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A small victory

The Trousdale County Community Center was packed on Monday night as the Trousdale County Commission held a public hearing regarding the rezoning of a parcel of land on the corner of McMurry Boulevard and Thoroughbred Lane.

Residents of the Thoroughbred subdivision in Hartsville, which borders the property in question, showed up in droves to protest the rezoning of the site, which is currently zoned partially commercial (C2) and partially single-family residential (R1).

“(The property rezoning) is going to affect everybody in the subdivision,” said Thoroughbred homeowner Bill Gilpin. “Our home values are going to go down. We’ve got to fight against this. We cannot let this happen.”

But since the property has both commercially and residentially-zoned portions, property owner and developer Sam Edwards’ idea was to increase the residential area of the parcel and build a senior living community on the land, thus reducing the potential of too many commercial entities building on the site.

“I was wanting to build an elderly community,” said Edwards. “But I was also wanting to help Thoroughbred by getting commercial off of them.”

However, because rezoning does not tie developers to the original plans that have been set forth for a property, Thoroughbred residents were concerned that Edwards was seeking an R3 rezoning on the residential portion, which would allow for a wide-range of multi-family dwellings, including apartments, condominiums, and other more densely-populated dwellings, thus increasing traffic and other issues caused by R3 zoning.

“Just think about the traffic coming out of there,” said Gilpin. “If they build this, it’s going to be a true nightmare. I can’t even believe that this is being considered in this subdivision, let alone anybody else’s subdivision.”

In a small victory for the residents of Thoroughbred, the county commission unanimously voted to reject Edwards’ request for rezoning.

“You really need to look at the big picture,” said Edwards. “Tonight would have been the time that they could have stopped (extensive commercial building).”

The blessing of life

Jennifer Holder

During the Thanksgiving holiday, while most folks reflected on life’s many blessings, Hartsville resident Sandra Seay was thankful for the gift of life.

Seay was the beneficiary as the Trousdale County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the staff at Trousdale Medical Center recently helped to preserve her life.

“They literally saved my life,” said Seay. “They saved my life, and I couldn’t be more thankful.”

After arriving at work on Nov. 15, Seay fell ill and began to realize that something was very wrong. Although she had been feeling under the weather for several days, Seay was not aware of just how sick she had become.

“On Wednesday morning, I got up and thought, ‘I don’t feel good, but I’m going to try to make it to work,’ ” said Seay. “I got to work, but as the morning progressed, I was really out of it. I was just losing it. I couldn’t concentrate or focus. I couldn’t even keep my head up.”

However, after returning home from work, Seay’s health continued to decline. It was at that time that her son realized she needed immediate medical care and made the call for help.

“He called the ambulance,” said Seay. “They came and immediately started working on me, but my body just started shutting down. The last thing I remember them saying to me was, ‘I’m going to check your heart.’ ”

Although her heart was fine, Seay had developed sepsis (a life-threatening systemic infection) and quickly slipped into a state of unconsciousness.

“I didn’t wake up until Thursday morning,” said Seay. “When I woke up, I knew I was in the hospital, but I didn’t know where. I was like, ‘Where am I?’ They told me (Trousdale Medical Center). That actually made me feel better, because I was close to home. I still didn’t realize how sick I was, but I just felt better being close to home.”

But being near her home was not the only reason that Seay was grateful to be in Hartsville.

“Being in a small-town hospital, I probably got better care, because they were focused on me ... I had more attention,” said Seay. “If I had been in a big hospital, I would have probably been just another number.

“Just because we are a small town, people think that we don’t have great services, but I’m going to tell you, they saved my life, and I know they did. I couldn’t be more grateful and thankful. I thank God, and I thank Trousdale County EMS and the Trousdale Medical Center staff.”

According to Trousdale County EMS Chief Matt Batey, although the greater Hartsville area is small, Trousdale County EMS is able to provide the same level of excellence of care that larger departments in Middle Tennessee provide to their surrounding communities.

“It really comes down to the provider in the back of the ambulance,” said Batey. “We expect the highest level of care and empathy for people. We treat people with the same level of care that we would treat our own family members.”

In a similar fashion, patients receiving treatment from Trousdale Medical Center will also experience the same dedication to quality care, according to Trousdale Medical Center Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Carolyn Sparks.

“One of the things that I think makes Trousdale Medical Center special is that we really do have a dedicated staff who wants to care for their community members, and those team members take a lot of pride in caring for the community,” said Sparks. “We also have a provider on site 24/7 who can quickly address any (patient) concerns.”

Trousdale Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) Jennifer Holder added, “Our nursing staff has a lot of clinical experience. So, we’re very fortunate that our staff chooses to come to work here and take care of their community. They have a lot of pride in the care that they provide to people, and that speaks of our quality. We’re proud of that, and they need to hear about the good work that they’re doing.”

The grandest fellow of the parade

With Christmas quickly approaching, the Hartsville-Trousdale County Chamber of Commerce has chosen to honor Bobby Joe Lewis by selecting him as the grand marshal of the Hartsville Christmas Parade.

In a united decision by the chamber’s board of directors, Lewis was selected.

“About six or eight of us from the board of directors were talking about grand marshals, and Bobby Joe Lewis came to mind,” said Hartsville-Trousdale County Chamber of Commerce board member Jerry Richmond. “So, I made the nomination, and everybody said, ‘Yeah, he’d be a good choice.’ ”

Many residents of Trousdale County know Lewis from his years of service to the community. He currently serves on the Trousdale County Highway Commission and the alcohol and beer board. He is a retired school teacher, former disc jockey, and the second-longest-serving Trousdale County commissioner.

“He and I go back several years,” said Richmond. “Years ago, Bobby Joe did a radio program where he played gospel music. That’s really where I spent time with him.

“He also taught in several schools around the area, and he was on the county commission for years.”

Lewis expressed his gratitude to the chamber of commerce for being selected to serve as this year’s grand marshal.

“The chamber told me that I was chosen to be the grand marshal,” said Lewis. “I was thrilled to be given the recognition and the opportunity to serve in that capacity.”

Richmond added, “When I told him that we had selected him as grand marshal, he accepted it with a smile on his face.”

And to add to his excitement, Lewis will be chauffeured along the parade route by another very distinguished guest.

“State Sen. (Ferrell) Haile is going to be my driver,” said Lewis. “He will be driving me in a 1965 Mustang convertible. This all took me by surprise.”

The parade will take place on Dec. 10 at 10 a.m., beginning at the intersection of McMurry Boulevard and Andrews Avenue in Hartsville, and ending at the Hartsville City Park.

This year’s theme is Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.

Insightful instructor

In July, the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Hartsville was chosen to be a hub for the criminal justice certification program in Tennessee.

In its search for an experienced instructor for the new program, TCAT hired former New Jersey corrections officer and trainer Tim Norton, who recently relocated to Franklin, Kentucky.

“I worked for the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office in New Jersey,” said Norton. “I was a corrections officer for almost 10 years. I was heavily involved in our training unit and was responsible for training all of our new officers, the new recruits. I was what they call a field training officer. I also ran our special investigations and our gang unit. So, I have quite a broad background in the different units.”

TCAT Vice President Jonathan Smallwood added, “Mr. Norton has a background in correctional officer training. We are really happy that he fell to us. He came to us from New Jersey. He saw our position and applied, and we are happy he did.”

Since his hire in mid-September, Norton has been diligently working to prepare for the launch of the new program early next year.

“We have not started classes yet,” said Norton.” I just started with TCAT in mid-September, and I’ve been spending every day going through my personal content and information and developing course material. I’m trying to give these students the absolute best education and training possible in order to really prepare them to work inside of a jail. So, I’m being very thorough.

“We are a technical college, so I’m going to be doing hands-on training to prepare these officers to work in a correctional facility. I’ve been working on making a mock jail cell here at the college. Students are going to be working on cell searches, unarmed self-defense, and pressure-point tactics. At the moment, I’m investing in a firearms simulator, which is going to train them in firearms simulations, OC spray (pepper spray), and using a taser. We are going to cover hand-cuffing techniques. Then, on the other side, we will cover a lot of things that have to do with inmates, as far as mental health, de-escalation techniques, and some forms of inmate mental-health counseling.”

Norton is currently promoting the new program and networking with local sheriff’s offices.

“I’ve been doing a lot of networking with all of the local sheriff’s offices to talk about the program and build a rapport with them,” said Norton. “I’ve also been going to a lot of job fairs at schools to promote our program.”

The criminal justice certification program will be held at the TCAT Wilson County campus and is expected to begin in January.

“We are looking to kick off in the next trimester, in January,” said Norton. “I’m just trying to get it up and running and ready to go.”

Smallwood added, “It looks like we will be going in January. The curriculum is already set. We are developing an advisory committee. The instructor is hired, and we are enrolling students.”

According to Norton, those taking advantage of this new educational opportunity will be embarking on a rewarding career that follows.

“It is a phenomenal career with a great pension and benefits,” said Norton. “It could potentially open up the door to a lot of other possible law-enforcement opportunities.”

Trousdale County High School senior Brian Banks elevates for an interior shot during the Yellow Jackets’ loss to visiting Smith County.