My strong family gives me strength

Posted by | January 17, 2019 9:26 am

By Topher Wiles

“Look dad!” Micah yells as he strains, grunts, and huffs his way to a half pull-up.  At 5 years old, my third son carries a bulk heftier than his siblings.  If Gabriel is built for tennis and Ethan is built for wrestling, then Micah is definitely built to be a linebacker.  Being over twice Micah’s age, Gabriel recently achieved his first honest pull-up, which is a great achievement for a sixth grader.  Any of our readers who have multiple children know the “monkey-see-monkey-do” routine of the younger brothers and sisters.  So here we are, watching what must be Micah’s 100th attempt at a pull-up.  Teeth … Read More


Make sure he’s got your back

Posted by | January 17, 2019 9:17 am

Playl’s Ponderings – By Steve Playl

Grayson has been a student of karate for a couple of years. He began the discipline when the Playls, Junior were still in Bristol. After moving to the suburbs of Music City, he joined a new class where he continued to kick, punch, meditate and holler “HA-EEE” or “HUNGH” or something like that.

Now Anderson is also enrolled in karate class. What a scary thought! Imagine a stinking cute 5-year-old breaking concrete blocks and terrorizing family pets. But we have been assured that he is learning self-control and self-discipline.

A few weeks ago, the boys proudly announced that they had progressed to … Read More


Yes! Trump has constitutional authority and DUTY to secure our southern border

Posted by | January 17, 2019 9:14 am

Language of Liberty – by Publius Huldah

Instead of reading our Constitution and seeing what it says, Americans get their legal advice from what “everybody says”.

Now, they are hearing about “emergency powers”, and are in a tailspin. Did Congress’ “Emergency Powers Act” delegate to the President the power to call whatever he wants an “emergency” & then do what he deems best?

Our focus shouldn’t be on what can be called an “emergency”; but what does our Constitution authorize the federal government to do (if anything) with respect to the hot topic of the day?

Let’s look at Migration (immigration) in the context of the hordes of … Read More


Tennessee State Parks, elected officials break ground on new Fall Creek Falls Inn

Posted by | January 17, 2019 9:12 am

Officials were ready to shovel those first scoops of dirt, on Jan. 14, 2019, that symbolize the official start of construction for the new Fall Creek Falls Inn. (Photo by HANSEL MOORE)

Tennessee State Parks and elected officials today broke ground for a new inn, restaurant and conference center at Fall Creek Falls State Park, part of a broader $200 million investment in state parks over the last eight years by Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration and the Tennessee General Assembly.

The facility at Fall Creek Falls is part of over $175 million in capital projects appropriated for state parks since 2011.

“This reinvestment in Tennessee’s most famous state park is indicative of similar reinvestments made from Memphis to Kingsport,” said Brock Hill, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. “Over $175 million in capital reinvestment is already … Read More


White County school system has productive year

Posted by | January 17, 2019 9:09 am

By Rima Austin

In the fall of 2018, funds were earmarked by the county to pay for a resource officer to be available at every school in the county.

White County Director of Schools, Kurt Dronebarger, states the school district cut spending to provide an armed, school resource officer for each school campus. There are current discussions to include an additional SRO at the high school, but nothing has been determined as of press time.

A new Findlay Elementary School is being constructed across the street from the White County Fairgrounds, expected to be completed this year. Construction is also being done at the White County Middle School. … Read More


Mountain bike trail planned

Posted by | January 17, 2019 9:03 am

A rider is already checking out the new mountain bike trail that will be open soon in Sparta. (Photo by RACHEL AUBERGER)

By Rachel Auberger

Local mountain bikers Greg O’Neal and David Zuber are teaming up with the Rock Warrior Mountain Bikers to bring a new recreational opportunity to young Sparta residents.

O’Neal said the idea was born when he and Zuber were talking about how they enjoy mountain bike riding with their children and grandchildren but wished they didn’t always have to leave the county to find trails that were suitable for young riders.

“My son loves to ride, but I always have to take him to Putnam or Cumberland counties to find trails that are good for him,” said Zuber. “I really just wanted somewhere here in Sparta … Read More


Semi crashes on Highway 111

Posted by | January 17, 2019 8:46 am

Emergency personnel were dispatched to a motor vehicle accident involving a semi-truck that crossed Highway 111 and came to rest off an embankment. The driver was transported to Highlands Medical Center, but his condition is unknown at the time of this post. (Photo by ADAM WHITMAN)


Fire on Disneyland Road

Posted by | January 17, 2019 8:42 am

South Group Fire personnel were dispatched to a structure fire in the early morning hours of Jan. 16, 2019, at 1020 Disneyland Rd. First arriving crews were able to get the homeowner out while reporting thick smoke coming from inside the residence. Crews made a quick entry to find the source of an electrical fire, which caused moderate damage to the structure. (Photos by ADAM WHITMAN)


Gene Johnson

Posted by | January 17, 2019 8:32 am

Gene Johnson, 78, of Sparta, passed away Jan. 15, 2019, at his home.

Mr. Johnson was born Nov. 15, 1940, in Livingston, the son of Perry Johnson and Willette Pennington Johnson.

He retired from Walmart with over 20 years of service. He was also a gospel music singer and songwriter.

Mr. Johnson was preceded in death by his parents; son, Rickey Johnson; and granddaughter, Amanda Johnson.

Survivors include wife of 59 years, Val Johnson, of Sparta; daughter, Christy Judd (Tim), of Walling; two granddaughters, Michelle Walker (Clint), of Sparta, Kerrie Young, of Walling; grandson, Brandon Johnson, of Rochester Hills, Michigan; brother, Kenneth Johnson (Barbara), of Sparta; sister, Katherine … Read More


Evin Franklin Howard

Posted by | January 17, 2019 8:24 am

Evin Franklin Howard, 84, of Sparta, passed away Jan. 12, 2019, at his home.

Mr. Howard was born March 11, 1934, in Sparta.

He was very loved. Mr. Howard was a Christian. He enjoyed working with horses and being outdoors. Mr. Howard loved spending time with his family.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Lorenzo Howard and Ruby Massa Howard; stepchildren, Stanley Young, Sherri Conley; and all of his brothers and sisters.

Survivors include his wife, Juanita Stewart Howard, of Sparta; sons, Stephen Howard, of Murfreesboro, Mark Howard (Tammy), of Sparta; grandchildren, Stephen Bart Howard, B.J. Taylor, Christopher Conley (Nama), Tabatha Sneed, Juanita Young, Katelyn Howard, … Read More


Sigmund Mendel Jr.

Posted by | January 17, 2019 8:22 am

Sigmund Jay Mendel Jr., 75, passed away Jan. 12, 2019, at his home, in Sparta

Mr. Mendel was born May 2, 1943, in Newark, New Jersey, to Mr. and Mrs. Sigmund Mendel.

Mr. Mendel Jr. served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era. He then worked for Cray Research as a computer hardware engineer and later on moved from Pennsylvania to Sparta, Tennessee, in March 2008. He was an active member of St. Andrew Catholic Church, being the first Grand Knight for the Knights of Columbus charter, a lay eucharistic minister, and a volunteer at the church’s outreach food bank.

Survivors include his wife, Barbara Marsden; daughter, … Read More


Jimmie Marie Gregg

Posted by | January 17, 2019 8:21 am

Jimmie Marie Gregg, 74 of Crossville, passed away Jan. 13, 2019, at Hospice of Cumberland County, in Crossville.

She was born June 8, 1944, in Livingston, the daughter of Charlie Jackson and Molly Walker.

The family has chosen cremation. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.

Oak Lawn Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.



1870 Sparta house nominated for National Register of Historic Places

Posted by | January 17, 2019 8:13 am

This familiar house, on East College Street, in Sparta, which was built in 1870, will hopefully be approved to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo by KIM SWINDELL WOOD)

A house on East College Street, in Sparta, is among seven locations statewide that have been nominated to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The nomination for the Sparta dwelling, at 8 E. College Street, is actually a request to expand the existing historic district so the house, which was built in 1870, can be included. According to the State of Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury – Real Estate Assessment Data website, the house is owned by Kurt M. and Laurie D. Messenger.

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National … Read More


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