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80 Years Ago

Archives 02-28-2001




Diploma Presented To War Veterans
Bond Set In Murder Case On Monday
Civil War Heritage Area Receives Approval


Diploma Presented To War Veterans

Becky Meredith/OCN staff

On hand for the presentation of diplomas were, front row from left, Avle Garrett, James Edens, Gene Martin, Willard Bilbrey, Freeman Thompson, back row, Paul Taylor, George L. Holton, Kersey E. Stover, Overton County Director of Schools Bill Needham, and Overton County Board of Education Chairman Milton Raines.


Overton County veterans who were unable to receive their high school diplomas due to their service during wartime were awarded official diplomas by the Overton County Board of Education on Friday, Feb. 23 at the Central Education Office.

These diplomas were made possible by the Overton County School System and the Tennessee State Legislature. The diplomas were signed by Randall Dial, Overton County Board of Education Chairman Milton Raines, Overton County Director of Schools Bill Needham, State Representative John Mark Windle, and the state commissioner of education.

Director Needham, who made the presentations, stated to the veterans that he felt it was an honor to make the presentation and to have his signature on their diplomas.


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Bond Set In Murder Case On Monday

By Robert Forsman

A $250,000 bond was set in Overton County Criminal Court Monday, Feb. 26 for Kenneth Rich, 47, who is charged with the December 17 shooting death of 17-year-old Greg Innman.

The Overton County Grand Jury issued a true bill on December 21, charging Rich with first-degree murder.

According to reports, Rich was at the home of Lillian Peters when an altercation occurred. Rich allegedly shot Innman in the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun. As Peters struggled with Rich for the shotgun, a 14-year-old at the scene reportedly shot Rich with a .410 shotgun.

Rich, who was hospitalized following the shooting, was transported to the courtroom for a bond hearing before Judge Leon Burns from a DOC special needs confinement facility in Nashville.

Rich's attorney Public Defender Art Johnson told Judge Burns, "He's currently being held in a special needs facility. If he needs treatment, he needs treatment. If he's being held for medical treatment, I won't object.

"But if he's not, he needs to be confined in Overton County, where I can speak with him easily. You need an act of congress to see him in Nashville."

Assistant District Attorney Owen Burnett said, "Of course he's being held for medical reasons. He's had abdominal surgery for wounds. He'll need further abdominal surgery."

Judge Burns ordered Rich to be held at the DOC confinement facility under a $250,000 bond and set the case for tracking on the May 2 Overton County Criminal Court docket.


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Civil War Heritage Area Receives Approval

Final approval has been given for an agreement establishing and implementing the Tennessee Civil War Heritage Area, which will be used to promote tourism and economic development in Overton County.

During a ceremony held at the Stones River National Battle field in Murfreesboro, U.S. Representative Bart Gordon said "Numerous battles were fought on Tennessee land during that period of our nation's past. Because the state played such a key role in the Civil War, it's important we conserve, interpret and commemorate the places where our history unfolded.

"The heritage area will help visitors, and those of us who live in Tennessee, have a better understanding of the state's Civil War legacy. It also offers opportunities for tourism, promotion, education, and economic development in every Tennessee county.

Civil War battles, skirmishes and other activity in Overton County included Livingston on Dec. 15, 1863, and March 18, 1865.

Through a proposal written by James Huhta of the Middle Tennessee State University Center for Historic Preservation, Gordon sponsored legislation creating the Tennessee Civil War Heritage Area in 1996, one of only 18 congressionally designated heritage areas in the entire country.

Gov. Don Sundquist then directed the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation to create a compact with the Tennessee Historical Commission/Tennessee Wars Commission to implement the area. After a series of public meetings and extensive citizen input, the compact was crafted and approved recently by the U.S. Interior Department.

"Tennessee was affected by the Civil War more profoundly than any other state," Sund-quist said. "This important project honors the lasting impact the war had on our state's course."

MTSU's Huhta agreed.

"This heritage area is envisioned not only to present the military aspects of the war, but it will also give a little insight into the state's post-war experiences, he explained. "Interpretive materials will be designed to tell a tale of women rising to leadership positions, of disabled veterans coming home from the war, of the emergence of black communities out of slavery."

Congress has authorized a $10 million appropriation for the heritage area, not to exceed $1 million in a single year, to be used for maps, exhibits, brochures, films and other related items. The federal money requires a 50 percent match from non-federal funds. No money will be used for land acquisition or capital construction.

Nearly 100 million people visit cultural and heritage sites in the U.S. each year, and Tennessee ranks second only to Virginia in the number of visits to Civil War sites.

Gordon added, "Tennessee heritage is certainly rich. This heritage area will allow us to commemorate sites significant to our history and well-being."



Overton County News
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