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Article Calendar

January 2019
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Business Spotlight: Possitive Connection

One of the newest businesses to open its doors in Carthage is Possitive Connection, a cellphone store owned by Travis Poss. Possitive Connection is located at 26 Dixon Springs Highway, just down the road from McDonalds.

Possitive Connection sells new, used, and refurbished Verizon cellphones, cellphone accessories, and cellphone plans like Total Wireless and Page Plus.

They also offer diagnosis on broken iPhones and perform iPhone repairs such as replacing screens, batteries, home buttons, speakers, and more. 

Possitive Connection aims to help locals save money with their cellphones and live better knowing they can always come to the store with questions of all kinds about phones, plans, and all things phone-related.

Customers can also find electronics, such as flat screen TVs, tablets, and Apple watches, for sale at Possitive Connection. Most of the inventory is either new or in A-grade used condition. Each phone is tested before it is put on the sales floor. 

The owner of Possitive Connection originally opened a cellphone store in Sparta, Tennessee, where he was met with great success.

“We have excelled in the cellphone business in that location and we pride ourselves in our customer satisfaction and service to the community to help people in the world of cellphones,” said Elijah Payne, an employee at Possitive Connection.

Business hours for Possitive Connection are as follows: 

  • Monday: 10-5
  • Tuesday: 10-5
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: 10-5
  • Friday: 10-5
  • Saturday: 11-4
  • Sunday: Closed

Be sure to follow Possitive Connection on Facebook, give them a call at (931)261-2811, and pay them a visit for all your cellphone needs.

Miss Tennessee 2018 visits Smith County schools

Christine Williamson, who was crowned Miss Tennessee in the Carl Perkins Jr. Civic Center of Jackson on June 23, 2018, recently visited Smith County schools.

“It was an honor to host her in our school system and community. In addition to visiting schools during her stay, she ate at local restaurants and visited a local boutique,” said Melinda Spivey, Supervisor of Instruction and CTE Director at the Smith County Board of Education.

This year, Christine will travel more than 80,000 miles across the state visiting school children. She is honored to serve the state of Tennessee as the Governor’s Character Education Spokesperson and to speak to more than 50,000 children in Tennessee Schools about the character trait of respect.

She will also be continuing to promote her Platform of Alzheimer’s Awareness throughout our state continuing her work with the Alzheimer’s Association  but also by partnering with the Tennessee Respite Coalition as an honorary board member, and the Governor’s Commission on Aging and Disability.

During her year of service, she will travel the state as Tennessee’s State Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, to continue fundraising, volunteering, and raising awareness for Tennessee’s Five Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

She also serves as the Honorary Board Chair for Volunteer Tennessee & as an Honorary Board Member of the Tennessee Respite Coalition.

She has published her first ever children’s book, Memories MatterThis book describes a little purple elephant named “Ellie” whose grandpa is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She created this book as a tool to explain Alzheimer’s disease to young children and provided talking points in the back of the book for further discussion for educators, counselors, and parents. It is available on Amazon as an eBook and print book!

You can learn more about Christine by visiting her website. 

UCEMC Cares, Inc. awards grants to local organizations – December 2018

L to R: Wesley Rigsby, Chairman of the Board, Pleasant Shade Community Center; Anne Cole, Secretary, UCEMC Cares; Audrey Russell, Literacy Leader, Smith County Middle School HOSA; Jeremy Dennis, EMR Coordinator, Smith County EMR Program.

In December 2018, UCEMCCares Inc. awarded $1,000 to the Pleasant Shade Community Center; $1,000 to the Smith County Middle School HOSA; and $1,000 to the Smith County EMR Program.

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.

News from the Smith County High School Band – January 2019

The Smith County High School Band has had an eventful start to 2019.

The Smith County High School Symphonic Band recently attended a performance by Nashville Symphony Orchestra on Friday, January 11, 2019.

This concert is part of NSO’s Young People’s Concert Program and was completely free for the students to attend. 

The NSO performed their concert Cosmos – An HD Odyssey, featuring Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,” accompanied by footage of deep space captured by NASA. 

For most students, it was the first time to attend the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in downtown Nashville and for some the first time in downtown Nashville.

The Smith County Band also has other exciting news to share: The Tri-M Music Honor Society has announced the chartering of a new chapter at Smith County High School. 

Read the official press release below: 

Music Honor Society Launched at Smith County High School

The Tri-M® Music Honor Society, the honor society for secondary school music students, announces the chartering of a new chapter at Smith County High School in Carthage, TN, under the leadership of Davey Edmaiston. 

The formation of this chapter signifies the school’s recognition of the importance of the arts in the development of a comprehensive educational program. The Tri-M Music Honor Society provides a means of recognizing the efforts and achievements of music students who volunteer their time and share their musical talent with others. Since 1952, over 8,000 Tri-M chapters have been chartered in the United States and abroad, and current membership exceeds 79,000. 

The goal of the Tri-M Music Honor Society is to foster greater interest in band, orchestra, and choral performance and to provide more opportunities for personal musical expression. Students are selected for membership in the honor society on the basis of musicianship, scholarship, character, leadership, and service to their school and community. The organization’s high standards serve to challenge students to greater effort and achievement and to encourage them in the pursuit of excellence. 

In 1983, the Tri-M Music Honor Society became a program of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). National Association for Music Education , among the world’s largest arts education organizations, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers. The Association orchestrates success for millions of students nationwide and has supported music educators at all teaching levels for more than a century. 

For more information about Tri-M or NAfME, visit the website at www.nafme.org/tri-m or call the NAfME office at 800-336-3768. 

Help celebrate School Board Appreciation Week – January 20-26, 2019

January 20-26, 2019 is School Board Appreciation Week in Tennessee and in Smith County. 

This week helps build awareness and understanding of the vital functions our locally elected boards of education play in our community. 

The Smith County School System is joining public school districts from across the state to celebrate School Board Appreciation Week and honor local board members for their commitment to Smith County and its children.

“Our school system is the backbone of our community, and these men and women devote countless hours to making sure our schools are helping every child,” Director of Schools Barry H. Smith said. “There is no greater honor that can be bestowed upon a citizen than membership on a local board of education. They spend countless hours studying the issues and regulations and make the tough decisions when called upon to ensure the type of accountability people expect.”

Director Smith said the key work of school boards is to:

  • Create a vision for what the community wants the school district to be and for making student achievement the top priority;
  • Establish standards for what students will be expected to learn and be able to do;
  • Ensure progress is measured to be sure the district’s goals are achieved and students are learning at expected levels;
  • Create a safe, orderly climate where students can learn and teachers can teach;
  • Form partnerships with others in the community to solve common problems; and
  • Focus attention on the need for continuous improvement by questioning, refining and revising issues related to student achievement.

Our local school board shapes the future of education in Smith County by influencing the high quality of education that our children and youth receive. The Smith County School Board shows its commitment to educational excellence and equity—and for that we are very grateful for their attitude of service.

The members currently serving on the Smith County Board of Education are pictured below: 

Back Row (L to R): Ricky Shoulders, Tommy Manning, Director of Schools Barry Smith, Joe Taylor, Marty McCaleb. Front Row (L to R): David Apple, Brian Smith, Robin Moore, Scotty Lewis.

You can learn more about the school board members here.

Please join Smith County Insider in celebrating School Board Appreciation Week, and take the time to thank our Smith County school board members for their service and dedication to our community and our children!

4-H News: 4-H Chick Chain Registration Now Open

The following article was submitted by Katie Martin, Smith County Extension Agent: 

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  The chicken will definitely come first for many Smith County 4-H’ers who choose to participate in the 4-H Chick Chain Project.

The 4-H Chick Chain gives 4-H members the opportunity to develop an understanding and working knowledge for good poultry management and marketing practices. As with any 4-H livestock project, the Chick Chain teaches personal responsibility by working with animals that depend on the 4-H member to provide proper feed, housing, care and management. The member also develops self-esteem and decision making skills that will be beneficial throughout their life.

Smith County’s Chick Chain project involves a 4-H member purchasing baby chicks from the 4-H office and raising them for laying hens. The day old chicks usually arrive the last week of March. The 4-H member provides housing, brooding equipment, feeders, waterers and feed.

After raising a set of birds, in the Chick Chain Project, 4-H’ers participate in the Smith County 4-H Poultry Show to be held in October. The 4-H member selects their best three birds and they are judged as a pen with the other entries. Trophies, ribbons and prize money are awarded to the best entries. An auction will also take place where 4-H’ers will have the opportunity to sell three of their hens to local buyers.

Upon successful completion of the project the 4-H member has a flock of laying hens. This often develops into a small business where the 4-H member may sell the excess eggs. Participants may also have available, for sale, fully developed laying hens. 

Orders for this year’s Chick Chain are due in the 4-H office by Friday, February 1, 2019.

If you have any questions or need more information, please call the Smith County Extension Office at 735-2900.

Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation warns members about scam

Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation is warning its members about an elaborate scam attempt that is targeting utility customers.

The scam starts with a person calling who states that if you don’t pay your bill immediately, your service will be disconnected. If you do not pay immediately with your credit card or with a service called “Pay Pac,” they ask you to call “customer service” through another number.

When you hang up and call that number, it becomes a 3-way “conference” call which is routed to the actual customer service department of your utility. While you’re on the phone with your utility company, the scammers are on the line, listening for any information you give, including your account number, credit card information, and even your bank account number.

Known numbers used in this scam:

  • Caller ID: 765-357-0159
  • Call back: 855-303-7775

UCEMC reminds its members:

  • Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation will never call members to request credit card, banking or other financial information over the telephone.
  • Although all forms of payments are accepted, UCEMC will never call members demanding a specific payment method be used.
  • UCEMC will never call members requesting payment outside of normal business hours.

If you have any doubts about who might be calling regarding your electric bill, contact UCEMC: Corporate Office – 615-735-3208, or 800-261-2940.

Special Called Meeting of the Carthage City Council – January 22, 2019

There will be a Special Called Meeting of the Carthage City Council on Tuesday, January 22, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. inside the James A. Clay Municipal Building, located at 314 Spring Street.

The purpose of this meeting is for invited Waste Water Treatment specialists to inform the Council about the compliance requirements and legal responsibility of our elected city officials with regard to the Carthage Waste Water Treatment Plant.

The Council may also vote on how to proceed with the Memorandum of Understanding that exists between the city and the county related to disposal of waste in the Carthage Waste Water Treatment Plant after the reports from the specialists.

All interested citizens are invited to attend.

Smith County Chamber Corner Show – January 2019

The January 2019 edition of the Smith County Chamber Corner was filmed at Jane Reed’s Pleasant Shade Cafe in Pleasant Shade, Tennessee. This month’s Chamber Corner is packed with interviews and information about many exciting things happening here in Smith County.

The January 2019 Chamber Corner features an interview with new chamber member Tennessee Power Washing, and updates from the Smith County Drug Prevention Coalition, the Smith County UT Extension Office, and the Keep Smith County Beautiful committee. This episode also includes the latest edition of “Seasoned With Grace” featuring Grace Harville, as well as information about the upcoming comedy show at the Pleasant Shade Community Center.

If you would like to promote your event or local business on the Smith County Chamber Corner Show, contact the Smith County Chamber of Commerce by calling 615-735-2093 today!

Click below to watch the full show.

Recap: January 2019 Meeting of the Smith County Board of Education

The Smith County Board of Education met at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. 

At the beginning of the meeting, Smith County Mayor Jeff Mason thanked the members of the school board for their dedication to education in Smith County. Mayor Mason then read a proclamation declaring January 20-26, 2019, School Board Appreciation Week in Smith County. 

Notably, the school board also discussed a new policy amendment pertaining to the way that class rank is determined. This discussion begins at 6:20 on the video.

Under the new policy, graduating high school seniors will be acknowledged with a latin system, in the style of most colleges and universities. Seniors will receive these distinctions—summa cum laude, magna cum laude, cum laude—based upon their grade point average.

Rather than eliminate the previous Top Ten system entirely, this new proposal suggests naming a Top Ten based on students’ ACT scores.

Principals and guidance counselors at both high schools in the county have expressed support for the new system, as it will be more transparent, allow a larger number of students to be recognized and receive scholarships, and encourage students to work to increase their ACT scores. 

This was the first of two readings of this policy. It is expected to re-appear for final approval during the school board’s next meeting.

The school board also mentioned their upcoming retreat on Thursday, January 17, 2019, where they will discuss their long-term goals for the Smith County school system.

The Smith County School Board will meet again on Tuesday, February 19, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. at the Central Office in Smith County.

Watch the full video of the meeting below, and subscribe to Smith County Insider’s YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on meeting coverage, business spotlights, video features, and more!

Newly-elected John Rose appointed to top-tier committee

Washington, D.C. – John Rose, Representative for Tennessee’s Sixth Congressional District, has been appointed to the prestigious Financial Services Committee. While other new members await their assignments, Rose is among the first to be named to one of only a few “A” committees in the House’s “A, B, and C” committee system.

“It is a great honor to give Tennesseans a voice on the Financial Services Committee,” said Rose. “On this committee, I will work vigorously to roll back burdensome regulations that plague our banking system, especially those impacting small-town banks and the average-Tennessean. It is time to stand up for job-creators, empower community banks, and create lasting reform that will decrease the federal government’s involvement in our daily personal and business lives.”

Rose, a first-time office-holder, campaigned on “Tennessee Values,” which he cited as those conservative measures taken on the state level to make Tennessee one of the top states in the nation to own a business, raise a family and retire. A seat on the powerful Financial Services Committee will give him the chance to be actively involved in some of the most meaningful debate and work in Washington.

“I am absolutely thrilled John will be joining Financial Services. His leadership comes at a critical time for our country’s prosperity,” said Tommy Whittaker, President of The Farmers Bank, which serves Sumner and Robertson counties. “John’s a strong fiscal conservative, pragmatic businessman, and well-versed in the challenges community banks face. He will bring Tennessee’s common sense approach to solving these challenges. John understands small business owners because he is one and he understands the financial decisions Americans make when raising a family because he has a young family of his own. I am proud the Sixth District will be well-represented on such a powerful committee.”

The ranking Republican on Financial Services, Congressman Patrick McHenry (R – NC), applauded Congressman Rose’s appointment, saying, “As a former Commissioner of Agriculture as well as a business owner and director of a national bank, John will provide critical input and diverse expertise to the Financial Services Committee. I’m glad to see him, and his fellow freshman members, recommended to join so we can continue to build on the gains we’ve already achieved for hardworking taxpayers. I look forward to working alongside him in the 116th Congress.”

The 6th District includes 19 counties that stretch from parts of Cheatham County and all of Robertson County down to Coffee County and across the Cumberland Plateau. John Rose is the eighth generation in his family to call the 6th District home. He is a conservative small business owner and farmer who lives with his wife Chelsea and their son Guy in Cookeville.

Thirteen GHS, SCHS students earn CNA certification through TCAT program

Gordonsville High School Students Skyler Brock, Chloe Filkins, Charlize Hawthorne, and Jacob Lambert pose with their TCAT diplomas.

L to R: Smith County High School Students Jaleesa Bane, Mekaylah Murray, Maddison Rose, Cheyenne Duke, Hannah Riddle, Delaney Eldred, Logen Ferrel, and Hannah Bare. Not pictured Hailey Harkins.

Thirteen local high school students recently received an industry certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant through a dual enrollment program offered by the Tennessee College of Applied Technology.

Four students at Gordonsville High School—Skyler Brock, Chloe Filkins, Charlize Hawthorne, and Jacob Lambert—and nine students from Smith County High School— Jaleesa Bane, Mekaylah Murray, Maddison Rose, Cheyenne Duke, Hannah Riddle, Delaney Eldred, Logen Ferrel, Hannah Bare, and Hailey Harkins—earned their CNA diplomas and were invited to walk at the TCAT graduation ceremony on December 18, 2018. 

The CNA program is offered to all high school students 16 or older who would like to earn an industry certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant. The program is offered during first period every day during the fall semester and is taught by a TCAT instructor at Smith County High School. 

Completing the program prepares students to take the CNA certification exam in December. 

Congratulations to these students for their hard work and dedication!

ICYMI: January 2019 Meeting of the Carthage City Council

The Carthage City Council met for the first time this year at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 3, 2019.

Smith County Insider live-streamed the meeting as it happened. You can watch a replay of the meeting on YouTube here.

Notably, the City Council revisited previous discussion about the construction of an amphitheater at the Town Park Complex in Carthage. 

Discussion of the amphitheater project begins at 36:25 on the video.

Talk of the amphitheater’s construction first began in April 2018, when the City of Carthage announced that it had applied for and received a tourism grant that would aid in the costs of construction of the amphitheater. The grant would pay for 80% of the project costs, leaving the city responsible for 20%. 

You can read Smith County Insider’s prior coverage of the amphitheater grant here and here. 

During the city council meeting, the city grant writer revealed that Mayor Smith had sent a letter to the state department of tourism in order to terminate the grant agreement. When the project was initially bid, two bids were received, and both were significantly over-budget. 

After talking to the former mayor, Mayor Smith said that she was under the impression that the city would not continue the project.

If the city terminates the grant agreement, the city will still be responsible for paying the grant writer and the engineer for their time spent on the project, which totals $9,950. 

Several members on the council expressed interest in continuing discussion of the project, revisiting the design of the amphitheater to lower costs, seeking donations of materials, and re-bidding the project rather than taking immediate steps to terminate the grant agreement.

The council decided to table the discussion, gather more information, and revisit the project at a future meeting.

Additionally, in a special-called meeting at noon on January 3, 2019, the City Council discussed a contract between the city and the county about the City of Carthage accepting the county’s leachate, a substance from the landfill that is treated and then pumped into the city’s sewer system.

In exchange for accepting the leachate, the city is able to dispose of its waste in the landfill free of charge.

At the special-called meeting, Mayor Smith and wastewater treatment plant supervisor Steve Key voiced their concerns about the leachate. A representative from the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) also spoke at the meeting.

The council elected for the city to continue accepting the county’s leachate, with the understanding that more rigorous testing will be performed on the leachate in the future.

You can listen to the full audio recording of that meeting below:

The next meeting of the Carthage City Council will be held inside the James A. Clay Municipal Building at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 7, 2019. 

An Ounce of Prevention: January 2019

Check out the January 2019 edition of “An Ounce of Prevention,” the monthly newsletter from the Smith County Drug Prevention Coalition.

January 22 – 27, 2019 is National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, a national health observance linking teens to science-based facts to shatter the myths about drugs and alcohol. Read the newsletter below to learn how the Smith County Drug Prevention Coalition is participating!


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