2014: Search ends at Arts Center

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8. The Arts Center of Cannon County ended its search for a new executive director when it hired the man who had held the post on an interim basis for eight months. Following a national search for a new Executive Director, The Arts Center of Cannon County Board has hired Neal Appelbaum to fill the position.

"Neal's business background was the key deciding factor in his favor," said Board President, Tim Spry. The Arts Center has grown His background in accounting and management are the skills needed today, Spry said.

Appelbaum moved to Cannon County 13 years following a career in the investment industry. He attended Oberlin College in Ohio receiving a BA in economics. While there he also studied art history and studio art.

Since moving to Woodbury, Neal has served as Cannon County Chamber of Commerce President and currently as Vice Chairman of the Industrial Board. Regionally, he has served in various capacities for the not-for-profit Stones River Watershed Association. For four years he has been a grant reviewer for the TN Arts Commission.

9. It was a busy year for local and state law enforcement as well.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation arrested and charged a Cannon County High School teacher accused of illegally purchasing and distributing prescription drugs. TBI Special Agents, along with investigators from the Cannon County Sheriff's Office, began investigating Shannon Gannon, a biology teacher and head coach of the boys soccer team.

During the course of the investigation, agents developed information revealing Gannon was buying and distributing prescription narcotics. Whether any of the transactions happened at the school or involved students remains part of the open TBI investigation.

On June 19 agents arrested Gannon without incident and charged him with Conspiracy to Deliver Schedule II Prescription Narcotics. It was Gannon's fifth year teaching at CCHS where he also taught honors biology and earth science.

Woodbury City Attorney Dale Peterson resigned his position and will be disbarred for up to five years after pleading guilty to stealing more than $20,000 from Riverside Center while overseeing TennCare patient accounts, according to officials.

Peterson entered a plea to theft over $1,000 before Circuit Court Judge David Bragg in Woodbury and was stripped of his law license and ordered pay restitution for the illicitly obtained funds, Assistant District Attorney Trevor Lynch said.

"He acknowledged what he did," Lynch said.

Peterson's case will be retired for two years, and after five years the Board of Professional Responsibility will determine whether he should be able to practice law, according to Lynch.

10. 2014 also witnessed the passing of two major figures in Cannon County.

J.H. "Hal" Larimer touched countless families and lives as the owner of Woodbury Funeral Home , dating back to 1947 when he purchased into the funeral home with the late Claude Wilcher and his wife Audrey.

Mr. Larimer also was a one-third founding owner of Woodbury Radio Station WBRY, formerly WBFJ.
"My step-father was a consummate businessman, always looking to serve the public better, constantly seeking improvements, but was always compassionate to people," described his stepson, Kenny Gilley, who presently runs Woodbury Funeral Home. "His community service goes back to the 1940s, as a member and former president of the Woodbury Lions Club."

"He seemed to have a gift for helping hurting people during times of great personal loss," added the stepson. "You could not ask for a better role model in life."

Mr. Larimer died peacefully at age 94, with his loving wife, Lois Gilley Larimer, at his side.

Nolan "Dude" Northcutt died at age 100.

Mr. Northcutt was born in Huntsville, Ala. and, at age 10, moved to Woodbury following the death of his parents. He lived with his uncle, Selmer Mason Jennings, and family until 1929.

After working as the first mechanic of the newly formed Cannon County Highway Department, he bought the Sudden Service Station in Woodbury in 1937 and began the business that would become known as Northcutt Motor Company. He retired in 1992 to devote more of his time and energy to public service.

Possessing a fierce sense of civic involvement, he was a founding member of the Woodbury Volunteer Fire Department in 1936, served eight years on the Woodbury City Council, and was elected to the Cannon County School Board, two years as chair. He was Mayor of Woodbury from 1967-1977 and County Executive from 1982-86. He joined the Lions Club in 1949 and remained active until his death. He served as president of the club and was named a Melvin Jones Fellow in 1989, the Lions' highest honor. He was also the recipient of the Lions International President's Award. He served on and chaired many boards including the Upper Cumberland Development District, the UCDD Community Health Agency, and the Stones River Hospital, among others. He was a member of the Woodbury Church of Christ.

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