Weeks appoints Clarksville’s Leslie Harrison as new assistant principal at Dickson Middle School

Leslie Harrison

Leslie Harrison

Director of Schools Dr. Danny Weeks has announced the appointment of Leslie Harrison as the new assistant principal at Dickson Middle School. Harrison replaces Madonna Walker, who was named principal at Stuart-Burns Elementary School. An Arkansas native, Harrison comes to the Dickson County school system from Clarksville where she has been a part of the Clarksville-Montgomery County school system for 16 years. “I am so excited and honored to be a part of the Dickson Middle School family,” Harrison said in a statement on the school system’s website. “I know the commitment that has been made to student achievement, and I look forward to becoming a part of a great team of teachers, staff, students and parents.” A Jonesboro native and graduate of Nettleton High School, Harrison earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Arkansas State University and began her teaching career as part of the military community at Pine Forest High School in Fayetteville, N.C. After coming to the Fort Campbell area 25 years ago, Harrison became music instructor at Montgomery Central Elementary School where her three sons attended. She completed a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Administration at Trevecca Nazarene University and for the past seven years has been New Teacher Induction Specialist at Montgomery Central. She has served as district representative on the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System Anchor Team and on the Teacher Advisory Group. Harrison joins April Baehr and Justin Barden as assistant principals under Dr. Robbie Faulkner as principal at the 1,200-student middle school, the second-largest school in the county. With the naming of Harrison at DMS, the school system has filled all of the administrative positions at schools for the 2014-15 school year that begins Aug. 1.

Early voting gets off to a busy start with over 800 ballots cast in first two days at three locations

Early voting in Dickson County got off to a busy start with lines reported Friday and more than 800 ballots cast in the first two days. Early voting for the Aug. 7 election began in Charlotte and Dickson on Friday and the new satellite voting location in White Bluff on Saturday. Early voting continues through Aug. 2. Election officials reported the voter turnout at the Restoration Church in Dickson was “steady” Friday with at some points more than 40 people standing in line to view the lengthy ballot. Friday’s first day saw 538 Dickson County ballots cast with 297 choosing the Republican primary, 209 choosing the Democratic primary and 32 voters choosing only the county general ballot. Saturday saw voting open for just three hours but in three locations across the county for the first time as the new satellite location opened at White Bluff Town Hall. Despite the shorter hours, there were still 272 votes cast with 158 voters choosing the Republican primary, 78 the Democratic primary and 36 just the county general ballot. For the first two days, Dickson County has seen 810 early votes cast. In 2010, the first two days saw 614 early votes cast and in August 2012 there were only 770 votes cast in the first week of early voting. Since the election office began offering extended early voting hours on Wednesdays, those have become the largest turnout days. Early voting will be open 8 am-7 pm Wednesday in Charlotte, Dickson and White Bluff. Early voting is open 8 am-4 pm Monday and Tuesday at the election office in Charlotte only. For questions about early voting call the election office at 789-6021.

White Bluff council races seeing most interest with one month left in Nov. 4 municipal ballots qualifying

With qualifying for the November municipal elections in White Bluff, Burns, Vanleer and Slayden ending one month from today, the biggest interest so far appears to be in the race for three seats on the White Bluff Town Council. Seven people have already picked up petitions to potentially be on the Nov. 4 ballot for one of the three four-year terms on the five-member council. In the latest report from the Dickson County Election Office, Brandon Gossett of Schmutte Road, Connie Reed of Wakeman Road and incumbent James Oscar Martin of Taylor Town Road have picked up qualifying petitions this month. They join Sheila Street, Roberta “Sissy” Allen, Ellen Campbell Marsh and incumbent Martha Beth Harding on the list of people starting the qualifying process. The third seat on the ballot is currently held by Vice Mayor Todd Hamilton. The other municipal races are still seeing slow qualifying interest. In Burns, Dean Spurlock remains the only person to begin qualifying for the two-year term as mayor while Ricky Carpenter and former Commissioner Lewis Orcutt are the only two residents to pick up papers to run for the four seats on the Burns Board of Commissioners. With Vanleer voters going to the polls to elect a mayor and five aldermen for two-year terms, incumbent Alderman Ruben Schmittou of Highway 49 West is the only candidate to have picked up a qualifying petition. In Slayden, current council members Mary Smathers and Debbie Street have started the qualifying process to seek another two-year term on the three-member council while nobody has picked up papers in the race for mayor. Qualifying for the Nov. 4 ballots in White Bluff, Burns, Vanleer and Slayden ends one month from today at noon Aug. 21.

Downtown project work scheduled to close block of East College Street from Main to Church this week

While work on phase II of the downtown revitalization project has only caused the closing of an alley and parking lot, that is expected to change this week. A Nixle announcement from central communications on Friday said East College Street between Main and Church streets will be closed from midnight Monday through midnight Thursday. Crews have been working on the expanded sidewalks on either side of the block, but have managed to keep both lanes of traffic open throughout that process. But now work is expected to begin on the construction of a new island in the former turning lane at the intersection with Main Street, meaning traffic for the block will be shut down completely this week. Phase II work continues at the intersection of South Main Street and West Walnut Street and Mayor Don Weiss Jr. said city forces should begin paving work in the parking lot of the county government building on Main Street soon. The Downtown Revitalization Committee continues to work with Lose and Associates to define the scope of work for phase III of the project while the city awaits an announcement any day now on its application for a Tennessee Department of Transportation grant for phase IV.

Dickson council slated to finalize increase of city’s hotel/motel tax to 5% at special meeting tonight

The final step to complete the 2014-15 budget for the city of Dickson comes tonight when the city council is expected to raise the hotel/motel tax from 2.5 percent to 5 percent. The council will hold a special session following its Finance and Management Committee meeting with the only item on the agenda being a second and final vote on an amendment to the privilege tax on the occupancy of any rooms, lodgings or accommodations, better known as the hotel/motel tax. The council voted earlier this month to double the tax charged on each night’s stay in a hotel room in the city despite opposition from local hotel owners and the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association. The budget approved by the council last month projects an additional $160,000 in revenue from the increased hotel/motel tax along with more than $309,000 from a 5-cent increase in the city’s property tax rate. The increase to 5 percent by the city combined with the county’s 5 percent tax and the state and local sales tax of 9.75 percent increases the taxes on a hotel room in the city of Dickson to 19.75 percent. After its passage on final reading tonight, the increased rate will be assessed starting Aug. 1. The council’s Finance and Management Committee meets at 6 pm with Dickson Municipal Court Judge Reese Holley on the agenda along with bids for garbage cart containers and the presentation of the annual audit. The special session of the council will follow the committee meeting in the Council Chambers at city hall.

2 Hickman County men jailed in connection with burglaries at 3 businesses on Hwy. 46 in Dickson

Two Hickman County men were arrested this week in connection with a series of burglaries at businesses on Highway 46. Commander Eddie Breeden of the Dickson Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division said 28-year-old Dusten Paul Vaughn and 25-year-old Adam Parrish face charges from burglaries and thefts at Tennessee Contractors Equipment at 1944 Highway 46 on June 27, Drive Now Auto Sales at 1825 Highway 46 on July 9 and Victory Nissan at 2219 Highway 46 on Sunday. Breeden said Officer Levi Davis spotted two men on the lot at Victory Nissan late Sunday night as the Dickson Police Department stepped up patrols along the highway in response to the rash of break-ins. The two men fled but Breeden said Davis was able to catch Parrish. Det. Jimmy Eubank was able to develop Vaughn as a second suspect and obtain warrants charging him in connection with the stripping of vehicles at Victory Nissan. Det. Diane Moore connected the pair to the burglary at Tennessee Contractors Equipment and obtained warrants, then Det. Chad Fussell obtained warrants charging both of them with the burglary at Drive Now Auto Sales. The pair face charges including theft, attempted burglary, criminal trespassing, vandalism and evading arrest. Vaughn was being held on $52,000 bond while Parrish was on $42,000 bond with both men scheduled to appear in Dickson Municipal Court on Aug. 21.

TBI charges Charlotte woman with stealing from subcontractors of Clarksville HVAC business

Sally Dawson, AKA Sandy Dawson

Sally Dawson, AKA Sandy Dawson

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has charged a Charlotte woman with stealing money from the paychecks of subcontractors at her Clarksville business. A Montgomery County grand jury indicted 66-year-old Sally Dawson on five counts of theft over $10,000 and four counts of theft over $1,000 last week. The Charlotte resident, who owns Dawson and Dawson Heating and Cooling, LLC in Clarksville, turned herself in at the Montgomery County Jail Wednesday morning and was later released after posting $5,000 bond. District Attorney John Carney of the 19th Judicial District requested the TBI launch an investigation April 10 after a random inspection by a compliance specialist with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development discovered discrepancies in some of the business’ records. The TBI investigation alleges that Dawson, who is known as Sandy Dawson by her employees, withheld 10 percent from the paychecks of nine subcontractors to cover insurance costs from Jan. 1, 2010, through Feb. 22, 2014. However, agents discovered that no insurance was purchased to cover the workers and the necessary paperwork to exempt them from coverage had not been filed with the state. According to its website, Dawson and Dawson Heating and Cooling at 1891 Ashland City Road in Clarksville has been in business since 1972 providing heating and cooling sales and service as well as duct cleaning.

Police say officer watching businesses leads to suspect in string of business burglaries

Police say they have a suspect in connection with a string of burglaries at Dickson businesses over the last several months. 35-year-old Ronald Phillip Dye of Dickson was arrested late Tuesday night after Dickson Police Department Sgt. Travis Pulley saw him pull into the parking lot of a closed business. Commander Eddie Breeden said Pulley was parked with his patrol car lights out to watch several local businesses when he saw a vehicle pull into the parking lot of Advance Auto Parts at 457 Highway 46. Breeden said when the driver saw the patrol car he attempted to take off but was stopped by Pulley. Inside the vehicle police found items they say could eventually link Dye to multiple burglaries that have been reported since the first of the year. Dye, who is currently on parole, is charged at this time with possession of burglary tools and driving on a revoked license 5th offense. Breeden said Det. Seth Lyles is investigating Dye in connection with several recent burglaries but Breeden said he could not provide any further details other than additional charges are expected. Dye is being held on $30,000 bond with an appearance in Dickson Municipal Court scheduled for Aug. 21. Breeden said Dickson investigators continue to work to solve break-ins at the Exxon Market on Highway 46 near Interstate 40, O’Reilly Auto Parts on Highway 46, George’s Farmers Family Restaurant on Suzanne Drive, Speed Lube on Highway 46, Dickson Rebuilders on Sylvis Street, Dale’s Steakhouse on Highway 70, Las Plazas Mexican Restaurant on Highway 46, Tony B’s in the Dickson Plaza, Chappell’s Food Store on Highway 46 and Ponderosa on Henslee Drive.

Dickson man faces charges after allegedly being caught stealing lawn mowers from Lowe’s

A Dickson man faces theft and other charges after allegedly being caught red-handed stealing lawn mowers from the Lowe’s Home Improvement Store on Jackson Brothers Boulevard off Highway 46 last month. Commander Eddie Breeden of the Dickson Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division said 38-year-old Jeffrey Pack was found hiding in the weeds behind the store after midnight shift employees spotted him allegedly loading a lawn mower onto a trailer. Breeden said Officer Levi Davis discovered a truck and trailer in a wooded area near the rear of the store during the early morning hours of June 9. Breeden said one lawn mower and several other items believed to have been stolen from Lowe’s were on the trailer and it appeared someone was in the process of loading a second lawn mower. A search of the area turned up Pack hiding in the weeds, Breeden said. Det. Kelly Owen obtained warrants charging Pack with theft, criminal trespassing, possession of burglary tools and possession of a stolen vehicle after it was discovered the truck he was using was reported stolen. Pack was being held in the Dickson County Jail on $22,500 bond.

Horizon Medical Center breaks ground for new $9.5 million, 8-bed Natchez Medical Park ER

Breaking ground Tuesday for the new Natchez Medical Park Emergency Room are (left to right) Mike Ford and Mickey Williams of Batten and Shaw construction management, Horizon Medical Center Emergency Department Director Gabe Triplett, Dickson County Ambulance Service Director Donny Bear, Horizon Medical Center Board of Trustees Chairman Martha Shepard, TriStar Health Division President Steve Corbeil, TriStar Horizon Medical Center CEO John Marshall, Dickson County Mayor Bob Rial, TriStar Horizon Chief of Emergency Medicine Dr. Matt Tincher, and Trip Hereford, principal architect with Lyman Davidson Dooley.

Breaking ground Tuesday for the new Natchez Medical Park Emergency Room are (left to right) Mike Ford and Mickey Williams of Batten and Shaw construction management, Horizon Medical Center Emergency Department Director Gabe Triplett, Dickson County Ambulance Service Director Donny Bear, Horizon Medical Center Board of Trustees Chairman Martha Shepard, TriStar Health Division President Steve Corbeil, TriStar Horizon Medical Center CEO John Marshall, Dickson County Mayor Bob Rial, TriStar Horizon Chief of Emergency Medicine Dr. Matt Tincher, and Trip Hereford, principal architect with Lyman Davidson Dooley.

TriStar Horizon Medical Center broke ground this week on a new full-service Emergency Room at the TriStar Natchez Medical Park on Highway 46 just south of Interstate 40. The new ER is scheduled to open in 2015. In addition to the 26-bed emergency room at Horizon, the new eight-bed facility will provide 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week emergency care to residents in Dickson and surrounding communities as well as providing closer care to the interstate. The center will include imaging services and comprehensive laboratory testing. “Breaking ground on our full service ER is a significant milestone on our path toward supporting our mission to provide quality, individualized patient care to the families of the communities we serve,” said John Marshall, chief executive officer of TriStar Horizon Medical Center. The $9.5 million TriStar Natchez ER will connect to the existing building that currently provides state-of-the-art cancer treatment and imaging services. It will create 40 new, full-time professional positions for the community. For more information about TriStar Horizon Medical Center or a free physician referral, call TriStar MedLine at (615) 342-1919 or visit