Friday, March 24, 2017

Hwy 72/Third Street Accident hinders traffic

An accident at the intersection of 3rd Street and Highway 72 in South Pittsburg serves as another cautionary tale for drivers to stay engaged.

A recent accident in South Pittsburg at the intersection of Highway 72 and Third Street has forced the closure of some lanes of traffic on the westbound side of the highway. There were injuries, but officials on scene did not anticipate them to be serious.

No word on the cause of the accident. South Pittsburg Police Department asks drivers to avoid the area if possible for a couple of hours or at least approach the intersection much slower than one would ordinarily, especially on the Highway 72.


Jasper Post Office closed for now

This was the seen Monday around 12:30 after a vehicle jumped the safety curb and entered the building.

Jasper TN Post Office had a vehicle jump the safety curb and enter the lobby. Whereas there were no injuries, the building is damaged significantly. Officials expected to do a structural integrity analysis before opening the building for repairs.

Caitlin Munn earns DYW 2018 honors

Front row (l to r): L.J.McMannis, Lucy Cardenas, Allie Lacy, Samantha Geer Back row (l to r): Shelby Tipton, 1st Runner up Kayley Turney, 2018 DYW Caitlin Munn, 2017 DYW Presley Dawson, 2nd Runner up Amber Roberts, and Taylor Butner

The 2018 Distinguished Young Woman ceremony is in the books. The judges having an unenviable task of choosing who would represent Marion County in the state competition in the summer, representatives from Whitwell High School, South Pittsburg High School and South Pittsburg High School descending on the South Pittsburg High School auditorium and put on a show for those assembled.

The diversity and energy put forth by the contestants was entertaining and contagious, but alas, there must be a winner. Tonight the show belonged to Ms. Caitlin Munn from Marion County High School as she garnered the judges’ nods to take the baton from 2017 winner Pressley Dawson for the upcoming season. Along with first and second runner up Kayley Turney and Amber Roberts, respectively, Caitlin earned a scholarship for her efforts.

Notable other prize winners on the evening was South Pittsburg High School’s Taylor Butner who earned both the Fan Favorite award as well as the support of her fellow contestants as she was considered to best exemplify the characteristics of the program. Along with second runner up, Roberts also was awarded the Fitness Award while Munn captured the Scholastic Award, Talent Award, Interview Award and Self Expression Award.

Congratulations to all the participants.

Lawrence turns down South Pittsburg administrator position


After the South Pittsburg City Council recently agreed to extend an offer of employment for the City Administrator position earlier this week, it appears they will be going back to the drawing board. Bill Lawrence, the board’s choice for the position has reportedly received a promotion from his current employer and has turned the city’s offer down.

It is anticipated the city will repost the position vacancy as early as Monday to begin the search to fill the post. We’ll continue to follow this story and expand as details become available.

Denny Cove opens in Marion County

Deputy Commissioner for Parks and Conservation for the State of Tennessee Brock Hill spoke to those assembled being joined by Park Ranger personnel (l to r) Murray Beasley, John Ball, Billl Knapp, and George Shinn for the dedication ceremony

Local public officials and representative from many of the organizations that are responsible for the purchase and development of the Denny Cove portion of the South Cumberland State Park were on hand to celebrate the opening of the hiking and climbing destination in Marion County Friday.

The event was the capstone of several conservation and hiking/climbing organizations’ multi-year effort to have a premiere climbing destination for the public in the area. Be sure and see our March 23 South Pittsburg Hustler and March 28 Jasper Journal as we hope to chronicle the whole monolithic effort to bring this to fruition.

Jasper Family Dollar fire investigators offer reward

Investigators continue to seek information on this man. This image from store surveillance shows a man investigators merely want to speak with...he is not necessarily considered a suspect.
Investigators continue to seek information on this man. This image, from store surveillance, shows a man investigators merely want to speak with…he is not necessarily considered a suspect.

Investigator with Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF) are offering a $2500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the fire.

The image provided is not of a suspect, but only a person of interest confirmed Michael Knight of the ATF.

Locals will recall the fire ultimately resulted in the rerouting of the Jasper Christmas Parade as parts of Main Street need to be closed for the firefighting effort. Whereas there were no injuries reported, the structure would end up needing to be razed to the cement platform.

ATF dispatched a Certified Fire Investigator (CFI) and additional special agents to the scene. CFIs are highly trained special agents, who provide technical support, analysis and assistance to its state and local partners in the areas of fire origin and cause determination and arson investigation.

The ongoing criminal investigation is being conducted by ATF, MCSO and the Fire Marshal’s Fire Investigations Unit.  Anyone with the information about the incident should call ATF at 1-888-ATF-FIRE, or the Tennessee Arson Hotline at (800) 762-3017. Information can also be sent to ATF via the mobile app by using the Nashville field division as the location.

South Pittsburg names ‘new’ Chief of Police

Interim Chief of Police for South Pittsburg is 'interim' no more as he was selected as Police Chief at the March city meeting.

With a 4-1 vote by the city council, Ryan Meeks was selected as Chief of Police for the City of South Pittsburg. The board also unanimously selected Bill Lawrence to the post of City Administrator.

Ryan Meeks has been interim Police Chief since the board voted to severe the employment of former Police Chief Bobby Simpson. This move was hardly unexpected as recently elected Mayor Virgil Holder repeatedly touted his intention to pursue a “field working police chief,” of which he felt Simpson did not fill the bill.

This selection is not Meeks’ first assignment in the chief’s position. Meeks has served as the top cop in Whitwell in the early ’90’s.

Chance of severe winter weather announced by NWS

Screen capture from the National Weather Service website

The National Weather Service has issued a “hazardous weather” notice for several counties in Southeast Tennessee including Marion County.

Steve Lamb, Marion County EMA Director, says concern should be reserved for those traveling north. “Most of the concern is for the mountains of northeast Tennessee. All they are calling for around here is rain with maybe a little snow mixed in the morning. We don’t anticipate a lot of problems locally based on temperatures,” Lamb said.

Whitwell Dizzy Dean/Park Board hold “Clean the Park Day” and BBQ

It's almost ready!

Just some of the work going on at Whitwell’s Clean the Park Day Saturday

Officials with the newly chartered Dizzy Dean Softball League in Whitwell partnered with the Park Board to have a Cleaning Day at the Park Saturday. Additionally, the league also was offering barbecue plates as part of their league’s fundraiser.

Braving the cooler temperatures, members of the community came out to help get the park cleaned up for the Spring and Summer activities. Several projects were tackled from basic pickup to clearing drainage passages and dragging and mowing the playing fields.

Whitwell community members, and softball enthusiast, are encouraged to support the league as they get underway. If you are able to contribute time or resources, please call Tiffany Wilson at local number 605-1989.

SPES celebrates Career Day

Under the careful tutledge of South Pittsburg Hustler columnist and Newschannel 3 reporter David Carroll, three students, Gage Steele, Chloe McBee and Natalie Blevins, test their skills as far as going into journalism.

Under the old adage that you can’t start building a vision for your future too young, the staff and administration at South Pittsburg Elementary School facilitated a “Career Day” for student Friday, March 10. With a wide variety of participating potential mentors, students were exposed to many options that are available to them in the future. With law enforcement officers and journalists and many others. The jury is still out if there were ‘teachers’ in the lineup encouraging students to look at that particular career path.

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