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Southern Gage's Employees Stay for Decades... Just What Do They Do?
Pictured: the Midway Drive (Rocky Hollow) location of the Southern Gage company (currently Perdue Acoustics). - Courtesy Houston Co. Archives & Museum
Southern Gage's Employees Stay for Decades... Just What Do They Do?

The Glastonbury Southern Gage company has been in Houston County for decades. Employee Ron Smith recently called the Herald and spoke about the type of work the company does, and he also mentioned two longtime employees at the company, Jimmie Smith and Kenneth 'Duck' Deason. According to General Manager, Gerald Rye, Deason has been with the company 58 years, Jimmy Smith 53 Years, and Engineer, Mike Rose, 52 Years. Rye, himself a Houston County native and the only General Manager in the company's history from Houston County, has been with them 45 years. Current and former employees Ron Smith, Larry Patterson, Brant Lamastus and Rye, all gave us a little background and history about the company and just what they make there.

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City of Erin Approves $6 Pay Raise at Public Hearings & June Mtg.
Several Public Hearings preceded the June City of Erin Mayor & Aldermen meeting.
City of Erin Approves $6 Pay Raise at Public Hearings & June Mtg.

The City of Erin June meeting of Mayor and Aldermen was preceded by a handful of public hearings. Absent were: Ted Carson, Mr. Stevens, Cecil Baggett and Wes Mitchum. Alderman Mitchum arrived for the City of Erin meeting later.

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26 Signature Residents Return Home
Signature staff & others help residents return.
26 Signature Residents Return Home

Sheriff Kevin Sugg led a small motorcade to Signature Healthcare this morning. Several residents returned home this morning.

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Fire at Signature Healthcare

Moments ago, Erin Police Chief Mark Moore gave a statement regarding the fire at Signature Healthcare of Erin this morning. According to Moore and Sheriff Kevin Sugg, who was also in attendance, only one wing of the nursing home (C wing/Brandywood) was affected- approximately 36 patients. Sugg explained of the area, "All that was contained off to keep the smoke from coming into the rest of the nursing home and contaminating it."

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Former Houston County Mayor Indicted After Falsifying Unemployment Documents
Former Houston County Mayor Indicted After Falsifying Unemployment Documents

The Herald received an email today, Wednesday, October 20, from the TN Comptroller's office stating, "An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller's Office has resulted in the indictment of former Houston County Mayor George Clark, whose mayoral terms spanned more than 30 years prior to his defeat in 2018."

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Signature Healthcare Highly Rated Year After Year

Year after year, Signature Healthcare of Erin has received a Five-Star Quality Rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). According to cms.gov, "Nursing homes with 5 stars are considered to have much above average quality." The CMS site explains there are separate ratings for three key components related to care: Health Inspections, Staffing, and Quality Measures (QMs). According to the site, "The health inspection rating contains the 3 most recent health inspections and investigations due to complaints. The staffing rating has information about the number of hours of care provided on average to each resident each day by nursing staff, and QMs offer information about how well nursing homes are caring for their residents' physical and clinical needs."

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WW II Vet Harris Turns 100; Has Busy Week

In our July 3, 2019 issue, we had a story about then 97 year old Russ Harris of Stewart, TN, who'd just started a new sawmill and logging business. Although he is no longer in that type of business, Harris is staying busy. On July 14, Harris turned 100, and celebrated in style. One of a few WWII veterans left in Houston County, Harris received a Purple Heart after being wounded in Germany and spent nearly a year in the hospital.

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Signature's Fireworks Back With a Boom!
Signature HealthCare of Erin fireworks scheduled July 4th.
Signature's Fireworks Back With a Boom!

Signature Healthcare of Erin will once again be hosting their annual Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks Display. The event was cancelled last year (like most other community events) due to COVID-19 restrictions. This year's event will take place Sunday, July 4, starting at 6 pm. Free hotdogs will be offered as well as music featuring the Legacy Band. Signature is located at 278 Rocky Hollow Rd., in Erin. Folks are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets, and dress appropriately for the weather.

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Commission Approves Braden Purchase of Hospital; EMS Service Deal
Braden Health CCO Kyle Kopec is seen talking to the Houston Co. Commission, CEO Beau Braden and Atty. Michael Banks have their backs turned to the camera.
Commission Approves Braden Purchase of Hospital; EMS Service Deal

With 12 of 14 members of the Houston Co. Commission in attendance, and a courtroom full of hospital employees, ambulance service personnel, and the Braden Health management team; 10 of 12 commissioners voted to sell what will now be called Shamrock Community Hospital. Commissioners William Agy and Steve Hall were absent, Ann Fielder voted against the sale, and Danny Warren (whose wife Jennifer is the hospital's Facilities Manager) abstained. Included in the purchase of the hospital was the purchase of the County's EMS service.

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Signature SAFEGUARD Program Instituted To Better Deal With COVID-19
Signature has been putting in extra safeguards after dealing with COVID for a year.
Signature SAFEGUARD Program Instituted To Better Deal With COVID-19

According to Ann Bowdan-Wilder, Media/PR/Communications Manager for Signature HealthCARE, "2021 is a year to go above and beyond with cutting-edge technology in the long-term care and skilled nursing sector. As our nation currently fights multiple strains of the unpredictable and virulent COVID-19 virus, Signature has been forward-thinking and aggressive in fighting this pandemic's pathological and unforgiving behavior. Recognizing the opportunity to excel and advance in a time of great change has always been a part of Signature's mission: To revolutionize healthcare and help our residents and staff live life with purpose! It is for these critical reasons that Signature HealthCARE now has created the Signature SAFEGUARD Program that will be implemented in all 110 of our long-term care facilities in 10 states."

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Signature SAFEGUARD Program Instituted To Better Deal With COVID-19
Signature has put in many extra safeguards since dealing with COVID the last year.
Signature SAFEGUARD Program Instituted To Better Deal With COVID-19

According to Ann Bowdan-Wilder, Media/PR/Communications Manager for Signature HealthCARE, "2021 is a year to go above and beyond with cutting-edge technology in the long-term care and skilled nursing sector. As our nation currently fights multiple strains of the unpredictable and virulent COVID-19 virus, Signature has been forward-thinking and aggressive in fighting this pandemic's pathological and unforgiving behavior. Recognizing the opportunity to excel and advance in a time of great change has always been a part of Signature's mission: To revolutionize healthcare and help our residents and staff live life with purpose! It is for these critical reasons that Signature HealthCARE now has created the Signature SAFEGUARD Program that will be implemented in all 110 of our long-term care facilities in 10 states."

The Signature SAFEGUARD Program includes: Infection Preventionist: Our specially trained clinical leadership who provide real-time, evidence-based practices and customize those practices for each state, according to its specific guidelines and needs. Vaccination Program: Obtaining the needed vaccines for residents and staff for their protection both inside and outside of our facilities, and for the overall protection of our communities. Onsite Rapid Testing: The ability to test at any time, with results in 15 minutes, allowing for quicker action and required protocol for the utmost safety of our residents and staff. Lab Testing: The ability to have quick access to accurate lab results thanks to key partnerships with clinically approved laboratories. 24/7 Care Navigation: Access to clinical and transitional care resources at anytime. One on one availability for clinical reviews and customer service needs.

"For those who have been in the trenches of this fight against COVID-19, we know the strategies for fighting this virus can change at a moments notice, and requires a pro-active, innovative and effective counter-attack," said E. Joseph Steier, III, President and CEO of Signature HealthCARE. "Signature SAFEGUARD is a crucial part of that strategy. This new program took weeks of research, discussions, education and planning by many, including our medical experts and clinical teams, and hearing the needs of our leadership on the frontlines, and representatives from our frontline healthcare heroes."

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Fire at Shamrock Apts. 1 Dead, 12 Displaced
Building # 1 of Shamrock Apartments in Erin, TN. sustained heavy fire and smoke damage, Monday night, August 24. .
Fire at Shamrock Apts. 1 Dead, 12 Displaced

The Herald received a prepared statement from Erin Fire Chief, Danny Warren, this morning, in reference to a fire which took place Monday night, Aug. 24. The statement read in part, "On Aug. 24. at approximately 22:02 hours (10:02pm), the City of Erin Fire Department was dispatched to a structure fire at 11 Shamrock Drive. Initial dispatch stated there was heavy smoke coming from an apartment, with unknown occupancy. Shortly after, Houston County Central Dispatch advised fire units, that there was confirmed entrapment. A county-wide all call was placed after receiving that information."

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Powers No-Show at Many Political Events
Doug Englen at the Senate Candidate Forum in Stewart Co. July 23, at the table by himself.
Powers No-Show at Many Political Events

According to Republican candidate for Senate District 22, Doug Englen, incumbent Bill Powers has not been showing up to political "town hall" type meetings, some of which he said he would attend. The meetings were intended as "debate" type meetings, which voters could see where each candidate stood on specific issues. The latest one, was the Senate Candidate Forum in Stewart Co. The Herald was told both candidates had confirmed on Monday, July 20 and Powers had actually chosen the date. In the July 14 Standard, it read, "A Senate Candidate Forum has been scheduled for July 23, 6:30-8 pm at the SC Visitors Center, 117 Visitor Center Lane, Dover. State Senate Candidates for our District, Doug Englen and Bill Powers have accepted the invitation to attend." It was also in the Standard Event Calendar, July 21, "Senate Candidate Forum (rescheduled from 6/25) July 23, 6:30 pm - 8 pm SC Visitor Center." We have also published events in the Houston County Herald, Powers did not show up for, in Houston County as well.

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A Candid Conversation on Race Relations
A Candid Conversation on Race Relations

With both COVID-19, and racial tensions in the country effecting the general public everywhere, 85 year old Dorothy Dixon Marable of Erin, recently shared some of her personal memories of growing up and raising a family in Erin, TN. When we asked Marable what prompted her to reach out to the paper, she said, "With so much going on and so much misunderstanding, to me all of this just doesn't make sense. I would like to say to all, regardless of what color or race we are, this earth is where God put us to love each other. We can hear and see all the things that is going on. We are fighting two wars right now in America, COVID-19 and racism. From both of them, we are dying. We all can fight this war together."

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Safeguards Pay Off at Erin Nursing Home; All COVID 19 Tests Negative at Signature Healthcare
Signature Healthcare Administrator, Barry Cotton, is tested for COVID 19 recently.
Safeguards Pay Off at Erin Nursing Home; All COVID 19 Tests Negative at Signature Healthcare

In what could be described as remarkable, all 127 elders and 164 stakeholders (staff members) of Signature Healthcare of Erin (SHCE), have tested negative for the COVID-19 virus. "For a home this size, it's really a remarkable feat," said Administrator Barry Cotton, when he sat down for a recent meeting with the Herald. Director of Nursing (DON), Jackie Steppee, joined as well, sharing some of the safeguards in place at SHCE. The Herald reported in our April 29 issue, the lengths to which SHCE has gone to secure the safety of all in the facility, regarding screening and decontamination. In addition, Steppee said elders are monitored three times per day for signs and symptoms, including looking at oxygen levels, temperatures, respiratory health, GI systems and continuing social distancing. All safeguards are needed, but social distancing can take a toll on residents psychological well being. Signature has a solution for that as well.

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Signature Healthcare Keeping Residents Connected
Signature Healthcare of Erin is keeping residents connected with family through technology.
Signature Healthcare Keeping Residents Connected

Signature Healthcare facilities remain under "Limited Access". No individual, regardless of reason, can enter a facility, except under certain and very specific circumstances. End-of-life situations or those critical for a resident's emotional well-being and care are the exceptions. Although in-person visitation is not permitted right now, Signature HealthCARE is offering and using alternatives to keep residents connected with family, friends, and the outside community. Signature has launched several new platforms to improve communication, while upholding mandated safety standards.

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Coronavirus Tests Being Administered by Houston Co. Health Dept. at Erin City Hall
There is an area cordoned off behind City Hall in Erin for testing people for the Coronavirus.
Coronavirus Tests Being Administered by Houston Co. Health Dept. at Erin City Hall

Coronavirus testing is currently underway in the parking lot behind City Hall in Erin. Houston County Health Department (HCHD) personnel are on hand to test Houston Countians. A series of questions are asked, and based on those, a nasal swab is done and a little more information is taken. The test is then sent off to the State of Tennessee's lab, and results are usually back within 4-7 business days. The patient will receive results from local Houston County Health Dept. personnel.

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Houston Co. Schools Closed Next Week; Spring Break Next 2 Weeks After
The Board of Education made the decision to close schools next week.
Houston Co. Schools Closed Next Week; Spring Break Next 2 Weeks After

The Herald received today the following statement from the Director of Houston Co. Schools, Kris McAskill, stating, the Houston County School System, in an effort to take all precautions to protect students, staff, and the community, has made the decision to close schools for the week of March 16-20. Although Houston County and border counties currently have no confirmed cases of the Coronavirus, based on the most current medical information, it has been decided this is the best proactive course of action. Also, all extracurricular school activities have been cancelled for the upcoming week and through the school system's Spring Break scheduled from March 23-April 3. The school system's administration will continue to take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of students and staff. Before any decision is made to resume normal school days each school administrative team and central office staff will consider suggestions and recommendations from health professionals.

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Signature Healthcare Irish Potato Bar Being Held Downstairs; Emerald Pageant Canceled
This is the front entrance to Signature which visitors are not allowed to enter out of precaution for the residents. The entrance downstairs is to the right.
Signature Healthcare Irish Potato Bar Being Held Downstairs; Emerald Pageant Canceled

The City of Erin wanted to let folks know the 58th Annual Irish Celebration is still on schedule. The possibility of canceling the event and the Parades was discussed by local leaders, but plans are to proceed. We learned that Signature Healthcare's Emerald Queen Pageant has been canceled, and no elders will be attending the Irish Festival or Parade. Additionally, Signature resident Bea Brewer, (scheduled to serve as one of two Grand Marshals), will not be able to be in the Grand Parade. Activities Coordinator, Lisa Moore told the Herald, "Anything we planned outside we can longer do. I'm substituting as much as I can." Signature still has big plans for their elders, however. Moore said the Emerald Queen Pageant will be rescheduled to a later date. "I'll figure out something to get that pageant in for them." Elders planned to go to the carnival to enjoy rides and a pizza party afterward. Moore said Signature will bring pizza in. "We normally go to the parade, but we're going to live feed it, and watch it in the dining room. We are going to grill hamburgers and have cotton candy and snow cones, all the things they would get at the parade. They'll get to watch the parade it will just be from the live feed."

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Methodist Decisions at National Level Affecting Rural Churches In Our Area; Causing Them To Leave Denomination
Leatherwood Asbury Methodist Church in Stewart, TN., close to the Houston & Stewart Co. line, had removed Methodist from their sign late last year. We couldn\'t reach anyone at the church for comment before going to press.
Methodist Decisions at National Level Affecting Rural Churches In Our Area; Causing Them To Leave Denomination

There have always been many United Methodist (UM) Churches in Houston Co. and Stewart Co., lately, there are fewer. Some, have left the denomination, feeling the national organization they send their money to, are straying from Biblical truths and the UM Book of Discipline. It is described by the Methodist organization as, "The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church is the product of over two hundred years of the General Conferences of the denominations that now form The United Methodist Church." The Herald obtained a copy, which states in paragraph 2553, with a heading, "Disaffiliation of a Local Church Over Issues Related to Human Sexuality." It begins with the following statement, "Because of the current deep conflict within The UM Church around issues of human sexuality, a local church shall have a limited right, under the provisions of this paragraph, to disaffiliate from the denomination for reasons of conscience regarding a change in the requirements and provisions related to the practice of homosexuality or the ordination or marriage of self-avowed practicing homosexuals as resolved and adopted by the 2019 General Conference."

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Magnolia Bridge Deemed Dangerous; TDOT Gives HC Highway Dept. 10 Days to Repair
Houston County officials discuss emergency preparedness at the Local Emergency Planning Committee Meeting, Wednesday, Feb. 12. After the meeting, the Magnolia Bridge issue was discussed, and E-911 Director Dale Popp (middle) told the Herald, a press relea
Magnolia Bridge Deemed Dangerous; TDOT Gives HC Highway Dept. 10 Days to Repair

The Herald received a press release from the Houston County Highway Department (HCHD) Thursday morning, regarding weight limits and possible closing of Magnolia Bridge. The release states, "Today, we are posting '5 Ton Weight Limit signs at the approaches of the bridge as well as a warning sign at the intersection of Highway 147 and White Oak Rd., and one at the intersection of Highway 147 and Cooley Ford Rd. These two signs will indicate the weight limit as well as the amount of mileage ahead for the bridge."

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Erin, TN Man Grows Giant Lemon
Richard Speers holding the lemon he grew in the Herald office last week.
Erin, TN Man Grows Giant Lemon

Richard Speers of Erin grew this huge lemon on his Ponderosa Lemon Tree. Speers has had the tree over 15 years, and said it usually grows about 5 lemons per season. However, this year, it only grew one. "I guess it decided to show off," Speers said. The lemon measures approximately 8 inches long and 6 inches across. Speers told us when the temps are above freezing the tree stays outside. Before the temps drop too far down, he brings the tree in the house.

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Boardwalk Cost Underestimated; Danville Bait Shop Closing Sunday
Parks & Rec. Committee members at the Jan. 7 meeting & Danville Bait Shop manager Randy Dorris, who rescinded his management proposal for Danville Campground.
Boardwalk Cost Underestimated; Danville Bait Shop Closing Sunday

"I got some pretty distressing news yesterday about the Boardwalk," said HC Mayor James Bridges at the Tourism & Recreation Committee meeting Tuesday, January 7. Bridges explained no one bid on the project the first time around, and the second round of bids have come in. "We got an extension on the time, but the low bid was $518,000, a little more than three times what they originally estimated it was going to cost. I don't know how they came up with that number of $155,000." In continuing discussion of the campground area at Danville Park, several issues were brought up. Electrical work and water lines have been completed at the site, however they have not been turned on. Others in attendance included Glen Christy with Southernaire Campground, Randy Dorris, Danville Bait Shop manager; and Clay McMackins and Keith Wagner with Cane Creek Marina.

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Flash Flooding Caused Problems in County; Schools Released Early
Photo Submitted: A car was nearly submerged earlier at Purdue Acoustics on West Front St.
Flash Flooding Caused Problems in County; Schools Released Early

Houston County schools closed two hours early today, Mon. Dec. 16, due to heavy rains and flash flooding in the county. Schools dismissed at 12:45 pm, and at 1:30 pm, parents were still picking up car riders at Erin Elementary School, near where flooding was reported. Sandbags were being taken to Well's Creek Mkt. across from the school, because water was rising there.

Director of Schools Kris McAskill was still working with principals and Transportation Director Rickey Chadwick regarding safe transportation of students. "They're not releasing buses until the routes become safe," said Jonna Moore, Payroll Clerk at the Board office. "Parents have come and got their kids, they dismissed at 12:45, but they're not putting the buses on the roads yet."

City of Erin employees were checking roads and taking pictures of flooding. The HC Sheriff's office picked up sand bags, including ones located at the back of the courthouse, and according to E-911 dispatch, EMA Director Dale Popp was out trying to locate sandbags as well. Erin City Recorder, Angie Neilson and others had been out surveying the damage. "There has been a car submerged in water by the Purdue Bldg., where the water was about half way up the door. We had road closures on Mobley Ln., and Maple St., Midway Dr. There was a tree in the creek on Midway Dr. they pulled out with a backhoe. Down by the elementary school, the water's kind of level with the road. It's just high water everywhere at this point." Neilson said a shelter has been set up at the First Assembly of God Church on Arlington St.

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JCJ Amusements No-Show For HC Fair; Pageant and Events Still On
Photo by: Janessa Parchman. Contestants in the Fairest of the Fair, last night. See winners in next week\'s Herald
JCJ Amusements No-Show For HC Fair; Pageant and Events Still On

It was announced Thursday, Sept. 19, that JCJ Amusements, provider of the midway and carnival rides for the HC fair was a no show. According to Kendall Coleman with the Fair Board, this is the third time in recent years this has happened to Houston County.

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