TVA says it's working to minimize flood

FEB. 14 – Another February, another Tennessee River flood in Hardin County.

Though the worst has passed for now, waters will continue to rise in some places, according to the Tennessee Valley Authority. 

“Looking forward, we’re expecting another inch or so over the next 3-4 days to fall on the river system, and beyond that looks a little wetter still,” said James Everett, manager of TVA River Forecasting Center Operations Support on Tuesday morning.

As of Tuesday about noon, levels at Savannah reached between 372 and 373 feet above sea level, which exceeded the National Weather Service Flood Stage of 370 feet, and were expected to continue to rise for the next day or so. 

The flooding has closed two main Hardin County roads, according to Steve Cromwell, assistant road supervisor of the Hardin County Highway Department.

Coffee Landing Road and the various splinter roads in the river bottom area have closed due to flooding, as has Federal Road in the Shiloh community.

“There are some other back roads here and there in bottoms as well, but those are two main thoroughfares people will be concerned with,” Cromwell said.

He added that Coffee Landing Road will remain closed until river levels lower to 370 feet, and Federal Road will remain closed until levels reach about 371 feet.

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Special ed aide fired in alleged plot to sedate students

FEB. 8, UPDATE– A teacher’s aide at Northside Elementary School in Savannah has been fired amid concerns that special education students may have been dosed with a non-prescription supplement in a plan to sedate them.

Savannah police on Friday confirmed an investigation is underway, and said the district attorney general’s office is looking into the matter.

Hardin County Director of Schools Michael Davis said last Thursday that he terminated the aide on Jan. 29 for several conduct violations, including an unauthorized photograph of students. 

He said he had evidence the aide conspired with a friend who did not work at the school to bring her some over-the-counter melatonin “gummie” pills, with the possible intent of sedating children in her special ed pre-K and kindergarten classroom.

Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body that can be made synthetically in a laboratory and is sold and advertised as a sleep aid.

Davis said he was notified of some instant messaging “Snapchat” posts the aide allegedly made about being frustrated by the behavior of the special education kids in her care, and her apparently wanting them to go to sleep or at the least calm down.

In the Snapchat exchange on Dec. 13, 2017, the 40-year-old aide is alleged to have asked a friend to buy a bottle of melatonin gummies and leave them in the aide’s car parked at Northside.

Later the same day, the aide posted a picture on Snapshat showing two of the special ed kids, with one asleep and the other sitting up on a cot, Davis said. 

According to the director, security camera video at the school captured footage of the aide walking to the school exit doors and returning momentarily with what appears to be a vitamin or medication bottle in her hand.

Security video at Walmart shows the aide’s acquaintance buying the melatonin pills, and police also obtained a copy of the receipt, he said.

Davis said the now former aide contends the Snapchat exchange was “just a joke” and denies giving any pills to the students.

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Nominees named for Chamber’s annual Distinguished Service Awards

FEB. 1 – The Hardin County Chamber of Commerce will host its 22nd Annual Meeting and Distinguished Service Awards Banquet on Thursday, Feb. 8, at Pickwick Landing State Park Inn.

Silent auction and business showcase begins at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the ceremony at 6:30 p.m.

Along with the graduation of the Hardin County Leadership Class, the presentations of the service awards are nominated by the community and given in recognition to those who have made a significant contribution to the area.

The recipient of the “Bill Bellis Pinnacle Award” is Jim Kerr.

• Jim Kerr has served and continues to serve in many roles for the benefit of his community. He is charter member of the Tennessee Valley Farmers, a former charter president of the Savannah Gideons, a former chairman of the 911 Board, a member of the Savannah Historical Board and a 13-year member on the West Tennessee Agriculture Museum Board.

Perhaps most notably, Kerr is known for creating the Christmas displays that were once at the Farm Bureau office and are now placed on Wayne Road near Sonic during the holiday season. 

Man of the Year

The nominees are:

• C.D. Rickman currently serves Hardin County as a commissioner and as the Veterans Services officer. He is an active member of the American Legion, president of Friends of Shiloh National Military Park, Sons of the Confederate Veterans and a commander of Camp 1454. 

• Garry Welch is the city manager of Savannah, a post he has held 12 years.  He serves on the Tennessee City Manager’s Association Policy/Legislative Committee. He is also the State District 7 representative for the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Municipal League and the current chairman of Team Hardin County.

• Michael Davis currently serves as the Hardin County director of schools which is made up of five elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. He is also a member of The Darryl Worley Foundation, president of Savannah Cemetery, co-host of WKWX SportsTalk and a member of the Tennessee Organization for School Superintendents. 

Woman of the Year

The nominees are:

• Renae Martin is the current president of the Rotary Club of Savannah and has previously served as the president elect, secretary and the public relations chair. She is also an active board member for Hardin County Healthcare Foundation, the Area 7A vice-president for the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women and a committee member for Christmas on Main.

• Faye Lindberg has served this past year alongside other members of the Col. Joseph Hardin’s Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in bringing the Moving Vietnam Memorial Wall to Hardin County. She serves in Shiloh Falls Garden Club, Pickwick Dam Ladies and Raise the Flag. Faye is also an active tourism volunteer, retiree recruit and a Hardin County “hop on, hop off” guide for the American Queen riverboat. 

Educator of the Year

The nominees are:

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