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November 2022
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The Emmanuel House Job Opening: Executive Director

The Board of Directors for the Emmanuel House announce an upcoming vacancy in their Executive Director position and seek resumes from potential candidates.

After almost a year in the position, our current Executive Director has decided to pursue opportunities which have presented themselves to him.

We are appreciative of the hard work Micah has put into this organization and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.

Potential candidates for the Executive Director position should review the attached qualifications with job description and submit their resumes.

Click HERE to view a PDF to learn more about the open position.

Graphic Packaging Now Hiring with great hourly rates and benefits

Graphic Packaging International in Gordonsville is currently hiring for multiple production positions. They offer a competitive salary and benefits package.

According to their website Graphic Packaging International, produces the paper cup that held your coffee this morning, the basket that transported those bottles of craft beer you enjoyed last weekend, and the microwave tray that heated your gourmet meal last night. They are one of the largest manufacturers of paperboard and paper-based packaging for some of the world’s most recognized brands of food, beverage, foodservice, household, personal care and pet products.

With almost 25,000 employees working in more than 130 locations worldwide, they strive to be environmentally responsible in the industry and in the communities where we operate. We are committed to workplace diversity and offer compensation and benefits programs that are among the industry’s best to reward the talented people who make our company successful.
If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of check out their website at career.graphicpkg.com.

The Last Day of Early Voting is Thursday, Nov. 3

Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, is the last day for Tennesseans of early voting for the Nov. 8 State and Federal General election. 

“Time is running out for Tennesseans planning to vote early in the Nov. 8 election,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “I urge voters to take advantage of the last days of early voting to make their voices heard.”

Tennesseans can find early voting and Election Day hours, polling locations, view and mark sample ballots and much more with the Secretary of State’s GoVoteTN.gov website or GoVoteTN app. Download the GoVoteTN app for free in the App Store or Google Play.

Voters need to bring valid photo identification to the polls during early voting or on Election Day. A driver’s license or photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Tennessee state government or the federal government is acceptable even if expired. A student ID or out-of-state driver’s license is not acceptable. For more information about what types of IDs are permitted, visit GoVoteTN.gov.

For election information voters can trust from the Secretary of State, visit GoVoteTN.gov and the GoVoteTN app, call the Division of Elections toll-free at 1-877-850-4959 or follow the Secretary of State’s social media channels Twitter: @SecTreHargett, Facebook: Tennessee Secretary of State and Instagram: @tnsecofstate.

Jolly Strings Quartet performs at the Annual Pregnancy Help Center Banquet on October 24th 2022

The Annual Pregnancy Help Center Banquet was a great success. The PHC is thankful for all the volunteers who helped make the event possible and the generosity of the community who stepped up to donate to the cause. The Jolly Strings Quartet was the featured entertainment. Their performance left the audience wanting more.

The Jolly String Quartet is comprised of Viktor, Gorsha, Yara, and Kristina Jolly — siblings who began their lives in the darkness of a Russian orphanage.  These young musicians are gifted with extraordinary skill and synergy that has been developed by performing together since the age of seven.  A poignant adoption story is the tie that binds them together both on and off the stage, compelling them to share their music.  It is the inspiring story of God’s incredible love, His divinely orchestrated plan forgiving hope to the hopeless, redeeming the abandoned, and creating beauty from ashes.

The Jolly String Quartet has been privileged to grace the stages of the Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, Cannery Ballroom, and the Country Music Hall of Fame.  They have traveled as far as Las Vegas for performances at The Orleans Casino, and you can now catch a performance locally at Puckett’s Restaurants throughout middle Tennessee where they perform regularly.  

The Jolly String Quartet recently released their first full album called Vintage Revival. This project is a rekindling of ten of their favorite hymns and worship songs reimagined through genres like folk, gospel, blues, and bluegrass. These unique arrangements bring new life to the beautiful old words and melodies that have served as timeless reminders of the beauty of God’s creation, the comfort He brings us in hard times, and the revival He brings to our lives! The CD is available to order from their website. Check their website for concerts in your area or to book them for and event,

For more information about the Pregnancy Help Center and how you can help please check out their website or facebook page. The PHC offers valuable information to mothers of all ages and experiences, not just first-time or unplanned pregnancies. They have a valuable education series where all mothers-to-be can earn credit to purchase baby supplies including.clothing, furniture, diapers and formula. Their staff including volunteers stand behind and often go beyond to meet the needs of the clients and help create a safe space for their journey to bring light and life into the world no matter the circumstances.

Smith County cheer coach sentenced to 24 years in prison

On Friday, October 28, former Smith County Cheer Coach Andrew Halford pleaded guilty in Smith County Criminal Court to six counts of Attempted Especially Aggravated Sexual Exploitation of a Minor and received a 24 year sentence to serve in the Department of Correction.  The case involved six victims from Smith County who were students at Elite Cheerleading and Gymnastics in Carthage, where Halford was a coach.  Halford confessed to investigators that he had installed a hidden video camera in the locker room of the business and obtained a video clip of each of the six students undressing.  For each victim, Halford received a sentence of four years to serve, with all sentences to be served consecutively to each other for a total sentence of 24 years.

District Attorney General Jason Lawson explained the reasons for the plea.  “In reviewing the facts and the law, we believed that at a sentencing hearing on this case, whether it came after convictions at trial or after convictions at plea, the sentence was going to be twenty-four years.  We discussed the case with the victims and their parents and the victims preferred a plea,”  Lawson said.  “Due to a plea, the victims did not have to testify at the trial, and we did not have to present the evidence in court, although we would have done that in the most discreet fashion possible.  Further, in a plea the appeals are waived, and so the case comes to a final conclusion on the day of the plea.  It gives us more control over the outcome because there is no concern that the convictions or sentences will be altered on appeal.”

Halford has remained in custody since his arrest in January of 2021.  Upon interview by police, Halford confessed to hiding the camera in the Smith County Elite Cheerleading and Gymnastics locker room.  The camera was removed by Halford, but a search of the electronic devices removed from Halford’s home discovered the video clips of the six Smith County victims.

Halford has also been charged with similar offenses in Williamson County relating to another business in which Halford was employed.  Those charges are still currently pending.

Fight Flu ’22: Tennessee Health Departments to provide free flu vaccines beginning November 9th

The Tennessee Department of Health is encouraging all Tennesseans over the age of 6 months to receive this year’s flu vaccine. Vaccinations for flu will be free on Wed., Nov. 9, 2022, at all local health departments in the state for Fight Flu ’22.
‘’Getting a flu shot is the most important thing we can all do to help prevent the flu and keep ourselves, loved ones and everyone around us healthy,’’ said TDH Commissioner Morgan McDonald, MD FACP FAAP. ‘’We know flu vaccines are safe, effective, and protect against the most common types of flu circulating, so I urge everyone eligible to receive a flu shot to do so.’’

No appointments are needed to receive a free flu vaccine during Fight Flu ‘22. Find the site closest to you and the hours of operation at www.tn.gov/health/fightflu and select the Find a Flu Shot Near You icon. The flu vaccine will continue to be free at Tennessee’s county health departments after the Fight Flu ’22 kick-off event on Nov. 9.

The flu virus is highly contagious and pregnant women, infants, the elderly, and people with certain medical conditions are at the highest risk of severe complications from the flu. The CDC estimates up to 7.5 million illnesses, 400,000 hospitalizations, and 22,000 deaths could be prevented every year if more people chose to get the flu vaccine.

To prevent the spread of the flu virus to others, follow precautions such as proper hygiene and handwashing, cover your coughs or sneezes with a tissue or your elbow, and stay at home if you are sick. Fight Flu ‘22 also serves as a statewide preparedness and response exercise where TDH’s local public health teams practice their emergency plans to vaccinate communities during a pandemic. This is the fifth consecutive year for the Fight Flu TN event as TDH works to protect
as many Tennesseans as possible against influenza.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.

Public invited to participate in voting for Tennessee Wildlife Calendar Photos

The public is invited to help the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency select the winning photos for the 2023 Tennessee Wildlife Calendar contest and the collectible license hard cards. Votes can be submitted online at this website: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SXZTPXJ.   

More than 5,000 entries for the photo contest were made this year and the field was narrowed down to these finalists. Voters will have the opportunity to select their favorite photo from eight categories. Photos with the most votes will be featured in the 2023 Tennessee Wildlife calendar which will be available in December. The deadline for voting is Monday Nov. 7th.

Schedule of 2022 Christmas Parades in Smith County and surrounding areas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Smith County and the Upper Cumberland area! As we continue into the Christmas season, several area Christmas Parades will be held for you to enjoy. 

The Carthage Christmas Parade is the first in the lineup, beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 27, 2022. Smith County Hometown Christmas will also be held in Downtown Carthage on Sunday beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The Gordonsville Christmas Parade is set for Saturday, December 3, 2022, at 5:00 p.m.

Look below to see a list of other Christmas parades happening in and around the Upper Cumberland:

  • Smithville – Saturday, December 3, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. 
  • Lafayette – Saturday, December 3, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. 
  • Watertown – Saturday, December 3, 2022 at 3:00 p.m.
  • Woodbury – Saturday, December 3, 2022 at 12:00 p.m.
  • Red Boiling Springs – Saturday, December 3, 2022 at 6:00 p.m.
  • Lebanon – Sunday, December 4, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. 
  • Liberty – Sunday, December 4, 2022 at 2:00 p.m.
  • Alexandria – Sunday, December 4, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Hartsville – Saturday, December 10, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.
  • Mt. Juliet – Saturday, December 10, 2022 at 1:00 p.m.
  • Cookeville – Saturday, December 10, 2022 at 6:00 p.m.

Know of any more Christmas parades in the area? Let us know! Send us a message on Facebook with the location, date, and time of the parade, and we will add it to our list!

Marijuana odor leads to methamphetamine arrest

K9 Sergeant Ridge Long approached a vehicle at the Buffalo Valley rest area when he became aware of strong marijuana odor emanating from the vehicle. As he came up to the vehicle a male passenger was seen getting out and moving toward the bathrooms. Sgt. Long initiated contact with the driver and asked about the odor. The driver, identified as Dustin Street denied any marijuana being in the vehicle but did state that he uses marijuana recreationally.

Upon checking the vehicle console a baggie containing less than a gram of methamphetamine was located. Street was detained and additional units were called to the scene.

Sergeant Jimmy Gregory, Lieutenant Steve Babcock and Sergeant Dusty Hailey searched the area and were unable to locate the male passenger. A search of the vehicle resulted in an additional container containing marijuana residue and approximately a gram of heroin. Warrants for the arrest of the male passenger were issued. The passenger identified as Matthew Fleenor was arrested a few days after the initial investigation.

Both men were charged with methamphetamine possession and possession of a controlled substance and held at the Smith County Jail.

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Open Enrollment for Health Insurance begins Tuesday, November 1, 2022

The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (“TDCI”) reminds Tennesseans to review and update their health insurance coverage on the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (“FFM”) when the Open Enrollment period for 2023 opens on Tuesday, November 1, 2022.

Consumers will have at least two insurance choices on the FFM in all 95 Tennessee counties across the Volunteer State. One insurance carrier has also expanded its coverage area for 2023.

Health insurance carriers on the individual market for 2023 are as follows:

  • BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee: Statewide coverage.
  • Celtic/Ambetter Insurance: Expanding to statewide coverage.
  • Cigna: Continuing coverage in the Tri-Cities, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville, Jackson, and Memphis coverage areas.
  • Oscar Health: Continuing coverage in the Nashville and Memphis areas.
  • US Health and Life (New Entrant): Coverage in Nashville and Western Middle* Tennessee areas.
  • UnitedHealthcare: Continuing coverage in the Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville, Jackson, Memphis, and Western Middle* Tennessee areas.

*Western Middle Tennessee includes the cities of Columbia, Dickson and Lawrenceburg.

Note: Eastern Middle Tennessee includes the cities of Cookeville and Crossville.

A new video detailing coverage can be found here and a map of Tennessee’s rating areas along with 2023 carrier presentations can be found here.

Before enrolling in a plan, the TDCI reminds consumers to remember the following tips:

  • Carefully review plans when shopping on the FFM during Open Enrollment. Review each policy to ensure it provides the coverage for services you are seeking or might need in the coming year. While it may be tempting to enroll in a plan with the lowest premium, consumers should take into account other potential costs such as copays and deductibles.
  • Ask questions and contact the carriers about their plans. Consumers can learn more details about individual plans and view a map of insurance carriers’ areas by visiting TDCI’s website.
  • Research premiums, deductibles, copays, and cost-sharing along with reviewing each insurance carrier’s networks for their most accessible and/or preferred providers and hospitals. Consumers should always visit in-network providers to avoid high costs. The health insurance company can provide a list of in-network providers near you.

The Open Enrollment period of health insurance coverage runs from November 1, 2022, until January 15, 2023. We strongly urge Tennesseans to begin their review and planning as early as possible to avoid missing deadlines. Once the Open Enrollment period closes in January, consumers can only enroll in a plan after certain events occur.

Questions about Open Enrollment? Contact the TDCI team at 1-800-342-4029 or 615-741-2218. Contact by phone at 1-800-318-2596 or visit Healthcare.gov.

Pleasant Shade Community Center 12th Annual Fall Festival

The Pleasant Shade Community Center will host its 9th Annual Fall Festival on Saturday, November 19, 2022, from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

A turkey dinner with all the fixin’s will be served at the festival. Take-out or delivery orders can be placed between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Dine-in meals will be served from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Concessions will also be available for purchase at the event.

The cakewalk will begin at 6:00 p.m.

Please bring donated items to the cakewalk by 6:00 p.m. Any item is okay to donate. It does not have to be food!

All proceeds from the Fall Festival will be used to maintain and keep the Pleasant Shade Community Center open. The Pleasant Shade Community Center is located at 743 Pleasant Shade Highway in Pleasant Shade, Tennessee.

If you have any questions, please contact Wesley Rigsby at 615-677-6514 to Ann Gregory at 615-677-6388. Leave a message if no one answers.

4-H News: 4-H Chick Chain Show & Sale

By Katie Martin -UT, Extension Agent – Each spring, 4-H members in Smith County have the opportunity to become involved in the 4-H Chick Chain. This activity allows 4-H’ers to receive one-day-old baby chicks to raise. The 4-H’er is responsible for feeding and caring for the chicks, and at the end of the project, they have the opportunity to show and sell their hens.

Tuesday, October 25th was the culmination of over seven months of hard work for sixteen Smith County 4-H members. 4-H’ers brought three of their best hens, which they received as chicks through our Chick Chain program, to Smith Farmers Co-op to be judged and auctioned off.

This year Chick Chain participants raised Buff Orpington and Barred Rock hens. All of our 4-H’ers brought outstanding birds, but there were several pens that deserved special recognition. Our Grand Champion was Abby Malone, and Mason Thomason earned our Reserve Champion award. We are so proud of all the hard work that each 4-H’er put into raising and taking care of their birds!

A special thank you to our judge, Jared Goad, and our auctioneer, Brian Harville. We would also like to give a special thank you to Smith Farmers Co-Op for not only hosting our show in their warehouse, but for sponsoring prize money for each 4-H’er that completed the project. Most importantly, thank you to the parents and community supporters that attend this event, purchase birds, and help to make it a success each year.

The 4-H Youth Development Program delivers programs through cooperative efforts of the University of Tennessee, Tennessee State University, and public and private sector volunteers. 4-H educational programs are offered to all youth, grades 4-12, on an age-appropriate basis, without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. For further information concerning the many opportunities that 4-H has to offer the youth in Smith County, call 615-735-2900.

Back Row, From L to R-Micah Gossett, Miah Givens, Turner Harville, Dixie Carlton, Kolt Ortiz, Zachary Dubose, Mason Thomason, and Emmy Bibbings
Front Row, From L to R- Kynlee Davis, Aubree Grooms, Shiloh Brockway, Millie Stinnett, Tana Harville, Travis Ridiner, and Cole Dickens
Not pictured: Abby Malone and Rubye Gentry

Paranormal Investigation events at the Historic Smith County Courthouses in November

On Saturday, November 5th the first ever public paranormal investigation will be held at the Historic Smith County Courthouse. The evening event will be held from 7 p.m. – 12 a.m. and include pizza and soft drinks for a ticket price of $45. All proceeds for this event will be donated to the Smith County Humane Association.

The event is hosted by Mid-Tenn Paranormal. The company is the result of a shared passion turned business venture for paranormal investigating couple and Smith County residents Stephen and Terry Denson. The couple along with other team members have visited numerous destinations to investigate paranormal activities. They have captured a strong following on social media. Visit their facebook page for more information.

You can get tickets for the November 5th Event and November 19th Event at Eventbrite.

Lissa’s Nutrition Celebrates Carthage Store with Ribbon Cutting

Lissa’s Nutrition celebrated their recent opening in Carthage with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, October 21, 2022. Several community and business leaders came out to show their support.

In November 2018, Sam and Melissa Willcut moved to Defeated Creek in Smith County (where Sam is the pulpit minister for the Montrose Church of Christ), and immediately fell in love with it. In the years since, Melissa has gotten to know many of the residents in the community by working for Todd & Angela Scurlock at the Sav-Way deli. Yet, she wanted more, and was looking for a more fulfilling way of giving back to the community.

Opening Lissa’s Nutrition in August 2022, Sam and Melissa wanted to provide a very friendly spot in Carthage, Tennessee, that focuses on selling products that are healthy and nutritious in an environment that matches their Christian values. Sparked by a desire/dream that they had earlier in 2021, they wanted to share their health and nutrition benefits with the great residents of Smith County. While they also sell various other nutritious products, such as collagen shots and protein snack bars, the two major items that they provide are protein shakes and energy teas. 

The protein shakes are 20 ounces, range between 200-250 calories, have 24 grams of protein, only 13 carbs and come in a variety of delicious flavors. For the young person needing to gain some weight, they are perfect meal compliments and after-workout drinks, but for the individual who is seeking to lose some pounds, they are also exceptional meal replacements.

Moreover, with very few exceptions, all of the energy teas are made with an herbal concentrated tea base and aloe, designed to increase the body’s metabolism. At Lissa’s, they modify each tea to the exact desires of the customer, providing multiple levels of caffeine (usually ranging from 85-275 mg), two different sizes (20 oz. and 32 oz.) and literally hundreds of different flavor combinations. They also offer kid’s teas, which have no caffeine, in every flavor combination possible. There is also an option for specialty teas which have 15 grams of protein, 75 mg caffeine, and collagen, which is good for hair, skin and nails.


Currently, they offer delivery most weekdays between 7:00 AM—9:00 AM. Check out their facebook page There is also an option for online ordering, so if a customer is in a hurry, one can order online and easily pick it up in the club to go. Just scan the handy QR code when you are in the store for the app.

Executive Director, Smith County Chamber of Commerce and Owner Melissa Willcut of Lissa’s Nutrition