Follow Us On:

Community Calendar


Winchester Wriggle
Sep 26 @ 12:00 am – 4:00 am
STRHS Power Class Marathon
Oct 3 @ 4:15 pm – 5:15 pm
Local pleads guilty to enticement of a minor for sexual activity
Oct 9 @ 1:45 pm – 2:45 pm

Posted on Friday, October 9, 2015 at 7:51 am

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has a new addition to the state’s Top Ten Most Wanted list, Earl Antonio Taylor of Winchester.

Taylor is wanted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office for Criminal Homicide in connection with the shooting death of Angela Kibble that occurred in Shelbyville on Sept. 14. Kibble’s body was discovered just hours after her son, 29-year-old Michael Domonic Sales, was taken into custody and charged with the shooting death of a 19-year-old Fayetteville man, Carlton Capone Caruth, at a game room here in Fayetteville.

Taylor, 30, is an African American male with black hair and brown eyes. He stands 5 feet 9 and weighs approximately 190 pounds.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Earl Antonio Taylor is urged to call the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND (1-800-824-3463). There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Taste of Autumn in Winchester Square
Oct 17 @ 4:15 pm – 5:15 pm
Southern Tenn., ladies society 3rd holiday market sale
Nov 13 @ 5:15 pm – Nov 14 @ 6:15 pm
Support rally set to aid Gay-Straight Alliance Club
Feb 4 @ 11:00 pm – Feb 5 @ 12:00 am


brian justice

 Amid opposition, but in compliance with the Equal Access Act of 1984, a non-curriculum Gay-Straight Alliance Club has been formed at Franklin County High School, and a special support rally has been scheduled.

Opposition has been expressed about the club’s presence at the high school, leading the Cumberland Center for Justice and Peace — an organization that, according to its website, “gives a voice to those in Franklin County, Marion County, Grundy County and beyond who are otherwise ignored or sidelined by corporate, university, and dominant political interests” — to request the rally be held.

It is scheduled from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Monday at Franklin County High School on Bypass Road.

The School Board’s regular monthly meeting follows at 6:30 p.m. It was moved to the high school auditorium in response to the rally.

Charles Whitmer, CCJP director, emailed an invitation to the rally to organization members and others, encouraging them to attend and voice their support for the club’s presence.

“I’d like to invite you to attend a rally to support local (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) students and stand against the harassment they are facing both in and out of school in response to their formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance Club at Franklin County High School,” he said in the email.

An after-party gathering from 7-9 p.m. is scheduled in the banquet room behind San Miguel’s on the Winchester Square, the invitation says.

“Folks are coming from Nashville, Huntsville, Chattanooga and beyond,” Whitmer said. “Please help spread the word, invite supporters and allies, and bring your rainbow flags.”

Caleb Laieski, an advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights, forwarded an email to FCHS Principal Greg Mantooth about the incidences that were aired to him that allegedly have taken place at the school.

“I am very concerned with the dangerous bullying that is occurring on your campus,” Laieski said. “Based on the continuous emails I am receiving, your staff are turning their heads and not helping these students either. I hear that your students are also being compared to (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).”

Mantooth was not immediately available for comment.

The club recently held its first meeting at the high school, which sparked negative comments on the Facebook social media website.

Dr. Amie Lonas, Franklin County Schools director, said the system is complying with the act in allowing the club to be formed.

She had said Mantooth had contacted her in December after receiving a request to sponsor a Gay-Straight Alliance Club.

The clubs are part of a national network.

According to the organization’s website, a Gay-Straight Alliance is a student-run club in a high school or middle school that brings together LGBTQ persons. LGBTQ is an acronym for “lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, questioning.”

The website,, says the organization’s purpose is to allow gay and straight students an opportunity to support each other by providing “a safe place to socialize, and create a platform to fight for racial, gender, LGBTQ, and economic justice.”

Lonas said the teacher, whom she did not identify, had had been approached by the students and asked to serve as the sponsor.

“She agreed to sponsor the club and completed the required paperwork and submitted it to the principal,” Lonas said. “The proper procedure to establish the club was followed, and their first meeting was held after school on Tuesday.”

She said the court system has already made a ruling on the legality of such a club and found that it falls under the Equal Access Act of 1984.

“We have been advised by legal council not to deny the club the right to meet if they followed the board policy for establishment,” Lonas said. “If we choose not to allow this club to be established, then we would be required to prohibit all non-curriculum clubs or give up federal funding. All clubs meet outside the instructional hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., and attendance is voluntary for students.”

The Equal Access Act is a United States federal law passed in 1984 to compel federally funded secondary schools to provide equal access to extracurricular clubs.

The act was lobbied for by Christian groups who wanted to ensure students the right to conduct Bible study programs during lunch and after school, it also later became essential in litigation regarding the right of students to form gay–straight alliances and to form groups focused on any religion or on secularism.

The act provides that if a school receives federal aid and has a “limited open forum,” or at least one student-led non-curriculum club that meets outside of class time, it must allow additional such clubs to be organized and must give them equal access to meeting spaces and school publications.

Exceptions can be made for groups that “materially and substantially interfere with the orderly conduct of educational activities within the school,” and a school can technically “opt out” of the act by prohibiting all non-curriculum clubs.

Questionable state appropriation: Why is BEP funding down?
Feb 25 @ 5:45 pm – 6:45 pm




brian justice

With a planned 4 percent teacher pay raise with the state supposedly to pay the increase, the Franklin County School system is wondering why its projected state Better Education Program appropriation is much lower than what surrounding systems are getting.

Dr. Amie Lonas, Franklin County Schools director, told the County Commission’s School Committee Monday that the local school system is expected to get about $330,000 to go toward the pay raise schedule. However, she said the amount would only provide a 1 percent system wide increase.

She said the Coffee County school system is getting about $1 million in additional BEP funding while Tullahoma is getting $750,000.

“I don’t understand why,” Lonas said, referring to the discrepancy.

She said the system’s student enrollment had been down, and maybe the state had not initially reduced funding to the school system based on the lower head count. She added that she will be trying in the next few days to find out why the financial difference is there.

The Tennessee Basic Education Program formula is a cornerstone of the Education Improvement Act of 1992, according to the State of Tennessee’s website.

The formula consists of 45 components that have been deemed necessary for a school district to provide a basic level of education. In addition, it calculates the cost of providing this basic education to the students.

The formula represents a continuing effort to determine the most appropriate levels of funding and the proper components for the BEP.

A variety of sources, including local, regional and national data on expenditures and staffing levels, provide information for specific funding levels.





Second ‘Cornfield murder’ suspect’s trial set
Feb 29 @ 9:30 pm – 10:30 pm



Todd E. Dalton


Todd E. Dalton, the second of four defendants charged in the 2013 Corey N. Matthews’ murder, will go on trial Wednesday once the jury has been selected.

Last summer, David Jenkins, who was the first of the defendants to go on trial for Matthews’ murder, was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole on June 9.

Matthew’s badly beaten body was found March 24, 2013, in a cornfield in Cowan by a Cowan Police Officer who been searching for the man after family members reported him missing.

Jury selection will begin at the Judicial Center, starting at 9 a.m., with Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Graham presiding.

Shaw Industries, area businesses, local leadership unite at job fair
Mar 7 @ 5:15 pm – 6:15 pm

IMG_0754 beaulieu America meet with Shaw employees

Human resources and management (left) personnel with Beaulieu America, based out of Chatsworth, Ga., met with Shaw Industries Inc. Plant 24 employees at a job fair held at the Franklin County Annex’s community room on Friday. Beaulieu America is a floor covering manufacturing company with two of their plants located near South Pittsburg.

—Staff Photo by Philip Lorenz III



philip j. lorenz III

A well-attended job fair, for Shaw Plant 24 employees only, at the Franklin County Annex on Friday, brought out a range of emotions from the job seekers, some expressed optimism, others were concerned and some left with a job offer or an interview appointment.

When area businesses, community leadership, state labor representatives and even the top educational representative from Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Shelbyville came together to help Shaw Industry’s Plant 24 employees find a similar job or transition to a new profession, it seemed like more than a job fair – almost like a social gathering.

Between 20 and 25 area businesses came together to meet the employees from the Winchester-based Shaw facility that will be closing its doors in August. The Plant 24’s associates wasted no time in making the rounds to meet with representatives from Zanini of Tennessee, Inc., Hamilton Kent LLC, M-Tek, Inc., New Life TN, Sonoco Solutions, Metro Industries, Yates Services, Transport National, the University of the South, beaulieu America, Motlow State College and many more.

The number of businesses actually exceeded the community room’s capacity and several had to set up their tables in the foyer and along the hallways around Franklin County Mayor Richard Stewart’s office.

Judy Taylor, Franklin County Chamber of Commerce’s executive director, was pleased with the turnout of local businesses, community representatives and Shaw employees at the job fair.

“It’s been a privilege for me to work with Camilla Wright on the local level,” she said. “We want to keep them here because they’re all good quality workers.”

Wright is Plant 24’s human services director.

Taylor and chamber members helped by posting signs locally promoting the job fair, which was for Plant 24 employees only. The Chamber members also sent the resumes of the facility’s management team to local businesses ahead of the event at the Annex.

Taylor reiterated that Rick Morgan, Plant 24’s manager and the chairman of the Chamber Manufacturer’s Round Table, and Kamilla Wright, Plant 24’s human resource director, and other business leaders took the lead to help make the job fair possible.

In early February 2016, Shaw Industries Group, Inc. announced its plan to consolidate the operations of Plant 24 in Winchester, Tenn., into facilities in the North Georgia area. The commercial broadloom carpet produced at Plant 24 will be produced at Shaw facilities in the Dalton, Chatsworth and Calhoun, creating a total of 81 new positions at various facilities in these locations. The transition will begin in April and be completed in August, resulting in the closing of the Winchester plant.

The company also has been working closely with the State of Tennessee’s economic development and labor group to inform associates at Plant 24 regarding retraining and job opportunities as well as unemployment benefits

Taylor acknowledged that the impact on the community has been difficult from both a business and personal perspective, but she thanked Shaw for the way they had risen to the challenge by working with the chamber and the areas’ business leaders to help Plant 24’s employees.

DREMC going after Comcast pole fees; service questionable
Jun 17 @ 11:15 pm – Jun 18 @ 12:15 am

Cable TV, internet in Franklin, Moore counties could be affected by Comcast’s pole rental elinquency.

Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (DREMC) members who are Comcast cable TV or internet subscribers in Franklin and Moore counties could experience a service interruption if the electric co-op is forced to disconnect power supplies and remove equipment for non-payment of pole attachment rental fees, according to an agency press release.

Notice was sent to Comcast that its facilities on DREMC poles are subject to removal unless overdue fees are paid prior to June 24.

Approximately 7,000 Comcast customers could be affected.

Almost two years ago, Comcast allowed a similar situation to develop by not paying annual pole attachment fees. The company averted loss of service to customers by finally making payment of the past-due amount and promising to enter into a new contract.

Comcast is still attached to DREMC poles without a contract and has allowed another past-due balance to accrue.

“We presume that over this period Comcast used these attachments to derive profit from services sold to customers in Franklin and Moore counties. Over the same period, we presume Comcast terminated service to its own customers for non-payment. Our contention is that no matter how large the companies might be that use our poles, they are subject to the same rules,” says DREMC President/CEO Michael Watson.

To ensure that DREMC members do not subsidize Comcast or others, the co-op charges an attachment fee that fairly reflects the cost of dedicating a portion of each pole for use by telephone, cable TV or other non-electric service providers.

Duck River sent notice to Comcast that, unless the delinquent pole attachment fees are paid, electric

service will be disconnected to Comcast power supplies, and the process of Comcast equipment removal will begin under the co-op’s direction. Comcast will be billed for the expense of equipment removal.

“We hope it does not become necessary for Duck River to take these steps. But it is unfair for tens of thousands of electric co-op members without access to cable TV or high-speed internet to subsidize the profits of a company like Comcast,” Watson says.