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WMUF/WLZK News                                                               

From News Director Tim Alsobrooks         

 

 

Patriots Split Games with Springfield Saturday Afternoon

Paris, Tenn - The Patriots were back in basketball action Saturday afternoon when they hosted Springfield at Gamlin Gymnasium. The Lady Patriots once again were victorious in basketball action with a final score at the buzzer of 56-24.

The Patriots did not give up the fight to attempt the win over Springfield right down to the final shot of the game. The Patriots lost to Springfield with a final score of 48-46.

The Patriots will be back in basketball action on Tuesday February 9th when they travel to face off against Rossview. The broadcast begins at 5:30pm on WLZK 94.1 FM, or you can hear the game online at wmufradio.com, or you can also listen via your phone by calling 415-325-0723.

Burglary Reported at Harrison Lane Apt. in Paris

Paris, Tenn - A victim of theft reported to Ptl. Amber Roaten of the Paris Police Department that when she left her apartment on Harrison Lane and returned the next morning, she discovered that a screen had been cut out of the back bedroom window.

The report noted that also there were pry marks on the back door as well as the door handle was loose. At the time of the report, all that was reported missing was a black 19” TV.

Missing Rings Reported Stolen

Paris, Tenn - A resident of Chickasaw Road in Paris reported that her engagement ring and wedding ring was missing from her night stand. The victim informed officers of the Paris Police Department that she questioned a family member who stated that he took the rings and pawned them at Cash America Pawn in Paris, according to the report.

The victim provided officers with a receipt of the rings, that provided a value of $1300.00. Officers of the Paris Police department made contact with Cash America Pawn and the report noted that the pawn shop had no record of the suspect pawning the rings. As of the time of the report, officers have been unable to make contact with the suspect and the case is still under investigation.

Antiques Reported Stolen at Local Storage Unit

Paris, Tenn - A report of theft was also reported at A-1 Storage in Paris, when the victim went to her storage unit and seen that the lock was cut off and multiple items were missing. The report stated that  items taken were, antique glassware by McCoy, Curio Cabinet and other antique items with a value of $1200.00. According to the report by Officer Derek Greenhill, the case is still under investigation.

Henry County Woman Charged with Leaving the Scene

Huntingdon, Tenn – The Huntingdon Police Department received a call in reference to someone striking a utility pole and a mailbox, then leaving the scene. Upon arrival, Inv. Joey Hedge spoke with the complainant and the person who witnessed the accident.

The witness informed Inv. Hedge that he seen the accident and immediately turned around, followed the vehicle and took a picture of the tag. The witness also gave a description of the woman driving the vehicle.

With the picture, Inv. Hedge was able to run the tag and discover that the tag came back to Mrs. Ashley Gaut of Mansfield Road in Mansfield.  The information that the witness gave Inv. Hedge matched the description of the said vehicle, and it did come back as a Henry County address.

At that point, Inv. Hedge made contact with the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and they made contact with Ashley Gaut. The report noted that Ashley Gaut did go to the Huntingdon Police department the next day.

According to the report, she was advised of her Miranda Rights, and Gaut admitted to leaving the scene of an accident. At that point, she was charged with said offense.

The value of the mailbox was placed at $75.00 and and estimated value of the utility pole was placed at $2,000.00.

Save the Date - Runway for a Cure 2016

Paris, Tenn -The 5th Anniversary Runway for a Cure event is set for Friday, March 11th at Krider Performing Arts Center in Paris, Tennessee.

“This year we are so excited and honored to have Hannah Robison, Miss Tennessee 2015, as our Special Guest Emcee.” Stated Event Co-Chair Tracey Beasley. 

Runway for a Cure features our area’s trendiest boutiques and celebrates cancer survivors as Honorary Co-Chairs for the event. Honorary Co-Chairs model for the boutiques, in addition to local celebrities. “It’s such a unique and fun event!  In the past we’ve had elected officials, doctors, teachers, and many other professionals from our community rock the Runway! You never know who you’ll see modeling on our stage!” says Dana Allen, who Co-Chairs this event with Tracey Beasley as a fundraiser for  Relay for Life. 

 In addition to celebrating fashion, we also feature information related to the mission, research and programs of the American Cancer Society.   The Silent Auction begins at 6:00 pm with the Fashion Show starting at 7:00 pm.   

 Tickets for this event are only $10.00.  Tickets are available at all participating boutiques:  Boutique Marimac, Queens,Maggie’s, and Southern Roots in Paris, Sunshine Boutique and Ruffles and Rednecks in Camden, and The Whispering Tree in Murray, KY. 

Henry County –Clarksville Split Wins Friday Evening

Paris, Tenn - In basketball action Friday evening the Henry County Lady Patriots were victorious in their game against Clarksville, with a final score of 52-51, after Lady Patriot Gracie Osborne made the winning shots from the free throw line. The Patriots lost their attempt to win over Clarksville with a final score of 42-28.

Henry Man Arrested In Prostitution Sting

Charles Renn (HCSO booking photo)

Paris, Tenn. - According to a press release issued by the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, on Thursday, February 4th, the Metro Crime Unit and the TBI conducted an undercover sting operation for prostitution.

Arrested during this operation was Charles E. Renn, age 77, of 1585 Macedonia Road in Henry. Renn was charged with patronizing prostitution and violation of the sex offender registry.

Renn’s bond was set at $20,000, which was posted and Renn is set to appear in court on February 9th.


Henry County School System Teachers Of The Year Announced

Lakewood Principal, Amy Veazey with PK - 4 grade Teacher of the Year, Becky White (School photo)

Henry Principal David Kibbler with 5 - 8 grade Teacher of the Year, Patsy Barrow (School photo)

E. W. Grove Assistant Principal, Michele Webb, Teacher of the Year, Jammie Adkisson, Principal Sam Tharpe, and Math teacher, Karen Dukes (School photo)

Henry County, Tenn. - Director of Schools, Dr. Brian Norton, revealed the Teachers of the Year by saying, "I am excited to announce the 2016 Henry County School District Teachers of the Year." Dr. Norton went on to say, "These ladies will submit applications for the Northwest CORE Teacher of the Year.  We are proud of them and of all of the others who were school-level Teachers of the Year.  Every nominee is an outstanding educator and worthy of the honor of teacher of the year.  Please express your congratulations to these well-deserving educators."

PreK - 4th Grade Teacher of the Year is Becky White, of Lakewood Elementary School.

5th- 8th Grade Teacher of the Year is Patsy Barrow, Henry Elementary School.

9th - 12th Grade Teacher of the Year is Jammie Adkisson, E.W. Grove School.

School-Level Teachers of the Year are as follows:

Harrelson - PreK - 4th Grade - Lauren Nash     5th - 8th Grade - Amber Ryan

Henry:  PreK - 4th Grade - Lisa Olive      5th-8th Grade-Patsy Barrow

Lakewood:  PreK - 4th Grade - Becky White       5th - 8th Grade - Lisa Ray

Grove:  Jammie Adkisson

HCHS:  Kayla Berryhill


HCSO Deer Meat Giveaway Huge Success

(HCSO photo)

Paris, Tenn. - The Henry County Sheriff’s Department’s Deputies for the Hungry Program gave away deer meet on Friday morning. The giveaway began at 9 a.m. at the Sheriff’s Department and then moved to Kroger parking lot.              

The Sheriff’s Office had 100+ cars and gave away over 5,000 pounds of deer meat.              

The winner of the 270 Ruger Rifle, donated by Jamie Orr, Edward Jones Financial Advisor, was Dan Hill.      

 

Executed Search Warrant Leads To Arrest Of Two Locals

Paris, Tenn. - According to a report at the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, Sgt. Myrick and the Metro Crime Unit executed a search warrant at 255 Gooch Lane.            

A glass meth pipe was located in the homeowner’s bedroom. A syringe, commonly used to inject narcotics was located in the bathroom and 2 additional syringes were located in the kitchen on top of the cabinets.             

Both the homeowner and her boyfriend advised that they both lived in the house, but both denied ownership of the paraphernalia.              

Rebecca Singleton, age 43 and Billy D. Wilson, age 33, were both charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.


One Arrested After Drug Activity Suspected At Local Hotel

Paris, Tenn. - A report at the Henry County Sheriff’s Department stated that Deputy Blake Jenkins, Sgt. Lance Perry and Lt. Ricky Watson responded to possible drug activity at the Quality Inn.           

Upon knocking, contact was made with Brandi Mayo, age 28, of 820 Curtis Street and a strong odor of marijuana was detected. Consent to search was requested and denied.                   

A search warrant was requested, granted and executed. Located in Mayo’s purse were 1.5 grams of meth, 4.8 grams of cocaine, 1.5 grams of marijuana, Hydrocodone, Adderall and $2,871 in cash. A drawer in the room contained a set of digital scales.

Mayo was taken into custody and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, simple possession of a schedule VI drug and 5 counts of possession of schedule II with intent.

Mayo was transported to the Henry County Jail and placed on $15,000 bond.


Business Destroyed in Elkhorn Nobles Rd. Fire Thurs. Afternoon

Springville, Tenn.- A fire Thursday afternoon resulted in the complete loss of Thompson’s Automotive on Elkhorn Nobles Road. The Springville Volunteer Fire Department was called out to the fire before 3pm and found the shop fully involved.

Springville Fire Chief Billy Unruh said the fire was caused by mechanical work at the shop. One of the worker’s was heating up something and it sparked and made a trail to some nearby oil barrels which ignited the fire.

The building which consisted of three bays and some cars and tractors inside were completely destroyed in the blaze. Big Sandy and Oakland provided mutual aid to Springville during the fire.

Arts Council Love and Laughter Event Set for Feb. 13th

Paris, Tenn.- The Paris Henry County Arts Council’s 2nd Annual Love and Laughter event will be Saturday February 13th at the Paris Convention Center. The evening begins with a social time at 5:30pm with the Paris Winery, followed by a catered meal by Show Thyme Catering. Dinner music will be provided by the Shepherd Family. The evening wraps up with a family friendly comedy show by David Ferrell.

Dinner and show tickets are $75 per couple or $40 per person. Tickets can be purchased at downtown branches of Commercial Bank, Security Bank, Foundation Bank on East Wood Street, Boutique Marimac, My Favorite Things, and The Iron Place. For more information call the Arts Council at 642-3955.

HC Hosts Clarksville High Fri., Springfield Sat. on Hardwood

Paris, Tenn.- Henry County hosts Clarksville High School Friday night for District 10-AAA basketball. The Lady Patriots will tip at 6pm, followed by men’s action. Our broadcast begins at 5:30pm on WLZK 94.1FM and streaming online at wmufradio.com. You can also listen via your phones by calling 415-325-0723. Henry County will also host Springfield at home Saturday, with the Lady Patriots tip off at 2pm, our broadcast will begin at 1:30pm. The regular season wraps up next week with games at Rossview Tuesday night and at home against Northeast next Friday night.

City to Hold Preservation Input Meeting February 23rd

Commissioners discuss the pilot program with USDA-RD Thurs. Night. (Tim Alsobrooks photo)

Paris, Tenn.- The Paris City Commission met in regular session on Thursday night and learned that the City was approached by USDA Rural Development about partnering with them on a pilot program to do neighborhood preservation and stabilization.

Paris will be one of three pilot communities for the project, which will combine various funding and municipal resources as well as community involvement to address neighborhood needs. Boliver and Springfield are the other cities in the pilot program.

City Manager Kim Foster said it’s great to participate in the program, but we have to select a neighborhood and gather some data on what citizens’ view as priorities. Foster said she anticipated “the first projects will be exterior improvements to individual homes in a 3-5 block radius off a main road combined with municipal projects like sidewalks.”

Foster said options could include city crews coming in with a dumpster and gathering things folks have not been able to dispose of or take to landfills.

The City will hold a meeting at 5:30pm on Tuesday February 23rd to identify what could be beneficial to citizens. The meeting is open to the public and everyone is invited to attend. Foster said after the input from the community we will determine which need is the most important and decide where to start and hopefully if things work out, the next round of money could go to the next area and continue indefinitely for the community.

City Commissioner Terry Fuller says we have to get citizens to come to the initial meeting and buy into the program and be involved in bringing improvements to their area of the city. He said it will be successful if our citizens get involved.

City To Apply for Grant thru THDA

Commissioners listen as City Manager Kim Fosters explains the grant thru THDA. (Tim Alsobrooks photo)

Paris, Tenn.- Commissioners also approved applying for a $350K Home Grant thru the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.

City Manager Kim Foster said an inquiry was received from the Northwest Development District gauging the City’s interest in applying for the grant which can include construction proposals which would go along with the partnership on the low interest loans involving vacant city owned lots with USDA-RD.

Foster said some of the components the THDA uses includes the homes built prior to 1960, which includes 36% of the homes in Paris. Based on last year’s round of grants, Henry County tied for third in Northwest Tennessee at 32 out of 50 points.

Foster said the City’s partnership with USDA-RD, the recent Community Development Block Grant housing work, and their 502 Loan Program shows the City of Paris has shown unwavering commitment to housing over time. Foster said NDD thanks that should help aid in the grant application process.

The grant will allow home repairs to homeowners meeting the eligibility requirements which includes income limits. The grant can be used city-wide instead of limited to a certain targeted area. Foster said the grant is due in March.

Commission Authorizes Mayor to Sign Contract With TDOT

Paris, Tenn.- The City Commission authorized the Mayor to sign the contract with the Tennessee Department of Transportation concerning STP funds to add signalization at the intersection of Jim Adams and Volunteer Drive. The contract is expected in the next few days and allowing the Mayor to sign it would avoid delay in getting the contract back to TDOT. City Manager Kim Foster said she is nearly certain they will be able to use the STP funds for the signalization and not have to dip into the budget.

Commission Agrees to Apply for Grant for Heritage Center

David Webb discusses the Heritage Center's plans to repair and renovate this year. (Tim Alsobrooks photo)

Paris, Tenn.- The commission heard a request from the Paris Henry County Heritage Center. Chairman of the Heritage Center board, David Webb told commissioners the Heritage Center will turn 100 years old this year and they want to celebrate by repairing and renovating the building, creating new public spaces, and installing new exhibits.

Webb asked the City to apply for historic preservation grant on the Heritage Center’s behalf, which will be used to help restore Cavitt Place to its original 1916 appearance. Webb said they will use historical photographs, existing professional guidelines, and recommendations from historic preservationists to achieve the look.

The Heritage Center also plans to acquire additional museum cases for the first floor and significant expansion of exhibits on local history for the second floor. Exhibits of Native Americans who lived in Henry County, evolution of Cavitt Place, continued traveling museum exhibits, and other events will be added or continue at the Heritage Center.

Commissioners approved the request and the city will apply for the historic preservation grant of $18K.

City Continues To See Increased Revenue

Paris, Tenn.- Finance Director Traci Pillow went over the financials from November  2015 and it showed a 1.05% increase compared to November 2014. Year to date for the calendar year, the City remains 4.18% better than the year before.

Pillow informed commissioners that General Fund revenues caught up considerably in December after being behind most of the fiscal year. Fiscal year to date expenditures remain ahead of revenues, but in December revenues exceeded expenditures by over $344K. Property tax collections contributed as nearly $324K was collected in December. So far, year to date property tax collections are closing in on $515K which is about 50% of expected collections.

Solid Waste expenditures did exceed revenues by over $284K and the purchase of a new Sanitation truck was $250K and $60K was spent in the Transfer Station Construction which was completed in January.

City Hall Renovations Continue; March Target Completion

Paris, Tenn- City Manager Kim Foster reported that renovations continue at City Hall and windows and doors work is around 95% complete while gutters and downspouts are a little less than half complete. Concrete planters have been poured in front of the building and target completion is the end of March.

Foster said they have also added doors to pit openings at the Transfer Station to prevent excessive wind issues. Everything else at the Transfer Station seems to be running smoothly. She said the North winds blows in thru the pit because of the way it was constructed and is situated on the lot. She said they knew during the construction phase this would be a possibility. It added around $10K to the total cost of the project, but the city really had no choice.

Commission Approves Certiicate of Compliance

Paris, Tenn.- Commissioners approved a certificate of compliance for Piyush Patel for Westwood Wines and Liquors. Patel is in the process of submitting the required information to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission for a new license to operate Westwood Wines and Liquors. With all proper paperwork in place and background checks completed, the commission approved the mayor to sign the certificate of compliance.

Commission To Evaluate City Manager's Performance

Paris, Tenn.- City Manager Kim Foster discussed the process of evalutions for the city manager, something she said she welcomes and has been done in the past. City Commissioner Terry Fuller said he thinks its important for evaulations and looked at different forms to use for the process. All other commissioners agreed and will fill out the forms and give back to review.

Man Attempts to Swallow Marijuana After Traffic Stop

Paris, Tenn.- Ptl. Steven McClure of the Paris Police Department charged two men with drug charges after the vehicle they were in failed to stop at a stop sign. The report said Ptl. McClure stopped the car and smelled marijuana. The driver, Michael W. Kuhn, age 34 of Big Sandy told Ptl. McClure he and the passenger, Rodney Keith Avant, age 38 of 115 Wynn St., had both smoked some earlier.

A search of Kuhn’s person revealed two bags of marijuana and he was charged with simple possession of schedule 6. Avant was found to be chewing on something and Ptl. McClure told him to open his mouth and found a bag of marijuana that he tried to swallow it. Avant was charged with simple possession of schedule 6 and tampering with evidence.

MCU Arrests Two For Drug Possession

Paris, Tenn.- The Metro Crime Unit has charged two with drug possession. Steven Thomas Miller, age 26, of 103 N. Highland, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and simple possession of schedule 2 drug. Benjamin Kyle Fields, age 28, of 1875 Old Paris Murray Road was charged with simple possession of schedule 2 and possession of drug paraphernalia and placed on $2500 bond.

Sgt. Josh Frey of the Paris Police Department stopped a car that was speeding and noticed a strong odor of alcohol present. The driver, Mark Edward Goodman, age 54 of 110 McDaniel Street was charged with DUI 3rd offense, driving on a revoked driver license, and violation of implied consent after performing poorly on a field sobriety test.

Dept. of Health Warns Against Imparied Driving Superbowl Sun.

Nashville- This weekend millions of people will be driving to a Super Bowl party to watch the biggest football game of the year. The Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security urge all Tennesseans to be safe on the roadways this Sunday and every other day of the year.

‘’Most of us have fun watching the Super Bowl and enjoy a good time, but we want everyone to be safe before, during and after the game, so we encourage you to be moderate in food and drink and absolutely not to drive impaired by alcohol or any other drug,’’ said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. ‘’Be especially aware that many drugs people take regularly can cause impairment when mixed with alcohol or all by themselves and don't let a great American night of fun and fellowship end in tragedy."

‘’One of the top priorities of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security is to ensure Tennesseans are safe and secure on our roadways,” said Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons. ‘’We are always enforcing traffic laws and looking for impaired drivers and Super Bowl Sunday will be no exception.’’

To avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for impaired driving, designate a sober driver and don’t let friends or family members drive impaired.

“In 2015, there were more than 4,000 alcohol-related traffic crashes in Tennessee, down significantly from previous years and last year we had the second-lowest number of traffic fatalities since 1963,” said Gibbons. “We are very pleased to see these numbers go down, but our goal is to see an even bigger improvement and save more lives in 2016.”

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.

Highway Dept. Closes Clifty Road For Emergency Repairs

Paris, Tenn.- The Henry County Highway Department is closing Clifty Road two tenths of a mile Northwest of the Clifty Road and Clifty Creek intersection. The alternate route is Highway 69A to Clifty Creek Road. The road should be open for evening traffic.

Four Henry County Patriot Football Players Sign Letters of Intent

HCHS Patriot Senior Gunner Osbron signs a letter of intent to play football with the United States Naval Academy. His parents Shannon and Jamie are behind Gunner. (Tim Pharr photos)

Paris, Tenn.- Four Henry County senior football players signed letters of intent on Wednesday during National Signing Day for College Football as they plan to continue their playing careers on the gridiron.

Gunner Osbron signed with the United States Naval Academy, Brevin Odom signed with Maryville College, Matthew Counce signed with the Univeristy of Tennessee Martin, and Haidar Zaidan signed with Tennessee Tech. Congrats to these young men as they continue their football playing careers at the collegiate level.

Senior Brevin Odom signs a letter of intent to play football with Maryville College. (Pharr photo)

TDEC Sets Public Meeting Feb. 8th to Discuss Big Sandy Basin Contamination

Buchanan, Tenn.- The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has set a public meeting for 6pm Monday February 8th at Paris Landing State Park. The purpose of the meeting is in regard to an advisory that TDEC issued in January relating to eating bass caught in the Big Sandy River Basin.

On January 19th, TDEC issued a Precautionary Fish Consumption Advisory which was the result in levels of mercury in fish tissue exceeding the trigger of .3 parts per million. The advisory was issued only for the species of bass.

A precautionary consumption advisory is specifically directed at sensitive populations such as children, pregnant women or women who are nursing, and those who frequently eat fish.

Highway Dept. Closes Roads Due to Tuesday's Storm

Paris, Tenn.- The Henry County Highway Department has closed some roads due to heavy rains from Tuesday’s storms. Freeland Road from Carl Chandler Road to Blood River and Holly Fork are all closed at this time due to damage from the heavy rains.

Bethel Renaissance Presents Once Upon a Dream Saturday

Paris, Tenn.- Bethel University’s Renaissance Theatre will present “Once upon a Dream” at the Krider Performing Arts Center in Paris Saturday February 6th.

Singers, dancers, and actors will present the show featuring 20 songs from your favorite animated classics.

Students with the Inman Middle School Chorus will join the Renaissance students on stage and perform together. There will be free autograph and photograph sessions after the shows as well.

“Once Upon a Dream” will be held Saturday February 6th at 2pm and again at 6pm. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by calling the Renaissance Office at 731-352-6980 or tickets can be purchased at the door. For more information visit www.bethelrenaissance.com.

CPR Training Class at HCHS Tuesday Feb. 9th

Paris, Tenn.- CPR Training Services will hold a CPR Training Class on Tuesday February 9th from 3:30-6pm at Henry County High School. It is open to all HCHS students, parents, and staff. Training is free, but there is a cost of $5 to receive your certification card once training is complete. To sign up for the class call 644-3205.

Bloodmobile at FUMC Thurs. Noon to 6pm

Paris, Tenn.- The Lifeline Bloodmobile will be at the First United Methodist Church on Thursday February 4th from Noon to 6pm. All eligible blood donors are encouraged to give blood and be sure and bring a photo ID with you when you come to give blood.

HCSO Deputies for Hungry Deer Meat Giveaway Friday

Paris, Tenn.- The Henry County Sheriff’s Office Deputies for the Hungry program will give away Deer meat this Friday February 5th at the Sheriff’s Office, located at 210 Forrest Heights Road. The Deer meat giveaway will start at 9am until all the meat is gone.

UTM Football Signs 18 Wed.

Martin, Tenn.- In conjunction with National Signing Day, University of Tennessee at Martin head football coach Jason Simpson announced the signings of 18 players at a press conference in the Bob Carroll Football Building this afternoon.

“This is my 11th recruiting class, and over the years we have probably signed about 250 kids,” said Simpson. “With this class, I’m just as excited as the first. These kids fit our culture, they are great students and great players.”

The aforementioned 18 players, in addition to seven signees who joined the program on Mid-Year Signing Day in December, were highlighted in short video clips with analysis from Simpson at the press conference.

Overall, Simpson and his staff added 14 players on offense, 10 players on defense and one specialist. The UT Martin coaching staff signed 16 high schoolers and a pair of junior college commitments to make up the decorated class. The Skyhawks signed eight players from the state of Tennessee, five players from Florida, three players from Alabama and two players from Mississippi. Signees also hailed from the states of Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, and Ohio.

The winningest active coach in the Ohio Valley Conference, Simpson boasts a 65-49 record in his Skyhawk tenure and has posted a .646 winning percentage in OVC games (51-28). The Skyhawks are coming of a 7-4 season while finishing 6-2 in league play, marking the fourth consecutive season that UT Martin finished in the OVC’s top three teams in the final standings.

MSU Nets 28 on Signing Day

Murray, Ky.- Head coach Mitch Stewart is pleased to announce the signing of 28 student-athletes that have chosen to further their educational and football careers at Murray State.

This year’s class includes and seven defensive linemen and wide receivers, four offensive linemen, four safeties, three linebackers, two cornerbacks and one quarterback. Geographically, Alabama leads the way with 11 signees, while Missouri and Tennessee follow at five and four, respectively. Georgia, Mississippi and California each had two members of this year’s class, while Kentucky & Illinois round out the 2016 signing class with one representative each.

In total, this year’s batch of Racers represents 20 total stars from the three major recruiting services, including two three-star recruits and seven two-star recruits. Below is information about each member of the signing class of 2016.

Arrests Made After Traffic Stop

Paris, Tenn.- Ptl. Amber Roaten of the Paris Police Department pulled over a silver van for speeding in a school zone and ended up arresting the driver and passenger for various charges. The driver, Rikkian Allen, age 24, of 140 Jack Younger Lane, told Ptl. Roaten she didn’t have a valid Driver’s License and dispatch revealed it had been revoked for failure to satisfy citations in the past. The passenger, Dexter Haynes, age 24, of 103 Hidden Acres, was found to have an active warrant in Henry County for Violation of Probation and was duly charged.

Another report at the Paris Police Department stated a bike valued at $175 was stolen from a home on Lois Street. Police have no suspects at this time. Checks and a credit card were reported stolen from a home on East Wood Street and there are no suspects in this theft either.

Reports of theft from around the county came into the Henry County Sheriff’s Office over the last couple of days as well. Medications were stolen from homes on Bud Road, and Jackson Drive. Another home on Jackson Drive reported a check book being stolen out of the unlocked vehicle parked in the driveway. Deputies continue to investigate.

Zachary Jamal Jones, age 25, of 703 N. Poplar Street, was arrested and charged with possession of schedule 6 with intent; possession of drug paraphernalia; and possession of  weapon during commission of a felony.

Lifeline Bloodmobile at FUMC Thurs. Noon to 6pm

Paris, Tenn.- The Lifeline Bloodmobile will be at the First United Methodist Church on Thursday February 4th from Noon to 6pm. All eligible blood donors are encouraged to give blood and be sure and bring a photo ID with you when you come to give blood.

Library Hosts Two Computer Classes in February

Paris, Tenn.- The W.G. Rhea Public Library will host two more computer classes in February. Wednesday February 10th at 5pm, Stephanie Tayloe will show participants how to access “Heritage Quest” online for Genealogical research. On Wednesday February 17th at 5pm, Susan Stewart will share the online art of “Grave Searches”. Call 642-1702 to register for either or both classes.

Bethel U Hendrix Scholarship Deadline is Friday

Paris, Tenn.- Friday is the deadline for applying for Bethel University’s most prestigious scholarship, the Hendrix Scholarship Competition. It was established in 1988 by Mr. Williard R. Hendrix of Nashville.

This year’s Hendrix Scholarship Competition will be held on February 19th and 20th on the McKenzie campus and is for traditional undergraduate prospective students.

A student must be a senior in school with at least a 3.25 GPA anda  23/1050 ACT/SAT score to be considered for the competition. Winner of t he competition earns full tuition, room, and board scholarship to Bethel for four years. The runner up will earn a full tuition scholarship for four years. All others who compete will be considered for Bethel’s remaining institutional grants.

Tina Hodges, Dean of Enrollment Services, says students must maintain a cumulative GPA while in college to keep the scholarship. For more information about the Hendrix Scholarship Competition call the Office of Enrollment Services at 731-352-4030 or go online at www.bethelu.edu/hendrix.

Heritage Center's Mardi Gras Ball Set for Friday

Paris, Tenn.- The Paris Henry County Heritage Center will host their Mardi Gras Ball this Friday February 5th at the Paris Convention Center, located behind the Quality Inn. The event starts at 6:30pm and tickets are $40 and can be purchased at the Heritage Center, Maggie’s Jack Jones, and from any Heritage Center Board member.

Dress is semi-formal with black tie or costume optional. Entertainment will be provided by the group Magi from Memphis. All proceeds will benefit the Heritage Center. For more information call 642-1030.

Harry Potter Night at W.G. Rhea Library Thursday

Paris, Tenn.- The W.G. Rhea Public Library will have “A Night of Spells” Harry Potter Book Night this Thursday February 4th from 5-7pm. It is free but registration is required by calling the library at 642-1702. There will be a costume contest so event goers are encouraged to done your cloaks, scarves, hats, toads, and have your wands ready. There will be wand making and potion mixing and a special showing of a “Magic Beyond the Words, The J.K. Rowling Story”.

Hudson Receives Gold Football from NFL

Paris, Tenn.- As the NFL marks the 50th Super Bowl this season, they are celebrating the players and coaches of the past 49 Super Bowls and their high schools and communities that have positively impacted the game.

The NFL congratulates Henry County High School into the Super Bowl High School Honor Roll community. As a member, a commemorative Golden Football produced by Wilson, is sent to the high school of every player or head coach who was on an active roster in a Super Bowl. John Hudson, a graduate of Henry County High School, member of the 2000 World Champion Baltimore Ravens, and present Henry County High School teacher and coach, was sent a Golden Football. The football will be on display in the lobby of the school.

The high school will also receive an NFL Character Education Curriculum and is eligible to apply for a grant from the NFL Foundation to help support the school's football program. Football has always been about more than wins and losses. The game teaches lessons that last a lifetime. Join the online conversation, Hashtages: #SBHonorRoll, #SB50

Handles:  @NFL, @SuperBowl

Public Welcome to MSU Signing Day on Wednesday

Murray, Ky.- For the first time, Murray State head football coach Mitch Stewart invites fans to experience a Division I signing day first hand. Be there, Wednesday, Feb. 3, in the MSU football offices with Stewart and staff as they celebrate their hard work and watch the Class of 2016 take shape live.

The event begins at 7 a.m., when the faxes begin to roll in and high school seniors and transfers from across the country start to cement their place in Racer Nation. While fans are waiting for the commitments to come in, they can take part in a free breakfast buffet offered by Stewart. The breakfast buffet will run from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and will be on a first come, first served basis.

Fans are then encouraged to stick around until Noon, when Stewart will take to the Racer Room for a press conference to talk about each of his new Racers. For fans unable to stay until Noon or for those unable to make the event all, the press conference will air live on the OVC Digital Network and will be available immediately following the conference for on-demand viewing.


For more information on the event, email
msu.football@murraystate.edu or call the football office at (270) 809-6181.

Storm Shelters to Open at 4pm Tuesday

Paris, Tenn.- The Henry County Sheriff's Office will open Tornado Safe Space Storm Shelters at 4pm on Tuesday as severe weather is predicted for our area. The shelters will remain open until after 7pm when the severe weather is expected to be moved out of the region.


Storm shelters are Inman School on Harrison Street, Harrelson School, located at County Club Rd. in Puryear, Lakewood School, Hwy 79 North, and Henry School, Pioneer Road in Henry. These shelters will be manned by School Resource Officers and citizens planning to use the shelters should bring a chair, water, snacks, and a charged cell phone for their use.

HCSS To Dismiss 1 Hour Early Tuesday

Paris, Tenn.- The Henry County School System will dismiss one hour early on Tuesday due to the threat of severe weather that could be moving into our region. A tornado watch is in effect until 7pm.

Strong T-Storms Could Impact Region Tues. Afternoon

Paris, Tenn.- Our area could see strong and possibly severe thunderstorms Tuesday afternoon and evening as a strong cold front is approaching unseasonably warm air that is in place over the region. We are in a wind advisory until 9pm as wind gusts could be 30-35 mph ahead of and away from storms and even stronger during storms Tuesday and Tuesday night.

Damaging straightline winds are the main cause of concern Tuesday, but possible isolated tornadoes, hail, heavy downpours, and flash flooding are all possible as well. The timing of the system would put the worst of the weather in our area from 4-7pm Tuesday afternoon.

Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew said “we are going to keep our School Resources Officers on duty a little extra Tuesday afternoon to double manpower on the roadways.” Sheriff Belew said "we will be out in force during the weather to make sure students make it home safely and check on individuals if need be."

Man Charged With Public Intoxication

Paris, Tenn.- A report at the Henry County Sheriff’s Office stated that Cpl. Forrest Kemp and Dep. Wayne Fuqua responded to a residence on Gilkey Road in reference to an intoxicated person. The complainant advised that her son was in his truck behind the house in a field. They searched the area but the truck was gone, but later found it in the another field with the man passed out in the truck. As they opened the door, a strong odor of alcohol was present and the man, Jason Smith, 38, of 425 Gilkey Road, was unsteady on his feet. He was charged with public intoxication and placed on $500 bond.

A construction business on Hwy. 79 S. reported two scaffolding flooring boards that were left beside the building when everyone left work Friday had been taken come Monday morning. The value of the boards is around $179 each.

Softball Restrooms Nearing Completion; Trout Pond Restocked

Paris, Tenn.- The Paris Parks and Recreation board met on Monday evening and Parks Director Tony Lawrence things are progressing with the softball restrooms at McNeil Park. He said Peanut and staff did the sewer, water, and electric lines in the last couple weeks and hanging toilets is the next phase. The restrooms should be complete very soon.

Lawrence advised the board that at a city department head Long Range Planning meeting he gave a wish list of items he’d like to see taken care of in the budget for the Parks Department. The number one item is resurfacing the basketball courts at Ogburn Park as several people use them. He said the basketball courts at Johnson Park and continued enhancements at McNeil are also on the wishlist as the budget process continues.

The Parks Department recently had their 2nd restocking of Trout in the pond at Eiffel Tower Park by the TWRA. Lawrence said staff was at the pond on Monday and seen a couple of people fishing for the Trout. He said the partnership has been a great program with TWRA.

The Paris Swim Team recently had 7 members compete at the Middle School Championships in Nashville. Hunter Lawrence finished 13th and Rylan Perry came in 7th in the Fly and 14th in 200 meter medley. The Paris Swim Team will compete in Tunica this weekend in the Memphis Conference championships to put a wrap on the season.

Lawrence told the Parks board that KPAC’s Christmas show was a community theatre type event and everyone who participated really enjoyed it. They plan on doing more of these type shows in the future and have a show on Harriet Tubman planned for February 20th.

City, Parks Dept. Team Up for Car Show Fish Fry Weekend

Paris, Tenn.- The Paris Parks Department and the City of Paris will be teaming up for a Car Show and MS4 educational event at the Krider Performing Arts Center for Fish Fry weekend in April. Parks Director Tony Lawrence told board members at the Parks Board meeting Monday night the Car show was a big success last year and the City has to do MS4 education for citizens to show the importance of stormwater runoff into drains. Lawrence said there will be different things going on to showcase the MS4 requirements the city now has to meet.

Youth Baseball, Softball Signups Scheduled in February

Paris, Tenn.- Henry County Youth Baseball Signups will be February 20th and 27th at the Paris Civic Center from 9am to Noon. Paris Henry County Girls Softball Signups are February 6th, 13th, and 20th at Hulme’s Sporting Goods from 10am to 2pm each day.

Man Charged With Marijuana Possession

Paris, Tenn.- Ptl. Zachariah Carper of the Paris Police Department was on patrol and noticed a four door sedan without its headlights on. He turned around to do a traffic stop and the vehicle sped up and turned right onto North Market St.

The report said the car finally pulled over and Ptl. Carper identified the driver as Shontel Thompson, age 19, of 1106 Travis Road. Ptl. Carper noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and dispatch advised that a witness had seen someone throw a gun out the window of the vehicle that Thompson was driving.

Search of the vehicle found a green leafy substance and Thompson was arrested and charged with simple possession of schedule 6 and placed on $5K bond. Ptl. Carper was going to check video footage from his patrol unit and try to determine if a gun was thrown out the window.

Numerous Burglaries Reported Over the Weekend

Paris, Tenn.- Dep. Blake Jenkins of the Henry County Sheriff’s Office responded to reports of several thefts this weekend around the county. A victim who lived on Old Paris Murray Road returned home from serving time in jail and found the front door broke into but nothing appeared to be missing at this time.

Another home on Guthrie Road reported a theft and Dep. Jenkins took the report which stated someone appeared to push in the front door and steal tax papers and other important documents, pills, cables, Christmas decorations, saddles, and a couple of phones. The value of missing items is over $500 and there are no suspects currently.

Dep. Jenkins also took a report of theft from a home on East Oak Drive. The back door was knocked in and several items were reported missing including an antique quilt valued at $2500, cords, a trunk, and more. There are no suspects in this theft either.

Ptl. Amanda Forrest of the Paris Police Department responded to a burglary at Grove Park Apartments where someone appeared to gain entry inside and steal a computer. Investigation is continuing into this incident.

Monday Last Day to Register to Vote for March 1 Primary

Paris, Tenn.- Monday is the last day to register to vote for the upcoming March 1st Election. You can register to vote at the Henry County Election Commission Office, located inside the Courthouse Annex on Washington Street in downtown Paris. The office is open until 4:30pm on Monday.

Pageants Wrapped Up Sunday Afternoon for World's Biggest Fish Fry

0-6 months Little Prince & Princess Court (Jim Valentine photo)

Paris, Tenn - The 63rd Annual Worlds Biggest Fish Fry wrapped up a weekend of Pagents Sunday afternoon at KPAC. In the Little Prince and Princess division age 0 to 6 months, Princess was Ashlyn Ella Lewis age 6 months, daughter of Matt and Bridget Lewis, Prince was Conner Darrin Sipes age 2 months , son of Jillian Barnes and Daniel Sipes, First Maid was Caroline Kate Newcomb age 3 months , daughter of Stewart and Ashli Newcomb. First Paige was Titus James Peterson age 2 months , son of Casey Petersen and Allen McCormick.

Litte Prince and Princess court (Jim Valentine photo)

In the Little Prince and Princess division age 7 to 11 months the Princess was Addie Rose Broadway, age 8 months, Daughter of Adriana Velazquez  and Brad Broadway. The Prince was Calvin Hunter Smith, age 10 months, son of Kellie and Hunter Smith. First Maid was Emilee Combs age 8 months, daughter of Khadijah Combs and Gmaal Wilson. First Paige was Xavion Thomas , 8 month old son of Martice Thomas and Ashleigh  Smither. Second Paige was Lane McCrory age 8 months, daughter of Matt and Elizabeth McCory.

Princess Averybee Robbins and Prince Ethan Blake Duffy (Jim Valentine photo)

In the Age 1 year division the Princess was AveyBae Monroe Robbins age 1, daughter of Kaley Ballous and Colt Robbins.The Prince was Ethan Blake Duffy age 16 months , son of Kayla Porter and Kwame Duffy.

Princess Carlie Marie Dowdy and her court (Jim Valentine photo)

In the Age 2 division Princess was Carlie Marie Dowdy age 2 daughter of Damon and Jan Dowdy. First Maid was Farrah Kale Espinosa age 2, daughter of Brittany and Daniel Espinosa. Second Maid was Harber Grey Hrachovina  age 2, daughter of Austin and Brianna Hrachovina.

Princess Kierra Ann Brewer and First Maid McKinlee Rayburn (Jim Valentine photo)

In the above photo the Age 3 division Princess was Kierra Ann Brewer age 3, daughter of David and Beth Brewer, And First Maid McKinlee Rayburn age 3, daughter of Lisa Richardson and Jody Rayburn.

Fire At Sulpher Wells Church Sunday Morning

Buchanan, Tenn - At 6:30 am Sunday morning, Paris Landing Fire Department was dispatched to a report of smoke and sprinklers running at Sulphur Wells Church located at 1760 Oak Grove Road South in  Buchanan. 

Inside fire damage at Sulpher Wells (Reggie Coles photo)

Arriving units found smoke and water in the lobby of the church with a small amount of fire present.  A water line in the ceiling above the fire had broken and partially extinguished the fire prior to the Fire Department’s arrival. 

One of the church members, (Jennifer Carroll) had arrived early at the church and found the  smoke and water when she opened the doors. 

More damage sustained at Sulpher Wells Church Sunday morning (Reggie Coles photo)

A food warmer is the suspected cause.  Damage is estimated at $25,000.00. Two trucks and 10 firefighters were on the scene about 2 hours.                                                                                                                                           

Burglary Reported on County Home Road

Paris, Tenn - A County Home Road Resident reported to the Henry County Sheriffs Department of a possible burglary. The resident reported that the home possibly had been entered and bank receipts and possibly some checks missing.  The case is still under investigation.

Stolen Identity of Deceased Person

 Paris, Tenn - According to a report at the Henry County Sheriffs dept. Deputy Stacey Bostick responded to a call from a resident of Hwy 69S. According to the resident the grandfather had passed away several weeks ago and they had started receiving very high cell phone bills. After contacting Verizon they were informed two I-phone 6 had been purchased on that account, and that is why the bills were so high. Henry County Sheriffs Office are continuing to investigate.

Vehicles Vandalized on Jackson Drive

Paris, Tenn - In a report at the Henry County Sheriffs Department Deputy Blake Jenkins responded to a call of vandalism on Jackson Drive. Upon arriving and speaking to the victim, it was determined that a total of 5 tires had been cut on three separate vehicles that were in the driveway at the location.

Tori Starks Crowned Hostess Princess 2016 Saturday Evening

Paris, Tenn -The grand finale of the day that was filled with pageants, was the most anticipated crowning of the 2016 World’s Biggest Fish Fry Hostess Princess.

Hostess Princess Tori Starks and her court. (Cheryl Allen photo)

Ten beautiful ladies adorned the KPAC stage, setting a beautiful sight for a beautiful day. The contestants took to the stage from the rear of the KPAC, walking down the aisles, making their way to the stage all in blue jeans, better known as, Casual Attire, then with a quick wardrobe change, all shown their personal beauty in beautiful dresses.

With all the nerves and anxiety coming down to the wire, the girls were cut from ten contestants to five. All five contestants were asked the same question, during the ‘question part’ of the contest. “If you could be one famous person, who would you be, and why”? The answers were a range, from Tayor Swift, to Miranda Lambert.

2016 Hostess Princess recieves her crown from 2015 Hostess Princess Grace Hassell (Cheryl Allen photo)

The 2016 63rd Annual World’s Biggest Fish Fry Hostess Princess was crowned, and in tears of joy, shock and disbelief, Tori Starks graciously received her crown, from 2015 reigning Hostess Princess Grace Hassell. Tori is the 16 year old daughter of Monte & Jennifer Starks, and attends HCHS.

Jayna Nance, Tori Starks, and Aleece Passman wait to hear who is second maid (Cheryl Allen photo)

(L) First Maid Janyna Nance shows her surprise for Tori Saturday evening (Cheryl Allen photo)

Her court consists of First Maid, Jayna Nance, 17 year old daughter of Jerry & Tami Nance and she attends HCHS.

Second Maid Aleece Marie Passman, 18 year old daughter of Gary & Tina Passman and she attends HCHS.

Third Maid Victoria Page, 17 year old daughter of Jeff Page & Terri Clark, and she attends HCHS.

Fourth Maid Madison Lovelace, 18 year old daughter of Heath & Teresa Lovelace, and she also attends HCHS.

Pageants, Pageants, and MORE Pageants Saturday

Paris, Tenn - A full afternoon of pageants took place at KPAC in Paris, ending with the crowning of the Princess Hostess for the 63rd Annual World’s Biggest Fish Fry.

Junior Queen Katie Barnett and her court (Cheryl Allen photo)

The 2016 Junior Queen division was introduced by Chairman Kim McDaniel French who welcomed emcee Kaylee Clark who was a member of the Hostess Princess Court in 2011 and 2012 and now a Jaycee.

The Junior Queen is Katie Elizabeth Barnett age 9, daughter of Dwayne and Laura Barnett.

First Maid is Eva Marie Lemonds age 8, Daughter of Jeremy and Andrea Lemonds.

Second Maid is Marley Beth Edwards age 8,  and she is the daughter of Jessica Edwards. Third Maid Kaylee Brewer, she is the daughter of David and Beth Brewer. Fourth maid is Katelyn Ann Richardson age 9, daughter of Lisa Richardson and Jody Rayburn.

Kamryn Presley Crowned Miss Pre-Teen

Miss Pre Teen Kamryn Presley and her court (Cheryl Allen photo)

In the Pre-Teen pageant, Miss Pre-Teen Kamryn Presley Hendon was crowned. Kamryn is the 10 year old daughter of Travis Hendon, and Whitney Fortenberry, and attends Lakewood.

Her court consists of First Maid, Bryleigh Cate Hayes. Bryleigh is the 10 year old daughter of Chuck and Cheri Hayes, and attends Paris Elementary School.

Second Maid Cassadi Evans, is the 11 year old daughter of Matt & Allison Evans and attends Inman School.

Third Maid Adilynn Vaughn, is the 10 year old daughter of Dennis & Angie Vaughn, and attends Paris Elementary.

Fourth Maid, Maddie Ellis, is the 12 year old daughter of Traci & Mitch Ellis, and attends Inman School.

Alyssa Wade Crowned Miss Teen Saturday Afternoon

Miss Teen Alyssa Wade and her court (Cheryl Allen photo)

Paris, Tenn - The 2016 Miss Teen Pageant was yet another auditorium filler with 15 contestants hoping to be crowned Miss Teen Pageant.

Miss Teen Alyssa Kaye Wade was crowned queen, and is the 13 year old daughter of Albert & Renea Wade, and attends Inman School

Her court consists of First Maid Jessica Whalen, 13 year old daughter of Lori & Tim Whalen and she attends Lakewood.

Second Maid Julia Marie Dye, 15 year old daughter of Anisha Page & Brad Dye and she attends HCHS.

Third Maid Ansley Cate, 15 year old daughter of Tom & Becky Cate and she attends Grove.

Fourth Maid Caroline Singleton, 15 year old daughter of Marty & Sheri Singleton, and she also attends Grove.

Henry County Patriots Suffer Loss at Kenwood-Lady Patriots Win

Paris, Tenn - The Henry County Patriots were on the road Saturday afternoon to face off against the Knights of Kenwood. The Lady Patriots were victorious of the Lady Knights with a final score of 78-53. Meanwhile the Patriots were defeated by Kenwood with a final score of 42-55.

Beautiful Day for Beauty Pageants at KPAC

2016 Tiny Tot Queen McKennon Grace Miles (Jim Valentine photo)

Paris, Tenn - The 63rd Annual World’s Biggest Fish Fry beauty pageants were held Saturday morning at KPAC in Paris.

The Tiny Tot Division the event was introduced by Jaycee Michelle Vassar who introduced the Emcee of the event Jaycee Lisa Stone.

McKennon Grace Miles , Age 5, daughter of David and Ashley Miles was crowned Princess. Her court consisted of First Maid Bostyn M. Bobo age 4, daughter of Nikki Bobo and Major Topps. Second Maid Addyson Rihanna Littleton age 5 daughter of Amber Ham and Jeremy Littleton . Third maid was Madaley Alexi Norris age 4, Daughter of Heather and Hunter Norris. Fourth Maid was Roarie Rush Beecham age 4, daughter of Brian and Stephanie Beecham.

Little Miss Eden Elizabeth Bruce and her court (Jim Valentine photo)

2016 Little Miss Queen was Eden Elizabeth Bruce age 6 , Daughter of Brandon and Jenny Bruce.

Her court consisted of First Maid Addison Lee age 6, daughter of Lucas Lee and Elizabeth Cope. Second Maid was Kyleigh Vogl age 7, daughter of Adam and Mary Vogl. Third Maid was Charlotte McCuistion age 6, daughter of Jason and Kendra McCuistion. And Fourth Maid was Sarah Dodd age 6, daughter of Nathan Dodd, Kayle Lee, and Kelly Brummett.

Henry County Split Wins with Northeast Friday Evening.

Paris, Tenn – The Henry County Patriots hosted Northwest in District 10-AAA basketball action on Friday evening. The Lady Patriots won their match against Northwest with a final score of 71-44. The Patriots were defeated in their attempt to win over Northwest with a final score of 48-66 in favor of Northeast.

Henry County will travel to Kenwood Saturday for a makeup game that was missed last week because of the snow. The Lady Patriots will tip off at 2 pm with the men’s action to follow, and the broadcast begins at 1:30pm on WLZK 94.1 FM, or you can hear the game online at wmufradio.com, or you can also listen via your phone by calling 415-325-0723.

Sen. John Stevens and Rep. Tim Wirgau Speak at Luncheon Friday

TN. State Rep. Tim Wirgau ( L) and TN State Sen. John Stevens addresses audience during lucheon Friday morning at Ann & Dave's (Cheryl Allen photo)

Paris, Tenn - The Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce hosted a Legislative Luncheon Friday morning at Ann & Dave’s Restaurant with TN. State Rep. Tim Wirgau and TN State Sen.John Stevens.

The luncheon began with Economic Development Director David Hamilton welcoming everyone to the event and stated how much he and the citizens of Henry County appreciate all they do to represent Henry County.  

Rep. Wirgau also thanked the Henry County Chamber for allowing this meeting to happen, and announced that sessions have already kicked in in Nashville, and a lot is on the table to be discussed, at which point he turned the floor over to Sen. Stevens.   Sen. Stevens backed up the points that Rep. Wirgau brought up, as far as sessions already busy and in full force.

Steven informed those in attendance that one bill that is being brought to the senate is how we tax marineism. “This plays a  huge factor on this county’s and are trying to readdress the issue with TVA and the Comptroller’s Office.   Another issue that is a ‘hot topic’ amount of bills just last week, stated Stevens. “Just last week alone, there were 2618 bills brought up, but out of those people will probably withdraw them, after reflecting on their issues” stated Stevens.

One bill in particular that has been getting a lot of discussion is the Business and Utilities board with regards to broadband in rural areas. Stevens stated that it is needed and wanted but first a more indepth study needed to be completed  before it is acted upon and legislation makes a full decision.

  Stevens informed those in attendance that another issue that was brought up was the controversy of the Lady Vols. The Lady Vols want to be known as that throughout all their sports and activities, not just during certain ones. This is just a few things that are being discussed.  

A laugh is shared between Rep. Wirgau and Sen. Stevens during the introduction (Cheryl Allen photo)

Infrastructure was another area that was discussed by Sen. Stevens, to which he explained that the state receives $700 million dollars, which is a one time amount. This amount is debated where it needs to be spent as on capital projects such as in school technology for grades K-12 for capital improvement. A lot of $300 million reoccurring money anticpated over charge  money in places that are not performing or need to be cut, stated Stevens.

“In 2008 revenue was good and the previous administration went on a spending spree. In the years of 2009-2010 $50 million was taken to help transportation. $280 million of that was to pay back that was taken from transportation, and things like that is what we do not want to see happen again. We do not want to go on a spending spree but we want to rely on sales and business tax” stated Stevens. They had to spend a lot to balance the budget, not knowing how the economy will be in the future.  

Another area addressed was the retail accountability to collect uncollected sales tax. Sen. Stevens stated that this has been very successful in recovering $30-40 million that was hidden in bill authority to do what they want and will make it up later. The ones that hurt from this are the grocery stores, stated Stevens. “When it comes to grocery stores, they deal a lot with perishable items, and it has to be accounted for. One has to know hwo much was delivered, how much was sold, how much was thrown away and how much was stolen. The stated is working out these details on situations like this and it is a big hit to the state with big penalties. The store then have to defend themselves in the situations.  

The issue of  the Hand Gun Carry Law was also brought up by Sen. Stevens. Stevens stated that Virginia made it clearly known that they (the state) would not honor Tennessee’s gun hand carry law. Sen. Stevens said, “this may sound petty, but in response to that a bill was placed that Tennessee would not honor Virginia’s carry law. With that being done, Virginia will now honor Tennessee law when it comes to handgun carry”. He restated, yes, this sounds petty but it worked.  

TN State Sen. John Stevens addressing Driving on Suspended. (Cheryl Allen photo)

Sen. Stevens informed everyone that another bill he is working on is Driving on Revoked or Suspended licenses for citizens in Tennessee. Stevens stated that when people are trying to work and have fines and costs to pay, but yet cannot get to work to pay these, it not only hurts them but also reflects on jobs. He stated, “We need to make sure these people who are not continuous repeat offenders, have the opportunity to be able to go to work, pay their fines and costs. Without them working, there is nothing that is benefiting them or  the state. They will end up draining the system and this is something that we need to deter from” stated Sen. Stevens. “If people are given the opportunity to get restricted license, this will help them, but this would have to be done by a judge giving them a restricted license. Also, this would not be for repeat offenders, just those who have made bad choices. Common sense is to get everyone back to work” said Sen. Stevens.  

Henry CountySheriff Monte Belew questioned his statement by stating that most all offenders are set up on a payment plan and who would be the one to make such a judgement as to who gets the restricted license. Sen. Stevens replied, "that it would be up to the  judge who is overseeing the case, and that is if the bill is passed".  

Question time was available for those in attendance, and the question of what is the next step to privatizing parks to help make money so they can become more self sustainable. Rep. Wirgau answered by saying that a wonderful job with Paris Landing State Park and the Friends of the Park happened just a few weeks ago with the New Years Celebration that was held at the park. “Every room was filled and the park was booming”. Things like this would be great to see continued but some parks have to have approval from Nashville before things like this can be done and that can take a lot of time to get approval. “Someone needs to be put in place just to handle situations like that, and for that to happen is not certain” stated Wirgau.  

City of McKenzie Mayor Jill Holland asked Rep. Wirgau and Sen. Stevens about no new gas tax and how that will affect the roads that need repair. “When perspective business owners come to the area wanting to relocate their business here, and see the conditions of the roads,  that is a big discouragement to the town they are looking into” stated Holland.  

Sen. Stevens responded that what we have on the agenda to be done will not be done, and how to keep the roads good for companies is an issue that we are all trying to deal with. “The big picture is, that we, the State of Tennessee has one of the lowest gas tax. With electric cars being a very popular item, there will be no new gas tax this year. The next question that would be asked would be what amount would be fair to raise the gas tax too” stated Stevens.  

The I-69 coridor will never be complete and I see a lot in the six counties that I am over that are in need of repair and no new projects will be completed. Something has to happen and happen soon. Areas such as Memphis, Nashville, Knoxvile, Chattanooga will always take precedence over areas such as here in West Tennessee. Memphis alone has a $300 million dollar project which will considerably push rural areas further and further from the top of the top of list.  

At the close of the meeting, David Hamilton stated that other meetings will be held in the near future and thanked all those who attended todays event. 

 

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