Local LEOs participate in Hands Across the Border


Thursday night, many local law enforcement officers joined with officers across the region to clamp down on DUIs through the Tennessee Highway Safety Office’s Hands Across the Border campaign. As was being duplicated at many main thoroughfares on Tennessee’s state lines, local officers set up road blocks on State Highway 72 between Alabama and Tennessee.

Impaired driving is associated with more than 16,000 deaths and over 300,000 injuries each year in the United States according to cumulative highway accident reports. Whereas the focus of the stop is for those driving under the influence, other violations could be cited.

South Pittsburg accident results in no serious injuries


An accident in South Pittsburg around 1:30 this afternoon resulted in quite a spectacle, but mercifully no serious injuries. A pick up truck traveling on Cedar towards downtown was apparently struck by a vehicle pulling on to the road. The contact was significant enough to cause the truck to lose control and run over a retaining wall and onto more vehicles.

SPHS annual Senior Walk inspires SPES students


A nostalgic stroll through the halls where their academic ventures began serves as one of the final “staples,” short of commencement, for South Pittsburg High School seniors. Representative of where they came from, the seniors also serve as a vision for the elementary school children to finish high school.

Congratulations to all the area seniors.


Details of the pit bull ban in Jasper


The language of the proposed ordinance in Jasper, TN regarding pit bulls clarifies some questions.

Ordinance 376, scheduled for a public meeting and a second and final reading at the June 12 town meeting asserts that pits bulls possess a “strong fighting instinct,” “a diminished tendency to bark, growl, or otherwise warn their prey of intent to attack,” “a genetic predisposition to aggressiveness,” as well as “current methods of control by pit bull owners in the Town of Jasper…have proved to be insufficient in protecting the public.”

The criteria from which these samples are pulled have instigated the Town of Jasper to propose restrictions on owners of pit bull breeds, which includes “bull terrier breed of dog,” “Staffordshire bull terrier,” “American pit bull terrier,” “American Staffordshire terrier,” and “dogs of mixed breed or of other breeds than listed above listed which breed mixed breed is known as pit bull, pit bull dogs, or pit bull terriers.”

The proposed restrictions include registering the animal with the town (including at least two color photographs of each dog registered), enhanced confinement including “confined in a locked pen, kennel, or other secure enclosure that is suitable to prevent the entry of children and is designed to prevent the dog from escaping.” This includes a lock operated by a key or a combination lock. The pen “must have secure sides and a secure top attached to the sides. The pen may either have an attached floor to the sides or the sides will be embedded into the ground not less than two feet. The same clause under “Confinement” states, “The enclosure shall include shelter and protection from the elements and shall provide adequate exercise room, be adequately lighted and ventilated and kept in a clean and sanitary condition.”

When transported for veterinary care, the dog must be affixed with a muzzle to prevent biting, but not interfere with the breathe or the sight of the dog.

Owners of the dogs will be required to “prominently display” a sign that reads “Beware of Dog.” Owners will also carry a public liability insurance with a single incident minimum of $100,000.

The proposed ordinance also expressly forbids the entry of new dogs of the description above from entering the town limits. “It shall be unlawful to keep, harbor, own or in any way possess a pit bull dog within the corporate limits of the Town of Jasper, TN.” The restrictions are laid out expressly for existing dogs and dog owners.

Marion County Seniors recognized in this week’s Journal & Hustler


High school seniors and their families will have an additional commemoration available this week as the South Pittsburg Hustler (5/18) and the Jasper Journal (5/16) will have the annual nod to seniors special section.

Whitwell High School, North Jackson High School, Richard Hardy High School, Marion County High School and South Pittsburg High School seniors are recognized in the section. Marion County Newspapers would like to thank all the participating schools for allowing us to continue this tradition. Celebrating our youth is our path to tomorrow’s leaders.

Well done seniors!

Letter to editor re: Jasper its bull restrictions


Letter to the Editor:

In response to the Town of Jasper’s proposed Ordinance #376 restricting Pit Bull breed dogs inside the city limits.

Over the last 20 years, my friends and I have rescued over 7000, temperament testing each one. We get aggressive dogs all the time. Most are Not pit bulls.  We have had dogs kill other dogs,  we have had dogs bite children, but the pit bulls haven’t been any more aggressive than the others.  YES a large aggressive dog is more dangerous than a small aggressive dog. But I know in Marion County, a Dachshund who tore off a toddler’s ear, a large Poodle/Lab mix who maimed a child’s face, a Jack Russell who had to be shot by the police because they couldn’t get near the mean dog and he was attacking people. Maybe I should keep going about all I’ve seen in this county because people seem to be blinded by stereotypes. Seriously.  I can also tell a couple stories of pit bulls who have bitten people and killed other dogs.  But do you remember reading stories about the Dachshund? The Poodle? Or the Jack Russell?  NO!!!  I guess I should have put them in the papers!!

Yes, pit bulls are tenacious dogs. They tend to be very energetic and exuberant. I am very very picky about who I will adopt one to.  People must be responsible about their pets.  If you stick a pit bull on a chain and increase their frustration level, it can be a bad combination. And man, can a pit bull do damage if he/she wants to. Require people who have dogs to keep them inside and raise them like family members, and a lot of the issues will go away.

The only real issue in this community is that many people treat dogs like property. They make zero effort to socialize them properly with strangers, children, and other dogs. Zero effort to consult beneficial professional dog trainers. Many people stick their dog on a chain or in a small yard, or even let them run free unaltered and cause trouble. These actions or lack of action only make matters worse for the whole community.

70-76% OF DOG BITES ARE FROM UN-NEUTERED MALE DOGS.  (AVMA.org A community Approach to Dog Bite Prevention) Seriously that is the statistic we need to be paying attention to. It’s not the breed. It’s the gender that truly has the most accurate statistics behind it.

Mandatory neutering of male dogs if not planning to get a license to breed them. That would be a law I could get behind.

I have euthanized about 11 dogs in the last 20 years for aggression.  And that is perfectly fine. Some dogs do not need to be part of society.  They need to live harmoniously in our society.  But only three of those were pit bulls or Pit mix dogs. Only 3 out of 11. Not a strong ratio against pit bulls. But all 11 were large dogs and mentally unstable.

We need stronger laws protecting the community against AGGRESSIVE dogs. I do NOT need to be protected from Every dog with a large head!!!!

Just my two cents.  From a mother of four children, two of whom have been bitten by dogs. Neither one bitten by a pit bull.

April Bowden

Vess looking forward to South Pittsburg City Administrator position

Gene Vess

Gene Vess was selected by the South Pittsburg Board of Mayor and Commissioners as the new City Administrator for the city last week. Vess doesn’t officially start with the city until May 30, but his family is using the time to transition “back home,” as Vess refers to South Pittsburg. Vess acknowledges there are some challenges, but is optimistic about the opportunities he sees for the city.

The former South Pittsburg Postmaster conceded that his only reason for leaving the city was to further his career with the USPS. “I left because I wanted to move forward with the postal service, which I did, but we always considered South Pittsburg where we’d come back to even if it was for retirement. This opportunity allowed us to come back,” Vess said.

Vess says he’s excited about getting to work. “There’ll be some challenges,” Vess continued, “But I think we’ll go in the right direction pretty quickly.” Briefly, Vess touched on the conditions of the park. “It’s a question of we’ll get out of it what we put into it. When my girls were playing, there was a core group of 12-15 of us that volunteered for the park board and we were coaches and periodically did work on the park. You can’t expect 2-3 people to do all the work.”

Vess has already retained housing in South Pittsburg and has embraced the leisurely pace before formally starting work. “I told the mayor I was ready to go anytime, but he wanted me to start on the 30th. This gives me a chance to get moved in and put my house up for sale.” Vess hinted that he looks forward to being a mainstay at Pirate football games and becoming reinvested in the community.


30 on the Square officially opens


A new restaurant officially opened their doors todayWith a juice bar, a breakfast menu and some boilerplate sandwiches, 30 on the Square in Jasper looks to appeal to a wide array of customers.

Angie and Rudy Brown opened the restaurant, creatively, on the courtyard square, in Jasper. Angle Brown said, “I was working in corporate america and the company I was working for ended up being sold four times in three years and I was tired of my retirement bottoming out every time I turned around so we decided to fill a need here in Jasper.”

Eventually, the restaurant will branch out into catering and after hours events. We wish them well.

Colonial Chem’s Shredding Day served community again


Local manufacturer Colonial Chemical in New Hope hosted their second annual public Shred Day Friday, May 12. Whereas traffic seemed to be lighter than last year, the consensus was that people and businesses emptied an enormous backlog of waste paper last year and were “merely maintaining” this year.

Colonial Chem has continued to follow their corporate commitment to waste management. The company has adopted two miles of roadway for litter pickup in addition to highly advocating for an intentional approach towards litter reduction.


Jasper to issue new requirements for pit bull owners


The Town of Jasper, at the suggestion of the the police department and animal control, took the first step towards making owners of pit bulls carry additional insurance and adhere to more strict containment for their dogs within the town’s limits..

Citing the existing restrictions in South Pittsburg and Kimball, animal control supervisor Justin Baker said that the town has increased in the number of the breed in Jasper.  Correspondingly, he has had a significant uptick in calls related to the breed. Baker recalled an episode where one “chased me back into my truck.” Baker recommended the board outlaw the breed altogether.

The board wasn’t willing to capitulate to an all-out ban, but were wanting stronger requirements for owners of the dogs. Police Chief Billy Mason was comfortable with the increased requirements.

Whereas the exact language of the ordinance may undergo minor modification, the high points were, when passed, pit bull owners had thirty days to register their pitbull and would have to carry a $1,000,000 insurance policy and put enhanced containment such as burying a fence two feet below ground level and keep minimum height on the fence line.



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