Overton County News Overton County News - An Award Winning Newspaper - Livingston, Tennessee
homeabout ussubscriptionskids cornerlocal linkscontact us
80 Years Ago

Archives 12-21-2010


Tis the season for Christmas lights
Bowers, girlfriend charged with first degree murder
School Board approves bids for renovations
Firefighters save two structures in recent fires

Tis the season for Christmas lights

Darren Oliver photo
Looking like a postcard, the home of Irene King, Dale King, and Kathy King shows the spirit of the Christmas season with lights, wreaths, and a fresh snowfall. Many homes around the area are decorated for Christmas, and some are pictured in this edition. See Page 16A

top of page

Bowers, girlfriend charged with first degree murder

Bowers as he appeared when booked into jail by the Gas City, IN, Police Department.

By Lyndon Johnson,
OCN staff

Overton County Sheriff’s Department has charged Benjamin Junior Bowers, 22, of Overton County and his 16 year-old girlfriend with first degree murder.

According to Sheriff W.B. Melton, OCSD deputies went to Indiana Monday, Dec. 20 to extradite Bowers and the juvenile, whose name has been withheld from Overton County News by authorities.

According to Indiana State Police Public Information Officer Ron Galaviz, the two had been arrested by the Gas City, IN, Police Department on charges alleging that they stole the car of Hassie Pearl Breeding, 72, who was found dead of an alleged strangling at her home on Moore Road in the Dodson’s Chapel community near Rickman. Bowers is her grandson.

Upon investigation, Overton County Sheriff’s Department reportedly obtained a warrant for the couple’s arrest on charges of robbery, theft, first degree murder, conspiracy to commit first degree murder, and felony murder, according to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Public Information
Officer Kristin Helm.

According to Melton, the juvenile was scheduled to be in Overton County Juvenile Court this morning, however, no information about the proceedings was available before press time. Police have yet to release information regarding a court date for Bowers.

The juvenile is being held in Putnam County Juvenile Detention Center, while Bowers is currently being held in Overton County Justice Center. Melton advised he did not think a bail amount would be set for Bowers.

top of page


School Board approves bids for renovations
By Dewain E. Peek,
OCN staff

Overton County Board of Education approved bids for three renovation projects during the regular monthly meeting held Monday, Dec. 20, with members Kelly Hill, David Sadler Sr., Dolphus Dial, Larry Looper, Lenard Ledbetter, Ricky Dodson, Howard Miller, Ray Smith, and Chairman Houston Robbins present, and Board member Mike Gilpatrick absent.

Edmonds Paving’s low bid of $26,967 for paving at A.H. Roberts Elementary School and at Hilham Elementary School was approved, with $17,000 being for the Hilham paving and $9,967 for the A.H. Roberts paving.

The low bid of $54,700 from R&W was approved for renovations at the old Central Office building.

Sadler asked, “Are we going to get started on that right away?”

Chairman Robbins said the work would begin after the bid was approved.
Dial added, “Hopefully, they’ll start tomorrow.”

The low bid to replace doors not up to code at Rickman, Livingston Middle School, and Allons Elementary was approved at $14,218.

Allons Elementary was approved for an 8th grade field trip to Pigeon Forge on May 12 and 13, 2011.

The 8th grade Beta Club trip to the State Beta Club Convention at Opryland Hotel on November 22 and 23, 2010 was approved.

Carolyn White’s letter of retirement as Central Office bookkeeper was accepted, effective December 31, 2010.

Dustin Wilborn’s letter of resignation was accepted, effective January 2, 2011. His letter stated that he wanted to focus on his business and to complete the requirements of his bachelor’s degree in college.

Second reading was approved to add Overton County Schools Restraint and Isolation Procedures in Overton County Board of Education Policy.

A negotiated agreement between OCEA (Overton County Education Association) and the Overton County Board of Education was approved for the 2010-2011 contract year. The following items were agreed to by both teams: Bonus of $500 paid to all professional employees, August 5, 2010; Definition of Promotion; Notice and Contents of Vacancy Notices/Postings. The Board also agrees to close negotiations and to maintain current contract language on remaining items for the 2010-2011 contract year as requested by OCEA.

The School Board approved the minutes of the November 15, 2010 meeting.

Overton County Director of Schools Matt Eldridge issued the Director’s Report to the School Board. Actions taken by the school director are as follows:

•Granted leave of absence to teacher Dusty Watts, effective January 1, 2011 to the end of the school year.

•Granted extension of medical leave of absence to Rillie Hill through the end of the school year.

•Granted extension of medical leave of absence to Louise Matthews through the end of the school year.

•Hired Lisa Day, effective December 1, 2010, at Allons Elementary as a custodian 5 hours per day and lunchroom monitor 1 hour per day, as recommended by Principal Wayne Sells.

•Hired Robert Boykin, effective December 1, 2010, at Allons Elementary as an educational assistant 2 hours per day, as recommended by Principal Wayne Sells.

•Hired Jennifer Harvey, effective November 9, 2010, at Allons Elementary as an educational assistant, as recommended by Principal Wayne Sells.

•Hired Callie McDonald, effective October 1, 2010, at Allons Elementary as cheerleading coach, as recommended by Principal Wayne Sells.

•Hired Beth Richardson, effective January 10, 2011 to May 15, 2011, to continue the Music Therapy contract originally contracted with Jessica Willis, who is sick and cannot finish this school year, as recommended by Special Education Supervisor Sheila Pemberton.

•Hired Julia Poston, effective November 30, 2010, as assistant principal at Rickman Elementary, as recommended by Principal Amy Brown.

•Hired Glenda Daniel and Regina Monday, effective November 30, 2010, as part-time lunchroom personnel 3.5 hours per day at Rickman Elementary, as recommended by Principal Amy Brown.

•Hired Karen Baltimore at A.H. Roberts Elementary, effective November 30, 2010, to fill in during the absence of Teresa Sells due to medical reasons for the 2010-2011 school year, as recommended by Principal Bridgett Carwile.

•Hired all secondary teaching staff, guidance staff, school psychologists, and all certified substitutes, effective November 16, 2010, to work under the Youth Empowerment Initiative Grant, as recommended by YEI Coordinator Mark Winningham. The program is administered through the school system by Judge John Officer’s office.

•Transferred Beth Smith, effective November 10, 2010, from Allons Elementary to A.H. Roberts Pre-K Annex half-time, 3.5 hours per day, and REACH Academy half-time, 3.5 hours per day, as recommended by Director Matt Eldridge.

•Transferred Crystal Nelson, effective December 14, 2010, to Federal Projects bookkeeper, as recommended by Director Matt Eldridge.

“She requested that transfer,” Director Eldridge said.

•Hired all faculty, staff, and Eva Savage to work in Livingston Academy LEAP’s afterschool program for the 2010-2011 school year, as recommended by Coordinator Julie Miller.

•Hired Joel Poston as a substitute bus driver.

•Hired the following substitute cooks and custodians: Charlotte Huddleston, Beth Dove, Billie Norris, Brandon Wilborn, and Mary Stafford.

•Hired the following non-certified substitute teachers: Linda Sells, Rondi Van Vorce, Danica Cobb, Ashley Bowers, Novona Phillips, and Brittany Wright.

In the work session held prior to the regular monthly meeting, Director Eldridge informed the School Board that changing Livingston Academy from the current block system to 7 periods each day is being considered because, with new standards going into place, the school day needs to be more conducive to learning.

“It’s hard to keep a kid’s attention for an hour and a half,” he said.

The reason for considering 7 periods instead of 6 periods like the school was once set up on is because the 6-period system would not allow for enough credits to be recovered if a student fell behind.

“If we keep it block, we truly are going to have to change the way we’re teaching,” Director Eldridge said.

Another consideration in preparing students with the new standards is the possibility of moving sports practices outside of regular school hours.

Eldridge said Overton County is one of only three systems in Middle Tennessee that still has sports during school, and that is only at Livingston Academy in the Overton County system.

“We may eventually have to go away from that,” he said.

He went on to clarify his feelings about it by saying, “I’m not trying to hurt them, because I love sports, love the coaching part, love the kids getting to be in it.”

Before making a decision on which system will be used next year, Eldridge plans to check with other schools in the state.

“We’re going to look at successful schools and we’re going to have to change something,” he said.

Also in the work session, School Board members appeared to favor having only one work session per month, the one immediately prior to the regular monthly meeting.

top of page

Firefighters save two structures in recent fires

Lyndon Johnson photo
Charred wood smolders after being wheeled outside the building in the background by a forklift at Bartlett Sawmill, located at 210 Sawmill Lane this morning. Trucks from Fairgrounds Volunteer Fire Department supply the crews inside with water to soak any remaining embers. The structure was saved from destruction.

Lyndon Johnson photo
The home of Darrel Smith at 199 Elm Grove Road is blackened inside, and the roof has fallen in due to a fire that engulfed the home Saturday, Dec. 18

By Lyndon Johnson,
OCN staff

One home was saved from ruin and another was destroyed by flames last week, while quick response from area fire departments helped avert possible catastrophe at a local sawmill this morning.

According to Livingston Fire Chief Rocky Dial, the first of the three structure fire calls went out at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 16.

Frefighters responded to the residence of Zelda Carter located at 407 West 4th Street and found an interior wall on fire, Dial said.

“It looked like it had started as a chimney fire, which burned through the bricks and set an interior wall on fire,” he said.

Dial further said, “They were using gas logs in the fireplace and I guess didn’t think anything about it. The logs probably heated up creosote in the chimney and caused it to burn.”

The home was relatively new to Carter, who indicated to Overton County News that she had been living there for a year this month. Dial said due to its age, the home didn’t appear to have a safety lining inside the fireplace or chimney that might have lessened the impact of the fire or prevented it from burning through the chimney altogether. Dial estimated the home suffered “probably around $5,000 to $6,000 worth of damage,” and the homeowner indicated that the attic suffered some heat damage that would require professional restoration.

The second call LFD responded to last week wouldn’t turn out as well.

According to Dial, a fire alarm rang out on Saturday, Dec. 18 at approximately 9:30 p.m. saying that a home located on Elm Grove Road was fully engulfed in flames.

Firefighters responded to the home of Darrel Smith located at 199 Elm Grove Road to find flames burning through the roof of the residence.

Smith told Overton County News Monday that looters had already hit the charred property, making off with a four-wheeler, a child’s playhouse, and some of his tools. He also noted tire tracks in his yard and said it looked like someone had tried to hook up to his utility trailer and tow it away, but had been unable to move it due to slippery conditions.

Smith said, “We heated the home with wood for years and had recently converted to an outside stove thinking it would prevent something like this.” He explained that the outdoor stove heated water that cycled through the home’s central heating system, helping to lessen the load on the central heat pump. Smith said he was not sure what may have caused the fire.

Dial backed up that statement, saying there was no indication at press time of what may have caused the fire.

“The house was a total loss. Fire was already coming through the roof when we got there,” he said, noting that the investigation into the cause of the blaze was ongoing.

Finally, Fairgrounds and Rickman volunteer fire departments responded to a structure fire call at 210 Sawmill Lane at the Bartlett Sawmill near County House Road this morning.

Responding to the call that went out at approximately 6 a.m., Firefighters were able to douse the flames before a warehouse building full of pallets and wood slats went up in smoke. The building suffered some smoke and heat damage, but appeared to be rebuildable.

Firefighters on the scene said there was no ready indication what might have started the fire.

top of page

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

Printing Supplies Graphic Design Custom Printing Advertising