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Looking back at 2022

By Roxanne Lambert and Craig Harris


Animal shelter gets new director

Rebecca Troutt took over as the Trousdale County Animal Shelter director entering 2022.

Troutt had previously spent 10 years as a veterinary technician.

The animal shelter, which is located next to the convenience center on Industrial Park Drive, is open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. each weekday.

Troutt specified when she was hired that she had short-term and long-term goals, starting with updating the intake procedure at the shelter, updating the insulation and the HVAC unit, adding viewing areas where the public can see dogs available for adoption, and adding a play area for the dogs that are on site.

Hartsville restaurant reopens after three years

The Hartsville Mexican restaurant La Quesadilla reopened for the first time in three years.

The restaurant, located on Highway 25 across the street from Trousdale County High School, had been closed since a fire did significant damage to the building in February of 2019.

Owner Debbie Ferrell indicated that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic delayed repairs to the building, as finding contractors and materials became difficult.

Additionally, Ferrell indicated that the menu remained mostly the same as it was previously with a few minor changes and that La Quesadilla now has a fully-stocked bar.

Expansion of Hwy 141

enters planning stage

Sen. Speaker Pro Tempore Ferrell Haile announced that construction plans for the extension of State Route 141 to State Route 25/State Route 10, southeast of Hartsville in Trousdale County, are underway.

Haile said that the project will be approximately four miles in length, extending from north of Highway 10 to near the intersection of Cedar Bluff Road. The route will be a two-lane, typical section, with two 12-foot travel lanes in each direction, 12-foot paved shoulders, and ditch drainage on either side. Right and left turn lanes and transitions will be included as needed at the interchange. The project also will include the construction of bridges over the Cumberland River and over Highway 25/Highway 10.

The goal for the project is to begin construction in 2023.

Three Jackets named to TFCA All-State squad

Three Trousdale County High School football players were named to the Tennessee Football Coaches Association (TNFCA) Class 2A All-State Team.

Senior running back Bryson Claiborne, senior defensive lineman Xavier Harper and senior defensive back Keenan Burnley were named to the squad, which is selected by coaches from across the state.

Claiborne, who was selected as the Region 4-2A Co-Most Valuable Player, rushed for 1,411 yards on 154 carries — an average of 9.2 yards per rush — and 22 touchdowns.

Harper finished the season with 103 tackles and seven quarterback sacks.

The Yellow Jackets finished 11-2 and reached the Class 2A state semifinal round before falling to state runner-up Hampton.

Satterfield hired as offensive coordinator at Tennessee Tech

Former Trousdale County High School quarterback Wesley Satterfield was hired as the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Tennessee Tech University.

He is the son of Trousdale County Director of Schools Clint Satterfield and the brother of current Yellow Jacket Head Coach Blake Satterfield.

Satterfield has spent the last three seasons as the receivers coach at the University of Richmond, and prior to that, he was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Austin Peay State University from 2016-18.

Satterfield played at the University of the South from 2002-06 as a quarterback, punter and kicker.

Trousdale County Mayor cleared by ethics investigation, runs for second term

A complaint was filed against Trousdale County Mayor Stephen Chambers regarding a special commission meeting called on July 18, 2021.

The complaint alleged that at that meeting, the mayor threatened legal action against the commission for an alleged violation of the Open Meetings Act with regards to the water department’s request to build a new facility on county property. The complaint also stated that some commissioners voted for the project “because they were intimidated and coerced to do so to avoid the county being involved in litigation.”

However, in an ethics investigation into the situation, it was concluded that no illegal or unethical actions by Chambers took place.

Soon after the ethics investigation, Chambers announced his intention to seek re-election for a second term as the Trousdale County mayor in the Aug. 4 election.

Schools announce teachers of the year

Trousdale County’s principals announced their teacher of the year winners at the Jan. 20 school board meeting.

Mary Raines (Trousdale County Elementary), Ashley Ewen (Jim B. Satterfield Middle) and Dan Dickerson (Trousdale County High) were praised by their respective principals for their dedication to their craft and helping students to succeed.

Trousdale County Director of Schools Clint Satterfield said of the three winners that being elected by their peers for such an honor was outstanding.

Hartsville domestic incident turns into murder-suicide

Two Trousdale County residents are dead in what authorities said was a domestic incident that turned into a murder-suicide.

According to the Trousdale County Sheriff’s Department, at around 3 a.m. on Jan. 27, Tristan Woodard, 28, confronted Katherine “Katie” Marie Taylor, 30, and shot her before turning the gun on himself. The incident took place at a residence on Starlite Road, and Trousdale County deputies responded after being called by Taylor’s father, who lived there.

Sheriff Ray Russell indicated that Taylor had taken out an order of protection against Woodard, and there were warrants out for his arrest on charges of aggravated domestic assault and violating the protective order.

Sisters make history on the hardwood

Trousdale County High School senior girls basketball standout Kailen Donoho scored her 1,000th point, joining her sister — Chloe Donoho — as a member of the Lady Jackets’ 1,000-point club.

Chloe Donoho was a 2021 graduate and also eclipsed the mark during her senior campaign.

The Donohos were the first sisters to reach the mark in the program’s history, and they were recognized for the accomplishment on Jan. 24.


Burnley brothers sign with Cumberland

Trousdale County High School football standouts Kane Burnley and Keenan Burnley signed letter-of-intent to continue their playing careers at Cumberland University in early February.

The twins signed as defensive backs with the Phoenix, which plays in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Mid-South Conference.

Both were named to the 4-2A All-Region team as seniors as they helped lead Trousdale County to a fourth consecutive state semifinal appearance and an 11-2 record.

Keenan Burnley was also named to the Tennessee Football Coaches Association Class 2A All-State Team.

Claiborne signs with Tusculum

Trousdale County High School football standout Bryson Claiborne signed a letter-of-intent to continue his playing career at Tusculum University in February.

As a senior, Claiborne rushed for 1,411 yards and 22 touchdowns, averaging 9.2 yards per carry.

He was also selected as the co-most valuable player of Region 4-2A and was a Tennessee Football Coaches Association All-State selection in

Class 2A, leading the Yellow Jackets to an 11-2 record and a spot in the

2A state semifinals.

Claiborne — who also had an offer from Lindsey Wilson (Kentucky) College — became the seventh TCHS player to sign a football scholarship over head coach Blake Satterfield’s first three seasons at the helm of the program.

U.S. Education Secretary visits Hartsville as part of listening tour

The nation’s top education official visited Trousdale County as part of a listening tour about the challenges faced by rural counties.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona kicked off a two-day visit to Middle Tennessee, which included a roundtable discussion with five students from Trousdale County High School.

In his visit, Cardona noted Tennessee’s work to create career pathways for students, saying that the state was among the nation’s leaders in that regard. He also took note of the teacher apprenticeship program being created by Tennessee in an effort to recruit more educators.

Commission approves bonuses for county, school employees

Trousdale County employees, including schools’ non-certified staff, received bonus pay after a plan was approved by the Trousdale County Commission.

Commissioners approved paying $3,000 to full-time employees and $1,500 to part-timers.

The money for the bonuses came from the county’s portion of American Rescue Plan funds.

Trousdale approves raises for EMS staffers

The Trousdale County Commission approved raises for emergency management services (EMS) employees in an effort to retain personnel.

Commissioners approved a $1.04 per hour increase for both paramedics and emergency medical technicians that went into effect on March 10.

Trousdale County Commission Chairman Dwight Jewell indicated that Trousdale County has been losing a lot of personnel to neighboring counties due to higher pay rates.

Atwood wins state wrestling championship

Trousdale County High School sophomore Rob Atwood won the school’s first-ever state wrestling championship in late February, claiming the Class A 195-pound individual title at the state tournament in Franklin.

Atwood finished the season with a 26-2 record. He won regional and sectional championships and was named the outstanding wrestler at both the regional and sectional meets.

Over his two seasons of wrestling as Trousdale County’s one-man team, he compiled a 44-5 record.

Atwood needed just 1:45 to pin Gibbs junior Elijah Hubbs to claim the title.

As a sophomore, he entered the state meet as the top seed at 195 pounds, after finishing fourth in the 220-pound class as a freshman.


Jack McCall joins mayoral mix

The race to be Trousdale County’s mayor became a three-way campaign with Jack McCall’s announcement that he would seek office. McCall joined incumbent Trousdale County Mayor Stephen Chambers and Trousdale County commissioner Bill Fergusson in seeking the county’s top elected office.

McCall’s decision came on the heels of the incumbent mayor’s early February announcement to seek reelection.

McCall was elected as mayor in August.

Budget committee approves raise for sheriff’s office

The Trousdale County Budget Committee signaled approval to the full county commission for a $2 raise for all Trousdale County Sheriff’s Office employees.

A compensation study that was done outlined the jobs and responsibilities of individuals employed by Trousdale County in order to draw comparisons with nearby counties. The study highlighted how much the wage for each position needed to be raised to be in line with what other counties were paying their employees.

The move came as the county considered wage increases in order to keep pace with rising wages elsewhere and to promote employee retention.

Governor visits TCHS

Gov. Bill Lee stopped by Trousdale County High School and visited with the career technical education (CTE) classes, seeking to get a closer look at what students were learning in those courses.

Lee visited the mechatronics class — where students were learning a series of skill sets needed in the contemporary, advanced automated manufacturing industry — as they experimented with robotics and microchips.

However, mechatronics was not the only stop on the governor’s itinerary. Students in the nursing class were able to share some of their future plans with the governor while also showcasing a little bit of what they do.


McKinney named TCHS girls basketball coach

Paige (Sevier) McKinney was hired s the Trousdale County High School girls head basketball coach.

McKinney — who is a mathematics teacher — had been serving as an assistant coach at Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro.

Lady Jacket head coach Jared Hawkins resigned after TCHS completed its 2021-22 campaign.

McKinney — who played high-school basketball at Jackson County and then played collegiately at Roane State Community College and Maryville College — had previously served as the head coach at Watertown High from 2018-2021, resulting in a 41-46 record. She also served as the Watertown Middle School head coach for the 2019-21 seasons, compiling a 33-9 record over the three-year period.

Around that same time, Krystul Gregory was named the TCHS head volleyball coach as well.

Gregory had been the head coach at Jim B. Satterfield Middle School Coach for five years, leading the program to an undefeated season in 2020.


Sullivan resigns as school board member

Life-long resident, family man, and school-board member Jason Sullivan turned in his resignation to the Trousdale County School Board on May 20, as he and his family moved out of state.

Sullivan was elected to the school board in 2020, representing district C.

His decision to resign came about when Sullivan and his family had the opportunity to relocate to the family farmhouse in Monroe County, Kentucky, which is where his wife, Janna, had grown up.

Trousdale County Director of Schools Clint Satterfield referred to Sullivan’s time on the board “superb.”

TCHS principal retires

After nearly 40 years of

service to the Trousdale County School System, Trousdale County High School principal and long-time resident of Hartsville Teresa Dickerson announced her retirement as of June 30.

Dickerson began her service to the school system as a secondary math teacher. She taught both algebra I and algebra II for 18 years before becoming a school administrator.

Dickerson conducted her final graduation ceremony as principal of TCHS on May 20.


Kuhn hired as rousdale County High School principal

After an extensive search, Trousdale County Director of Schools Clint Satterfield announced that Dr. Casey Kuhn, an assistant principal from Springfield High School, was selected as the new principal of Trousdale County High School.

Kuhn, a three-year resident of Trousdale County, has been an educator for approximately

5 years.

As Kuhn fully took the helm on July 1, Satterfield expressed confidence in Kuhn’s administrative and leadership abilities for a successful tenure as principal.

County commission finally approves budget

Throughout the long process of revising multiple budgetary items, the Trousdale County Commission convened at the Trousdale County Courthouse on June 27 for a second and third reading of the 2023 fiscal-year budget.

Although the first reading of the budget was held on June 20 and approved by the commission, as required, a second and third reading had to be done before the budget could be fully approved by the June 30 deadline.

But not everything about the process was smooth sailing as a few governmental departments had to iron out various portions of their budgets.

Nevertheless, after much deliberating, each part of the budget for the 2023-24 fiscal

year was approved by the commision.

Senator visits Trousdale County

United States Sen. Marsha Blackburn visited Trousdale County in June as part of her annual 95-county tour.

Since her election in 2019, Blackburn has made it a point

to travel to each of the 95 counties in Tennessee to hear what her constituents have to say.

According to Blackburn, the main concerns of Tennesseans across the state are issues that have resulted from rapid growth, which include road improvements, industrial parks, and water management.

Mayor Stephen Chambers indicated that he was reassured by Blackburn’s visit as she encouraged county leaders to take advantage of available resources.

Trousdale man sentenced to 20 years for rape

A Trousdale County man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the rape of a minor back in 2018.

Ricky William Presley, 29, was sentenced in Hartsville on June 21, 2022, by judge Brody Kane.

Presley pleaded guilty to two counts of rape after being indicted back in 2019. A sentencing hearing was then set after prosecutors and defense attorneys failed to agree on an acceptable sentence.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge sentenced Presley to 20 years and ordered that his sentence be served in prison without the possibility of parole.

Making a global impact

Trousdale County-based Run4Water is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that is making a difference in the lives of people all around the world by providing clean water solutions to places where there are none.

The nonprofit’s work reaches from Honduras to Nicaragua, Uganda to Kenya, Haiti to Sneedville, Tennessee and many other places internationally since issues with contaminated water are global.

“We have projects all over the world,” said Run4Water President Greg Armstrong. “Currently, we are working in Nicaragua, Uganda, and Tanzania. We also have a project in Appalachia.”

Though Armstrong is the president of Run4Water, he is also a biology teacher and cross country coach at Friendship Christian School in Wilson County. It is his work as a teacher that helped him to decide to launch his non-profit, Run4Water.

“I’m a biology teacher,” said Armstrong. “For years, I’ve taught about what I would call the water crisis in our world, even before I started the nonprofit. I would always share with my students about the environmental water crisis, the contaminants that are hurting the environment and how that affects humans. So, there’s a humanitarian water crisis that overlaps with the environmental water crisis.”

Although the name of his nonprofit, Run4Water, was derived from a run that he did from the Alabama border to the Kentucky border, it was while hiking the Appalachian Trail that Armstrong credits his students for giving him the idea to create the nonprofit.

“In 2005, I had a group of students who wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail,” said Armstrong. “These were freshman in high school. I encouraged them to pick a cause to hike for, so when we went out, we would have a purpose.”

After studying the water crisis under Armstrong’s tutelage, his students decided on their cause.

“They’d heard me talk about the water crisis, and they said, ‘We want to hike for water,’ ” said Armstrong. “It was their idea. I let them choose. They raised $2,000 to do a well in Africa through another larger nonprofit. They really felt good about it. So, in their sophomore year, they came to me and said, ‘Coach Armstrong, (raising money for a well in Africa) was cool, but we want to actually have hands-on experience. We want to go do something to solve the water crisis.’ ”

“I really didn’t have dreams or aspirations of building or starting a nonprofit. But as an educator, that’s what prompted me to provide an opportunity for my students. That’s initially all it really was.”

But what began as a hands-on learning experience for his students has grown exponentially, resulting in strong relationships around the world.

“I always tell people that water is kind of the tip of the spear,” said Armstrong. “What usually brings us into some type of relationship with a family is when we hear that they don’t have clean water to drink.”

But in developing relationships, Armstrong and the volunteers from Run4Water have been able to provide much-needed items and home repairs to a poverty stricken area of northeastern Tennessee, as well as delivering clean water solutions.

And as Christmas routinely came and went for most folks on Sunday, for neighbors in Hancock County, Run4Water, in partnership with Possum Town Outreach, helped to deliver Christmas cheer to families in need.

“We have partnered with Possum Town Outreach over the last couple of years in putting together a tractor-trailer full of food, clothing, mattresses, and just really anything that could help the people in Sneedville (Hancock County),” said Armstrong. “We took all of it up there the weekend before Christmas.”

With the help of his students, the volunteers were able to make a difference in the lives of children in Hancock County.

“My students put together a Christmas fair for the children in Sneedville where we have toys, jackets, and personal hygiene items,” said Armstrong. “Each child is given $100 of Sneedville bucks, and they can go around the gymnasium and pick out a toy or a jacket and get their picture made with Santa Claus. It’s just our way of helping.”

However, reaching beyond the U.S. borders, Run4Water has also impacted people in areas like Tanzania by bringing clean water sources closer to home.

“For this water project, their closest water was six miles away,” said Armstrong. “The burden of carrying water in most countries like this usually falls on women and children, particularly teenage girls because, culturally, a 13 or 14-year-old boy goes out and works the field with his father. And since a young teenage girl is strong enough to carry water, she (is expected) to carry the (needed) water in jerrycans.”

As with many nonprofit organizations, Run4Water relies upon volunteers.

Volunteers like Zachary Elliott, a construction worker and former student of Armstrong’s, is a volunteer who says that the project has impacted his own life.

“I’m usually in charge of the construction side of things (with Run4Water) — wheelchair ramps, fixing somebody’s flooring or whatever is needed,” said Elliott. “I really fell in love with doing this when I saw how much it meant to other people and how grateful they were that I was building something for them.

“I have gone back (to Sneedville) three or four times this year. Although life gets in the way sometimes, I still try to go as much as I can.”

More information on volunteer opportunities with Run4Water can be found at

Behind the scenes

To make the holiday season a little brighter, the Trousdale County Sheriff’s Department ended 2022 by delivering food boxes to several elderly Hartsville area residents, because, for many, trying to put food on the table amidst skyrocketing inflation has become difficult, especially during the holidays.

Each year, through generous donations, the sheriff’s department delivers the food boxes before Christmas with a variety of items that will last into the new year.

“The sheriff’s department delivered 60 food boxes to elderly residents this year,” said Trousdale County Sheriff Ray Russell. “We try to concentrate mostly on elderly people who are on fixed incomes. As we patrol around throughout the year, we try to think of people who are in need and take down their names. At the end of the year, we deliver (the food boxes) to them.”

Trousdale County Jail Sergeant Austin Ford added, “We delivered the food boxes mostly to elderly people who were not able to get out and buy food on their own.”

According to Russell, it is in cooperation with Foodland that a local anonymous donor contributes most of the money each year to cover the cost of the food boxes that the sheriff’s department delivers to area residents.

“We have one person in particular who donates most of (the money), but he does not want his name mentioned,” said Russell. “He tells us to go out and get whatever we need and to do as many boxes as we need. Then, (he) tells us to send him the bill. He pays for all the food.”

This year, the food boxes contained items for Christmas dinner, as well as canned goods and other non-perishable items with longer shelf lives.

“We wanted to ensure that they had everything they needed for Christmas,” said Trousdale County Sheriff’s deputy Travis Blair. “This time, we delivered eggs, bread, a turkey, a lot of non-perishable foods like canned foods or beans, things like that.”

But, as indicated by Russell, the sheriff’s department works behind the scenes with not only food box deliveries, but also with other undertakings that help support the local community throughout the year.

“We do a lot of things that people don’t realize behind the scenes,” said Russell. “Last year, when we had all the snow, we picked up people who worked at the nursing home and the hospital, (and) we took them to work and then took them home again. Plus, we do a lot of things for the elderly who can’t get out, like picking up their groceries or meds.”

Blair added, “It is good for the community to understand that we are not just out writing tickets. We are actually involved in the community. We mainly do this to help the community out as much as we can, especially elderly people. This helps make our relationship with our small community stronger, and I think our relationship with them is excellent.”