McNairy County News Current Headlines

From the July 8, 2010 edition

Medal awarded 65 years late

medalPhoto by Tom Evans
Marvin Wilkes (center) receives the Bronze Star from James Kientz as Judy Bivens reads the official statement.
Marvin Wilkes finally receives Bronze Star
Marvin Wilkes was honored at the Freedom Festival in Selmer last Saturday. He received something he risked his life for over 65 years ago.
Wilkes served in World Ward II in France, Germany, Luxemburg and Austria. While serving in France in 1944 his unit had been under attack for 18 hours. Risking his own life, he drove his halftrack into enemy fire to pull a tank and gun out of harm’s way.
Shortly after the incident he was told that he had been awarded the Bronze Star and the Army even sent an article that was published locally on January 26, 1945.
But Wilkes never received his medal and his discharge papers didn’t show he had been awarded the Bronze Star. His military records were destroyed in a fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis in 1973 and there was no official proof that he had been awarded a Bronze Star. The lost medal was just that – lost.
Following the war Wilkes returned to McNairy County and went to work for Pickwick Electric where he worked for 40 years, retiring in 1985. During those 40 years Marvin and his wife Clarice raised two sons, Marvin Jr. and Ron.
This year, with help from various sources, local veterans officer Judy Bivens located a copy of the official order in historical archives from Wilkes’ unit. The Army had issued the Bronze Star for heroism and the Soldier’s Medal for valor, both medals struck with his name on the back.
Finally, after almost 66 years Marvin T. Wilkes was recognized for his heroism and service to his country.
The official statement read: Headquarters 80th Infantry Division, U.S. Army, General Order 70, dated November 3, 1944. By direction of the President of the United States, Technician 5 Corporal Marvin T. Wilkes is awarded the Bronze Star for heroism and the Soldier’s Medal for valor of service in France on October 12, 1944. Corporal Wilkes, while under a furious barrage of enemy artillery and mortar fire, voluntarily assisted in effectively recovering and displacing a friendly gun within observation of the enemy. His exemplary conduct under fire was an inspiration to all, who witnessed his acts, and reflect the highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States of America.
Following the presentation of his medals last Saturday, Wilkes said he was glad to finally get them.
“It feels good to finally get the medals that the Army said I was awarded,” said Wilkes. “It sure took a long time, but I’m proud to wear them!”

Celebrating the 4th
fireworksPhoto Submitted
Fireworks painted the night sky at the annual fireworks show at the home of Billy and Pam Brown on Race Path Road.
Selmer Idol Winners announced
Selmer’s Freedom Festival Parade got the 4th of July holiday weekend off to a good start last Saturday.
The parade, which started in downtown Selmer ended at the Selmer City Park. Then a children’s parade circled the walking track as kids had their bikes decorated in red, white and blue.
Later in the day, the finals of the Selmer Idol were held.
“We had entries from Milan, Dyersburg, Henderson and all around,” said Patsy Denton of the Selmer Parks and Recreation Department. “We’re pleased with the great turnout, we thank our judges, the contestants, and all the people who came out to listen and support the singers. We had some great talent this year.”
Sybil Dancer, Director of Parks and Recreation, was also happy with the events this year.
“The weather turned out great and we’ve had a good crowd,” said Dancer. “Thanks to everyone for making the Freedom Festival grow each year.”
Idol first place winners included; Mallory Lowery singing “Bleeding Love”; Courtney Wilson singing “That Song in My Head”; Amy Hollon who sang “Anyway”; and Mary Flatt who sang “Dear Uncle Sam”. The day ended with a fireworks show at the park.
Selmer Idol Winners:
•Age group 8 to 13
1st Place – Mallory Lowery
2nd Place – Abby Bayless
3rd Place – Sky Hughes
•Ages 14 to 19
1st Place – Courtney Wilson
2nd Place – Bradley James
3rd Place – Sean Christian
•Ages 20 to 35
1st Place – Amy Hollon
2nd Place – Rachel Johnson
3rd Place – Tina Trice
•Ages 36 and Above
1st Place – Mary Flatt
2nd Place – Debra Tompkins
3rd Place – Patsy Elam
idol1Photo by Tom Evans
First place winners: Mary Flatt, Amy Hollon, Courtney Wilson and Mallory Lowery.
idol2Photo by Tom Evans
Second place winners: Debra Thompkins, Rachel Johnson, Bradley James, and Abby Bayless.
idol3Photo by Tom Evans
Third place winners: Patsy Elam, Tina Trice, Sean Christian and Sky Hughes.

Republicans rally at courthouse
republicansPhoto by Tom Evans
From left to right: State Representative Vance Dennis, State Senator Delores Gresham, McNairy County Republican Party Chairman Charles Lee, and Congressman Marsha Blackburn.

Several Republican candidates attended a rally on Wednesday afternoon at the McNairy County Courthouse.
On hand for the occasion were: Congressman Marsha Blackburn, State Senator Delores Gresham, State Representative Vance Dennis, and Zach Wamp, a candidate for governor.
Also in attendance were representatives for Bill Haslam and Ron Ramsey, who are running against Wamp for the Republican nomination for governor. Local candidates, County Mayor Jai Templeton, Road Superintendent Harvey Neal Smith, and Guy Buck, a candidate for McNairy County Sheriff also spoke to the crowd.
Ashley Dennis, Teresa Martin and Shirley Curry, all candidates for State Executive Committeeman in the 26th District, also addressed the crowd.

Vehicle takes a dip in motel pool

poolPhoto by Tom Evans
The Selmer Police Department responded to the America’s Best Inn Motel located on Mulberry Avenue on June 28th after receiving a call at 11:45 p.m. that a vehicle had crashed through a steel gate and landed in the motel’s swimming pool.
Dustin Wood, age 35, of Waterloo, AL, was driving a 2005 Chevrolet Blazer when he lost control, crashed through the fence and ended up in the pool. Wood told officers he must have hit the gas instead of the brake.
He struck a 2008 Honda owned by Sanjeevan Patel, the motel owner, before driving off into the pool.
Wood, who failed a sobriety test at the scene, was arrested by Selmer Police Officer Robert Hitchborn and transported to the McNairy County Jail. Wood told Officer Hitchborn that he had drunk approximately 4 beers. An empty beer bottle was discovered in the floorboard of the vehicle once it was pulled from the pool. The motel pool had to be drained and is awaiting repairs.

McNairy Central gets new gym floor

gym_floorPhoto by Tom Evans
Work began on Monday to replace the gym floor at MCHS.

Highway Patrol Plans Roadblocks
Lt. David Killingsworth of the Tennessee Highway Patrol advises motorists that the THP will be conducting a Drivers License Checkpoint at the Hwy 57 and 22 Intersection at Michie on July 16th.
They will also be conducting a Sobriety Checkpoint on Hwy 145, north of the Mississippi Line.

Hottest June on record since 1953

This June was the hottest on record since 1953, making it the warmest in 57 years.
Average June temperatures recorded in Memphis were 84.6 degrees, which is 5.9 degrees above normal.
Temperatures reached at least 95 or above for half the days in June and several heat advisories were issued. Three heat related deaths occurred in West Tennessee during the month. July – usually a hotter month than June – has begun cooler than average and weather forecasters are calling for some below normal temperatures for most of West Tennessee.

Traffic stop results in drug bust

A routine traffic stop last Thursday resulted in the occupants of the vehicle being charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine, Possession of Schedule II, III, and IV and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. The vehicle was also seized along with cash the subjects had on them.
Officer Jamie Lowrance of the McNairy County Sheriff’s Department stopped Tonya Luben of Michie for a tail-light being out. Further investigation led Officer Lowrance to become suspicious after questioning the occupants, and he asked them to exit the vehicle.
A search led to the discovery of half of a Morphine tablet on the person of Stevie Moore, one of the passengers. Moore was placed under arrest and Officer Blake Huckabee of the Selmer Police Department was called in for backup.
Officers Huckabee and Lowrance searched the vehicle and discovered 8 Hydrocodone tablets, 5 Diazepam tablets, 1 Oxycodone tablet, and various items used to make meth. The list included three propane torches, a butane lighter, coffee filters, drain opener, Acetone, a hot plate, salt, propane bottle, and a large glass bottle with a hose running through the lid. Various drug paraphernalia items were also discovered.
Luben, Moore, and Jerrod Dennis, who was also a passenger in the vehicle, were taken to the McNairy County Jail.