JACKSON, Tenn.–Community members are finding new ways to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

From 5 to 8 Thursday night, the ladies of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority partnered with McAlister’s Deli for their third annual fundraiser. Guests could order any meal and 10% of proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.

“We have a few survivors in our chapter. Each of us have survivors in our family. I, personally, have survivors in my family, so it’s just very, very important to us,” said Latoshia Chism, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority member.

They say they are thankful to those who came out and supported this event. They look forward to raising even more money next year.

JACKSON, Tenn.–Jackson’s first Shakespeare in the park opened Thursday night.

At 7:30 Thursday night, families and friends gathered at The Courtyard of the Suites of Larue to watch four free performances of the complete works of William Shakespeare. It features all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays performed in 97 minutes by three actors. Directors say the play is fast paced and filled with laughter.

“It’s a real important to give people the opportunity to be exposed to the arts and culture and certainly making something free and open to the general public is a way to break down barriers for people that may not be able to afford something to buy a ticket to see another show,” Said Jenci Spradin, Jackson Madison County Library.

Parents with young children should be advised that the show includes innuendo, physical humor and mildly crude language.

HAYWOOD COUNTY, Tenn — A surprise announcement from a Haywood county leader means big changes on the way for the entire community.

Chief Deputy Mike Smothers of the Haywood County Sheriff’s Department was next in line to lead the department since the passing of Sheriff Melvin Bond last month, but in a detailed resignation letter Smothers said “The ever-challenging work of law enforcement officers is mis-understood and most definitely under appreciated. I pray the Haywood county commission, and ultimately the voters of Haywood county, will make the best choice for the next Sheriff of Haywood county. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and I look forward to the next chapter.”

In less than two weeks the Haywood County Sheriff’s department will be searching for a new leader. With the sudden news of Chief Deputy Mike Smothers announcement to retire October 31st, the county commission now has a big job on their hands.

“The sheriff position is very vital for safety purpose as well as the community streets and the jail,” Commissioner Robert Green said.

Next month county commissioners will meet to appoint a new sheriff.

County Mayor, Franklin Smith said “As far as I know everything is running okay right now, but I wouldn’t want to go 2 weeks without somebody in charge,”

“Probably 12 or 13 days without a sheriff if we don’t act quickly,” Green said.

Mayor Smith said if Smothers honors his resignation letter then they have to find someone to take over until commissioners can have a formal meeting.

“We go to the next senior person on the sheriff’s office would take over for that 2 weeks until somebody’s appointed,” Mayor Smith said.

Officials say more than 5 candidates have applied for the job. “It’s kind of an urgency not only for the employee, but for the community as a whole,” Green said.

Along with choosing an interim sheriff, the superintendent of the jail is also out on maternity leave.

“They’ve had a tough 6 to 8 weeks, but they’ve held in there they’ve done their jobs and I certainly would encourage them and the county is behind them 100%,” Mayor Smith said.

County leaders said with the department experiencing so many changes it’s important for them to stay strong.

“Just hang in there,” Green said. “County commission is coming to the rescue,”

Mayor Smith said he spoke with Chief Deputy Mike Smothers and has discussed the possibility of staying on as the interim sheriff until the next county commission meeting, no word yet on smothers decision.

County commissioners will meet November 13th to choose the next leader of the sheriff’s office.

LEXINGTON, Tenn. — The Lexington Lady Tigers knocked off the Chester County Lady Eagles 8-1 to win the Region 7-AA championship.

DECATURVILLE, Tenn. — Attorneys appeared before a judge Thursday morning in Decaturville, representing eight former Decatur County employees charged with theft and forgery.

“This involves whether or not time was turned in and whether it was approved or not,” said Mark Donahoe, representing former Decatur County chief deputy William Scott Cagle. “That’s the literal issue here, if there’s documentation to back it up.”

To avoid a conflict of interest, the local district attorney’s office will not prosecute the case.

“They’ve asked for another prosecutor to be appointed, and we’ve learned that the prosecutor is out of Dickson,” Donahoe said.

Donahoe’s client, William Scott Cagle, pleaded not guilty Sep. 29 to two counts of theft and two counts of forgery.

Not guilty pleas were also entered for former Decatur County Mayor Micheal Smith, his wife, Doris Smith, former secretary Martha Graves, former solid waste director Robert Hayes, former EMA director James Cagle, former EMS director Mark Hayes and former jail administrator Pamela Brasher.

“We’re very anxious to get this to a jury,” Donahoe said. “We have the documentation we think supports that our clients just didn’t do a thing wrong.”

The former employees are set to appear back in court Nov. 16.

HENDERSON, Tenn. — Freed-Hardeman University officially welcomed their new president Thursday.

“Freed-Hardeman’s 16th president, President David Shannon,” the new president’s son Colton Shannon said.

Everyone in the Loyd Auditorium stands to their feet as David Shannon walks to the podium for his inaugural address. The Freed-Hardeman alumnus and pastor now officially takes over as president.

“The power of Freed-Hardeman’s past is because God has surrounded her,” Freed-Hardeman University President David Shannon said. “The proof is in the present and the optimism of that is in the future.”

Some students said being there to witness a new president take over is a remarkable experience.

“It’s kind of cool to be at Freed when there’s that change from old to new,” senior Jacob Hollis said. “So it’s kind of cool to be a part of that history.”

“David Shannon presents a really different atmosphere,” junior Jesse Forkum said. “It’s kind of cool to be a part of the shift.”

Even though he only has four months under his belt, the students are excited for what President Shannon brings to Freed-Hardeman.

“He likes to interact with the student body,” Forkum said. “That’s something that the whole student body has welcomed.”

“Really personable, and you can tell he has the greatest intentions for the school and the student body,” Hollis said.

President Shannon outlined specific things he wants to get done during his tenure.

“We must continue to be dedicated to making sure that every guest that leaves our campus leaves knowing this is a hospitable place,” President Shannon said.

“All of those are very good points to make, and I’m very happy that he’s going to be leading our university from here on out,” Forkum said.

During the ceremony, President Shannon announced donors have given $5.5 million to various scholarship endowments.

JACKSON, Tenn. — Local elementary school students participated Thursday in the world’s largest earthquake drill.

It’s called the Great American ShakeOut. It’s an annual earthquake drill that started in southern California.

Andrew Jackson Elementary School registers for this event every year. Students and faculty dropped down and got under desks.

The principal of Andrew Jackson Elementary says it is very important to have these drills and to make sure everyone is safe.

“It is important. Safety is our No. 1 priority,” Principal Ramonica Dorsey said. “We just want to make sure that everybody is safe, our faculty, staff as well as our students while they’re here at Andrew Jackson. So we want to make sure that we go through different drills every year whether it’s tornado drills, earthquake drills, fire drills that we are required to have.”

Tennessee felt a 3.6 magnitude earthquake on Oct. 15.

JACKSON, Tenn. — The Jackson Beer Board handed down punishments Thursday for five local businesses accused of selling alcohol to a minor. The board met with representatives from each business.

“The beer board takes underage beer sales very seriously,” Jackson Beer Board Chairman Charles Rahm said. “It’s not something that we’re going to tolerate.”

The city said the Shell on Oil Well Road, the Exxon on Channing Way, and three Dollar General stores located on Kenworth Boulevard, Old Hickory Boulevard and North Parkway all sold beer to a minor during an undercover operation in September.

“Twenty-six properly ID’d and refused to sell, five didn’t,” Jackson City Attorney Lewis Cobb said.

The board suspended Exxon’s beer license for 30 days because Rahm said it is their second offense. The Shell and all three Dollar General stores must pay a $1,500 fine within seven days or lose their license for 30 days, because the board said it is their first offense.

Cobb said it is unusual three Dollar General stores got caught the same night. “Some sort of failure occurred,” he said. “We don’t know exactly whether it was human error or a computer error.”

The city said clerks at Exxon and all three Dollar General stores checked the person’s ID but sold anyway. The city said the clerk at Shell did not check the ID.

“There will be consequences and sometimes severe consequences when it’s a second and third offense,” Rahm said.

The board also approved a beer permit Thursday for a new sports bar opening on Vann Drive in north Jackson.

JACKSON, Tenn. — A car ran into an apartment building Thursday afternoon in north Jackson.

The car ran off the road around 4 p.m., causing damage at the Villages of Campbell Oaks, located on Willow Oak Lane.

According to officials on scene, no one was injured.

They said the cause is still under investigation.

The car was removed from the scene around 5 p.m.


JACKSON, Tenn. — A man running for governor of Tennessee is traveling from one end of the state to the other in a unique way.

“I’m a cattle farmer from Williamson County,” Bill Lee, Tennessee gubernatorial candidate, said.

Lee is wrapping up his tractor tour of the Volunteer State with stops in West Tennessee.

“We’ve been meeting with farmers and rural communities, whether it’s a vocational/technical school or a rural health provider, and really bringing to light the issues that face rural and agricultural Tennessee,” Lee said.

He visited three counties on Thursday. He parked his tractor like it was his everyday vehicle and got a look at the expansion coming to Bongards Creameries in Humboldt.

“We’ve met the most remarkable people and seen this beautiful state from one end to the other,” Lee said. “We’ve learned what people have on their heart for their communities, and it helps backfill the vision that I have for this state.”

He went inside for a brief history of the company before getting a tour of the factory. Lee says his tour of the state is about raising awareness of the issues facing West Tennessee.

Lee also made stops in Trenton and Dyersburg on Thursday. He has two stops planned for Friday in Tipton and Shelby counties.

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