HEADLINES

Local high school celebrates 2020 seniors

This week would have been one of the last weeks for graduating high school seniors here in Madison county and one local high school decided to make it county. Cars lined up and the traditional graduation music played in the background as graduating seniors at Liberty Technology Magnet High school picked up their cap and gown. “I feel both excited and kind of sad", says senior Artez Williams. The principal, teachers, counselors, and other faculty and staff waved the seniors in to say some of their last goodbyes. “We’re going to celebrate our class of 2020, you know. They have had a tough year, it’s been an unfortunate situation really for everybody, but we are really thinking about our senior

Retail spaces re open in Tennessee

The parking lot at the columns here in Jackson has been nearly empty for the past month or so because retail spaces have been closed due to COVID-19. But today they have the option of reopening. Today marked another reopening of phase one. Restaurants were able to open on monday at 50 percent capacity and now retail spaces are opening also at 50 percent capacity. One customer says she is ready to start shopping. “They are opening today, they opening in another 40 minutes and I have not been out in a long time", says Beverly Steed. But with the necessary items to protect herself. Steed adds, “I am excited about it and hesitant as you see here, I got, my niece made this for me and then i have

Phase one starts, Tennessee restaurants reopen at 50 percent capacity

Restaurant owners across Tennessee opened their dinning rooms today apart of Governor Bill Lee’s phases economic recovery plan. Now some owners are a little hesitant while others are excited. Governor Lee released guidelines last week for restaurants and retail spaces as they begin to open. Many restaurants used this past weekend to prepare for the big day today. “We’ve walked through with tape measures to make sure that every person or every group of people will maintain 6 feet of social distancing from each other", says Co General Manager for Rafferty's, Joey Carroll. Restaurants used curbside pickup and delivery options as a way to limit contact between customers and their employees. Owne

Governor Lee announced restaurants and retail spaces can re-open next week

The City of Jackson and Madison County are projected to start the economic recovery plan on Monday, but everyone is not confident that the area is ready just yet. “From a public health standpoint, you know we are a little we are a little hesitant into rolling into phase 1, I'll just be honest", says director of the Jackson Madison County Regional Health Department, Kim Tedford. Governor Lee announced that restaurants will be able to open Monday at 50 percent capacity and retail spaces can open Wednesday at 50 percent capacity in 89 of the 95 counties. Officials with the Jackson Madison County Regional Health Department say their main concern about the reopening are asymptomatic carriers. “Wh

Pet Spotlight: Meet Eva

For more details on how you can adopt Eva, visit https://www.fhhas.org or call 731-249-9443.

Graduating high school seniors share their reactions to Gov. Bill Lee's recommendation

“I was a little hurt because I took my senior year for granted", says Northside High School senior, Destiny Williams. “I mean it kind of hurt", says Crockett County High School senior, Elisabeth Owens. “I mean honestly it is kind of crushing", says Madison Academic Magnet High School senior, Claire Myers. Coronavirus continues to change everyone's normal day to day activities, but for high school seniors it's changing the way they remember their last year of high school. “And then we got the call and they were like oh the school year is over with", add Owens. And the last year is what they were looking forward to. “You spend basically your whole elementary school and middle school years look

West Tennessee Healthcare had an 18 million dollar loss due to COVID-19

West Tennessee Healthcare saw an 18 million dollar loss this past month due to coronavirus. Officials say they started seeing a decrease in patients in March and after orders were put in place to cancel elective procedures they lost more money, but they still had to get ready for COVID-19 patients. “At the same time our revenue was declining we also had an increase in expenses because we were buying more supplies, buying equipment like ventilators, gearing up", says West Tennessee Healthcare official, Amy Garner. With the decrease in revenue and increase in expenses they made the decision to gradually furlough employees and close departments to save money. "[This is a] temporary situation we

Governor Bill Lee will not renew 'Stay at home' order after April 30th

Governor Bill Lee said he will not renew the safer at home order after April 30th, but 6 major counties in the state are not included in that time line. Madison county is one of them. “While we continue to emphasize social distancing for tennesseans, I will not extend the safer at home order past April 30th", says Lee. Lee says that social distancing can continue, but the economic shut down can not. So he announced that most businesses can open back up next month. Lee adds, “and it’s our firm intent that by may first, the end of next week the vast majority of closed businesses in 89 Tennessee counties will be allowed to reopen.” Tennessee has 95 counties, Shelby, Davidson, Sullivan, Hamilton

Officials say testing kits in Madison County are sufficient for now

With 15 drive thru testing sites open over the weekend Governor Lee hopes this can give him a look at how widespread covid-19 is in the state. Regional Director for the Jackson Madison County Regional Health Department, Kim Tedford, says that they had enough tests to fulfill their part in the Governor's decision. “We are fulfilling our mission. Our mission was to get as many people tested across the state as possible in the next three weekends", says Tedford. Over one thousand people came through the Jackson Fairgrounds Saturday and Sunday to be tested for coronavirus. Some came because they were just curious... “I just wondered if i was exposed and wanted to check. I don’t feel bad at all",

BREAKING: Officials confirm first death due to COVID-19 in Madison County

Director of the Jackson Madison County Regional Health Department, Kim Tedford, announced that there is now one confirmed death due to covid 19 here in Madison county. “I have some sad news to announce we have our first death related to covid-19”, says Tedford. Tedford says that they will not release demographic information about the patient to respect the family. But she reminded everyone that this is about more than numbers. Tedford adds, “we get so caught up in the numbers, but folks let’s realize there are actually people, humans behind these numbers. And just like we have seen this morning I’ve had to report this death. There is a family suffering and mourning and a life was lost.” The

City of Jackson Mayor Scott Conger releases plan to reopen economy

New unemployment claims and positive covid-19 cases are still on the rise… but leaders are saying they have to figure out a way to re open the economy. Mayor Scott Conger released a multi phase plan to re-open the economy here in Jackson. Officials in the mayor's office say the only way this plan can work is if residents follow recommendations given. “This plan that we have come up with, we have been working on it for a couple of weeks. And it’s not going to start unless we continue to do what we need to do", say city official, Alex Reed. The plan outlines what it takes for particular businesses to re open and what guidelines they will have to follow once they do. Right now we are in the mea

Carroll county continues testing at a mobile site

Carroll county residents now have a local location to get tested for covid-19 and dozens of residents have already used this new resource. Baptist Memorial Hospital in Carroll county is in week two of its mobile testing site for COVID-19. Carroll county was one of the first rural counties in Tennessee that saw a positive case. They hope this site gives residents easy access to testing. “Our community to have a site locally, if they feel like they have been exposed or they have symptoms we want to make it comfortable and make it easy for them", says Chief Executive Officer, Susan Breeden. Breeden says people who want to be tested can simply make an appointment with the resource center and dri

Governor Bill Lee wants to start reopening economy in May, local officials respond

Governor Bill Lee is faced with keeping businesses closed to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 or re opening the economy in hopes each buisness owner will follow social distancing guidelines. “We’ll extend our stay at home order through april 30th and plan to begin reopening our economy in may", says Lee. Lee announced that he has plans to reopen the tennessee economy in May, but as the numbers increase health officials can not see that happening soon. “As long as we are seeing increase in numbers it is hard for me to want to open things back up and just go back to life as normal", says Director of the Jackson Madison County Regional Health Department, Kim Tedford. Madison County Mayor Jimm

Local designer uses her skills to make masks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended the use of face coverings and face masks for more than just health care workers. A local designer decided to step in to fill in the need for more masks. Stephanie Wilbourns family owns the local Wilbourn Sisters Sewing and Alteration they came up with the idea to make masks for people in the healthcare field. But after the demand grew they opened their orders to the entire community. “And so the orders just started stacking in and I had to tell people listen, we’re not a swat shop. You know we are making these because it’s about safety", says Wilbourn. The masks are made with unwoven fabric for safety and a filter that helps

Security officers see a rise in requests to secure properties

Many brick and mortar stores have closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 And a number of those businesses have hired security companies to watch their store while closed. “When people pick up and leave and close their business down there is nobody left behind, it has to checked. Not only for criminal activity but for fire watch", says President of Maxx Guard Incorporated, Frankie Lax. Maxx guard incorporated is a locally owned security business that has been in the Hub City for over 40 years. As more and more businesses close they have had more calls to help in watching and securing properties, but for more than just theft. Lax says, “we’ve had a lot of businesses and factories that have

Local businesses are taking steps to protect employees and customers

A lot of people are now working from home to slow the spread of coronavirus. But essential workers are still clocking in. Now local essential businesses are trying to find different ways to protect their employees and their patrons.” The city of Jackson and Madison county is now under a shelter at home order. Making all non essential business close. And essential businesses like, grocery stores, pharmacies, hard ware stores, and gas stations stay open. “I’m grateful and thankful to be able to work", says Tommy Sorrell. Many essential workers are working long hours to make sure the demand of supplies are met and trying to stay protected from coronavirus. Sorrell adds, “well, we are trying to

Madison County jail releasing inmates to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Law enforcement officials right here in madison county are taking precautions to flatten the curve, starting with the Madison County Jail. The Madison County Jail also known as the Criminal Justice Complex has housed more than 500 inmates at a time in the past. But the bed capacity is only 303. Officers, judges, and the District Attorney are working to bring that number down to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “Law enforcement are only bringing people to jail that the charge requires it. If they can be cited they are not brought to jail. They are cited in the court", says Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris. Last Thursday there were 472 inmates at the Madison County Jail now they only have 376.

Unemployment claims skyrocket amidst COVID-19 outbreak

As the number of positive COVID-19 cases rise here in the U.S. so does the number of unemployment claims. Community organizations respond to how they are being affected. Last week Tennessee alone had a little under 40,000 people file for unemployment. This week Tennessee saw more than 50,000 new claims across the state. “We knew coming in that jobs would potentially be lost, hours would be cut with the effect of coronavirus", says marketing and event coordinator for RIFA, Lindsay Dawkins. More and more people are being laid off and they are looking for help to get through these uncertain times. Local non profit, RIFA, says they anticipated seeing more foot traffic at their office. Dawkins ad

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