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80 Years Ago

Archives 10-22-2008



Area man dies from yellow jacket stings
Amy Hollars appointed 13th District judge

Legislative Body approves Health Dept. renovation


Darren Oliver photo
Strange characters have been seen taking rides on Gene Robbins’ tractors at Glenn Robbins’ car lot on Old Hilham Highway recently, just one of the many fall scenes popping up around Overton County as Halloween nears.

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Area man dies from yellow jacket stings
By Mary Jo Denton,
Herald-Citizen staff
with permission

A young Cookeville man who fell into a coma after being stung by yellow jackets last week has died.

Brandon Charles Thomas, 25, of Holladay Road, apparently died from a severe allergic reaction to stings by yellow jackets, a family member said.

Thomas had just put his grandfather’s tractor into a barn at his own home when it happened last Wednesday, according to Reggie Shanks, the young man’s maternal grandfather.

“He was always helping me around the farm; he loved the farm,” Shanks said. “And he put the tractor up and got stung by some yellow jackets out there.”

Almost immediately, Thomas began to feel ill, his throat swelling, the grief-stricken grandfather said. Family members and neighbors rushed to help him, and someone worked to keep his air passages open until Putnam Ambulance medics arrived, Shanks said.

“They rushed him to the hospital and he was in a coma. A yellow jacket
had stung him on the nose and another on his shoulder and they said they found a dead yellow jacket inside his clothes when they got him to the hospital.”

And though he received immediate and continuing medical treatment, he remained in a coma and died Friday, Shanks said.

“It’s just so hard to believe this happened,” he said. “They told us it might have been the fact that he had been stung a few days ago by some hornets, which didn’t seem to bother him, and then got these other stings. He was a big healthy boy, tall and strong.”

His grandson worked for Tennessee Department of Transportation and had many friends and a large, loving family, Shanks said.

“He was such a good person.”

A family friend said Thomas died surrounded by a room full of family members and friends.

Walter Cliff said, “He was a sweet person, a strong young man with no history of bad health and no history of allergies to bees, and yet he was brought down by three or four stings.”

Brandon and his wife, Kristie Thomas, have two sons and a daughter. He is the son of Tim and Pam Shanks Thomas of Cookeville.

An obituary for him is being published elsewhere in today’s Overton County News.

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Amy Hollars appointed 13th District judge

Amy Hollars was sworn in by retired Chancellor Vernon Neal.

Governor Phil Bredesen has appointed Amy V. Hollars, of Livingston, to serve as special circuit court judge for the Thirteenth Judicial District, effective immediately.

Hollars is a solo practitioner in Overton County and is also city attorney for the Town of Livingston, a capacity in which she has served since January.

She informed Overton County News that she would be turning in her resignation as city attorney on Tuesday, Oct. 21, because she cannot serve in both capacities during the temporary appointment.

“It is an honor to have the confidence of Governor Bredesen, and I am happy to be able to help out by serving in this capacity on a short term basis,” Hollars said. “I will bring to this appointment a strong work ethic and a commitment to fairness and good work for the people of the Thirteenth Judicial District.”

The Thirteenth Judicial District includes Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, and White counties.

Gov. Bredesen said, “I appreciate Amy’s willingness to step in and serve the state as special judge during the absence of Judge John Turnbull. I believe her skills, education, and practice experience will serve her well in this temporary capacity.”

Judge Turnbull submitted a notice of physical disability due to a ruptured disc in his neck and back surgery. Tennessee law provides a process for the appointment of a special temporary judge in the event sickness or disability prevents a state judge from carrying out his or her duties.

TCA Section 17-2-116(a)(1) states: “the governor shall appoint and commission a special judge who shall have the same qualifications as the regular judge to attend and hold such courts for and during the absence or disability of any such judges.”

Hollars, 41, holds degrees from University of the South and from Vanderbilt University. She received her Doctor of Jurisprudence from University of Tennessee College of Law. Since 2002, she has served on the board of directors of Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands.

She is a former partner in the Knoxville firm Hodges, Doughty and Carson.

The daughter of John Turnbull, she is married to James Hollars, and they have three children.


Legislative Body approves Health Dept. renovation

By Dewain E. Peek,
OCN staff

Overton County Legislative Body held the regular monthly meeting Tuesday, Oct. 14, with Commissioners Stanley Carter Jr., Rick Moles, Gregg Nivens, Billie G. Phipps, and Chris Speck absent.

The County Commission normally meets on the second Monday of each month but the meeting date was changed to Tuesday because of the Columbus Day holiday.

Overton County Health Department Director Andy Langford addressed the County Commission about renovating the Health Department building, which was built in 1986.

“The building was built by this county 22 years ago,” he said, ”and the facility itself is a fine facility.”

He said the building just needs some renovations and informed the County
Commision of the volume of visits through the facility over the past few fiscal years: 2005-2006 - 8,600 visits; 2006-2007 - 9,900 visits; and 2007-2008 - 10,831.

“We are progressing up about a thousand per year,” Langford said.

The department has secured a state grant of $230,000 specifically tied to building projects.

“The Overton County Health Department is out of standard, and has been for several years, on HIPAA violations,” he said. “When I say that, I’m talking about confidentiality issues.”

Langford said the open area with stations encircling violates the privacy rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

“We need to remodel the front area, and that’s what this is all about,” he said.

The renovation would create six to seven check-in, check-out stations, according to Langford, and would also include expanding the pharmacy.

“Like I said, the building itself is a fine facility, we’ve just simply outgrown it as far as the numbers of people we have, the clientele that are coming through it,” Langford said.

Bids have been taken and the low bidder was Johnson Builders, of Sparta, at $268,000, according to Langford.

“The additional square footage will add about 1,500 square feet,” he said.
The project is expected to take approximately 3 months to complete, with the Health Department open throughout that time.

A 3-year capital outlay note, not to exceed $58,000, was approved for the Health Department construction.

A budget amendment in the amount of $10,543 was approved to place funds from insurance recovery back into the Sheriff’s Department budget to repair vehicles.

A budget amendment for the Highway Department was approved with $21,000 going toward equipment and $8,000 going for a truck and trailer.

A request from the Highway Department to discontinue purchasing tile for private property owners was presented to the County Commission by Commissioner Darwin Clark.

“The road superintendent is wanting to stop buying tile for the county.” Clark said. “What we’ve been doing in the past, anybody who’s got a new home, we’ve been buying the tile, we’ve been putting it in, and we’ve been furnishing the rocks.”

If the homeowner buys the tile within the county, the Highway Dept. will pick it up and take it to the job site and install it, with the county still furnishing the rock.

“Tile’s gone up tremendously,” Clark said.

The request was approved.

Sheriff W.B. Melton addressed the County Commission and said the local Sears store, which is closing, has given the Sheriff’s Dept. eight twin size mattresses and one box springs. They are not the right size for the jail, so Sheriff Melton asked for permission to sell them to the public. The commissioners agreed to the sale.

Road Superintendent Joe Garrett’s bond was approved, as was the bond for Assessor of Property Larry King and Gary Smith and Kara Boone of the Tax Assessor’s Office.

A vote on appointing Sam Hines to Library Board, as recommended by the Library Board, received 7 yes votes, and 3 no. Commissioners Alan Atnip, Randall Boswell, Jean Moore, Billy Parrott, Cindy Robbins, Jeff Staggs, and Johnie Webb voted yes, and Commissioners Ben Danner, Darwin Clark, and Bruce Ledford voted no.

In committee reports, Commissioner Atnip reported that Overton County Nursing Home recently had its yearly inspection and had three minor deficiencies.

The following were approved as notaries at-large: Mark Gore, Kathy Little, Tina Williams, Brenda Clark, Angie Hite, Bryan Clayton, Cathy L.
Oakley, Judy Reagan, Christie Key, Rebecca J. Raines, Lisa Ledbetter, Jerry Doyle Hall, Danny Lee Langford, and Kathleen Bilbrey.

The meeting adjourned.


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Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston' Tennessee 38570
tel 931.823.6485
fax 931.823.6486

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