Monthly Archives: November 2016

Shop with a Cop returns in 2016

Posted on November 30, 2016 2:02 pm by Pamela Claytor

The annual Shop with a Cop event was held at the Cookeville K-Mart store on Nov. 29. The region’s Fraternal Order of Police made calls throughout the Upper Cumberland communities to raise money to fund shopping trips to get coats, socks, underwear and winter clothes for local children. Each year, White County Sheriff Department Lt. Craig Capps takes White County children shopping. This year, River Williams joined Capps to pick out winter essentials. The program was designed to foster positive relationships between law enforcement officers and their communities, as receiving a gift they may not have otherwise received can leave a lasting impression.


TBI establishes hotline to coordinate missing persons reports in wildfire response

Posted on November 30, 2016 10:10 am by Kim Swindell Wood


Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has established a hotline to coordinate reports of missing persons in the areas affected by the recent wildfires in East Tennessee.

Those wishing to report missing individuals believed to be in the affected areas of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Wears Valley may contact 1-800-TBI-FIND. Callers should be prepared to relay as much identifying information as possible, including names, phone numbers, vehicle identification, and last known whereabouts. Recognizing the importance of accounting for individuals who may be missing, the TBI urges the public to refrain from calling to inquire about the status of personal properties in the affected areas.… CONTINUED

In honor of “Pistol”

Posted on November 30, 2016 9:09 am by Kim Swindell Wood

“We were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Ms. Tammy (Pistol) Wilhite. There was not a greater advocate for White County athletics than Pistol. Her involvement went far beyond the news story as she personally touched the lives of thousands of Warriors. She was more than a friend, she was part of our school family. Plans are already underway to honor this special life. She will be deeply missed in our schools and our community.”

Kurt Dronebarger
Director of White County Schools

Jim Cunningham Sr.

Posted on November 30, 2016 6:06 am by Kim Swindell Wood

Jim Cunningham Sr., 65, of the Johnson Chapel Community, passed away Nov. 16, 2016, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Mr. Cunningham was born Sept. 6, 1951.

He was a Baptist and owner of Smithport Cabinet Company.

Mr. Cunningham was preceded in death by his parents, Johnny Eugene Cunningham and Pauline Cunningham.

Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Laverne Luna Cunningham, of Sparta; one daughter, Renee Cunningham, of Sparta; three sons, Bruce (Sherrill) Cunningham, of Smithville, Gene Cunningham, John (Rebecca Ann) Cunningham, all of Sparta; seven grandchildren, Gene Cunningham, of Sparta, Traci Cunningham, of Smithville, Josh (Amanda) Cunningham, of Sparta, Rachel Cunningham, of Smithville, Kevin Cunningham, of Sparta, … CONTINUED

Johnny Floyd Banks

Posted on November 30, 2016 6:06 am by Kim Swindell Wood

Johnny Floyd Banks, 70, of Spencer, passed away Nov. 28, 2016, at Cookeville Regional Medical Center.

Mr. Banks was born July 30, 1946, in Spencer, to Joe Banks and Mable Banks.

Funeral service will be 1 p.m., Nov. 30, 2016, at Spencer Funeral Home, with burial in Molloy Cemetery. The family will receive friends 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Nov. 30, at the funeral home.

Spencer Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Erbie Clarence Gentry

Posted on November 30, 2016 6:06 am by Kim Swindell Wood

Erbie Clarence Gentry, 76, a White County native and resident of Cookeville, passed away Nov 23, 2016, at Saint Thomas River Park Hospital following an extended illness.

Mr. Gentry was born Dec. 4, 1939, the son of Clarence Gentry and Veda Henry Gentry.

He was a retired truck driver and member of the Baptist Church.

Mr. Gentry was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Carl Gentry; and a sister, Ruby Usery.

Survivors include his daughter and son-in-law, Janet and Chris Farley, of Morrison; two grandchildren, Lindsey Madewell, Christopher Tyler Farley, both of Morrison; two great-grandchildren; three step-great-grandchildren; four brothers, Wayne Gentry and wife Joyce, Bob Gentry … CONTINUED

Geneva Juanita Zamora

Posted on November 30, 2016 6:06 am by Kim Swindell Wood

Geneva Juanita Zamora, 89, of Sparta, formerly of Pueblo, Colorado, passed away on Nov. 24, 2016, at her residence.

Mrs. Zamora was born Oct. 2, 1927, in Center, Colorado, the daughter of Phillip Sanchez and the late Eloisa Trujillo Sanchez.

She was a loving mother and grandmother. She enjoyed being active at the Sparta-White County Senior Citizens Center for many years. She loved spending time with her best friend, Anita, reading and watching “Dancing with the Stars.”

Mrs. Zamora was preceded in death by her husband, Gilbert Zamora; brothers, Alonzo Sanchez, Jose Eliseo Sanchez; sisters, Martha Rodriguez, Corina Mestas; and three children, Ben Lopez, Bernadette Dolente and Rebecca … CONTINUED

Cynthia Redmon

Posted on November 29, 2016 1:01 pm by Kim Swindell Wood

Cynthia Redmon, 54, of Sparta, passed away Nov. 28, 2016, at Centennial Medical Center.

Mrs. Redmon was a member of Shiloh Church of God. She was the owner and operator of Ragland Bottom Restaurant for 31 years and was also a beloved waitress.

Mrs. Redmon was preceded in death by her husband, Howard Redmon; father, Royce Exum; brother, Randy Exum; and grandparents, Bud and Ova Venson and Luther and Ova Exum.

Survivors include her husband, Jim Corder; son, Richard (Jackie) Redmon; grandchildren, Logan and Chloe Redmon; special nephew, Christipher Frasier; mother, Evelyn Exum; sisters, Lisa (Larry) Frasier, Amy Troglia, Cathy (Lance) Brown, Marla (Chip) Meadows, Melissa (Eddie Ray) … CONTINUED

TN Army National Guard assists in East Tennessee wildfire response

Posted on November 29, 2016 12:12 pm by Kim Swindell Wood

More than 120 Tennessee Army National Guard Soldiers will mobilize to East Tennessee later today to assist Sevier County Emergency Management personnel with transporting first responders, removing light debris, and assisting with welfare checks.

Soldiers from units in Maryville, Pigeon Forge, Morristown, Newport, Greeneville, Lenoir City, Knoxville and Bristol will move to the Operations Center in Pigeon Forge to assist the Tennessee Highway Patrol with health and welfare checks, and local responders with debris removal and transportation throughout the affected area.

“The Tennessee National Guard is uniquely qualified to not only fight our nation’s wars, but also to respond to emergency operations here at home,” said Maj. Gen. … CONTINUED

TEMA update on Sevier County wildfires

Posted on November 29, 2016 11:11 am by Kim Swindell Wood

November 29, 2016 11-29-16, 8 a.m., Central


This update corrects information indicating Ober Gatlinburg was destroyed in the wildfire last night. Ober Gatlinburg posted video this morning on its Facebook page, indicating all is OK at the facility:

  • Media Note: The Level III – State of Emergency has been in place since Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, due to the ongoing drought conditions and wildfire threats in Tennessee.
  • Thousands of residents and visitors evacuated overnight in Sevier County. Hundreds of structures damaged and destroyed by the wildfires, according to local emergency management officials.
  • Hundreds of firefighters, and local and state personnel, directly responding to the wildfire situation

UT geography expert: Though tragic, Gatlinburg fire was ‘a safe prediction’

Posted on November 29, 2016 11:11 am by Kim Swindell Wood

utKNOXVILLE—When Henri D. Grissino-Mayer, a professor of geography at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, heard about the forest fires threatening Gatlinburg, he was not surprised.

For years, Grissino-Mayer has been giving talks throughout Tennessee and the Southeast on the subject “Will Our Great Smoky Mountains One Day Go Up in Flames?” In the talk, he highlights how Gatlinburg is the epitome of a fire hazard because the mountain village is located at what is called the “wildland-urban interface.”

“Why? Because we love mountains, we love mountain homes, we love forests, we love to get out in the outdoors,” he said. “But, in doing so, we then have to … CONTINUED

Two Sparta firefighters deployed to assist firefighting efforts in Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge

Posted on November 29, 2016 11:11 am by Pamela Claytor

Sparta Fire Chief Kirk Young has announced that two Sparta firefighters have been sent to assist with firefighting efforts in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge areas. Captain Matt McBride and Cody Wilson are the two firefighters who have been deployed today. McBride is also volunteer chief of Central View Volunteer Fire Department, and Wilson is also an officer with Cassville Volunteer Fire Department, in addition to their service with Sparta Fire Department. Young states they will be there for approximately two to three days. After following city procedures, the firefighters were deployed in response to a request for statewide mutual aid. Young says there is a mutual aid … CONTINUED

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