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Article Calendar

January 2020
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Robin Underwood invited to speak at “Christian Day on Capital Hill”; aCROSS Smith County becomes aCROSS Tennessee

This past Christmas season, Smith County was aglow with crosses, thanks to the aCROSS Smith County Community Cross Lighting Project

At the end of 2019, the project had grown to include approximately 1200 crosses and reached to every corner of Smith County…and beyond.

In fact, aCROSS Smith County has drawn statewide attention, and Robin Underwood, the movement’s founder, has been invited to speak at “Christian Day on Capitol Hill,” an event sponsored by Layman Lessons Ministries.

“Christian Day on Capitol Hill” will be held at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, beginning at 1:00 p.m.

The program’s featured speakers will include pro-life champions, Christian Legislators, and pastors from Bean Station to Memphis, Tennessee. 

Robin shared her thoughts about the invitation, and aCROSS Smith County’s future, in a post on the aCROSS Tennessee Facebook page last week. 

“We have had many people message us and comment that they would like to see ‘aCross Smith County’ grow across the state or maybe even the nation. I truly believed that God would open the door if that was what we were supposed to do. When we got the unexpected call last Friday to be a guest speaker at ‘Christian Day on Capitol Hill’ to share our story of ‘aCross Smith County’ I knew the door had been opened,” Robin wrote. “What better place to ask Tennesseans to join ‘aCross Smith County’ in expanding to ‘aCross Tennessee’?”

From the movement’s humble start as aCROSS Sykes in 2018, to the expansion to aCROSS Smith County in 2019, and now, the transition to aCROSS Tennessee in 2020, what began as a community cross lighting project has transformed, in Robin’s words, into a Cross Lighting Ministry.

This year, aCROSS Tennessee will take place from November 27 until December 31, 2020. 

Be sure to follow aCROSS Tennessee on Facebook to stay up-to-date!

Press Release: Sumner County Commissioner Luke Tinsley Announces State House Run

Tinsley set to run in Republican primary for House District 40

Gallatin TN–Luke Tinsley is proud to announce his campaign for the Tennessee State House of Representatives’ 40th district. After much time dedicated to prayer and thoughtful consideration on the matter, he believes that there is a need for new leadership that looks to the future and not the past.

This will be a campaign focused on ensuring that our government is relatable, responsible and reliable to everyone regardless of where they live, what the make, or who they are. Our future has not already been written by our past. By putting people above politics, Luke will address the serious issues that face the people of this district. Everyday on the campaign trail he will speak to residents about their lives and how government can work better for them.

Throughout the past weeks, Commissioner Tinsley has spent time meeting with local officials, residents, and business owners in Sumner, Trousdale, Smith, and Dekalb Counties. The people of this district have needs that range from better infrastructure and growth management to economic development and education funding. He believes that the future of this district is bright but currently, we are in a critical time where choices made will a generational impact that could make or break our future.

Luke Tinsley is a strong conservative who comes from a military family. By serving on the county commission along with work in the private sector both for companies and as a small businessman, he has the experience needed to make change in Nashville for the hard working people back home.

Smith County Fair receives awards at the 98th Tennessee Association of Fairs Convention

The following article was submitted by Stan Webster, Co-Chairman – Smith County Fair:

The Smith County Fair received awards at the 98th Tennessee Association of Fairs Convention, which was held at the Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on January 16-18, 2020.

The Smith County Fair received the Most Improved Fair in Single A Division (Counties smaller then 21,000 population). Eighteen of the sixty fairs across Tennessee are in this classification.

This could not have been accomplished without the hard work of our dedicated board and many volunteers.

Each Fair is judged during the Fair, and Judges look at improvements and added events.

For 2019 The Smith County Fair added several events and made several improvements.They held their first Hog Show in 82 years, added a Cat Show as well as a Donkey Softball Game, along with 2 nights of Tractor Pulls and Demolition Derby.

Many improvements were made in Pioneer Village with added parking for performers as well as upgraded electric infrastructure. Several interactive events were added for Children. Native American Flute and Drum as well as Dancing, and Children’s Old Time Games were added as well.

The decision 2 years ago to move our Fair to an earlier date was a big gamble, but the board felt it was necessary to be able to have The James Gang Carnival. They are known as one of the best and safest Carnivals that play small Fairs.

It has paid off as the Fair enjoyed its best year ever, even with virtually a complete rain out on Friday night.

Plans are already underway for our 13th Fair On The River which will be June 29th thru July 4th. 2020.

A Junior Fair Board is being formed, which you will be hearing about in the near future.

If you are interested in helping with the Fair Please contact Stan Webster 615-683-7869 or Anthony Apple 615-486-9464.

L to R: Stan Webster; Commissioner of Agriculture
Dr.Charles Hatcher D.V.M.; and Megan McDonald

Press Release: Citizens Bank announces two new Board of Directors

Lafayette, TN January 20, 2020 – Citizens Bank is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members to its Board of Directors. 

Joining the Board of Directors are Dr. Jon Alan Long and Mr. Eugene London.

“Both of our newest Board members embody the spirit of our communities and bring talent, expertise, and energy to the table. We are very fortunate to have them by our side as we continue to strengthen our local communities in Tennessee”, said Pete Williston, Chief Executive Officer.

Dr. Jon Alan Long

 Dr. Jon Alan Long resides from Carthage, Tennessee, and currently runs his own dental practice. Dr. Long is a 1993 Graduate of Smith County High School and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from the University of Tennessee, along with a degree from the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry at Memphis. For the last 19 years, Dr. Long has practiced dentistry in Smith County. He has also served on the Advisory Board for Smith County Bank since 2003. Dr. Long and his wife Heather, have three children; Ashby, Augusta, and Max.

“I think that my recent experience with the Smith County Bank Advisory Board will serve me and the bank well as I serve as a Director for Citizens Bank. I look forward to contributing on many levels and being part of a community focused bank,” said Dr. Jon Alan Long.

Mr. Eugene London, Jr.

Eugene London, Jr. serves as the president of Systems Integration / Modeling & Simulation, Inc., and is a resident of Tullahoma, Tennessee. Mr. London is a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. He brings vast civic experience that include Vice Chairman of American City Bank, Traders Bank Advisory Board, Tullahoma Chamber of Commerce President, Tullahoma Area Economic Development Corporation Secretary, and Motlow College Foundation Director. Mr. London is married to Darlene London and they have four children.

“Community involvement is important to me and that is what brought me to Citizens Bank. I see a vital role that community banks play in our area and am happy to bring my expertise to further Citizens Bank’s success,” said Mr. London.

Citizens Bank was founded in Lafayette in 1909 and has nineteen locations in ten counties in Middle Tennessee. The bank has grown to $940 million in assets and is now the 21st largest bank headquartered in the state of Tennessee.

UT Extension News: “Don’t Guess, Soil Test” – Part II

by Chris Hicks, County Director – UT Extension-Smith County

Check out “Don’t Guess, Soil Test – Part I” here!

Knowing what nutrients are in your soil and the current pH can make a big difference in the productivity of your garden, crop, or pasture. In our last article, we discussed why it is important to sample your soil. Now, we will examine some of the specifics about the process. These are critical as the results of your test are only as good as the sample you submit. 

The Where

When sampling farm fields, divide fields to be sampled into production areas (of 10 acres or less) based on uniform soil type, fertilization and management history. Sandy or eroded areas and problem areas of obviously different plant growth responses should also be sampled separately — provided the area is sufficiently large enough to be treated differently with lime or fertilizer. Collect a composite soil sample by moving through the area in a zigzag pattern, sampling at approximately 20 locations.

When sampling a lawn or garden, divide the area of interest into one or more sampling areas (from about an acre down to flower bed size), based on uniform soil type, fertilization and planting history. Collect small portions of soil from approximately 10 – 15 random locations that represent the average soil conditions of that area.

The How

Take soil samples to a depth of 6 inches by using a spade or probe. Combine each sub-sample in a clean (non-galvanized) bucket as you move through the production area. Thoroughly mix the sub-samples into one composite sample. From this composite sample remove enough soil to fill a soil sample box. 

The Who

The UT Soil, Plant and Pest Center (ag.tennessee.edu/spp) has all the needed testing and mailing information. You can obtain soil test boxes from the Smith County Extension office.

The soil test report you receive will provide information on current soil conditions and recommendations for amending the soil to reach optimum productivity for your crop. If you would like to pick up some soil sample boxes, or would like more information about soil testing, stop by the UT Extension office at 125 Gordonsville Hwy in Carthage. 

Traffic Stop Leads to Discovery of Meth-Loaded Syringe

Frankie Nel Bowman

(Smith County Insider Press) – In the early morning hours of December 27, 2019, Deputy Dallas Eddie was conducting patrol when he observed a vehicle travelling without a working tag light. 

According to the police report, Deputy Eddie initiated a traffic stop and requested license, registration, and proof of insurance from the driver of the vehicle, Frankie Bowman (26, Carthage). According to the police report, Bowman had previously been at a house with known drug activity. Because of this, Deputy Eddie asked Bowman if there was anything illegal in the vehicle, and she replied that there was not. 

According to the police report, a loaded hypodermic syringe was located inside the vehicle which field tested positive for meth. Additionally, several small baggies were found inside the vehicle. 

A citation was issued for the improperly displayed tag, and Bowman was placed under arrest and charged with possession of methamphetamine and felony possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Keep Smith County Beautiful Martin Luther King, Jr. Clean Up Day set for January 20, 2020

Start the new year out right by volunteering in our community! The Keep Smith County Beautiful committee is hosting a Martin Luther King, Jr. Clean Up Day on Monday, January 20, 2020.

The day will begin at 9:00 a.m., following a light breakfast at the Smith County Chamber of Commerce. 

Gloves and safety vests will be provided to all volunteers, and community service hours will be verified if needed.

The day will end with a light lunch at 1:00 p.m.

This is a great family event and an opportunity to be a positive example for youth in our community. 

Make it a day on, not a day off!

Join the Keep Smith County Beautiful committee in serving the community through cleanup and beautification!

For more information about this volunteer event, contact Barbara Kannapel at 615-489-5900, or visit the Keep Smith County Beautiful Facebook page.

January 2020 Meeting of the Smith County Commission

The Smith County Commission met at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, January 13, 2020, in the General Sessions Courtroom of the Smith County Jail and Courts Facility.

You can watch the full meeting below. 

Thanks to Powell & Meadows Insurance Agency for sponsoring the live broadcast of this meeting.

Subscribe to Smith County Insider’s YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on meeting coverage, business spotlights, video features, and more!

The Smith County Board of Commissioners meets on the second Monday of every month except December. Commission meetings are held in the General Sessions Courtroom of the Smith County Jail and Courts Facility, located at 322 Justice Drive in Carthage.

All meetings are open to the public and are streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/smithcountyinsider/.

UCEMC Cares, Inc. awards grants to local organizations – December 2019

L to R:  Kit Jenkins, Head Coach, Smith County High School Boys Soccer representing the Booster Club; Connie Holder, Head Coach, Smith County High School Softball; Carol Woodard, Secretary, UCEMC Cares; Millicent Winfree; President, Smith County High School Softball Boosters; Stan Webster, Co-Chairman, Smith County Fair

In December 2019, UCEMC Cares awarded $1,500 to the SCHS Boys Soccer Boosters, $1,000 to the SCHS Softball Boosters, and $1,500 to the Smith County Fair.

UCEMC Cares, Inc. is a state chartered, nonprofit corporation designed to accumulate and disburse funds to improve the quality of life in the service area of Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation (UCEMC). For more information, contact your local UCEMC office or visit the UCEMC customer portal at www.ucemc.com.

January 2020 Meeting of the Gordonsville City Council

The Gordonsville City Council met for the first time this year at 6:15 p.m. on Monday, January 13, 2020, at Gordonsville City Hall.

You can watch the full meeting below.

Subscribe to Smith County Insider’s YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on meeting coverage, business spotlights, video features, and more!

The Gordonsville City Council meets at 6:15 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at Gordonsville City Hall, located at 63 Main Street in Gordonsville. All meetings are open to the public and streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/smithcountyinsider/. 

Man With 11 Grams of Methamphetamine Arrested at Gas Station

James Travis Handy

(Smith County Insider Press) – On December 22, 2019, Deputy Nathan Williams made visual contact with James Travis Handy (40, Gainesboro) at the BP gas station in Gordonsville. Deputy Williams checked for active warrants with dispatch, and it was confirmed that Handy had an active warrant out of Smith County for violation of probation. 

According to the police report, Handy was fidgeting around in the dash of the vehicle while Deputy Williams was speaking with him, appearing as if he were hiding something. Handy was taken into custody, and a search of the vehicle revealed two baggies of a crystal rock substance believed to be methamphetamine as well as a digital scale with white crystal residue on it. Handy admitted that the approximately 11 grams of methamphetamine and the digital scales were his. 

Handy is charged with violation of probation, possession of methamphetamine, and felony possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Winners of the 1st Smith County Heritage Museum Rook Tournament

by Rachel Petty 

Sixteen skilled Rook players braved the gloomy weather to compete in the Smith County Heritage Museum’s first ever Rook Tournament last Saturday.

Players went head-to-head at tables scattered throughout the museum. Eight teams began and tested their luck and skill, but only one team could come out on top.

Sarah Marie Smith and Gale Burns took home the 1st Place title, followed by opponents Dennis Croslin and Barry Harville in 2nd Place. Coming in 3rd Place were Joey Bowman and Ricky Gibbs.

1st Place – Sarah Marie Smith and Gale Burns


2nd Place – Dennis Croslin and Barry Harville


3rd Place – Joey Bowman and Ricky GibbsThe winners took home prizes generously donated by The Cornerstone Cafe, Ebel’s Tavern, Rojas Kitchen, Wilson Bank & Trust, and Cash Express.

All participants in the tournament were given a collectible Smith County Heritage Museum Christmas ornament. 

An all-you-can-eat chili and hotdog supper, complete with drinks and dessert, was served at the tournament, as well.

The Smith County Heritage Museum hopes to make the Rook Tournament an annual (or even more often!) event.

The Smith County Heritage Museum is located at 107 Third Avenue East in Carthage, Tennessee. The museum is open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

To stay up-to-date on upcoming Smith County Heritage Museum events, such as the Donor Reception on April 9, 2020, follow them on Facebook.

TBI Press Release: Methamphetamine Increase in Tennessee


For The First Time, Methamphetamine Tops Marijuana As State’s Most-Submitted Drug In 2019

NASHVILLE – For the first time since the TBI crime laboratories began keeping detailed statistics, methamphetamine eclipsed marijuana as the most-submitted drug in the state in 2019.

“Drug addiction continues to be a major issue in Tennessee, and I believe this sharp increase in methamphetamine has a connection to our state’s ongoing opioid epidemic,” said TBI Director David Rausch. “Drug abusers often flow from depressants to stimulants and back again. As more people struggle with opioid addiction many of them will – with time – seek out stimulants like methamphetamine. Unfortunately, those who run drug operations, often based outside the United States, know there’s an increased demand here. Alongside our local, state, and federal partners, we’ll keep doing what we can to dismantle these operations, but we’d also urge anyone struggling with drug problems to get help before addiction costs you your life.”

TBI’s crime laboratories in Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville received a total of 9,795 submissions of marijuana in 2019, compared to 10,652 in 2018. Historically, the TBI analyzes approximately 10,000 submissions identified as marijuana every year.

Comparatively, methamphetamine has continued to trend significantly upward in recent years, increasing from 3,748 submissions in 2015 to 12,072 in 2019. That has occurred, however, at the same time the state has seen a sharp decline in the number of meth labs over the past decade, indicating an influx in imported methamphetamine.

“The drug trade continues to evolve,” said Tommy Farmer, TBI Special Agent-in-Charge of the Tennessee Dangerous Drugs Task Force. “Though we’ve seen an increase, recently, in stimulants in our state’s illicit drug supply, I’m encouraged we’ve made progress in addressing other illicit drugs, like opioids. This data, however, proves we have more work to do. We will continue to do what it takes to address this problem from the law enforcement side and stand prepared to help law enforcement agencies across the state in this collective fight.”

“While our state’s addiction crisis continues to evolve, it’s important to remember that treatment for substance use disorder is effective, and people do recover,” said Marie Williams, LCSW, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.  “We want to encourage everyone, whether you’re living with an addiction or you love someone who’s struggling, there is hope for a new life in recovery.”

Both state agencies encourage those struggling with substance abuse issues to take advantage of free and confidential resources available through the Tennessee REDLINE. More information can be found online at https://www.tn.gov/behavioral-health/news/2019/7/10/tn-redline-adds-new-text-communication-capability.html or by calling or texting 1-800-889-9789.

UT Extension News: “Don’t Guess, Soil Test” – Part I

by Chris Hicks, County Director – UT Extension Smith County

Soil testing is one of the most basic, yet most important steps in growing plants in Tennessee. Testing the soil is an inexpensive method of determining the exact amount of nutrients that are needed. When growers guess about the need for lime or fertilizers, too little or too much is likely to be applied. 

By using a soil test report, the grower does not need to guess. The report will tell exactly how much of each nutrient needs to be applied, as well as how much lime the soil needs. 

A soil test run through The University of Tennessee Soil, Plant, and Pest Center will cost you $15. So why spend the money on getting your soil tested when you could just buy a complete fertilizer that has nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus and apply that? 

The most obvious reason is that soil testing will promote plant growth by providing the best lime and fertilizer recommendations. Using a complete fertilizer year after year will likely lead to a build up of phosphorus in the soil. Testing your soil can also save you some money since it will prevent you from spending money on lime and fertilizer that isn’t needed.

 A soil test will also tell you the appropriate amount of lime to apply. When the soil pH drops below 6.0, a number of nutrients necessary for proper growth become less available for use by the plant. 

Applications of enough lime to raise the soil pH above 6.0 can increase the availability of these nutrients, making the plants healthier and more resistant to stress. Although we are commonly concerned with a lack of lime which causes a low pH, a high pH caused by applying too much lime can be just as damaging as it can also lead to nutrients being less available.

Having your soil tested is the only way to ensure that you are applying the correct amount of lime and fertilizer. If you would like to pick up some soil sample boxes, or would like more information about soil testing, stop by the UT Extension office at 125 Gordonsville Hwy in Carthage or call us at 615-735-2900.  

Blood Drive to be held at New Middleton Baptist Church on January 20, 2020

A Community Blood Drive will be held inside the Fellowship Hall at New Middleton Baptist Church from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Monday, January 20, 2020.

New Middleton Baptist Church is located at 493 New Middleton Highway in Gordonsville, Tennessee.

To schedule your donation appointment in advance, go to www.redcrossblood.org and enter the sponsor code NewMiddleton.

Save time on the day of your donation appointment by completing your pre-donation reading and health history with Rapid Pass online.

Download the Blood Donor App today to get your digital donor card, schedule your next appointment, track your lifetime donations, view your blood pressure, and follow your donation on its way to a hospital

According to the American Red Cross website, blood donors help patients of all ages: accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those battling cancer. 

In fact, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, and just one car accident victim can use as many as 100 units of blood. Your donation matters!

To learn more about the American Red Cross and the blood donation process, click here.


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