Friday, March 24, 2017


Jasper TN Post Office functional after accident

Jasper Post Office opens with a mobile unit after a vehicle drove through the front of the brick and mortar building earlier this week.
This was the seen Monday around 12:30 after a vehicle jumped the safety curb and entered the building.

Following a vehicle driving through the front of the building earlier this week. Services are extended on an abridged service level, but residents can retrieve their P.O. Box mail at the mobile unit and outgoing mail is being processed.

There has been no update on the structural integrity evaluation of the building at this time.

Marion Co TN Schools closed Wed 3/22


Updated March 21, 2017 10:34

We have received notification that Marion County Schools will be closed tomorrow, Wed, March 22 due to the damage of the weather earlier this evening.

Director of Schools Mark Griffith explained the main problem. The gymnasium at Marion County High School had succumbed to the wind. Griffith explained, “The wind had lifted the membrane off the roof and [the gym floor] was gathering a good amount of water on the floor.” Griffith expected the cleanup to be completed on Wednesday and schools would be back in session on Thursday, March 23.

Griffith said he had visited all eleven schools within the school district and felt that there may be other minor water damage, but the safety threat posed by the MCHS gym was severe enough to justify cancelling school.

Whitwell city council opts to hire city manager from outside

New City Manager for the City of Whitwell Todd Mistrot.

8:00 pm 3/20/2017 Updated since initial posting

Monday’s special called meeting for the City of Whitwell ended up with a vote to offer the City Manager position to a man who currently calls Lubbock, Texas home. Todd Mistrot (the final ‘t’ is silent) has accepted the position via telephone with Mayor Linda Hooper.

Commissioner Sandra Crabtree made the motion for Mistrot and read a statement explaining the criteria by which she came to supporting Mistrot. The vote would ultimately tally 3-1 in support of Mistrot. Crabtree read from the statement’s introduction:

“We are recommending Mr. Todd Mistrot for the City Manager position. First of all, he has a background in law enforcement and he has worked in a rehabilitative capacity in his current job with veteran’s who need help after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s familiar with the workings of the various departments [such as] police and fire as well as working with various government entities. When he visited our city, he went to the business owners and introduced himself and spoke with them and other citizens of Whitwell. He stated he was a ‘hands on’ manager and he was willing to work with department heads and the city recorder. He seemed to be very approachable and willing to speak with citizens stating he has an ‘open door policy.'”

In a phone interview, Mistrot spoke to the characteristics of what attracted him to the area as well as the job. “I spent about 20 years in Columbus, MS, particularly around Caledonia and I just really missed the small town feel where you really knew your neighbors and had those close relationships,” Mistrot continued, “And I really enjoy hunting and fishing which is something I don’t have easy access to where I am.” As far as the job itself, Mistrot was motivated by the potential. “I think there are business owners here that are ready to look towards the future,” Mistrot said.

Regarding his plans for the transition, Mistrot was hoping to make the move over the next three to four weeks. “I believe the city’s next scheduled meeting is April 13 and it is currently my intention to be there prior to that meeting so the community can lay eyes on me and we can go to work.”

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.