Craig Harris/Macon County Times The 2018 inductees into the Macon County Sports Hall of Fame (pictured, from left): Bill Carr, Joey Tuck, Jeff Beam and Mike “Bullwhip” McClard.

Craig Harris/Macon County Times

The 2018 inductees into the Macon County Sports Hall of Fame (pictured, from left): Bill Carr, Joey Tuck, Jeff Beam and Mike “Bullwhip” McClard.


Cook resigns as county trustee

Macon County kicked off an election year with a political shakeup when Dianne Cook announced plans to retire as Macon County Trustee in January.

After serving 12 years in the position, Cook's retirement left an open field for the county's primary and general elections.

Cook defeated long-time county trustee Donnie Morgan in her first-term election in 2006 and ran unopposed in both 2010 and 2014.

County trustees are responsible for collecting property taxes, money from various county officials, programs and organizations and funding from the state and federal government. They are also responsible for investing these funds until they are used.

Red Boiling Springs man wins $1 million from lottery

Red Boiling Springs resident Jimmy Morgan saw a lucky start to 2018 with a $1-million winning ticket from the Tennessee Lottery.

Morgan won the prize after taking a suggestion from RBS Market co-owner Mikey Patel and participating for the first time in the Mega Millions drawing.

After picking up the money in Nashville, Morgan was able to pay off his family's home of eight years and buy a new truck, and he was hopeful to eventually use the winnings to retire and work as a farmer.

Call center could bring 250 jobs to Lafayette

It was announced that an inbound call center was projected to bring 250 jobs to Lafayette during 2018.

The location was slated to be located on the Lafayette Technology Center's campus and expected to measure approximately 73,000 square feet. It would be accessed via a proposed state industrial access road.

Talks regarding the call center had been taking place since before Lafayette Mayor Richard Driver took office in 2012.

Burger King, Lafayette Pharmacy indicate business growth

Burger King and Lafayette Pharmacy were the two newest additions to Lafayette's business community heading into 2018, and both locations saw heavy traffic flow in January.

Lafayette Pharmacy, owned by Larry Stovall, has a staff made up of pharmacists and technicians who have previously worked in the area, making it easy for prescriptions to transfer over.

Burger King joined the city's existing fast-food establishments two days after the pharmacy opened, and both have seen success.

For Lafayette Mayor Richard Driver, the two locations are reflective of a growing business climate which continued throughout the year, with Taco Bell's new location, Fast Pace Urgent Care Clinic's opening and Macon Community Hospital's new emergency wing following in later months.

RBS girls basketball coach sidelined due to cancer-related surgery

The Red Boiling Springs High girls basketball team had to start the preseason and then end its regular season without the services of head coach Dustin McKinney.

McKinney underwent his second surgery in six months in late January, after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in the summer of 2017.

The Lady Bulldog coach missed the team's final six games, after being sidelined for some of the preseason while still recovering from the first surgery.

With the cancer in remission, McKinney has been on the sideline throughout the course of the current season, which began in November.


Airplane makes emergency landing on Highway 52

Portland pilot Timmy Cole had been traveling to the Lafayette Municipal Airport in a plane he sold to county resident Tony Webster and was only minutes from his destination when engine failure forced an emergency landing on Highway 52.

The incident occurred at approximately 5:45 p.m., but neither the plane nor any vehicles were damaged in the descent.

Cole was able to land safely thanks in part to a passing tractor trailer. After turning the plane's lights on, he caught the attention of the truck driver, who blocked traffic to prevent a collision.

Both lanes of traffic were briefly closed as the airplane was transported the remaining two miles to the airport.

Carlisle continues football career at Tennessee Tech

Macon County High football standout Seth Carlisle actually signed his letter-of-intent to continue his education and playing career at Tennessee Tech University in December of 2017, but Macon County High held a ceremony in early February to recognize Carlisle.

Feb. 7 was college football's National Signing Day.

Carlisle set school records for career rushing yardage and total touchdowns in a career, and he's the program's only player to rush for 1,000 yards in four consecutive seasons. He concluded his career with 9,636 total yards and 116 total touchdowns, rushing for 5,632 yards and 76 touchdowns while averaging 7.5 yards per carry. Carlisle also passed for more than 4,000 yards and 38 touchdowns.

He helped the Tigers to three playoff appearances, the first time that a graduating class at Macon County High has accomplished that.

As a senior, Carlisle was named the Region 3-4A most valuable player (MVP) and was a Tennessee Sports Writers Association (TSWA) All-State selection after accounting for more than 2,900 yards of total offense and 35 touchdowns, completing 78 of 174 passes for 1,351 yards, 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also rushed for 1,556 yards and 19 scores while averaging better than eight yards per carry.

Carlisle had 10 solo tackles and 17 assisted tackles at Tennessee Tech this fall, in addition to one pass break-up.

RBS student charged with threatening school

A Red Boiling Springs School student was held in juvenile detention and later charged after threatening to bring a weapon to school.

Another student overheard the threat in passing on the school bus, and news of the incident spread on social media platforms and through calls from students and faculty to the Macon County Sheriff's Department.

The student was detained and questioned overnight following the incident and was arrested on orders from the district attorney the next day. He was held in another county's juvenile detention center and was slated to appear in court the following week.

Fast Pace Urgent Care Clinic breaks ground

In February, a construction crew broke ground on the Fast Pace Urgent Care Clinic scheduled to open in Lafayette in the spring.

Fast Pace Urgent Care has been expanding in recent years, adding more than 20 clinics in 2017 and continuing to grow in Tennessee and Kentucky throughout 2018.

Before the Lafayette location opened, the closest Fast Pace Urgent Care locations were in Carthage, Smithville and Cookeville.


Tobacco trickle-down threatens area farmers, economy

Macon County tobacco farmers were dealt a heavy blow after leaf tobacco merchant Alliance One International opted not to renew contracts with the area, and the effects rippled through the local economy.

Alliance One purchased approximately 5,000 combined acres of tobacco from Macon, Trousdale and Smith counties in 2017 and was responsible for purchasing approximately half of Macon County's total tobacco production the same year.

Farmers impacted by the decision were not expecting the change and have been left uncertain about their futures. The loss of revenue is a visible setback for the county's economy as a whole.

Macon County was Tennessee's largest producer of burley tobacco in 2016, at 6.82 million pounds. Burley tobacco sales generated an estimated $20 million for the county in both 2015 and 2016.

Tigerettes finish as state runner-up

The Macon County High School girls basketball team finished as the Class AA state runner-up, suffering a 64-62, overtime loss to unbeaten Upperman in the state championship game.

It was the third time in eight years that the Tigerettes finished as the AA runner-up, also in 2011 and 2013.

Macon County sophomore Keeley Carter finished with a career-high 32 points and 15 rebounds, making all 13 of her free-throw attempts. She scored 24 of those points after halftime was named to the all-tournament team along with teammates Jalynn Gregory and Kyndal Bullington.

Upperman defeated the Tigerettes in all five meetings between the two teams last season.

Keeley Carter named to TSWA All-State Basketball Team

Macon County High girls basketball standout Keeley Carter was named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association (TSWA) All-State Team in Class AA.

Carter led the team in scoring (16.8 points per game), rebounding (7.7), assists (2.6) and steals (2.1).

She shot 51 percent from the field, 35 percent from three-point range and 75 percent at the free-throwline.

Carter - who scored her 1,000th career point in a 66-40 win over Watertown in February - was selected as a 8-AA First Team All- District selection, the 8-AA Defensive Most Valuable Player, an 8-AA All-Tournament selection, a Region 4-AA All-Tournament honoree and a member of the Class AA All-State Tournament Team.

She helped the Tigerettes to a 30-7 record and a state runner-up finish.

Zoning board approves county gun range

The Middle Tennessee Sporting Association was approved to open a gun range on Dry Branch Road in Dixon Springs after a public hearing at the Macon County Board of Zoning Appeals on March 20.

A group of residents near the proposed gun range said they were unaware of the meeting and would have attended to oppose it, with some noting they first heard of the project in May.

The approval process involved making certain that the gun range met the stipulations in that zoning district, the gun club filling out an application, forwarding that application to the community planner (David Starnes), advertising the meeting via a public notice in an area newspaper and holding the public hearing in front of the six-member board of zoning appeals.

Concerns from residents include noise, the safety of nearby livestock, proximity to highway traffic and lead poisoning.

Middle Tennessee Sporting Association President Rick Fox said that groundwater tests at their previous location of 50 years found no evidence of lead or heavy metals, and that the range will be located in a deep hollow to minimize noise and had been tested with a sound meter.

Area mourns the loss of Lafayette police officer

Lafayette police officer Jacob Jordan, 34, was found dead of what appeared to be natural causes at his residence on March 27.

Jordan, a night-shift officer, had worked with the Lafayette Police Department from 2005-07 and again since June 2014. He also served as a Red Boiling Springs police officer before rejoining the Lafayette Police Department.

He had two daughters, Kynlee Jordan and MaKayla Harris.

A funeral service was held at Anderson and Son Funeral Home in Lafayette, and graveside services were held in Eulia Cemetery.


RTAC suffers late-night break-in

Four men broke into R-TAC Guns, Ammo and Accessories in the early morning hours of April 3, stealing 14 guns worth approximately $4,000 combined.

The crime took place in approximately 30 seconds, and surveillance footage was sent out to other police agencies in an effort to solve the case.

R-TAC is owned by Lafayette Police Department Detective Shane Reed.

Settlements reached in lawsuit involving former Red Boiling Springs city clerk

A settlement was reached on April 16, ending the lawsuit that was filed by former Red Boiling Springs City Clerk Tessa Davis in early March.

Davis filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the city of Red Boiling Springs and against former RBS Chief of Police Terry Tuck alleging sexual harassment, gender discrimination, sexual assault and retaliatory discharge.

A mediator handled negotiations between the three parties, and city insurance - provided by the Pool, which represents Tennessee municipalities - covered the expense of each settlement.

Macon County baseball squad claims district title

The Macon County High School baseball program clinched its first regular-season district title since 2007 with a 5-4 victory at DeKalb County.

The Tigers rallied for three runs in the sixth inning.

Senior Trent Boles hit a two-run home run in the inning, and sophomore Isaac Belton drove in junior Kade Allen with a single.

Senior Jake Reeves (5-0) picked up the victory, allowing three earned runs on eight hits, issuing three base on balls while striking out seven hitters.

Junior Trent Cook struck out the game's final hitter to earn the save.

Macon County compiled a 9-1 mark in District 8-AA.

MCHS Lifeskills students enjoy prom experience

Macon County High School Lifeskills students celebrated prom with a Special Night event at the school's cafeteria.

The Tiger Leadership Club (TLC) organized the dance, with assistance from the MCHS Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) chapter and thanks to sound equipment from the band.

Attendees were able to ride to the school from Macon Bank & Trust in a limousine before the two-hour dance, with volunteers providing prom dresses, alterations and hairdressing.


Wilmore, Blankenship, Turner elected to city council

The Lafayette City Election saw Jerry Wilmore (23.75 percent of the vote), Seth Blankenship (18.96 percent) and Steve Turner (18.13) elected to seats on the city council in a race that also included Tom Roberts, Tim Wooten and Jerry Wix.

Wilmore, a life-long city resident, returned to the council after previously serving two four-year terms.

Turner, originally from Red Boiling Springs, was re-elected to a fourth term. He previously served terms from 2002-06 and 2008-12 and 2014-18.

Blankenship, a life-long city resident, was elected to his first term as a city council member.

Republican primary voters back Jones, Avera in contested races

Cynthia Jones was elected to serve a second term as Macon County Register of Deeds after winning the Republican primary against Sherry Brawner Tucker on May 1.

Jones and Tucker were the only qualifiers in the race, leaving Jones unopposed on the general election ballot. She received more than 61 percent of the vote.

Butch Avera received another chance to run for Macon County Sheriff against Mark Gammons after defeating Mark Brawner by 215 votes in the primary. Gammons, who is seeking a fourth term, previously faced Avera in 2014 and won by 273 votes.

Macon County Mayor Steve Jones and Macon County Circuit Court Clerk Rick Gann each received more than 3,300 votes for their unopposed election bids, with Jones entering his second term and Gann his fourth.

All county commission candidates moved on to the general election because no district had more than two Republican primary candidates.

No individuals declared for the Democratic primary.

Brockette named Macon County Teacher of the Year

Red Boiling Springs science instructor Sharon Brockette was named Macon County Schools Teacher of the Year in May.

Brockette completed her 33rd year at Red Boiling Springs School, with most of that time spent teaching seventh and eighth-grade science classes.

She graduated from Red Boiling Springs School and earned her teaching degree in three years from Lipscomb University.

She is also the junior high Beta club sponsor, and her seventh-grade students formed the 615 Rocks!Macon County group in 2017.

Lady Bulldog softball squad earns regional berth

The Red Boiling Springs High softball squad advanced to the regional tournament for the first time since 2009 by capturing a 7-1 victory over Trousdale County in the loser's bracket final of the District 6-A Tournament, which was played at Jackson County High School.

Junior standout Allison Deckard hit her seventh home run in the first inning, a two-run shot.

Lady Bulldog senior pitcher Bailey Tucker picked up the complete-game victory. The left-hander allowed four hits, issued one base on balls and struck out two hitters.

RBS suffered a 12-5 loss to Gordonsville in the district championship game, and the Lady Bulldogs ended their season with a 15-0 loss at Whitwell in the Region 4-A Tournament semifinal round.

RBS ended its season with a 16-10 record.

Wilson resigns as MCHS, MCJHS football coach

Nathan Wilson - the head football coach at Macon County High School and Macon County Junior High - resigned in mid-May.

Wilson accepted a position to teach math and serve as an assistant football coach at Gallatin High School.

Wilson has also served as the assistant principal at Macon County High for the last six years.

He took over as the head coach of the Macon County Junior High football program in 2007. The program finished 6-3 and won the Middle Tennessee Football Conference West Region title last fall.

He's been at the helm of the high-school program for the last five seasons. The program won three games in 2013 before increasing that to five wins in each of the next two seasons, which included a playoff appearance in 2014. Macon County finished 9-3 in 2016 and 7-4 last fall.

The Tiger program reached the playoffs three times over his last four seasons, the first graduating class in program history to accomplish that.

Shoulders named Tiger football coach

Kyle Shoulders was named the Macon County High football coach in late May.

The Macon County High alumnus succeeded another Macon County High graduate, Nathan Wilson.

Shoulders was also hired as an assistant principal.

Shoulders became the program's seventh head coach since 2004.

Shoulders actually began his coaching career with the Tiger program, serving as the quarterbacks and running backs coach for one season prior to one season at the offensive coordinator.

Shoulders was the head coach at Red Boiling Springs for seven seasons, from 2009-15. He led the Bulldogs to the program's first playoff appearance in 2014, finishing with a winning record (6-5) before suffering a 42-8 loss to visiting Midway in the program's first-ever playoff contest.

Shoulders left Red Boiling Springs to become the special-teams coordinator and running backs coach at Oakland.

Macon County had a 5-6 record in 2018.

Brown resigns, Swoner hired as RBS football coach

Michael Brown resigned as the Red Boiling Spring High football coach in late May, and Bulldog assistant coach Matt Swoner was named head coach.

Brown spent the five seasons at RBS, serving as the head coach for two seasons (campaigns of two wins in 2016 and three wins last fall). He left to become the defensive coordinator at Macon County High.

The 2018 campaign was Swoner's fourth at RBS. He previously coached running backs, offensive linemen, linebackers and defensive ends.

The Bulldogs finished 0-10 in 2018.


Terry Marsh retires from 45-year education career

Lafayette Elementary School principal Terry Marsh announced his retirement after 45 years in education, effective June 30.

Marsh's career began in 1971 as a physical-education instructor at Fairlane Elementary. Over the years he took on several roles in the district, including 10 years as principal of Macon County Junior High and four years as the Macon County Superintendent of Schools.

He spent the last 13 years as the LES principal and retired to spend time on his farm and take care of his five grandchildren.

Four inducted into Macon County Sports Hall of Fame

Jeff Beam, Bill Carr, Mike "Bullwhip" McClard and Joey Tuck were inducted into the Macon County Sports Hall of Fame.

That quartet increased the total in the Macon County Sports Hall of Fame, which began in 2001, up to 105 individuals.

Tuck was a baseball and basketball standout who graduated from Macon County High in 1997, while Beam was a 1992 Macon County High graduate who played basketball and golf and coached the Macon County High and Macon County Junior High girls basketball programs.

McClard - a 1972 graduate - played for the Macon County High football and baseball programs, and Carr graduated from Macon County High in 1964 after playing football.

Crowder wins Schooldays

Lafayette 12-year-old Maddox Crowder won the 12-13-year-old division of the Tennessean/Metro Parks Schooldays Golf Tournament.

Crowder defeated Nashville 13-year-old Jack Taylor on the second playoff hole of the championship match, giving him the title in the 12-13-year-old age division.

He trailed for much of the championship match against Taylor - a rising eighth-grader at Ensworth School - before making a comeback on the back nine.

After shooting 73 to place fourth in the stroke-play qualifying round, Crowder advanced to the championship match with a 1-up victory (leading by one hole when the match ended) over Franklin's Ethan Stanford III in the semifinal round.

Macon County adopts summer school feeding program

The Macon County School Nutrition workers began a summer feeding program for the county's children age 18 and under.

Prior to its implementation, Macon County was one of seven counties without a summer feeding program in Tennessee.

The program is funded by the Tennessee Department of Education School Nutrition Department and runs through July 27.

In its first full week, more than 2,000 meals were served.

Macon County High senior killed in automobile accident

Eli Borders, 17, of Westmoreland was killed following a car accident near the intersection of Long Creek Road and Johnson Road in Lafayette on June 22.

Borders was driving a 1999 Dodge truck and racing another vehicle when he ran off the right side of the road and struck a driveway covert. The vehicle crossed over to the roadway's left side and struck a tree before traveling down a creek bank.

A senior at Macon County High School, Borders was well-liked among students and faculty. His funeral was held on June 27 in the school's gymnasium, and grief counseling sessions were available for three hours each morning on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of that same week.


Browning Livestock Market rebuilds after fire

Browning Livestock Market was affected by an early morning fire on June 28, but the Lafayette Fire Department was able to contain most of the damage to the sale arena.

The cattle auction facility was able to host a showing two weeks after the incident, getting back on its schedule of holding sales the first, third and fifth Wednesdays of each month. On average, between 1,500 and 1,800 head of cattle are sold at each sale.

Browning Livestock Market has been located at its 904 Scottsville Road location in Lafayette for approximately 20 years.

Hix named principal at Lafayette Elementary

Kristen Hix, an educator who had spent the last 20 years teaching at Lafayette Elementary School, took the next step as its principal after Terry Marsh's retirement from the position.

Hix started at the school as a fifth-grade teacher, a position she held for 18 years, and spent the previous two as the librarian. Her first official day as principal was July 1.

Her plans for the job included a focus on communication and cooperation between teachers, parents and students, and further emphasis on reading and the Response to Intervention (RTI) program.

Morgan Carter named to TSWA All-State Softball squad

Macon County High School sophomore Morgan Carter was named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association (TSWA) All-State Softball Team in Class AA.

Carter is one of 12 players who were selected in AA. She is a catcher but is listed a utility player on the TSWA All-State squad.

Carter compiled a .551 batting average, a .630 on-base percentage, doubled six times, tripled once, hit 11 home runs, scored 26 runs and drove in 44 runs. She also drew 20 base on balls while not striking out.

Carter was selected as the District 8-AA Co-Most Valuable Player, and she was also named a Tennessee Softball Coaches Association (TSCA) Miss Softball honoree in Class AA among the Middle Tennessee region.

The Tigerettes had a 22-13 record, finishing in fourth place in 8-AA during the regular season and third in the 8-AA Tournament.

Lee visits Lafayette during primary

Governor-elect Bill Lee visited Lafayette for a town hall meeting during his Republican primary campaign on July 24, spending slightly more than an hour in the meeting room at La Tia Mexican Restaurant.

Lee - a native of Fervale (a farming community in Williamson County near Fairview) - spoke extensively of his focus on vocational, technical and agricultural education.

At the time, Lee was on a town hall tour consisting of 100 stops. Lafayette was his second stop of the day, after a visit to Bellevue.

Days after the visit, Lee defeated five other Republican candidates to secure the party's nomination heading into the general election.

Lafayette teenager killed in traffic accident

Tanner Cleary, 19, of Lafayette was killed when his vehicle lost control and ran off Highway 52 on July 25.

The incident marked the second traffic fatality in the county in just over a month, after 17-year-old Eli Borders was killed in a crash on June 22.

Cleary graduated from Macon County High School in 2017. He played football for the Tigers and was also part of the MCHS track and field squad.

Funeral services were held at Anderson and Son Funeral Home in Lafayette, and interment was held in Eulia Cemetery.

A vigil was also held at Macon County High's Pat Parker Memorial Field.

Red Boiling Springs man sentenced to six months in federal prison for fraud

A Red Boiling Springs man was sentenced to six months in federal prison at a hearing that took place on July 31 in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

John Cook, 57, was charged with stealing $194,000 in investment funds and pled guilty to four counts of interstate transportation of stolen property on April 23.

With his plea, Cook waived his right to be indicted by the grand jury and admitted to soliciting the funds in September 2013.

The funding came from four individuals in Monroe County, Kentucky, each exceeding $5,000 in their investments into the development of a call center in Tompkinsville, Kentucky. One investor pledged $130,000 to the project.

Cook, who managed the Donoho Hotel in Red Boiling Springs, spent the funds for personal benefit, hotel payroll and other purposes unrelated to a call center. A minimal amount of funds was used for call-center-related expenses, but there is no call center in Tompkinsville.

U.S. Assistant Attorney Joshua Judd prosecuted Cook's case, which was investigated by the FBI. Sentencing was held before U.S. District Judge Greg N. Stivers.

Cook - who was represented by attorney Peter J. Strianse - will be housed at a federal prison closest to home. Once his prison term is fulfilled, he will be on three years of supervised release and will also be required to pay the remaining portion of the full restitution $199,000, a current total of $185,000.


Gammons, Jones, Gann among county election winners

Mark Gammons was re-elected as Macon County Sheriff during the general election on Aug. 2, defeating Butch Avera by 339 votes.

Macon County Mayor Steve Jones, Macon County Circuit Court Clerk Rick Gann and Macon County Register of Deeds Cynthia Jones all ran unopposed, and each received more than 5,000 votes. Steve Jones will be entering his second term, Gann his fourth and Cynthia Jones her second.

Each of the five constable candidates were unopposed on the ballot. Those individuals include Sammy Morgan (District 1 and 2), Tom Dallas (District 3 and 4), John David (District 5 and 6), Tony Law (District 7 and 8), and Corey Lawrence (District 9 and 10).

Morgan, Dallas, David and Law were elected for four-year terms, but once the results are verified, Lawrence will not fill the constable spot due to no longer residing in that district. The Macon County Commission accepted applicants to fill that vacancy ahead of an appointment vote.

For the two open school board positions, Jed Goad won the five-man race in Districts 1 and 2 with 519 votes, while Wayne Marsh won the seat for Districts 3 and 4 with 590 votes.

Each Macon County Commissioner position was also decided: independent candidates Kyle Petty and Chad West were elected to District 8; independent incumbents Barry King and Jeffery Hughes to District 7; independent incumbent Tony Wix and Republican Michael Slayton to District 6; independent candidate Scott Cothron and independent incumbent Kenneth Witte to District 5; incumbents Michelle Phillips and Justin Dyer to District 4; incumbents Benny Bartley and Chop Porter to District 3; incumbent Republicans Mike Jenkins and Scott Gammons to District 2; and incumbent Republicans Phillip Snow and Todd Gentry to District 1.

Incumbents Wendell Jones and Jarhea Wilmore ran unopposed in District 9, while incumbent Helen Hesson was the only candidate in District 10 (leaving the second seat to be filled by appointment).

Johnson resigns in mid-season as Macon County Junior High football coach

Head coach Jake Johnson resigned after the Macon County Junior High football team's second game of the season to accept the head-coaching position at Clay County High School.

Johnson was in his first season at Macon County Junior High, and he also served as an assistant coach for the Macon County High program.

Johnson coached last season at Jackson County High School, but he was hired in April to be the defensive coordinator at Clay County High before opting to come to Macon County in June.

Clay County head coach Matthew Bates was relieved of his duties after he coached the Bulldogs to a 36-14 win at Red Boiling Springs. Bates was hired as an assistant coach at Macon County High shortly thereafter.

Macon County Junior High - which was coached by Jacob Coffee and Brandon Robertson - finished the season with a 3-3 record, suffering a 30-6 loss at York Elementary on Saturday in a Middle Tennessee Football Conference playoff semifinal contest.

Johnson coached Clay County to a 3-6 record over its final nine games, suffering a 56-6 loss to eventual state champion Whitwell in the first round of the Class A playoffs.

Roadway named after former county mayor

Former Macon County Mayor Glen Harold Donoho was honored with a ceremony at the Emergency Management Services building to rename a portion of Tennessee State Route 10 after him.

The $23-million project - which will extend from the Highway 10/Highway 52 intersection in Lafayette to the intersection of Highway 10/Highway 25 intersection in Hartsville - began in 2003, and the first phase of the project was completed in 2017.

Tennessee State Rep. Kelly Keisling presented Donoho with a flag, a Tennessee General Assembly license plate, a Tennessee Blue Book and a proclamation issued by Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives Beth Harwell.


Daycare worker charged with aggravated child abuse

A Lafayette daycare worker was arrested following an incident that allegedly occurred on Sept. 11.

Ashley Breann Centers, 23, was charged with aggravated child abuse following the alleged incident at Lafayette's Works in Progress Daycare Center.

Parents of one of the children involved saw an injury that night and contacted the Macon County Sheriff's Department the next day.

According to the arrest report, Macon County Sheriff's Department Lt. Darrell Taylor was shown a video in which Centers - a worker at the daycare - slammed two girls on their sleeping mats on the floor in an aggressive, cruel manner. One was 18 months old, and the other was 16 months old.

Tri-County linemen lend aid to Hurricane Florence victims

Eight Tri-County Electric Linemen representing Lafayette, Westmoreland and Scottsville, Kentucky, spent a week in North Carolina repairing damage left in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

While in North Carolina, the group traveled with employees from local co-ops to affected areas and worked to restore power to thousands of homes and customers before returning home on Sept. 20.


Macon County football program finishes as region runner-up, hosts playoff game

The Macon County High School football program finished as the Region 3-4A runner-up and earned a home playoff game for the second consecutive season with a 27-21 victory at Livingston Academy.

The Tigers forced two turnovers and also benefitted from a pair of poor punt snaps by the Wildcats.

Macon County senior Chris Oliver caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Ethan Jenkins on a halfback pass. Oliver intercepted a Livingston Academy pass one play earlier to set the Tigers up with good field position.

The Tigers concluded the season with a 5-6 record after ending the season one week later with a 42-7 setback to visiting Nolensville in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.

Taco Bell adds drive-thru, seating at new location

Lafayette's Taco Bell opened its new location on Highway 52 during the week of Oct. 15, adding a drive-thru window and additional seating space based on community feedback.

The location is also expected to create new job opportunities in the city with a target staff size of 35.

Taco Bell's move marked another step forward in Lafayette's business development following the Lafayette Pharmacy and Burger King openings.

Barefoot Farmer's barn burns down

After it stood for approximately 80 years, the Barefoot Farmer - Jeff Poppen - lost his barn on Long Hungry Creek Farm in Red Boiling Springs to a fire on Oct 26.

No people or animals were harmed, but the farm lost numerous tools to the fire before it was extinguished.

The cause of the incident was unknown as the barn was not powered by electricity, and the battery-powered tractor inside was not connected. Poppen plans to have another storage area built to replace the structure.

Missing county man's remains found in rural Bethpage

A human body's remains were found in a wooded ravine in rural Bethpage on Oct. 29, which was later confirmed by DNA evidence as Anthony Driver of Westmoreland.

Officers from the Westmoreland Police Department found the body in the 1100 block of Bryant Perry Road, approximately 150 yards from the road. Driver had been reported missing from Macon County since early September and had been last seen in Fred's Department Store in Westmoreland.

Following confirmation of Driver's identity, law enforcement began investigating the case as a homicide.

Driver was the son of former Westmoreland Police Department chief Denise Etheridge.


Republican nominees visit Lafayette before election

Tennessee's governor-elect Bill Lee (who is assuming office Jan. 19) and U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (who assumed office Jan. 3) visited Lafayette days before their respective victories in the 2018 midterm elections.

Lee's campaign held a public event at Lafayette City Hall on Nov. 1, while Blackburn visited several community figures and local government offices on Nov. 2.

Both candidates discussed their platforms, personal values and plans for rural Tennessee. More than 75 percent of Macon County voters ultimately supported their campaigns on election day.

Ward competes at state cross country meet

Macon County High sophomore Taylor Ward placed 62nd in the Division I Large School division at the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association State Cross Country Championship, which was held at Percy Warner Park's Steeplechase Course.

Ward posted a time of 20:52.72.

She qualified for the state meet by posting a time of 20:15.81 to place fifth at the Region 5 Large School Meet.

Tax referendum passes with 57-percent support

Macon County residents backed a referendum on election day that will see the local sales tax rate increased from 2.25 percent to 2.75 percent in order to fund a new elementary school. The Macon County Board of Education approved the project's design phase at their first meeting following the vote.

According to results from the Macon County Election Commission, 3,393 voters (57 percent) supported the measure, while 2,546 (43 percent) opposed it. Those numbers represent approximately 46.5 percent of the county's registered voters.

The new elementary school is set to hold 1,200 students from second through fifth grade, a project which comes amid steady growth in the school district.

Under the referendum's sunset clause, the tax is slated to end after the school is funded. Preliminary estimates place the school's cost between $24-26 million. With $1.25-$1.35 million annual payments, the tax could stay in effect for approximately 25 years.

The cities of Lafayette and Red Boiling Springs voted earlier in the year to allocate a quarter-percent of sales tax toward funding a new elementary school, with the Macon County Commission later voting to include a referendum on the ballot at its Aug. 20 meeting.

Pody, Keisling re-elected at midterms

Macon County voters backed Republicans by decisive margins during the 2018 midterms on Nov. 6, an election which saw more than 50 percent of registered county voters at the polls.

State Sen. Mark Pody (District 17) and State Rep. Kelly Keisling (District 38), Republican candidates, were both re-elected to represent the area.

Winners from Macon County's ballot also included Republicans Bill Lee (governor), Marsha Blackburn (U.S. Senate) and John Rose (U.S. House District 6). Each of those candidates also won their races overall.

Lafayette woman auditions for "America's Got Talent"

Angel Vannasdale traveled to the Knoxville Convention Center on Nov. 15 to audition for "America's Got Talent," where she performed Luke Bryan's song "Drink a Beer."

Vannasdale received a text message after the audition that the producers made a short video, which could air with the show's next season in April of 2019, but she does not expect to know if she advanced until February.

Pedestrian killed crossing Highway 52

A man crossing Highway 52 in Lafayette was struck by a vehicle and killed on Nov. 20.

Richard Temple, 60, was believed to be returning to his residence after walking to a nearby convenience store. He had walked across Highway 52 from his Wells Drive residence to the Marathon gas station and was hit by a vehicle traveling east as he returned.

The driver of the vehicle was not charged and police ruled there was no fault in the incident.

Beer board moves to reintroduce proposals

The Lafayette Beer Board met on Nov. 20 to further discuss three proposals put forward by Mayor Richard Driver in September that have divided community members and the board itself.

A proposal to allow beer sales on Sundays between noon and 6 p.m. (originally motioned for approval but not seconded) will be rewritten to allow sales between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and heard in January.

Another proposal regarding by the beverage sales at restaurants (which originally failed to gather enough votes to proceed to the council) will be rewritten to include a minimum amount of seating, along with the possibility of submitting reports on the amount of food and beer purchased. It will also be heard in January.

The board also agreed to leave door-to-door distances between an establishment selling beer and churches or schools at 500 feet after previously proposing 300, marking the proposal's second recommendation to the city council.


Nestle Waters shuts down Red Boiling Springs plant

Nestle Waters' Red Boiling Springs Plant was shut down on Dec. 4, a decision impacting 43 employees and costing the city an estimated $10,000 per month in utilities.

All 43 employees will continue receiving paychecks and health benefits until Feb. 2, at which point they will receive a separation package based on years of service.

A press release issued by Nestle cited the bottled water industry's competitive nature as the reason for shutting down the plant.

The company operates 24 other facilities in the U.S., though no other locations have closed recently.

Tigerette basketball squad participates in Nike Tournament of Champions

The Macon County High School girls basketball team participated in the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, placing fourth in the John Anderson bracket.

The event exclusively featured teams who were either state champions or state runners-up.

The Tigerettes won their first two games, a 59-42 victory over Chaminade (California) Prep and a 60-53 victory over Gilbert (Arizona).

However, Macon County dropped its final two contests, a 61-32 loss to Rosary Academy (California) and a 55-52 setback to Fremont (Nebraska).

Memaw's Grocery closed indefinitely following fire

Memaw's Grocery in Lafayette suffered heavy internal smoke and fire damage on Dec. 4 due to an electrical short near its deep fryer.

The store has closed indefinitely due to the extent of the damage, marking the store's second closure in 2018 after a vehicle struck the building on Aug. 3.

A locally owned, small-town grocery, Memaw's offered a selection of home-cooked meals such as bacon cheeseburgers, baked chicken and pancakes to shoppers.

The store had been operating approximately 20 years.

Macon Community Hospital opens new ER

Macon Community Hospital completed its new emergency wing in December, closing out the year by realizing a plan 10 years in the making.

The new space includes more than 8,200 additional square feet along with updated equipment and technology. New positions were also created in advance of the opening.

Upgrades include a larger triage area, a separate entrance for ambulances, a decontamination area, two large cardiac/trauma rooms, an obstetrician exam room and a separate room for patients with behavioral health issues.

The expansion also includes private registration rooms, a new entrance with covered areas for drop-offs and pick-ups, a separate waiting area for outpatient procedures, expanded lab tests and faster turnaround times, additional parking and a new area for local specialty clinics.