Chester County Independent’s Year in Review 2019

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As Chester County ushers in 2020 and the promise of new beginnings, the 2019 chapter comes to a close. This past year, Henderson and Chester County has experienced exciting additions and devastating loss. We said goodbye to good friends and loved ones, as well as a few long-time community businesses, while many new businesses opened their doors. The Chester County Independent also said good-bye (for now) to a certain left-handed friend, but welcomed others. With ups and downs, 2019 was definitely a year of change – as is every year, and the only thing we know for sure about 2020 is that we expect more of the same.
Jan. 3
School Board member Glenn Naylor passes

Glenn Woodrow Naylor, 83, of Henderson passed away Dec. 27, 2018 at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital. Funeral services were 2 p.m. Sunday at Shackelford Funeral Director – Crook Avenue with Ken Frye officiating.
He was born April 15, 1935 in McNairy County at Finger, the son of the late Harrison and Thelma Sue Woodrow Naylor. He graduated from Bethel Springs High School in 1953.
Jan. 10
Six decades in the

First Baptist finally gets steeple

Almost six decades after the church was built, leaders at First Baptist Church finally got around to putting a steeple on their church building. Campbellsville Industries out of Campbellsville, Ky., built the steeple and installed it last Thursday at the church building located at 504 E. Main in Henderson.
Jan. 17
Lee to become State’s 50th Governor

Three days of celebration begin Friday for the inauguration of Bill Lee as he becomes the 50th governor of Tennessee.
Governor Elect Lee will take the oath of office at a ceremony convening on Legislative Plaza at 11 a.m. The oath will be administered by Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins. The event is a joint convention of the 111th General Assembly.
Jan. 24
Head-on collision at Pinson

Two vehicles involving persons from Henderson collided head-on Friday just north of Pinson and sent one to the hospital. According to information received from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Dakota McIntyre, 19, of Henderson was traveling south bound on Highway 45 when his Saturn automobile crossed the paved divider lane and struck a Chevrolet Tahoe north bound and driven by Rita Wilson, 39, of Henderson. Each vehicle came to a rest on the west side of the highway. McIntyre was extricated from his vehicle and taken from the scene by ambulance.
Jan. 31
“Coach Haston goes to Nashville!”
Freshman legislator is only active educator

Earlier this month, Kirk Haston of Lobelville took the oath of office as State Representative of District 72, which includes Chester, Decatur, Henderson and Perry Counties. Haston is a teacher and coach at Perry County High School in Linden, and as he represents his rural district he continues to wear each of his educator hats.
Feb. 7
Green chosen for WestStar Leadership program class of 2019

Amber Greene, of Chester County, was selected to participate in the University of Tennessee at Martin’s WestStar Leadership Program class of 2019.
Greene, recycling coordinator for the West Tennessee Regional Recycling Hub, serves on the Tennessee Recycling Coalition board, Keep Chester County Beautiful board and the Tennessee Solid Waste Directors Association. She is also the recipient of the 2015 and 2017 Education and Outreach Litter Grant awards from Keep Tennessee Beautiful. Greene is a Leadership Chester County graduate.
Feb. 14
City gets almost half
million for industrial development

Thirteen Tennessee communities will receive more than $5 million in Site Development Grant funding, according to an announcement last week from the Tennessee Department of Community Development. The Site Development Grant program is part of the larger Rural Economic Opportunity Act supported by the Tennessee General Assembly for the last three years.
Among the grants awarded was $448,200 to the City of Henderson for clearing and grading of 15 acres of land at the Henderson Industrial Park.
Feb. 21
Adams named administrator at Southern Oaks

Southern Oaks, Assisted Living by Americare, recently named Samantha Adams as administrator. Adams has worked in the long-term care industry for more than 10 years.
Adams is a licensed nursing home administrator in the state of Tennessee. During her career she has worked as an Admissions Coordinator and Social Services Director for a neighboring long-term care facility in Lexington.
Feb. 28
Weather and
plagued county

Weather and its consequences plagued Chester County and most of the south over the last week. Several inches of rain brought flooding to many areas and the closing of schools on Friday, plus road closures on Saturday.
Mar. 7
$24K reward offered in Hardeman Co. cold case

Representatives from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the 25th Judicial District Attorney General and the Hardeman County Sheriff have again announced a $24,000 reward, in a renewed effort to gain additional information about a 1998 unsolved murder in Hardeman County.
Twenty-one-years ago, TBI Special Agents joined the Hardeman County Sheriff’s Office in investigating the July 23, 1998 murder of Michael Bell, a clerk at McKee’s Stateline Convenience Store, located on Highway 125 S between Middleton and Walnut, Miss. At that time, the investigation revealed that an unknown individual shot and killed the clerk, then left the store in a 1990’s General Motors model sedan, and drove toward Walnut, Miss.
Mar. 14
Centennial Bank acquires Chester County Bank

Centennial Bank of Trezevant has announced its acquisition of Chester County Bank of Henderson, as well as Farmers & Merchants Bank of Adamsville. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in early July of this year.
“We appreciate our customers and community who have supported us over the last 50 years, and we are glad to announce that we are merging with Centennial Bank, a community-oriented bank that will serve our community well,” Neal Smith, president of Chester County Bank stated.
Mar. 21
Dedication Thursday for ’52 tornado monument

A dedication is set for 11 a.m. Thursday, March 21, for a monument to those who died in the horrific 1952 tornado in Chester County. The event is set to take place in front of the Chester County Courthouse where the monument will be unveiled.
As the result of the tornado, which hit about 11 p.m. Friday, March 21, 1952, 23 persons lost their lives, many more injured and hundreds of homes and businesses either damaged or destroyed. Red Cross estimates were that 405 families were affected. The 1952 weather event caused a total of 59 deaths in Tennessee (84 in some accounts) and 233 fatalities in six states. In Chester, Hardeman and Decatur Counties alone, reports are that 41 persons perished and 158 injured. Some reports put the number killed in Chester County as high as 28, but without verification. The tornado was measured an F 4, one of the most powerful on the Fujita Scale. The $3.5 million in estimated damages amount to more than $300 million today.
Mar. 28
Code RED tornado, weather alerts are free to all

CodeRED is a free community notification system available to all Chester County residents. CodeRED will send alerts via phone calls, text messages, emails, and social media concerning time-sensitive and/or emergency information that may impact your area.
April 4
City having headaches with cable laying

King stated that construction crews had damaged several city utility lines, requiring further work by city crews that have pushed routine work back even further. He pleaded for patience from city utility customers until the situation could be resolved.
April 11
Closing of Enville branch announced

Customers of Chester County Bank were notified April 1 that the Enville Branch of Chester County Bank would be closing effective July 1. That is the same date that Chester County Bank officially merges with Centennial Bank of Trezevant
April 18
Perkins Dinner And Auction supports child abuse prevention

Thousands were raised Friday night at the annual Dinner and Auction to support the Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. The event took place at the Mifflin Events Center.
April 25
CCHS coach returns to Freed-Hardeman

The Freed-Hardeman Athletic Department has announced that Chester County High School boys’ basketball coach and former Freed-Hardeman assistant Drew Stutts will be taking over the men’s basketball program as its new head coach.
May 2
NEWSIES gets seven Orpheum nominations

For the second year in a row, one of the productions by the Chester County High School theater department has received nominations for the Orpheum High School Musical Theater Awards. The awards are to be presented at the Orpheum in Memphis on May 23.
CCHS received the nominations for their most recent production – NEWSIES: The Broadway Musical, which ran April 12, 13 and 15. The show was so popular with audiences that the last night was sold out. More than 2,200 audience members attended the three performances which featured 80 cast members and crew.
May 9
CCHS welders all place at Jackson competition

Chester County High School/Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Crump welding students traveled to South Side High School on May 1 to compete in a welding competition among Chester County, South Side and North Side High Schools. CCHS students performed well, with Mitchell Dorris placing first, Spencer Billingsley fourth, Nick Bell sixth, Jared Gilliam seventh and Camden Haskins eighth.
May 16
Emergency Services held 911 Camp at Middle School

Local law enforcement and emergency services recently held 911 Camp at Chester County Middle School. Students were especially interested in the various protective equipment shown by Chester County deputies Justin Denbow and Kyle Connor
May 23
Chester County Junior High School
honored nationally for engaging families

Chester County Junior High School has been recognized as one of only two Summit Learning Spotlight schools across the country for its outstanding efforts to collaborate with parents and families to support students’ learning.

May 30

Southern Chic honored by SBA
In recognition of National Small Business Week, which occurred May 5-10, the United States’ Small Business Administration last week honored Southern Chic Spatique and owner Stacy Ingold with its Outstanding Small Business Award.

June 6

Sellers recognized at UT Martin
Chad Sellers, of Henderson, received the Outstanding Interdisciplinary Studies Student Award from the University of Tennessee at Martin during the spring 2019 semester.

June 13

Motorcycle Wreck claims Barry Crowley
Barry Crowley, 59, of Beech Bluff, died June 5 at Jackson Madison County General Hospital as a result of a one-vehicle motorcycle wreck. According to the Tennessee Hwy Patrol, Crowley, driving a 2000 Harley-Davidson, was traveling north on State Route 200, when the motorcycle left the roadway and struck a tree.

June 20

New sidewalks, anyone?
Some of the city of Henderson’s sidewalks could be getting a much-needed facelift in the near future. At Thursday night’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, Maria Scheitz, Planner at Neel-Schaffer, Inc., presented a proposed Henderson Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan to the board.

June 27

Six students make memorable
trip to the Golden Gate City

On June 3, six of Chester County High School’s most talented students embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to San Francisco, Calif. The trip, awarded to these exceptional students after winning DevCatalyst’s tech competition, provided a chance to tour some of the top tech companies in the “Fog City.”

July 4

Child, grandfather die
in Hwy 22 collision

A 9-year-old child was among two persons who lost their lives Saturday in a two-vehicle collision on Hwy 22 near Iron Bridge Road. According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Brentrell Crutcher, 9, of Jackson, and Brent D. Hart, 48, of Savannah, died on the scene. The collision occurred at approximately 1:20 p.m. THP says that a Chevrolet pickup driven by Breanna J. Bistry, 24, of Madison was southbound when it was struck by a northbound Chevrolet Trailblazer driven by Hart. The report says the Hart vehicle crossed the center line. Bistry, and a passenger, Christopher L. Holder, of Jacks Creek, were injured in the incident, but their condition is not known.

July 11

Law enforcement saturation
nets more than 20 arrests

A Multi-Jurisdiction Saturation Saturday by area law enforcement agencies has resulted in more than 20 arrests.
According to a release from both the Henderson Police Department and the Chester County Sheriff’s Department, the saturation took place June 29 and involved not only the two local agencies, but also participation by the Henderson County Sheriff’s Dept., Jackson Police Dept., and E-911 Communications Center.

July 18

Fred’s store closing
Fred’s, Inc. announced last weekend that it will begin to close an additional 104 underperforming stores as part of an ongoing effort to rationalize its store footprint. Reports are that the Fred’s store in Henderson, at 535 West Main Street, was among those getting the axe, however, officials at that store referred all questions to the Fred’s corporate headquarters.

July 25

Gas, electrical issues temporarily
close two Henderson restaurants

Two Henderson fast-food restaurants close temporarily due to gas and electrical issues. At Dairy Queen on East Main, above, a Sunday evening gas leak brought Henderson Fire Department on the scene. A leaky valve was closed and the restaurant quickly reopened. However, according to HFD, earlier Sunday an overheated air conditioner on the roof of Taco Bell, also on East Main Street, forced the business to close for the remainder of the day through Monday.

Aug. 1

CCI welcomes Patterson to staff
The Chester County Independent welcomes newly hired staff writer, Kendall Patterson to its staff. Patterson hails from Corinth Miss., an Ole’ Miss Print Journalism grad, specializing in public relations with a minor in digital media.

Aug. 8

Tractor Supply Co.
Coming to Henderson

The Tractor Supply Co. will soon open its doors in Henderson. The store will be located at 635 U. S. Highway 45 N near Brenda’s Kitchen. The store is scheduled to open Sept. 28, 2019 with a team of 13 employees.

Aug. 15

Southwest members care
Starting Sept. 1, Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation members will be able to take part in the Southwest Members Care program. Southwest Members Care will give members the opportunity to round up their bills to the nearest dollar, and that change will then be donated to organizations in communities such as fire stations, senior citizen homes and more.

Aug. 22

Local schools earn Reward School status
Chester County Middle School and West Chester Elementary celebrate together as both earn Reward School status for the first time in their school history.
In order to receive reward school the school must have outstanding results in the students’ academic growth and achievement.
The middle school ranked 14 in the state for Math and 25 in reading.

Aug. 29

From Hollywood to Henderson:
California family moves here for Freed and farming
The Brackin family moved all the way from having Hollywood in their backyard in Burbank California to having cattle in their backyard in Henderson.
Husband and wife, Stewart and Mandy Brackin moved their family here in January 2018 to start a farm and live in the Bible Belt.

Sept. 5

Williams Auditorium renovation nears completion
Over the course of the summer, Williams Auditorium has been in the process of being upgraded from the bottom up.
By the time the auditorium is finished in mid-September, it will have new stage lighting, a new sound booth with new sound equipment, new paint on the walls and ceiling, and new flooring, new bathroom fixtures, remodeled backstage facilities and new seating.

Sept. 12
Thornthwaite develops cure for malaria

Henderson’s own Dr. Jerry T. Thornthwaite developed a cure for malaria.
His natural cure is near approval in Nigeria and Haiti with a 90 percent cure rate and has no side effects. Thornthwaite, with all clinicals being finished, expects it to be approved by the end of the year.
Thornthwaite finds this exciting, because Nigeria is number one in malaria cases.
He also looks forward to using his cure in Afghanistan to prevent soldiers from contracting the disease since Afghanistan is number 4 in the world with malaria cases.

Sept. 19

Taco Bell torn down for renovation
Taco Bell on East Main St. was torn down last week as part of a renovation project to rebuild a modern restaurant with kiosks for customers according to general manager Kennisha Simpson.

Sept. 26

A local
for art

Many people of the Chester County community came to celebrate the ribbon cutting of the new mural in downtown Henderson painted by Loralea Landrum.

Oct. 3
CCHS, FHU Amend Dual Enrollment
Agreement to Include TAP

Freed-Hardeman University and Chester County High School have amended their dual enrollment agreement to include a new program begun this year at CCHS.
Teaching as a Profession (TAP) will allow eligible students to get a head start on completing a four-year degree, qualifying them to teach in Tennessee schools and saving themselves both time and money.

Oct. 10

Local arrest nets Fentanyl seizure; first responders hospitalized
A Chester County Investigator and a West Tennessee Healthcare EMT were hospitalized recently after being exposed to the deadly drug Fentanyl.
According to CC Chief Deputy Mark Griffin, Samantha Bennett, 28, was found to be in possession of three ounces of what appeared to be marijuana in addition to a little more than ten grams of a substance suspected to be Heroin. Griffin said the substance field tested positive for Heroin, but minutes later a CC Narcotics Investigator began having symptoms associated with an opioid drug overdose. Suspecting Fentanyl exposure, Griffin administered the life-saving Narcan. The investigator was transported by ambulance to Jackson Madison General Hospital, where he was later released. En route to the hospital, a Medical Center EMS paramedic suffered an exposure to the Fentanyl, and investigator was able to administer Narcan for the paramedic. Griffin described the whole experience as “surreal,” but credited extensive Fentanyl training, on the part each participant, to being able to respond so quickly and effectively.

Oct. 17

Shooting leaves one dead
The shooting death of 42-year-old Samantha Melendez Monday afternoon near Finger has left as many questions in Chester County as answers.
According to Keli McAlister, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Public Information Officer, the shooting, which occurred at Melendez’s home in the 4600 block of Old Friendship Road, is being investigated by the Chester County Sheriff’s Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. At press time, the name of the shooter, as well as circumstances surrounding the incident had not been released. “This remains an active and ongoing investigation,” McAlister indicated. More details are expected to be released as the investigation progresses.

Oct. 24

Governor visits West Chester Elementary
On Tuesday morning, Oct. 22, Governor Bill Lee and First Lady Maria Lee made a visit to West Chester Elementary to find out how the government in Tennessee can “strengthen, support and enhance our public school system here in Tennessee.

Oct. 31

Local Seniors win Brain Games!
Seniors of Chester County took home the gold at the Tennessee 2019 Senior Brain Games Championship last Thursday Oct. 24.

Nov. 7

Southwest Members Care Donate to Gleaner’s House
Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation donated $5,000 to the Gleaner’s House. This donation was through the Southwest Members Care program which is funded through rounding up monthly electric bills to the next dollar.

Nov. 14

Facelift complete: Old Main Re-Opens
On Friday Nov. 8, the Chester County community along with Freed-Hardeman University faculty, staff, students and alumni celebrated the Grand Re-opening and Dedication of the Old Main Administration building. This took place not only during the 150th Anniversary of FHU but during the university’s homecoming weekend as well.

Nov. 21

Anderson Nominated as LifeChanger of the Year
Belinda Anderson, Principal of Chester County Junior High School, has recently been nominated as LifeChanger of the Year.
“LifeChanger of the Year is an annual program sponsored by National Life Group that recognizes and rewards K-12 educators and school employees across the country.”
Anderson was nominated by Leah Shull, assistant professor of Education at Freed-Hardeman University.
“I’m completely and totally humbled,” Anderson said. “It’s very sweet and unexpected. I love my people and children here so much.”

Nov. 28

Teachers/Athletes Exceed Expectations
The Chester County Board of Education met in regular session Nov. 21.
During the celebrations, the board wanted to celebrate and recognize the Chester County High School sports that went on to compete at the State level. This includes: Austin Warren who went to the State Golf tournament and tied for 29th place; the CCHS Cross Country team who earned 13th place as a team with Evan Allen earning 2nd place and Gideon McManus earning 20th and CCHS Girls’ Soccer team who made it to the first round of the State tournament.

Dec. 5

Rescue Squad celebrates 45th Anniversary
On Dec. 2, the Chester County Rescue Squad celebrated its 45th anniversary of providing service to the Chester County community.

Dec. 12

Jr. makes pit stop at FHU
Famed NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was the guest speaker at Freed-Hardeman University’s 55th Benefit Dinner Friday night. The annual event raised $1.3 million that will go to the endowment scholarship fund.

Dec. 19

Arvin Sango to Expand Local Facility
On Thursday Dec. 12, Tenn. Governor Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Arvin Sango, Inc. officials announced that the company will expand in Henderson.
The automotive products manufacturer will create 153 new jobs in Chester County over the next five years.

Dec. 26

Chester Native named one of Forbes Top 30 Under 30
Derek Platt, Ph.D. candidate of molecular microbiology and microbial pathogenesis at Washington University in St. Louis, from the small town of Luray, Tenn., was honored as a “2020 Forbes 30 Under 30” recipient in the Science category

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