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Stabbing incident hospitalizes two Trousdale Turner employees

On Friday, two prison employees were transported by helicopter to separate area hospitals after being stabbed by two inmates at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center, which is managed by the privately-owned company CoreCivic that operates the facility for the Tennessee Department of Corrections.

“At approximately 8:45 p.m. on Oct. 14, two inmates at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center made an unprovoked attack against two facility employees,” CoreCivic Public Affairs Manager Matthew Davio said in an email to the Vidette. “Responding staff restrained the assailants without further incident and rendered aid to the assaulted employees. The employees were transported to nearby hospitals, where they have been treated for their injuries.”

According to Trousdale County Sheriff Ray Russell, the two employees were flown by helicopter to separate Nashville hospitals on Friday night after the incident occurred.

“One (of the victims) was taken to Vanderbilt (University Medical Center), and the other was taken to (TriStar) Skyline Medical Center,” said Russell. “One has already been released (from the hospital).

Davio added, “One (victim) has been released from the hospital. The other is still being treated for his injuries (and is) still in the hospital (as of press time).”

After the incident, the two inmates responsible for the stabbings were removed from general population, and an investigation has been launched at the prison.

“The assailants have been separated from the general population while an investigation is underway,” said Davio. “Tennessee Department of Correction officials were notified immediately, and the incident is under investigation.”

At this time, no further information has been released regarding the incident.

Nursing shortage at crisis level

For years, a national healthcare crisis has existed due to a shortage of nurses and other medical support personnel.

The COVID-19 pandemic only intensified the issue as healthcare facilities saw record numbers of patients seeking care, which resulted in long wait times and limited appointment availabilities.

“There have been a lot of changes that have affected the healthcare system,” said TCAT Hartsville Health Science Coordinator Lou Ann Hall. “If you (seek) healthcare right now for treatment of any kind, or even a check-up, it’s a long wait. Even getting an appointment is hard because of staffing, and sometimes, the hours have been cut because of staffing shortages.”

The Tennessee College of Applied Science (TCAT), and other programs around the country, have tried to address the nursing shortage by offering various healthcare related programs.

“We have three medical health science programs,” said Hall. “We have certified nursing assistant (CNA) classes at Trousdale County High School and Macon County High School, as well as classes over the summer here (at TCAT Hartsville). We have the patient care technician (PCT) program that is an eight-month program. It is a group of national certifications all put together where they can go on to be certified phlebotomists, EKG technicians, or do other medical office work. We also have a licensed practical nursing (LPN) program. When students complete the LPN program, they are qualified to take their practical nursing boards.”

TCAT Wilson County LPN Instructor Tamara Gulley added, “The practical nursing program is a very intense program. It is one year, and they have to be dedicated and ready to learn. There are 432 hours each trimester. They have their clinical hours as well. They go hospitals, long-term care, doctors’ offices, emergency rooms ... so it is very intense. When they go to those, there are two, nine-hour clinicals a week. So, they are there for a long time. They see a lot and can work on the skills they’ve learned in class.”

Support personnel, such as PCTs and CNAs, that allow nurses to focus on other responsibilities like passing medications, taking doctors’ orders, and paperwork, help daily care processes to flow smoothly.

“If you don’t have a CNA, the nurse is doing the bathing and the feeding while he or she is also trying to pass medications, take doctors’ orders, and do the paperwork,” said Hall. “So, putting more CNAs out there allows nurses to come in and say, ‘I have a full staff. I can just focus on my job.’

“Also, if you don’t have patient care technicians, then the nurses are having to do that job. It’s not that they aren’t capable, but you are also looking at a nursing shortage. That’s one of the reasons we are kind of big on having all the different programs.”

Additionally, certain area high schools provide classes that allow students to get a small taste of future vocational opportunities, as they consider their post-high-school course of study.

“I had taken health science, medical therapeutics, anatomy and physiology, and nursing education all four years of high school,” said 2021 Trousdale County High School graduate and TCAT LPN student Lashannet Burnley. “That pretty much solidified my decision to go to nursing school.”

Yet, other students are moving in a direction that seems only natural to them as they are following in the footsteps of other family members who have served in the medial field before them.

“Ever since I was little, I watched my mom, who’s a CNA, and my aunt, who’s an RN (registered nurse),” said 2021 TCHS graduate and TCAT LPN student Macie Burnley. “I kind of grew up in it. I like helping people, so I thought this would be a good decision for me.”

Still, other students are using their education as a stepping stone to more lofty goals.

“After this program, I want to become a traveling nurse for a little while,” said 2019 Lebanon High School graduate and TCAT LPN student Gildardo Gutierrez. “I plan to go from being an LPN to an RN. Eventually, my life goal is to become a plastic surgeon.”

Trousdale County resident and TCAT PCT student Taina Ezell added, “I’ve wanted to be a nurse since I was a kid. After this program, I was thinking about doing EKGs in hospitals or phlebotomy, and then taking another step and starting my LPN.”

TCAT Hartsville will be sponsoring a job fair on Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. as many companies are in dire need of nurses, PCTs and CNAs.

“We plan to have both classes (LPN and PCT) here (at TCAT Hartsville) on Oct. 26,” said Hall. “We’ve had several places contact us, and they want to talk to our students. So we thought, ‘Let’s put it together so that they can talk to the students in one place.’ That’s where the job fair comes in.

“We are putting out at least 40 to 50 students a year. We have a 93% pass rate right now for the year. Our graduates are going all over the place. They are going to hospitals, home healthcare, and to doctors’ offices. A lot of times during their clinicals, they get hired right there. And when we get these students graduated and right into the workforce, we know that we are helping (to ease) the nursing shortage.”

First hurdle cleared for new housing development in rural Trousdale

During its Oct. 11 meeting at the Hartsville/Trousdale County Community Center, the Trousdale County Planning Commission unanimously voted to send a rezoning request on a 47-acre property that is located close to the 231 corridor to the Trousdale County Commission for approval.

With recent growth in Trousdale County, many developers are looking for suitable land on which to build new home sites while maintaining a rural feel.

“I am purchasing the property,” Jordan Fleming of Fleming Homes said. “We want to do single-family, residential site builds with a little bit of elbow room ... a place to hang your hat with a little rocking chair in a country setting. This property has a total of 47 acres and is close to the 231 corridor, right there where Bass (Road) comes in and meets Templow Road. It’s beautiful farm land.”

Trousdale County Planning Commission Chairman John Kerr added, “I drove by (the property) this Saturday. It is very pretty land. It’s in the 231 corridor. If we’re growing — and we’re growing — it’s certainly a good place.”

The request is for the property, which is located on the east side of Bass Road, to be rezoned from A1 (agricultural) to R1 (low density residential). The permitted uses for R1 are mostly detached, single-family homes and duplexes with minimum lot separation of one acre.

“This is the first step, to get through on the residential zoning,” said Fleming. “We go through a series of three different plats — sketch plat, preliminary plat, and then final plat approval. It will be another three months of submitting the plat with the lot configuration, getting comments back, resubmitting the next month, and then the final plat. Even after the approval — the rezone to R1 — it’s probably still another three-month process until final plat approval. So, you could say that we are probably four or five months away (from beginning to build).

“We have already been proactive. Before submitting an application, we wanted to know what we had. So, we already went through the grid-out process and the soil-scientist process. We feel very good that there is good ground that can have septic systems for every home site. We’re just keeping our fingers crossed that everything goes good.”

Realtor Adam Sharp has been executing the land deal with current owner Royce Golden on behalf of Fleming.

“I’m the one who talked to the owner, Mr. Golden,” said Sharp. “We (Sharp and Fleming) have both been excited about this whole area. This is one of the prettiest places I have ever seen.”

The rezoning request will be brought before the county commission at its upcoming meeting on Oct. 24.

Trousdale County High senior halfback Brian Banks carries the football around the right end behind the blocking of juniors Cole Gregory (52) and Jake Fergusson (11). Banks opened the scoring with a 9-yard touchdown run as the Yellow Jackets earned their first victory this season with a 20-16, come-from-behind win over visiting Whites Creek.

County must address its aging water and sewer system

The Trousdale County Commission heard updates from Mid-Tenn Engineering Company President and Project Manager Evan White on the condition of the county’s aging water and sewer system at its Monday night work session, which was held the Farmer’s Harvest meeting room.

“I’ve been working with the water board for many years,” said White. “There’s a lot of rehab out there that has to be addressed. We’re looking at several different projects.

“The water treatment plant needs to be looked at. It is over 50 years old. There are some inaccuracies in flow data, and we are trying to get that addressed.”

In tackling some of the more pressing issues, the county is looking at federal grants and other monies that will help alleviate some of the financial burden to the community.

“There is an American Rescue Plan (ARP) grant through the federal government,” said White. “They’ve appointed almost $3 million, but you have to apply for it by Nov.1.”

Needless to say, the water and sewer board is having to address new projects for both water and sewer.

“You have some inflow and infiltration problems that have been going on for many years ... inflow and infiltration from rain water, every time it rains, is affecting the sewer system,” said White. “There is no way of tracking it down at this point. So, we are wanting to do some flow meters and get those in place to figure out where all the water is coming from.”

However, in order to fund such large projects, the county plans to take advantage of money that has been allocated for regional use — in addition to grant money — as the federal government set aside funds to use between participating counties in the development of a pipeline.

“There is $119 million set aside by (U.S.) Congressman (John) Rose was for both water and sewer,” said White. “It was set aside for regional (use). Everybody put in on it — Trousdale County, Portland, Westmoreland, Red Boiling Springs, Castalian Springs. Everybody put in because they are trying to get water spread out from (Trousdale County), with the focus being you at the head of the stream on the river.”

Trousdale County Mayor Jack McCall added, “We have an advantage for being on the river. Going forward, we are going to have to think more regionally. If we can show that we can possibly provide water for Portland and Westmoreland, and even Lafayette, then it puts us in a good position to get a new water plant funded. So, we need to think regionally. We can’t just think of Trousdale County. Once that pipeline gets opened, if we perform, it stays open.”

The water and sewer board will continue its discussions regarding the aging water and sewer system at Monday’s county commission meeting.