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80 Years Ago

Archives 02-13-2008


Fire destroys Carr Avenue home
Eleven month-old tornado victim goes home

School Board meeting held February 5
Items being accepted for Macon victims
Overton County Legislative Body meeting held Monday

Fire destroys Carr Avenue home

Carson Oliver photo
Firefighters from Livingston Fire Department work to extinguish a fire that destroyed the Carr Avenue home of Tracy Phillips and Larry Johnson on Friday morning, Feb. 8. According to reports, Johnson had taken two children to school and Phillips was asleep when a smoke alarm went off, awakening her. When Johnson returned around 7:45 a.m., he found the home in flames. Phillips had crawled out on the back porch.

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Eleven month-old tornado victim goes home

Courtesy of Anne Rayner/
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Cory Noble holds his son, Kyson Stowell, at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Kyson, who was covered in scratches and bruises, was treated for a collapsed lung.

Kyson Miles Stowell, 11 months-old, made national news last week when firefighters found the child more than 400 feet from the rubble of his home after a tornado destroyed his home and took the life of his mother, 23 year-old Kerri Beth Stowell.

In addition to the loss of his mother, Kerri, 11-month-old Kyson Stowell’s family also lost everything they owned in the devastating tornado that struck Castilian Springs.

The family appealed to the public for help last week as Kyson was discharged from the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Kyson arrived at the Children’s Hospital during the early morning hours of Feb. 6, and remained in the Pediatric Emergency Department for several hours, before being admitted for treatment of a collapsed lung.

Kyson’s grandfather, Douglas Stowell, described the scene immediately after the storm.

“After the first round of storms, I drove to check on my daughter. As I approached where their house used to be, I saw a firefighter crouched down in the field holding what looked like a baby, and I knew it was my grandson, Kyson,” Stowell said. “I jumped out of the truck and ran over. I ripped off my shirt and threw it on my grandson, because we didn’t have blankets or anything.”

Kyson is the great-grandson of Jimmy and Mildred Cox of Lafayette. Mr. Cox has a radio program that airs on WLIV each Monday and Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. He is the former pastor of Landmark Missionary Baptist Church in Allons.

Brenda Ledbetter, of Livingston, has been a close friend of the Cox family for many years. She said the Cox family has many friends in the Overton County area, and hopes that they will support the Cox and Stowell families as they live through this tragedy.

“I’d like to say to everyone, please keep their family in your prayers.”
The family has set up a fund for Kyson. Donations can be made to the Kyson Miles Stowell Trust at any branch of SunTrust Bank, or by calling (615) 340-0249.


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School Board meeting held February 5

By Dewain E. Peek,
OCN staff

Overton County Board of Education held the regular monthly meeting Tuesday, Feb. 5, with members Lenard Ledbetter, Tonia Sells, and Joey Smith absent.

A motion to approve a letter written by Livingston Mayor Curtis Hayes to request a traffic light at the intersection of Preston Street, Highway 111 Bypass, and Melvin Johnson Drive was approved, with funding for the project to be voted on at a subsequent School Board meeting.

School Board Chairman Tim Vaughn said, “We’re voting right now to write the letter; we will address it if we can fund it at a later time.”

Mayor Hayes spoke to the School Board about traffic lights during the work session that preceded the Board meeting. He said the Town of Livingston received 100% funding for a traffic light at the intersection of Upper Hilham Road, First Street, and the bypass, which should help with traffic going to and from Livingston Middle School.

The state would allow a traffic light at the Preston Street intersection, but would not fund it, according to Mayor Hayes. A traffic light at the Highway 52 intersection with Melvin Johnson Drive was not recommended, but adding a third lane may be possible.

Quarterly reports for the quarter ending December 31, 2007, were approved for General Purpose, Federal Projects, Central Cafeteria, and Educational Debt Service Funds.

Applications were approved for the following grants:

•Inclusion Grant of $65,000 to fund inclusion aides at the schools of greatest need.

•SRA Grant of $35,000 to purchase consumable books necessary to continue the program.

Board member Dolphus Dial asked which schools would get the aides.
Director of Schools Mike Gilpatrick said, “We don’t know yet. Right now, we’re at the schools that were on notice.

“Livingston Middle School was on notice in Special Ed reading, and the high school we’re on notice on the graduation rate..”

He said Rickman had been on notice but is now off.

“If one were to go on, we will focus on the school that might have the greatest need for improvement in a particular area.”

The School Board approved in-house amendment #2 to I.D.E.A. Part B Sub Fund 901 and in-house amendment #1 to I.D.E.A. Part B Sub Fund 902.

The first reading of policy 5.301 Emergency and Legal Leave was approved.

Wilson Elementary School teacher Roxie Phillips’ retirement was approved.

Director Gilpatrick said, “She was one dedicated teacher, and we wish her well.”

Director of Schools Mike Gilpatrick issued the Director’s Report to the school board. Actions taken by the school director are as follows:

Saundra Harris was hired as a teacher at Wilson Elementary School, effective January 14, 2008, as recommended by Principal Harold Watson.

Paige Pendergrass was hired as a substitute bus attendant on Donna Bournes’ bus, effective January 24, 2008, as recommended by Special Education Supervisor Sheila Pemberton.

Brandi Richardson was hired as an interim teacher at Rickman Elementary, effective January 10, 2008, as recommended by Principal Marsha Wyatt.

Karen (Smith) Peek was transferred from Livingston Middle School to A.H. Roberts Elementary School, effective January 8, 2008, as recommended by Special Education Supervisor Sheila Pemberton.

Penny Gilliam was hired as an educational assistant at Livingston Middle School, effective January 25, 2008, as recommended by Principal Rick Moles.

Tammy Kennedy and James White were hired as certified substitute teachers.

Hired as non-certified substitute teachers were Megan Brown, Vicki Brown, Maggie Bowman, Ashley Tharp, and Courtney Deck.

Karen Cowan was hired for a 100-day contract.

Maternity leave was granted for Kelly Pendergrass, beginning January 10, 2008.

Director Gilpatrick informed the Board that Sheila Pemberton, Mark Winningham, and Linda Archer will give a presentation at the Tennessee Department of Education Annual Conference on Special Education to be held in Memphis at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27. Their presentation will be on “Using Specific Interventions To Bridge The Achievement Gap In The Alternative Setting”.

“We’ve had several systems actually visiting our programs,” Director Gilpatrick said.

School Board Chairman Tim Vaughn added, “That’s a pretty big honor there. You don’t get selected to do a session unless you are doing
something right.”

Evaluations of the school director will be conducted at a work session, with a 3.0 on a 5.0 scale being a successful evaluation. The evaluation will use a form from Tennessee School Board Association. The forms will be turned in at the beginning of the work session, and the results will be tallied at the end of the work session. Director Gilpatrick’s contract calls for an
automatic renewal for a third year upon a successful evaluation of his second year, which is nearing its end.

The meeting adjourned.


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Items being accepted for Macon victims

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) is seeking items to help tornado victims in Macon County.

According to TEMA, victims are in dire need of pillows, blankets, bath tissue, trash bags, wash cloths, and bath towels.

Other items needed are first-aid items, 4x4 lumber, cleaning supplies,
shampoo, conditioner, and personal hygiene items.

All donated items should be new.

Cutoff for donations is Friday, Feb. 22.

Drop zones for donations are Overton County Ambulance Service, Overton County E-911, Livingston Police Department, and Overton County Sheriff’s Departement.

To donate items at the Sheriff’s Dept. contact Artina Sidwell, Kristie Garrett, or Tracy Wehr at (931) 823-5635.

Overton County Legislative Body meeting held Monday

By Dewain E. Peek,
OCN staff

Overton County Legislative Body held the regular monthly meeting Monday, Feb. 11, with Commissioners Alan Atnip and Randall Boswell absent.

The commissioners voted to allow County Trustee Peggy Clark to refund money on two parcels of property due to mistakes on tax identification.

Overton County Schools Quarterly Reports was approved, with Commissioners Billie G. Phipps and Jeff Staggs passing on the vote. The two commissioners are serving as bus drivers for the school system.

Approval of the County Quarterly Reports was tabled until next month because the commissioners did not have time to look them over.
Martha Watson, Charlotte Garrett, and Angela Mitchell were approved as notaries at-large.

In committee reports, Commissioner Cindy Robbins reported that school system representatives had met with Overton County Education Association representatives to resolve a matter that has been in mediation.
Director of Schools Mike Gilpatrick was in attendance and told the commissioners, “We have come to the agreement with them to allow a one-time only expenditure of $572 for their insurance premiums.”

He further said the agreement would not require the County Commission to provide any additional funding.

The agreement was reached last Thursday, and was set to be voted on by OCEA members on Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 12.

Before adjourning, Commissioner Bruce Ledford asked County Mayor Kenneth Copeland why he received a list of committee appointments almost two weeks after the appointments had been made back in November.

Mayor Copeland said the list had been handed out after a meeting.
Commissioner Ledford said, “They’ve never been approved openly. It says here that the appointees are subject to confirmation by the County Commission.”

Mayor Copeland asked the commissioners if they wanted to approve the committees, and a motion was made and seconded to approve the committees, then the commissioners gave a verbal vote of “aye”.

But Commissioner Gregg Nivens pointed out the rules must be suspended to add anything to the agenda.

A vote was taken to suspend the rules and add the committee appointments to the agenda, then the committees were approved.

The meeting adjourned.

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