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THE LEADER Thursday, May 13, 2010
Serving All of Tipton County
Volume 124 • No. 28
Tipton County declared disaster area By ECHO DAY firstname.lastname@example.org After unprecedented rainfall on May 1, last week Tipton County was one of dozens declared disaster areas by President Barack Obama. The declaration makes federal funding in the form of low-interest loans available to flood victims. “I appreciate the speedy approvals of these counties for assistance by President Obama and the federal
government,” said Bredesen. “Making these resources available in these additional counties will help those who have suffered losses begin to rebuild their homes and their lives.” On May 2, County Executive Jeff Huffman said the estimated damage to public infrastructure was estimated at $5.5 million, leading him to declare the county a disaster area. Last week, the estimate was well over $20 million and climbing. On May 5, federal officials authorized
declarations for Montgomery and Dyer counties in addition to McNairy, Perry, Shelby and Tipton. At press time, 42 Tennessee counties had been declared disaster areas by the federal government. “I’ve lived here all my life,” Huffman said. “I’ve never seen it like this. We’re used to tornadoes and straight-line winds damaging parts of our county. This is the first time I’ve seen damage to the north, south, east and west, the entire county. That’s 452 square
miles.” Tipton County Emergency Management Agency Director Tommy Dunavant encourages victims to document their damages the best they can. “People need to document their losses, take pictures of their damage and get the wet stuff out of their house,” he said. “Once the mold and mildew set in, FEMA’s not going to cover it.” Individual assistance can include grants to help pay for temporary housSEE FEMA, PAGE A15
Mason man becomes first flood fatality By ECHO DAY email@example.com
Many businesses all over Tipton County were damaged by devastating floodwaters on May 1. Pictured above, sheet rock is being lowered into The Balcony, located on Quinton Drive in Munford. Photo by Tiﬀany Holland.
Local businesses begin to recover from flood By TIFFANY HOLLAND firstname.lastname@example.org
s the flood waters descended and washed away from many Tipton County homes and businesses, they still managed to leave their mark everywhere they had gone. While much of the focus has been on families and their homes, hundreds of businesses have been affected by the floods that came and conquered West Tennessee on Saturday, May 1. Some of them are trudging onward, but many are having to close permanently. One of the worst hit areas was in the south end of the county near Millington. The conglomerate of businesses located on Big Creek Drive and Quinton Drive in Munford off of Highway 51 South were nearly drowned as water as deep as eight feet engulfed the area. Clayton Allen owns several operations located on Quinton Drive. He has contacted several insurance companies for estimates of damages on the contents of many businesses on the street. The Head 2 Toe Sports store damages range about $55,000. Clay Millican’s Mark Pickens Enterprises Motorsports business has damages around $25,000. The Munford Banquet Hall had contents damages of $150,000 and exterior damages of $55,000. However, on Tuesday Allen, his wife and other workers were hard at work getting
MASON – A body discovered by a hunter on Jack Pond Road is believed to be Tipton County’s first victim of the unprecedented floods that affected the area on May 1. The victim, Willie “Skeet” Burchett, 54, of 1968 Mason-Malone Road, lived alone and had not been reported missing. Tipton County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Donna Turner said detectives do not susAT A GLANCE pect foul play and clues from the scene have In Tennessee, 23 lead them to believe he deaths have been is a victim of the May attributed to the May Day flood. “Detectives with Day storms. the sheriff’s office, Tipton County Medical Three people in Examiner’s office and West Tennessee were the district attorney’s killed – one each in office are investigating the case and prelimiMemphis, Milan and nary investigation leads Mason. detectives to believe that the body is a vicWillie “Skeet” tim of the recent floods Burchett is the only in Tipton County,” known victim in Turner said. The county saw Tipton County. 12-16 inches of rain in less than 8 hours on Saturday, May 1. It was a flood the Army Corps of Engineers calls a 1,000-year event. Turner said Burchett reportedly was last seen at approximately 1 p.m. when he helped a neighbor clear a storm drain. During that time, the Mason area was continuSEE FLOOD, PAGE A15
Leader to host relief drive
Business owners work through mud-stained floors and water lines on walls to restore their businesses. Photo by Echo Day.
the business back up and running. They are seeing the Banquet Hall is refinished and ready for the next weekend because there is a wedding planned. Dumpsters lined the street as business owners, employees and other volunteers threw away the entire contents of stores that had been destroyed by the vicious waters. RJ’s Restaurant and Bar, also on Quinton Drive, was completely hollowed out. Several panels in the ceiling had been knocked out by the debris from the flood, which shows high how the waters actually rose. There is also a visible line on the wall that is measured to be
five feet high where the water rose to. Several RJ’s employees recall closing the bar at 3a.m. on Saturday and coming back at 5:30a.m. to see the flooding inside the building. Tiffany Gray, a waitress at RJ’s, said she will never forget what she saw in the store that morning. “There were booths and chairs floating in the middle of the floor,” said Gray. “Huge refrigerators were turned over by water. We could hardly get out the back door.” RJ’s owner Russell Johnson said he understands that the Federal Emergency Management Agency SEE BUSINESS, PAGE A15
The Leader is working to coordinate a disaster relief drive for victims of the May Day flood on Monday, May 17. Though many area churches, businesses and individuals have donated non-perishable foods, household goods, cleaning supplies and clothing, many victims are not taking advantage of these donations. The Leader is seeking monetary donations to help with immediate needs of those affected by the flood. “So many donations have been made around the county and we hope to increase that on Monday,” said Echo Day, the event’s organizer. “Money is an immediate need for those affected.” Those willing to donate can do so by pulling through the driveway at giving monetary donations. The fundraiser is planned to from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m., rain or shine. “This will cover the morning rush as well as lunchtime traffic,” Day said. “We plan to stay in the parking lot as long as we have people willing to donate, though.” Funds raised will be donated to the disaster relief fund established at Patriot Bank. From there, the funds will be disbursed to families in need. The Leader office is located at 2001 Hwy. 51 South in Covington.
Area events events Area This week’s This week’sFeatured featuredChurch: church: Covington • Barretville • Millington • Collierville South Tipton • South Covington Morgage Offices: South Tipton • Millington • Arlington • Collierville
Elm Grove United Methodist Church Turn to to Page Page A7 Turn A7forfordetails details
5/15/10 5 p.m. Tipton Rosemark Academy Graduation, First Baptist Church – Millington 5/20/10 7:30 p.m. Brighton High School Graduation, Brighton High Athletic Field
5/12/10 6:49:16 PM
A2 • Thursday, May 13, 2010 • The Leader
Salons donate hair to clean Gulf oil spill By TIFFANY HOLLAND email@example.com Usually people get their hair cut to benefit themselves. However, if you head to Hair and Body Works in Atoka, you will also be benefitting a much greater cause. The business, located on 194 Wesley Reed Drive, is donating locks of hair that have been cut to an organization to aid in the relief efforts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill of the Gulf of Mexico that began on April 20 and is still ongoing. They are attempting to have other hair salons collect hair and donate all of it together. Online sources and media outlets cite that the spill followed a blowout that caused an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, which then sank off the coast of Louisiana. The oil spill covers a surface area of at least 2,500 square miles according to estimates reported on May 3 by CNBC. The oil spill, originating from a deepwater oil well 5,000 feet below sea level, is discharging an estimated 5–25 thousand barrels of crude oil daily. The spill is expected to eclipse the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill as the worst US oil disaster in history, according to several sources. Experts fear that it will result in an environmental disaster as the oil from the well site reaches the Gulf coast, damaging the Gulf of Mexico fishing industry, tourism industry, and habitat of hundreds of bird species. Crews are working to block off bays and estuaries, using anchored
barriers, floating booms, and sandfilled barricades along shorelines. One way to soak up the oil is by using hair. The idea to donate hair occurred after several employees noticed a Facebook page dedicated to the project. Last Wednesday, May 5, the women of the salon began to put the hair in a separate bag. They are working with a non-profit organization, Matter of Trust, who uses the hair for oil spills. According to their website, Matter of Trust is “collaborating with thousands of salons throughout the US and abroad, that donate their hair clippings to soak up oil spills. Last year over 2,600 oil spills occurred in the world. They weren’t all high profile, but most had an impact on the environment. Phil McCrory, a hair stylist from Alabama, first discovered how hair can help. He was shampooing an oily head of hair while watching TV coverage on the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. He noticed the fur on the Alaskan otters completely soaked with oil and it just occurred to him. “We shampoo because hair collects oil.” He began testing how much petroleum oil he could collect with the hair clipping from the floor of his salon. Phil then invented the hairmat which is made from purchased hair and felted in China. For the last 10 years this organization has partnered with Phil and Ottimat to see if they can create a National Natural Fiber Recycling System so that they could make the mats there the way they make
BrightonFest set for Saturday By TIFFANY HOLLAND firstname.lastname@example.org The first Brighton Festival has been rescheduled for this Saturday, May 15. Held in the BHS parking lot on Highway 51 the event will be from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and is free to the public. It serves as a fundraiser for the BHS and BMS bands and is being organized by the band boosters. Students will be present to serve up food, drinks and activities for the people in attendance. Many people are planning on the Brighton festival to be an annual event in order to support the students of the school and help out in their musical endeavors. A stage will be set up for several musical acts performing including the local bands Chris Rutledge and the Radio Night Band and Memphis Trio. Also playing some tunes will be the BHS and BMS bands. Other forms of entertainment include games where people can win prizes. One of the games is a cow patty competition that is played like “BINGO” with a country style. There is also a petting zoo that is sure to entrance young children at the event, and a “celebrity” dunk take where people will have a chance to dunk such people as Brighton High Principal Katherine Roe. Other community leaders are still invited to volunteer to be in the dunk tank. Vendors and a car show will also be at the festival. School clubs will occupy several booths. The high school organization Students Against Destructive Decisions will be hosting a car wash at the event. “This is a chance for people to get involved and help out with the school,” said band booster and organizer Jennifer Wilbanks. “It is also a chance to be a part of their children’s musical life and see what they are doing in band.” People are still able to participate in the car show and be a vendor and can register for these events up until the morning of the festival. If someone would like to participate in either than can contact Jim Palmer 592-8925.
Amy Malone with This Is It Salon in Covington sweeps hair to send to Matter of Trust, a company working to help clean the Gulf Oil Spill with human hair. Photo by Tiﬀany Holland
the booms.” The US has over 300,000 hair salons and each cuts an average of a pound of hair per day. Once the hair is donated, they make “booms” by stuffing hair, fur, waste wool and other like products into donated recycled nylons and mesh. Hair and Body Works owner Wendy Locke invites other hair salons to come and bring their hair to the store and they will mail it to the organization themselves. “We are a small community,” said Locke. “This is a way we can bring the community together and be a part of a greater cause.” In Covington, This Is It salon has also taken suit of collecting hair. SEE HAIR, PAGE A16
Project Play workdates scheduled for late June By TIFFANY HOLLAND email@example.com
already engulfed in flames. Covington Mayor Gordon said that there are a few people who have signed up to volunteer for the rebuilding but many more are needed. “Anyone who participates in this rebuilding will be a part of the new park, “ said Mayor Gordon. “This takes an effort from the whole community.” The Chamber feels that even
with a lot of damage with the storm and the many people that have been assisting with all of that, it is necessary to go ahead with the building of the park, so that families will have a place to go take their children and hopefully can add a little sunshine to a rather “rainy” day. For more information, call 901-476-9613.
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summer of 2003 through community donations and volunteer support which saved the community approximately $100,000 in building costs. On Tuesday, Feb. 16 a fire completely destroyed the Project Play playground at Cobb-Parr Park. A 911 call at 6:28 p.m. alerted officials of the fire but by the time they arrived minutes later, the playground was
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work start date has been scheduled to help rebuild “Project Play” in Covington for June 23 - 27 by the Covington-Tipton County Chamber of Commerce. There will be three shifts every day that last four hours
each. At least 130 people will be needed for each shift. There are spots for anyone whether they have specific skills or not. There will also be a need for tools and carpentry. If you have not been contacted and want to participate, please call the Sportsplex in Covington at 476-1107 and they will direct you. The $300,000 park was built in the
5/12/10 6:48:53 PM
Thursday, May 13, 2010 • THE LEADER • A3
Heritage Cafe to hold benefit for affected businesses "They've put their money and their heart into their business and in a matter of hours it was devastated. Where do you go from here?" Non-profit organization Tipton Cares, which helped clothe and feed more than 9,000 residents in 2009, lost all of its donations and is looking for a new building to call home. Little Angels Learning Center, a childcare facility located on the Atoka side of Highway 51, and Redeeming Grace Lutheran Church also sustained severe damage, as did most businesses in the district. City officials have pitched in to help where they can and Munford Mayor Dwayne Cole said the fundraising effort was a great way the public could show support. "We've been doing what we can do to assist the business owners in a practical way," he said," and this (event) is another practical way to help." Richardson said hot dogs, hamburgers and drinks will be offered for sale
By ECHO DAY firstname.lastname@example.org MUNFORD - With the goal of helping other businesses owners in their time of need, Heritage Café has planned a fundraising event this weekend. On May 1, businesses, churches and non-profit organizations in the city's Big Creek and Quinton Drive business district were devastated by 4-8 feet of floodwaters. As they pick up the pieces, employees at Heritage Café are raising money to help owners rebuild their businesses. "If we were in this situation, we'd want help," said organizer Karen Richardson. "I think the community really needs to pull together." Seven years ago, the business district was flooded after more than seven inches of rain fell in Munford over a 24-hour period. Many businesses had only recently recovered from that event, only to be devastated by floodwaters a second time on May 1. Sheriﬀ Pancho Chumley and Tipton County Executive Jeﬀ Huﬀman survey damage to roadways on Sunday, May 2. Deputies put up caution tape to prevent motorists from crossing unsafe bridges. Photo courtesy Tipton County Sheriﬀʼs Oﬃce
Disaster response went according to plan, officials say By ECHO DAY email@example.com COVINGTON – In an area where the biggest threat is that of an earthquake, on May 1, the Tipton County Emergency Management Agency dealt with a disaster it did not anticipate. Nearly two weeks ago, an unprecedented flood event devastated the entire county, dropping 12-16 inches of rain in just eight hours, stranding motorists and crippling Tipton County’s roadways. “I thought we were supposed to get 3-6 inches of rain and then all of a sudden we’re flooding,” said director Tommy Dunavant. “When they called me, they said Highway 51 was flooded and some residences were flooded in Atoka. The whole county was underwater.” The flooding was enough to be deemed a 1,000-year flood event by the Army Corps of Engineers, meaning more than 8 inches fell in a 24-hour period. The chances of such an event are 1/10 of one percent. It was also the first major disaster Dunavant's seen since he took the director's position in February 2008. “It was quite an event,” said Dunavant. “We thought we’d see an earthquake before we’d see a flood. I had no clue we'd ever see anything like this.” Tipton County rests within the New Madrid seismic zone and for years residents have felt threatened by "the big one," that is a serious earthquake. In 1811 and 1812, the region experienced a series of serious earthquakes at 8.1- and 8.2-magnitude with the epicenter in northeast Arkansas. The highest risk for earthquakes in the United States aside from the West Coast is along the New Madrid fault. Though there has not been a quake as catastrophic in the area since, the 120-mile long fault is still active and predictions when the next "big one" will hit are contradictory.
Nevertheless, first responders and other emergency personnel routinely train to prepare for catastrophic damages caused by natural disasters. Holding up a copy of the county’s emergency operations plan (EOP), Dunavant shared that within its pages were guidelines for many different situations. “Basically, it tells us the steps and command, who to call for search and rescue and equipment,” he said. “There’s already a plan in place.” At 4 a.m. on Saturday, May 1, the plan was put to the test. The emergency operations center (EOC), a central command facility which houses a communications center and other equipment necessary in an emergency, was established in Dunavant’s Mueller Brass Road office. For the next 38 hours, all search and rescue operations and all personnel were dispatched from the EOC. Though trained for earthquakes, emergency personnel successfully adapted plans to deal with the rising floodwaters. “It’s scary how smooth it went,” Dunavant said. “I give a lot of credit to the people here looking over agencies and the men and women who knew their jobs and performed them well under pressure.” Dunavant said the unexpected event was a great test of the county's emergency response. "You sometimes wonder if we're prepared," he said. "I feel like we answered those questions – we are prepared and we found out how well our system works. We're prepared to handle whatever we're faced with." Dunavant said local emergency agencies worked well together, which is one of Tipton County’s best assets. "Our agencies work well together, our mutual aid program is pretty strong." And though things went smoothly, Dunavant said the county will become better prepared for extensive flooding in the future.
ESTATE AUCTION SATURDAY - MAY - 29 - 10:00 AM
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SEE CAFE, PAGE A16
Monday 10:30am -9:00pm Tuesday - Restaurant Closed -Parking lot open only Wednesday- 10:30am - 9:00pm Thursday - 10:30 am - 9:00pm Friday - 10:30 am - 10:00pm • Saturday 7:00am - 10:00pm Sunday 10:30 am - 3:00pm
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www.CovingtonAuction.Com Terms: Cash - Check w/id. - Visa - Mastercard - Discover - Debit Cards 5% Buyers Premium in house - A/C Bld. w/ Seats & Restrooms Brooks Auction - Firm #1555 - 901-475-1744
TERMS ON THE REAL ESTATE: All bidders must have financial arrangements made prior to auction. Successful bidder will be required to enter into a written contract and deposit $5,000.00 earnest money day of auction with the balance due within 30 days at closing. Possession of property to be given date of closing. Potential buyers may make any inspection including lead based paint prior to auction. Call for appointment. 10% Buyers Premium applies to real estate & all personal property.
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Thursday, May 13, 2010
In Our Opinion
County comes together through tragedy It was a natural disaster of epic proportions – 16 inches of rain in just eight hours, a flood the Army Corps of Engineers calls a 1,000-year flood event – and it devastated Tipton County. Overnight, enough rain fell to flood businesses and homes, wash away roads and strand motorists. Before the sun ever rose on May 1, the May Day flood had taken its toll. With four or five feet of water covering it, Highway 59 was deemed completely impassable and portions of Highway 51 , the county's main thoroughfare, were closed in the three biggest cities due to flooding. At one point on Saturday, May 1, county officials had closed 35-40 roads and bridges. Tipton County Emergency Management Agency Director Tommy Dunavant said approximately 60 individuals were saved from vehicles overtaken or homes evaded by floodwaters. There are dramatic stories of the woman who was rescued from her flooded car with only a few minutes left to spare and the elderly man who became stranded in a parking lot when he made a desperate trip to Covington's Walgreens to pick up some much-needed medication and the mother who frantically swan down her driveway to get her children to safety. And the devastation that day didn't end with a flood the likes of which this county had never seen. No, Mother Nature had more up her sleeve. By 10:45 p.m., another round of thunderstorms had finally made its way to West Tennessee, bringing with it tornadic activity. Among those reported all over the Mid-South, a tornado touched down in Lucy, a small community south of Millington in Shelby County, and it was headed our way. Like many all over the area, we waited it out in our safe rooms. It’d been a long day and we prayed we’d see daylight without further destruction. Tipton County had enough already. It seems miraculous, but the storm broke up over Tipton County. No funnels touched the ground here, thankfully. It just went on its merry way. It was a very sad, very heartbreaking, very emotional, very raw May Day. Initial estimates of damage were $20.44 million and the day after the storm, Tipton County was declared a disaster area by our county executive. By May 5, we’d been declared a disaster area by the federal government, allowing our flood victims access to FEMA assistance. It is needed here, just as it is in Millington and Nashville. And our emergency personnel really hit this one out of the park. They worked tirelessly through these storms to help us get through this. There are not enough words to thank them for what they continue to do, day in and day out. Because there had been no reports of missing persons, we believed everyone in Tipton County survived and we counted this miracle among our blessings. However, last Friday, a hunter found the body of a man in a field in Mason. He was the only Tipton County casualty and the third death in West Tennessee attributed to the storm. More than 22 people have died as a result of the May Day storms. But through the clouds and storms of tragedy, the bright rays of faith are seeing the survivors through the devastation. The thing about living in a small community is that the true definitions of community and neighbor, which are present every single day, are especially prevalent after tragedy. In all, 22 families are currently displaced. The waters have gone down. The mold is growing. Assistance is coming. But for the past two weeks, people have come together to help their neighbors. To pass out bottled water, to wash and dry laundry, to rip up carpets and sheet rock. To help each other begin again. We don’t have to wait for assistance, we just look to our neighbors because we know they will be there for us through the sun, the rain, the tornadoes and the floods. It was devastating, plain and simple, but living where we do definitely softened the blow. We could publish the facts for a year, announce every road closure and re-opening, recount every rescue and thank every agency and individual involved in keeping Tipton Countians safe and we still wouldn't come close to explaining what really happened that day. Simply put, just as in every disastrous situation, Tipton County came together as one. THE LEADER USPS 136-120 “Tipton County’s NEWSPAPER Since 1886” 2001 Highway 51 South Covington, Tennessee 38019 Published Every Thursday by Tipton County Newspapers, LLC
PHONE 901-476-7116 www.covingtonleader.com
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Oney J. Naifeh announced in 1966 he'd be closing his store on the square in Covington and would be moving into a supermarket-style store that was the predecessor of today's Naifeh's stores in Munford and Covington. If you have a flashback you'd like to see in The Leader, email a high quality image to firstname.lastname@example.org along with details of the image, or bring a photo by our oﬃce at 2001 Hwy. 51 S.. Covington.
Tanning beds bring more than health risks With 100 degree weather just around the corner, many people are getting ready to slip into swimwear and shorts to prepare for the ON THE RECORD heat. A lot of TIFFANY CARR HOLLAND us, mostly women, believe that having a nice summer tan is as essential as having air conditioning. But before you begin to hit the tanning bed and lay out on a beach towel to bake yourself like chicken, remember that tanning has its consequences. I strongly believe that most people already have heard about the negative side of tanning beds and being sun burned. Every time you get burned it increases your chance for skin diseases, such as melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Tanning beds increase this risk so much so that the World Health Organization even recommends for people to not use tanning beds at all due to the health risks. However, I come from a generation of people who continually ignore trends that keep us healthy. So many people 30 and under seem to care less about the possibility of getting cancer one day. As horrible as this sounds, you cannot argue Brian Blackley – Publisher/ General Manager
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admit that I am not an extremely stylish individual, but if you are tanning so much that your skin develops an orange tint to it, you have taken things too far. During the summer it is like these people come out of hibernation. I wonder if this is ever considered attractive by anyone? How could it be? People who tan this much look like a carrot and a basketball got together and spawned them. They look like college frat boys in Knoxville who paint their bodies that loud and obnoxious Vol-orange and embarrass their parents at football games every fall. This type of excessive tanning appears worse on people with blonde hair, people who generally have fair skin anyway. And yet the orange look seems to accompany so many bleach blondes, ensuring everyone that both their tan and hair is not natural. Being “tanorexic” is not a good thing for anybody’s physical or mental health. It is a serious condition and is also rather unsightly. If people will not take into account the seriousness of what tanning will do to their physical well-being, they at least should be aware of what it is doing negatively to their aesthetic appeal. After all, this seems to be the most important thing to so many, however wrong it may be. Tiffany Carr Holland may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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its truth. People pour into tanning salons on a daily basis. And how else does one explain why so many people smoke this day in age when there are so many health reasons not to out there? Smoking and tanning are of the same self-denial sickness tree. Since so many people do not seem to be taking heed of the health message that using a tanning bed every day will eventually be harmful to their health, I have a new warning that might hit home a little bit harder - tanning will eventually hurt the way you look. Sure, after frying yourself for months on end by UV rays, you have a great tan and you feel sorry for the unfortunate pale people walking down the streets. But as surely as your skin turns brown, it will eventually shrivel as well. Tanning ages the skin more quickly. So while you might look great for the summer, a few summers down the road and you will look like a leather handbag and twice your age. Guaranteed. Aging your skin is not the only consequence of constant UV exposure but there is also what I like to call the “Orange Look.” You have seen them. They are usually young women. They might be pretty, but they are orange. I personally try not to judge people, but I can’t help but be slightly prejudiced of orange people. I will also
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Thursday, May 13, 2010 • THE LEADER • A5
Let Momma know what she means to you
other ’s Day i s one of the greatest days to be celebrated. The best kind of Love is Unconditional Love that you Momma always gave you. When you were born, the first person to hold you, pet you and feed you was your Momma. All that squalling and carrying on you were doing was because you wanted your Momma to feed and take care of you. Even though you were only a few minutes old, you knew who to call on. You never saw a new born calf running around looking for his Daddy. No Sirreee, they wanted their Momma, and as always, she was right there. Ever since I can remember, Momma knew what to do, and handled any and every situation that came up, but I didn’t realize it at the time. Growing up in the South as a country boy does have some hang-ups, but Mommas know what to do. I was about four years old and I had this little blue tricycle that I rode the love of my life around on the back of it practically all summer. Well, Lynn got him a big brand new red high-powered tricycle, shiny and all, and my love jilted me for him. When she left me, I ran home crying to Momma all tore up, just knowing I was fixing (Southern for going to) to die right there on the spot. As always she would hug and kiss me, and say her favorite words to me, “I know, son, but you’ll be are-ite.” During my life I have heard that expression about two million times, but you know she was always right!! Unconditional Love. How do Mommas know how to say all the right things back then and now too?? Momma always made sure we had clean clothes washed every day, and plenty to eat, fixed just right. Do you realize that no one on the earth can fix your meals just like you Momma? I don’t care where you go. Eggs, fried chicken, cornbread, peas, gravy, biscuits, and everything she ever put on the table was “just right." She would turn the plate of chicken around where my favorite pieces would
be right in front of me, so I wouldn’t have to hunt for them. Forget the liver, as I can’t eat it today. She would fix it more ways than Carter had little liver pills, but I could smell liver cooking four miles away. I would threaten not to go home, run off and join the circus, even suggested going up North, but she knew that wasn’t true. When Momma called us for supper, as soon as you hit the back door for three hundred years, she’d say, “don’t forget to wash up." See, I found out later, she didn’t want me to get sick from all those germs. At suppertime, we all ate together and talked about everything as the radio was turned off. We didn’t have a television, cell phones, beepers, CD players, or telephone, so we had to talk to each other. Back then, as soon as the table was cleared, Daddy would go in the living room to read the Press-Scimitar, while Momma would ask me if I had any homework. She knows the teachers always sent us home with all our books. Well, she would sew, while I studied. Momma must have worn out seventy-five needles, and used ninety spools of thread trying to keep me in clothes. But she was always there to help me answer the questions ‘cause I had to make good grades. When it came time to go to church, Momma would always say, “don’t forget to clean up good, wash your ears and comb your hair.” I must have used half of the Missippi (Mississippi) River cleaning out my ears. I had a crew cut about one quarter inch long, but it had to be combed. Why? ’Cause Momma said so, that’s why! No sass (I guess that’s a word) here. Be sure you match your socks and don’t get them inside out which wasn’t a problem since I didn’t have very many anyway. Back then there wasn’t any turning and twisting around as the shirt collars had so much starch that they felt like a butcher knife was on your neck, so you had to “behave and act right.” Another famous term. Momma would be at every social function, school plays, ball games, church socials that I participated in. She would usually sit up front beaming and pointing so that everyone could see, that’s my boy, even if I messed up. I’ll admit that I always looked for her, even though I didn’t want her to know it. There are some hard times when you first go to high school. You can’t drive a car, which means you can’t get a date.
Work zones deserve your undivided attention By GERALD NICELY TDOT Commissioner On Nov. 9, 2009, 19-year-old Jeffrey Thompson and 18-yearold Cheyenne Burke were working along a stretch of I-75 in Anderson County, Tennessee. The boys were tightening some recently installed cable barrier rail when a truck left the roadway, crossed a median and struck them. Jeffrey's dad was working just a few feet away and saw everything. On April 19, 2010, less than six months after the loss of her only son, Debbie Thompson joined the Te n n e s s e e Department of Transportation to share an important message about work zone safety. She is determined to prevent something like this from happening to another family. Every day thousands of men and women work to improve our roadways and make them safer. Thousands of us drive by them, focused on getting to work, to an appointment, to school or to some other destination. Often times, we never stop to think about the people working along the roadway and how
our actions could mean the difference in whether they make it home that day. Over the years, 106 TDOT workers have lost their lives in the line of duty. To put this into perspective, this number is almost triple the 38 Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers killed while on duty. Each year we take a week in April to highlight the importance of work zone safety. This year's national focus for work zone awareness week was, "Work Zones Deserve Your Undivided Attention," an effort to call attention to the rise in distracted driving related crashes. Nearly 6,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2008 and 500,000 Americans were injured according to the National Highway Tr a ff i c Safety Administration. There are three main types of distracted driving: Visual, Manual and Cognitive. Essentially, anything that takes your eyes, hands or mind away from the task of driving. Texting is the most alarming distraction because it involves all three. The Tennessee General Assembly recog-
nized the dangers of texting while driving and enacted a law against it in 2009. Recognizing the growing severity of the distracted driver problem, Oprah Winfrey is taking up the cause to stop it. On Friday, April 30, 2010, Oprah joined forces with some of the country's top transportation safety organizations to declare Friday, April 30 the first national "No Phone Zone Day" and launched a new national campaign on the issue. Eliminating distractions is particularly important in work zones where slower traffic, sudden lane shifts and other factors require a driver's undivided attention. When you see orange signs indicating a work zone is ahead, pay attention, slow down, and minimize distractions inside your vehicle. We should all remember the words of Debbie Thompson when she said highway workers are an integral part of our lives. They make travel safer for you and your family. A small delay of your time or ignoring a phone call, or a text is a small price to pay for protecting someone else's life as well as your own.
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No freshman or sophomore girl in her right mind would be seen with a low life freshman, as they dated the juniors and seniors that had cars. You are too old to ride a bicycle, so this presented a problem, and you are left out in the cold. Rabbit, Tommy, Crook and Phil all had the same problem. I never thought I’d get a drivers license, but Momma would just say, “I know son, but you’ll be are-ite.” I look back at all the times that I banged up my knees, cut my arms, or just got hurt, and would run home to Momma. She would hold me and say, “I know son, but you’ll be are-ite.” Like the time I had some teeth pulled and Momma was rocking me while I TRIED to recover. Every so often, I would wake up and see the blood on the front of her blouse, and she never said a word, just kept rocking and taking care of me. Unconditional Love. Mommas taught us how to say our prayers every night, where you get on your knees beside the bed and say, “Now I lay me down to sleep..." you know the prayer. There have even been songs written concerning Mommas. To name a few, "Momma Tried," "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Rules The World," "Momma, Pray for Me," and "Rock A Bye Baby." True story. Mrs. Scott, probably in her 70s, when I was just a little kid, but I remember it well. She was about five feet tall and wore thick glasses. I found out later that she couldn’t read or write and dipped snuff. Charles, her youngest boy, always stayed in trouble from day one. He was practically raised in the county jail, where you were sent for “small” stuff or the Shelby County Penal Farm for more serious offenses. I think that’s where he got all his mail at one place or the other. Well, he finally robbed a store and was sent to the “big house," Brushy Mountain back then. Now Mrs. Scott came up to Mr. Ben’s store there in Rosemark in her long coat, (it was about 95 degrees) with her scarf on her head. Her little purse was dangling down as she was going around asking each of the local philosophers if they would help her get her little boy out of jail. She had no money and really didn’t know what to do, but she hoped someone would help her. She went around and talked to about seven or eight men, and they really didn’t pay much attention to her. As she started to leave one of the men
thought she was already gone and said to Mr. Bright, “who wants to help that dawg (dog)?”Well, Mrs. Scott heard him say that and came back right in front of him, got up in his face as best she could, looked him square in the eye and said this just as plain as day, “He might be a dawg, but he’s my dawg.” Unconditional Love, no matter what the circumstance. Sad story, but true. Something else to chomp (chew) on. The doctor told you when he gave you a shot that it won’t hurt. He lied. The coach told you (135 pounds) to tackle the fullback (220 pounds) it won’t hurt. He lied, ‘cause I had a bloody nose and a headache for a week. When you went to the bank to borrow money and the banker said, “Aw this small payment won’t hurt you, no problem.” He lied. Also, the used car salesman sold you that lemon, that lasted three months before it died on the spot, told you it’s just like a brand new one. He lied. But the one person that never lied to you as your Momma. Unconditional Love. You told your Momma secrets that you would not dare tell anyone else, you have NOT forgotten that, have you? I tell you what you do right now, if you are in a position to do so. Lay down this paper, walk over there and hug your Momma, kiss her, tell her you love her, and thank her for all she’s done for you. I’ll guarantee that you will feel a whole lot better. If she lives away, call her. The first thing she’ll say is, “I’ve been worried about you.” Mommas always worry. Tell her that you love her, miss her and you’ll see her real soon. She’ll appreciate it a lot more than you’ll ever know. If your Momma has gone on to her great reward, pick you up some flowers, get on your knees and place them on her grave. Say a little prayer, thanking her for all she did for bringing you up. Let her know that you will try to follow in her footsteps and raise your young’uns like she raised you. Even though the circle is broken, you will be with her one day. She’ll hear you and if you feel some rain, remember, there are holes in the floor of heaven. Don’t worry about getting your britches or your knees dirty, cause yo’ Momma never did. You will be a lot better person, just take the time to thank God for a God-fearing Momma. One More Song: "Precious Memories," how they linger! AMEN!!!
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