Ribbon cutting officially opens Wilder Highway
County sets record with voter turnout
Two Sparta men arrested for recent shooting
cutting officially opens Wilder Highway
Becky Meredith/OCN staff
The ribbon cutting held Thursday, Nov. 4 at the bottom of Cub
Mountain to celebrate the official reopening of Highway 85 had around
40 persons in attendance. Present were TDOT Commissioner Gerald
Nicely, local dignitaries, Chamber of Commerce board members, Johnny
Fred Coleman, of Mid-State Construction, and Tennessee Department
of Transportation workers.
The section of Wilder Highway that leads up Cub Mountain
is officially reopened, as of Thursday, Nov. 4, when a ribbon cutting
ceremony was held at the bottom of the mountain to recognize the
road's recent repair.
A major landslide in the spring of 1999 destroyed
much of the road going up the mountain, forcing those who commute
from Crawford, Hanging Limb, Vines Ridge, Cliff Springs, Twinton,
Wilder, and Davidson to take an alternate and out-of-the-way route
to get to Livingston.
County officials requested help from then TDOT Commissioner
Bruce Saltsman Sr. The request, however, was declined.
Richard "Ossie" Mitchell, who was county
executive at the time, and Joe Garrett, who was road commissioner
then, decided to do something about the state of the road to at
least make it usable for local traffic.
A bypass was quickly built around the area where the
road caved in, and "Road Closed" signs were posted to
discourage through traffic.
The problem was once again brought to TDOT's attention
in 2003, during a visit current TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely
made to Overton County.
He was taken to Cub Mountain to see the dangerous
condition of Wilder Highway. He took immediate action, setting in
motion an inspection of the road and development of a plan to improve
the road to make it safe.
Initial studies estimated the cost of reconstructing
a new road around the slide area at $15 million, according to TDOT
Commissioner Gerald Nicely.
"After careful consideration and study, we determined
that the most economical and feasible plan was to just slightly
relocate a small portion of State Route 85 and improve the repair
and slide area where we could," Commissioner Nicely said. "We
wanted to lessen the inconvenience experienced by local motorists."
Using funding acquired from TDOT's maintenance budget,
a project to relocate Highway 85 was started in August 2004. This
$250,000 project was constructed entirely by TDOT maintenance forces
and was completed by the end of last month.
"We are very pleased that the road is open again
and to be able to assist the people of Overton County," Nicely
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sets record with voter turnout
Though not reaching the projected turnout of 10,000
voters, the Thursday, Nov. 4 General Election drew the largest voter
turnout ever in Overton County, with 8,605 votes cast, outpacing
the last Presidential Election in 2000, which drew 7,626 Overton
Overton County's voters were a minority in Tennessee,
choosing Democrat Presidential candidate John Kerry by 577 votes
over incumbent Republican George W. Bush. Overton was one of only
18 Tennessee counties voting for Senator Kerry. President Bush carried
the state by 350,000 votes and went on to win reelection by more
than 3 million votes nationwide, taking 286 Electoral College votes
to Kerry's 252.
Kerry received 4,518 votes in Overton County, and
Bush received 3,941. The 577 vote margin was much closer than in
the 2000 Presidential Election when Democrat Al Gore received 1,631
more than Bush.
Independent Ralph Nader received 27 votes in Overton
County, Michael Badnarik received 14 votes, and Michael Anthony
Peroutka received 10 votes.
Incumbent Bart Gordon easily won reelection to the
6th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives,
defeating Republican challenger Nick Demas 64 percent to 34 percent.
In Overton County, Gordon received 5,733 votes to Demas' 1,596.
Independent J. Patrick Lyons received 51 votes, and Norman R. Saliba
State Representative John Mark Windle received 6,667
complimentary votes in his unopposed bid for reelection.
Locally, Billy James Parrott was elected to fill the
vacant 2nd District County Commission seat. Parrott received 716
votes, and Leon Robbins received 534.
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Sparta men arrested for recent shooting
Two White County men have been arrested and charged
with the October 24 shooting of James David Snell, according to
Livingston Police Department.
Snell, 28, of Doak Street, suffered a gunshot to
the groin that Sunday afternoon after he reportedly gave directions
to two individuals in an early 1990s model white 4-door Chevrolet
Cavalier, who stopped near his home at the intersection of Doak
and Oakland Park streets.
The victim was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in
Chattanooga, where he was treated for his injuries. He was reportedly
released from the hospital the next day and returned home.
Brandon Sparkman, 19, and Jonathan Parks, 19, both
of Sparta, are being held at Overton County Jail under a $50,000
They were scheduled to appear before General Sessions
Judge John Officer on Tuesday, Nov. 9 to answer charges of Aggravated
Assault with a Deadly Weapon.
Officials have not yet revealed a motive for the shooting
to Overton County News.
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Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570