Local News Articles

Cleveland Named 2018 Fiddlers’ Jamboree Blue Blaze Award Winner

March 23, 2018
Michael Cleveland
Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper

Award-winning fiddle player Michael Cleveland has been named the 2018 Blue Blaze Award Winner for the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree & Crafts Festival. This most recent honor will be added to a rather impressive collection of accolades among his musical peers. Cleveland has won more IBMA awards than any other fiddle player including 10 wins for Fiddle Player of the Year, six wins for Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year, and fronts their 5-time Instrumental Group of the Year. On March 30th, Micheal will be inducted into the National Fiddler Hall of Fame in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Together with Flamekeeper members Josh Richards (guitar), Nathan Livers (mandolin), Jasiah Shrode (banjo) and Tyler Griffith (bass), Cleveland makes his way around the country performing and delighting audiences, while leaving them with jaws dropped in complete amazement. Cleveland will be accepting the Blue Blaze Award on Saturday, July 7th, 2018 during the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree & Crafts Festival at 5pm followed by a mini-concert by Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper.

“Michael Cleveland embodies what we look for in a musician when choosing a recipient for the Blue Blaze Award,” said Sam Stout, President and Coordinator of the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree & Crafts Festival, “He started performing at the Jamboree as a young boy, and grew his talent to an impressive career in bluegrass music. The purpose of the Blue Blaze Award is to recognize a group or individual who keeps the embers of bluegrass music glowing for future generations. Michael Cleveland certainly does that, and more. He is an inspiration to all of us. We invite the public to come out and support Michael, while enjoying the best that bluegrass has to offer.”

Cleveland has a very loyal fan base, along with an amazing story. Michael was born blind, along with many additional health complications. He has endured over 20 reconstructive surgeries including brain
surgery. In addition to these challenges, he lost 80% of his hearing in his left ear. But Michael Cleveland is not a ‘glass half empty’ kind of guy. He prefers to focus on his goals, his love of music, and being the best in his field. Although only in his mid-30’s, Michael Cleveland, a 2018 Grammy Nominee, has reached plenty of those goals.

Cleveland began his love affair with music by taking violin lessons at only four years old. This passion for the stringed instrument led him to bluegrass music. His teachers quickly labeled him a musical prodigy. “When I started taking lessons at age 4,” he remembers, “I told the teacher right up front that I wanted to learn how to play bluegrass and I wanted to play ‘Orange Blossom Special.'" Reluctant as they were, his teachers quickly found reason to his rhyme, helping him progress to the point when, at age 9, Michael was invited to sit in with the legendary Bill Monroe at the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival. During this time, he visited the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and competed alongside fiddle players of all ages and skill levels. Soon after, he brought his virtuosic style to the Grand Ole Opry as a guest of Alison Kraus, and was hand-picked for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Bluegrass Youth All Stars before he was 14. His blistering prowess and technical fluency have since marked him as a sought-after musician, leading to performances with Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Tim O’Brien, J.D. Crowe and the New South, Andy Statman, and The Kruger Brothers in recent years. However, it wasn’t until 2006, when Michael formed his own band Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, that he found the right vehicle for his musical vision, and he hasn’t rested since, constantly looking for new ways to push himself and his music forward.

One would think that with all of his life-long accolades, his own award-winning band, a concert tour, and celebrity performances at the Opry, that Cleveland would have no more goals to shoot for…but we know him better than that. ‘Flamekeeper - The Michael Cleveland Story’ is a feature length documentary film coming in 2018. To follow Michael Cleveland’s journey, go to www.flamekeeperband.com or follow his facebook page.

ABOUT THE SMITHVILLE FIDDLERS JAMBOREE
Join us for the 47th Annual Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival coming Friday, July 6th and Saturday, July 7th, 2018 to Downtown Smithville, Tennessee. Each day begins at 9am with over 35 music and dance categories, streets full of hand-made crafts, and food booths galore. Come and see for yourself why this FREE family-friendly festival has been named the official Jamboree & Crafts Festival of the State of Tennessee, along with being named the official Jamboree & Crafts Festival of the United States of America.

The old-time Fiddlers' Jamboree is a DeKalb County tradition that draws musicians, craft artists, and spectators to the Smithville Square each summer around the Independence Day weekend. Over time, the festival became a broader tribute to Appalachian art and culture. Thousands of tourists visit the festival every year, along with television viewers across the country via WCTE-TV and various PBS stations nationwide. For more information on the festival, go to www.fiddlersjamboree.com

Man Injured in Rear-end Collision

March 23, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
1994 Pontiac Grand AM  rear-ended by 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix  (shown to the right)

A Smithville man was injured in a rear end collision Thursday on Highway 56 in the Shiney Rock community.

Trooper William Jackson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said 43 year old Thomas Esmond was south on Highway 56 in a 1994 Pontiac Grand AM when he stopped to make a left turn after activating his turn signal. His car was struck in the rear by a southbound 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix driven by 19 year old Tabitha Estes of Dowelltown.

According to Estes, a truck in front of her abruptly swerved to the shoulder of the highway and she could not stop in time to avoid a collision with Esmond’s car.

Esmond was transported by DeKalb EMS to the hospital. Estes was not injured. She was cited for failure to exercise due care. Esmond was cited for failing to provide proof of insurance and registration.

Members of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department were also on the scene.

Aldermen Vote to Censure Mayor Jimmy Poss (VIEW VIDEO OF MEETING HERE)

March 23, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss has been formally censured by the Aldermen for violating the city’s nepotism and hiring policies by putting his son Tony Poss on the payroll last September without the board’s approval.

During a special meeting held Thursday night at city hall, the aldermen took the action against the mayor which is basically a reprimand or expression of disapproval. The vote was 5-0.

In a separate move the aldermen voted 3 to 2 against asking that the city be reimbursed for the salary paid to Tony Poss during the six month period he was a part time employee. From September 1 to March 2, Poss’ gross amount of pay was $300 per week for a total of $8,100. Aldermen Gayla Hendrix and Shawn Jacobs voted to ask that the money be repaid. Aldermen Jason Murphy, Josh Miller, and Danny Washer voted against it. Had it been approved, the aldermen admitted that a reimbursement request probably could not be enforced.

As with the informal workshop last Thursday night, Mayor Poss again opted not to attend last night’s special meeting, the sole purpose of which was for the aldermen to decide whether to censure the mayor.

After calling to order the special meeting, Vice Mayor Jason Murphy recognized City Attorney Vester Parsley who read a prepared statement from the mayor who explained his actions in putting Tony to work at the golf course and swimming pool during the fall and winter.

“My hiring of my son to maintain the pool and equipment at the golf course has become an issue because of our charter and city ordinances. I want the council and the public to understand that my only goal was to safeguard and maintain the equipment located at the golf course. I want to assure you that it wasn’t a waste of the city’s funds because the equipment must be maintained and my son was the most logical choice. In hindsight, his hiring without council approving may have been a mistake. I have, however, hired other part time employees without the approval of the council in the past and at the time felt it was not necessary to seek the council’s approval,” wrote Mayor Poss.

Alderman Hendrix said while she is glad he issued a statement, the mayor’s response “didn’t really answer a lot of our questions. I think we were all hoping the mayor would be here tonight so we could communicate and ask some questions”.

“As we talked in the workshop this is in direct violation of the nepotism portion of our personnel policy by hiring an immediate family member and then hiring anyone without board approval,” said Alderman Hendrix.

Tony Poss had a ten year lease of the city’s golf course and swimming pool but he surrendered his lease of the facilities in August. The following month, the city entered into a one year contract with Riverwatch Golf & Resort to upgrade and maintain the golf course at a cost to the city of $74,115. It was also in September that Tony Poss became a part time city employee.

“We hired Riverwatch to repair and maintain the golf course at a substantial amount of money. Tony Poss had terminated his lease with the city. I don’t think his services were needed and we have no proof that anything had actually been done to earn the money that was paid out for the last six months,” Hendrix continued.

Meanwhile the aldermen raised new concerns Thursday night about other possible violations of the hiring policy. For example, Alderman Washer said he learned by accident that a cleaning service is now being paid to perform janitorial services at city hall instead of a part time custodian as had once been the practice. “I found out by accident by kind of being nosy, wondering what somebody was doing up here. I didn’t know anything about it. That’s when I was informed that we had contracted that out,” said Alderman Washer.

“We didn’t contract it out. That is the problem. This board didn’t know anything about it. We all thought we had a custodian. After the last meeting we were walking down the stairs and asked if there was somebody here to unlock the door so we could get out. One of the employees said we don’t have a custodian anymore. We have a cleaning service. I thought how can we have a cleaning service when it has not been brought before the board? Again that is a complete violation of the charter. This is as troubling to me as the other alleged violations at the pool. More and more is happening at city hall without this board knowing about it,” said Alderman Jacobs.

In response to questions concerning the city hall janitorial services, City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson explained that “we had a full time (custodian) in the past but when she retired we used a couple of part time people several years ago that didn’t quite work out. Under our repairs and maintenance line item (of the budget for city hall) we have $35,000 budgeted which I assume (this service) falls under for the maintenance part because we haven’t actually hired an employee. We have a gentlemen who comes in and does the maintenance two to three times a week. He buffs our floors and empties our trash,” said Hendrixson.

Before the vote on censure, the aldermen discussed whether to include in the motion a request for reimbursement to the city for the money paid to Tony. Both Aldermen Miller and Murphy said they had recently spoken to unbiased sources who told them they had seen Tony at the golf course/swimming pool when he was supposed to have been working there.

Alderman Murphy said he had reservations about asking that the money be paid back when there are unanswered questions about how much work he may have done there.

“Do we know how much work was done? To me that is a real gray area,” said Alderman Murphy.

In response, Alderman Hendrix suggested that Alderman Murphy’s point was moot because Poss’ hiring was a violation of the nepotism policy anyway and the board had not approved it.

Both Aldermen Hendrix and Jacobs said constituents have told them they would like for the city to be reimbursed. Alderman Washer agreed but moved that the censure go forward without a request for reimbursement.

“I know the public would like to have some money back. I hear the same thing you do but I don’t know how we can prove what was done (work) and how much money should be paid back if any,” said Alderman Washer.

Washer then moved to censure the mayor. Alderman Miller offered a second to the motion. The vote was unanimous.

Alderman Hendrix then moved to request that the money paid to Tony Poss be repaid to the city. Alderman Jacobs seconded the motion. The motion failed on a 3 to 2 vote.

Budget Committee Recommends New Pay Plan for Ambulance Service Employees (VIEW PROPOSED PAY PLAN AND SHIFT SCHEDULE HERE)

March 22, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Budget Committee Recommends New Pay Plan for Ambulance Service Employees

Now that county general employees and sheriff’s department staff have been given pay raises, the county commission will consider passage of a proposed new wage scale for ambulance service workers at the next regular monthly meeting on Monday, March 26.

(CLICK PDF LINK BELOW TO VIEW PROPOSED PAY PLAN FOR DEKALB AMBULANCE SERVICE EMPLOYEES AS RECOMMENDED TO THE COUNTY COMMISSION BY THE BUDGET COMMITTEE)

510 PAYSCALE LOCKED March 22,2018.pdf (45.44 KB)

(CLICK PDF LINK BELOW TO VIEW PROPOSED 24/72 SHIFT SCHEDULE FOR DEKALB AMBULANCE SERVICE EMPLOYEES AS RECOMMENDED TO THE COUNTY COMMISSION BY THE BUDGET COMMITTEE)

24 HOUR Proposed EMS Schedule.pdf (105.76 KB)

Last month, the commission voted to ante up more money to give county general and sheriff’s department employees pay raises retroactive to January 1 but a proposal to increase pay for EMS staff under a plan proposed by Second District Commissioner Joe Johnson was not approved.

Upset by the move, Johnson announced his resignation from the commission as of March 1 in protest.

The budget committee convened before and has met since that February county commission session to consider proposals offered to address the pay of EMS personnel, who were last given a wage increase of 4% two years ago.

After reviewing plans presented in a previous meeting by EMS Director Hoyte Hale and a second plan by Commissioner Johnson, the budget committee Thursday night voted 4-1 to recommend to the county commission a proposal by 4th district commissioner Jonathan Norris. Committee members Wayne Cantrell, Larry Summers, Jerry Adcock, and Jack Barton voted in favor. Jimmy Midgett voted against the proposal apparently preferring another plan.

According to Norris, his plan would cut down on overall EMS overtime hours but would raise each employee’s hourly pay by double digit percentage increases.

“The current pay plan does not have a baseline. Meaning a defined starting point based on Certification and years of service. It also does not have a defined starting and yearly wage chart,” said Commissioner Norris.

“The plan I have proposed, and the budget committee has recommended to the county commission for consideration works like this:

•It will establish a baseline and structure for recognizing certifications and years of service as pay enhancements.

•It will schedule as a 24/72 (24 hours on duty/72 hours off duty) with the first pay period consisting of (2) 48 hour weeks and the second pay period consisting of one 48-hour week and one 24-hour week.

•It will give a double-digit percentage hourly pay raise to each current employee of the EMS

•It reduces the amount of overtime hours employees must work each year from 824 to 312. It reduces the number of regular hours an employee has to work each year from 2080 to 1872

•It will give 10 days off the first two week pay period and 11 days off the second two week pay period, or roughly 21 days per month off.

•Each employee will have off (3) Fridays, (3) Saturdays (3) Sundays per month

•There will also be a pay increase each year for every employee.

•Years 1-4 is a 2% increase each year

•Year 5 is a 6% longevity increase

•Years 6-9 is a 2% increase each year

•Year 10 is a 5% longevity increase.

•Years 11-15 is a 1.5% increase each year

•Year 16+ is a 1% increase each year

•Current employees will automatically get the increase on their scale for service and certification.

•.50 cent increases on the hour are included for shift supervisors

“In order to establish this baseline and pay scale the schedule must change and while all employees will have double digit percentage increases hourly, some employees would not make as much annually as they did in the previous year 2017. This is due to reduction in hours from 2904 hours per year scheduled to 2184 scheduled. But their pay would continue to increase every year of service with fewer hours required.” explained Commissioner Norris.

“Other employees would receive significant increases annually versus 2017 (the current pay scale) and their pay would continue to grow each year while others would stay roughly the same for one year and then increase each year thereafter according to the established scale,” said Norris.

“The idea is to put in a system that balances the pay scale and increases the hourly wages for the EMS personnel. This is something that allows them to increase and make more money by getting increases on years of service and certifications and not having to rely solely on extra overtime to make their living. One that will allow more home and family time for those that want that and the ability to work in conjunction with other places if that is what they prefer. I believe it will also aid in the attraction of new employees and help with the retention of existing employees. It also has to be fiscally smart and not place a huge burden on the citizens of DeKalb county with huge budget jumps. This is something that we can plan for and budget for each year. It is a measurable scale that allows us to realize its true impact and still continue to increase wages that are more than deserved and needed to provide for the citizens of the county and all the Emergency services personnel. Like anything, this may not be perfect, but it does give us the chance to be financially responsible and do more for those that deserve it.” Norris continued.

If the plan should be accepted by the commission, the budget committee has recommended a 3% bonus be added for EMS employees (retroactive to January 1, 2018 thru to the effective date of the raises) in addition to the pay raises (which would not be retroactive). If the proposed plan should fail, the committee has recommended that the 3% bonus be given for January 1, 2018 through to June 30th, 2018 but no new pay scale would be considered until preparation for the new budget for 2018-19.

Dump Truck Loaded with Gravel Overturns

March 22, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
A Cookeville man was injured after his dump truck loaded with gravel overturned Thursday morning on Highway 96 (Dale Ridge Road) near Center Hill Dam.
Dump Truck Loaded with Gravel Overturns

A Cookeville man was injured after his dump truck loaded with gravel overturned Thursday morning on Highway 96 (Dale Ridge Road) near Center Hill Dam.

Trooper Jason Cobble of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said Thomas Thurman was driving a 2017 Mack Dump Truck for Team Enterprises of Cookeville and lost control while trying to negotiate a curve. The truck rolled over on its right side and skidded several feet in the highway before coming to a stop. The load of gravel spilled out onto the shoulder of the road.

A bystander helped Thurman from the truck. He was transported by DeKalb EMS though his injuries were not believed to have been serious. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department was also on the scene.

Merrilee Wineinger announces run for U.S. Congress

March 22, 2018
Merrilee Wineinger

Merrilee Wineinger, an ordained United Methodist Minister, announces her candidacy for Tennessee’s U.S. Congressional District 6 seat on the Democratic ticket.

Wineinger, a 24-year resident of District 6, seeks the open seat due to current Rep. Diane Black’s run for Tennessee’s governor. The 6th District includes Cannon, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Robertson, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, White, and Wilson counties. Very small pieces of Cheatham and Van Buren are also in the district.

“If you elect me as your next Representative, I will take to Congress years of experience as a bridge builder in my work with non-profit organizations, on issues at the local, state, and national levels, as well as with people of all faiths,” said Wineinger, who lives in Hendersonville.

“We need real solutions to the very real problems you face every day here in the 6th District,” the life-long Democrat continued. “We need non-partisan plans put into action for the good of all of the people.”

Wineinger serves her community and Middle Tennessee through the Faith that Heals Ministries, Tennessee Conference United Methodist Church. Her efforts have helped to bring Tennesseans from across the state to advocate to close the health insurance coverage gap. She helped alcoholics and addicts recover from substance abuse and raised awareness of the importance of raising the minimum wage to a living wage.

“I am an advocate, teacher and organizer for peace and justice,” Wineinger said. “I connect, encourage, and organize community members to work toward a common goal. Everyone has the potential to achieve their highest dreams. People flourish when they have food security, clean water, fresh air, loving relationships, safe neighborhoods, and a roof over their heads.”

She said her campaign will focus on justice in health care, equality in wages, and strengthening the American infrastructure “that in the past made our country the envy of the world but is now being neglected,” she said.

“Also, people feel their voices are not being heard by their elected officials,” Wineinger said. If elected, she intends to change that.

“You are not voiceless,” she said. “We have a strong and powerful voice. When we listen to one another and join together, our voices become loud enough to drown out the ones who believe that their power is stronger than ours.

“Send me to Washington D.C., as your next District 6 Representative, so I can bring your voices to the table. I am a change agent for Tennesseans ready to work on the issues that will allow you to thrive, not just survive,” she said.

Wineinger holds a bachelor’s degree in Management and Human Development from Trevecca University and a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University. She is a recipient of the Tennessee Justice Center’s Hometown Hero Award, the Tennessee Health Care Campaign Life-Saver Award, and the TNUMC Peace and Justice Award.

During her years in Tennessee, Wineinger held volunteer leadership roles in the public schools, charitable organizations, and civic programs. She’s a member of the League of Women Voters. She sits on the Tennessee Conference UMC Board of Church & Society, Committee on Health & Welfare, Disability Concerns. She is also a board member for Justice for Our Neighbors, a non-profit immigration legal service for survivors of persecution, violence and poverty.

Previously, she’s worked as the director of Health and Wholeness Ministries at Hendersonville First United Methodist Church, where she guided people in need toward physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health – addressing the whole person’s relationship with the world around them.

Wineinger is the mom of Samantha Mitchell and Alex Bogert and the grandmother of Quaid Mitchell. Her husband, Terry, works in the subsea industry. Her favorite pastime is playing with her grandson and crocheting.

For more information about how to get involved or donate to Wineinger’s campaign, go to www.merrileefortennessee.com.

DeKalb West Students "Kick Butts"

March 22, 2018
by: 
Bill Conger
DeKalb West Students "Kick Butts"
During lunch Wednesday DWS students stopped by a display table that showed “Mr. Gross Mouth,” a model that shows all the potential health problems that can occur in a mouth alone from the effects of tobacco

Students at DeKalb West School joined with youth across the nation for the annual Kick Butts Day. The day of activism on Wednesday (March 21) is to empower youth to stand out, speak up, and seize control against Big Tobacco at more than 1,000 events across the United States and world.

During lunch students stopped by a display table that showed “Mr. Gross Mouth,” a model that shows all the potential health problems that can occur in a mouth alone from the effects of tobacco. A model of a healthy lung versus a smoker’s lung introduced students to the reality of choosing a smoker’s life. Students received bracelets, encouraging them to remain tobacco free. Thanks to Lisa Cripps with the DeKalb Prevention Coalition, the Junior Beta Club students received free t-shirts that read, “Kick Butts Day! Get Empowered: Stand Up, Speak Out, Against Tobacco Products.”

In the United States, tobacco use kills more than 480,000 people each year – that’s more Americans than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined.

Here are some other key facts:

·The vast majority of smokers start as children. In the U.S., 90 percent of all smokers start while in their teens or earlier.

· Every day, another 350 kids become regular smokers. One-third of them will die prematurely from a smoking-caused disease.

·Tobacco use costs us $170 billion each year in medical bills.

· It’s not just cigarettes that are bad for your health. Other forms of tobacco, including cigars and spit or smokeless tobacco, are also harmful and addictive.

·Secondhand smoke is also hazardous – it kills over 41,000 people each year. Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including at least 69 that cause cancer. According to the Surgeon General, secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults and respiratory problems, sudden infant death syndrome, low birth weight, ear infections and more severe asthma attacks in infants and children.

There is good news: The United States has made a lot of progress in reducing smoking by both youth and adults. We’ve cut adult smoking by more than half since the 1960s, and youth smoking in half since 1997. But 8.0% of high school students and 15.1% of adults still smoke, so we still have a lot of work to do.

Orlando Again Denied Parole in DeKalb Murder

March 21, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Christopher Nicholas Orlando Again Denied Parole
Melvin Turnbill Again Granted Parole
Josh Murphy

45 year old Christopher Nicholas Orlando has heard from members of the Tennessee Board of Parole and the news for him isn't good. He will have to spend at least two more years in prison.

Orlando is serving a 35 year prison sentence for facilitation of first degree murder in the death of 20 year old Joshua Murphy. He is incarcerated at the Morgan County Correctional Complex in Wartburg, Tennessee. A previous conviction against Orlando for possession of cocaine ran consecutively with the murder case and expired in 2009. Orlando's sentence in the murder case is due to expire in 2039. He has served almost 16 years.

Members of the parole board held a hearing for Orlando on Monday, March 5. He was denied parole due to the seriousness of the offense but the case will be reconsidered in March, 2020.

Murphy was shot and killed in a secluded area in the Laurel Hill Community at the end of Old Eagle Creek Road on Sunday, September 15, 2002. His body was discovered three days later. Officials said Orlando and a co-defendant, 46 year old Melvin Turnbill suspected Murphy of stealing methamphetamine. Orlando was tried and convicted of the crime by a DeKalb County Criminal Court Jury in April, 2004.

Turnbill entered a guilty plea to facilitation to first-degree murder in September, 2003 and was given a 25-year sentence. Turnbill was granted parole in March 2015 after serving more than twelve years but he ran afoul of the law again in Putnam County and was sent back to prison in 2016. Turnbill was again granted parole after a hearing last month. He has been incarcerated at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex at Pikeville.

At his last parole hearing two years ago, Orlando said he was sorry for the death of Murphy and for the first time took responsibility for being the triggerman in the shooting. In the previous parole hearing five years ago Orlando blamed Turnbill for actually committing the murder.

During a parole hearing almost four years ago, Turnbill said he handed the murder weapon, a shotgun to Orlando at the crime scene, and that Orlando did the shooting.

DeKalb Jobless Rate for January at 4.7%

March 21, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County’s unemployment rate for January was 4.7%, up from 3.9% in December but well below the 6.2% rate recorded in January, 2017.

The local labor force for January was 7,720. A total of 7,350 were employed and 370 were without work.

Jobless rates for January among the fourteen counties in the Upper Cumberland region were as follows from highest to lowest:
Clay: 5.6%
Cumberland: 5.4%
Jackson: 5.1%
DeKalb: 4.7%
Van Buren: 4.7%
Fentress: 4.5%
Overton: 4.5%
Pickett:4.4%
Warren: 4.1%
White: 3.9%
Putnam: 3.7%
Smith: 3.5%
Cannon: 3.4%
Macon: 3.3%

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) released county unemployment statistics for January 2018 last week which showed that a vast majority of the state’s 95 counties continue to record unemployment rates under 5 percent and every county’s rate was lower than it was in January 2017.

Williamson County continued to have Tennessee’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.5 percent, which is a 0.3 percent increase from December.

At 2.7 percent, Davidson and Cheatham Counties tied for the second lowest unemployment rates in the state. Rutherford, Wilson, Sumner, Moore, Knox, Robertson, and Lincoln Counties rounded out the list of the top ten lowest unemployment rates in Tennessee. Robertson and Lincoln Counties were not part of December’s top ten list.

“Because of seasonal employment trends, Tennessee typically sees a slight uptick in county unemployment at the start of the year,” explained TDLWD Commissioner Burns Phillips. “But the year-to-year comparison of statistics shows just how well the state is doing when it comes to job creation.”

Many counties saw a decrease of 2 percent or more in year-to-year comparisons. Two counties once again stand out when comparing unemployment statistics from January 2018 to January 2017.

In east Tennessee, Scott County’s unemployment situation has improved significantly in comparison to same time last year. In January of 2017 the county’s unemployment rate was 8.1 percent. This year, the rate in Scott County was 4.8 percent, a drop of 3.3 percentage points.

Lake County in west Tennessee has also experienced significant job growth over the last year. Last January the county had an unemployment rate of 10.1 percent. During January 2018 the county recorded a rate of 6.4 percent, a difference of 3.7 percentage points.

“This is a great example of how Tennessee’s economy is not only strong in its metropolitan areas, but it is also doing well in many of the state’s more rural counties,” Commissioner Phillips said.

Tennessee had a statewide unemployment rate of 3.3 percent in January, which was the sixth lowest in the nation. The national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent last month.

The statewide unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted, while county rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools and other recurring seasonal events from an economic time series.

Benefit Singing for Family of Joseph Bowen

March 20, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Joseph Bowen

A Benefit singing in honor of Officer Joseph Bowen will be Saturday, March 24 at 6 p.m. at the County Complex on South Congress Boulevard. The singing will feature Blood Bought and Wendell Judkins and the Singing Believers. All proceeds will go to Officer Bowen's wife and family.

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