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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Asian Carp Task Force Meets In Paris

State Rep. Tim Wirgau addresses members of the audience this morning. At head table, from left, Pam McCary, Wirgau, Mike Butler, Rep. Jay Reedy. (McFarlin phot).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-At a Legislative Asian Carp Task Force meeting in Paris Thursday morning, State Rep. Tim Wirgau said the Task Force is in the fact-gathering stage and is working toward preparing a report and proposed legislation for the next state legislative session. The Task Force meeting was held at the Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce office.

The Asian carp are causing a growing disruption of state waterways, Wirgau said, as well as harming people and eating other fish. "This is a problem and something that everyone has been talking about for a number of years, but we're at a point now we're we need to do something."

The Task Force is chaired by Wirgau and other members include: Senators Ed Jackson, Mike Bell and Mark Green; and State Representatives Jay Reedy and Joe Pitts. Also, Wirgau's assistant Pam McCary, Mike Butler of Tennessee Wildlife Federation, Jeff Griggs and Ben Duncan.

"This committee's challenge is to gather as much information as we can right now," Wirgau said, noting that the Task Force has only met previously for an organizational meeting so far. Our responsibility is to gather information to take to the next session and try to help get passage of some measures to tackle this problem."

Once the Task Force has gathered enough information, it will call a full public meeting at a larger setting, Wirgau said. "At that point, we'll present our ideas and hear from the people."

State Rep. Reedy said the Asian Carp also pose a problem for tourism and for the commercial fishermen. He also noted that people have been seriously injured by the Asian Carp throwing themselves into boats while people are fishing.

At today's session, both Angie Yu, owner of Two Rivers Fishery in Wickliffe, and Richard Sinclair, a commercial fisherman from Henry County, spoke to members.

After the session, members--along with staff of the TWRA--toured areas of Kentucky Lake.    

Celebrating With Milk Moustaches

Lakewood Pre-Schoolers pose with milk moustaches yesterday. (McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-Wednesday was World School Milk Day and Lakewood School celebrated with a giant cow, milk moustaches, a big cupcake cake shaped like a cow and a luncheon for local officials and dairy farmers. 

There was even a person dressed like a cow (Assistant Food Service Manager Sandra Nance). For weeks, various officials have been coming to the school to have their pictures taken with milk moustaches, including Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew and his K9 Si, County Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Norton, State Rep. Tim Wirgau, Highway Patrolman Josh Wade and more.

Food Service Manager Susie Jackson said all the planning was worth it. "It was for the kids," she said. "It's important for them to drink milk and know that it's one of the best sources of nutrition."

The county's dairy farmers were among those who were invited to a special luncheon at the school and a representative of the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association was on hand, too.

Sheriff Monte Belew and Si with milk moustaches. (Lakewood photo).

Paris Couple Jailed On Arson Charges


By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-A Paris couple is being held on $101,000 bond in the Henry County Jail this morning after being arrested in the early morning hours Wednesday on aggravated arson and drug charges.

Arrested were Christopher Fiedler, age 40, and Nicole Beale, age 43, both of whom live at 2317 Lone Oak Rd., Lot 26.

The couple was arrested around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday by Paris Patrolman Jamie James on charges they tried to set their home on fire.

According to the police report, James arrived at the home around midnight and found Beale in the living room, trying to put the fire out, while Fiedler was in the back yard with burns on his arms. Fiedler told James he was in the back bedroom and Beale had set the mobile home on fire; meanwhile, Beale said he had taken lighter fluid and put it on the curtains, saying he was going to start a fire.

Fire Marshal Greg Andrews determined the fire had been set after the Paris Fire Department extinguished the blaze. 

During further investigation, Paris Police found a marijuana grinder, bong and pipe in the home.

Bond was set for each at $100,000 on the aggravated arson charge and $1,000 for unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

Area Residents Named To State Boards

Nashville, Tenn.—A number of local residents have been appointed to state board and commissions by Governor Bill Haslam. A total of 176 Tennesseans were appointed to 75 boards and commissions and Haslam thanked them for their commitment.

Bethel University President Dr. Walter Butler was appointed to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors.

Two Paris residents were appointed to boards designed to help persons with disabilities. Matt Wermer of Paris was appointed to the Statewide Independent Living Council and Jennifer Coleman was appointed to the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

Other appointments:
Brian Campbell of McKenzie was appointed to the Board of Groundwater Management; Joe Smothers of Huntingdon was appointed to the Carroll County Watershed Authority; and Hugh Adams of Dresden and James Byford of Martin were appointed to the West Tennessee River Basin Authority.
Christi Cross of Paris was appointed to the Tennessee Massage Licensure Board.

Marching Patriots Do Well At Competition

Paris, Tenn.-Performing their field show “The Greatest,” the Henry County Marching Patriots competed for the second time this season on Saturday in Mayfield and Benton, Kentucky. The Marching Patriots competed against a total of 11 bands, earning a fourth and third place finish overall while receiving first place band in Class AAAA at both contests. They also earned Best Percussion at both Graves and Marshall County. The band also earned Best Color Guard in Class AAAA at Marshall County.

Murray Man Charged With Arson

Murray, Ky.-A 22-year-old Murray man has been arrested for felony arson and burglary following a fire at a mobile home park. Ironically, the man arrested is the one who called police about the fire.

Arrested was Matthew Kohlenberger of Murray.

A fire was reported at a maintenance building at Coach Estates mobile home park around 1 a.m. Tuesday. After the fire was extinguished, it was apparent to the Murray Fire Department that a door to the building had been forced open and that the fire had been set intentionally.

Murray Police went to speak with the person who reported the fire—Kohlenberger—and they found items and evidence that led to the belief that he had started the fire. He was detained and taken in for questioning.

During the investigation, Murray Police also located multiple yard equipment items and tools that are believed to have been stolen, but not reported. Murray Police are asking citizens who have recently had items stolen to call the police.  

HCHS Selected As Advise TN School

Paris, Tenn.-Henry County High School has been selected as a partner school for the new statewide Advise TN college advising program. It is one of 30 high schools across the state which will receive an Advise TN college advisor who will work full-time to ensure that all students have the information and support needed to access college opportunities.

Over 100 schools participated in the Advise TN application process, which included a proposal, letters of support from the community and a team meeting between key Henry County High School staff members and the state.

Principal Michele Webb said, “The community support behind our application has been astounding, including both mayors’ offices, the Chamber of Commerce and many local businesses. We know strengthening our students will strengthen our community.”

The Advise TN college advisor will join the HCHS team official in October.

Martin Sets National Night Out Next Week

Paris, Tenn.-National Night Out in Martin will be from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, October 4. It’s billed as a national crime and drug prevention event, but it’s much more.

Martin Police Captain Phillip Fuqua said, “It’s also a great chance to meet those who we may wave to every day without ever knowing their names. Neighborhoods throughout Martin will be participating and I encourage you to find your local group and join in.”

Police Chief Don Teal said, “This is an opportunity for Martin to stand together as a community and show its intolerance for drugs and crime in the community. The National Night Event highlights the importance of police-community partnerships and citizen involvement in our fight to build a safer town.”

From 4:30-8 p.m., residents are encouraged to open their doors, turn on outside lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors and police. Neighborhoods participating this year are Mellow Lane, Meadowbrook Drive, Fonville Street, Warren Drive, Martin Housing Authority and Fieldcrest Drive.

“Whether in an organized Neighborhood Watch Program or not,” Fuqua said, “I would like for the whole town to participate by turning on their porch light in support of this crime prevention effort.”

For more info or to register your neighborhood, contact Fuqua at 731-587-5355 ext. 241 or at

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Masquerade Theater Productions Shine

The Masquerade Players at work. (Brent Hinson photo).

By Brent Hinson

Union City, Tenn.-Masquerade Theater, under the direction of Melanie Hollis, presents four more showings of their latest production, "How To Eat Like a Child (and other lessons on how NOT to be a grown-up) at the Capitol Theater in downtown Union City.

The Red Cast performs on Thursday and Saturday while the Blue Cast performs on Friday and Sunday.  Showtimes are 7 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2pm on Sunday.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and can be purchase at the box office before each show.

All concession proceeds will be donated to the Union City and Obion County Schools Backpack Program.  This program provides food for students each weekend during the school year.  You can also bring a food donation and receive a free concession item

Noon On Square Set Friday

Paris, Tenn.-The final Noon on the Square for this year will be held in downtown Paris Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with entertainment from John Austin McDaniel. Cash's Wood-Fired Pizza will be served by Paris Quota to benefit their projects. Noon on the Square is sponsored every Friday in September by Commercial Bank & Trust.

Tenn-Ken Food, Wine Event Is Thursday

Union City, Tenn.-The annual Taste of Tenn-Ken Food and Wine Event will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at Kiwanis Park in Union City. Advance tickets $25 and $30 at the door. Tickets are available at Main Street Union City, 885-8330.

Restaurants from all over Northwest Tennessee and Southwest Kentucky will provide goodies to sample, along with wine, and Barry Patrick will entertain. Proceeds go to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northwest Tennessee, Masquerade Theater and Main Street Union City.

In case of inclement weather, the event will be held at the Obion County Fairgrounds.

Blessing Of The Animals Set

Springville, Tenn.-Antioch United Methodist Church will hold a Blessing Of The Animals at 1 p.m. Sunday at the church at 3116 West Antioch Rd., Springville. The public is invited to attend. For more information, call 644-1814 at the church.

UC Police Investigate Burglaries

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Union City, Tenn.-Union City Police are investigating an aggravated burglary in which $6,886 worth of guns and electronics items were stolen from a home on Lake Drive. In two other incidents, guns were stolen from other residences.

A resident at 3008 Lake Drive reported he was gone overnight and when he returned, he found someone had entered his home and stole several guns, including a Browning rifle, 22 caliber Ruger, Stevens Arms shotgun, 9 mm and 38 special handguns, boxes of ammunition, several gun accessories, two 24 inch TV sets, an Xbox and accessories, Beats headphones, games and accessories, Apple sports watch, video camera and several Ray Ban sunglasses. 

According to the report, the garage door was left open and entry was gained by breaking the window pane and unlocking the door.

In the other reports, a Glock 9 mm gun was reported stolen from a home at 1003 S. Second St., and an aggravated burglary was reported at 202 Todd St. The residents said they took a walk from 10 p.m. Tuesday until around 2 a.m. this morning and when they returned, someone had broken into a padlocked gun cabinet and a locked gun box and stole their 9 mm pistol. 

Tickets On Sale For Salad Spectacular

Paris, Tenn.--Tickets are available for the Salad Spectacular sponsored by the Friends of the W.G. Rhea Library.  The lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, October 7, at Ketchum Hall at the Grace Episcopal Church, 103 South Poplar Street.

Tickets are $10 at the library, library book store, Maggie's Boutique, Commercial Bank (downtown) and Security Bank (downtown).

The salad includes choice of four salads (chicken salad, grape salad, loaded baked potato salad, Italian pasta/veggie salad, honeymoon coleslaw and broccoli salad), bread or crackers, drink and a cookie.

There also will be a drawing for four new cookbooks, as well as used cookbooks for sale.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Paris Achieves Main Street Community Status

City officials cut the ribbon at the Back Alley project. (McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.--As city officials and business owners gathered for the ribbon-cutting for the Downtown Back Alley project, State Officials announced that Paris has achieved status as a Tennessee Main Street community.

Paris now joins 32 other Tennessee Main Street communities, including Union City, that are accredited through the state program and the National Main Street Center.

Paris City Manager Kim Foster said the designation "will open doors for us and open a lot of resources for us."

In making the announcement, State Main Streets Director Nancy Williams praised downtown Paris. "You've taken good care of it and it's thriving," she said. Downtown Paris already is part of a National Register Historic District and is a perfect pick for a Main Street community, she said. 

As a Main Street community, Paris will now have access to technical assistance and funding opportunities to continue making downtown improvements.

Paris Mayor Carlton Gerrell said the city is excited about the achievement, as well as the Back Alley project, which is one in a series of alley improvements that will be made downtown. He noted that city officials a year ago were faced with drainage and storm drain problems and the potential problem of a building collapse downtown. "It was nerve-wracking but this shows you what a great community we live in", noting that the community came together to solve the problem and create a nice space for various events at the same time. "This is a beautiful space and it's only the beginning," he said.

City Manager Kim Foster said, "I'm really proud of this project and really proud at how many people responded to come together for this project." The city's Public Works Department "worked tirelessly, as did the utilities people, contractors, plumbers, electricians. There was a lot of work that went on to solve the problems and create this space."

PLUS Endowment Program Breaks Record

Faye Hooper, one of the large grant winners, with County Superintendent Dr. Brian Norton. (McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-Henry County's PLUS Endowment board planned this year's annual banquet as a celebration of the generosity of the people and organizations of Paris and Henry County who have contributed to the organization and enabled it to award a record $50,314 in grants to the county's educators this year.

Since 1999, PLUS Endowment has been providing grant money to teachers who formulate special classroom projects that are beyond what is offered in the regular curriculum. The first year, six grants were awarded totalling $2,500. Since then, the organization has steadily grown until this year dozens and dozens of mini-grants have been awarded for special projects.

Board Member Steve Blount noted, "To give you an example of how far we've come since that first year, grants in the amount of $22,508 were awarded in 2013; $27,073 in 2014 and $37,257 in 2015."

This year's total at $50,314 far surpasses every other year. And with this year's grants, "PLUS Endowment will pass the quarter-million dollar mark with more than $277,000 awarded to date," Blount noted. "We have no paid employees and funding for the grants we award each year comes from the endowment dividends and contributions from educators, local businesses and individuals.

 Expenses associated with the program are confined to the grants themselves and advertising and promoting the program," Blount said.

Paris Special Schools District Superintendent Mike Brown said, "What Plus Endowment does for our community and our schools is really unique and I'm always impressed by the creativity I see in these applications."

Henry County Schools Superintendent said, "Every year when I come to this banquet, I'm proud to be from Henry County."

All the winning teachers were recognized at Tuesday's annual banquet. 

PLUS Endowment was the brainchild of former County Schools Superintendent William Atchison. Winners of the William Atchison Large Grants this year were: Paris City Schools--Robotics by Sandi Bigham at Inman Middle School, $1,876. 

"In The Zone" by Paris Elementary third grade teachers, $1,476. And from the county schools: Faye Hooper 9-12 grades, $1,908; Judy Cunningham, HCHS Interior Design, $975; and Social Studies at Harrelson School, $2,000. A Blended Grant Winner for 8th grade counselors, $1,400. The total given for large grants is: $9,635


Suspect Is Captured

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-The man being sought on an aggravated domestic assault charge has been apprehended and is in the Henry County Jail.

Demetrias Hilliard, age 18, of 292 Jim Hunt Rd., was arrested this afternoon by Henry County Sheriff's deputies. According to Sheriff Monte Belew, Hilliard finally came out of the woods and was going back to his house, which is in an outbuilding at that address, when family members detained him for law enforcement.

Hilliard had been sought following a domestic assault earlier this morning in which he allegedly wounded his wife in the hand with a knife.

A search of the area by both deputies and their K9s and a THP helicopter was unsuccessful.

Bond for Hilliard has been set at $10,000.

Warrant Issued For Cottage Grove Man

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-A warrant has been issued by the Henry County Sheriff's Office for a Cottage Grove man for aggravated domestic assault after a search for him around Jim Hunt Rd. this morning by K9s and a THP helicopter proved unsuccessful.

The sheriff's office is seeking Demetrias Hilliard, age 18, of 292 Jim Hunt Rd., for harming his wife during a physical altercation with her this morning.

The incident began when a 911 call was received from Hilliard, who said he had been stabbed and left in the woods around the 292 Jim Hunt Rd. address. Around the same time, another call came in saying that Hilliard's wife, Sabrina Hobbs, age 22, was being taken to the emergency room for treatment following an assault by Hilliard.

According to the sheriff's office, Hilliard and Hobbs live in an outbuilding at that address.

Deputies and investigators and EMS responded to both the emergency room and the address on Jim Hunt Rd. They determined that the couple had engaged in an argument that became physical and Hilliard cut his wife on her hand with a knife.

A search was conducted by Cpl. Wayne Fuqua and his bloodhound Cisco, Cpl Terry Williams and his K9 Droid, the THP helicopter piloted by Lee Russell in that area. The search ended around noon without finding Hilliard.

It also was determined during the investigation that Hilliard had not been seriously wounded in the altercation.

Etheridge Honored On His Retirement

Etheridge, left, is given the Loyal Patriots' Award by Kenneth Humphreys. (McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-At today’s retirement reception for BPU General Manager John Etheridge, Etheridge was honored with Henry County’s Loyal Patriot Award, as well as plaques and gifts from the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association.

County Commission Vice Chair Kenneth Humphreys presented the Loyal Patriot Award to Etheridge and spoke of Etheridge’s “love for his community, his Lord and his family. I really appreciate you.” The county also declared today “John Etheridge Day”.

Etheridge is retiring after 35 years with the BPU, nine of which has been as General Manager.

Laura Campbell of the TVA said Etheridge’s retirement “is bittersweet. He has always been insightful and calm and we’ll miss him. He’s been a good partner with us.”

TVA officials also presented Etheridge with bag chairs, a flashlight and state river and trail guides.

Mike Vincent of the Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association presented an appreciation award to Etheridge in recognition of his two terms on that board.

A large crowd of well-wishers, including city and county officials, were on hand at today’s reception.


BPU Says Farewell To Etheridge

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.—At his last meeting as General Manager of the Board of Public Utilities (BPU), John Etheridge said he knows he is leaving the BPU in good hands with incoming General Manager Terry Wimberley and that he will miss the people he worked with during his years of service for the utility.

Etheridge is retiring after 35 years with BPU, 10 of which have been spent as General Manager. “I appreciated the support of the board and the engagement of the board. I appreciate the staff and all the employees who have helped to accomplish what has been accomplished.”

Etheridge said, “I know Terry and his staff will do well in the future endeavors for the BPU. The easiest job I’ve had as General Manager was mentoring Terry. He was eager to learn and brought skills with him. I know he’ll make good decisions.”

Board Chairman David Flowers congratulated Etheridge on his retirement and for all he has done for the BPU.

In other business during the short meeting:

--The board approved the audit, which had no findings. Etheridge said, “We had a good, clean audit, like we always have and they do dig deep. They spent a week with us. We have a healthy net income and cash flowing. It’s a good audit, through efforts of our financial and operations people.”

Cost of the audit by Alexander Thompson Arnold was $23,895, with some $3,000 additional for auditing the State Revolving Loan Fund.

The BPU Roundup program also received a good audit, he said.

--The board approved Butch Powers to the investment committee to replace Etheridge. Other members are Flowers and Wimberley.

--The board also appointed Wimberley to the Henry County Alliance executive committee to place Etheridge.

--Etheridge reported there are now 789 accounts on pre-pay. “The program continues to be popular and effective and it’s a win-win for everybody,” Etheridge said.


Stowe Recuses His Office From Dempsey Case


By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Huntingdon, Tenn.-District Attorney General Matthew Stowe has announced that he will recuse himself and his office from the ongoing prosecution of Attorney Ben Dempsey.

As WENK/WTPR previously reported, Dempsey was indicted earlier this month by the Carroll County Grand Jury on a charge of sexual battery. Dempsey, age 67, has law offices in both Huntingdon and Paris.

Stowe said in his press release, “Our office maintains the highest standards of integrity and recuses whenever we might appear to be too closely tied to the defendant in a favorable or unfavorable way, so that the public can be assured of a fair and unbiased trial. Our attorneys have worked closely with Mr. Dempsey over the years and have always enjoyed a respectful and cordial working relationship.”


Having Fun At "Taking It To The Streets"

Paris, Tenn.-A huge crowd of kids and parents was on hand at the Eiffel Tower Park Monday evening for the first "Taking It To The Streets" of the school year. Hosted by the Paris Special Schools District, the "Taking It To The Streets" events are intended to build positive connections between the schools, students, parents and community. Monday's event was organized by Rhea Teacher Lacy Wade with a fiesta theme, with Spanish/English trivia and games. Parent Hayley Garcia read books in Spanish. Elementary schools in the district now offer language classes in the curriculum. 

In photo, it was time to serve hot dogs for Sarah Luffman, Lynda Searcy, Sylvia Humphreys, Kim Denman and Barbara Waters. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Reception For Randy Gean Is Friday

Paris, Tenn.-A reception will be held for retiring Henry County Sheriff Chief Deputy Randy Gean from 3-5 p.m. Friday at the Henry County Fairgrounds. The sheriff's office will provide refreshments and the public is encouraged to attend to wish Gean well on his pending retirement. 

The reception will be held in the Enoch Building.

Henry County Schools Community Meeting Set

Paris, Tenn.-The Henry County Schools board of education is hosting a community meeting Thursday evening to discuss the proposed Henry County High School building project. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the high school, in the testing center. The public is encouraged to attend.

Burglars Steal Items From Home

Union City, Tenn.-Thieves stole several items from an unoccupied home on East Gibbs Street in Union City in the past few weeks.

According to the police report, relatives of a deceased woman were mowing the yard at her home when they noticed the back window was busted out and the air conditioner missing. Further investigation found that the washer and dryer and World War II figurines were also missing.

Police said whoever did it, backed their vehicle up to the back fence and broke the chain link fence down, too.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Carter, Archer Honored At 911 Meeting


Bettye Carter receives a proclamation from Board Chairman John Etheridge. (McFarlin photos).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-It was an evening for accolades at the Henry County 911 Board meeting Monday night, with both long-time Board Member Bettye Carter being honored for her service to the board and 911 Director Mark Archer honored for his service to the state 911 board.

Board Chairman John Etheridge presented Carter with a proclamation noting the board’s “appreciation and gratitude” to her for her service. “We benefited immeasurably from Bettye being a member,” Etheridge said. Carter retired from the board

Carter said to the board, “You’re in wonderful hands with Mark as Director. I know it’s a thankless job a lot of times and Mark does a good job, keeping you ahead of the curve with the state and local rules and regs. I wish you all the best.”

State 911 Director Curtis Sutton presented a plaque to Archer, honoring him for his service to the state board, which he said was a benefit to the state. Archer was on the state board from 2010 to 2014.

IT Manager Chad Howard reported on new additions to the maps available on the 911 program’s website: location of all fire hydrants, county commission districts, and voting districts. Howard said the maps will help the public in many areas. “They can see where the county commission districts so they can see which district they live in; voting districts so they can find where all the districts are and where the polling places are and all the fire hydrants in the county are on the grid now, too. That will be a big help to the public and all the fire departments in the county because it shows locations and also how much water pressure is in each one,” Howard said.

Howard said Board of Elections Director DeLaina Green said adding the voting districts and polling places on the website will be a big help to her office, which regularly fields questions from the public on where they should vote.

All of the county’s cemeteries also are on the maps, as well as aerial photography and other features of benefit to county residents.

The mapping is available at:


911 Director Mark Archer, left, with State Director Curtis Sutton.

Murray Man Arrested On Firearms Charges

Murray, Ky.-A Murray man was arrested Sunday by the Kentucky State Police with 18 counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and eight counts of possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.

Arrested was Ray. W. Powers, age 48.

While investigating information received by Kentucky State Police, Senior Trooper Jody Cash discovered that Powers was in possession of 18 long guns and 8 handguns, as well as body armor, other explosives paraphernalia, and a substantial amount of ammunition. 

Powers was subsequently charged and lodged in the Calloway County Jail.  Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon is a Class D Felony and Possession of a Handgun by a Convicted Felon is a Class C Felony.

The investigation is continuing by Senior Trooper Jody Cash.

Kentucky State Police was assisted in the investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) and the Calloway County Sheriff’s Office.


Information Sought In Vandalism, Arson


Aftermath of the arson fire on Boxx Rd. in Sharon. (Weakley County Sheriff's photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Sharon, Tenn.-A $5,000 reward is being offered for information into who vandalized a car and then set fire to a garage and mobile home over two days on the weekend at a rural Sharon residence.  The State Bomb and Arson investigators are at the scene of the incident and the Weakley County Sheriff’s Office and the Sharon Fire Department is asking for the public’s help in finding the people responsible.

 About 2 a.m. Saturday, the resident at 104 Boxx Rd. heard a loud noise outside his house and saw someone running down his driveway, then running north on Boxx Rd. According to Weakley County Sheriff’s Capt. Randall McGowan, the resident then heard an off-road vehicle crank and then leave the area.

 A check of the area showed that his Nissan Altima had been hit with a blunt object and spray-painted with graffiti. The resident then put his car in his garage until the insurance company could be contacted.

On Sunday evening, he was inside his residence when he went out the back door and observed that his garage was in fire. The Sharon Fire Department was called and the garage was a total loss, with the car inside, and the mobile home was damaged.

McGowan said a witness saw two people running from the garage area and into the woods beside the house.

The resident and a small child were in the home at the time of the fire.



Cherry Jones Narrates Walking Tour On DPA App

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director 

Paris, Tenn.-For several years, visitors to Paris—and even people already living in Paris—have a wanted a recorded walking tour of historic downtown and now it’s available. It’s not just that, but the recorded walking tour is narrated by Tony and Emmy-Award Winning Actress Cherry Jones of Paris.

The walking tour is just one of many features available on the new Downtown Paris mobile phone app that has recently been launched. Sponsored by the Downtown Paris Association (DPA), the new app is free and available through any app store. 

According to DPA Executive Director Kathy Ray, “Just log in to your app store and search for ‘Downtown Paris Association’ and click download.” 

Ray said the DPA is excited about the app, which represents a year of hard work. The app provides any information on downtown Paris, including places to shop, places to dine, a community calendar, community services, local historic sites, discounts provided by local stores, current downtown news, photos and more.

To receive discounts, Ray said, you need to go to “DEALS” and show the item on your phone to the store.

Quick Response Codes which can be used to access the app quickly will be available in the downtown kiosks for scanning convenience.

Back Alley Ribbon-Cutting Set

Paris, Tenn.-The City of Paris along with the Downtown Paris Association and the Paris Henry County Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Ribbon Cutting on Tuesday afternoon, September 27, at 5 p.m.

The city officially open the alley on the west side of the Court Square for use to the public at that time. The completion of this alley is the first in a three phase plan to renovate the alleys in Downtown Paris.

State of Tennessee representatives will also be available with a special announcement concerning downtown Paris.

Paris City Manager Kim Foster said, "The alley has been a project designed and completed by the City of Paris. There was a crucial need for this project to correct serious drainage issues occurring in this alley that would in the future cause damage to the buildings adjacent to the alley. This project will offer relief from storm water runoff as well as improve the water quality of the drainage in the downtown area."

The City of Paris Mayor and City Commissioners will be cutting the ribbon and light refreshments will be available.

Following the ribbon cutting the Downtown Paris Association is hosting its monthly Cruise-In on the square featuring live music by the Chill Tonics and special guests, the Local Strangers. Also included in the celebration will be barbeque by Perry’s, craft booths will also be available.

Junior Auxiliary Plans Family Day For Saturday

Union City, Tenn.-This week, the Junior Auxiliary of Obion County is working to finalize plans for its upcoming event, “Healthy Start Healthy Finish”, set for 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, October 1 at Kiwanis Park.

The free event for the children of Obion County and their families will feature field day events, prizes, food, inflatable jumpers, a football toss, face painting and booths from health care providers throughout the community.

The Junior Auxiliary of Obion County has 21 members who each donate a minimum of 50 hours every year to the chapter’s projects, chapter meetings and charity events. The chapter raises funds each year through its annual Charity Ball, BBQ and Blue Jeans, Bake Sale and donations.

The hard work goes on year-round, but during October this year, the JA will pause to say thanks to the community for another year. Anyone interested in having a booth at the event, becoming a member of the local chapter or to make a donation, email Amanda Carr at For more info, visit

Arts 'Round The Square Winners Announced

Dan Knowles with his winning paintings. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Paris, Tenn.-Winners of the Paris-Henry County Arts Council's Arts 'Round The Square event have been announced. Arts 'Round The Square was held all day Saturday in downtown Paris with food, music and wonderful artists from around the region set up on the court square. More photos from the event were posted on our website and Facebook pages on Saturday.

First place winners this year are: Dan Knowles of Paris, oil and acrylic painting; Martin Paschall of Paris, pottery; Paul Sickels, jewelry; Felicia Blaine, mixed media; and Mike Foster, woodworking.

The complete list of winners:

Oil & Acrylic Painting

1st place Dan Knowles; 2nd place John Monroe


1st place Paul Sickels; 2nd place Mary Buck

Mixed Media

1st place Felicia Blaine; 2nd place Cat McGavin


1st place Martin Paschall; 2nd place Emily Cole


1st place Mike Foster; 2nd place Curran Copeland

Dresden National Night Out Set Tuesday

Dresden, Tenn.-The public is invited to this year's National Night Out in Dresden is set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Terry Oliver Plaza on Linden Street. The event is sponsored by the Dresden Police and Fire Departments and features free food, games and live music.

Dresden Mayor Jeff Washburn, Weakley County Circuit Court Judge Tommy Moore and other community leaders will speak at the event. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Lewis And Clark At Discovery Park

Union City, Tenn.-Discovery Park of America in Union City has been transformed this weekend to allow visitors to walk back in time--all the way back to the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early 1800s. Reenactors have set up tents and, along with many vendors and artisans, are all over the grounds at Discovery Park.

Trimble Woman Killed In Obion County Crash

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Obion County, Tenn.-Charges are pending against a Tiptonville man involved in a crash in Obion County Saturday that resulted in a passenger on a motorcycle being killed.

Killed in the collision was Judy Stafford, age 68, of Trimble. She was a passenger on a Goldwing motorcycle driven by John Stafford, age 72. .

According to the report from the Tennessee Highway Patrol released Sunday, charges are pending against the other driver, John Perkins, age 38, of Tiptonville. The report indicates that Perkins was tested for alcohol after the crash.

According to the report, the accident occured on U.S. Highway 51. The Staffords were northbound in lane 1 and veered to lane 2 to pass a semi. Perkins saw the motorcycle and applied brakes, but hit the rear of the motorcycle and the passenger was thrown off the bike. Both of the Staffords were wearing helmets at the time of the crash.

Etheridge Reception Set Tuesday

Paris, Tenn.-The Paris Board of Public Utilities (BPU) will host a reception for retiring General Manager John Etheridge from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at the BPU on E. Washington St. Tuesday's meeting of the BPU will be Etheridge's last as General Manager.

Etheridge is retiring after a lengthy career at the BPU and well-wishers are invited to attend.

Debate Watch Party Set

Paris, Tenn.-The Henry County Republican Party will be holding a Presidential Debate Watch Party Monday at its headquarters at 200 S. Market St. The party will be tailgate-style and is free and open to the public.

The party begins at 7:30 p.m., with the televised debate between Presidential Candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump starting at 8 p.m.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hundreds Gather For ARTS Event

Paris, Tenn.-Musician and Artist Dan Knowles of Paris does a bit of serenading at today's Arts 'Round The Square event in downtown Paris, top photo, while Martin Paschall joins Steve Short and Scott Myatt for a rendition of "Walking The Dog" in bottom photo. Paschall's pottery also was on display today at the event, which drew dozens of area artists and musicians and hundreds of visitors to Paris. (Shannon McFarlin photos).

Loading Up For Fall

Paris, Tenn.-A large crowd was on hand today for the Henry County High School FFA's annual Mum-a-Looza. A lot of people were there, loading up on mums, kale, straw and other fall decorations. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Friday Night Football Scores

Union City 49, Humboldt 46

Henry County 38, Clarksville 0

Camden 20, Westview 12

Huntingdon 44, McKenzie 15

Ripley 21, Obion County 12

Dresden 54, South Fulton 0

Friday, September 23, 2016

Enjoying Good Music, Food

Paris, Tenn.-A large crowd was on hand Friday to hear good music from The Chill Tonics and eat good food from Perry's BBQ at the Noon on the Square in downtown Paris. Noon on the Square is held every Friday in the month of September and is sponsored by Commercial Bank and Trust. (Photo by Shannon McFarlin).

Mum-A-Looza Is Saturday

Pumpkins and gourds ready for Saturday. (Laura Moss photo).

Paris, Tenn.-The 5th annual Mum-a-palooza will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the greenhouses at Henry County High School. The greenhouses are located behind the stadium.

The Paris FFA will be selling mums (red, orange, yellow), ornamental kale (white, purple and red), pumpkins, Indian corn, corn stalks and straw. All proceeds to toward the Paris FFA.

Prices are:

Kale: $5 or $7; large mums, $15; corn stalks, $5; pumpkins, $5 or $7; wheat straw, $5; and Indian corn, $3.


Firefighters Explain Burn Regs After Fires

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-Paris Firefighters were called to 309 Aden Street last night on a report of an outbuilding on fire. 

When they arrived, they found the resident attempting to control the fire behind the house with a garden hose. Fire crews extinguished the outbuilding fire and also extinguished a fire on a small tree next to it.

The resident said he had been attempting to burn the tree earlier and thought he had put the fire out.

Firemen informed the resident of outdoor burning regulations within the city limts.

Paris Firemen were also called to 2000 E. Wood Street on Friday morning on a report of smoke coming from behind Arrowhead Homes. Firefighters found three piles of rubbish on fire and extinguished them. Fire Marshal Freg Andrews explained to owners of the property the process of how to obtain a burn permit.


Saturday Arts Round Square Schedule

Paris, Tenn.-Music is a large part of the Arts Round The Square activities that are set for all day Saturday in downtown Paris, with live performances throughout the day on stage from 9  a.m. to 4 p.m. The schedule is: 

9 a.m. – 10 a.m. The Old 23rd District

10:15 – 11:15  Scott Myatt and Steve Short 

11:30 – 12:15  Renaissance Theatre from Bethel University

12:15-12:30 KPAC Young Artists “Dinosaurs Before Dark”  

12:30 – 1:30 Band called BEN duo

1:30-1:45 KPAC Young Artists Legally Blonde

1:45 - 2:45 Shepherd Family 

2:45-3:00 KPAC Young Artists Solos

3:00 – 3:45 Bethel University Vocal Authority Group 

3:45-4:00 KPAC Young Artists Solos

Henry County Unemployment Again Lowest In Area

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Nashville, Tenn.-The unemployment rate in the State of Tennessee for August was 4.4 percent, with rates decreasing in 26 counties, increasing in 58 and remaining the same in 11 counties.

Several of our local counties are listed as having the highest unemployment rates in the state, with Weakley County listed as 88th of the state's 95 counties; Benton as 90th; Houston as 92nd and Obion County as 93rd.

In our local area, Henry County continues to show the lowest amount of unemployment, at 6.0 percent, which is a slight increase from July at 5.9 percent.

Other counties show: Gibson at 6.2 percent, up from 6 percent in July; Carroll County holding steady at 7.1 percent; Stewart County at 6.7 percent, an increase from 6.6 percet in July; Benton County at 7.4 percent, up from 7 percent in July; Obion at 7.8 percent, up from 7.7 percent in July; Houston at 7.8 percent, up from 7.5 percent.

In our area, the county showing the most improvement is Weakley County, which now is at 7.3 percent, a sharp decrease from 8.0 percent in July.

Bethel Students Tested For TB

McKenzie, Tenn.-Bethel University is urging some students to be tested for tuberculosis after a former student tested positive for TB. 

Any risk of contagion is minor, however, since the former student is not a Tennessee resident.

The Tennessee Department of Health said there are no confirmed cases of TB on campus. Both Bethel President Dr. Walter Butler and the State Health Officials said the tests are being given as a precautionary measure. Testing is taking place in the campus student center.

Martin Man Sought For Burglaries

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director 

Martin, Tenn.—A Martin man has been formally charged for a series of burglaries and thefts that have occurred in Martin over the past month.

Warrants have been drawn by the Martin Police Department for Doyle Wayne Cruce, age 46, of Crestview Street in Martin. He has been charged with one count of aggravated burglary, three counts of burglary, four counts of theft, and one count of vandalism.

According to Capt. Phillip Fuqua, the charges stem from various thefts on McGill, Edgewood, and Todd Streets in Martin. The total amount of items stolen is estimated at $5,500. Fuqua said some $1,625 in stolen property has been recovered thus far by investigators with the Martin Police, Weakley County Sheriff’s Office and Obion County Sheriff’s Office.

The Weakley County Sheriff’s Office yesterday announced it had also filed theft charges against Cruce and his wife.

Fuqua said this is an ongoing investigation and additional charges could be pending. Anyone with information on Cruce is asked to call Martin Police at 731-587-5355.

UC Woman Charged After Dog Attack

Union City, Tenn.-A Union City woman was cited for harboring a vicious animal and ordered to have her dog vaccinated after an incident Thursday afternoon on East Main St.

A 12-year-old girl was walking her small dog when a pit bull attacked her dog and when she attempted to break up the fight, the pit bull bit her left hand and right elbow. Her dog was bitten on its face and ear.

Tamika Jones at 1532 East Church St. was cited. Her pit bull is being quarantined at the Animal Control Center for 10 days. The little girl was treated at Baptist Hospital emergency room and her dog was taken to the veterinarian.

Woods Named Fulton County Interim Sheriff

Fulton, Ky.-Robby Woods has been named interim Fulton County Sheriff to replace the late Sheriff Bobby Hopper, who died Saturday.

Woods was selected by the Fulton County Fiscal Court. Woods will serve the remaining two years of Hopper's term.

Woods has served for several years with the sheriff's department, prior to which he served with the Fulton City Police.

Bluegrass Concert Set For Bethel


McKenzie, Tenn.-Bethel University will welcome Rhonda Vincent and The Rage to campus at 7 p.m. October 7. Special guests at the concert is the Renaissance Bluegrass Band. Proceeds from the event go toward the Renaissance program.

General Admission $15; VIP Purple Pass $25 and VIP Gold Pass $100.

Tickets can be purchased at 731-352-6980 or go to

HCHS College App Meet Next Week

Paris, Tenn. - In an effort to promote college awareness and access, Henry County

High School will participate in College App Week, part of the statewide Path to College initiative sponsored by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and, on September 26-30.

The goal of Tennessee College App Week is to provide all Tennessee seniors the opportunity to complete and file college applications with the support of their school. Seniors will also be encouraged to complete Tennessee Promise applications during the event.

While much of the focus of College App Week is geared toward first-generation college students and students who may not otherwise apply to college, Henry County High School will also offer college-focused activities for sophomores and juniors, as well as seniors who have already applied to college. 

School Counselors will be available to assist students and parents in filing college applications or completing the Tennessee Promise online. This will take place next Wednesday, September 28 and Thursday, September 29 in HCHS Computer Labs 16-17, from 3:15-4:30pm. All seniors and parents are welcome!

For more information or assistance, please contact the Henry County High School Counseling Office at 731-642-5232.

Small Business Course At UTM 

Martin, Tenn. – Current and prospective business owners interested in the fundamentals of small business development are encouraged to register for a four-week course offered from 6-8 p.m., Tuesdays, Oct. 4-25, at the University of Tennessee at Martin Regional Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Center.

Small Business Basics Boot Camp, led by small business experts and business owners, is designed to serve as a guide to small business development and entrepreneurship. Each session will focus on topics such as business planning, financial awareness and accountability, advice on legal issues and ideas for business marketing. 

The course features GrowthWheel, a visual tool that provides structure and direction in order to allow business owners to set goals and take action. GrowthWheel works for all businesses in all stages and industries. 

The registration fee for this course is $25 and all materials are provided. Pre-registration is required.

For more information or to register, contact the UT Martin REED Center at 731-587-7333 or register online at

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Warrants Drawn For Union City Man

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Martin, Tenn.—Warrants have been issued for the arrest of a Union City man in connection with a theft earlier this month.

Brandon Hill, age 32, of Union City, is wanted on charges of aggravated burglary and theft. Another man, Doyle Cruce, also was involved and is already in the Weakley County Jail on charges of burglary and theft in another case.

Weakley County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Marty Plunk, along with investigators from the Martin Police and the Obion County Sheriff’s Office, recovered a television set stolen from a Latham resident on September 12.

The television was found at a house between South Fulton and Martin after the thieves sold it to a man at that address. The man told investigators who sold it to him.

 Carver Tapped As UTM Chancellor

Martin, Tenn.-Keith Carver has been selected by UT President Joe DiPietro to serve as the next Chancellor at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Carver currently is executive assistant to the president of the University of Tennessee system.

DiPietro will recommend Carver’s selection to the UT Board of Trustees at its October 13-14 meeting in Knoxville.

DePietro said Carver “brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and love for UT Martin to this role. He understands the culture and communities of Northwest Tennessee and has extensive relationships on campus, in the community and across the state.”

Pending approval by the board, Carver’s effective start date will be Jan. 3. He will replace Tom Rakes, who announced he is returning to the classroom. The search for the next UTM Chancellor began in March.

Carver has held roles at UT campuses at Knoxville, Martin and Memphis.

Cash Saver Store Opening In Paris

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

 Paris, Tenn.,-In the coming days, the E.W. James Supermarket in Paris will close and reopen as a Cash Saver store. The Cash Saver will still be owned by E.W. James.

E.W. James Supermarkets, which are headquartered in Union City, already own two Cash Savers: one in Huntingdon and another in Waynesboro.

The move is seen as a cost-saving measure for the E.W. James chain of stores. 

In the coming days, the E.W. James store will close for three days, during which time it will be cleaned and remodeled. It will reopen as Cash Saver on Sept. 29. E.W. James has been running advertisements which call the change "A New Way To Buy Groceries."

One major change is that Cash Saver stores do not carry customer's groceries to their cars.

The store is located at 1301 W. Wood St. in Paris.

Atkins-Porter Association Proceeds With Crime Watch

A-P Association President Ed Roberts addresses the meeting. (McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-After hearing a presentation on the success of the Peden Hill Neighborhood Watch program, members of the Atkins-Porter Historic Neighborhood Association Wednesday night voted to proceed with forming a Neighborhood Watch of their own.

Peden Hill Association Secretary Geneva Tharpe told the group of the successes achieved by Peden Hill since its Crime Watch was initiated in 2001. She said people in the Peden Hill neighborhood in Paris began their group when they began noticing increased traffic and suspicious behavior. She said the neighborhood was also becoming run-down and neighbors were concerned about that. 

Initially, that organization was begun to protect the Sparks Street Church of Christ and surrounding neighborhood and it grew from there. She said their group was given a code phone number to call by Paris Police to report suspicious behavior. She said the calls--along with the Neighborhood Watch street signs that were installed--have done a lot to decrease crime and drug activity in the neighborhood.

She said the Peden Hill group, working with the city of Paris, received a Community Block Grant which was used to build new houses and demolish others in the neighborhood. The city has put up new speed limit signs in the neighborhood, too, she said.

"We've seen a reduction in crime, speeding traffic has decreased," she said. The group pitched in to purchase the Neighborhood Watch signs, which were installed for free by the city, she said. "It really works. Put them at the main entrances of your neighborhood and let people know they're being watched."

In other business, Atkins-Porter Association Secretary Annette Douglas said the group has applied for non-profit status and has applied to the Board of Public Utilties (BPU) for a round-up grant to help with expenses for programs.

Ray Harding provided a history of the Mandle/Harding house on Walnut Street. 

Walgreen's Employee Arrested For Theft

Union City, Tenn.-An employee of the Union City Walgreen's Store has been arrested on a theft charge after an investigation revealed employee theft over a period of several weeks.

Cheri Wright, age 24, of 434 Maple St., Union City, was charged with theft of over $1,000, and booked into the Obion County Jail.

Union City Police were notified by Walgreen's Asset Protection Manager Jonathan McGraw of the possibility of fraudulent purchases by an employee of the Union City store.

An investigation revealed that Wright had been conducting returns on products she did not purchase and placing refund money on gift cards. The fraud began in July and continued for several weeks through August. The total amount stolen was $4,510.

According to the police report, Wright admitted the thefts during interrogation by officers.

Marching Patriots Do Well At Competition

Union City, Tenn.-The Henry County High School Marching Patriots participated in the Union City Invitational over the weekend. The Invitational is an annual gathering of some of the state's top marching band programs and it involves a full day of performances.

Twenty bands performed in preliminary competition Saturday morning and the top ten were selected to perform that evening in the finals competition. The Marching Patriots were named among the elite finalists and earned ninth place overall.

This was the band's first competition of the 2016 season, which continues this weekend with two appearances in Graves and Marshall County's Marching Invitational.

Chill Tonics At Noon On Square

Paris, Tenn.-The popular band The Chill Tonics will appear at Friday's Noon on the Square in downtown Paris. Perry's BBQ will serve lunches and the Downtown Paris Association will serve sodas and water. Noon on the Square is held each Friday in September from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is sponsored by Commercial Bank and Trust.

Sinnema Given Stars Of Our Crown Award

Jane Sinnema with President Donna Winders (Martha McFadden photo).

Paris, Tenn.-Tickets are still available for the homemade quilt that is being raffled off by the Paris Quota Club. The quilt was made by Wanda Hughes’ mother and donated by Hughes to benefit Quota’s scholarship fund. Tickets are $5 each or three for $10 and the quilt will be given away November 9.

Beth Watkins said the Noon on the Square September 9, at which Quotarians served Cash’s Wood Fired Pizza and dessert, was a huge success, with 250 people served. Quota will do the same on September 30.

Linda Foulks said sweat suits are in stores and now is a good time to purchase them for the Western State Mental Hospital Christmas. Patients will need both men and women’s in sizes XL through 3X and asked that the suits have no strings in the waistband.

Another collection for the Henry County Food Bank will be held September 28. Needed are jams/jellies; large jars of juice and spaghetti and other pasta.

The Stars of Our Crown award was won by Jane Sinnema for all the work she does sending out emails to members to keep them informed.

UTM Fall Preview Day Set

Martin, Tenn.-The University of Tennessee at Martin encourages high school students to visit the campus during one of three Fall Preview Days. Students can choose to attend this Saturday, Sept. 24, or on Oct. 29 or Nov. 12.

Each day begins with check-in at 9 a.m. A panel of current students will answer questions and discuss college life at 10, with visitation of academic departments at 10:45 and full campus tours at 11:30.

Fall Preview Day is an ideal place to have questions answered about academic programs, financial aid and scholarships, student activities and residence life. There is no charge. Pre-registration is encouraged.

Register online at Contact UTM at 731-881-7020 or email at

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Area Women Charged With TennCare Fraud

Aleisha Wagner Amanda Pope

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Nashville, Tenn.-A Benton County woman has been indicted for TennCare fraud by the Davidson County Grand Jury and this is the fourth time she has been charged with it. In July, she was arrested in Henry County on the same charge.

And in Weakley County, a Martin woman has been charged with 15 counts of TennCare fraud and 19 counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.

Aleisha Wagner, age 31, of Holladay, was charged with using TennCare for doctor shopping for prescription drugs. Specifically, she is charged with visiting multiple providers for Hydrocodone and using TennCare to pay for it. The doctor visits were conducted over a short period of time.

According to the press release from the Office of Inspector General, Wagner was arrested in July in Henry County, charged with doctor shopping for the painkiller Hydrocodone. She also has been charged in Montgomery County. Investigators were looking into all the cases at the same time.

As of July, TennCare fraug was changed to a Class D felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrests of other area residents:

In Weakley County, Amanda Pope, 37, of Martin, is charged with 15 counts of TennCare fraud and 19 counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. Authorities say she used TennCare to obtain fraudulent prescriptions for the painkiller Hydrocodone, in both her name and the name of her boyfriend.

Ashley Ditto, 29, of Yorkville in Gibson County is charged in nearby Weakley County with four counts of TennCare fraud. An indictment accuses her of using TennCare to obtain prescriptions for the painkiller Oxycodone, while failing to disclose to the doctor that she was pregnant.
District Attorney General Thomas A. Thomas is prosecuting both cases.

The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to more than $3 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of more than $163.6 million for TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 2,726 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.

Anyone can report suspected TennCare fraud by calling 1-800-433-3982 toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or visit the website and follow prompts that read “Report TennCare Fraud.”

Tickets For Dr. Jones' Concert On Sale Oct. 1

Rev. Andre Richardson, far end of table, conducting last night's meeting. (McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-Tickets will go on sale on October 1 for the upcoming "An Evening In Paris" benefit concert by Gospel Legend Dr. Bobby Jones. The concert is a benefit for the Mt. Zion Baptist Church Building Fund and will be held Saturday, November 5, at the Krider Performing Arts Center in Paris.

The steering committee which is organizing the concert met for its regular weekly meeting Tuesday night at Paris City Hall. At the session, it was decided that advance general admission tickets will cost $20 and tickets sold at the door will be $25.

Tickets will be sold locally at all Commercial Bank & Trust branches, including the drive-throughs. The VIP tickets will only be sold at the Commercial Bank's main branch. Tickets also will be sold through the Vendini ticket sales website. 

Dr. Jones is a native of Henry County and now lives in Nashville. He is retiring from his BET programs and other appearances.

Plans for the event include a Friday night private, invitation-only reception that Dr. Jones will host at the Paris Convention Center. On Saturday, a matinee will be held from KPAC from 12-2:30 p.m., with various local artists performing. Admission for that will be $5.

The Saturday evening performance with Dr. Jones and his gospel singers and musicians will begin at 6 p.m. VIP seating is $30 and a Gold Package (VIP seating, backstage pass, free souvenir booklet and photo with Dr. Jones) will be $50.

A Facebook page for the event has been set up under the heading "Dr. Bobby Jones In Paris"

Steering Committee Chairman Rev. Andre Richardson said, "Helping our church helps the entire community because each church has an impact on this community. I pray when we get a building to call home, it will further enhance our impact on the community, young and old."

The historic Mt. Zion Church on Rison Street is deteriorating and church members have been meeting for the past few years at KPAC. A building fund has been set up to collect monies to build a new church.

Eye Full Of Paris Is This Weekend

Artists Gene McWherter and Ann Stapp at a previous event. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Paris, TN - It’s music. It’s theater. It’s art. It's the annual Eye Full of Paris Weekend in Historic Downtown Paris, September 23-25. Sponsored by the Downtown Paris Association (DPA), the 2016 celebration features five spectacular events over three days.


The weekend kicks off with two events scheduled for Friday. Noon on the Square sponsored by Commercial Bank opens Eye Full of Paris weekend with the music of The Chill Tonics on stage on the courthouse lawn. Bring a lawn chair, come early and enjoy a great time. Lunch will be served by Perry’s BBQ, and the DPA will serve drinks for a donation. This is a FREE event.

“Downtown’s 20+ merchants, including clothing boutiques, gift shops and eateries will have their doors wide open with Eye Full of Paris Sales on Friday and Saturday,” said DPA Executive Director Kathy Ray. 

The excitement continues Friday evening at Lee Academy of the Arts from 7 pm to 10 pm with “Wine to Share, Water for All”, sponsored by the First Christian Church and all proceeds providing clean water wells in rural areas in Zimbabwe.  The evening includes dancing, hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages, live entertainment, locally brewed Perrylodgic beer, and a silent auction including local artists. 

Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased at The Iron Place, Cindy’s Catering, and First Christian Church, or from any First Christian Church member.  Call 731-642-3181 for more information.  


Saturday, September 24th, the courthouse lawn becomes the crossroads of art, music and food for grown-ups and children alike when Arts ‘Round the Square, opens at 9:00 am. Sponsored by the Paris-Henry County Arts Council and the DPA, this FREE event will fill the lawn with approximately 25-juried artists creating and selling their pottery, woodcarvings, jewelry, mixed media, fiber art, photographs, sculptures and canvas art including paintings from members of the Tennessee River Fine Arts League. 

Children can also get in touch with their inner artist at Arts ‘Round the Square at the KidsZone Live! a special area for interactive children’s projects. These projects are FREE and help children connect their work with the professional work that is taking place around them that day. 

Music is a large part of ARTS with live performances throughout the day on stage from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The schedule includes: 

9 a.m. – 10 a.m. The Old 23rd District

10:15 – 11:15  Scott Myatt and Steve Short 

11:30 – 12:15  Renaissance Theatre from Bethel University

12:15-12:30 KPAC Young Artists “Dinosaurs Before Dark”  

12:30 – 1:30 Band called BEN duo

1:30-1:45 KPAC Young Artists Legally Blonde

1:45 - 2:45 Shepherd Family 

2:45-3:00 KPAC Young Artists Solos

3:00 – 3:45 Bethel University Vocal Authority Group 

3:45-4:00 KPAC Young Artists Solos

ARTS wraps up at 4 pm just in time for visitors to grab a blanket or lawn chair and head to the Paris Winery on Harvey Bowden Road for Concert in the Vineyards. Live music runs from 6 until 10 pm. Bring a lawn chair, picnic basket and enjoy this FREE evening of music and wine tasting under the stars. Visit or call 731-644-9500.


The Eye Full of Paris Weekend finale, Downtown Churches Rejoice! takes on a new sound this year as the Bethel Renaissance Blue Grass band performs Sunday evening at 6 pm at the First Christian Church in downtown Paris.

Find out more at, Downtown Paris Association office at 731-653-PARIS (7274).

Lewis And Clark Return To Discovery Park

Union City, Tenn.-There is nothing quite like a re-enactment to get children—and adults, too—truly engaged in history.

Discovery Park of America believes that people learn best by seeing, touching and experiencing. The Park is once again hosting the Lewis and Clark Expedition campsite and demonstration this weekend, September 23-25. The park first hosted it in September of 2014 and over 4,000 people visited.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Discovery Park guests are invited to visit the campsite and learn what life was like for the famous explorers on their journey west from 1803-1806.

A replica of the 55’ Keel Boat that completed every river mile of the Expedition will be on site at Discovery Park.

Each day, there will be demonstrations of medicine and medical procedures of the era; weapons displays; uniforms and clothing, Captain’s orderly tent discussions and women’s clothing from the early 1800s. Demonstrations of fire starting, rope making, corn grinding and blacksmithing will be held.

A special display tent will be set up that provides the opportunity to see furs and interactive stations for children. The Café at Discovery Park will be on the grounds selling bowls of chili and stew through the weekend.

Discovery Park of America is open 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 Tuesday through Sunday. It is a unique blend of history and technology, knowledge and fun. To find out more about Discovery Park of America, visit the website at   

Oakland VFD To Hold Fundraiser

Oakland, Tenn.-The Oakland Volunteer Fire Department will be holding a BBQ fundraiser for the fire department from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, September 24, at the fire station.

BBQ sandwiches and plates will be sold. The Oakland Fire Department thanks Tosh Farms and Backwoods Grillin' Sauce for their help with the event.

Huntingdon Heritage Day Is Saturday

Huntingdon, Tenn.-When the town of Huntingdon celebrates Huntingdon Heritage Day Saturday, September 24, the Dixie Carter Performing Arts Center will once again team up to offer performances for the whole family.

The all-day festival will feature music, storytelling, food and arts vendors and a variety of activities. Opening ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. on the court square, with Thirty-Wonderful, a duo from Trenton, taking the stage at 11 a.m.

The Renaissance Bluegrass Band follows at noon, with 24 Seven, a Huntingdon band, playing at 1:30 p.m. At 3 p.m., Dixie favorite Terry Mike Jeffrey takes the stage for a performance of Elvis’ hits. A variety of performances for kids will be held on the Children’s Stage beginning at 11 a.m.

During the festival, the court square will be closed to traffic.

‘Backyard Life’ To Be Presented Saturday

Paris, Tenn.-The Refuge Visitor Center in Springville will host a “Backyard Life” program at 1 p.m. Saturday, September 24. The center is located at 1371 Wildlife Drive.

The Refuge Discovery Series was created by the Friends of Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge to help the public enjoy and interact with the refuge and its wildlife. Each considered a good family activity, the series presents different wildlife related topics and guest speakers to help the public connect with nature. Hosting the program at the new Refuge Visitor Center is a perfect fit as families can come early or stay to enjoy our new exhibits. While there we encourage folks to see the waterfowl, pelicans and other birds that are already starting to be present off the back patio.

For more information about the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, how to become a member of the Friends of Tennessee NWR or about the refuge in general, please call the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters at 731-642-2091 or see our website at

Calvin Jones To Perform At KPAC

Paris, Tenn.-Krider Performing Arts Center in Paris will present world class solo piano with international composer and pianist Calvin Jones on Saturday, September 24

The performance is at 7 p.m. at KPAC at 650 Volunteer Drive, Paris.

Jones is on a rare break from his worldwide orchestral performances and recording schedule.  

Tickets are Adults: $10: Students and Seniors: $5 – available at Leach’s Music, 122 E. Washington St., Paris. For more info: (731) 644-2517 or

Vendor Applications Open For Expo

Paris, Tenn.-The Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Small Business Expo will be Tuesday, October 18th, 9 am to 3 pm, at the Henry County Fairgrounds, with a “Small Business Superheroes” theme.

The Chamber will also have a Chamber Coffee for members prior to the Expo, beginning at 8 am on the day of the event.

Applications for vendors are available at For more information, contact Monica Smith at 731.642.343 or

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Cherry Jones To Appear In "American Crime"

Los Angeles, Calif. - Emmy-winning actress Cherry Jones of Paris has signed on for Season 3 of ABC's "American Crime".

Jones will have a recurring role as the matriarch of a large family agricultural operation. The third season will focus on worker's rights and reproductive rights and will be set in North Carolina.

She joins previously announced returning cast members Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton, Connor Jessup, Lili Taylor, as well as Regina King -- who just won her second Emmy Award for her work in the series. Benito Martinez, who appeared in the first season, is returning as well, but in a larger role this time around.

Jones most recently has been appearing in a production of "The Glass Menagerie" in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the same role in which she starred on Broadway. Jones is now also starring in Amazon's "Transparent," which bows its third season on Sept. 23.

More Shots Fired In Union City

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Union City, Tenn.-Union City Police are investigating more reports of shots fired. The East Gate Village Apartments security guards again reported more shots fired inside the complex around 12:30 a.m. today. 
Police officers happened to be nearby and also heard some 9-10 shots.
Earlier, officers also were called to East Gate on a report of a gun shot through an apartment window. A resident of Apartment 13 reported that she was in her bathroom on Monday evening and heard shots. When she went out into the living room, she found a hole in her front window.
Officers said the gun shot went through a double pane window and ricocheted off the wall. 
A resident of E. Vine Street also reported that while he was in East Gate on Sunday night, stray bullets from gunshots that night hit the Chevy Malibu he was driving. He said the car was rented from Enterprise. Officers found two dents on the left side of his car.

Huntingdon Principal Wins "Dancing"

Huntingdon, Tenn.-Huntingdon High School Principal Jonathan Kee is the winner of the second annual Dancing With Our Local Stars held over the weekend at The Dixie Center for Performing Arts in Huntingdon.

Kee was declared the winner after votes were cast by audience members, on-site judges, and pre-event judging for $1 per vote.

2015 Miss Tennessee Hannah Robison of Buchanan, and her professional dance partner, David Buckmaster, were tied for first with Kee ultimately winning through pre-voting through donations in his honor.

Six local “celebrities” vied for the mirror ball trophy during the Saturday competition. Each practiced with their professional dance partners during the week prior to the Saturday competition.

Professional dancers were from the Utah Ballroom Dance Company. The touring dancers perform more than 100 shows annually. After the local dancers competed, the professionals entertained the audience. The event was the opening show of the 2016-17 season at The Dixie Carter Performing Arts Center in Huntingdon.

Local dancers included: Dr. Jonathan Kee, Hannah Robison, Ahmad Hicks, Libby Lynch, County Mayor Kenny McBride, and Eliza Forbes.

Paris Landing Sets Public Lands Hike

Paris, Tenn.-Paris Landing State Park will be celebrating National Public Lands Day Saturday, September 24, by opening up its newly-refurbished walking trail. The event will be held at 9-11 a.m.
Park Employee Gina Lowry said, "We invite everyone to join us for a moderate hike through the woods of Paris Landing State Park and along the shore of beautiful Kentucky Lake. We expect to see a variety of wildlife along the 
the trail, such as deer, coyotes, snakes, birds and more", she said.

Atkins-Porter Neighborhood Meet Set

Paris, Tenn.-The Historic Atkins-Porter Neighborhood Association will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Atkins-Porter Recreation Center on Highland Street in Paris.

Ray Harding will report on the history of the Mandle/Harding house and a presentation from representatives of the Peden Hill Neighborhood Watch will be held. A discussion of speed limits and the possibility of starting an Atkins-Porter Neighborhood Watch will be held.

A social time will begin at 6:30 p.m., with snacks. All residents of the Atkins-Porter Neighborhood are invited.

Campers' Fair This Weekend

Piney Campground, LBL--Piney Campground will host its 43rd Annual Campers' Fair this week from September 21-25. The Campers' Fair will include entertainment and a flea market and showcase the newest in RVs, camping equipment, golf carts and boats. The event is free and open to the general public Saturday, September 24, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, September 25, 10 a.m.-2 p.m..

Piney Campground Manager Rick Daughtery said the fair is a great way to celebrate the end of the summer. "Campers can come out and have a great time with fellow outdoor enthusiasts," he said.

Campers and visitors also can enjoy a variety of entertainment including dancing, games and music and the flea market will include arts, crafts and other items for sale. Campsites and shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For reservations, go to

Monday, September 19, 2016

McCadams Honored; Gean Announces Retirement

Velvet Arnold Elected To Road Board

Steve McCadams, left, given a plaque by Wade Bourne of the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. (McFarlin photo).

By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-Long-time Outdoorsman Steve McCadams was presented a plaque recognizing his induction into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame at Monday night’s meeting of the Henry County Commission.

In a busy meeting, it also was announced that Henry County Chief Deputy Randy Gean will be retiring next week and Velvet Arnold was elected by the commission to serve on the county road board.

A native of McKenzie, McCadams has been a long-time resident of Henry County and is an Outdoors Commentator for WENK/WTPR.

Wade Bourne of the Hall of Fame made the presentation and noted that McCadams was inducted by acclimation by members of the selection committee. “That’s rare,” he said. “Many are nominated from all around the country, but few are selected. I just wanted you to know how much he is recognized nationally.”

Bourne said McCadams was selected for his many community activities and achievements, including the annual Casting for a Cure tournament he hosts.

McCadams received a standing ovation from the commissioners and he thanked Bourne for the honor. “This is precious,” he said. “I really appreciate this. I caught my first fish 58 years ago and fortunately, I’ve made my living doing something I love.”

Later in the meeting Sheriff Monte Belew announced that Gean will be retiring and said a reception will be held from 3-5 p.m. September 30 in his honor at the fairgrounds. “We’ll serve snacks, punch and cake and tell stories,” Belew said.

Belew asked that the commissioners approve a resolution which would authorize the sheriff to award an office his service weapon upon retirement. “Randy has 27 years of service in and he definitely falls in the category” of deserving the honor, Belew said.

In other business, the commission conducted an election to fill the road board vacancy in the 4th district that was left with the retirement of Keith Hopkins. Two candidates put their names in for it: Velvet Arnold and Jeff Thompson.

Both spoke before the commission before the vote. Arnold is a secretary at Henry County High School, before which she was secretary at the Grove School. Arnold noted that she previously was a member of the road board after her father, Dell Carter, resigned from the board and she filled his seat.

Arnold said, “I understand the importance of the road board and the importance of caring about your community and your district.”

Thompson said he has been a lifelong resident of the 4th district and is a farmer and that he would be honored to serve. “I would do my best for the people and the safety of people,” he said.

The vote was 11 for Arnold and 2 for Thompson.

After the vote, Dell Carter, who also serves as county commissioner, said that Thompson called him a few days ago and Carter told him he would be abstaining from the vote. “Jeff told me, ‘No, you need to support your daughter’. I just wanted you to know that about Jeff,” Carter said.

The commission also approved the sale of a tract of land on Sparks Street to the Sparks Street Church of Christ for $2,500. The property was available due to tax delinquency. The land was appraised at $2,500.

County Sheriff Monte Belew, left, and Chief Deputy Randy Gean share a laugh after the meeting. Gean announced his pending retirement. (McFarlin photo).

Velvet Arnold, right, sworn in to the board road by County Clerk Donna Craig. (McFarlin photo).


Weapons, Drugs Seized In Drug-Free Zone


Capt. Damon Lowe and Deputy Jamie Myrick look over seized items. (HCSO photo).


By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-A Paris man has been arrested and charged with possession of drugs and weapons in a “Drug-Free School Zone” and local law enforcement anticipates more arrests and indictments to follow as the investigation continues into a local “marijuana distribution ring”.

Arrested was Josh Enoch, age 33, of 213 N. Lake Street, which is across the street from Ogburn Park.

Officers with the Metro Crime Unit conducted a search warrant at his home and found a felony amount of high grade marijuana, packaging materials, digital scales and drug paraphernalia, along with a stockpile of weapons. The officers also found numerous baggies of marijuana packaged for re-sale.

According to a press release issued by the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, officers seized rifles, a handgun, shotgun and an SKS assault rifle, along with ammunition and extra magazines.

Enoch was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to re-sell, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony.

And because two small children were present in the home, Enoch was charged with child neglect and abuse.

Bond was set at $5,000.


Paris Man Charged With Shooting At Vehicle


By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Paris, Tenn.-A Paris man is being held in the Henry County Jail on $50,000 bond on felony assault and theft charges after he allegedly stole a car trailer and then later in the day shot at a vehicle on Old Paris-Murray Rd.

Billy Blankenship, age 67, of 7745 Old Paris-Murray Rd. was arrested by Henry County Sheriff’s deputies Friday night on Hwy. 641 N near the Highway 140 intersection. Blankenship is charged with aggravated assault and theft.

According to the report from the sheriff’s office, deputies were called to a Foundry Hill home earlier in the day where a relative of Blankenship’s reported the theft of a 20-foot trailer. The report indicated the trailer’s owner suspected Blankenship of the theft and told deputies that Blankenship had been acting irrationally in recent days.

Deputy Jim Higgins found the trailer at Blankenship’s home, but did not find Blankenship.

The search for Blankenship was continued later that night and Sgt. David Powell was notified that a man driving a red pickup had fired a shot at another vehicle on Old Paris-Murray Rd. The description of the truck matched Blankenship’s.

As deputies searched the area, Blankenship pulled onto Highway 641 in front of the deputies. As deputies tried to take him into custody, Blankenship struggled and was subdued by a taser by Sgt. Clyde Sulcer.

Deputies seized a Remington rifle and two 9 mm Ruger handguns from Blankenship’s truck.


Shots Fired Throughout Union City


By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Union City, Tenn.-Union City Police are investigating gunshots at two locations in the city Sunday night and in the early morning hours Monday.

Officers were first called to the East Gate Village Apartments on Nash Street around 7 p.m. Sunday by the security guard at the apartment complex. The guard said he heard shots and when he and his partner went outside to investigate, they heard several more.

Officers found six spent 9 mm shell casings in the northbound lane of the 400 block of Nash St. and seven shell casings in the southbound lane in the 600 block. They also found two bullet holes in the fence surrounding the apartments.

At least one witness had to take cover in the parking lot as the shots were being fired.

At 1:40 a.m. today, officers were called to the 600 block of Pierce St. on a report of more shots fired in the area of the Summer Street Apartments.

Several witnesses heard shots and officers did locate spent rounds between 612 and 614 Pierce St. and another in the street.


Couple Arrested On Meth Possession Charges


By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director

Martin, Tenn.-A couple were arrested on charges of possession of meth after Weakley County Sheriff’s Office deputies obtained a search warrant for the room in which they were staying at a Martin motel.

Arrested was Kayla Nicole Copeland, age 28, of Martin; and Dewond Estes of Battle Creek, Michigan. They were arrested in the back seat of a car at the intersection of Lindell and Jackson Streets.

Events began to unfold as deputies arrived to execute the search warrant and saw the pair leaving the room and walk to a convenience store nearby. After being in the store a short time, they came out and got into the rear seat of a parked car. The car was driven by another person and deputies followed it to the Lindell Street intersection.

Deputy Chris Crocker observed a ziplock bag under a baby’s car seat in the rear seat that contained what appeared to be meth. A child was in the car seat at the time.

The driver gave permission to search her car. 9˝ ounces of crystal meth was recovered from the back seat of the car.

The driver was determined to be not involved. She said she was approached by Estes who told her he needed a ride to the other side of town and said he had $20 and a knife.

Average selling price for a gram of meth is $100 a gram on the street, according to Capt. Randall McGowan. At that price, 9 ˝ ounces would be worth $27,000.

Both were charged with possession of meth with intent to resell.

Two Charged With Break-In Near Martin

Martin, Tenn.-The Weakley County Sheriff’s Office has arrested two people in connection with a break-in and theft last week near Martin.

Arrested are: Bradley D. Wiles, age 41, of Union City; and Tristian Macnair Ezell, age 32, of Martin.

Wiles is charged with aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000 and was charged in Dyer County with evading arrest after he ran from deputies there when they attempted to take him into custody. He will be returned to Weakley County after the Dyer County charges are dealt with.

Ezell was charged with theft over $1,000.

The break-in occurred Wednesday on Newsome Road near Martin and taken were several items, including a television and firearms. On Friday, Investigator Marty Plunk recovered the television in Dyer County.


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