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Trousdale County looks to promote Reverse 911 program

Promoting Trousdale County’s Reverse 911 system would be a better use of resources than repairing the Hartsville tornado siren, according to members of the Emergency Services Committee.

That message came across loud and clear at the committee’s Sept. 7 meeting.

Commissioners met to discuss a proposal of roughly $12,440 to make repairs to the tornado siren, which is located near the old City Hall on Broadway. But it was pointed out that the siren’s effective range is only about a mile, which leaves most of Trousdale County uncovered.

Committee chairman David Nollner noted that he lives approximately one mile from the siren but often is unable to hear it at his home.

“Sometimes I hear it, sometimes not. It just depends on what’s going on side the house,” Nollner said.

“If we really want to do a tornado warning system, we should do one countywide,” added EMA Director Matt Batey. “Do we want to invest $12,000 in repairing what we’ve got or look around and see the best option for the county?”

Encouraging citizens to sign up for the Reverse 911 system can be done by calling the main dispatch number at 615-374-3994 or by visiting the county’s website at and clicking on ‘Community Alerts.’

Residents can choose to be notified by phone call, text or email for local emergencies and/or weather alerts. While the system is set up to automatically call all landline numbers, it is necessary to sign up to receive alerts on a cell number. A growing percentage of people have forgone traditional landlines in favor of cell phones in recent years.

Both County Mayor Stephen Chambers and Commissioner Dwight Jewell noted their personal experiences with the Reverse 911 system during severe storms and cited the convenience of the system.

“I would suggest we make people aware of that system and get notifications that way, rather than spend money on something with a limited range,” Chambers said.

“That morning we got hit, my phone was blowing up, my wife’s phone was blowing up. That system works, it works well. People just have to be sure they’re in the system,” Jewell added.

Batey and Fire Chief Jay Woodard also briefed commissioners on equipment requests.

The Fire Department has ordered its new brush truck and has upgraded all its radios to a new digital system, Woodard reported. In addition, four volunteer firefighters have recently completed pump school training and all volunteers have completed their CPR recertification.

EMA is looking to purchase a new ambulance and has solicited quotes ranging from $233,000 to $251,000, Batey said. In addition, his department will request funds to purchase another LUCAS automated chest compressor, a cardiac monitor and four video laryngoscopes.

The county is hoping to use funds received through the American Rescue Plan to pay for the EMA requests, Chambers said, but is awaiting guidance from the Treasury Department on how those funds may be spent.

Hartsville/Trousdale County is expected to receive just over $5 million in funding through that bill, which passed Congress earlier this year.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or

Trousdale County cruises past Macon County

The Trousdale County Yellow Jackets (3-0) used a strong ground game and suffocating defense to take down previously undefeated Macon County 34-7 in Lafayette on Friday night.

The Jackets rushed for 274 yards, averaging seven yards per carry, and kept the Tigers (3-1) off the scoreboard until the final seconds of the game.

“We had a great week of preparation. I think this game really meant something to our players,” TCHS coach Blake Satterfield said. “I was worried about our players having the shock of a big game and I thought we handled that really well.”

Trousdale won the coin toss and deferred until the second half. Macon took the ball and was flagged for a penalty, setting up first and 15. Jackets defensive lineman Xavier Harper dragged down Macon quarterback Braydee Brooks to put the Tigers in an even bigger hole, forcing a punt. Brooks’ kick traveled just seven yards and sailed into the Trousdale County bleachers, setting the Jackets up with excellent field position at their 36.

Twelve plays later, Cole Gregory fought his way into the end zone from four yards out for the game’s first score. A two-point run failed but the Jackets led 6-0.

On their next possession, the Jackets struck again with Brian Banks scoring on a 24-yard run. A two-point try failed again, but the lead was at 12-0 with 9:35 left in the half.

Trousdale’s defense forced a three-and-out by the Macon offense, and then Harper blocked the punt to set the Jackets up in the red zone.

That drive ended with Kobyn Calhoun finding Kane Burnley all alone in the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown. Bryson Claiborne added a two-point run to make it 20-0.

Macon capitalized on some short passes and two Trousdale penalties to give itself a shot at getting back in the game with first-and-goal from the Jackets 4. But the defense held firm, stuffing Brooks on fourth and goal at the 2.

The Jackets started the

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second half where they left off as Gregory finished the opening drive by running through arm tackles for a 35-yard touchdown. The pass attempt failed but the lead was still at 26-0.

Claiborne would score the Jackets’ final touchdown on a 4-yard carry late in the third quarter, with Burnley adding a two-point run to make it 34-0 with 4:31 remaining in the period.

Satterfield was able to empty his bench in the fourth quarter, getting the Jackets’ reserves significant playing time. Macon kept its starters in the game and finally got on the scoreboard with 30 seconds to play when Zach Borders ran for a 33-yard touchdown. Bryson Higgins added the PAT for the Tigers.

Gregory led the Jackets’ rushing attack with 104 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Banks had five runs for 69 yards and a score, while Claiborne had 68 yards and a TD on 10 carries.

Defensively, Harper and Jess Holder each had 1.5 sacks while Carsey West also recorded a sack and forced a fumble. Holder and Calhoun recovered fumbles for the Jackets, who have now won 59 of 79 games against Macon County, including the last four.

JSMS celebrates 2021 homecoming court

Evelyn Towns was crowned as Jim Satterfield Middle School’s 2021 Homecoming Queen during pregame ceremonies on Sept. 9 prior to the Jr. Jackets’ game against Upperman.

Towns was accompanied by her parents, Michael and Heather Towns.

Attendants were Oakley McCall (sixth grade), Charlie Beth Wright (seventh grade) and Katie Jo Shockley (eighth grade).

Cumberland creates professorship in honor of Tommy Thompson

Cumberland University presented a professorship in honor of former District Attorney General Tom P. Thompson, Jr. during its annual Convocation Ceremony on Monday, Aug. 23.

The General Tom P. Thompson, Jr. Professorship was funded by generous donors and was created to support a deserving Cumberland faculty member in the field of criminal justice. The professorship was presented to Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Suzann Lafferty during the annual Convocation Ceremony.

The Professorship will support Lafferty in creating academic experiences for criminal justice students, such as course upgrades, research, off-campus learning experiences and curriculum enhancements.

Thompson, a Hartsville native, received his law degree from Vanderbilt University and later served as Assistant District Attorney for Nashville and Davidson County. He was then elected as District Attorney General for the current 15th Judicial District in 1978 and served until retirement in 2021. Thompson was the longest serving District Attorney in the state of Tennessee with 43 years in the position.

“I have been humbled and overwhelmed by the generosity of my friends and family,” Thompson said.

Lafferty is an Assistant Professor and Program Director of Criminal Justice. Prior to her role at Cumberland, Lafferty served as a Special Agent Forensic Scientist with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) for 17 years.

“I am grateful to General Thompson and his strong dedication to public service and am so honored to have been chosen for this professorship,” Lafferty said. “This is a special opportunity and I look forward to creating unique learning experiences for criminal justice students at Cumberland.”

Building Committee eyes repairs to old courthouse

Trousdale County’s Building Committee discussed the need for renovations and/or repairs to the old courthouse during its Sept. 9 meeting.

The building will eventually house a history museum and the Election Commission office. The Election Commission will be moved into the courthouse by February 2022, per a previous directive from the County Commission.

County Mayor Stephen Chambers said one consultant had recommended repairing, rather than replacing, the windows and that the Tennessee Historic Commission likely would make a similar request.

“Something needs to be done. They’re going to rot out of the case and fall on the ground; we already have one that either fell out, got knocked out or shot out,” commissioner Dwight Jewell said of the windows.

John Oliver, who serves as the county’s historian, noted that the courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and such designation limits exactly what can be done.

Ken Buckmaster asked if being on that registry was worth it.

“Patching this stuff together that will last two or three years, so we can remain on a historical landmark to what I see as no benefit,” he said. “I’d just as soon we do it right if we’re going to put people (in the building).”

Replacing the chiller and building tiles were also among recommendations presented to the committee.

In addition, the Election Commission had requested removing a window on the side of the building and replacing it with a door. But John Oliver noted that the election office had previously been in the courthouse and did not need a door then.

“The ramp out the back door will be adequate to do what they want to do, moving equipment in and out,” added Public Works Director Cliff Sallee.

Committee members voted to reject the request and leave the window in place.

Trousdale County’s Building Committee discussed the need for a new county jail during its Sept. 9 meeting.

Chambers presented the same Jail Needs Assessment that was previously presented to the Law Enforcement Committee. That report recommends that the county build a 105-bed facility, which would more the double the current jail’s official capacity of 44.

The sheriff has also requested space in any new facility for inmate programs such as job training and counseling, Chambers added. In Gibson County, such programs reduced the percentage of reoffenders from 80 to 8%, the mayor noted.

“This is the direction that Gov. Lee is pushing communities to go,” Chambers stated.

The county’s jail committee has also requested that Trousdale County consider building a comprehensive criminal justice facility that could house courts and a jail.

“The district attorney, public defender all ask that when we look at this we look at building a criminal justice center,” Chambers said.

The cost of a new jail won’t be known until an official design is presented, the mayor noted. Previous estimates have ranged as high as $20 million.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or