Young’s Year: Sheriff’s Race Captivated County During 2010

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A drama that was four years in the making captured most of the attention of Cannon Countians in 2010.

Darrell Young and Billy Nichols squared off in a rematch of the 2006 race for Cannon County Sheriff. Nichols won the 2006 battle, but Young came back strong this year to win by a nearly 2-1 margin.

Young’s victory brought sweeping changes to the sheriff’s department, as four of Nichol’s top assistants and the department’s public information officer resigned following his defeat.

Results from the two elections topped the Cannon County news scene in 2010.

In August Mike Gannon was re-elected to a third term as county executive, becoming only the second person in history to do so.

Wayne Prater won a hotly-contested battle for the position of county trustee. Eight people ran for the office after James Maxwell decided to not seek a third term.

Two long-time office holders, Bobby Smith and Debbie Morris, held off strong challenges to retain the positions of county clerk and register of deeds, respectively.

Voters approved a referendum to permit the manufacture of liquor in Cannon County. The referendum was placed on the November ballot after the backers of Short Mountain Distillery collected enough signatures on a petition.

The November election also saw what many observers viewed as a stunning upset when veteran District 46 State House Representative Stratton Bone lost his bid for reelection to political newcomer Mark Pody.

In other news of note this year:

• Bill Bryson became Cannon County’s new Clerk and Master after Harold Patrick resigned from the position after holding it for 13 years. Following his selection as Clerk and Master, Bryson resigned as attorney for the Town of Woodbury, which he had been since 1963. Dale Peterson was named Woodbury’s attorney.

• The revitalization of the Cannon County Courthouse was completed in July and a celebration was held to commemorate the occasion. In addition to bringing a new look to the courthouse grounds, the project brought much needed improvements to drainage in the downtown area and the repaving of two streets three sidewalks.

• A week-long search for a missing Cannon County youth came to a sad end when Brian Kite was found dead along a bank of the Stones River just off Highway 53N. The 18-year-old had left home on a Friday evening to attend Cannon County High’s Homecoming game and was not heard from again. As the year ended no cause or manner of death had been determined.

• A Cannon County man launched a drive to built and operate an animal shelter. Mark VanZant has had scores of dogs and cats dropped on his property along Auburntown Road in recent years. Hundreds of people signed a petition in favor of an animal shelter which VanZant presented to the county commission. The commission formed a committee to investigate the situation.

• Robert “Hoppy” Davenport resigned in January after serving over 30 years as circuit court clerk. The county commission appointed Davenport’s sister, Lynne Foster, to the position until his term expired, and she was elected to it in August. Commissioners also appointed Kevin Mooneyham to that body after Brad Hall resigned. Mooneyham too was elected in August.

• A number of candidates running for state and national office campaigned in Cannon County during the year, including governor-elect Bill Haslam, Mike McWherter, Zack Wamp and Congresswoman-elect Diane Black. Also visiting the county was “Joe the Plumber” (Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher) who campaign on behalf of Lou Ann Zelenik.

• Several Cannon Countians reflected on their time as Boys Scouts as the organization celebrated its 100th anniversary, including Joe Davenport, Jim Stone and Bill Bryson.

• The Cannon County Board of Education gave the band at Cannon County High School a big boost in February when it approved a request for neary $10,000 for instruments.

• Long-time sheriff Robert Simpson died in February. He served six terms as sheriff. “Robert was a good man to work with, he always stayed within his budgets and when he told you something you could depend on it,” former county executive and current Woodbury Mayor Harold Patrick said.

• Michael Vaughn of Woodbury was been named one of two 2010 AAHPERD Jump Rope For Heart Coordinator of the Year Award winners. Vaughn is a physical educator, Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart state coordinator for Tennessee AHPERD, and a small business owner (Old Feed Store Antique Mall on West Water St.).

• The Tennessee Council for the Social Studies named Cannon County High School Teacher William Freddy Curtis as one of the Tennessee Outstanding Social Studies Teachers of the Year for 2010.

• School officials began discussions on whether the system should realign its grade structure to include a middle school. They are currently working on finalizing a presentation about the pros and cons of middle schools which will be presented to the public in a series of forums planned for early next year.

• The fourth annual Friends of the Adams Memorial Library Roast took place at the High School Cafeteria April 15 in honor of Wilma Adams. Adams has dedicated her life to making life better for the people of her native Cannon County.

• Persons in need of non-emergency medical care who are tired of driving to out-of-town clinics or sitting for extended periods of time in a hospital waiting room now have a choice in Cannon County. A new clinic opened this year next to Stones River Hospital offering convenient family practice-style medical care four days a week and extended hours. The Stones River Primary Care Clinic, located at 370 Doolittle Road, is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Heading the medical team is R. Danille Paley, a Family Nurse Practitioner.

• Three local women were recognized for their contributions to the community during the 2010 WBRY Women’s Conference held at the Senior Center in May. Glenda Davenport was chosen Secretary of the Year,  Joann Tate as Career Woman of the Year and Amanda Burks as Community Activist of the Year.

• In the end Mother Nature obliged as 160 Cannon County seniors earned their degree before a standing-room only crowd at Schwartz Field in June. Graduates made their way from the school to the football stadium, where they were greeted by hundreds of family members and friends who attended the milestone moment.

• Those who coached and knew former Woodbury standout athlete Steve Bullard remembered him as not being the biggest or fastest athlete on the field; however, what he lacked in size and strength he more than made up for in desire, passion and humility. Bullard, 53 of Joelton, Tenn., passed away Sunday, May 23 at St. Thomas Alive Hospice.

• The hard work of Dale Peterson brought about the first Cannon Communities Fourth of July Celebration. The planned annual event was a joint effort between Cannon County, the Town of Woodbury and the city of Auburntown, in conjunction with Cannon County businesses. The Celebration was held at Dillon Park

• Cannon County Schools Director Barbara Parker named new principles at two county schools. Melinda Crook accepted the position of principal at Auburn School. Bonnie Patterson accepted the position of principal at Woodbury Grammar.

• Cannon County residents now have an additional lunch and dinner alternative as THE KITCHEN at the Cannon County Arts Center opened for business in July.

• An almost two-year-old murder case came to an end on July 7 when Randy H. Durham appeared before Circuit Court Judge Don Ash for what was supposed to be the first day of a three-day long jury trial.  Instead, Assistant District Attorney David Puckett and Durham’s attorney, Guy Dotson, Sr., announced the case had been resolved. Puckett told the Court that, in exchange for Durham’s guilty plea to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, he would be sentenced to four years in prison as a Range 1, 30 percent offender. Puckett then said Durham’s sentence would be suspended after he served 1 year in the Cannon County Jail with the rest of the sentence being served on State Supervised Probation.

• Short Mountain’s Macy Williams was elected National Beta Junior Vice President during the National Convention in June. Williams, a rising freshman at Cannon County High School, is the third person from Short Mountain to be elected to a national office.

• Cannon County was awarded a $150,000 Tennessee Agriculture Enhancement grant for the purpose of building an Agriculture Learning Center at Cannon County High School. The grant was secured through the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program, which provides cost share funds for long term investments in livestock and farming operations.

• In reaching a deal with THC/Select to move its manufacturing operations from Cheatham County to Cannon County, County Executive Mike Gannon accomplished two objectives. One was bringing much-needed jobs to the county. The second was generating money for the county from leasing the building in the county industrial park that formerly was the home of Cumberland Mold.

• The Woodbury Veterinary Hospital opened for business in August. The hospital is located at 102 North Dillon Street in Woodbury.

• Following approval of a Five-Year Strategic Plan Saturday, Cannon County  rejoined Tennessee’s Three-Star Program. To regain certification, Cannon County completed the requirements outlined on the Three-Star Report Card for Benchmark 1.

• Approval of applications for U.S. patents usually does not come either quickly or easily, but that was not the case for one local inventor. Hugh Cobb III, who along with his wife Joyce owns and operates Cobb Home Innovations, a Woodbury-based electronics, home theatre and speciality lighting business, received word that his request for a patent has been approved.

• Local apartment manager Sharon Morton was arrested in September and charged with Theft over $10,000 and violation of probation by the Woodbury Police Department. The arrest occurred following a month-long investigation by Chief Tony Burnett and Sgt. Kevin Mooneyham. The investigation began after tenants at South Ridge Apts. stated to Sgt. Mooneyham that they had been paying rent with cash.

• A former sheriff of Cannon County who was convicted nearly a decade ago of two felonies had his rights restored in December. Judge Bart Stanley, Jr. granted the petition filed by Charles S. Brandon, Jr. for “Restoration For Civil Rights & Citizenship.” However, while Brandon had his right to vote, right to hold public office and right to serve on a jury restored, it is still not clear whether he would be eligible to run for his former office should he chose to do so in the future.

• The Town of Woodbury was  awarded a $500,000 Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) from the State of Tennessee in October. The money will be used for much-needed improvements to the town’s water system.

• The Cannon County Commission voted in October to raise a number of fees associated with the judicial process and incarceration. One resolution passed by the commission raises the litigation tax from from $10 to $50. on all civil and criminal cases institutes in the county, other than those instituted in municipal courts, such tax to be in addition to all other privilege taxes on litigation authorized by law.

• Cannon County voters favored Republican candidates across the board in the Nov. 2 State General Election. Bill Haslam, Diane Black, Mae Beavers and Mark Pody all swept to victory in the county and in their overall races.
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