GOODBYE TO 2020: A LOOK BACK AT LAST YEAR’S TOP LOCAL NEWS STORIES

During January the Review will take a look back at 2020 and review some of the top stories of the previous twelve months. This week: January through March.

JANUARY

Tennessee began the new year with a new handgun carry permit law that allows a person to carry a handgun only if it is concealed. The permit requires a $65 fee, a ninety-minute training course, and no hands-on component. The background check is still required. At the time—in January 2020—one in every eight Perry Countians held a handgun permit.

Six PCHS Seniors—Jayce Whitt, Jase Horner, Brycen Horner, Walker Wright, Jacob Donaldson, and Hanna Arnold—received scholarships from the Buffalo River Longbeards NWTF chapter.

Miss Maizlee Monroe was crowned OCHS basketball homecoming queen. Her court included Averee Coble, Jacelyn Middleton, and Brittany Klase.

The Vikings Legacy Club announced its 2020 Perry County athletic hall of fame inductees: Billy Ray Yarbro, Gil Webb, and Wayne Morris.

Local politics started heating up as Zach Dill was the first to announce his candidacy for Perry County Assessor of Property.

Jane Marie Franks was chosen Outstanding Perry County Teen and Lauren Dickson was crowned Miss Perry County at the Perry County Chamber-sponsored pageant.

The Town of Linden pirate-themed splash pad was on schedule to be completed in June, the Review announced at the end of January, but that was before the pandemic hit. The attraction is being constructed now.

Perry County’s Elizabeth Ulmer was crowned Miss Decatur County at the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Pageant.

 

FEBRUARY

Bobby Parnell and Jase Horner were awarded annual Governor’s Volunteer Stars awards for their work “to improve their communities through service.”

Brett Skelton announced his candidacy for Assessor of Property in the August election.

Organizers of the popular “Remembering World War II” living history event announced that it would be discontinued in Linden. The event was held every September from 2012 through 2018, then took a hiatus in 2019 to reorganize.

Early voting in the 2020 Presidential Primary began on February 18. When the period ended two weeks later, only 265 had cast ballots in advance.

The third candidate for Assessor of Property—Jonathan Hickerson—announce his intentions to run on the August ballot.

South Central Tennessee Development District SNAP Director Bonnie Walker, who addressed the County Commission in January, reported that eligible Perry County citizens were not utilizing $363,792 in benefits they were entitled to. She said of the county’s 2,140 residents over the age of 60, about 500 were considered as living in poverty and could receive benefits. The participation rate among those qualified for assistance was 42%.

Perry County Clerk Glenda Leegan announced in February that her office had received the equipment and training to offer drive license and REAL ID services at the local courthouse. Director of Schools Eric Lomax was the first to take advantage of the new convenience.

Mr. Joe Sweeney became a member of the Buffalo River Review 90’s Club to mark his birthday milestone.

The Tennessee House of Representatives overwhelmingly supported a bill to create the 32nd Judicial District that will serve Perry, Lewis, and Hickman counties—separating the three from the 21st District which includes Williamson County. The new district, which becomes effective September 1, 2022, will have its own District Attorney General, Public Defender, and staff. The Senate approved the bill at a later date, and it was signed by Governor Lee.

Lady Viking Jayce Whitt signed an athletic scholarship with Bethel University to play golf with the Lady Wildcats.

The Lady Vikings basketball season ended in the first round of the District 12A tourney with a loss to Wayne County. The Vikings finished third in the tourney and earned a berth at the regional but lost in the first round to the Hollow Rock-Bruceton hosts.

 

MARCH

Many Perry Countians turned out to watch a “superload” traverse local roads—closing traffic at times—as it made its way from Cincinnati, Ohio to Aberdeen, Mississippi, on secondary routes to avoid overpasses as it carried a 200-ton chemical tank on a 195-foot rig.

The American Job Center had an official ribbon-cutting and opening on the courthouse square. The state-supported agency offers free employment services to Perry County citizens.

Presidential Preference Primary election day turnout was also light. When polls closed on March 3, only 788 had cast ballots—including the early vote—to choose former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump as the Democratic and Republican nominees, respectfully. The turnout represented only 14.5% of the county’s registered voters.

Three local Cub Scouts—Riley Votaw, Charlie Ulmer, and Jay King—earned the youth organization’s highest honor: the Arrow of Light, commonly referred as the Eagle of Cub Scouting.

After months of anticipation, the annual Blooming Arts Festival and Buffalo River Springfest softball tourney were canceled over pandemic concerns. Also, as of March 16, Perry County Schools announced a closure until April 1, also due to the pandemic.

Governor Lee declared a state of emergency in Tennessee, offering the first of many recommendations for staying healthy: wash your hands, stay away from people who are sick, stay home from work or school is you are ill, cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing. No mention at that time of social distancing.

Perry County Mayor John Carroll reported that the first COVID-19 case in Perry County was confirmed on March 21, 2020.

In response to schools closing and the fear that children might not receive meals during the closure, Perry County Schools began providing meals for pick-up and delivering by school bus to various communities.

Linden Alderman Richard Jones announced in March that he would seek election to the post he was appointed to following the death of longtime Alderman Tex Smith in 2018.

Next week: April through June.

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