Craig Harris/Macon County Times Macon County High junior forward McKaylee Mix elevates for a layin in front of Upperman junior Ashland McClellan. Mix helped the Tigerettes’ end a 15-game losing streak to the Lady Bees with a 48-34 victory last February.

Craig Harris/Macon County Times

Macon County High junior forward McKaylee Mix elevates for a layin in front of Upperman junior Ashland McClellan. Mix helped the Tigerettes’ end a 15-game losing streak to the Lady Bees with a 48-34 victory last February.


Calvary Baptist damaged by gunshots

Calvary Baptist Church - located between Lafayette and Red Boiling Springs - suffered damage to its building and to one of its church vans as a result of the approximately 18 gunshots.

The shots were fired late on a Friday evening, but the damage wasn't discovered until Saturday morning when a group of men met at the church for bible study.

Nobody was at the church at the time of the shooting.

Macon County Sheriff's Office personnel questioned neighbors, one of whom heard gunshots at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Friday but did not see anything after looking outside and therefore decided to not contact authorities.

However, the church conducted its regular Sunday activities two days later, with the Macon County Sheriff's Office providing additional security for the duration of the service on Sunday.

Jr. Food Store is robbed

Spencer Holland and Tyler Russell were charged with aggravated robbery following an armed robbery at Jr. Food Stores in Lafayette, which took place on Jan. 9.

They were apprehended in Fountain Run, Kentucky.

Lafayette Police Department Detective Shane Reed said a man believed to be Holland entered the store and pointed an Airsoft gun at the employee working the counter.

Russell then allegedly drove the two away from the scene in a green Ford truck.

Jr. Foods provided security footage of both the robbery and the truck leaving the parking lot to the Lafayette Police.

After securing partnership from Barren County law enforcement, officers traveled to the address at approximately 10 a.m. the following morning and found a truck matching the security footage, with its license plate turned upside down as reported by Jr. Foods.

Holland was allegedly trying to leave the residence, so officers blocked his car in and arrested him. Russell was also arrested inside the residence.

Paddling sparks controversy

A Lafayette mother, Ashley Lauer, took to social media to call for an end to corporal punishment in schools after an incident at Macon County Junior High School involving her son.

The Department of Children's Services (DCS) cleared the school of any wrongdoing on Jan. 11, but Lauer shared a viral photo that she said was taken days after her son was paddled at school. Lauer said her son came home crying afterward and complained for the next two days that he could not sit down.

That led to her taking a photo that was shared thousands of times on social media, depicting visible bruises and welts across a child's bottom. According to Lauer, her son was paddled with underwear, shorts and sweat pants on, and traces were left for approximately two weeks.

Macon County Director of Schools Tony Boles confirmed that the student was paddled in November and said the school district's policy aligns with Tennessee state law.

Under Tennessee state law, corporal punishment is allowed "in a reasonable manner … in order to maintain discipline and order in public schools," and students have the right to a physician's examination within 48 hours to determine if it was excessive.

Schools are also required to keep a written record of each use of corporal punishment, including the name of the person requesting the punishment and a brief description of why it was used.

Couple charged with dog hoarding

A Pleasant View man and woman were arrested after allegedly hoarding 38 dogs in and around their residence without properly feeding them.

Gary Leary, 59, and Jennifer Leary, 46, each face charges of 38 counts of animal cruelty following the incident, which took place on Friday.

City of Lafayette Animal Control Officer Tom Dallas said that law enforcement responded that afternoon to calls regarding dogs attacking livestock in the area.

Officials made contact with Gary Leary and Jennifer Leary at approximately 9 p.m. Macon County Sheriff Mark Gammons said their investigation found the dogs were in poor living conditions, with some not being fed properly.


Lafayette city council concludes discussion on beer issue

At the Lafayette City Council's February meeting, the door-to-door distance requirement proposal from the Lafayette Beer Board was voted down.

From August of 2018 until February, the council and beer board discussed three separate proposals.

In November, the beer board agreed to change "distance requirements for selling beer from 500 feet to 300 feet for places of public gathering," which the board described as "hospitals, nursing homes, parks, and daycares, for the purpose of this resolution." The proposal passed its first reading in January, but the proposal ultimately failed in February due to a vote of 3-2, with Willmore, with council members Seth Blankenship and Jason Phelps voting in favor and Russell and Cothron voting against. The proposal failed because it lacked the necessary four votes.

Lafayette Mayor Richard Driver called on those at the meeting, especially those who opposed the beer for religious reasons, to put forth effort to combat the "drug problems within our community," as he termed it.

Tigerettes finally conquer nemesis

The Macon County High School girls basketball team finally knocked off its district nemesis, Upperman, with a 48-34 victory on Feb. 7.

It ended the Tigerettes' 15-game losing streak to Upperman and also halted a 55-game winning streak for the Lady Bees in regular-season, district contests.

The two teams played eight times over two seasons, with Upperman winning the first six of those contests. One of those losses came in the 2018 Class AA state championship game, a 64-62 victory for the Lady Bees in overtime.

Macon County followed that regular-season victory with a 55-38 victory over the Lady Bees, who were the two-time, defending state champions - in the District 8-AA Tournament championship game.

Gallery 102 artists featured on PBS

It was announced in February that several local artists would have their work represented on the long-running Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) series "Tennessee Crossroads," which filmed a segment on Gallery 102 in Lafayette in February.

Macon County Arts Council President Evelyn White reached out to the producers by email, and they agreed to make the trip to the town square. The episode aired several weeks later.

Gallery 102 showcases pieces from a variety of artists who were featured in the broadcast, including painter Eileen Herb-Witte. Herb-Witte worked on an oil portrait of a horse for the film crew, one of her specialties.

The segment also spotlighted Linda Johnson, a sculptor who works with several different materials.

Daycare faces violations, eventually closes

It was learned in February that Lafayette's Works In Progress Daycare Center was facing the possibility of closure after the Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) named it responsible for 35 violations.

TDHS filed legal action to revoke the center's child care license on Feb. 1, with the Child Care Agency Board of Review hearing the case later in the spring. The center closed in May.

Works In Progress' highest-profile violation was recorded in September of 2018 when former employee Ashley Centers was arrested after allegedly abusing children at the center. Centers was recently indicted on 13 counts of child abuse and neglect by the Macon County Grand Jury.

Video footage from the center was provided to local law enforcement and state DHS officials following the incident, reportedly showing Centers slamming two girls on to their sleeping mats and kicking another girl lying on her sleeping mat, among other incidents.

The TDHS website listed additional violations dating back to January 2014 regarding supervision, programming, food service, health and safety and more.


Tigerettes return to state tournament

The Macon County High School girls basketball program earned reached the Class AA State Tournament for the third consecutive season, the first time that the program had accomplished that feat, but fell short of its goal, suffering a 75-51 loss to eventual state champion Cheatham County in the semifinal round.

Cheatham County won the state championship with a 43-40 win over Westview one day later.

It was the second consecutive season that the Tigerettes ended their season with a loss to the state champion, having suffered a 64-62, overtime loss to Upperman in the state championship game one year earlier.

Macon County opened play in the 2019 state tournament with a 56-38 win over Covington.

Tigerette standouts Keeley Carter and Jalynn Gregory were named to the all-tournament team.

Man arrested in connection with drag-racing fatality

A man from Tompkinsville, Kentucky - 20-year-old Hayden T. Froedge - was arrested on March 1 in connection with a drag racing incident that took place on June 22, 2018, that led to the death of former Macon County High School student Eli Borders.

According to the sealed indictment, Froedge allegedly operated a motor vehicle on Long Creek Road with the intent to participate in a drag race, which caused serious injury to passenger Corey Cramer and fatally injured Borders.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol's report on the incident states that Borders was driving a 1999 Dodge truck and racing another vehicle. During the race, Borders' truck reportedly ran off the right side of the road, struck a driveway culvert, crossed back to the left side, struck a tree then traveled down a creek bank before stopping.

According to the indictment, Froedge allegedly left the scene of the fatality before authorities were notified of the situation.

Froedge was charged with one count of drag racing, two counts of drag racing with serious bodily injury, and one count of leaving the scene of an accident involving death.

White resigns as Macon County Chamber of Commerce coordinator

Macon County Chamber of Commerce Coordinator Evelyn White stepped down in March after nearly two years on the job and will continue operating Gallery 102.

As coordinator, White served as a liason between chamber members and the larger business community, worked to put together community events and promoted the county's business climate.

White, who is also the Macon County Arts Council president, was hoping to spend more time at the local gallery and hopes for the chamber to continue its mission to build a strong climate for local business.

Macon County experienced business growth in 2018, with Burger King, Lafayette Pharmacy and Fast Pace Urgent Care Clinic all opening. More recently, Taco Bell moved to an upgraded location, and Macon Community Hospital added a new emergency wing.


AT&T builds cell towers in Macon County

It was announced in April that AT&T subscribers hurting for a local cell signal were in luck as the service provider was going to build several towers across Macon County during the coming months.

Two towers on the county's west side were completed in June and a third in the center of Lafayette was finished in July.

The company's move into Macon County is also part of its FirstNet initiative to provide a nationwide communications platform for first responders, with the full series of cell towers and FirstNet locations estimated for completion within one to two years.

Those FirstNet sites, along with existing sites in the county, include a new spectrum called Band 14 that law enforcement agencies and first responders will control access to. The company's commercial spectrum will be in place as well.

Macon County Mayor Steve Jones' talks with AT&T representatives dated back at least two years, when state Rep. Kelly Keisling connected him with Hill to address the county's lack of AT&T coverage.

In addition to bringing wider cell service to the community, Hill said that FirstNet offers several advantages for law enforcement and first responders.

Local agencies are also be able to collaborate with those in neighboring communities if they are both using connected devices.

Long-time Macon County High boys basketball coach resigns

Macon County High School boys head basketball coach Jason Welch resigned after 15 seasons at the helm of the program.

Welch accepted the head-coaching position at Tullahoma High. Welch grew up in nearby Manchester, and much of his family still lives there.

After compiling a 19-43 record over the first two seasons, Welch led the program to 250 wins over his final 13 campaigns. Macon County had 12 consecutive winnings seasons and reached the regional tournament 11 times, advancing to the Class AA State Tournament in 2017.

The Tigers posted an 11-19 record in 2018-19, placing fifth in District 8-AA. The program failed to reach the regional tournament for the second consecutive season, following 10 consecutive regional appearances.

Red Boiling Springs mayor arrested

Red Boiling Springs Mayor Joel Coe was arrested on April 25 after allegedly conspiring to hide a pill press that was being used to manufacture pills containing Fentanyl and heroin.

According to the arrest report, law enforcement officials were in the process of searching a phone after a warrant when they received a message from Coe.

A conversation with Coe started, and he allegedly made arrangements to pick up the pill press from a county residence. The report also stated that Coe sent messages about bringing trash bags to load the press in and taking it somewhere police could not find it.

After being confronted about the messages, Coe allegedly deleted them from his phone.

Officers later arrested Coe as he arrived at the residence where the pill press was located. He was allegedly in possession of trash bags, as was discussed in the messages.

Coe - who is running for reelection two days later in the Red Boiling Springs city election against Terry Newberry and Kenneth Hollis - was charged with criminal conspiracy and tampering with evidence. Hollis won the election.

Hollis elected as the RBS mayor

Former Red Boiling Springs Mayor Kenneth Hollis was reelected after defeating incumbent Joel Coe and former city council member Terry Newberry in the April election.

Hollis won 47 percent of the vote, followed by Newberry with 32 percent and Coe with 20 percent.

In total, 227 registered voters cast ballots, a 28-percent turnout.

Coe was unavailable for comment. The Macon County Sheriff's Office arrested him two days before the vote after he allegedly conspired to hide a pill press from law enforcement, but he remained on the ballot.

Voters also elected Linda Lee Carver, Michael Rich and Robbie Wayne McGowan to three open city council seats.

Carver, a long-time RBS Elementary School employee, received 52 percent of the vote, followed by incumbent council member Michael Rich with 29 percent and write-in candidate McGowan with 11 percent.

Bealor hired as Macon County Chamber of Commerce coordinator

Shelly Bealor was hired in late April as the Macon County Chamber of Commerce's new coordinator and director.

Bealor relocated to the area in October 2018.

Bealor previously worked for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Opryland USA and the Hermitage, and she moved into the county to be closer to her grandchildren.

As coordinator, Bealor will serve as a liason between chamber members and the larger business community, in addition to organizing local events and promoting the county's business climate.

Whether by coordinating events or working with business owners, Bealor's goal is to promote unity and growth in her new role.

Macon County softball squad claims district title

The Macon County High School softball program secured its first regular-season district title in more than a decade with a 16-10 victory over visiting Watertown on April 30.

Tigerette junior standout Morgan Carter hit three home runs in the game, and senior teammate Allyson Shoulders belted a solo home run as well.

Macon County trailed 8-4 before erupted for 12 runs over its final four turns at-bat.

The Tigerettes weren't able to repeat the feat in the District 8-AA Tournament though, placing third and failing to advance to the regional tournament.


Owen selected as Macon County Teacher of the Year

Westside Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Nikki Owen was named the Macon County Schools Teacher of the Year on May 9.

Owen, who has taught fifth grade at Westside Elementary School for four years, received the award at the Macon County Teacher Appreciation Day Luncheon, which was hosted by the Macon County Chamber of Commerce and held in the Sally Wells Building at the Macon County Fairgrounds.

Principals, supervisors and representatives from the Macon County Board of Education voted on which teacher would receive the designation after each school named a nominee.

After earning a degree in elementary education from Tennessee State University, Owen accepted her first teaching position at Westside. She is currently working toward earning a master's degree from Union University.

Long-time assistant coach selected to lead MCHS boys basketball program

Adam Bandy was selected to succeed Jason Welch as the Macon County High School boys head basketball coach on May 13.

Welch resigned on April 18 in order to accept the head-coaching position at Tullahoma High School.

Bandy was a 2005 graduate of Macon County High, having played for Darian Brown for three seasons before playing one season for Welch.

Bandy served as a volunteer assistant coach under Welch and continued in that role once he was hired as a teacher at Macon County High. He was an assistant coach with the program for 13 years and also served as an assistant coach at Macon County Junior High for 10 seasons.

The school had 17 applicants and interviewed six individuals.

Bandy inherited a program that lost five seniors to graduation and returned just one starter, senior forward Lake Reid.

Memaw's Grogery decides to rebuild

It was learned that in May that a group of local farmers and sawmill workers were volunteering their time to help rebuild Memaw's Grocery.

The store was forced to close in December of 2018 after fire heavily damaged the interior of the establishment. An electrical short near the deep fryer caused the incident.

The building was torn down.

Teddy Brawner coordinated the group, which has focused on building the structure back and reinforcing it with metal while White prepares to redo the interior.

The store reopened over the summer.

Memaw's is known for offering home-cooked meals, such as bacon cheeseburgers, baked chicken and pancakes, in addition to its grocery stock.


Crowder wins Schooldays Golf Tournament again

Lafayette 13-year-old Maddox Crowder won the 95th annual Tennessean/Metro Parks Schooldays Golf Tournament, defeating Franklin 12-year-old Will Pinson in the championship match.

Crowder - a seventh-grader at Macon County Junior High - repeated as the champion.

Crowder never trailed in the championship match.

Crowder defeated Nolensville 13-year-old Luke Beadles in the semifinal round, winning 2-up (winning by two holes at the end of the round).

Only four golfers advanced to match play in the 12-13-year-old division. Both Crowder and Beadles shot 71 in Tuesday's qualifying round.

Lafayette's Isaac Meador - a rising junior at Macon County High - qualified for match play for the first time by shooting 68 in the stroke-play qualifying round, earning him the No. 5 seed. However, Meador suffered a 3-and-2 setback to Springfield 14-year-old Tyler Williamson in the 14-17-year-old division's round of 16.

Five inducted into Macon County Sports Hall of Fame

Five individuals were a part of the 19th class of inductees to the Macon County Sports Hall of Fame.

Those athletes included Red Boiling Springs High three-sport standout Buddy Leonard (1983-87), Macon County High two-sport standout Andrea Butler-Mills (1988-92), Macon County High basketball standout Mitzi Blankenship Jones (1991-95), Macon County High football standout Don Jent (1969-72) and Macon County High two-sport standout Todd Austin (1994-98).

The addition of the fivesome increased the total in the Macon County Sports Hall of Fame, which began in 2001, to 110 individuals.

RBS police officers denied raises

At the Red Boiling Springs City Council's meeting in June, Red Boiling Springs' newly-elected city mayor, Kenneth Hollis, informed then-Red Boiling Springs Chief of Police Kevin that the department would not be getting raises that had previously been approved by the council.

Woodard told the council that the pay scale passed 13 months earlier included raises for the next six years and that those raises "did not have to go before the council because it was already in there … they had already pre-approved it." Woodard also told the council that the pay scale will go into effect on July 1 of this year.

Hollis told the council that the money wasn't there to give the raises. Hollis said that frequent overtime had "killed the budget." Hollis also said the police department currently had the most overtime with more than 170 hours since January.

Woodard said that it was "hard to justify" some department employees working at night and by themselves as they only currently made $16.25 an hour.

Hollis told Woodard that more money would have to come in, such as from increased ticketing.

Woodard told the council that the department had been without an officer for nearly four months and that forced him to work 12-hour shifts.

Carter repeats as Class AA Miss Softball

Macon County High sophomore Morgan Carter repeated as a Tennessee Softball Coaches Association (TSCA) Miss Softball honoree in Class AA among the Middle Tennessee region.

Carter was one of the nine winners of the TSCA Miss Softball award, with three players being honored in the East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee regions (one winner for Class A/Division II, Class AA and in Class AAA).

Carter belted 19 home runs and drove in 61 runs last spring, producing 11 doubles, drawing 18 base on balls and scoring 37 runs.

The junior catcher posted a .630 batting average and a .672 on-base percentage.

Over the last two seasons, Carter - the two-time District 8-AA Most Valuable Player and Campbellsville (Kentucky) University signee - has compiled 30 home runs and driven in 105 runs. She has only struck out one time over those two seasons.

She helped the Tigerettes to a 26-11 record and to its first regular-season district title since 2008.


County approves property-tax increase

The Macon County Commission approved an 18.7-cent property tax increase for the 2019-20 fiscal year by a 13-6 vote at its meeting held in late July, after more than two hours of debate.

That decision was meant to set a tax rate as required by the state.

Residents began paying the new property tax rate in October, which translates to an additional $47 per $100,000 of residential property.

The commission's budget committee proposed a 16.7-cent property-tax increase and a $15 wheel-tax increase, while Macon County Mayor Jones recommended a 25-cent property tax rate without any wheel tax increases.

The commission voted on a series of motions before reaching a decision, with many proposals focused on the wheel tax failing due to the possibility of a public referendum.

The approved tax rate is projected to generate $720,716.70 over the course of the year, according to budget figures Jones provided for commissioners during the meeting adjusted for an 18.7-cent value. That would mean that the commission would have to generate approximately $268,300 in additional revenue to meet its target general fund balance.

Controversy arises as RBS city council member's daughter is removed

Red Boiling Springs City Council member Lee Butram's 8-year-old daughter, Emily, who had accompanied him to council meetings for two years, was asked to sit among the citizens attending the meeting instead of in his lap.

At that time, Butram - who is a single father - said that he had attended three council meetings since Hollis was sworn in as mayor and believes that Hollis has asked his daughter to sit in the crowd during two of them.

Butram refused to have his daughter sit in the crowd for last the meeting and said that the decision is not supported by the city's charter, at which point the two were removed from the room.

Butram believed that Hollis was making the requests due to Butram having issues with certain items on the agenda for the meetings.

The agenda items Butram opposed included a motion to place RBS Police Chief Kevin Woodard on salary and another to cut the Black Hawk insurance account used by city employees.

Link among area coaches hired over the summer

Sean Link was hired in July as the Red Boilings Springs High head softball coach and an assistant football coach.

Link - who was the assistant coach at Gallatin High School for five seasons (from 2014-18) - succeeds Stacey Mims Gregory, who led the program for seven seasons.

The program reached the regional tournament for the first time since 2009 during the 2018 campaign, placing second in District 6-A during the regular season and in the district tournament as well.

RBS had an 11-12 record this spring, placing fourth in 6-A.

Brooke Bowers was also hired as the Macon County High School head volleyball coach following the retirement of her mother, long-time Tigerette head coach Shari Bowers. Bowers was the program's assistant coach.

Barry King is the Macon County High boys head soccer coach, succeeding Jeb Coe (who resigned at the conclusion of last season).

Another assistant coach, Adam Bandy, was promoted to the head coach of the Macon County High boys basketball program.

Macon County Junior High School also hired new head coaches for football (Coty Jett) and boys basketball (Marty Maxfield).


Former students steal rifle, vests from RBS School

Two former students of Red Boiling Springs School were arrested after allegedly breaking into the building and stealing a semi-automatic rifle and two bulletproof vests in early August.

Adam Austin Cisneros, 19, and Lee Parker Clark, 18, faced multiple charges following the incident, which took place last Wednesday evening.

According to the arrest report, school surveillance cameras recorded Cisneros and Clark kicking doors in an attempt to access a school resource officer's (SRO) office, and eventually breaking a window leading inside.

Cisneros allegedly crawled through the window and opened the door for Clark, at which point the two reportedly stole an AR-15 rifle and a bullet-proof vest from the officer's safe. Cisneros and Clark also allegedly stole a second vest from another SRO office, broke windows in the football pressbox and damaged doors inside the school building.

Cisneros was previously arrested on charges including aggravated burglary and theft of property. Clark had not been charged with any crimes as an adult before the incident.

Clark and Cisneros were both charged with burglary, theft of property and vandalism in connection with the break-in.

RBS police department decimated

Red Boiling Springs found itself with a police department of one after former chief Kevin Woodard, assistant chief Justin Adams, patrolman Mark Bartley and patrolman William Cherry all resigned, effective as of Aug. 15.

Mayor Kenneth Hollis said that there was no reason given for the resignations, and the former employees either declined to comment or were unavailable to comment.

Jeff Gentry remained with the department took over as chief.

Some of the RBS officers went to work at the Macon County Sheriff's Office.

In order to fill a majority of those vacated positions, the Red Boiling Springs City Council held a special-called meeting.

The Macon County Sheriff's Office provide assistance while RBS was undermanned.

The police department and city council previously came into conflict in June, when the council approved to freeze the officer pay scale approved under former mayor Joel Coe. Raises under that scale would have taken effect on July 1.

Their decision was part of an effort taken by the council since Hollis' election to cut expenses, but the move caused controversy since the rates had been approved over a year prior.

At the same meeting, Woodard said he viewed a freeze as punishing the department for a situation it had not created. The council later approved to place Woodard on a salary pay schedule at its July 11 meeting.


RBS looking into a youth community center

It was announced in September that Red Boiling Springs is exploring a project that would see a local community center put in place.

The group began holding formal committee meetings in October to seek a location and explore grant funding options.

Vision 2020 Chairman Crystal Justice is heading up the effort, which is a part of the city's ongoing economic development plan.

Justice's vision for the center includes after-school and summer programs, parks and recreation programs, wellness classes for children and senior citizens and workforce readiness activities.

Approximately 10 members will make up the core of the committee, with parents and other volunteers chipping in as needed.

Potential locations for a center that have been discussed include two properties formerly used as a Chevy dealership and a high-school gymnasium, respectively. The committee members also hope a center will encourage families to stay in the city.

In addition to finding community partners for programs, the group is focusing on reaching out to locals who can serve as mentors for children.


County receives CDBG grants to help with water-related issues

Macon County was recently approved for more than $1.3 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.

The county will receive a $307,700 for rural waterline extensions.

The city of Lafayette will receive $515,203 for wastewater collection system rehabilitation, and the city of Red Boiling Springs will receive $525,500 for water system rehabilitation.

The CDBG program is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs.

The water-line extensions will help a portion of residences that don't have water provided on Claude Fox Road and on Epperson Springs Road.

It will consist of 8,700 feet of water line and will impact 63 people in 22 residences.

For Red Boiling Springs, the funding should help the city cut down on its current water loss of 38 percent, while the money will go toward sewer-system upgrades in Lafayette.

County votes against wheel tax increase

The Macon County Commission voted down a $26 wheel-tax increase at its meeting in mid-October.

Commissioners Tony Wix, Michael Slayton, Barry King, Jarhea Wilmore, Phillip Snow, Todd Gentry, Mike Jenkins and Justin Dyer voted no.

The proposed increase was intended to help pay for a new elementary school.

Macon County Attorney Guy Holliman emphasized that this resolution included multiple instances of language that would put an end to the increase when the new elementary school is paid off.

Wix cited an anonymous letter that commissioners received that seemed to explain how the school could be paid for without a tax increase, inquiring why that could not actually be done.

Director of Schools Tony Boles stated that many of the figures in the anonymous letter were incorrect.

Boles continued by saying that only one budget had been set by the school board since Macon County High School has been paid off and that several new positions had been added across all the schools.

Brays named RBS volunteers of the years

Tammy and Randall Bray were announced as the Vision 2020 volunteers of the year at the Vision 2020 annual meeting held on Oct. 22 at the Armour's Hotel in Red Boiling Springs.

Vision 2020 is a Red Boiling Springs, non-profit, community support organization with a mission of stimulating interest and awareness of the town's history, to encourage appreciation of the attributes of the community, to promote preservation of historic resources, and to create an environment that will improve the quality of life.

It's the seventh year that Vision 2020 has given a volunteer of the year award.

Randall Bray is a life-long resident of Red Boiling Springs, joined the Red Boiling Springs volunteer fire department in 2011 and has served as the fire chief since 2015.

Tammy Bray is active behind the scenes, helping with the fire department's fundraisers - including a car show, duck days, and a benefit, motorcycle ride. Those are three of the major events that help the organization raise between $6,000 and $10,000 each year.

Seven arrests end a night of robberies, crimes

Seven arrests were made following a series of robberies and burglaries that took place on the evening of Oct. 28.

Joseph Whittemore, 21, and Hadan Bennett, 22, were taken to the Macon County Jail following their arrests in the early-morning hours of Oct. 29, following robberies at Lafayette's Delta Express and Jr. Food Stores.

Those robberies occurred later in the evening, though a series of incidents began at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 28, when Lafayette Police Department officers were dispatched to a Lafayette apartment in which the residents claimed that three or four black males kicked his door in and used pepper spray on him. The man stated that the male subjects entered his bedroom and grabbed his Anderson AR-15 rifle and told him and another person who was at the residence to get on the ground, and he said that those individuals television, Playstation 4 Pro, an iPhone, marijuana and a rifle were taken.

Later that evening, at approximately 9:45, the Westmoreland Police Department arrested five individuals in a white 2004 Toyota. An AR-15, a TV, a Playstation 4, a significant amount of marijuana and cash was recovered from the subjects.

Those individuals were: Rayzon Hampton, 18; Tavarus Holloway, 19; JaThomas Nichols, 19; Blakely Richardson, 18; and Corwin Strahan, 21.

All seven individuals who were allegedly involved in the series of crimes were charged with multiple offenses.


RBS head football coach resigns

Red Boiling Springs High head football coach Matt Swoner told his players that he was resigning following the Bulldogs' season-ending loss at Clay County.

Swoner was in his fifth season as part of the program, having worked as an assistant coach under Kyle Shoulders for one season and then under Michael Brown for the following two years.

The Bulldog program won two games in two seasons under Swoner, the first coming via forfeit after Cannon County used an ineligible player during the opening game of the 2018 season. The lone on-field win for RBS during Swoner's tenure came two weeks ago, a 26-21 victory over visiting Pickett County on homecoming. That ended a 16-game losing streak.

RBS was forced to cancel its game on Oct. 11 against visiting Clinton County (Kentucky) due to not having an adequate number of players available. In the team's season finale, there were 14 players in uniform.

The Bulldogs didn't play the next week either due to a scheduling issue with Hart County (Kentucky).

RBS is in search of its fourth head coach in six seasons.

Keisling named person of the year

State Rep. Kelly Keisling was selected as the Macon County Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year.

That was announced at the Macon County Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet and auction, which consisted of approximately 200 attendees and was held in the Sally Wells Building at the Macon County Fairgrounds on Nov. 12.

Keisling is in his ninth year of serving District 38, which includes Macon, Clay, Pickett, Scott and a portion of Fentress counties and is a member of the chamber of commerce in each of those five counties.


Area athletes sign, verbally commit to continue playing careers

Red Boiling Springs High senior volleyball player Briley Morgan signed a letter-of-intent to continue her education and playing career at Roane State Community College.

Morgan's signing capped a fall filled with verbal commitments and signings by area athletes.

RBS senior basketball standout Dalton Marsh signed with Missouri Western State University.

Macon County High senior basketball standout Keeley Carter signed with Trevecca Nazarene University, and Macon County High senior softball standout Morgan Carter signed with Campbellsville (Kentucky) University.

Macon County High senior soccer standout Jared Hill signed with Freed-Hardeman University.

Macon County High junior basketball standout Jalynn Gregory verbally committed to the University of Tennessee at Martin, and classmate and softball standout Abby Shoulders verbally committed to Middle Tennessee State University.

School board discusses sites

The Macon County School Board continued discussion of possible sites for the county's new elementary school.

The board extensively talked of the positives and negatives related to three proposed areas: the Ellis property (located at 2115 Days Road and adjacent to Macon County High School and Macon County Junior High School), a combination of two pieces of property (the Manion property and the Cothron property, located west of Days Road on Highway 52 East) and the Donoho property (located near the Macon County Industrial Park, at the intersection of Sneed Boulevard and Galen Road).

Donald E. Collins, senior project manager of TTL of Nashville, briefed the board on the properties and suggested a goal of $5 million for a site-development budget regardless of which site is chosen.

The discussion is expected to continue at the school board's next work session on Jan. 9.