreement with the state in exchange for information, but his deal was thrown out by former District Attorney Hansel McCadams because the state felt Austin didn’t not live up to his end of the bargain.

Austin was reportedly in Florida working as a contractor.

Voter Turnout Light For Tax Issue

Paris, Tenn.-Voter turnout was low for the first day of early voting Wednesday in Henry County for the local option sales tax referendum.

Henry County Elections Commission Director Darrin Thompson said a total of 110 have voted thus far, with 74 voting Wednesday. The balance of that figure were from absentee votes.

It is expected that turnout will continue to be low for the referendum vote. 

Early voting continues through March 12. Election Day is March 17.

Voters are being asked to increase the county’s local option sales tax by one-half percent. 
Early voting hours are Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Saturday February 28 and March 7, 9 a.m.-noon.

Chuck Wagon Gang To Perform Saturday

Union City, Tenn.-The Chuck Wagon Gang will appear this Saturday evening, February 28 at the Union City First United Methodist Church.

The event, “Celebrating 75 Years of Gospel Music” will be held at 6 p.m. There is free admission and a love offering will be taken. The event is open to the public. 

To learn more about The Chuck Wagon Gang visit

Murray Police Make ATM Theft Arrest 

Murray, Ky.-On October 18 of 2014, Murray Police Department received a report that a large sum of money had been taken from an ATM at FNB Bank in Murray. 

Pictures were distributed via the media and social media regarding a suspect vehicle. Follow up investigation by Detective Angel Clere led to Thomas Wadley, 42, of Paducah. On February 25, Wadley was charged with one count of Theft By Unlawful Taking Over $500/Under $10,000 for taking money from the ATM. Wadley was lodged at the Calloway County Jail. 

The Murray Police Department thanks the public for its support and assistance in this investigation.

Youth Tennis Camp Rescheduled

Paris, Tenn.-The planned youth tennis camp sponsored by the Paris Parks and Recreation Department has been rescheduled.

Parks Director Tony Lawrence said the camp for children aged 10 and under will be under the Direction of (United States Tennis Association) USTA certified coach J.F. Kirk.

The camp will be held at Atkins Porter Rec Center on Tuesdays and Thursday nights from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. April 14th, 16th, 21st, 23rd, 28th and May 5th, and 7th.

Registration fee is $25 made to Paris Parks and Recreation Department.

Sign up at the Paris Civic Center or call 644-2517

Wedding Planning Course Offered 

Martin, Tenn. – A certified wedding and event planning course will be offered from 6-8:30 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, March 10-April 30, on the main UT Martin campus. 
The registration fee is $995 per person and is offered through the University of Tennessee at Martin Office of Extended Campus and Online Studies, partnered with Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute.

This course teaches the fundamentals of planning, orchestrating and delivering social events, including weddings, baby showers and anniversary or birthday parties. Participants will be introduced to concise formulas for detailing the personal and professional aspects of any social event.

For more information, contact the UT Martin Office of Extended Campus and Online Studies at 731-771-7082 or register online at

Wednesday, February 25, 2015  

Unofficial Helping Hand Total for 2015: $306,878

Fred McLean, left, prepares to take to the microphone to auction off the last five slates at the Helping Hand Radio Auction last day today. (McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-After two months of hard work by a band of volunteers and dozens of local organizations and churches, an unofficial total of $306,878 was raised in this year’s annual Helping Hand Radio Auction.

Helping Hand Treasurer Susan Bell said, “That’s strictly the unofficial total. There will be more to add to it. Several more thousand is still to be donated for this year.”

A total of $7,254 was raised on Wednesday, the event’s last day, in which 16 slates of items were donated on “open to anyone day”. 

As always, the items donated were a good collection of homemade baked goods, casseroles, gift baskets, as well as the large refrigerators and freezers that were donated for the event.

Last year, a total of $351,663 was raised.

A truly homegrown event, the auction each year raises money for a long list of local charities and organizations. 

As is tradition, Paris Attorney Fred McLean served as auctioneer for the last segment of the auction. Also serving as auctioneers during the two-month event were Cindy Snyder, Gayle Griffith, Bill Williams, Bill McCutcheon, Doug Taylor, Ray Compton, Noel Hatman and Junior Staggs.

Each year, the auction is broadcast live every day on WTPR-AM.

Weather Delays BPU Substation, Warehouse

BPU General Manager John Etheridge, right, gives reports as Assistant General Manager Terry Wimberley, Director of Electric Department Cole Edwards and Secretary Gini Roberts listen. (McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-Issues with the weather have delayed completion of both the Board of Public Utilities’ new warehouse on Hwy. 218 and its North Paris substation.

Direcctor of Engineering Jeff Thompson told the BPU board at its meeting Wednesday that the substation is “almost there. It would have been done by now if we hadn’t had this weather.” Thompson said the substation “will be energized” in a couple of weeks.

As for the warehouse, Director of Electric Department Cole Edwards said, “We need a weather break to finish up, but the metering department is using the new warehouse as of this morning. We still have paving and a few other things to do to be all finished.”

The next BPU meeting will be held at the new facility when it meets Tuesday morning, March 24.

The only surprise in the monthly reports as presented by General Manager John Etheridge was the negative balance for the wastewater department.

Etheridge said the year-to-date net income for that department is -$32,000, which he said is due to “more expensive sewer backups that we’ve seen lately.” If those had not occurred in recent days, “we would have been break-even”, he said.

The electrical and water departments “are in good shape”, he said, with positive incomes for both month-to-date and expected for the end of the year.

In other business:

-The board approved revisions to the contribution to aid to construction policy and procedures and approved modifications to the new TVA rules and regulations.

PSSD To Follow Same Busing Plan All Week

Paris, Tenn.-Paris Special Schools WILL be in sesson Thursday and Director of Schools Mike Brown said the district will follow the same plan as it did for today. "Everything went really well for today," Brown said, "but our buses still will not be going down the 13 roads that we announced Tuesday."

The roads are: Hill Rd., Palestine Rd., Caledonia Rd. Extended, Old McKenzie Highway, Hidden Acres/Muzzall Rd., Cole Fairway, Terry Lane, Smith Heights, Tanglewood, Logan Rd., McClain Rd., Ross Sawmill Rd. and Guthrie Rd. (660 and above).

Brown said some 25 students are affected and arrangements were made for those students to be picked up or their parent to take them to school.

Finding Those Holly Berries

Paris, Tenn.-Our feathered friends have been even busier than usual on these snowy and frigid days, foraging for food wherever they can find it. Paris Photographer Jean Owens captured this photo of a mockingbird eating holly berries on a recent day. 

Obion County Seeks Liquor Lawsuit Involvement

Union City, Tenn.-The Obion County Budget Committee has voted to send a prepared resolution to the full county commission seeking to officially intervene in the county school system’s lawsuit against the city of Union City, seeking past liquor-by-the-drink revenue which the school system claims it is due.

The lawsuit was filed in 2014 and seeks $250,000 from Union City.

Obion County is not the only county in Tennessee that found itself in such a predicament. State auditors last year determined that cities across the state were not distributing the tax revenue properly. Other jurisdictions, such as Henry County and the city of Paris, already came to settlements.

County Mayor Benny McGuire said the attorneys involved in the litigation presented a prepared resolution to the county that would allow the county to be part of the litigation. He said the commission will consider the resolution at its next meeting, which is set for 9 a.m. March 9 at the Obion County Library.

Huntingdon Offers Emergency Text Messaging

Lt. Walter Smothers

Huntingdon, Tenn.-The Huntingdon Department of Public Safety has announced that the department now has the capability of sending mass text messages to the cell phones of persons that wish to receive them. 

Director of Public Safety Lt. Walter Smothers said the messages will be sent out in emergency situations, such as in the event of severe weather conditions in the area, any evacuations if needed, missing children or missing elderly alerts, road conditions including flooded roads, planned electrical outages and many other potential uses. 

“Not only can the community benefit from this service,” Smothers said, “but the Department could potentially benefit if, as stated earlier, we have a missing child or person, we could have hundreds of eyes on the watch for them instead of just a few officers.”

In order to receive these messages on your cell phone just text the town zip code, 38344, in the message area of a text message and send the message to 888777. Or you can go the the website that is hosting the mass text messaging platform and sign up. The website address is . 

Nixle has informed Smothers that if a cell phone subscriber has no text messaging plan, or a limited plan with their carrier, then standard text message rates may apply.

“The Huntingdon Department of Public Safety is dedicated to providing the best in community protection, awareness and information sharing,” Smothers said. “We thank Nixle for sharing their technology with us and look forward to expanding our efforts to provide more public safety measures.”

West Tennessee 4-H Camp Back On Drawing Board 

Union City, Tenn.-A plan to develop a new 4-H camp for West Tennessee is back on the drawing board.

Governor Bill Haslam’s preliminary budget includes money that would fund purchase of Lone Oak Farms in Middleton (in Hardeman County).

Obion County Extension Office Director Tim Smith was asked to gather information on a preferred site for the new 4H Camp and Conference Center for West Tennessee.

Smith said the money in the preliminary state budget would fund the purchase of the land only.

Quilting Workshop Set For Saturday 

Dover, Tenn.-Break the cabin fever at the Stewart County Library for a Quilting Workshop this Saturday, February 28. The workshop will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., with a lunch break from noon to 1 p.m.

Deborah and Sara, the Hoopster Sisters are excited to return and discuss quilting techniques during the Civil War. 

Sorry, no pot luck lunch.

TCAT Hosts Chamber Coffee

Paris, Tenn.-Dr. Brad White, left, administrator of the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology in Paris and McKenzie, and Assistant Director Willie Huffman, who serves on the Board of the Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce, welcomed Charles Wilson and the Chamber Coffee this month to the TCAT.

GOP Meeting Rescheduled 

Paris, Tenn.-The Henry County GOP meeting scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 26th has been moved forward one week due to inclement weather.
That meeting will now be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 5th in the Chancery Court room of the Court House.

Phlebotomy Tech Course Offered 

Martin, Tenn. – A 90-hour training course is available through the University of Tennessee at Martin Office of Extended Campus and Online Studies for those interested in becoming phlebotomy technicians. The course will meet from 6-9:30 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, March 10-May 26, and from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., April 25 and May 9, on the main UT Martin campus. The course costs $1,799 per person, which includes all textbooks and supplies.

This course is designed to prepare professionals to collect blood specimen for laboratory analysis. Students will become familiar with all aspects of blood collection and develop the skills to perform venipunctures safely. Classroom and lab work includes specimen practice, terminology, anatomy and physiology.

The National Healthcare Association certification exam is given at the end of the course. The exam costs an additional $105 and is paid directly to the NHA. The course instructor will arrange exam registration and payment.

There is no outside externship rotation included in this program. 

For more information or to register, call the UT Martin Office of Extended Campus and Online Studies at 731-881-7082.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 

PSSD Endorses Sales Tax Option Referendum

Paris Mayor Carlton Gerrell presents a power point presentation on the sales tax referendum at Tuesday's PSSD meeting. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director 

Paris, Tenn.-Following a power point presentation by Paris Mayor Carlton Gerrell Tuesday night, the Paris Special Schools board of education endorsed the local option sales tax that will be on the ballot at a special March 17 election.

The school board met a week later than scheduled due to last week’s ice storm.

The early voting period begins Wednesday, March 25, on the issue, which would generate $1.8 M annual and would be distributed to Henry County, city of Paris and the Henry County and Paris school districts.

Gerrell said $900,000 of that amount will be distributed to the schools. 

Key reasons for the need for the sales tax, Gerrell said, are revenue losses of $315,000 annually from the decrease in local liquor sales and that inflation has exceeded revenue growth. 

The county, city and schools have taken steps to balance their budgets, Gerrell said, including a city property tax increase, reducing benefits to staff, no salary increases, deferring capital and property expenses and using rainy day funds.

Gerrell said use of a sales tax is preferable to property tax, which would be detrimental to retiree recruitment, a burden on homeowners, commercial property owners, farmers and would discourage investment in the local community.

PSSD Director of Schools Mike Brown said the district is not at a crisis point yet “but I can foresee in the next two to four years that we won’t be able to maintain the same level of services without increased revenues.”

Board Member Kim Foster--who also is Finance Director for the city of Paris--said the sales tax option is “a no-brainer to me.”

Brown praised the efforts of Richie Chilcutt and maintenance staff of the district in clearing parking lots and making repairs which has enabled the district to open Wednesday “which is probably two or three days earlier than it could have been,” he said.

Brown said 13 roads or parts of roads are still impassable for school buses but that only about 25 students are affected by that. Brown earlier Tuesday gave out a phone number for parents to call so that arrangements could be made to pick up their children at other locations.

In other business:

--Curriculum Supervisor Dr. Leah Watkins reported that a $6,600 grant from Utrust will allow the district to offer a Summer STEM Academy for higher achieving students who score 90 percent or greater on TCAP science and math scores.

The academy will be offered July 13-17 at Inman Middle School for students in grades 3-7 and will include morning and afternoon sessions. Some 60 students will receive invitations to it, she said. “We’re really excited about what we can offer with this,” she said.

PSSD Approves Calendar

Paris, Tenn.-The Paris Special Schools board of education approved the 2015-2016 school calendar at Tuesday’s meeting.

The calendar allows for no school on fair day of August 6, fall break October 15-16; Thanksgiving break November 25-27; Christmas holiday December 21-31; New Year’s holiday students return Jan. 5; spring break March 21-25; fish fry day April 29 and May 21 abbreviated day.

Weakley County Man Dies Of Exposure

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Dresden, Tenn.-An 83-year-old Weakley County man died overnight from exposure to frigid temperatures after he fell outside at his home. The man has not been identified by authorities.

The Weakley County Sheriff’s Office responded to 550 Unity Rd. north of Dresden at 10:43 a.m. Tuesday.

The 83-year-old resident was found deceased in his driveway. According to Capt. Randall McGowan, it appeared that the man had been to his mailbox, fell on the ice-covered driveway, slid down a small hill and was unable to get back to his porch.

The man was last heard from about 1:30 p.m. the day before.

Capt. McGowan said it is believed exposure to the cold temperatures contributed to his death. Investigators from the sheriff’s office were assisted by the Weakley Co. Medical Examiner’s Office and the Weakley Co. Ambulance Service.

Dyersburg Police Officer Arrested By TBI
Charged With Stealing From Obion County Couple

Dyersburg, Tenn. – An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in the arrest of a Dyersburg Police Officer charged with stealing from an Obion County couple.

At the request of 27th District Attorney General Thomas Thomas, TBI Special Agents, with the assistance of officers with the Obion County Sheriff’s Office, began investigating Cara Elizabeth Johnson-Peckenpaugh on February 10th. Johnson-Peckenpaugh is an investigator with the Dyersburg Police Department.

During the course of the investigation, Agents determined that on February 5th, Johnson-Peckenpaugh electronically removed money from the checking account of a Union City couple and used that money to pay her own electric bill to the Forked Deer Electric Company in Halls.

On Tuesday, agents arrested Cara Johnson-Peckenpaugh and charged the 37-year-old with Theft under $500. She was booked at the Obion County Jail and released on her own recognizance. Johnson-Peckenpaugh has been suspended without pay from the Dyersburg Police Department pending an administrative proceeding.

Inmates Graduate From Parenting Class

Sgt. Rob Camper and Lt. Steve Dean congratulate Kayla Odom on her graduation, while Carl Perkins Center Director Catherine Herrera looks on. (Henry Co. Sheriff's Office photo).

Paris, Tenn.-Fifteen inmates of the Henry County Jail were graduated from the parenting class sponsored by the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and Carl Perkins Center during a ceremony Monday night.

The class is a 13-week program taught by Carl Perkins Center staff which teaches inmates positive teaching techniques. Each graduate is awarded a one-hour contact visit with family in the courtroom where the graduation ceremony was held.

Sheriff Monte Belew noted this is the fourth parenting class to be graduated and he praised the “excellent” job performed by the Carl Perkins staff.

Shop Local Week Hopes To Boost Sales Hurt By Weather

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Union City, Tenn.-The Obion County Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Union City have teamed up in declaring this week “Shop Local Week in Obion County”

Chamber Membership Director Katie Keathley said the two organizations recognize that many of the local businesses have been adversely impacted by the weather conditions last week and into this week “so we’re partnering to try and help boost our local economy.”

Local businesses lost badly needed sales “and our friends and neighbors lost work time and in turn many lost wages as well,” she said. 

By reminding everyone to shop local, she said, “We’re hoping to give our local businesses more business this week.”

Shopping locally not only supports local jobs and conserves tax dollars but also encourages the community and makes Obion County a destination, she said.

Martin Police Chief Announces Resignation 

Martin, Tenn.-Long-time Martin Police Chief David Moore has announced he will be resigning to enter the private sector.

Moore said he has accepted a position as a vice president at Savant Learning Systems, an online training and education program headquartered in Martin.

Moore has worked for the Martin Police Department for 27 years, 11 of which have been spent as police chief. He also is past president of the Tennessee Chiefs of Police Association.

The resignation will be effective April 10. Moore told the media the decision was not an easy one but the opportunity was such that it could not be passed up.

Pharmacy Tech Training Offered 

Martin, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin Office of Extended Campus and Online Studies will offer a comprehensive 50-hour training course for those interested in becoming pharmacy technicians. The class will meet from 6-9:30 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays, March 9-April 27 on the UT Martin main campus. The course fee is $1,199, which includes textbooks and supplies.

Students will be introduced to dosage calculations, I.V. flow rates, drug compounding, dose conversions, dispensing of prescriptions, inventory control, billing and reimbursement. 

Participants will also review medical terminology specific to the pharmacy, reading and interpreting prescriptions and defining drugs by generic and brand names. 
Pharmacy technicians work in hospitals, home infusion pharmacies, community pharmacies and other health care settings under the supervision of a registered pharmacist. 

Students will take a graded final exam to help prepare for the official certification exam.
For more information or to register for the course, contact ECOS at 731-881-7082 or register online at

Helping Hand Total Is Now $295,340

Paris, Tenn.-The grand total raised so far in the annual Helping Hand Radio Auction is now at $295,340-- tantalizingly close to the $300,000 mark for another year. The auction will conclude on Wednesday.

On Monday, $3,816 was raised by UT Supporters, Open Doors Community Church, Henry County Girl Scouts and the Church in Paris.

On Tuesday, items will be donated by the India community, Lakeway Village, and Peppers Automotive Group. Wednesday will be Open To Anyone Day.

Money raised during the auction goes toward local community organizations and charities. The auction is held at the Henry County Fairgrounds and can be heard live daily on WTPR-AM 710 starting at 12:30 p.m. 

Lions Chili Supper Today

Paris, Tenn.-It’s cold outside and what better way to warm up than with a bowl of chili?

The Paris Lions Club is holding its annual chili supper from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today at the First United Methodist Church in Paris.

The supper will feature the Lions Club’s famous chili, pie and drink for $10. Take outs are available. Tickets are available at the door.

Bill Jelks of the Lions Club said this event is the club’s biggest fund-raiser of the year.

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper Tonight

Union City,  Tenn.-The annual Shrove Tuesday pancake supper, which was postponed due to last week’s weather, will be held from 5-7 p.m. tonight at the St. James Episcopal Church in Union City. Cost is $5 per person and is all you can eat.

Goodwill Job Fair Set For Thursday

South Fulton, Tenn.-Goodwill Career Solutions has rescheduled its job fair for Thursday, February 26, from 9 a.m.-noon at the South Fulton City Hall.

Job World, Waymatic, A Place Called Home and Letica will be on hand with multiple positions available. Representatives from Bethel University will be in attendance with information about the associate degree programs.

Bring your resume, photo ID, birth certificate and come dressed ready for interviews. To find out more, call 731-8844324.


Area Scams Target Elderly 

Murray, Ky.-In recent weeks, the Murray Police Department has investigated multiple scams targeting elderly victims. 

The scams have similar profiles. In each scam, the suspect has contacted the victim and claimed that the victim has won a large sum of money, in one case $1.2 million, in another $285,000. 

The victim is instructed to send cash as a “claiming fee” via either UPS or the US Mail. In both of these scams, the suspect had the victim’s name and address, making their claim seem more believable. MPD would like to remind the public that often scammers can find your name and address from pubic sources, so just because someone calls you by name, doesn’t mean they are legitimate. 

Furthermore, if you can’t remember entering a contest, it is likely you did not, and it is probably a scam. No contest will charge you a claiming fee to collect your prize; if they ask for one, it is a scam. Never send cash through the mail or other shipping service. If you think something might be a scam, or seems in the least bit suspicious, don’t hesitate to call the Murray Police Department at (270) 753-1621, and we will be glad to help figure out if it is a scam or not.

Brent Hinson
6pm – 12am

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