Monthly Archives: December 2017

Frank “Dwight” Byars

Posted on December 28, 2017 9:09 am by Kim Swindell Wood

Frank “Dwight” Byars, a Sparta resident and Warren County native, passed away Dec. 26, 2017, at his residence.

Mr. Byars was born Dec. 11, 1943.

A member of the Church of Christ, he was the son of Frank Byars and Imogene Turner Byars.

Mr. Byars attended Centertown Elementary School and Central High School. He started tool and die at John Oster Manufacturing Company. He spent 40-plus years in aerospace all over the country, with 20 years at Aerostructures, in Nashville, and a couple of years in Oak Ridge.

He helped design the Moon Box-Rock Samples. He worked at AVCO Aerostructures, 1969-1990, and McDonnell Douglas Aircraft, 1990-1993. He eventually … Read More


Melvie Mae Payne

Posted on December 28, 2017 9:09 am by Kim Swindell Wood

Melvie Mae Payne, 88, of Sparta, passed away Dec. 22, 2017, at Life Care Center of Sparta.

Mrs. Payne was born Dec. 25, 1928, in New Berlin , Florida, the daughter of Henry Simmons and Ethel Nola Geer Simmons.

She worked at Mallory Timers for over 30 years and was a member of DeRosset Church of Christ. She loved her friends and loved her job at Mallory Timers.

Mrs. Payne was preceded in death by her husband, Charles D. Payne, and a brother, Kenneth Simmons.

Survivors include her daughter, Judy Payne Sullivan, of Sparta; sons, Tony D. Payne, Kenneth H. Payne, both of Sparta; brother, Archie Simmons, of … Read More


Mary Jo Walker

Posted on December 28, 2017 9:09 am by Kim Swindell Wood

Mary Jo Walker, 89, of Sparta, passed away Dec. 23, 2017, at her residence.

Ms. Walker was born Nov. 18, 1928, in Cookeville, the daughter of John Walker and Mattie Wilhite Walker.

Funeral service was 2 p.m., Dec. 27, 2017, at Oak Lawn Funeral Home, with burial in James Bohannon Cemetery, in Cookeville.

Oak Lawn Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.


Anna Geneva Lowery Gilliam

Posted on December 28, 2017 9:09 am by Kim Swindell Wood

Anna Geneva Lowery Gilliam, 90, passed away Dec. 24, 2017, at her residence.

Mrs. Gilliam was born July 15, 1927, in the Bon Air community of White County, to John “Dad” Lowery and Effie Jones Lowery.

She was a member of the Church of Christ and attended West Sparta Church of Christ, where she was active in the Stepping Stones School. She was affectionately known as “Mrs. G.” by her students. She had a long work career, beginning at the age of 16 in a shirt factory and went on to include retiring from Mallory Timers as an inspector, as well as her time at Stepping Stones. Mrs. … Read More


Van Buren Eagles and Eaglettes participate in Heritage High School Christmas Tournament

Posted on December 28, 2017 9:09 am by Andy Southard

The Van Buren County High School boys’ basketball team traveled to Heritage to play in the Christmas tournament. The Eagles finished the tournament in second place, falling to Knoxville Catholic on a last second tip-in.

The Van Buren County High School girls’ team is shown spending some leisurely time in Gatlinburg.


Eaglettes struggle in Heritage Christmas Tournament

Posted on December 28, 2017 9:09 am by Andy Southard

The Van Buren County Eaglettes had a tough week last week in the Heritage High School Christmas Tournament, finishing the week 0-3.

The Eaglettes lost in the first round of the tournament to Lee County High School out of Kentucky, 46-35. In the second round, The Eaglettes were unable to pull out the win, falling to Allen County High School out of Kentucky, 55-48. In the final game of the tournament, the Eaglettes lost to Teays Valley Christian out of West Virginia, 78-37.

In the first round of the tournament, the Eaglettes jumped out to an early 10-8 lead over Lee County at the end of the first … Read More


Eagles have strong showing at Christmas Tournament

Posted on December 28, 2017 9:09 am by Andy Southard

The Van Buren County Eagles traveled to Maryville last week and closed out their week with a 2-1 record and a second place finish in the Heritage High School Christmas Tournament.

In the first round of the tournament, the Eagles picked up a 79-61 win over Grainger High School. In the second round, The Eagles’ offense came alive as they picked up a 105-69 win over Capital Christian Academy out of Maryland. In the championship game, the Eagles came up just short against Knoxville Catholic, losing on a last-second shot at 58-56.

In the first game of the tournament, the Eagles jumped out to an early 21-12 lead … Read More


Van Buren first graders perform “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Posted on December 28, 2017 8:08 am by Kim Swindell Wood

Mrs. Shawna’s first grade class at Spencer Elementary worked hard and had fun performing A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz. They invited their parents, grandparents, friends, and students to enjoy their rendition of the classic, animated, and beloved PEANUTS special. Their teacher was so proud and happy for them, as they delighted their audience. The children hope that everyone had a joyous Christmas and want to wish everyone a blessed New Year. Students are Franklin, Jakob, Hailey, Skyler, Leslie, Madison, Ryder, Konner, Caston, Jude, Evelynn, Hayden, Thelie, Nevaeh, Jenna, Olivia, Peyton, and Raylon.


Fall Creek Falls is hosting First-Day Hike to celebrate new year

Posted on December 28, 2017 8:08 am by Bobby Lee McCulley

Park Rangers across Tennessee will be helping Tennesseans make their New Year’s fitness resolution by providing free-guided First-Day Hike events, including Fall Creek Falls State Park.

According to a press release issued by Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, “From Reelfoot Lake to Fall Creek Falls to Warriors’ Path and every state park in between, our 2018 First Day Hikes are designed for all ages and abilities and are offered at all times of (the) day. Start a New Year tradition with your family in 2018. Begin the New Year right. Make a #resolutiontohike and connect with the outdoors with Tennessee State Parks.”

Tennessee, which has 55 state … Read More


Spencer Elementary School will receive Read to be Ready funding for summer reading programs

Posted on December 28, 2017 8:08 am by Bobby Lee McCulley

Van Buren County public schools was recently named a recipient of the state’s Read to be Ready 2018 Summer Grant, which will help the school system provide additional summer based reading programs for elementary students.

Last week, Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced that 203 public schools across Tennessee would be receiving funding from the 2018 Read to be Ready Summer Grant. The grant will be providing approximately $8,860,000 in funding for tuition-free, month-long literacy-focused summer camps for 7,700 students in need across the state.

According to Sara Gast, spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Education, “Spencer Elementary School in Van Buren County has been named … Read More


Tennessee will have several new laws going into effect Jan. 1

Posted on December 28, 2017 8:08 am by Bobby Lee McCulley

Although the Tennessee General Assembly is currently not in session, there are 16 new laws that were passed by state legislators in 2017 that will officially go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

As most Tennesseans are focused on the holiday season, they are not focused on keeping up with new laws that could potentially have an impact on Tennesseans in 2018.

The following are some of the 16 new Tennessee laws that will be going into effect on Jan. 1.

-Fines and penalties (SB0802) – Amends the laws that governs payment plans and stays from license revocations for assessed litigation taxes, court costs, and fines. Adds to … Read More


Chamber holds ribbon cutting ceremony for Hitchcock’s Building

Posted on December 28, 2017 8:08 am by Bobby Lee McCulley

Van Buren-Spencer Chamber of Commerce recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony for one of the county’s notable buildings, which provides a unique array of items under one roof.

Just before the Christmas holidays, members of the Chamber joined the owners, as well as elected officials, community members, and different vendors of Hitchcock’s Building for an official ribbon cutting to celebrate the business’s new membership in the Chamber.

Hitchcock’s Building is located at 93 Spring St., in Spencer, and has been a family owned building for almost 50 years. For decades, Hitchcock’s Building was a family grocery store, gas station, hardware store, and gift shop.

Now, in its current … Read More


BASF brings cheer to Head Start

Posted on December 28, 2017 8:08 am by Kim Swindell Wood

BASF adopted Sparta Head Start for Christmas. Each child received a new coat and a toy from the employees. The highlight of the visit was they each got a chance to talk to Santa.


All I wanted for Christmas was…

Posted on December 28, 2017 8:08 am by Sparta Live

When I was 17 months old, I had an accident, surely one of many, but there was one I specifically remember. OK! I don’t remember anything that happened when I was that young, however, the consequences stayed with me until I was 6 or 7 years old, and, as a result, those consequences served as a constant reminder of the accident.

I fell. I must have fallen many times, but this time I bit the tip of my tongue off and loosened my two front teeth – baby teeth that had just come in! Dr. Strother sewed my tongue back on, and a dentist, whose name I have … Read More


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