Top Five From Hooterville
The tall one from the Powers That Be and I were talking yesterday about the top news stories of our community over the past year. He suggested I write an overview to document what happened over the year 2006 overall.
So I did. Took me about an hour along with research so I will share it with you, kind readers.
Number One : The death of Sgt. Dustin Laird.
It was a devastating loss to our community and we had to deal with the not only the death but the remains not being returned to the family for nearly ten days, Westboro Baptist Church showing up, the (much appreciated) presence of the Patriot Guard and a family so devastated they asked us to keep other media away (not something we felt comfortable with, but we did it for Dustin's father.) As we were friends with the family, we tried to be reverent, and in retrospect I think we were. Everyone grieved, people openly cried in restaurants and in public.
Number Two : The United Steelworkers/Goodyear Strike.
Completely numbing from an economic standpoint to several counties in northwest Tennessee and Western Kentucky. There was much prejudice against the strikers, Goodyear and the USW were not very forthcoming with information yet would become angry when we had to rely on outside sources for what was going on and we saw a lot of anger.
Lots of anger.
"Scabs" crossed the line, but there wasn't any violence. The tentative agreement these last days of this year brought some cautious hope because there is an underlying tone of whether or not Goodyear will continue to seek going off shore, which would, in many ways destroy this area. The community has become so inmeshed with Goodyear that the area would take a hit. I really don't believe this is over in the long-run.
Number Three- Eminent Domain
A family living in Weakley County put up huge signs the size of billboards that said that the local utilities company was going to condemn their property to build a central office. As this is ag country, the local farmer became very political very quick in coming out to assist the family. A local judge ruled in favor of the condemnation, but the board of WCMES met and backed out of the deal. Public opinion was as much a reason for the change of heart as was, I believe, the local election that was sitting on the horizon.
- New County Mayor
It was a fight. When candidate Houston Patrick won the democratic primary in May, the incumbent, Ron Gifford, came out swinging. As Patrick is in his mid-seventies and a pastor, Gifford said "He was an old man who took a young man's job" and that he "was a preacher that made a deal with the devil." Weakley Countians were not amused and although Gifford said he wasn't running a write-in campaign in August, he sort of did. Gifford did not have a computer or a cell phone and called himself a confederate democrat (or something a long those lines). His stubborness and the name-calling assure Patrick an easy second win in August.
Number Five -
Two sports teams bring the community together
Nope, The Greenfield Girls Basketball Team and UT Martin Skyhawks Football Team didn't win in their playoff situations, but they were inspiring because it had been nearly two decades since the Skyhawks (formerly Pacers) had even been to the show and the girls team wasn't supposed to hit Murfreesboro at all, but did. Sports and a small newspaper are very, very big deals. This is more of Squirrely's area.
So there you go. Small town news at its finest.