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Traffic Stop Leads to Two Drug Arrests on Highway 25

On February 12th, 2021, Deputy Nathan Williams conducted a traffic stop on Highway 25 after observing a white Nissan Maxima with a window tint below the legal limit as well as blacked out taillights. The driver, Mr. Jere Green did not have a driver’s license. The passenger, Ellexis Bullard remained in the vehicle when Mr. Green was asked to step out.

K-9 Sgt. Fields was called in due to the possibility of drugs being present based on the behavior of both individuals at the time. Once Sgt. Fields arrived on the scene, a search was conducted in the vehicle where 8 ounces of methamphetamine was revealed within the vehicle. Both Mr. Green and Ms. Bullard stated that the methamphetamine was theirs.

Ms. Bullard informed Sgt. Fields that there was a gun inside her purse. During the search, the handgun was located. Prior to transport, an additional 8.4 grams of methamphetamine was located on Ms. Bullard’s person. After transport, a glass pipe was also located. Mr. Green stated that they picked up the drugs from a buddy’s house in Lafayette. 

Both individuals were transported to the Smith County Jail where they were charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a fire arm during commission of a felony.

Mr. Green and Ms. Bullard are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

Smith County High Quarterback Club 8th Annual Bass Tournament set for April 24, 2021

The Smith County High School Owls Quarterback Club would like to invite you to participate in their 8th Annual Bass Tournament, which will be held on April 24, 2021, at the Defeated Creek Marina at Cordell Hull Lake.

Blast off is at 6:30 a.m. and Weigh-In will take place at 3:00 p.m.

Cash prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, as well as Big Fish. 

The 1st place winner will receive $1000, and a $500 award will be given to the winner of the Big Fish competition.

Pre-Entry prices for the tournament are $50 per boat and $20 for the Big Fish competition. On the day of the tournament, entry prices will be $60 per boat and $25 for the Big Fish competition.

Please mail pre-entry payments to: 

SCHS OWLS QB Club

635 Cookeville Hwy.

Elmwood, TN 38560

If you have any questions about the bass tournament, please contact Matt Oldham at 615-735-7250, Chris Carlyle at 615-670-1658, Rob Hord at 615-735-7796, or Jason Bush at 615-489-3079

Press Release: Representative John Rose Reflects on One-Year Anniversary of Middle Tennessee Tornado Victims

by John Rose, U.S. Representative – Tennessee’s Sixth Congressional District

WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Representative John Rose (TN-6) released this statement reflecting on the one-year anniversary of the catastrophic tornado that tragically struck Middle Tennessee, causing tangible damage in Smith County, and devasting communities in Putnam and Wilson counties:

“As we mark one year since the devasting tornado tore through Middle Tennessee, let us take time to pause and remember the lives that were sadly lost, the many families and businesses that were tragically affected, and the brave first responders that put their lives on the line to rescue others.

“The morning of Tuesday, March 3, 2020, 22 lost their lives, and major damage to homes, buildings, roads, bridges, utilities, and businesses was reported. This one-year anniversary is a very somber reminder of the fragility of life, the deadly force of nature, and the void we feel since the passing of the friends, family, and neighbors we lost.

“The day after the deadly storm hit, I visited the affected communities and have returned many times in the weeks and months that followed this unprecedented tragedy. I’ve seen firsthand the transition from dealing with disaster to rebuilding.

“Today, the Sixth Congressional District stands as a symbol of the extraordinary resilience of the individuals who live and work here. There was no hesitation from emergency workers and community members to begin the cleanup and salvage process. They didn’t wait for the cavalry to arrive; they just went to work for their fellow man. This bias for action, the deeply rooted belief that we are our brother’s keeper, defines the Volunteer Spirit.

“In the face of tragedy and in the face of hardship, Tennesseans come together to help restore, rebuild, and create a better future—just like they did one year ago today. My family and I will continue to pray for the lives lost and for the continued efforts to rebuild even stronger.”

In Congress, Representative Rose fought alongside his Tennessee colleagues to secure federal resources for the victims to ensure they had what they needed to help rebuild. Following their actions, President Trump approved federal assistance for the storm ravaged communities to help with recovery and rebuilding efforts. Representative Rose accompanied President Trump during the former President’s tour of the damage, meeting with tornado survivors, and visit to Jefferson Avenue Church of Christ in Cookeville, which served as a relief hub for several months following the storm.

U.S. Representative John Rose is currently serving his second term representing Tennessee’s Sixth Congressional District and resides in Cookeville with his wife, Chelsea, and their son, Guy. The Sixth District includes Cannon, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Robertson, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, White, and Wilson counties as well as portions of Cheatham and Van Buren counties. Representative Rose is an eighth-generation farmer, small business owner, and currently serves on the Financial Services Committee.

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee Report- A Year After Tornadoes Strike, Midstate’s Recovery Continues

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 2, 2021) — What took mere minutes to crush buildings and shatter lives has taken many months to mend. This week marks one year since a series of late-night and early morning tornadoes swept through Tennessee, leaving behind a path of death and destruction. Many survivors face a continued long road to recovery.

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (CFMT) has released a one-year report to the community that summarizes and details the progress of its Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund, activated by CFMT just hours after the tornadoes touched down in the late-night and early morning hours of March 2 and 3. View or download report here. To view a YouTube video report on Nashville’s tornado recovery efforts, go to https://youtu.be/tRJaSMaLOhM

Twenty-five people died — 19 of them in Putnam County, including five children — and more than 300 people were injured in the series of tornadoes that touched down from West Tennessee through northern Davidson County, North Nashville, East Nashville, Mt. Juliet and Lebanon in Wilson County and to Cookeville and Putnam County.

To add disaster on disaster, the ongoing worldwide COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic set in just days later, resulting in the loss of more than 500,000 lives to date just in the United States, amid continuing economic turmoil and unemployment figures not seen since the Great Depression. 

Despite everything, Middle Tennessee and beyond has remained generous with their charitable contributions. Volunteers continue to show up daily and put in hours after hours of their time and effort to benefit nonprofits, churches and schools.

CFMT has raised more than $12.5 million ($12,501,239.21) in the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund from more than 22,000 donors representing all 50 states and 35 foreign countries, from Australia to the United Arab Emirates.

Thus far, the Fund has distributed $6,354,408 in the form of 162 grants made to 108 Davidson, Wilson, and Putnam County organizations. Another $1,353,259 has been pre-approved for repair and rebuild efforts in Davidson County.

Grants by county supported include:

  • — Serving Davidson County: $2,924,005.50
  • — Serving Davidson/Wilson counties: $837,000
  • — Serving Davidson/Putnam/Wilson counties: $869,261
  • — Serving Putnam County: $1,188,400
  • — Serving Wilson County: $535,742.50

Grants by area of support include:

  • — Case Management: $516,000
  • — Cleanup/Debris Removal: $360,656
  • — Diapers/Formula: $145,000
  • — Direct Financial Assistance: $660,042.50
  • — Education Assistance: $42,000
  • — Food Assistance: $361,000
  • — Housing/Utilities: $677,000
  • — Hygiene/Personal Care: $9,000
  • — Insurance/Legal Assistance: $107,000
  • — Medical Equipment: $16,600
  • — Mental/Physical Health: $290,000
  • — Multipurpose Assistance: $1,644,799
  • — Repair/Rebuild: $1,294,049.50
  • — Tree Replacement: $100,000
  • — Volunteer Management: $68,000

The remaining balance will continue to fund recovery efforts through 2021. Regularly updated information about the recovery efforts and grantees can be found at www.tornadoresponse.com. Grant making has included input from both the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund Advisory Committee and CFMT board members. Members of the Fund’s advisory committee include city and civic leaders from communities throughout Nashville and areas of Middle Tennessee affected by the tornadoes.

The Advisory Committee includes: Hannah Davis, Affordable Housing Program Manager, Metro Nashville Mayor’s Office; Karl Dean, former Nashville Mayor and trustee, United Way of Greater Nashville; Jessica Farr, Manager of Examinations, Federal Reserve Bank; Brenda Haywood, Deputy Mayor of Community Engagement, Metro Nashville Mayor’s Office; Sam Hatcher, board member, Community Foundation of Wilson County; Ashford Hughes, Executive Officer for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Metro Nashville Public Schools; The Rev. Chris Jackson, Pleasant Green Baptist Church and Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship President; Lonnell Matthews, Juvenile Court Clerk of Metro Nashville; Jay Servais, District Chief, Metro Nashville Office of Emergency Management; Ron Samuels, Vice Chairman, Pinnacle Financial Partners; Jerry Williams, Community Volunteer and retired Leadership Nashville Executive Director; and Brenda Wynn, Davidson County Clerk.

Staff and philanthropic support to the Advisory Committee are: Ellen Lehman, President, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee; Amy Fair, Vice President of Donor Services, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee; and Pete Bird, President and CEO, The Frist Foundation.

Organizations Working Together

The recovery would not be possible without the direct service of 108 nonprofit organizations and churches that have received funding.

“Although the impact on our community is far-reaching, we have been encouraged in the face of this overwhelming tragedy to see so many people and organizations working together to help hundreds of residents affected by the storm,” said John Bell, Executive Director of the Cookeville Regional Charitable Foundation.

Early on, the relief work was spent on the bare necessities of life: food, clothing, toiletries, and shelter. This work has continued as funding has shifted toward rebuilding efforts.

Brandon Shaw, Grant Manager, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, reports that the agency’s collective tornado and COVID-19 relief efforts has resulted in 39% more food being distributed between March 1–December 31, 2020 when compared with the same period in 2019. Cumulatively, Second Harvest provided 35.8 million meals in the 10 months following the tornadoes.

“Since March, our program staff, volunteers, drivers, material handlers, fundraisers, and community partners have been working tirelessly to care for our community,” Shaw said. “The response has been overwhelming already, as people have given of themselves to help. But there is much more to do, especially now that a global pandemic has been brought to our doorstep.”

While much work remains, progress has been significant. Examples include:

— In Putnam County, which was hit with the most powerful and deadly tornado, Bell reports that 463 impacted families have received aid through coordinated relief efforts. This includes 76 repair projects, ranging in scope from roof repair to major structural repairs. There are 29 additional small repair projects in process, and five complete home rebuilds in the construction phase. 

— In Davidson County, the recently formed North Nashville Tornado Relief Coalition, which includes Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership (JUMP), Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship (IMF), Urban League, NAACP, Lee Chapel AME and New Covenant Christian Church, has pooled $60,000 and as of December 2020 has disbursed more than $46,000 in community assistance, said IMF president Chris Jackson, senior pastor of the Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church at 1400 Jefferson St. This assistance has come in the form of shingle replacement, tree removal, general repairs and reconstruction support, Jackson said. The group is also partnering with the Fifteenth Avenue Community Development Corporation and the Teachers Credit Union.

— A total of 431 tornado survivors have been served through the Tornado Recovery Connection helpline, operated by the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Of the survivors: 193 were referred to nonprofit resources in the community to serve their needs; 117 have been served through case management, and their case is now closed; and 121 survivors who have current active cases are being served by a Disaster Case Manager.

Needs Include Affordable Housing

As to what work remains, “The biggest struggle has been, and continues to be, helping those in need of affordable housing,” said Eileen Lowery, Director of UMCOR’s Tornado Recovery Connection.

“There are survivors who were living with friends and family members prior to the tornado. Those friends and family members then moved away from the area after the tornado, which then created situations of survivors going from being unhoused to homeless,” Lowery continued. “Others lost their affordable housing to not being able to find rental options within their financial means. Others relied on having housing near a bus route to be able to get to work, to only now not be able to find housing options near a bus route. 

“It has been a blessing to walk along survivors while working with community partners who are enthusiastically responsive in helping survivors and the community rebuild stronger than everyone was before,” she said. “We are humbled by survivors’ extraordinary strength and recovery, while being a small part of a community serving those in need.”

In Davidson County, repairing and rebuilding homes is being coordinated by Westminster Home Connection, which has been involved in the coordination of 50 construction referrals, with about 30 of those in the repair pipeline.

Joining Westminster Home Connection as part of the construction committee completing the work are: Armstrong Real Estate Foundation; Nazarene Disaster Relief, MidSouth District; Project Connect; Rebuilding Together Nashville; and Successful Survivors (Greater Heights Missionary Baptist Church). Each home being repair/rebuild is provided with an average $7,500 from the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund to complete the work. Other funds may come from the construction groups.

Keith Branson, Executive Director of Westminster Home Connection, said homes that needed community assistance for repairs fall into three categories. “No. 1, Underinsured: The home was insured, but the policy didn’t cover some of the work needed to bring the home to a safe and functional condition,” Branson said. “For example, insurance might not cover tornado damage attributed to an underlying condition, such as termite damage. In that case, the survivor would have a shortfall in their ability to repair the home.

“No. 2, Contractor Issues. Contractors did shoddy work or even disappeared with deposits without doing any work at all,” Branson continued. “Another contractor issue is pricing. Construction is booming in Middle Tennessee, and contractor prices have risen significantly since March 2020.

“No. 3, Uninsured. Some homes were uninsured because the home had been in the family for many years and didn’t have a mortgage, the survivor had limited income, etc.,” Branson said, adding that, “Some survivors did not qualify for assistance with home repairs because they decided to sell instead of repairing the home.”

Repairing and rebuilding homes takes time.

Said Eddie Latimer, CEO of Affordable Housing Resources: “The biggest issue to me was COVID falling on top of our strong tornado response. We were off to a good start when all life changed from COVID.

“This has caused recovery to appear to be sloppy, chaotic, even minimal,’ Latimer continued, “but with a good eye, one can see recovery has been consistent and undaunted as it worked its way through two natural disasters.

“We still are in some recovery,” he said, “but what has occurred has been heroic as you consider all the chaos created by COVID.” 

Where to Go for Assistance, Unmet Needs

As with any community facing disaster, deeper into the recovery process, unmet needs surface for tornado survivors.

In some cases, after a variety of resources are tapped — which may include benevolence committee funds, FEMA, insurance, SBA loans, nonprofit funds, and a tornado survivor’s personal finances — there remains a financial need for a full recovery. 

When this occurs, Disaster Case Managers make a presentation to funders that have indicated they have financial resources to contribute to unmet needs. 

For Middle Tennessee, review of cases by the Unmet Need Funding Table began just after Thanksgiving, 2020. These cases are presented free of confidential detail in a blind review process that provides information about available financial resources and why tornado survivors are unable to recover on their own. 

In reviewing the unmet needs cases, the process maintains the same collaborative spirit of many other aspects of recovery. Everyone pitches in. This allows the funders to be part of fulfilling several unmet needs, and it also provides a tornado survivor with the knowledge that there are many in the community committed to their recovery. 

Organizations that have funds available and are invited to the unmet needs allocation meetings in Davidson, Wilson, and Putnam counties are: 

  • Catholic Charities
  • Collegeside Church of Christ
  • The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
  • CRMC Foundation
  • Cross Point Church
  • First United Methodist Church Cookeville
  • Double Springs Church of Christ
  • Everyone’s Wilson (Green Hill Church)
  • First Baptist Church Lebanon
  • First Presbyterian Church Cookeville
  • First United Methodist Cookeville
  • Inspiritus
  • Life Church
  • Lutheran Disaster Recovery
  • Silver Springs Baptist Church
  • St. Thomas Aquinas
  • Stone Association of Baptist Churches
  • Sycamore Church of Christ
  • TN Conference of The United Methodist Church
  • Willow Avenue Church of Christ
  • Wilson County Baptist Association

In addition to homeowners, there were many renters impacted by the tornado, including those immediately impacted by the storm and those displaced later after landlords decided to sell their tornado-impacted rentals.

This has been a great concern for the city and the nonprofits providing assistance in disaster. Many organizations have provided short-term and long-term rental support for tornado survivors, including (but not limited to): Affordable Housing Resources; American Red Cross of Nashville Area; Broken Restored Redeemed Ministries; Catholic Charities of Tennessee; Gideon’s Army; The Equity Alliance; The Hope Station; Martha O’Bryan Center; Needlink; Project Connect Nashville; Rooftop Foundation; and Salvation Army – Nashville Area Command.

Also, the Davidson Co. Long Term Recovery Group has canvassed the neighborhoods several times and sent direct mail pieces and analyzed data to find survivor households. It remains actively searching for tornado survivors who are still in need of assistance. You can connect through the Tornado Recovery Connection helpline at 615-270-9255.

Collaboration with various entities of Metro Nashville government and local and regional nonprofit agencies has been essential to the Long-Term Recovery Group’s efforts. A deeper dive into the Davidson County Long-Term Recovery Group can be found here: https://tornadoresponse.com/ltrg/

About The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee

The Community Foundation exists to promote and facilitate giving in the 40 counties of Middle Tennessee and beyond. It does this by accepting gifts of any size from anyone at any time and by empowering individuals, families, companies, nonprofits, and communities to respond to needs and opportunities that matter. The Community Foundation works with people who have great hearts, whether or not they have great wealth, to craft solutions that reflect the intentions and goals of their charitable endeavors. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit www.cfmt.org.

Business Spotlight: Right at Home Handyman

Smith County is now home to a brand new business called Right at Home Handyman, a local hometown business looking to help improve the community and surrounding areas  by helping community members complete projects of various size and demand. 

Dakota Preston started his business in February of this year, but he has been helping family, friends, and people in the community since 2010. 

Right at Home Handyman offers highly sought after services such as: appliance repair, plumbing repair, deck installation and repair, minor landscaping, tree trimming, storm damage removal and repair, and much, much more. When customers call Right at Home Handyman, they can expect professional, polite, on-time service with affordable rates. Dakota wants to make sure that your experience is worry and stress free and that your needs are met! 

Dakota is the son of Kenny and Sarah Preston and Jason and Tracey Vanderpool. He is engaged to Nicole Gully, and together they have six children. He says, “I have always liked this type of work, and I enjoy helping homeowners reach the full potential of their projects. I love the interaction of meeting new people and seeing the rewards our clients benefit from as a result of our hard work.”

Right at Home Handyman is located in Hickman, TN in Smith County, and they are open Monday through Friday from 4pm- 10pm and Saturday and Sunday from 6am- 10pm. The best way to contact them is to call or text (615) 489-7293. 

UT Extension News: Fire Ants and How to Identify Them

By Chris Hicks, County Director – UT Extension Smith County

I had a number of calls in 2020 regarding fire ants, and those calls have continued into 2021. Some of these calls have turned out to be false alarms, while others have indeed been fire ant mounds. If you suspect you may have fire ants on your property, I hope to give you some tips on making a positive ID.

First, what is a fire ant? Fire ants are non-native ants that get their name from their sting which causes burning and sometimes blistering. There are 3 types of imported fire ants: red, black, and hybrid. Within a colony, their sizes range from 1/8” to 1/4” in length, and like other ants, you can find winged males and females in the nest. 

The 3 types of fire ants share common characteristics such as a ten-segmented antenna with a two-segmented club and a two-segmented waist. Of course, seeing these characteristics requires a microscope, and putting them under a microscope requires catching them. Identifying them without getting stung is obviously the goal. 

Dr. Karen Vail, UT Extension Urban Entomologist, suggests that to decrease the chances of being bitten and stung by fire ants, place a small index card with a food item (honey, peanut butter, cookies, etc.) next to the mound but not on it when temps are between 70F and 90F.  As soon as ants start feeding, grab the index card by the corner and place it in a Ziploc bag, seal the bag, and place in the freezer. You could also use an aspirator to put the ants in a vial of alcohol if you prefer not to have ants in your freezer.

Besides collecting a specimen, the aggressive nature of fire ants in comparison with other ant species is another characteristic to look for. Generally, hundreds of fire ant workers will swarm out of the ant mound when disturbed and run up vertical surfaces to sting, unlike other species which tend to run horizontally to try and get away. Again, be cautious when using this method so that you avoid being stung.

A final clue, but not a foolproof method of ID, is to look at the size and shape of the mound. Imported fire ants build mounds in almost any type of soil but prefer open, sunny areas such as pastures, parks, lawns, meadows, and cultivated fields. Mounds can reach 18 to 24 inches in height and do not have an opening in the center. Allegheny mound ant mounds are often confused with fire ant mounds as they can be even larger and also lack a central opening. 

If you suspect you may have fire ants on your property, safely collect some samples, make sure they are frozen or have been killed with alcohol, and bring them to the UT Extension office at 125 Gordonsville Highway in Carthage for positive identification. Also, fireants.utk.edu has excellent information regarding identification and management of fire ants. 

Press Release: Representative John Rose Local Office Hours for March

by John Rose, U.S. Representative – Tennessee’s Sixth Congressional District

COOKEVILLE, TN—Every month, U.S. Representative John Rose’s (TN-6) district staff hold a series of local office hours for constituents to connect directly with caseworkers and receive assistance with federal agencies. Due to previous COVID-19 restrictions, local office hours were temporarily suspended, but will resume in March and be held in Cannon, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Overton, Pickett, Robertson, Smith, Trousdale, White, and Wilson counties.

During the local office hours, district staff will be available to answer questions and assist constituents with federal casework, such as social security and veterans benefits, steps for obtaining a passport, and more. Local office hours occur monthly, if you have questions, please contact one of Representative Rose’s offices so a staff member may help you.

“It is important to me, and the staff members, that we are always available and working to help the great people of the Sixth District,” said Representative Rose. “Keeping an open dialogue with my neighbors allows me to hear their concerns about significant issues facing our communities and best represent those perspectives in Washington.”

Details for local office hours can be found below and on Representative Rose’s website

Wednesday, March 3rd

  • TIME: 9:00-10:00 am
  • WHAT: White County Local Office Hours
  • LOCATION: White County Courthouse, Executive Conference Rm., 1 E Bockman Way, Sparta, TN 38583.
  • WHO: Congressman Rose will be represented by District Director Rebecca Foster during this visit.
  • TIME: 10:00-11:00 am
  • WHAT: Coffee County Local Office Hours
  • LOCATION: Tullahoma City Hall, 201 W Grundy Street, Tullahoma, TN 37388
  • WHO: Representative Rose will be represented by Field Representative Lou Nave during this visit.
  • TIME: 2:00-3:00 pm
  • WHAT: Cumberland County Local Office Hours
  • LOCATION: Cumberland County Courthouse, 2 N Main Street, Crossville, TN 38555.
  • WHO: Representative Rose will be represented by District Director Rebecca Foster during this visit.

Thursday, March 4th

  • TIME: 10:00-11:00 am
  • WHAT: Trousdale County Local Office Hours
  • LOCATION: County Administration Building, 328 Broadway, Hartsville, TN 37074
  • WHO: Representative Rose will be represented by Deputy District Director Ray Render during this visit.
  • TIME: 11:00-12:00 pm
  • WHAT: Coffee County Local Office Hours
  • LOCATION: Coffee County Administrative Plaza, 1329 McArthur Street, Manchester, TN 37355
  • WHO: Representative Rose will be represented by Field Representative Lou Nave during this visit.
  • TIME: 1:00-2:00 pm
  • WHAT: Macon County Local Office Hours
  • LOCATION: Lafayette City Hall, 200 E Locust Street, Lafayette, TN 37083
  • WHO: Representative Rose will be represented by Deputy District Director Ray Render during this visit.

Wednesday March 10th

  • TIME: 9:00-10:00 am
  • WHAT: Wilson County Local Office Hours
  • LOCATION: Wilson County Courthouse, 134 S College Street Ste 200, Lebanon, TN 37087
  • WHO: Representative Rose will be represented by Deputy District Director Ray Render during this visit.
  • TIME: 1:00-2:00 pm
  • WHAT: Cannon County Local Office Hours
  • LOCATION: Cannon County Senior Center, 609 Lehman Street, Woodbury, TN 37190
  • WHO: Representative Rose will be represented by Field Representative Lou Nave during this visit.
  • TIME: 2:00-3:00 pm
  • WHAT: Robertson County Local Office Hours
  • LOCATION: Springfield City Hall, 405 N Main Street, Springfield, TN 37172
  • WHO: Representative Rose will be represented by Deputy District Director Ray Render during this visit.

Thursday March 11th

  • TIME: 1:00-2:00 pm
  • WHAT: Cumberland County Local Office Hours
  • LOCATION: Village Green Mall, 126 Stonehenge Drive, Crossville, TN 38558
  • WHO: Representative Rose will be represented by District Director Rebecca Foster during this visit.

Friday March 12th

  • TIME: 9:00-10:00 am
  • WHAT: Clay County Local Office Hours
  • LOCATION: Clay County Senior Center, 145 Cordell Hull Drive, Celina, TN 38551
  • WHO: Congressman Rose will be represented by District Director Rebecca Foster during this visit.
  • TIME: 12:00-1:00 pm
  • WHAT: Jackson County Local Office Hours
  • LOCATION: Jackson County Library, 205 W. Hull Avenue, Gainesboro, TN 38562
  • WHO: Representative Rose will be represented by District Director Rebecca Foster during this visit.
  • TIME: 2:30-3:30 pm
  • WHAT: Smith County Local Office Hours
  • LOCATION: Smith County Administration Building, 122 Turner High Circle, Carthage, TN 37030
  • WHO: Representative Rose will be represented by District Director Rebecca Foster during this visit.

Tuesday March 16th

  • TIME:9:00-10:00 am
  • WHAT: DeKalb County Local Office Hours
  • LOCATION: DeKalb County Board of Education, 110 S Public Square, Smithville, TN 37166
  • WHO: Representative Rose will be represented by Field Representative Lou Nave during this visit.

Wednesday March 24th

  • TIME: 9:00-10:00 am
  • WHAT: Overton County Local Office Hours
  • LOCATION: Overton County Administration Building, 308 West Avenue, Livingston, TN 38570
  • WHO: Representative Rose will be represented by Field Representative Rebecca Foster during this visit.
  • TIME: 11:00-12:00 pm
  • WHAT: Pickett County Local Office Hours
  • LOCATION: Pickett County Library, 79 Pickett Square, Byrdstown, TN 38549
  • WHO: Representative Rose will be represented by District Director Rebecca Foster during this visit.
  • TIME: 2:00-3:00 pm
  • WHAT: Fentress County Local Office Hours
  • LOCATION: Fentress County Courthouse, 101 S. Main Street, Jamestown, TN 38556
  • WHO: Representative Rose will be represented by District Director Rebecca Foster during this visit.

Tennessee Housing Development Agency COVID-19 Rent Relief

March 1, 2021 – TheTennessee Housing Development Agency has opened an online portal that will allow renters and landlords to apply for up to 12 months of cumulative rent and/or utility payments through its new COVID-19 Rent Relief Program. 

The COVID-19 Rent Relief Program was developed to support renters who are, or have been, struggling to pay rent, utilities or other home energy costs due to loss of income resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. 

“The pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the livelihoods of countless Tennesseans,” THDA Executive Director Ralph M. Perrey said. “This program is designed to help people stay in their homes by covering eligible rent and/or utility costs they are unable to pay due to the challenges presented by COVID-19.”

THDA will administer this program in 91 of Tennessee’s 95 counties. Renters in those counties who have experienced economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and earn less than 80 percent of the area median income may be eligible for this assistance. For example, in Smith County, a 4 person household making less than $44,950 annually could qualify for this funding. More details on eligibility are available online at thda.org/covidrentrelief or individuals can call (844) 500-1112. 

To start the application process, a landlord or tenant should access the online portal or call the COVID-19 Rent Relief Call Center at (844) 500-1112. Both landlords and tenants will be required to provide verification and documentation as proof of eligibility.  Once approved, payments will be made directly to the landlord or utility company on behalf of the tenant. Individuals can monitor the status of their application and payment through the online portal.  

THDA received $384 million in direct funding from the U.S. Treasury to administer the emergency rent relief program in 91 of Tennessee’s 95 counties. Davidson, Knox, Rutherford and Shelby counties will administer their own rent relief programs. THDA will begin serving applicants under the COVID-19 Rent Relief program on March 1, 2021 and continue until all funds have been reserved or expended. 

For more information on the THDA COVID-19 rent relief program, or to apply for assistance, visit thda.org/covidrentrelief or call (844) 500-1112.

Smith County Insider “Educator Spotlight”: Tia Medley

Smith County Insider’s “Educator Spotlight” series is our way of celebrating the incredible educators in Smith County who go above and beyond for their students, both inside and outside of the classroom!

Today’s “Educator Spotlight” features Mrs. Tia Medley. She is originally from Carthage, Tennessee and has taught high school for 11 years. She previously taught in Warren County but has recently returned home where she teaches 10th grade ELA at SCHS.

Smith County Insider interviewed Tia about her experiences as an educator, and this is what she had to say.

SCI: When did you realize that you wanted to be a teacher? 

TM: “My junior year of high school- I had amazing teachers like Candy Smith, Martha Moore, Denise Hackett, and Karen Hackett who were/are my inspiration!”

SCI: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

TM: “Building relationships with my students and watching them grow throughout high school.”

SCI: What inspires you?

TM: “As cheesy as this sounds, my students inspire me!  I do this job not just to teach ELA standards, but to be there for my students as someone they can trust, and as a person who truly cares about their well-being.”

SCI: What’s the best piece of advice you have for your students?  

TM: “Always be kind- You never know what a person is going through!”

SCI: What do you like to do in your free time?

TM: “If I’m not running my two boys around to every sporting practice imaginable, I love to run and work out!”

SCI: Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers of Smith County Insider?

TM: “After being away from Smith County for 10 years (I previously taught and lived in Warren County), it feels so good to be home!”

Thank you for your dedication to your students, Tia! We are glad to have you in Smith County.

Don’t miss Smith County Insider’s next “Educator Spotlight”!

Smith County Youth Football Signups – March 13th and 20th

Smith County Youth Football signups are on March 13th and March 20th at the Carthage City Park from 12pm- 4pm.

Please bring a copy of the player’s birth certificate and a copy of a recent physical along with the sign up fee. The birth certificate and the physical must be turned in before the player is permitted to practice.

Blood Drive to be Held at New Middleton Baptist Church on Tuesday March 16, 2021

Be the lifeline patients need! 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 Tuesday, March 16, 2021.

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.

Food For Thought: Altering Recipes at Home

By Mary Parker Draper, Extension Agent – Smith County

According to Harvard Health, the more people cook at home, the healthier their diet, the fewer calories they consume, and the less likely they are to be obese and develop type 2 diabetes. In fact, research has shown that nutritional programs including cooking instructions have helped people stick to a healthier diet, eat smaller portions, and lose weight. 

Cooking at home can be intimidating for many people, especially if the recipe yields many more portion sizes than needed. Follow these measurements to help make cutting recipes in halves or thirds easier. 

How to make 1/2 of a recipe:

When the recipe calls for:

  • 1 cup, reduce to 1/2 cup
  • 3/4 cup, reduce to 6 tablespoons
  • 2/3 cup, reduce to 1/3 cup
  • 1/2 cup, reduce to 1/4 cup
  • 1/3 cup, reduce to 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
  • 1/4 cup, reduce to 2 tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon, reduce to 1-1/2 teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon, reduce to 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon, reduce to 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon, reduce to 1/8 teaspoon
  • 1/8 teaspoon, reduce to a dash

How to make 1/3 of a recipe:

When the recipe calls for:

  • 1 cup, reduce to 1/3 cup
  • 3/4 cup, reduce to 1/4 tablespoons
  • 2/3 cup, reduce to 3 tablespoons + 1-1/2 teaspoons
  • 1/2 cup, reduce to 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
  • 1/3 cup, reduce to 1 tablespoon + 2-1/3 teaspoons (or round to 1 tablespoon + 2-1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup, reduce to 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon, reduce to 1 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon, reduce to generous 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon, reduce to scant 1/8 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon, reduce to scant 1/8 teaspoon
  • 1/8 teaspoon, reduce to a dash

Additional tips for adapting your home recipes include:

  • It may be easier to make the entire recipe for baked goods and freeze half.
  • When reducing recipes, you may need to use smaller saucepans, skillets, and baking pans. The time for baking smaller amounts of food may be less.
  • The standard size egg for recipes is the large egg. To halve an egg, break it, mix it together with a fork, and use 2 tablespoons. Refrigerate the rest and use in an omelet or scrambled eggs within two to four days.
  • A 9 x 13-inch pan holds 14 to 15 cups. When halving a recipe, use a square 8 x 8-inch pan or a round 9-inch pan. When using a different pan size, try to keep the depth of food the same.
  • Reduce the oven temperature by 25°F when substituting a glass pan for a metal one.

To help divide recipes, remember:

  • 1 cup = 16 tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons
  • 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces
  • 1 fluid ounce = 2 tablespoons
  • 1 pound = 16 ounces (weight)
  • 1 pint = 2 cups
  • 2 pints = 1 quart
  • 1 quart = 2 pints

For more resources on adapting recipes, consult this list from Kentucky State Research and Education:  https://www.ksre.k-state.edu/humannutrition/nutrition-topics/easytasty.html.

  • Never Fail Chess Pie
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornmeal
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 4 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine all ingredients, blending well. Pour into pie shell. Bake 30 minutes. Submitted by Judy Long, Gordonsville FCE Club.

5th Annual Carthage Benevolent Lodge #14 Vidalia Onion Sale; Deadline to order is April 12

Carthage Benevolent Lodge #14 is hosting their 5th Annual Vidalia Onion Sale! The deadline to order is April 12, 2021.

The cost is $10 for a 10 pound bag.

The onions are scheduled to be delivered around the first of May. They will be picked in Vidalia, Georgia, and delivered to Carthage within 24-48 hours after harvest. 

Payment is due when the onions arrive. Proceeds from the sale will benefit Masonic Charities.

To order, call 615-351-7206 or text 615-489-0572. You can also email your order to CarthageLodgeGolf@gmail.com.

BREAKING: Gordonsville Woman Charged with Homicide After Discovery of Deceased Man

Tara Leigh Green

This morning, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation began to review the circumstances of the death of 47-year-old Smith County resident Wendell Wilkey Bennett after he was found deceased in his home on Thompson Hollow Road.

The investigation determined that Tara Leigh Greene was responsible for Bennett’s death. Greene was arrested this evening by TBI agents and charged with one count of Criminal Homicide and one count of Theft over $2,500. She is currently being held in the Smith County Jail. Greene is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The TBI investigation was requested by 15th Judicial District Attorney General Tommy Thompson. The Smith County Sheriff’s Office provided assistance.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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