McNairy County News Current Headlines

From the July 1, 2010 edition

Debris pickup making progress

debrisPhoto by Tom Evans
Steve Kaundant, an employee of Akard Enterprises of Hot Springs, Arkansas, loads part of a tree into his trailer. Kaundant, who is from Oklahoma, started working for Akard Enterprises following Hurricane Katrina. Kaundant said he usually hauls in the neighborhood of 20,000 lbs. per load.
Week of July 12th will be last chance for pickup
Clean-up crews are busy working the streets in Selmer removing debris from the May 2nd tornado. The first pass to remove the debris should be completed by the end of the week.
Next week, the crews will concentrate on removing C & D (construction & demolition) debris.
The following week (July 12 – 16), they will be making the final pass to remove the remaining debris.
“We want to remind everyone that their debris must be placed on the city right of way near the street if they want it removed,” said Selmer Fire Chief Anthony Carr. “We are picking up stumps, brush, trees and limbs this week. Next week we will pick up construction and demolition items that have been removed from homes and the following week we will make the final pass.”

Flash Flood Friday
floodingPhoto by Tom Evans
Friday afternoon’s storm caused flash flooding in Selmer and lightning strikes were responsible for two fire alarms.
Selmer received around three inches of rain in about an hour last Friday as a storm system stalled over the city around 4 p.m.
The rain caused flooding in several areas, including the city park and in front of the Community South downtown branch where a city truck had to block one of the lanes of the road to keep cars from flooding out.
The lightning associated with the storm set off the fire alarm at McNairy Central and sent the Selmer Fire Department to check out the scene. They had to reset the alarm.
Lightning also ran in on a fan in the attic of a house on Mollie Drive, causing smoke and another call for the fire department, but there was no fire and no damage to the home.
The storm lasted for almost an hour, cooling the temperature from 98 degrees to 73 degrees. Other areas of the county received little or no rain at all from the system.

Adult Education GED program graduates 73
ged_gradsPhoto by Tom Evans
Graduates move their tassels to the left as the ceremony draws to a close. 34 GED students took part in Sunday afternoon’s GED graduation at McNairy Central.

It was a happy occasion last Sunday afternoon for those receiving their GED at graduation ceremonies held at MCHS.
A total of 73 people made the grades, which resulted in them earning their GED (General Education Diploma).
It’s a tough job market right now, but imagine how tough it could be without your high school diploma or GED.
There were a total of 34 GED students that took part in Sunday’s graduation.
Patsy Pearson, Adult Education Supervisor, welcomed those in attendance and introduced her staff. A video, “Reflections 2009 – 2010,” featuring the students was then shown.
Following the invocation by Fred Carroll, three students gave brief stories about their struggles to obtain their GED, how important it was to them and how it gave them hope for the future.
Carolyn Bowers, the Literacy Council President, gave special awards to several students for their hard work.
Finally, the big moment arrived and the GED certificates were handed out. A video of the graduates was shown and they then moved their tassels, a symbol of their accomplishment. Graduates them exited to the commons area to enjoy refreshments with family and friends.

Adamsville gets new asphalt

pavingPhoto by Tom Evans
A TDOT paving crew begins laying down new asphalt in front of Pettigrew Rexall Drugs.
Finally! The downtown area of Adamsville received new asphalt and striping as the “Downtown Project” neared completion.
Crews with TDOT paved an area from Pettigrew Drugs to Hollingsworth Pit Stop. Crews were busy on Monday putting stripes for the lanes and the final touches on the crossing lanes.
Many citizens have voiced their complaints about the design of the project, since numerous parking spaces were lost that were desperately needed.
Another complaint is the narrow entrances to Oak Street, shrubs blocking drivers’ views when pulling out onto Main Street, and the wait time at the red light.
Despite the complaints, the project has enhanced the downtown area.

Bobby Barnes retiring from PEC

bobbyPhoto by Tom Evans
Bobby Barnes will retire from Pickwick Electric on July 9th.
After 31 plus years at Pickwick Electric Cooperative, Bobby Barnes has decided it’s time to do something different. Barnes’ last official day will be July 9th.
“Although I’m excited that this blessed day is finally arriving, it’s sad for me to walk away from those I’ve been associated with for so long,” said Bobby. “I going to miss all my fellow employees and friends I’ve made here.”
He is currently fourth in seniority at PEC. Bobby was born in McNairy County and graduated from Morris Chapel High School in 1963. He earned an associate degree in business administration from Jackson State Community College and also served in the Army for two years, with a tour of duty in Germany.
While in the Army, he attended and graduated from the Army’s Financing and Accounting School in Indianapolis.
Bobby began his career with PEC in 1978 as Plant Accountant and held that position until 1987 when he was promoted to Electrification Advisor. Following the retirement of Larry Gage in 2006, Barnes was promoted to Director of Member Relations.
“I’ve seen lots of changes since the late 70’s,” said Bobby. “The one that probably affected me most was PEC’s emergence into the computer age. When I first started to work here no one had a computer. The Member Service Department was among the first to have a personal computer. Now everyone in the office has one and we rely on them to get things done each day.”
Bobby noted that probably the most eventful memory of his time at PEC was the tornado in March of 1991.
“I started home down Hwy 64 and saw power lines down on both sides,” he said. “I just turned around and came back to the office where I spent the night. We had a lot of damage in that tornado and our crews put in lots of hours. The tornados and ice storms really are challenging events for us because we want everyone to get their power on as soon as possible and sometimes it takes time to do that. I know during the 1991 tornado I was without power at my house for a week.”
Many customers of PEC know Bobby Barnes on a first-name basis. Bobby has visited numerous homes over the years performing heat pump inspections, energy surveys and electric water heater inspections. He has also done magazine article interviews, handled bill complaints, and chaperoned the Washington Youth Tour for 20 years. He has not missed an annual or district meeting in his over three decades of employment at PEC.
Bobby and his wife Betty have been married for 45 years. They have a son, Michael, who is president of Community South in Selmer and is married to the former Kellie Smith. Michael and Kellie have a son almost 4-years-old named Houston.
Bobby plans to stay busy following his retirement. “I’m going to do some gardening, ride my tractor, play some golf, sleep late, maybe go to more UT games, and hopefully watch my grandson play ball,” he said. “I want to thank all my fellow employees. They are like a second family to me and I’m going miss them. I appreciate PEC giving me the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful organization.”
Congratulations to Bobby on his retirement and we wish him all the best in the future. PEC is losing a valuable member of their team.
*PEC will host a reception in his honor on Friday, July 9th from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Friends are invited to stop by the PEC Auditorium and visit with Bobby and his family and enjoy hamburgers, hot dogs, and all the trimmings.

Rotary Club presents Paul Harris Fellow Awards
rotaryPhoto by Tom Evans
The Selmer Rotary Club held their monthly meeting on Monday, June 28th at the Whistle Stop Café. Incoming Rotary President Karen Lange (center) presented the Paul Harris Fellow Award to Earl Johnson (left), who is a first time recipient and Dr. Ronnie Fullwood (right), who is receiving the award for the second time. The Paul Harris Fellow Award is named for Paul Harris, who founded Rotary with three business associates in Chicago in 1905. The award is given for Rotary members in appreciation for the ways in which their life exemplifies the humanitarian and educational objectives of The Rotary Foundation. The award was established in 1957.

County Commission Meets

Budget approved, pay raise for commissioners voted down 15-4
The McNairy County Commission met on Monday night with 19 of the 20 commissioners present. After the opening prayer and Pledge of Allegiance, Rudy Moore EMA Director, gave an update on the storm cleanup from the May tornado.
“We’re still in the recovery process,” said Moore. “We will probably make three passes to pick up debris. We’ve collected 235,000 tons of C & D (construction & demolition) debris. FEMA has extended the deadline to apply for assistance to August 5th. So far we’ve had 436 people register.”
The Commission approved amendments to the 2009-10 school budget and school nutrition budget. They also approved amendments to Debt Service, Solid Waste, and the transfer of $25,000 from the general fund to Federal School Projects. The money would be reimbursed by the government in a few weeks.
Commissioners passed the budget that will set the tax rate at $2.09 per $100 of assessed property value. The rate will bring in the same amount of revenue as last year’s $2.40 rate following this year’s new reappraisal.
“Our Budget Committee did a great job working on this year’s budget and our county officials were well prepared with their budgets,” said Mayor Jai Templeton. “I think in some tough economic times our county has done well.”
Commissioner O.H. Freeland made a motion that the Commissioners’ pay be raised from $50 per meeting to $100 per meeting and from $25 to $50 for special meetings. The motion failed by a 15-4 vote with Joe Robert Henry, O. H. Freeland, Neal Burks, and Troy Moore voting for the raise.
The Commission approved a motion to purchase a compactor for the landfill in the amount of $150,00 to help with the tornado debris. FEMA will either purchase the compactor or reimburse the County the cost of it.
The Beer Board approved the permit of Kathy Heathcock to sell beer at “Pig Pen Tavern” on Sweet Lips Road.
The Commission approved a resolution to give a pro-rated property tax break for anyone that was a storm victim and out of their house for 30 days, providing they rebuild or restore their home. They have until September 1st to sign with the tax assessor.
In new business, Jeff Lipford and Linda Clayton will be considered as appointees to the Library Board at the August meeting. Maurice Hamm will be considered for reappointment to the Airport Authority.
Commissioner Wilburn Gene Ashe commended Chris Tull and the Airport Authority for their work in bringing Hospital Wing to the airport. The 3-Star Strategic Plan was approved along with the Title VI Resolution, which is part of the 3-Star application process. McNairy County was the first county to participate in the 3-Star Program and this is their 30th year, the only county to achieve that status.
Named as Notaries were; Brian Dickey, Tom Evans, China Horton, and Gail Stewart.
Commissioner O.H. Freeland, who is not seeking re-election in August, told the Commission that he would not be able to attend the August meeting and wished them all well. He has served 16 years as a County Commissioner.
“I served under some good chairmen,” he said. “I just want to let Mayor Templeton know I’m a Democrat, but I’ve got a Republican sign in my yard. I think he’s done a wonderful job.”
The Commissioners and Mayor Templeton applauded Freeland on his many years of service and the meeting was adjourned.